4Cs Blog: Happy Employees = Happy Customers
A Smart Way To Engage Your Employees And Reduce Turnover
Studies on turnover estimate that when an employee leaves a company it can cost the organization between 30 to 250 percent of that person’s annual salary due to factors like loss of productivity and other associated replacement costs.
Imagine a high potential employee disclosing her long term goal to her HR Manager to work in strategy. We know of one instance when an HR manager dismissed this goal saying 'everyone wants strategy...strategy is a dream job'. I suppose a young aspiring woman could respond in one of two ways. One, she might feel challenged to achieve her goal despite the odds and the negativism or two, she might start having thoughts about finding a new job where she can make her goal a reality.
If she does resign, this would be considered preventable turnover, meaning the employee is leaving for a reason specifically related to their work experience that could have been avoided!
Perhaps not everyone who wants to work in strategy will have that opportunity; but there are still ways to encourage employees to grow and develop strategic thinking skills that would benefit any organization at all levels and could delay and prevent some employees from leaving. Strategic thinking is a skill worth cultivating in your employees and managers because it teaches them to focus on what is really important. HR analysts Jill Fowler and Jeanette Savage describe strategic thinking as, ‘recognizing trends and challenging assumptions while maintaining a global view of situations and an affinity towards embracing change’.
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Business Growth Strategies Tips To Improve Your Workforce Management
As your company grows, workforce management should become top priority. It is a challenging yet crucial facet of your operation, that grows in complexity as demographics shift and technology advances over time. You must thoroughly gather and analyze data to make informed choices about recruiting, retention, productivity, performance and engaging employees. Also, keep in mind the best resources and tools that will support your management goals. Here are some tips for business growth strategies, in regards to workforce management:
You must make sure your workforce is composed of creative, motivated, intelligent individuals who can fit into your company and also work toward its improvement. Enhance the composition of your team through strategic recruiting. First, you must identify your People Brand — ask yourself, “why should people want to work for me?” As you begin to answer this question, you will see certain attributes and values emerge, which can then be combined to figure out your ideal, like-minded candidate. With an established People Brand, your recruitment team can make informed decisions about the candidates they seek out and pursue.
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How To Diagnose Your Organizations Cultural Health
Why should workplace social networks be important to HR specialists?
It matters because these networks drive your compant's culture.
Karen Stephenson is an anthropologist who teaches social network theory as part of the MBA program at Erasmus University in the Netherlands. Stephenson has successfully applied her research in cultural anthropology to corporations and discovered a way to map an organizations social capital and identify critical participants within social networks.
Understanding social networks are not social media
Social media like Facebook and Twitter are about collecting and connecting at a superficial level. Social networks are about trust and powerful relationships that happen mainly face to face.
Why are social networks important to HR Specialists?
Stephenson explains that social networks are the formal and informal bonds through which people communicate and get work done-the invisible bonds of trust and the water cooler relationships that happen between employees. These networks are different from the hierarchal structures that define authority; they are not found in organizational charts.
Together, Social networks and hierarchy form a company culture.
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Ways to Retain High Potential Employees
If up to one quarter of your top talent is tempted to quit, what can you do to prevent them from leaving?
High-potentials are the people companies hate to lose. HR professionals are more anxious about losing these employees than any others and with up to one quarter of their top talent thinking of leaving, finding a solution is a struggle. In some cases, there are no solutions because if an employee is hard wired not to care about who they work for, they will leave if a better opportunity comes along and there is nothing you can do to change their minds. Fortunately, this represents about 5-6% in most companies. The good news is that not all high potentials are hard wired to leave…. It’s the problems they face that are frustrating them and cause them to begin to look elsewhere.
Who are these people?
In an article titled ‘Are You a High Potential’ the Harvard Business Review cited research by Jay Conger, Douglas Ready and Linda Hill who defined these employees in this way:
“High potentials consistently and significantly outperform their peer groups in a variety of settings and circumstances. While achieving these superior levels of performance, they exhibit behaviors that reflect their companies’ culture and values in an exemplary manner. Moreover, they show a strong capacity to grow and succeed throughout their careers within an organization—more quickly and effectively than their peer groups do.”
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Ways To Heal Employees Caught In The Shame Blame Game
As humans when someone accuses, blames or shames us most of us react in one of six ways. We will either withdraw, become defensive, lash out in a counter attack, beat ourselves up internally, be a people-pleaser in order to counter the inner feelings of never being good enough or, we look for a solution to the problem that results in positive change (which we all recognize is the healthiest response but not the easiest to do).
At work employees respond to blame and shame, criticism, judgment or threats by withdrawing which ends up translating into a lack of engagement, low morale and motivation.
We all know people who react defensively or try to justify their actions; they come across as whining, argumentative, and sometimes hostile, none of which anyone enjoys. Unfortunately, the response could also be a counter attack, which would sound like a verbal attack…the situation could get ugly and extremely uncomfortable. The ripple effectof all this negative energy affects co-workers (consciously and subconsciously) causing apathy and bad feelings to flow. This is what drives engagement levels down and costs people and organizations their emotional and financial health.
Blame and shame don’t work for anyone but it takes knowledge and understanding and leadership to get a grip on the problem and turn it around.
For example, do you ever feel like you are walking on eggshells at work?
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Why Employees Who Mask Their Unhappiness Are Lethal
"An organization pays a heavy price when its bright, capable people quit and leave. But it’s even more costly when bright, capable people quit and stay.” — Rodger Dean Duncan
One of the overwhelming challenges of being in HR is being held accountable for maximizing retention and reducing turnover. A great deal of effort and energy gets spent making sure employees don’t quit but there are many times when they do despite it all. Feelings of abandonment must echo the halls of HR when it happens but there are other ways unhappy employees process their environments that are not so obvious but maybe more lethal.
There are three basic tactics or coping mechanisms employees use when they are unhappy with their jobs:
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- Proactively work to make the situation better. This may seem like the best path but it also the most difficult. It usually involves confronting people about the root causes of their frustration. It requires that the unhappy employee confront people, and possibly their own direct manager, about the reasons they are struggling and that can be demoralizing.
- Quit. This one is pretty straightforward. At some point, people will decide that life is too short to be frustrated and discouraged at work, and they’ll search for a new job. And if they’re good at their jobs it won’t be difficult for them to find a new one and leave.
- Quit and stay. Ultimately, this is the path of least resistance, and the one many employees choose, sometimes even subconsciously. These folks rationalize not quitting by thinking “Hey, I’m still getting paid so I’ll just hang in and detach emotionally so it doesn’t get to me anymore.” If this decision is being made by enough employees, then this will erode a company’s culture from the inside out as service, productivity and morale decline.
How To Bust Boredom and Be The Change In Your Organization
Do you or your employees feel bored at work?
Unfotunately many of us would answer yes.
Current reports reveal that boredom is running rampant not just in assembly lines but for white collar workers who ‘waste away, unchallenged and uninspired’ at their desks’.
Sandi Mann from the University of Lancashire studies boredom and found that ‘ boredom is a condition that can be more stressful and damaging than overwork’. To help us understand boredom she explains that being bored at work does not happen because you have nothing to do. It happens because nothing you are doing appeals to you.
What a terrible reality to think employees are coming in every day but checking out mentally because they feel no connection or derive any personal satisfaction from the work they do. And, what a terrible thing for employers as they watch morale decline and profits weaken.
Understanding what causes boredom is key to any positive change. We believe part of the process should include an employee engagement action plan to really get to the heart of the disconnection and understand what is causing employees to feel bored in the first place. Boredom is one of the key drivers of poor work performance, accidents, absenteeism, sleepiness, and stress-related health problems so it deserves attention in most organizations, including and especially offices.
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There Are No Good Reasons To Waste Your Vacation Days
Hard working Americans seem to have lost their way in recent decades.
It seems we have forgotten that we have a limited time here on earth as we work ourselves to death to pay our bills when we should be spending our time on worthwhile things that make us happy like family, friends, our passions and our hobbies. Many Americans persist in frittering away and wasting vacation days that are earned and deserved however, denying themselves the chance to rest and relax. In fact many are proud of being workaholics, which is commonplace and symptomatic of many employees in our culture today; but the reality is when we do the same thing day in and day out, week after week month after month we become dead inside and we forfeit our quality time for what? More work….
Does it bother us that we are known as the ‘No-Vacation Nation’? Not surprisingly the United States is the only developed country in the world without a single legally required paid vacation day or holiday. In stark contrast, figures from CEPR's study "No-Vacation Nation Revisited reveal that every country in the European Union is required, by law, to provide at least 4 weeks of paid vacation every year.
Italians, who get over 35 days of vacation per year might be enjoying life a whole lot more too as they live on average four years longer than Americans. Italians get paid for a 13th month in December (paid twice for working one month) so that they can afford to pay their bills and enjoy a vacation. The message “life is short’ seems to be alive and well in the world, just not in the states!
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Does Office Gossip Help or Hurt Us?
Most of us would agree that office gossip can be deadly.
Many of us also know how much it hurts to be backstabbed by the people who greet us every day with a smile and cheerful ‘hi’ in the hallway. Yet some researchers have shown that gossip can be good for us and it can even be used to enhance relationships. They have even gone so far to say that talking behind someone’s back can bring about increased harmony amongst co-workers.
As employee research experts we have never worked with a client who has used gossip as part of an action plan, as a means of strengthening communication and morale. So we were intrigued by a study conducted by a research team at Stanford University who discovered that gossip and ostracism were useful tools that groups of employees use positively to encourage cooperation and even reform bullies.
While we may think gossip is malicious and that it undermines trust and morale, this research showed it had positive effects. Participants in the study were encouraged to gossip about colleagues. What they found was that employees aligned themselves with others they perceived were cooperative and like them. The employees who were uncooperative and selfish were identified through gossip, which was encouraged. What was interesting about the study was how the ‘castaways’ or excluded employees behaved in response to being excluded. When they found out others talked about them negatively and then they were ostracized from the group, they changed their behaviors to become more cooperative. With this attitude change they actually returned to the group at a higher level of cooperation.
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Body Language And How it Impacts Employee Engagement
Understanding body language can enhance communication with your employees
Managers who understand the basic rules of body language have a unique ability to influence employee engagement by their ability to use non-verbal messages to know their employee’s true feelings. U.S. anthropologist and body language expert Ray Birdwhistell discovered decades ago that 95 percent of communication happens in our subconscious minds and then it is expressed through our body language. Taken one step further, Linda Talley, a current expert in body language, says that a person can say something which may not be true but their body language will always tell the truth.
Our bodies always tell the truth no matter what we say.
By being knowledgeable about body language and what the signs mean a manager can begin to observe and respond to employee’s behavior in informed ways. Not only can awareness make it easier for managers to get a better read on their employees, it can also help managers be more aware of how they are coming across to their employees. For example, if you call your team together for a meeting because you have bad news to share you might frame the conversation with positive words and a smile hoping to minimize the impact but your body language could warning everyone without you even realizing it.
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Insightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.
4Cs Blog Home
How to Preserve a Positive Company Culture as You Scale Your Business
4 Business Improvement Tips to Reduce Stress in the Workplace
Can You Be a Friend and Still Be The Boss?
3 Ways To Enhance Job Satisfaction Beyond Giving Your Employees A Raise
How To Ask For A Raise
Employee Surveys (66)
HR Practices (22)
HR Technology (1)
Performance Reviews (2)
Work/Life Balance (14)
Engaged Employees Blog
HR ToolKit Guide to Employee Surveys
Good info on how to write surveys
Makes 360 assessment surveys easy.
HR & Skills Development Canada
Canadian Labour Market Information
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Society for Human Resources Management
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Harvard Business Review
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