Innovative HR Solutions, LLC

Thursday, November 21, 2019

How to Make the Employee Survey Process Successful?

Potential clients will often approach our firm and indicate that they want to conduct an employee survey to find out what the employees are thinking.  The motives of the Human Resource leaders in making this inquiry are based upon a need to discover what is happening in the trenches and take action where necessary.  Even though the HR leaders want to do what is right they often get lost in the process and don’t take the long-term perspective.  In order to have a successful outcome we recommend that our clients follow a four step process to determine if an employee survey is the most appropriate means of evaluating satisfaction and engagement.  Here are the recommended steps to ensure a successful survey:

Step #1:  Define engagement and inform the employees what this means and how engagement supports the business.  Our definition of engagement is as follows:  “Employee engagement is the relationship between an organization and its employees.  An engaged employee is one who subscribes to the values and goals of the organization and works to ensure success.” Engagement varies by industry and employer and much like a mission statement, engagement should have the support of the organization by being published and marketed through-out the company.

Step #2:  An engagement index is a numerical value that quantifies engaged employees that are aligned and fully support the success of the organization in contrast to those that are disengaged.  Organizations that score high are typically successful and have a dynamic leadership team with high employee engagement.  They also have a clearly defined operational succession plan, a supportive administrative infrastructure, and programs and policies to support enhanced productivity.  These engagement indicators are interdependent – good leaders make good business decisions; progressive compensation and benefits programs attract and retain employees; employee engagement drives income and productivity.  Ensure that the leaders of the organization understand how these values impact productivity and the bottom-line.  Only with the leaders buy-in of an engagement index with the survey process be successful.  

Step #3:  An engagement survey is not an isolated event but rather the process to improve employee satisfaction and make your company an employer of choice.  While measurement is key to the program’s success the action planning process will make or break the initiative.  If managers are not held accountable, assume responsibility and be held accountable for improvement this program will not be successful.  HR needs to transition from “running a survey” to supporting the needs of the business by working with key leaders to develop action plans and accountability measures based upon the data collected during the survey process.  

Step #4:  Ensure that a process for following-up on the agreed upon action plans is adhered to and becomes part of the company culture.  If a consistent process is not established the survey process will be lost by newer initiatives, a business crisis or change in personnel.  Our experience has shown that if quarterly meetings are scheduled to ensure accountability the process is much more successful.  In addition, follow-up surveys to evaluate trends and long-term employee satisfaction and engagement will support progressive business practices.  

In conclusion, employers today face extraordinary challenges with respect to managing the business and at the same time meeting the needs of their employees.  Human Resources leaders need to take the long-term perspective with respect to engagement and the survey process.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Why Does HR Need a Good On-Boarding Process?

New employees want to be successful on the job and they want to be as productive as possible.  They want to offer solutions; help grow the business and support their colleagues.  However, new hires to the organization are often given little support, provided limited training and  are expected to be contributing immediately.  As HR professionals what can we do to ensure that new hires are successful.  Outlined below is a five point program to ensure that the on-boarding process is successful. 

1.  Ensure that all new hires regardless of employee classification participate in the on-boarding process.  While they would initially report to their department manager their 3 to 5 day orientation to the company would allow them to learn about the company, meet other employees that are new to the organization and gain a perspective that will assist them for the future.  Key to the success of an on-boarding initiative is the leadership teams support for the program and their willingness to not only release their new hire for orientation but to also participate and share their experiences with the new hires.

2. Working with the key managers in the organization; a formal on-boarding process, coordinated by the HR department will introduce the new hire to the company.  Two programs; one for exempts and the other for non-exempts should be considered.  The goal is to offer these two types of employees an introduction into the organization that is similar in scope only the exempt orientation is focused on the business strategy and the non-exempt is focused on the tactical.

3.  The orientation program should be kicked-off by one of the executives (preferably a C-suite individual) that will share their role at the company with the new hires and their successes and challenges.  The on-boarding process should then consist of a structured program whereby the new hire will rotate among the various departments to learn about their function at the company and how their duties and responsibilities compliment the other areas of the organization.

4. Following a 3 to 5 day rotation program the new hire should then be delivered to their department whereby they will receive additional training and support to learn about their job, their role and specific tasks that they need to accomplish.  This orientation should include them receiving their job description, telephone training, assignment of an e-mail and systems access.  The goal is to ensure that the new hire is given the tools to be successful on the job.

5.  Two to three weeks after thy have concluded the on-boarding orientation the new hire should receive a new hire survey which will allow them to provide feedback on the process.  The task is this final step of the process and will allow the new hire to share with HR and their manager what they have learned as well as their satisfaction with the on-boarding process.  The sharing of ideas and the success and/or areas for improvement in the on-boarding process will help progressive companies deal with their challenges and hopefully offer solutions for the future.

To learn more about our on-boarding survey tool, reporting and analysis please go to our website at:

Monday, August 12, 2019

What is Leadership?

People strive to be engaged in meaningful work and most of us seek out experiences that help us grow professionally. Companies that recognize and support this basic human goal are on the path to become employers of choice.

After our basic needs are fulfilled, an employee searches for meaning and a sense of purpose in a job.  People want to believe that they are providing a good or service that will help others.  If, in your role as a Human Resource professional, you aren’t articulating what you care about and how you plan to make a difference, then you will need to make changes in your approach in order to inspire your employees to ensure their full engagement.

Many leaders have a wrong idea of what constitutes true engagement as it is not attained through self-gratification but through developing a sense of purpose to support the broader good.  Once company leaders have identified and clearly articulated what they stand for, it’s up to the leadership team supported by Human Resources to build a bridge between the business’ purpose and the values of the employees.  When leaders communicate their ideas and values, listeners filter the message and decide whether to trust their management team. When the values and purpose resonate with your employees, they will be a partner in the company’s success.

Leaders and more specifically the HR department are the stewards of organizational energy as their purpose is to ensure organizational performance, direct talent and focus and invest energy from all the individual contributors in the service of the corporate mission. A purpose-driven leadership team ensures that the energy of each individual contributor is aligned with the organizational purpose.

One of our goals since we started our firm in 1999 has been to share information to assist HR professionals in making quality business decisions by providing current information on what is happening in the work environment.  Sharing how progressive companies deal with their challenges will hopefully offer you solutions for the future.

To learn more about our survey tool, reporting and analysis please go to our website at:

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What is HR’s Role in the Development of Work Metrics?

The Human Resource profession is now driven by metrics.  Using metrics provides the professional with an excellent barometer of how satisfied and engaged employees are in the success of the business.   When metrics are utilized, and historical HR patterns are revealed executive management can better respond to the challenges that front-line managers are experiencing on the job.  Executive management can then focus on creating an environment where managers develop into leaders and act as change agents for our organizations.

A key goal for Human Resources is to ensure that managers are meeting the needs of their subordinates and leading their departments.  Managers need to be coaches, conduct quality performance reviews that challenge their staff and ensure that a creative and innovative work environment is fostered and maintained. Communicating the goals of the organization by sharing the strategy for the future are just a few of the duties and responsibilities of a high-performing manager.

So, how do we measure their successes and challenges?  One of the tools used to evaluate manager performance and effectiveness on the job is the employee survey.  Based upon our survey data areas of employee satisfaction with management are varied; however, several common positive themes surfaced when analyzing the respondents data.  In general, employees are satisfied with their jobs.  They understand and appreciate that management is operating the business efficiently, the respondents are treated with respect and their manager is generally a good coach.  The respondents also believe that the work environment is safe.  With respect to the statements focusing on employee management relations, the respondents gave this area a satisfaction rating of 3.90 (out of a 5 point scale) and this indicates moderate levels of satisfaction.  The great majority of employees believe that their manager will listen to their point of view and assist them in growing professionally.   In addition, the survey results indicate that management treats all individuals with respect. The statement, "My manager treats people the same regardless of race, gender, age, ethnicity or other differences" was given a question satisfaction rating of 4.18 or high levels of satisfaction.  The data indicates that diversity is encouraged and has become a part of the corporate culture.  Areas of improvement include eliminating favoritism, increasing communication and sharing more information about the challenges and successes of the organization.  The respondents would also like to learn more about the business strategy and how management plans to expand the business.

One of our goals since we started our firm in 1999 has been to share information to assist HR professionals in making quality business decisions by providing current information on what is happening in the work environment.  Sharing how progressive companies deal with their challenges will hopefully offer you solutions for the future.

To learn more about our survey tool, reporting and analysis please go to our website at:

Friday, June 28, 2019

Why is Professional Development So Important?

When people use the term professional development, they usually mean a formal process such as a seminar, inter-active workshop, conference or a course at a college or university. However, professional development can also occur in informal contexts such, independent reading and research, on-the-job observation or a formal mentoring program offered through their employer.  Whatever the term, the purpose is the same — to improve your skill sets.  Outlined below are five reasons for the HR professional to continue to attend professional development programs.

Improving Your Verbal Communication Skills

Seminars can be a comfortable, open environment for practicing professional communication techniques. Group discussions and activities can also let you practice and hone your interpersonal skills.  Dealing with conflicting opinions among group members and working together to accomplish assignments or tasks is a very important skill for HR professionals to acquire.

Networking Opportunities

Building new relationships and meeting new contacts is important for career growth. Relationships with clients, speakers and vendors can help you gain knowledge from having meaningful conversations with them as well as determining what resources are available for future initiatives and programs.

Learning Something New

Learning about new and more effective ways to accomplish things and gaining additional knowledge about business subjects and concepts are all benefits of attending professional development workshops.  Putting into practice the knowledge that you just gained is a key goal when learning something new.

Becoming an Expert

Professional Development training enables you to gain more expertise in your field and develop new ideas on ways to improve in your job.  Enhancing your technical skills will allow you to be grow and increase your knowledge as well as be rewarding.

Renewed Motivation

Meeting new people and learning new things often leads to great feelings of inspiration. You will want to share this new enthusiasm with your staff and peers.

Enjoying Your Passion

Attending workshops and seminars are usually very fun. It’s a day away from the office and most people love connecting with others who share their interests and passions.

For the Human Resources professional an important challenge is keeping up with our profession, the law, technology and new techniques.  Attending and being open to professional development opportunities is important for your success.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

How Can HR Develop a Meaningful Succession Plan?

Change is a constant and is occurring quickly with many companies lacking the expertise to deal with an evolving business environment.  Issues such as global competition, changes in technology and the need to modify business models are factors that contribute to a very complex work environment.  To meet this challenge organizations will often determine that the best way to plan for their future is to create a succession plan through-out the organization.  By implementing these three succession plan initiatives companies will ensure that there is no interruption in service, innovation or customer support.

Hiring the Right Talent

With unemployment at record lows companies today face a variety of challenges with hiring the right talent for the job at the top of the list.  Organizations today not only need to offer a competitive wage, top-tier benefits but they also need to build a strong employer brand that allows for their employees to feel proud of where they work.  HR departments as the gate keeps for the talent pool need move as quickly as possible to ensure that the hiring process does not get side-tracked.  Many companies will lose excellent candidates because of a very slow hiring process.  Key to the hiring of staff in key positions is the process of thinking beyond the current job that is being filled.  Do your candidates have strong problem solving skills, exceptional communication attributes and have high ethical standards.  Evaluate the candidate not only for the current position that they are applying for but also for their next job.

Improve the Company’s Bench Strength at the Management Level

Executives today are uneasy about their organizational leaders’ ability to handle unexpected challenges.  There's a lot at stake as new managers already have a high rate of failure in the first 12 months of being promoted to a management role.  These leaders often have a difficult time assessing the demands of business, processing and sharing information in a timely manner and talent management.  Human Resource departments can play a pivotal role in helping these new leaders succeed in their job by offering personalized training programs targeted to their particular needs.  HR can also ensure success by developing learning programs that are skill based, that can be applied immediately and are tied to future business challenges.  As part of the process HR will also need to evaluate the gaps in leadership skills in order to determine where training is needed, necessary and applicable.  According to the Future of HR survey by Gartner in 2019 serious gaps at the leadership is a barrier to their success.

As can be seen above leadership gaps are occurring in succession plan development. The goal for the future should be to enhance the strategic and creative thinking through-out the organization so that management can focus on how to better position their company for success and ensure that there is no interruption in the talent pool.

Build a Succession Plan that is Flexible and Targeted

One of the key functions of an HR leader is to hire right, create depth in the organization and secure the company’s success by building a succession plan that is both flexible and targeted.  Succession plans are a tool to create an immediate candidate pool of qualified internal employees when a key employee departs the organization.  Succession plans should initially be developed around the C-suite staff followed by more detailed plans around key managers, supervisors and individual contributors.  The goal of “purview” or key personnel is to ensure that they receive the training, developmental tools and mentoring so that they are ready to assume a bigger role with a position is identified.  The criteria for purview employees are that they need to be exceeding job requirements, have been with the company a minimum of 24 months and have the skills, knowledge and ability to assume a great role in the future.  These employees may be unaware that they have been targeted for development; however, HR should take an active role in their career.

By hiring the right talent from the beginning, developing employees that show promise and building succession plans that encourage internal career development through a formal program companies can will mitigate potential gaps in leadership.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Will Employee Engagement Continue to be a Metric of Choice?

Engagement is a familiar buzz word in Human Resources today and like other professions our terms and definitions are changing as our profession evolves.  Terms like compensation have morphed into total rewards, personnel has changed to human capital management, and empowerment to engagement.  What is happening is that our profession is establishing newer and better metrics to evaluate company performance and employee successes.

The question for the future is will the concept of employee engagement remain with us or will it go the way of TQM, visioning and other programs?  My guess is that engagement is here to stay.  Given the research today engagement has a direct correlation to the success of companies.  Top-performing organizations understand that employee engagement with the business is a key driver of business success. Satisfied and engaged employees are productive and customer focused.  Engaged employees care about the future of the company and are willing to invest time, energy and effort to support the strategic direction and vision of the organization.  Engaged employees produce results, are more productive and lower turnover is the result.

Current research suggests that companies that score high levels of employee engagement are successful and have a dynamic leadership team.  They also have a clearly defined operational succession plan, and a supportive administrative infrastructure and programs to support and enhanced productivity.  As a result, organizations where there are high levels of engagement are more likely to be financially successful.

Engagement can also be quantified, and companies can compare and contrast their engagement indices with other companies that subscribe to the same metric.  Engagement and the values that are the result are also perceived as valuable to executives as they have the ability to rank their successes by their engagement index.  High levels of engagement also can support high performer’s perceptions of themselves.  High levels of engagement are key indicators – good leaders make good business decisions.

While it’s true we have our own constantly changing vocabulary in the HR profession, that’s no different than any other profession. Our terms and definitions need to evolve and the programs that are created need to have terms that all employees and our business partners can understand.
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