Innovative HR Solutions, LLC

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

What are the Three Pillars of Employee Success?

Over the years technology has profoundly shaped the Human Resources profession.  Today, with the internet the collection of timely and accurate survey data is not only available to large companies but also too small to mid-size organizations that want to evaluate and assess the pulse of their organization.  With this new technology there are several reasons to survey employees and if clients use the three pillars of employee success to shape their human capital program success will be on the horizon.  The three pillars are importance, satisfaction and engagement.  Each of these three pillars is discussed in detail below.


Employee surveys assist management in determining the importance of the programs and policies at the company and support by the employees for these established programs and policies.  Surveys provide the data that will determine how important or unimportant they are to the staff.  A misalignment can lead to programs that are not targeted, value-added or desired by the staff.  Evaluating the importance of these programs will help ensure  that the alignment of these polices compliment the core values of the company.


General satisfaction and high levels of morale determine how fulfilled, happy and content employees are.  Typically, satisfied employees are more successful in meeting their professional needs at work and the goals of the company.  Furthermore, high levels of employee success in achieving the agreed upon goals and objectives will lead to higher-performing organizations.  Satisfied employees are more productive and customer focused whereas low levels of satisfaction can lead to less productivity and dysfunction among work teams.


Engaged employees are more productive, customer focused and have a heightened connection to their job.  They also care about the future of the company and are willing to invest time, energy and effort to support the strategic direction, vision and mission of the company.  Engaged employees will also tend to produce greater results and will remain with the company longer.  Organizations possessing high levels of engagement are also more likely to be financially successful.   Employee engagement with the business is a key driver of business success.  Disengaged employees require more of your time to coach, manage, counsel and hold them accountable.

What makes a company successful in today’s work environment can be summarized by following the three pillars to employee success.  Employees want managers who are good listeners and support effective employee management relations.  They also want opportunities for advancement that will lead to a compensation program that recognizes excellence on the job and finally, they want to work for a company that functions effectively where employees play a key role in the decision making process and are respected by their community.


Friday, July 28, 2017

What Needs to Happen in 2017 to Make Your Organization Successful?

One of management’s key duties and responsibilities is challenging, motivating and retaining staff.  Three metrics of employee engagement need to be implemented in the near term for progressive organizations to remain competitive in the future:

  • Align employees work with the strategic vision and company goals as outlined by the leadership team.  This can be accomplished by ensuring that the corporate goals are communicated, and incorporated into each employee’s performance plan. Research has shown that employees that buy into the vision, values and strategic vision of the company will support the company in the future. 
  • Hold employees accountable by constantly demonstrating through management’s actions that employees will be treated fairly and honestly along with the consistent application of the prevailing policies.  To determine if policies are consistently being applied evaluate your compensation practices to determine if those employees that are demonstrating excellence receive the larger merit increase.  Evaluate promotions and transfers to determine if only those employees that are excelling in their jobs are receiving new job opportunities.  Finally, evaluate the learning opportunities made available to the staff to ensure that all employees are eligible for external training and development and not only those that are performing at a peak level. 
  • Evaluate the decision making processes to ensure that all employees share in decision making process.  Typically, the employees that “do the work” are those that should be recommending ideas to improve work-flow.  Employees should feel comfortable recommending changes to the existing processes.  At times, failure will be the result but with failure comes knowledge and success.  Employees are more likely to accept and carry out decisions if they're involved in the process.
Using these three metrics will assist you as you start to establish metrics for the remainder of 2017.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Why is Aligning Your Business with a Human Capital Strategy Important?

Today, businesses that are successful have a strategic direction that is aligned with the employees to create a synergy between the business and talent.  Along with the effective execution of the business plan and strategy there are four key models that make a company successful.  These conditions, if met can put a company on the path to success.

Company Culture

Companies that are successful have a strong culture that is inclusive, collaborative, challenging and respectful.  A culture that encompasses these attributes will result in employees that are engaged, motivated, demonstrate high levels of performance and productivity.

Executive Leadership

Successful leaders are dependent upon a team approach that is communicative, supportive, engaged and holds their direct reports accountable for their decisions.  Leaders need to be developed and constantly challenged to ensure that the company continually innovates.  The leaders of the company also need to maintain the highest ethical standards as they set the tone for the organization and represent the company to the community.

Employee Talent Management

With technology changing the potential for a gap between the skill set and the new requirements of the job can develop into a talent management gap.  Employees need to be continually developed, mentored and given the opportunity to enrich one’s job is very important to the success of the company.

Corporate Structure

A corporate structure and understood by all employees is often more productive and responsive to the customer.  A structure that groups the business based upon client and customer relationships will often produce the best results by meeting the customer’s needs quickly and efficiently.

In conclusion, developing a strategy that aligns the leadership team with the employees, a culture that supports progressive talent development and a culture and structure that is understood by all supports a progressive business model.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What Happened in 2016: The Year in Review and How Employee Satisfaction and Engagement Changed

As we begin 2017, it is important that we learn from the past so that the business decisions we make in the future are based upon facts and data in order to develop a coordinated strategy.  One of HR’s goals over the past year has been to retain talent as well as look for alternative ways to respond to the current business challenges.  Preserving our company’s competitive edge by retaining our high performers along through the use of HR metrics will allow us to be better positioned for the future.

HR Metrics

The Human Resource profession over the past decade has become much more sophisticated by utilizing metrics to examine employee trends in order to better anticipate future challenges and opportunities.  When we use HR metrics and evaluate historical patterns we are better able to respond to the challenges we face on the job.  A key challenge is determining if our reward and benefit dollars are being used wisely.  Metrics are a common measurement across all professions and are used as a way to retain, challenge talent and hold people accountable.  One key metric that is being used by thousands of HR professionals is the employee survey.  The analysis and subsequent data following a survey is a key tool in determining employee satisfaction, management effectiveness and employee engagement.  With so many people looking for that next opportunity, retention of a company’s employees is often critical to its survival.  Understanding and responding to these employees’ concerns and questions are important components in ensuring that success. 

Survey Methodology

For the purpose of this analysis respondents completed an on-line survey consisting of questions about their jobs, executive leadership, staff development, core values, compensation and benefits and management at their organization.  The number of statements from each company ranges from 15 to over 150. The number of respondents from each company ranges from a minimum of 100 to well over 2,500.  Using the Likert scale (from 1.00 to 5.00) the levels of employee satisfaction are as follows:

Employee Satisfaction Levels
3.91 to 5.00
3.70 to 3.90
3.50 to 3.69
3.00 to 3.49
1.00 to 2.99

Normative Data

Using normative data is important for clients as this information serves as a benchmark which allows a company to compare their own mean scores with the client base.  Normative scores are updated continuously and, due to the size of our database, we can utilize an 99.9% confidence interval, resulting in a margin of error of + .01.  This means that our clients have a high level of confidence in the data they receive.  In the past, clients have often requested that we create norms that would provide a benchmark against their industry or region in the country. Today, however, we have begun to see a shift from benchmarking within one's own industry toward benchmarking against other “best places to work”. This is particularly true with regard to benchmarking in the areas of organizational climate, culture, engagement, management and leadership.

This review is based on data collected from over 70,000 working individuals from organizations representing a broad cross-section of industries and regions of the country. All data is effective as of December 31, 2016.

Areas of Employee Satisfaction

In general, employees are satisfied with their jobs.  Employees appreciate that management is operating the business efficiently, often under conditions of uncertainty and with tight resources.  For a complete review by functional area as it relates to satisfaction levels please see the chart below:
Employee Management Relations
With respect to employee management relations, employees gave this area a satisfaction rating of 3.89 or 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 and respects all individuals, diversity is encouraged and has become a part of the corporate culture.
Job Satisfaction
Job satisfaction was another highly-rated area achieving a satisfaction rating of 3.83 or moderate levels of satisfaction.  A high percentage of employees enjoy the work they do, are challenged and feel a strong sense of accomplishment in their position.  They believe that they can make a contribution and want to be a part of making their company successful.
Career Opportunities
A majority of employees indicated that they feel they have a career with their organization and that they work well as a team.  They support their co-workers in their department by sharing information and offering advice. Career Opportunities received a 3.76 satisfaction rating or moderate levels of satisfaction.  Our respondents however want to experience more internal opportunities and career paths that offer them challenges as well as more financial growth.
Core Values
The survey responses focusing on the mission, vision and values of the organization received a 3.95 or high levels of satisfaction.  This response would suggest that employees understand the importance of supporting the strategic mission of their organization.
Staff Development
According to the survey data, employees understand how important customer satisfaction is to maintaining the financial health of their company.  Employees value strong customer relations and recognize that only by satisfying the customer will the organization be successful.  The module satisfaction rating for this functional area was 3.56 or neutral levels of satisfaction.  Many respondents believe that the learning opportunities at their company have declined over the past several years.  A recommitment to learning, along with a more formal training program that will equip employees to successfully carry out the requirements of their present and future job roles will need to be a strong consideration for the future.  The survey data suggests that employees believe that as technology changes, and as new management techniques are required, organizations will need to offer additional support to help them meet these new challenges. Clearly the lack of training is an area of concern for progressive employers.
Opportunities for Improvement
It is anticipated that Human Resources will face tremendous challenges in three key areas as the economy continues to grow. These areas include compensating employees fairly, ensuring that communication flows freely throughout the organization and providing employees with the training necessary to ensure their competency in the future.
Fair Compensation
Employees rated fair compensation the lowest of all areas surveyed; this area received a satisfaction rating of 3.34 or low levels of satisfaction.  This value indicates low levels of satisfaction with the pay and rewards programs.  Employees feel the financial pressures and at the same time they believe they are not compensated at a level commensurate with their duties and responsibilities. Over the next twelve months employees will desire additional compensation and/or look for new opportunities.
Effective Communication
Communication is an issue for a majority of companies. Effective communication was rated low with a satisfaction rating of 3.42 or low levels of satisfaction. Employees are requesting more information about the new products and services offered by their company as well as management’s clarification of the organization’s vision and prospects for growth.  Employees would also like to have more advance notice of activities occurring at their organization and receive information about changes and strategic decisions that affect them in a timelier manner.  Respondents very often do not believe that other departments are keeping them informed about key projects that are under consideration or have been approved.  An improvement in communication is critical to ensure the success of a company.
What is Important to Employees
Understanding what is important to employees is critical for the Human Resource professional. The data suggests that progressive compensation practices are a key indicator of a productive organization.  Employees understand that career opportunities are dependent on the economy and how their company is positioned for the future.  Ensuring that a company’s compensation program remains competitive is an important issue that employers will need to address in the near term, especially in circumstances where employees’ workloads and responsibilities have increased due to reduced staffing levels in selected industries.  Using a 1 - 100% scale, a complete review of functional areas that are important to employees are illustrated in the chart below:
Opportunities for Improvement
It is anticipated that Human Resources will face tremendous challenges in three key areas as the economy continues to grow and expand. These areas include compensating employees fairly, ensuring that teamwork and collaboration are consistently practiced throughout the organization and that managers are skilled mentors to help provide coaching and career suggestions to their employees.
Fair Compensation
Compensation is valued by employees at an 84.7% rating.  This rating suggests that as the economy expands employers will need to respond to the pressure from their staff to increase merit pay or they may see a rise in turnover due to poor pay practices.
Building Teamwork
The data suggests that over the past several years teamwork has become more important to employees.  Enhancing and maintaining teamwork is critical to retaining talent.  Teamwork is valued by employees at an 83.8% rating.  This rating suggests that management will need to focus on team building activities to better support both the internal and external the customer.
Employee Management Relations
The data suggests that managers play a critical role in supporting their subordinates.  Enhancing and maintaining a strong partnership is critical to retaining talent.  Strong and skilled managers are valued by employees at an 84.8% rating.  This rating suggests that management will need to continue to develop skilled managers to act as a coach and mentor.
In conclusion, employers today face extraordinary challenges with respect to managing the business and at the same time meeting the needs of their employees.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What Makes and Effective Team?

We recently completed an employee engagement survey for a hi-tech client and after evaluating the survey results five key findings surfaced.  The respondents indicated that they wanted more transparency from the leadership team along with more timely decisions.  The respondents also indicated that they were looking for more responsibility, an improvement in communication and, finally, a work environment that is more engaging and team oriented.  So. let’s delve deeper into the detailed results.
The survey respondents indicated that the leadership team needed to be more transparent and open with the employees.  A business is a reflection of the leaders of the organization, and if the leaders ensure transparency, the team will mirror this value.  Honesty was determined to be a key value of the company, and if practiced more consistently, the result will be an effective better functioning team that trusts and believes in the executives.
Timely Decisions
Good leaders are creative, innovative, flexible and decisive; however, decisions-makers may be forced at times to deviate from the set course and make a decision without all of the information.  It is during these critical situations that the team will need to look for guidance, evaluate the data and reach a decision that is the best given the available data.  The survey respondents indicated that the decision making process was often too protracted.  The leaders were afraid of making decisions and were risk adverse.  Some risk is acceptable and the respondents, including the leaders of the company, determined that decisions needed to be more timely even if the information was incomplete.
Ability to Delegate
Trusting the team and learning to delegate to subordinates are an important signs of strength, not weakness. Delegating tasks to department managers and individual contributors is one of the most important skills a leader needs to have.  The key to delegation is identifying the strengths of the team, and capitalizing on those strengths and hold each team member accountable for their decisions.  This will prove to your team that as a leader you trust and believe in them and are fair.  The survey results indicated that the respondents wanted to have more responsibility and management needed to learn to delegate more, provided that decision-making parameters were established and properly communicated.
Being a Good Communicator
Being a good communicator is critical to all leaders in a growing organization.  Knowing what you want accomplished and explaining the company’s vision for the future to the team are extremely important.  The survey results indicated that the leaders lacked the ability to communicate the vision and strategy.  Healthy lines of communication were also determined to be poor.  The respondents requested that management establish an all-hands meeting, newsletters, webinars and state-of-the-company presentations to improve communication.  Communication is also managing by walking around and creating an open door policy.  Making it a point to talk to the employees on a daily basis was determined to build trust and keep the leaders in the loop.  The results also indicated that the company executives need to make themselves available to discuss the strategic as well as tactical issues.
Having a Sense of Humor
Because the respondents spend so much time at work the survey results indicated that they want to be a part of a company that can “work-hard and play-hard”.  Challenges happen all the time in business.  A client may go elsewhere, the company website goes down, the telephone lines to customer service are interrupted or the company’s line of credit is not extended.  Guiding the team through these or any challenges without panicking and with a sense of purpose is as important as tackling the underlining reasons why a particular event occurred. It was determined that having a sense of humor will pay off as it will allow the team to laugh at the mistakes and learn from them.  Good leaders are successful in building a team, encouraging healthy discussions and learning from the daily business challenges.
In Conclusion
The employee survey results were communicated to the employees and action plans were developed and are currently being implemented.  The leaders of the company made a commitment to ensure transparency in the process, be inclusive and maintain on-going communication.  They also agreed to establish accountability measures for improvement by evaluating the progress made over the next survey cycle.  This initiative was truly a team effort regardless of level in the organization.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Is Aligning Your Company Culture with the Employees Important? – Three Tips

The culture of any company is the cement that holds the organization together.  A culture that is effectively integrated into the company, where all employees are held accountable for its adherence, along with a rewards program that supports the agreed upon culture will add value to the company.   A fractured culture erodes confidence in the products and services a company sells and can lead to serious long-term challenges for the HR professional and leadership team.

HR professionals should consider implementing these three recommendations to support the successful implementation of a culture based upon the mission statement of the company, the values of the organization and the strategic vision of the leadership team.

Communicate Your Mission to the Stakeholders

Creating a cohesive organization based upon shared values will allow your employees to be make the transition from just viewing their role as just a job to a career with the organization.  The value of examining your company’s mission statement will ensure that the mission is aligned with reality and current practices.  Communicating the agreed upon mission statement to employees, customers, vendors and shareholders will ensure that all stakeholders subscribe to these principles.   

Hold Managers Accountable for Living the Company Values

An increase in stakeholder loyalty can boost profits and productivity; however, this is predicated upon the managers and the leaders of the organization being held accounting for “living the values” of the company.  Research has shown that ethical managers that communicate these shared values will lead to greater profitability and growth.   According the Gallup Business Journal (June, 2013) work units in the top quartile in employee engagement outperformed bottom-quartile units by 10% on customer ratings, 22% in profitability, and 21% in productivity

Employers today want to understand how they can secure more support from their employees.  On-going management and accountability based upon the vision, mission and vision will make it easier for the HR professional and the leadership team to determine how to best execute the strategy for the future.
Tie Pay and Performance to the Adherence of the Agreed Upon Values

We all know that what gets measured gets managed with success.  Performance reviews are a great tool to tie the successful communication of the mission with the success of the leaders.  If the executive team has a vested interest in the process and are measured on their success of tying their decisions to the published values; this measurement will add accountability to the process.  While tying pay, accountability and performance is not a guarantee of success the outcome with be more probable.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Is On-going Professional Development Important?

Professional development and the opportunity to learn and grow are very important for the HR professional and business leader.  Learning best practices will allow for managers and individual contributors to understand what is happening not only in their industry but in other industries as well.  The cross-transfer of technology and new management practices and techniques will enable the HR professional to try out new and innovative programs at work.  Professional development and training programs should focus on two key training strategies:

Business, Revenue and Sales Growth Training
Creating a high performance environment will allow your employees to make the transition from selling a product or service to selling a solution.  The value of making this transition will ensure that sales practices and processes are consistent yet meet the needs of the customer.  In HR, while the “sales” component is typically not external, key to attracting external talent is the ability to “sell” the company and the culture.

Employee Satisfaction & Loyalty Training

An increase in employee loyalty can boost profits and productivity.  Research has shown that engaged employees lead to greater profitability and growth.   Allocating training dollars to a manager’s budget can reduce turnover, improve product knowledge and diagnose any performance issues of key employees.  Creating a high performance culture of learning will identify the strengths and weaknesses of the individual.  Allocating the resources to bridge the performance gap will create a culture of loyal employees.
Employers today want to understand how they can secure more creativity and support from their employees.  On-going training will allow for the manager to determine how to execute the best strategy from the employee’s perspective by enriching their jobs and assisting them with fine-tuning their skills.

Over the next several months the Society of HR Management, the NGLCC, The California HR Conference sponsored by PIHRA and Arizona SHRM will be hosting their annual leadership conferences across the nation.  These premier organizations will explore progressive HR programs and new technologies.  Conferences provide an excellent venue for HR professionals to network with other business partners from across the United States and the world.  You are encouraged to attend these professional development learning opportunities to increase your knowledge and skill level.
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