Innovative HR Solutions, LLC

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Is Aligning Your Culture with Your Employees Important?

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 Employees

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.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

How Can HR Metrics Help Me as We Come Out from the Pandemic Bunker?

We all know that the past year and one-half has been very challenging.  All of have experienced various levels of stress in response to our company’s decisions as a result of COVID.  Some of us experienced working remotely, reductions in staff resulting in colleagues losing their jobs, budget cuts, a stronger focus on expense control, health issues and loss.  The reevaluation of organizational objectives has led to greater stress on the job along with the need to make very difficult Human Resource decisions.  As a profession, we are also learning that understanding our business, partnering with the leaders within our industry and changing our tactics is critical to our remaining relevant.

Once again we need to re-adjust our approach as the paradigm has shifted from retrenchment to expansion.  Preserving our company’s competitive edge by retaining our high performers along with the use of HR metrics will allow us to be better positioned as the recovery continues.  As HR professionals one of our goals for the remainder of 2021 and beyond will be to attract and retain talent by looking for alternative ways to respond to the current business climate, offer our employees value, a healthy work environment and provide management with the support to make quality business decisions.

The Human Resource profession has become very 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 today.  A key challenge for the future will be determining if, as the work environment changes, as a result of the pandemic, will our businesses continue to evolve or return to the way it was in pre-pandemic times.  Metrics are a common measurement across all professions and are used as a way to quantify data.  The analysis and subsequent data following an employee survey is a key tool in determining employee satisfaction, engagement and management effectiveness.  As companies start the process of bringing employees back to office data metrics will become even more important.  Understanding and responding to these employees’ concerns and questions are important components in ensuring success.

Today, employees are generally satisfied with their jobs.  Employees appreciate that management is operating the business efficiently, often under conditions of uncertainty and with limited resources.  Employees also believe that opportunities for advancement will occur as long as performance is maintained.  Key challenges for the future in a post-pandemic world include:

n  Expanding communication initiatives to ensure that the employees are informed of changes at work. 

n  Maintaining effective employee management relations through accountability measures.

n  Ensuring that a team environment is supported and encouraged.

n  Maintaining a progressive compensation program.

n  Supporting a leadership team that is decisive.

n  Opportunities for career advancement in an ever-tightening job market.

n  Benefit programs that offer security and protection for the employee and eligible dependents.

Human Resources for the remainder of 2021 and beyond will need to be flexible, source and retain talent by looking for alternative ways to respond to the current business climate.  Management will support this goal through the use of HR metrics.

Friday, April 23, 2021

What are the Top Five HR Challenges that Leaders are Managing Due to COVID?

As a result of the on-going pandemic leaders of many organizations are struggling to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of their employees. Based upon survey data, outlined below are five challenges that managers are facing today along with recommendations to address these demands.

Managing Remote Work

Managers in pre-COVID times were able to walk down the hall to meet with their staff, support their efforts and provide their subordinates with task direction.  With the need to offer employees a safe work environment many employers determined that employees needed to work from home.  Working from home created an environment where structure was often lacking, IT support limited, and business practices were imperfect.  Managers and leaders of organizations over the past 14 months have learned that responding to the needs of the employees swiftly along with providing support to make this transition as easy as possible needed to occur.  What this means is that when employees reach out for assistance, managers need to respond with an action-oriented plan.  Whether it is dealing with a systems issue, customer support or logistics challenges managers need to respond and rectify any issues.

Ensuring Effective Employee Communication

Communication during the best of times has always been a significant handicap for many employers.  With many employees working remotely communication is not as effective nor as complete as it needs to be.  Communication with employees working from home is often one-way, not consultive or as collaborative as is necessary.  While efficiency and the use of technology (Teams, WebEx and Zoom) are valuable tools they do not replace one-on-one conversations with the staff.  Often times these tools are used to communicate tasks and strategy but not individual work challenges.  Managers need to ensure that their subordinates have quality one-on-one time to address specifical work issues and impediments to success.  The ability to walk down the hall and obtain direction will at some point return; however, in the interim managers need to carve out time for direct communication with their staff.

Job Uncertainty:

One of the consequences of the pandemic has been the loss of job stability and security.  Initially, millions of employees lost their job, the social and financial safety net was lacking, and government programs were stretched to the maximum.  Over the past 14 months many employees have returned to their old jobs; however, many remain unemployed, and their job has been eliminated or their employer has ceased to exist.  A manager’s role during this uncertain time is to reassure their staff, be transparent in financial health of the organization and explain to the employees what their role currently is and how their job might change in the future.  Honesty and sincerity are critical to alleviating an employee’s fear of job insecurity.

Workforce Wellbeing

The sudden shift in work culture over the past year has taken a tremendous toll on the employee’s overall health and wellbeing.  The social aspect of work, ability to share business and personal challenges with colleagues has been replaced by on-line meetings that lack an exchange of support and empathy.  Employees feel less inclined to share their successes and challenges when the format is not conducive to maintaining privacy.  Managers need to check in with their staff to find out what is happening not only on the work front but also on the personal side.  Find out how the employees is handling their isolation from their co-workers, have they experienced any issues around “loss” or illness.  Managers need to be prepared to provide resources to their staff to address any health or wellbeing issues. 

Employee Engagement:

Engaged employees are committed to their organization’s goals and values, they are motivated to contribute to organizational success, and are able at the same time to further enhance their own sense of purpose.  With employees working remotely, insufficient communication tools, job insecurity, workforce wellbeing issues; and employee engagement has suffered.  While some industries have flourished and grown over the past 14 months, many employees have experienced a significant disconnect between their support for the company and their colleagues.  Managers need to make a concerted effort to work with staff to listen, address and resolve their challenges.  Mangers will also need to address the topic of when “normalcy” returns what do employees envision as their work environment of the future.  Engage employees to determine how they want to work in the future.  Do they want to return to the office permanently, partially or intermittently?  Listening to the staff and incorporating their ideas as part of an overall policy will improve employee engagement and general support for organizational success.

Monday, March 1, 2021

What are the Four Key Traits Exhibited by Engaged Employees Today?

Top-performing organizations understand that employee engagement with the business is a key driver of success. Engaged employees are team players, 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 tend to produce greater results, have higher productivity, and remain with the company longer.

As a result, organizations possessing high levels of satisfaction and engagement are more likely to be financially successful.  Based upon our employee survey data outlined below are the four key attributes that engaged employees demonstrate.

#1 Demonstrate Satisfaction with their Career

Satisfaction with one’s career is a key driver of an engaged employee.   Employees who enjoy their job, are satisfied with their career progression, contribute to the success of the company and are more engaged and aligned with the business.  Engaged employees will also remain at the organization longer which can result in less turnover.  This directly impacts the bottom line.

#2 Are Decision Makers

The ability to make decisions and be held accountable for those decisions builds trust between the employee and the leaders of the company.  Challenging employees to take risks empowers and engages staff.  Building trust between management and staff allows for those closest to the customer to make decisions that are based upon the current reality and typically results in more satisfied customers.  Engaged employees are “take charge” individuals and are willing to take calculated risks.

#3 Possess Excellent Communication Skills

The leaders of the organization need to be able to communicate the vision, values and mission of the company.  Their efforts in sharing the strategy result in an informed employee base that understanding the successes and future challenges that the company may face.  Leaders also need to listen to the employees and process the information in such a way that allows for all employees to contribute to success of the company.

#4 Are Problem Solvers

Engaged employees examines problems and working with the team is able to provide a solution either independently or as part of a team.  Engaged employees encourage a team approach to problem solving as a way to better support the customer.  They will also seek out problems and view them as an opportunity and a challenge.

Finally, engaged employees are committed to their organization’s goals and values, they are motivated to contribute to organizational success, and are able at the same time to further enhance their own sense of purpose.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

How Business can Thrive During A Global Pandemic?

Your business is based upon relationships with your customers, vendors and employees.  Keeping in touch with these three stakeholders is particularly important to ensure your business survives the current economic downturn as a result of the global pandemic.  By creating a plan to ensure that you maintain communication with these three constituents, your business may succeed and even thrive during the global pandemic.  Whether as the leader of your organization or a manager of your business unit evaluating how you approach your three contributors to your success will help you and your business survive.


Keeping your current business and winning new business does not just mean winning customers.  It is much easier to secure existing business than it is to acquire new clients. Your current clients already know you, like you, and trust you. Right now, businesses need to prioritize reaching out to current clients before new clients.  A personal check-in goes a long way. All businesses are a relationship business. Now, more than ever, it is important for you to remember this.  Check on how your customers are doing before you check-up on how their business is doing. A heartfelt email or phone call to show customers you are thinking of them is always appreciated.  If you get the sense that they are willing to talk about business, ask them about their current priorities.  What are they struggling with during the pandemic? What new objectives are they trying to achieve?  Can your expertise solve one of those problems? Can you help them achieve their new goals and objectives?  If you can add value, support your customers and see where your assistance can help them out.


Your budget is tightening, and your service providers might be willing to examine their current pricing structure. That does not mean you need to eliminate their services; however, getting creative with their pricing and examining ways you can create more value for less expense may be an option. If your vendors do not have the ability to reduce their fees request something that still creates the outcome that you desire, but maybe involves less of your involvement or a longer arrangement at the current pricing level. These smaller offers also pave the way for a longer relationship when the pandemic is no longer an issue and the vaccine has created herd immunity.


The Human Resource profession over the past ten months has changed dramatically.  With many employees working remotely HR professionals will continue to face significant changes in the near-term.  The need for timely information to support the immediate needs of the staff will only get greater.  HR metrics to evaluate performance, gauge communication challenges, support effective talent management practices, retain employees, along with the evaluation of employee satisfaction and engagement will become a key focus for the future.  HR leaders will need to find new ways to reach out to employees to evaluate that their needs are being met.  A plan to contact the staff to ensure that communication remains uninterrupted and that questions are getting answered will need to be implemented. 

Action Step: Choose & Implement Your Strategy

To be successful, select one of the targeted audiences above and act on it.  Reach out to a customer, vendor or employee and ask how they are managing the changes as a result of the pandemic. Listen to their concerns and if you can help solve one of those problems, put together a plan and strategy to help them.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Why is the Performance Review So Important Today?

With all of the changes over the past several years and the shift of the Human Resource profession from a tactical to a strategic focus, one of the questions we hear from many of our client’s is the performance review relevant in today’s business environment?  Businesses today are driven by metrics and the HR programs that have been in place for many years need to be evaluated to determine if they are effective.

Given the current work environment where more employees are working remotely,  our survey data indicates that the performance review remains a valuable tool to motivate and ensure high levels of performance.  To support this position, we examined our survey data in order to determine what our clients and respondents are saying about this key management responsibility.

What is a Performance Review and How Do We Define this Process?

The performance review is a mechanism to document an employee’s skill level based upon a clear understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the job and the results expected.  Performance reviews have been viewed as an effective tool for management to help motivate and maximize performance and productivity.  It is also a way to outline career goals and identify expectations for the future.  The performance review if consistently applied across the organization can facilitate a ranking mechanism for management which helps identify high-potential employees as well as provide succession planning services for key positions in the company.

Do Employees find Value in the Process?

Based upon our employee survey data areas of employee satisfaction with management are varied; however, employees find the management responsibility of conducting the performance review especially important for ensuring high levels of performance along with the maintenance of superior employee-management relations.  Holding all employees accountable creates a team environment where honest and constructive feedback is valued.  Employees; however, do not view the performance review as an isolated event but rather a continuous process.  The formal performance review, while typically conducted annually, should be communicated and offered as a tool for on-going employee development.

Do Managers find Value in the Process?

Our survey data suggests that the need for managers to motivate employees through a progressive performance review process facilitates a stronger organization which allows the employee to grow professionally.  The opportunity to present a strategy for continuous improvement and tie pay to performance along with recognizing excellence on the job creates an environment that is more innovative and creative.  If done properly, managers believe that the annual performance review can retain high performers and lower turnover.  Furthermore, if performance, pay and incentive plans are linked the performance review process will have more significance and importance.

What is the Problem with the Annual Performance Review?

With managers and employees finding value in the process why are there so many issues with this key Human Resources program?  Managers will often wait to deliver bad news to the employee during the annual performance review rather than addressing any challenges immediately.  This approach creates the environment where the employee cannot alter their behavior or make changes until it brought to their attention and by then it is too late.  Employees will often not want to appear lacking in their performance and when challenges surface they are reluctant to bring any impediments to their success out of fear on not being viewed as knowledgeable.  Both parties want a successful process only the communication process is lacking and not cascading through the organization.

What is the Role of HR to make this Process Work?

HR’s role is to create an environment where all employees are treated fairly, and their manager is viewed as a strong coach and mentor.   Human Resources is also a facilitator for change and thorough a performance management training program this particularly important management task can remain relevant and a key metric for managing and retaining talent.  HR professionals will need to devote more time and attention in the future to providing leaders of the organization with the training on how to deliver an honest assessment of their direct report’s performance in a timely manner.

Given the current work environment where many employees are working remotely the performance review has taken on additional importance as it provides feedback to the employee, keeps them engaged in the success of the company and provides a formal link to the organization.


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

What is Employee Engagement and How to Make the Survey Process Successful During a Pandemic?

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 is based upon a need to discover what is happening in their organization.  Given the pandemic it is important to find out how the company is responding to employees who are working remotely.  Acting and responding to the employees will break down the communication barriers that could develop given that so many team members are working from their home/office.  In order to have a successful outcome we recommend that our clients follow a three-step process to determine if an employee survey is the most appropriate means of evaluating satisfaction and engagement given these uncertain times.  Here are the recommended steps to ensure a successful survey:

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.  Employees could be experiencing a lack of engagement given that they are currently working remotely.  A survey will send them two messages – we want to hear from you, and we want to ensure you remain connected to the business. 

2.    An engagement survey is not an isolated event but rather a 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 do not assume responsibility are not held accountable for improvement the survey process will not be successful.  HR needs to transition from administering the 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.

3.     Ensure that a process for following-up on the agreed upon action plans is adhered to and becomes part of the 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 during the current health crisis an immediate response from management will ensure that employees are connected to the business.  Ensuring accountability to the survey process and addressing issues are much more important when employees do not have a day-to-day connection to their manager and/or HR.  In addition, follow-up pulse surveys to evaluate trends and long-term employee satisfaction and engagement will support progressive business practices.

An increase in employee engagement will boost profits and productivity.  Creating a high-performance culture of obtaining feedback will identify the strengths and weaknesses of the individual and the organization.  Businesses today want to understand how they can secure more creativity and support from their employees.  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.


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