Innovative HR Solutions, LLC

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is Creating a Year-End Career Review Necessary?

As we start to wind-down 2012 many HR professionals find this time of year the season to evaluate their career.  Whether it is for business or personal we reflect on the past year and look for ways to accomplish key action items so that the stage is set for a productive New Year.  This time of year I find myself looking at our business to determine what went well and what will need to change. 

Today more than ever, it's very important for leaders in the HR profession to establish personal and professional goals for the future.   HR professionals need to evaluate how their career is progressing, what is working and what changes are on the horizon.  Questions with respect to additional training, learning new skills, assuming greater responsibility are important to better position for future job opportunities.  The questions that should always be asked are:  “What will career be like in 12 months and how can I achieve that goal?”

Today is a great time to evaluate what went well?  What can be improved?   What relationships with employees and customers were successful and why?  Utilize the down time over the next several weeks to reflect on your personal and professional goals and develop a strategy to reach your goals for 2013.  We are starting a New Year and you can make it happen!

Happy Holidays and all the best for a prosperous 2013!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

How Can a Company Engage Its Employees More Effectively?

Businesses today want to discover what their employees are thinking in order to align the needs of the organization with the expectations of the staff. Many tools are available to find out what employees want and include: small focus groups, large group meetings that foster two-way communication and employee surveys.

The benefit of a survey is that employers typically invite all employees to respond so no one feels left out; the results are validated by conducting a statistical test and the employees are comfortable responding because the survey is anonymous and confidential. Key to the success of any survey is securing the support of the leaders of the organization. Only through their support will the survey process succeed.

What a great way to find out what your employees are thinking utilize a survey only – just act on the results!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Are Our Benefit Programs Meeting Our Employee Needs?

As we approach the season for employees to make changes to their benefit plans, progressive Human Resource departments may want to ask is:  Are our new benefit programs meeting the needs of our diverse workforce?

Open Enrollment is usually a once per year event when employees of US-based companies and not-for-profit organizations may make additions, changes or deletions to their elected benefit plans.   During this period an employer will typically communicate to all eligible employees what options will become available.  Once the changes have been communicated to the eligible employees, Human Resources will implement the changes as well as ensure that all employees understand what has changed for them and their eligible dependents.

For Human Resources departments across the country it can often be a very stressful time; however, one way to mitigate the stress is to find out ahead of time what employees are looking for in their benefits.  Would they prefer to contribute more to their plans to have more choice or security?  Would employees like to see a cafeteria program made available to them?  Is higher co-pay more acceptable versus an increase in the employee premium contribution?  These types of questions can only be answered if you ask your employees ahead of the open enrollment season.

An easy way to discover what your employees want is to ask them by way of a targeted benefits survey.  This type of surveys allows employees to provide feedback with respect to future benefits and allows them to be a part of the process.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

What Is One Type of HR Metric?

The Human Resource profession over the past decade has become more sophisticated.  By utilizing metrics to examine employee trends our profession has become better at anticipating 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.

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 opinion survey.  Over the course of the next couple of months our firm will be evaluating this metric and provide data from our client base to evaluate employee satisfaction and management effectiveness.  With so many people in transition, the retention of a company’s remaining employees is often critical to its survival.  Understanding and responding to these employees’ concerns and questions are important components in ensuring that success.

Using normative data is also 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 a 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 and this metric is validated.  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.

Over the next several months we are going to be examining areas of employee satisfaction and engagement with the expectation that our followers will be able to implement these metrics to better able manage their business.  The topic that will be focus for August will be the relationship between the employee and their manager.  Look to this summary as part of your building a metric surrounding this important value.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What Is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is the process of determining an employee’s level of commitment and involvement in the success at their company.  To accurately measure an employee’s engagement in the company employers today should focus on 5 key areas of employee involvement.

·        Employees want to know what is expected of them so that they can be successful and demonstrate excellence on the job.

·        Employees expect to have the resources, tools, the materials and equipment to tackle the assigned task in the most efficient manner.

·        Employees are demanding that their colleagues work in a collaborative environment in order to meet the goals of the company and support the mission and vision of the organization.

·         Employees want to be heard and listened to so that they can have an impact on their company

·        Employees want to be given feedback on their performance in order to develop their skills and become a more productive play in the success of the company.

Measurement of engagement is key to evaluating the company’s success in creating a high performing organization.  Employees need great leaders and being an excellent manager starts with evaluating engagement and then taking the results and addressing needs with a plan for action.
The five point engagement plan is simple and clear and will help you motivate and ensure excellence on the job.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why Is On-going Professional Development So Important?

Professional development and the opportunity to learn and grow are very important for the HR professional.  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 satisfied 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.

Next month the Society of HR Management will be hosting its annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia.  This premier 3 day conference explores progressive HR programs, new technologies along with the ability to network with other HR professionals from across the United States and the world.  While the SHRM conference is the most well know learning opportunity there are also regional conferences, local workshops sponsored by smaller HR organizations, webinars and training opportunities through continuing education programs.  You are encouraged to attend these venues to increase your knowledge and skill level.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Will the Metric of Employee Engagement Survive?

Engagement is the new 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 resources and now 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 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.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What Is Purpose-Driven 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 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 leader, 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 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.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Do I Need a Succession Plan?

Today companies are at a critical juncture with respect to ensuring that the core values of the organization are maintained.  As the boomers transition to retirement succession planning and the management of the process between the individual’s aspirations and the company’s future needs is a very important HR function.

Succession plans that are well developed and communicated to key executives will increase retention in the c-suite.  Because high-potentials recognize that time; attention and skill development is being invested in them these potential leaders are less likely to seek opportunities outside of the organization.

Succession plans and the development of leadership talent is an investment that requires time.  A working succession plan may result in having more than one skilled executive available for a key job.  HR’s role is to provide choices, options and a plan that is performance based.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What Needs to Happen in 2012 to Make Your Company 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 New Year.
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