Innovative HR Solutions, LLC

Monday, November 25, 2019

Why is On-going Professional Development Critical for the HR Professional?

Professional development and the opportunity to learn and grow is very important for the small business owner.  Learning best practices will assist owners, managers and individual contributors 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 assist the business owner in trying 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 work environment will allow you and 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.  For small business the “sales” component is typically the most important component.  Attracting new business as well as retaining current customers are key to one’s success.  Furthermore, retaining your skilled in-house talent is critical for the company and the culture.  There are many local resources for business owners to learn new skills that can increase the bottom line.  These resources focus on assisting new as well as seasoned business owners in a variety of industries include manufacturing, retail, and general management.

Employee Satisfaction & Loyalty

An increase in employee loyalty can also boost profits and productivity.  Research has shown that satisfied employees lead to greater profitability and growth.   Allocating training dollars can also 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.  Small businesses today want to understand how they can secure more creativity and support from their employees.  On-going training will allow for business owners 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.

As small business owners it is very important that you remain current and up to date to ensure that you are managing your business and people properly.

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.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

What are Three Challenging Issues Facing the HR Professional Today?

For the Human Resource professional challenges include evaluating the health and welfare plans, establishing productivity metrics and measurements to ensure that employees are meeting job expectations and attracting talent in an environment where finding the most qualified candidates with the right skill set is becoming more difficult.  How each business deals with its specific human resources issues depends on how effective the HR team is.  No matter what approach a business takes, addressing these issues is an ongoing process.


Virtually all companies offering some benefits to employees, either to appear competitive or to comply with local, state or federal regulations including the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Human Resources will need to determine how their company is impacted and what they need to do to respond legally.  Offering maternity/new-born care, pediatric care, rehabilitative care and preventative care are key components of each plan that need to be available.  Measurement is also critical and as some low-income employees may be better-off by going through the state or federal exchanges to obtain credits and subsidies.  HR departments working with their brokers and benefit specialists will need to create benefit policies and packages that are compliant in order to meet the needs of a diverse workforce.


A primary goal of a HR department is to consult with the leaders of the organization and department managers to organize the work flow so that managers and their subordinates can be as productive as possible. Using typical metrics such as cost per FTE, revenue per FTE and examining overtime as a percent of labor cost allows HR professionals to think critically.  Examining the number of people per shift, team assignments and the need to bring on additional staff is a very important role for HR to play.  This role can be very challenging as it encourages the HR department to play a strategic role and plan for the future.

Talent Management

With a very tight job market, talent management will be even more challenging as the old methods of  attending job fairs, listing positions on career management websites and college recruiting are not the only way to generate interest.  New methods of attracting the right candidates may include expanding the company’s presence on the social media sites and matching managers with similar outside interests and potential candidates.  These alternative recruiting options can create a bond between the company and new hires.  Furthermore, candidates want to see a balance between employment and life experiences.  A reasonable work - life balance is a key driver for new employees entering the work force.  Companies will need to respond to these new ways of attracting talent and retaining key members of the team.

Monday, April 22, 2019

How Can I Keep Employees Engaged at Work - Five Ideas for You to Consider?

It’s not a mystery that employee engagement continues to decline. The Gallup organization indicates that nearly 70 percent of employees are actively disengaged. With  less than 30% of workers in the United States engaged with their current job it is important for the HR professional, working with the leadership team to implement programs and a culture that encourages engagement.  As a manger, you want hard-working employees who are actively engaged with the work they do. This will make your job easier and more rewarding for both you and your team.  The following five ideas can assist you in adopting a culture of engagement.  If you implement these strategic concepts you can create a culture of engagement:

Focus On Employee Development

There are many reasons job applicants accept a new position such as additional compensation or a better benefits program, a more progressive management or a new industry; however, many applicants accept a new position because they want to advance their career.  One Gallup poll found that 87% of millennials (and 69% of non-millennials) view employee development as important in their position.  Employees want to enhance their skills and continue to be challenged by new tasks.  As an HR professional you can focus on employee development in several ways such as adding new duties to the employee’s position to prevent boredom, allow room for growth in the position, or offer a job rotation program so employees can expand their skills and knowledge.

Share the Company Goals with All

To run a successful company, you need a business plan with a list of goals you want to accomplish. To engage employees, you need to involve them in reaching business goals.  You should set annual, semi-annual, quarterly, and monthly goals so employees have something to work toward. Reaching specific goals is something that encourages employee engagement.  Employees want to know how their position fits in with the other positions in the company and they want to learn how their work affects the business as a whole. You can set general company goals as well as goals within each department. That way, each employee knows how their work is impacting the departmental and overall success of the business.

Create a Culture of Development

If an employee doesn’t have a clear understanding of their duties and responsibilities, they won’t be as engaged as you would like them to be. Instead, they’ll be frustrated and not be as productive which can lead to disengagement.  Employees who can master their workload typically take more pride in what they do. Workers who are eager to meet their goals are engaged with the company. Providing technical and management development training to both new and seasoned employees is one of the most important steps you as an HR professional can promote to ensure employees are engaged at work. With a successful training program, employees will learn how to effectively do their job and be as productive as possible. For many employees, training is also the time when they bond with co-workers and develop a connection to the company. Studies have also shown that the more friends employees have at work, the more engaged they are at work.  A study by TINYpulse, Inc. found that only 28% of employees with no work friends were engaged, versus 69% with 25 or more friends. Training encourages relationships among employees which in turn improves engagement and productivity.

Acknowledge and Recognize Employees

Employees don’t automatically become engaged when you give them more praise, thanks, or any other types of acknowledgment; however, employees can quickly become disengaged if they feel like they’re invisible.  It is important for employees to know their co-workers and develop friendships with them. But it’s also important to develop relationships that value respect and professionalism between employer and employee.  Whe the employee puts in extra effort, acknowledge them.  Management should acknowledge employees for their hard work and according to Gallup, Inc. those employees who aren’t recognized are twice as likely to quit.

Let Employees Do Their Job - Don’t Micro-manage Them

If employees are told exactly what to do and how to do it, they won’t improve and their ability to perform on the job will suffer.  Managers that micromanaging staff can be damaging to your company. According to Forbes, Inc. micromanaging resulted in 68% of employees saying their morale was dampened and 55% said that it led to a decrease in productivity. Low morale leads to actively disengaged workers.  Progressive managers allow their employees to be creative, develop new ways of approaching a task and come up with their own ideas. 

To learn more about keeping employees engaged at work along with the survey process please go to our website at

Monday, March 18, 2019

What are the Six Steps for a Successful Employee Survey Process?

Employee engagement surveys are a very useful tool in an HR professionals toolkit.  If used properly it can be an excellent source of information, enhance employee engagement and improve the support for the vision and mission of the organization.  As business partners, Human Resources professionals play an important role by facilitating a successful employee survey by following this six step process.

1.    Establish the goals of your survey project through interviews with the leadership team.

2.    Create your employee survey by identifying the issues you wish to survey.

3.    Determine your sample (all employees, or selected demographics)

4.    Promote the survey through a coordinated communication plan.

5.    Analyze and evaluate the survey data.

6.    Create four to six action items and share the survey results and action plans with the employees.

This article discusses these six areas of survey design which can have a positive impact on the organization and are as follows:

Establish the Goals of the Project

Knowing what your leadership team wants in an employee survey is a key factor to the surveys success.  As a result, the first step in any survey is deciding what you want to learn.  The goals of the project must be clear, measurable and actionable.  If your goals are unclear, the results will lack clarity and the project will not be as successful.

Create the Survey

Identifying key areas to obtain data will assist the organization in taking the necessary changes to identify challenges and successes.  The survey statements should be concise, targeted and phrased in a positive format.  This will assist in creating a consistent methodology and process to the survey tool  It is important to only survey those areas where management is willing to act.  If the company is not in a position to change its benefit plans or increase compensation, then the survey statements should not focus on these areas.  Employee surveys can create an expectation that if the question is asked management will act.  Human Resources should only survey those areas where the leadership team is supportive and where action can be taken.

Who is Going to be Surveyed

There are two main decisions that need to be made in determining who you will survey.  The first is deciding how many employees do you want to survey.  Researchers will often call this group the target population.  The next decision is to determine if you will survey all employees or a statistical sample.  Researches will often call this the sample size.  Most employers will decide to survey all eligible employees; however, some company’s due to their size may want to survey a smaller sample of the total employee population.  Organizations today will often decide how many employees to survey based upon their budget and the necessary degree of precision.  If a statistical sample is utilized Human Resources will need to make every effort to avoid a biased sample.

Promote the Survey

A successful surveys starts with communicating the reason behind the initiative, the process and the timing of the survey.  Human Resources should also let employees know if an incentive to participate will be as part of the process.  Survey participation is very important to secure employee buy-in for the tool and support for the outcomes following the closure of the survey.  Failure to promote the survey will impact participation and the credibility of the survey results.

Analyze the Survey Results

Successful change starts with data analysis and providing the leadership team with reports that are meaningful and provide a path to process improvements.  Human Resources plays a very important role by determining what reports are generated and the interpretation of the data.  Sharing the facts with the leadership team will empower them to be more effective leaders.

Share the Results

Successfully identifying the challenges and successes following an employee survey is very important to the process and the continued engagement of the employees.   It is important for HR to share the results in a consistent, factual and non-biased approach.  Key to the sharing of the survey results is the commitment of the leadership team to follow-thru on commitments made to the staff.

To learn more about the survey process please go to our website at:

Saturday, February 16, 2019

What is required to Manage Organization Change Effectively?

In order to meet the demands of a dynamic business environment Human Resources professionals are expected to be a key partner in managing change and assisting the leaders of the company by supporting changes to the organization.  As business partners, Human Resources professionals play an important role by assisting leadership in four key areas:

1.     Identify, evaluate and assess the rewards and risks associated with organizational change.

2.   Evaluate the current talent mix and organizational structure to determine if the current skills that the employees possess will meet the organization’s needs in the future.

3.     Educate the employee’s so that they understand what changes are needed along with communicating the timeframe and the potential outcomes.

4.  Administer an employee engagement survey to determine the success of the changes implemented and evaluate the alignment between the business, culture and the staff.

This article discusses these four areas of organizational change which can have a positive impact on the organization and its workforce or if not managed properly can be very detrimental to the organization.

Rewards and Risks

Successful transformation initiatives begin when the leaders examine the market place to determine what changes in their business may result in new challenges for their organization.  These challenges include new technology, changes in social patterns, shifts in tax policy or demographic re-alignments.  The leaders need to evaluate the risks and rewards associated with the proposed changes to the business model and develop a strategy to adapt to the new realities. 

Current Talent Mix

Successful change takes time, which can be disruptive to the organization.   Often the current talent mix is not in alignment in order to execute this new strategy.  Human Resource professional need to evaluate the employees existing skills to determine if their skills and knowledge will meet the future needs of the organization.  Until the existing staff have the necessary skills the organization will remain vulnerable.  It is important to evaluate the staff and create a performance and learning plan to ensure that all employees have a road map to success.  It is also important that HR hold all people accountable to ensure that these milestones for improvement are met and that employee development coupled with a consistent approach to learning is implemented.  If done properly the current talent mix will be aligned with the new strategy.

Educating the Employee

Frequently the decisions that are made about the organization are made at the c-suite level with the understanding  the middle management will share the changes with the rank-and-file staff.  Often time, this approach while well intended, is not communicated effectively or is unclear.  Poor communication about why the changes are being implemented and the strategy hinders the process.  To mitigate poor communication, Human Resources needs to play a key role in coaching and educating the employees and middle managers about what is changing, how it will impact their job, training opportunities to learn new skills and the eventual outcomes.

Determine Employee Engagement

Successful change starts with individuals, and failure will often occur because resistance to change is human nature.  Some managers are very skilled at change management; however, unfortunately, many managers are not adept at change management. The lack of change management skills among managers can make change initiatives difficult to achieve.  Human Resources plays a very important role by determining through an employee engagement survey where change is being embraced and where resistant is occurring.  HR can leverage those areas that are successful throughout the organization and where it is being resisted more resources and tools can be allocated to address these area’s needs.

Successfully identifying the rewards and risks association with organization change, evaluating the current talent to determine if the organization can meet the new strategy, communicating the rationale for the changes and conducting a survey to determine where there are pockets of success and/or resistance will help the Human Resources department manage organization change successfully.

To learn more about the survey process please go to our website at:

Friday, January 11, 2019

Is the Employee Engagement Survey an HR Program or Company Responsibility?

As a result of our firm’s type of work we interact with clients across the country from many industries.  One common theme that we hear over-and-over again is how I can make the survey process not just an HR initiative but rather a program to enhance the employee’s engagement with the company?  If HR professionals adopt this six step approach following the survey the survey process will become more successful:

1.   Study the survey results and initiate dialogue between managers, supervisors, teams and individual contributors to review the findings and identify priorities.  Move as quickly as possible from dialogue to action planning, encouraging individual, team and collective ownership of the process at all levels.

2.   Determine three to five action items at a time. They should be achievable to provide early wins in the process. Attempting to do too much at once limits success.  Using the available reporting determine areas where satisfaction and engagement are low and identify challenges.  Excellent benchmarks include previous surveys, the overall company ratings and the “market”.  Use this tool to measure your success.

3.     Ensure transparency, be inclusive and maintain ongoing communication.  Provide feedback to managers and recognize that HR is there to support and facilitate the process and not fix the problems.

4.     Establish accountability for improvement efforts and results and keep checking on your business partner’s progress.  A key way to ensure that improvement is made by aligning the survey results with the performance management process

5.   Acknowledge and celebrate the improvements achieved as each goal or action item is brought to fruition.  Continue to stress that the achievements made are a result of good planning and the company’s commitment to make improvement.  

6.   Continue to follow-up and hold all people accountable for the success of the survey and the action   planning  process

To learn more about the survey process please go to our website at:

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