Innovative HR Solutions, LLC

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Five Ideas to Help Your Business Improve Employee Engagement

Mastering how to manage employees in a business successfully includes understanding what strategies work best to boost employee satisfaction. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to building morale and improving engagement.  What works for a professional organization might work at a manufacturing facility. But as an HR professional you can make a great deal of headway, quickly, by showing your team your appreciation, respecting their needs, understanding their limits, and offering them engaging and meaningful work.  Here are five ideas to help you offer your employees unique work experience that provides job enrichment and will hopefully reduce turnover.

Offer Flexible Work Schedules

Consider offering a hybrid or complete remote work option. Improved engagement and higher productivity are just a few of the benefits. Flexible work schedules can also help you attract and retain top-quality talent, in addition to providing a way to boost employee morale.

If you have resisted allowing employees to work from home at least part of the time, now might be time to reconsider. Give some thought to how you can create and manage a remote team, as well as the communication tools and training that employees would need to succeed.

If your business model cannot support a hybrid schedule consider other arrangements such as flex time, which allows workers to determine the start and finish times of their shifts. Even a small adjustment in hours can make a commute smoother and employees more satisfied.

Recognize your Employees

Rewards help distinguish you from your competitors in the minds of your employees and show appreciation for their hard work. You do not have to create programs that will be expensive but rather modest investments.  Recognition can go a long way to support employee engagement and improve morale.

An employee recognition program is another way to help instill pride. Take time to spotlight staff for specific achievements. Whether it singles out the accomplishments of one worker or an entire team, public recognition for a job very well done should be a part of any workplace culture.

Encourage and Support Learning Opportunities

If training has taken a backseat in the past, your employees may feel that their career has plateaued because they are not growing and learning new skills. That lack of advancement can drive workers to look for opportunities outside of the organization. To retain valued workers, it is imperative to speak with your employees to discuss their career goals and plans for the future.

Sometimes, the best resource is within your company. Ask your most seasoned employees to share their knowledge with colleagues, through a formal mentoring program. Programs such as this are a win-win for both the seasoned and the new employee.

Cross training is often a welcomed alternative to an expensive out-sourced training program.  Cross-training is a smart business practice as this allows employees to gain new skills and experience in areas where they typically are not currently functioning. They can also get an inside look at roles they might be eyeing but are uncertain whether they want to pursue.

For the truly ambitious employee, tuition reimbursement for college or professional certification fees is a wonderful opportunity for both the employee and employer.  Tuition reimbursement builds loyalty  and increases the skills of those high-performing employees.

Create a Culture of Engagement

Many successful businesses support a culture that keeps employees connected and engaged. You can foster a welcoming and collaborative work environment that recognizes everyone’s unique point of view to keep employees energized and engaged.

Today, workplace culture is supported by the values of the organization. Company policies and your manager’s personal behavior can influence and help shape the company’s culture and how employees build on it.  Key to building a culture of engagement is to  demonstrate support, inclusivity and empathy through your own actions and give your employees a sense of empowerment. When workers can make decisions on their own or with minimal direction, they will feel more invested in their roles and responsibilities.

Benchmark your Pay and Rewards Programs

Competitive pay is critical to employee engagement, reducing turnover and retaining a loyal workforce. Do your research to find out what your competition offers, and make sure you are paying the market rate or higher. Most likely, your employees have already done their homework.

Regularly benchmarking your salaries and adjusting the pay ranges can help employees feel they are being fairly compensated.  An at-market compensation and rewards program will support the team, improve productivity and reduce turnover.


Monday, March 11, 2024

What are the Lessons Learned from an Employee Survey Expert?

Many companies are lacking the expertise to deal with multiple evolving business issues such as competition, technology concerns, workforce development and talent management.  These demands can contribute to a very complex work environment.  To meet this challenge organizations will often determine that the best way to plan for the future is to determine how their employees are responding to change today.  One of the best ways to evaluate employee satisfaction and engagement is to conduct an employee survey.  Outlined below are several lessons learned about the employee survey process so that the HR professional can make the survey process more effective.

Survey Initiative Discussion about the Types of Survey

Participating organizations are using a wide range of employee surveys to gather information and insight to make informed decisions. Each survey collects various types of data and during the discussions with the leadership team it is important to determine what type of survey is to be conducted, the frequency and overall goals of the initiative.  Employee engagement surveys focus on culture and vision, pulse surveys identify targeted areas of improvement, and on-boarding and off-boarding surveys complete the life cycle of an employee.  Management will need to identify the goal of each survey to ensure that the survey will meet the needs of the organization.

Vendor Selection Process

Organizations that primarily use external survey vendors are significantly more satisfied with their survey process than organizations using self-service online survey services. The reasons survey companies are providing greater satisfaction and value include the expertise and experience provided, timely reporting and analysis,  objective analysis of survey results, more focus on implementing changes, and greater support and involvement from management.   

Survey Design and Development

The key reasons for conducting employee surveys include identifying performance improvement opportunities, assessing engagement and satisfaction levels and trends, ongoing measurement and identifying causes of employee turnover.  Make sure to focus your organization’s surveys on gathering actionable information that will positively impact employees, customers, the environment and your bottom line.  Keep your survey short, provide an opportunity for employees to provide written comments and utilize the demographic survey feature to drill down to provide meaningful data to leaders, managers and supervisors.

Survey Launch

The most common frequency for conducting surveys is annually and organizations strive to achieve a high survey response rate with a 3-week survey response period being the most popular.  Organizations that conduct a 3-week survey will typically have a survey response rate of 60% or greater.

Post Survey Analysis

It is imperative that the survey results be effectively communicated to all staff.  This can be accomplished through a communication strategy in which the executive team shares the results, engages the staff to better understand the underlying issues, and then identifies the most appropriate initiatives to resolve the issues and enhance the organization.  Where appropriate, it is important to involve the employees in the problem solving and implementation process to create ownership and shared accountability. The power of a survey like this is to give the employees a voice and then to let them know that they have been heard and that their feedback is being taken seriously. As meaningful action steps are taken to address their concerns, they will be more likely to participate in these types of surveys moving forward.

Action Plans and Accountability

The leadership team needs to periodically follow up to address and share the organization’s progress with respect to achieving the agreed upon goals.  When reviewing the results of this or any survey, it is important to remember that the data and feedback received reflects the perceptions of the respondents. These perceptions present a substantially accurate view of how the organization is understood culturally and systemically by the survey participants and are a valuable tool as the organization undertakes any improvement process. What a survey cannot provide is “scientific truth” about the organization. Disparities between perceptions held about the organization and the realities of the organization sometimes do exist, often due to a lack of communication or lack of clarity about the organization’s mission, values, or strategic goals. Given this understanding of the difference between “perception” and “reality,” those who initiate follow-up action after the survey results can then assess how accurately these perceptions reflect actual conditions within the organization.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

What Can Human Resources do to Develop a Meaningful Succession Plan?

Change is constant and with many companies lacking the expertise to deal with an evolving business issues such as global competition, changes in technology and the need to reexamine 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 succession plans for key positions throughout 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.  Companies today not only need to offer a competitive wage, top-tier benefits but they also need to build a strong employer brand that allows their employees to feel proud of where they work.  HR departments as the gate keepers 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 critical thinking skills, exceptional communication attributes and high ethical standards?  These are the questions HR professionals need to evaluate when considering the candidates qualifications.  Also, the candidates are not only applying 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 manage unexpected challenges.  There is 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.  The goal for the future should be to enhance strategic and creative thinking throughout 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 training, developmental tools and mentoring so that they are ready to assume a bigger role when a position is identified.  The criteria for purview employees are that they need to exceed 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 will mitigate potential gaps in leadership.

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