Promotion Versus Hiring: Deciding How to Fill Management Positions

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image_28When your organization has a management position to fill, deciding how to hire for the opening can be a challenge. Promoting from within is often faster than looking outside of your organization. However, hiring from outside provides you with greater access to potential employees who may have a wider range of skills. However, there are many reasons to consider both options.

Promoting From Within

When you open up a management position to your current staff members, promoting from within can reduce the amount of time the position is vacant. There will not be a need for routine human resources activities such as checking on the applicant’s resume or references. This can reduce your hiring costs. Hiring from within means that you are already familiar with the employee’s personality, skill set and experience level. A study from Kelly-Radford found that senior executives fail, in general, 34 percent of the time when hired from the outside versus 24 percent when hired from inside your organization [1]. Promoting from within helps to boost employee loyalty, allowing your staff to do their best because of the potential to move up the corporate ladder.

Recruiting From Outside of Your Organization

Even if there are qualified candidates for a management position within your company, there are many reasons why you might want to consider outside recruitment. Bringing in a fresh perspective allows your company to increase its range of skills. Recruiting an outside candidate may also be easier on supervisors and staff who might otherwise develop a contentious relationship with internal promotions. Top talent is attracted to companies that are using best practices and offer the opportunity for growth, not companies that always want to stick with what’s safe and comfortable [2]. A new person may have more experience or relevant technological skills than the people you already employ. Outside recruitment allows you to capture the best talent from applicants locally, regionally and even internationally.

[1] http://www.ddiworld.com/ddi/media/white-papers/thecaseforinternalpromotions_wp_ddi.pdf?ext=.pdf
[2] https://www.ziprecruiter.com/blog/the-benefits-of-hiring-outside-your-industry/

Improving Employee Retention by Building a Better Corporate Culture

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image_07A positive corporate culture does more than keep management happy and demonstrate success to shareholders and investors – it also helps to retain the employees who make the organization successful. The 2016 Deloitte Millennials Survey said employees that stay within their organizations for at least five years are more likely to report a positive culture than others [1]. It’s important to pay attention to employee turnover, as the average cost of a lost employee is approximately 38 percent of the employee’s annual salary [2]. By building a better corporate culture, you can keep the top talent and experience within your organization.

Shared Priorities

A strong business culture is established upon a foundation of shared priorities. One way management can show that the concerns and priorities of the staff are important to them is by watching their pronouns. Rather than referring to employees as “them” and “they,” management can use inclusive pronouns such as “we” and “us.” Managers should also listen to employee conversations. When the staff members refer to themselves as a part of the organization, this indicates that the corporate culture is strong. An inclusive vocabulary allows for the development of shared priorities at all levels.

Listening

Successful business cultures also include listening. “When leaders share ideas and updates with their employees, open communication becomes second nature, and everyone feels equally invested in the company’s overall goals [3].” All management, from the lowest-level manager to the CEO, must spend time listening to the concerns of employees. Once concerns are heard, this gives the management the opportunity to present a thoughtful solution to the problem. Problems can be solved through respectful discussions and regular feedback to ensure that solutions are working for everyone. When ideas are heard and considered, everyone on the team will feel valued and more satisfied with their work.

Develop Bonding Opportunities

When your employees feel like they belong at your company, they will want to stay. Bonding activities as simple as walking meetings provide your staff with something to look forward to. Bigger events such as office potlucks and charity collections allow everyone to come together for a common cause. Even competitive contests can be fun, such as a contest for the best holiday decorations or the most over-the-top Christmas sweater. Bonding can also be done through shared activities. Consider having an employee volunteer day in which everyone in your organization works for a charity such as the local food bank or cleaning up a school playground or park. These simple activities allow employees, managers and leaders to come together and appreciate each person’s unique set of skills. Every person’s contribution has an exponentially positive effect on the whole organization.

 

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/wesgay/2016/11/29/meet-the-woman-behind-linkedins-culture/#1d429aa132c0
[2] http://www.talentculture.com/how-high-employee-turnover-hurts-your-company/
[3] https://www.fastcompany.com/3044879/hit-the-ground-running/how-to-make-your-workplace-fun-productive-and-creative

Ways to Promote a Spirit of Teamwork in Your Organization

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image_017Teamwork is something that, at least on the surface, every business says they value. However, teamwork is more than a buzzword to be used in recruitment; it is a vital element of success, and Stanford Business School even believes that it can boost manufacturing productivity [1]. In any industry or field, your organization can promote a spirit of teamwork through each of the following ways.

Encourage Social Interaction

Goofing off on the company dime is generally something that is frowned upon, but many businesses actually see an increase in productivity if they allow for social interaction during office hours. Rachel Rodriguez, writing for CNN, says that a weekly happy hour, game hour or craft day can boost creativity and teamwork [2]. This may be especially true in work environments where isolation is normal, such as in computer programming or accounting.

Create a Team Structure

In large corporations, employees can often break off into individual cliques, which may cause some personnel to feel left out. In order for the whole company to benefit, it may be necessary to create a team structure, putting staff into set teams of a specific number. These teams can collaborate, share responsibilities and inspire one another. At Microsoft, teams are limited in size. Peter Drucker of Microsoft says, “Teams work best when there are few members…if a team gets much larger it becomes unwieldy [3].” This advice might encourage your business to create teams of up to 15 people, but no larger.

Encourage Free Speech

The natural power differences in a typical business leave some employees afraid to speak up against changes, increased production demands or new strategies. However, the best teams function when everyone feels like they can contribute and voice their opinions. Encouraging free speech is key in order to enjoy the results of “higher trust, increased productivity and rich creativity,” according to an article in the New York Times [4].

Businesses that foster a spirit of teamwork can see major benefits in the workplace. An organization that wants to improve teamwork might encourage free speech, create a formal team structure and encourage social interaction.

[1] https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/encouraging-teamwork-can-boost-manufacturing-productivity

[2] http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/29/living/play-at-work-irpt/

[3] http://business.time.com/2013/07/17/microsofts-new-mission-to-create-real-teamwork-not-just-teams/

[4] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/13/jobs/want-teamwork-encourage-free-speech.html?_r=1

Refining Your Brand Mission to Improve Morale and Productivity

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image_27When your organization could use a boost in morale and productivity, one way to do so is to redefine your brand mission. Every brand should have a mission, vision and goals. While these are typically developed at the same time as the product or near its release, you can redefine them at any time. Redefining your brand mission takes a team effort, but the results are well worth it in the end.

Defining Your Brand’s Mission

According to this article, it is easier to redefine your brand’s mission once your vision and goals are clear and established [1]. Your brand’s mission is the how-to guide for advancing your goals and vision. The best time to redefine your brand’s mission is when there is only slow or halting progress toward your overall goals. Low morale and poor productivity are often symptoms of slow goal achievement. A better how-to guide can inspire your staff to get working again toward your organization’s goals.

Including the Four Key Components

Your brand’s redefined mission should be able to inspire your staff and encourage them to make positive progress toward organizational goals. The mission statement must also be reasonable and plausible as a “smart” objective. Dave Smith from Inc.com explains that there are four key components to your brand’s redefined mission statement [2]. These components include value, inspiration, plausibility and specificity. Each of these ideas should revolve around your brand’s key theme.

Creating a Clearly Redefined Brand Mission

A redefined mission statement should ideally be a single sentence that every member of your staff can learn by heart. In the best of all worlds, you company’s mission statement could double as the product’s slogan. The statement should be memorable and effective, leading back to your roots as to why you developed the brand in the first place. If you choose a short-term mission statement, redefining it will need to be a regular part of your work. This is because the improved morale and productivity will allow you to achieve the goals as stated in the mission. A long-term mission statement will need to use language that allows for organizational growth.

[1] http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/brand_innovation/amon_rappaport/how_define_%E2%80%93_align_%E2%80%93_your_brands_purpose_vision_missi

[2] http://www.inc.com/ss/5-tips-on-developing-an-effective-mission-statement

How Members of the Baby Boomer Generation Can Learn Tech Speak from Millennials

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image_04As the Millennial generation enters the workplace in numbers large enough to overtake the Baby Boom generation, there can be a communications chasm between the two groups. Millennials have grown up with in-hand technology, including smartphones and tablets. The Baby Boom generation has had to actively embrace these tools, especially when it comes to using them in the workplace. Forging that communications gap can be done by getting the members of the two generations together in a variety of situations. The Baby Boomers can learn tech speak from Millennials using these three strategies.

Exploit Similarities

One way to get Baby Boomers to start using tech speak is to explore the similarities between talking about tech and talking about any other specialized field of knowledge. Every industry has its own lingo. Take advantage of the similarities by engaging Baby Boomers with Millennials in familiar situations. What used to be a “conference call” may now be referred to as “Skyping,” for example. Moving about on a website used to be called “tabbing” or “paging” but now is just “scrolling.”

Mentoring Programs

Mentoring programs are a great way to get people of different experience levels working together. A member of the Baby Boom generation can be paired with a Millennial for practice opportunities to learn about tech speak. Millennials will benefit from the increased face-to-face interactions as much of their world revolves around digital communications. These mentoring programs do not only have to be among coworkers but can also include college and even high school interns who come into your organization for short periods of time.

Teamwork

Effective engagement can also take place through teamwork. Placing members of different generations into the same working teams in your organization can help everyone to learn each other’s styles of communication. While Millennials often see communication as a way to convey bits of information, the Baby Boom generation may see communications as a way to get to know another person. These ideas can be meshed by having people interact in a variety of ways in the workplace. Seeing a project through from start to finish enhances communication.

 

Five Benefits of Having Walking Meetings Outside of the Office

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image_011The sit-down meeting may be a basic part of how your organization gets things done, but consider whether it really improves your organization’s productivity. The human body does some of its best thinking when moving. Researchers at Stanford University found that the creative output of people increases by an average of 60 percent when they are walking [1]. Consider these benefits of having walking meetings outside of the office.

Fewer Interruptions

During walking meetings, employees are less tempted to whip out their smartphones and catch up on the day’s news or posts from their social media feeds. Outdoor meetings also have fewer interruptions of uninvited guests walking into the meeting room. You may be able to get more done in less time by having a walking meeting.

Better Communication

Walking outside breaks down the barriers between management and employees. Your employees may be able to get their points across more succinctly and quickly than if they were sitting down across a big table from you. While outdoors, people become more relaxed and in tune with their surroundings, making it easier to say what they are thinking and feeling. Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, discovered that with walking meetings, the conversations are more candid—possibly because the two people aren’t making direct eye contact—with minimized distractions [2].

Improved Energy

Many office workers experience the 2:00 p.m. slump. This low-energy time of the day lends itself to poor focus and concentration. Taking your meeting outside of the office and having everyone walk around is an invigorating experience. The fresh air, sunshine and gentle breeze renew everyone’s energy and restore the ability to focus.

Healthier Bodies

Sitting for six hours per day during the workday has been found to increase cholesterol levels, blood sugar and blood pressure. Getting your staff outside and having walking meetings helps add some physical activity to their days. More active employees are healthier and may experience fewer illnesses.

New Ideas

The outdoor environment is always changing. From the leaves on the trees to the birds in the air, no two outdoor meetings will be the same. As your staff engages during walking meetings, the changing scenery may also inspire new ideas and more creative thinking. Your organization can benefit from the increased creativity and the new solutions that such creativity can bring into the workplace.

 

[1] http://www.inc.com/peter-economy/7-powerful-reasons-to-take-your-next-meeting-for-a-walk.html

[2] http://www.business.com/company-culture/walking-meetings-are-your-new-creativity-booster/

Keeping Your Information Secure When Employees Connect to the Internet of Things

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image_30The Internet of Things (IoT) is an exciting concept – a future where “billions of things are talking to each other,” as technology consulting company SAP describes it [1]. This trend has been growing at a rapid rate, and you might be surprised to learn that the majority of devices connected to the Internet through your network are not company owned but instead are owned by your employees. When an employee brings in a “smart” device, it starts transmitting and receiving data across your network. These steps can help to keep your confidential and proprietary information secure when your employees are connected to the Internet.

Encourage Employees to Change Habits

Your human resources division should establish a security policy related to the Internet of Things. Some of the most common devices that your employees may be bringing into the workplace that connect to the Internet include wearable fitness trackers, personal smartphones and music players. Your policy might recommend that employees turn off their smartphones and music players during work hours. The phones are constantly transmitting data about the owner’s location, among other pieces of information. Hackers can easily penetrate through the phone’s operating system and into your network.

Use Multiple Layers of Security

Even something as simple as a fitness tracker that is seemingly only used to count steps can be collecting or transmitting data, opening up your network to potential criminals. Make sure that your IT department is employing multiple layers of security. These layers should include strong encryption of data and proper authentication of users trying to access the network. Use gateways and firewalls to stop viruses from getting into your network through mobile devices.

Prepare for Security Breaches

While your organization may not be able to control which employees wear a Fitbit or an Apple Smart Watch to work, you can be prepared for any possible data breaches that occur as a result of vulnerabilities within the network. Consider moving your critical data to the cloud. With cloud computing, your data is always available so that your business can continue operations even if a physical server is hacked. Make sure that your company is not collecting unnecessary data that would be tempting to would-be thieves. All data should be tightly guarded.

[1] http://www.fastcompany.com/3052936/the-future-of-work/how-the-internet-of-things-is-changing-work

The Benefits of Quarterly Vs. Annual Performance Evaluations

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image_015Quarterly and annual performance evaluations are an important component of employee assessment, productivity and continued employment. Some organizations conduct a quarterly review of employees while others do an annual review. There are benefits to each type of evaluation, and the choice that your human resources department makes may depend on several factors.

Benefits of Quarterly Employee Performance Evaluations

Quarterly employee evaluations are helpful to employees who are new to the industry or the workforce. These employees may be unsure of how well they’re doing, and they’ll appreciate the feedback that they receive from their supervisors. A quarterly evaluation makes it easier for supervisors to augment a staff member’s job duties or to make suggestions about improving performance. Problems such as tardy work or low efficiency can be addressed at a faster pace with quarterly evaluations.

Benefits of Annual Employee Performance Evaluations

At large organizations, there may not be enough staffing to conduct a quarterly evaluation of every employee. This is especially true when a supervisor has a large number of employees working for them. An annual evaluation is ideal for an employee who is experienced in the line of work. This method of evaluation is also a good choice for employees who have been at your organization for a long time. Annual evaluations are typically used as the basis for employee raises and bonuses.

Using a Mix of Quarterly and Annual Evaluations

The subject of employee performance evaluations is not a one-size-fits-all for every human resources department. At your organization, you might wish to use a combination of quarterly and annual evaluations of your staff. For example, employees with less than two years of seniority in their current job might benefit from quarterly evaluations as they get used to the organization. After a worker has been performing well at their job for a few years, the human resources department could shift to annual evaluations of that employee. This sort of mixed evaluation method would be most useful for organizations that do not have a high rate of turnover in their workforce.

 

How to Keep Quality Employees Working for Your Company

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image_07Hiring your dream employee is only half of the battle for any organization. Major companies are making a habit of poaching top talent, and to keep your best workers on your side, your work environment needs to remain a comfortable spot for your employees to be. Given that it costs an average of 150% of a mid-level employee’s salary to replace them – it’s important to retain your top talent [1], as it can cost your company a lot of money.

Opportunities for Growth

Feelings of stagnation are a common complaint across every industry and pay grade. Keep frustrated talent from jumping ship by creating an environment that nurtures optimism and personal pride. Give every employee access to career building, advancement and personal growth opportunities. Help them learn new skills and be open about what they need to earn the promotion or pay raise they desire.

Tailored Benefits

A bigger salary is tempting, but an after-hours car service, a better health care package or help with daycare costs can be worth more than cash. Find ways to let your employees customize their benefits or speak with each to find out what their goals are. An employee who is thinking about leaving to spend more time with their family could be persuaded to stay if they can telecommute two days a week. These seemingly small perks add up to every employee feeling valued.

Productive Communication

Open up a feedback line that goes both ways. Give detailed performance reviews, and match all criticisms with possible solutions and offers to help. Make sure your staff feels comfortable providing feedback, and seriously consider implementing changes based on that feedback. Employees are in a unique position to spot inefficiencies in company workings. Those inefficiencies will cost you money and employees, especially if the people trying to draw attention to problems get frustrated with being ignored.

It may seem obvious, but remember to think of your employees as people. They have goals, wants and needs, and if you take the time to understand them, you can build a work environment that no one will want to leave.

 

[1] http://www.eremedia.com/tlnt/what-was-leadership-thinking-the-shockingly-high-cost-of-employee-turnover/

 

Ways to Boost Morale in the Workplace and Promote Productivity

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image_29Unhappy employees make for unproductive employees, which is why it is so important to work hard to boost morale in the workplace. Businesses of any size can benefit from these tips to create a more positive, efficient and enjoyable work environment for all personnel.

Recognize Personal Moments

According to Forbes, one of the key ways to boost morale is to show employees that they are recognized and appreciated as individuals, even outside of the workplace [1]. That means remembering key dates like birthdays or anniversaries as well as commemorating special moments like weddings or the birth of a child. Gifts and cards need not be expensive, but they can show employees just how valued they are.

Invest in More Affordable Fringe Benefits

Mark Shields writing for CNN highlights the value of fringe benefits for employees. Says Shields, “Good hearted and tough minded are not mutually exclusive in labor-management relations [2].” Paying for things like employee health insurance premiums, employee parking, coffee in the break room or staff transportation is tax deductible for most businesses, but these benefits do more than just make employees happy. Boosting morale in these fringe ways can be more affordable than increasing salaries, and it can go a long way in terms of productivity and reducing turnover.

Let Managers Serve the Rest of the Staff

A great tactic for improving morale is to reverse the hierarchy in the office for a few hours. Corp! Magazine suggests having upper-level management host a pancake breakfast for staff [3]. Donning an apron and cooking pancakes in the office takes just a morning, but it can be a fun reprieve from everyday tasks and an affordable way to create a more positive environment for staff.

Incorporate Philanthropic Activities

Stepping away from corporate obligations and doing something positive for the community is a wonderful way to boost morale. As a bonus, this also improves your company’s brand image. Entrepreneur suggests employees a few free hours each month to volunteer while on the clock or leaving the office as a group to volunteer locally [4].

 

 

 

[1]  http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2014/09/11/6-ways-to-increase-employee-morale-and-performance-without-giving-a-raise/#5031175f6997

[2] http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/09/05/treating.workers.right/

[3] https://www.corpmagazine.com/human-resources/fun-and-inexpensive-ways-to-boost-morale-during-tough-economic-times/

[4] http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/220000