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HR Essentials – 5 Things to Have in Place

HR Essentials – 5 Things to Have in Place

An HR department is indispensable to an organisation – regardless of how big or small the organisation is. While the overall nature of the role and responsibilities of an HR team remains the same across organisations, the finer details depend on the organisational principles. Aspects such as recruitment, training, professional development, employee relations, compensation and benefits, and labor law compliance form the core of an HR body. How efficient the HR team is has a direct influence on the efficiency and success of your overall organizational goals.The reason being, an HR department works closely with the employees who in turn are the lifeblood of any organization.

Regardless of what the details are of how your HR department functions, having these five things in place improves the efficiency of your HR department in a significant manner.

  1. Keeping Pace with New Technologies

    Constantly revising your HR strategies based on the latest technologies sounds tedious, however it is the very opposite of that. Keeping pace with the new technologies enables you to find more efficient ways which help you do what you do better, and faster. For example, using Artificial Intelligence for the initial process of screening potential candidates will save you a lot of time, as against screening all applications manually. Investing in new technology helps your HR staff become more productive and also gives them the time to focus on more important tasks.

  2. Integrating Online Systems

    Instead of having several independent applications to manage various tasks, it is much more efficient to integrate it all into one place. For example, a separate system for payroll management, another for employee review, or time management – managing these independently takes up much more time. By investing a little bit in a customized software, you will increase the efficiency of your tasks related to staff management and internal communication. This makes transacting every day business smooth.

  3. Having a Brand Profile for Recruitment

    The HR department plays a key role in the recruitment processes of any organization. While the individual departments will focus more on the skill set of the potential candidates, it is up to the HR department to source candidates whose ethos and principles match those of the organization. This is important in creating the kind of work culture you aspire to have in your organization. And towards this end, it is important to have a brand profile based on the guiding principles and goals of the organization.

  4. Having a thorough and fair performance review system

    In order to help your employees stay motivated, inspired and productive, you have to invest time in developing a thorough and fair performance review system. The only way to help your team do their best is to apprise them of their performance on a regular basis. Having a fair system of performance review is as important as having a system in the first place. Creating a space which encourages dialogue is an important aspect.

  5. Paying attention to the finer details

    It is always the finer details that make all the difference to the work environment of an organization. Taking a deep dive into the existing HR structure and changing things for the better is the best thing you can do for your organization. For example, do you still have outdated HR policies like a no reference policy, or the bell curve performance review policy, or an insensitive bereavement pay policy?  Have a look at the five outdated HR policies that need to go. Are your employees protected against sexual harassment? Do you have a POSH committee in place? How gender sensitive is your organization? These are all things that an HR department needs to address. And these are the details that set an organization apart from the rest.

Have more things to add to this list? Share with us! The best part of our day is definitely reading what you write to us!

Key Employee Engagement Strategies for Talent Retention

Key Employee Engagement Strategies for Talent Retention

For any business to be successful, it must have three things: a robust overall strategy, exceptional leaders, and engaged employees. This society has moved from an economy driven by the agricultural and manufacturing industries to a service oriented, personally connected economy.

One hundred years ago, employees were tasked with manual labor and had no vested interest in the business that employed them.

Today, with the demand for highly skilled talent, it is essential for employers and leaders to engage their employees and make them feel as if they are an integral part of the business.

In the past we wrote a blog post on employee engagement which was received with a lot of positive response by our readers – Five Must-Dos to Improve Employee Engagement – Transform the Zombies into Humans. We follow-up, with this guest post which analyzes employee engagement in a more recent context, and does so quite effectively.  John Hawthorne backs his insights with research on the key employee engagement strategies that stay relevant today.

Employee Engagement Most Recent Data

In 2017, Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report revealed that only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs – meaning that they are emotionally invested in committing their time, talent, and energy to adding value to their team and advancing the organization’s initiatives.

This means that the majority of employees show low overall engagement. Workplace productivity was low and employees and organizations are not keeping up with workplace demands fast enough.

More Gallup research shows that employee disengagement costs the United States upwards of $550 billion a year in lost productivity. As employee engagement strategies become more commonplace, there is an amazing opportunity for companies that learn to master the art of engagement.

Jacob Shriar, in a piece on OfficeVibe, tells us that

  • Disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually.
  • Highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability.
  • Highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity.
  • Highly engaged business units achieve a 10% increase in customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales.
  •  Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%.
  • Customer retention rates are 18% higher on average when employees are highly engaged.

These statistics are just the beginning of why employee engagement is so important.

Why Is Employee Engagement So Important?

The term “engagement” has been used so often and in so many different situations that it’s become hard to define. Many people think it means happiness or satisfaction, but it’s much more than that.

According to Gallup, who has been collecting and measuring employee engagement data for nearly 20 years: “Though there have been some slight ebbs and flows, less than one-third of U.S. employees have been engaged in their jobs and workplaces.”

Imagine if every employee was passionate about seeing the company and its customers succeed. The only true way to ensure that your customers are well taken care of is by taking care of your employees. This is known as the service-profit chain, a concept first introduced by Harvard Business Review in 1998. It’s still as relevant today as it was then.

Profit and growth are stimulated primarily by customer loyalty. Loyalty is a direct result of customer satisfaction. Satisfaction is largely influenced by the value of services provided to customers. Value is created by satisfied, loyal, and productive employees. Employee satisfaction, in turn, results primarily from high-quality support services and policies that enable employees to deliver results to customers.

The service-profit chain is the flow from the culture you create to the profits you generate and every step in between. The key is to start internally. When you create an environment where employees are happy, productive, autonomous, and passionate about what they do, they’ll provide better service to your customers.

That amazing service will create many loyal customers, leading to sustainable growth and profits. That’s why it’s important for every leader in an organization to understand the service-profit chain and how each step impacts the other.

Key Employee Engagement Strategies

Organizations need to pay attention to specific priorities to engage employees. Employees are more likely to become truly engaged and involved in their work if your workplace provides these factors.

Employee engagement must be a business strategy that focuses on finding engaged employees, then keeping the employee engaged throughout the whole employment relationship. Employee engagement must focus on business results. Employees are most engaged when they are accountable, and can see and measure the outcomes of their performance.

Employee engagement occurs when the goals of the business are aligned with the employee’s goals and how the employee spends his or her time.

The glue that holds the strategic objectives of the employee and the business together is frequent, effective communication that reaches and informs the employee at the level and practice of his or her job.

Engaged employees have the information that they need to understand exactly and precisely how what they do at work every day affects the company’s business goals and priorities. (These goals and measurements relate to the Human Resources department, but every department should have a set of metrics.)

Employee engagement exists when organizations are committed to management and leadership development in performance development plans that are performance-driven and provide clear succession plans.

When businesses actively pursue employee engagement through these factors, employee engagement soars to a ratio of 9:1 employees from 2:1 employees with concurrent improvements in the business success.

Employee Engagement Examples

There are of course many ways to show your employees they are valued, and to keep them focused and engaged on company success. According to Forbes, there are certain items in the benefit package that will help in creating employee engagement:

  • Health Insurance
  • Company Parties (social engagement)
  • Gifts (new babies, appreciation luncheons)

Employees go home to different roles–parent, caregiver to a loved one, a church or civic leader, spouse, bandmate, freelancer, artist, neighbor–and the people they are closest to impact their lives and perspectives about work in meaningful ways. Acknowledging those relationships and showing they are a priority will increase employee engagement.

How to Improve Employee Engagement

In a recent article in Forbes, Brent Gleeson, a former navy seal and successful businessman, gives solid advice on ways to improve employee engagement.

When managers are engaged, their team members can confidently state the following:

  • I know what is expected of me and my work quality.
  • I have the resources and training to thrive in my role.
  • I have the opportunity to do what I do best – every day.
  • I frequently receive recognition, praise and constructive criticism.
  • I trust my manager and believe they have my best interests in mind.
  • My voice is heard and valued.
  • I clearly understand the mission and purpose and how I contribute to each.
  • I have opportunities to learn and grow both personally and professionally.

The steps for improving engagement aren’t complex, they simply must be prioritized. This means engagement must be a core function of the manager’s role. The following steps can help the manager to accomplish this.

Step 1 – Put Everyone in the Right Role

Again, get the right people on the bus and make sure they are in the right roles. This means that all talent acquisition and retention strategies have to be aligned with meeting company goals.

Step 2 – Give Them the Training

No manager or leader can expect to build a culture of trust and accountability — and much less improve engagement —without setting the team up for success. This means providing the proper training and development while removing obstacles.

Step 3 – Task Meaningful Work

Engaged employees are doing meaningful work and have a clear understanding of how they contribute to the company’s mission, purpose and strategic objectives. Again, this is why they first have to be placed in the right role. I’ve made the mistake of hiring great talent just to get them in the door – but didn’t have a clear career path or role for them. If you don’t sort those details out quickly, they will leave.

Step 4 – Check in Often

The days of simply relying on mid-year reviews for providing feedback are long gone. Today’s workforce craves regular feedback — which of course leads to faster course correction and reduces waste. Use both formal and informal check-in strategies — and use them every week.

Step 5 – Frequently Discuss Engagement

Successful managers are transparent in their approach to improving engagement — they talk about it with their teams all the time. They hold “state of engagement” meetings and “engage” everyone in the discussion — and solutions.

Again, these principles are not complex, but must be prioritized. Companies that get this right will drive greater financial returns, surpass their competitors, and easily climb to the top of “the best places to work” lists.

Are Your Employees Engaged?

Employee engagement is critical to the success of any business. When a business has engaged and invested employees, it is in their best interest to protect the productivity and profitability of the business, and the image the business has in the community. Engagement also results in employee retention, which saves the business money in turnover and training. There is no downside to getting your employees engaged and invested in your business.

John Hawthorne is a health nut from Canada with a passion for travel and taking part in humanitarian efforts. His writing not only solves a creative need it has also lead to many new opportunities when traveling abroad. This article was originally published on Floship.com, you can read it here.

Giving Negative Feedback – 5 Methods that Will Help You

Giving Negative Feedback – 5 Methods that Will Help You

It is always difficult to have a conversation about something someone is not doing well enough, at work. However, without these conversations, and appropriate avenues to facilitate these conversations, getting better would never be an option. Giving Negative Feedback is something that can get uncomfortable for either of the two reasons: 1. not being sensitive enough, 2. for being too sensitive and not putting across your point clearly. However, if you are in the shoes of someone who is expected to help your co-workers grow – by providing them with timely and accurate feedback, you will have to familiarize yourself with the process of delivering feedback. And it won’t always be positive feedback.

Here are 5 methods that will help you deliver negative feedback in a more structured, professional, and hopefully pleasant way:

  1. Take the help of self-assessments

    If you use self-assessments, your job is already half done. Using a pre-made self assessment checklist, and asking your team member to complete it before the feedback meeting helps both of you gain perspective about the current situation. In a lot of ways, it also helps both concerned get on the same page. By taking the help of a self-assessment you help prepare yourself for the meeting, and also give the concerned person an opportunity to rate himself/ herself honestly. During your meeting, this can be used as a yardstick to discuss the feedback you have.

  2. Use their job description as a basis

    Another “tool” apart from the self-assessment checklist that you can use to facilitate the feedback session is the job description of the team member. A job description is an outline of the expected roles and responsibilities of an employee. By using it as a basis of comparison to the actual tasks and objectives being met by the individual, you will have an idea about if he/she is aligned with the job description or has deviated from it. This will also help you point this out to your team member.

  3. Support your feedback with examples

    The basis for your negative feedback would be specific. And it is important to say out loud the specifics of the feedback. In other words, if your feedback comes with an example of a specific situation, bring it up. By doing so, you are able to be clear in your communication and this will also help you tackle the next steps of thinking about a solution to the problem. When you speak in vague terms, finding solutions to problems become difficult. As a result of which the problem may keep occurring.

  4. Speak about strengths

    It is important to support or balance your negative feedback with positive feedback. Remember that the objective of the feedback session is to bring to the notice of the team member what is not working, and to motivate him/ her to do better, and not the contrary. If it were the contrary then this would have been a meeting to discuss the individual’s termination from the organization. Therefore, it is important to also speak about the skills and the strengths of the individual. It is also important to be careful about how you speak. Adopting a tone that is firm, yet kind is the best bet. Do make sure that the session is a dialogue. Listening is as important as speaking!

  5. Remind yourself that this is your job

    No matter how hard it is to carry through this session, you need to because after all, it is your job. Before the session, it is important for you to orient yourself about it so you can be as professional as possible. Remember that it is not a personal reason being discussed, but a professional one. Hence, you must remain objective through out. It is also important to keep in mind that the team member concerned may not view the feedback as objectively as you provide it. In which case, you would have to remind yourself to hold your ground and tell yourself that you are doing your job.

Have you been in a position where you have had to discuss or provide negative feedback to a team member? What worked for you and what didn’t? Hearing from you always motivates us to write better, so do write back!

5 Small Investments you Can Make to Boost Employee Engagement

5 Small Investments you Can Make to Boost Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is not just another buzzword or a metric that your organization needs to keep track of. It is all about creating a work space, where your employees can get up in the mornings and say, “Great, I’m going to work. I know what I’m going to do today. I’ve got some great ideas about how to do it really well. I’m looking forward to seeing the team and helping them work well today”. (source)

The best definition we could find on what employee engagement really means is this, “Employee engagement is a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organisation to give of their best each day, committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being” (source: engageforsuccess.org).

The process of employee engagement is a continuous one which begins during the on-boarding process – right at the outset, and carries on. And to really make employee engagement a continuous process, one of the best ways to go about it is through making small investments, which make a big difference.

Here are five proven ways of increasing employee engagement, without having to spend any money (or atleast not much).

  1. Creating a culture of Mentoring

    Bringing about changes to the organizational culture is often hard, but without a doubt, one of the best ways to bring about the change you want to see in your organization. Having a culture of mentorship or mentoring, within your organization is a great way to boost employee engagement. When your employees know they can reach out to trusted mentors within the work place to help them address issues they are facing at work, or help them be more productive with valuable guidance, it provides a definite boost to the levels of their engagement.

  2. Recognizing the value of Mental Health

    Making investments in caring for your employees’ mental health should not be an exception anymore, but a rule. While countries in the West have started taking mental health awareness and interventions with more seriousness than before, India though picking up pace, still has a long way to go. To let your employees know that their mental health comes before anything else, is an indispensable way of you showing that you care. And a place where employees feel cared for, will be a place they will devote their 100% to. Have you read our previous blogs on metal health yet? And do you believe that mental health should be your number one resolution for 2018? If you don’t, maybe you should have a look at this.

  3. Recognizing the value of Feedback

    Without a system of regular and consistent feedback, there can be no way for employees to know how they are faring. Their growth may be stunted, and despite possessing talent and skills to mature within the organization, they might begin to slack. This is the very reverse of what employee engagement aims for. Creating a system of feedback goes a long way in ensuring employee and employer satisfaction. Issuing constructive and timely feedback helps employees to stay focused and confident to do their best.

  4. Recognizing the value of Flexibility

    By giving your employees the gift of “choices”, you move towards creating a workplace with significantly higher levels of employee engagement. Making space for flexible conditions for work is a powerful way of boosting productivity. For example, many organizations still associate the option of working from home as one that triggers lower levels of productivity. Research though, has shown results quite contrary to this assumption.  Allowing your employees flexible schedules, and the option of working from home could actually be a win-win situation for both parties!

  5. Implanting Trust

    Trust perhaps, is the single most important investment you can make in your employees. Think back to the process of recruitment you may have, and you will realize how most of the process was in fact a scrutiny of whether you can trust the job you want to give out, at the hands of the person you are looking to hire. It is the same trust that must be preserved and nurtured after you complete the process of hiring and the recruit glides into his/ her role. Matters like choosing to delegate (and then letting go until the completion of the task!), being open to new ideas, being open to flexibility and feedback, are some small yet significant ways that help you show that you trust your employees. Could there be a better way of keeping them engaged, and happy? We think not!

Still wondering what employee engagement is all about?

Your employees can said to be truly “engaged”, when they are committed and motivated towards what they have been entrusted to do. And it leads to happier workplaces and happier bottom-lines.

5 Tips For a Successful On-boarding Process

5 Tips For a Successful On-boarding Process

Most recruiters believe that the toughest part of the recruitment process are the steps leading up to finding and hiring an employee. That however, is as far away from truth as can be. The first week after hiring a new employee is the most crucial time for the recruitment process. It is the on-boarding process that helps the employee settle in to his/ her new role, and more importantly the culture of the organisation. While the ‘settling in’ definitely takes much longer than a week, the induction or on-boarding week is what makes all the difference to how comfortably, and effectively the new employee adapts to your organisation. Here are five ways you can make the On-boarding Process a success.

  1. Personalize the On-boarding Process

    The usual process of on-boarding to complete the process of recruitment, requires the new employee to go through and submit a pile of paper work and documents. That however, shouldn’t define the first day of a new employee. In the process of recruitment, on-boarding is not just about filling up a zillion forms to check off the recruitment checklist. It is also, and more so about showing the new team member that the organization is happy to have him/ her on board. Personalize the on-boarding process by introducing the new member to the rest of the team and by giving him/ her a tour of the work place. Having a small welcome process in place, could be a great way to make help build sensitivity about welcoming a new member into the culture of your workplace.

  2. Explaining the values and culture of the company

    Are the values and the culture of the company more than just a few words on your website? If they are truly what you believe as the foundation of your organization, you will agree to the importance of ensuring that the new employee understands them. Speaking about the organizational values and culture to a new employee, as a part of the on-boarding process is a very important step towards stressing on how important it is, for the new employee to adapt to the values and culture of the organization. And of course, letting them know that you believe they are a great match and that’s why they are here in the first place!

  3. Explaining responsibilities and setting goals

    While the role and responsibilities may already have been put down on the offer letter, this is another way of personalizing the on-boarding process. Having a conversation about the responsibilities attached to the role of the new recruit, and speaking about the expectations that come with it right at the outset is a good idea. This is also a great time to bring him/ her up to speed with the existing projects that they may be associated with and giving them a heads up about what to expect.

  4. Assigning them a mentor

    This is yet another great way of personalizing the on-boarding process. Being in a new work environment can be quite confusing, as many of us would have experienced. Assigning a mentor to a new employee is an effective way of helping the new employee understand the workplace, and also to have someone he/ she can go to with their questions. It is important to put some thought into who you choose to assign as the mentor, since the mentor needs to be equipped with the knowledge relevant to the new employee’s role, to be able to guide him/ her accordingly.

  5. Equipping the employee with all necessary resources

    To make the on-boarding process smooth, and successful, make sure that you have put together all the resources the new employee will require, a day prior to his/ her joining. Things like the HR policy, documents on the culture of the organization, any handbook your organization may be having for employees, the necessary software on his/her computer, and all other tools including stationary that might be required. Putting in some effort to get these things ready shows that you are excited to have the new team member on board, and want to make sure that they have everything they need!
    Also, a nice note saying welcome, on the desk is a very sweet way to say ‘welcome’!

Bringing a new team member on board isn’t just about the CV, the interviews and the negotiation processes. It is also about welcoming the team member in. That is what on-boarding is all about. Once you have successfully completed the process of on-boarding, you can be proud of yourself of having done a good job as a recruiter!

Post by Shreeradha Mishra
Shreeradha is a development professional who loves her work. She is an avid observer of life and enjoys penning down her experiences and learning from the world of work. You can get in touch with her at shreeradha@obolinx.com.