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5 Simple Steps to Superb Employee Engagement

5 Simple Steps to Superb Employee Engagement

Reduced staff turnover. Improved productivity. Fewer sick days. These are just some of the advantages employee engagement brings to businesses.  

Improving your people’s engagement levels doesn’t need to become a mammoth task. There are lots of straightforward ways to enhance engagement and gain all those lovely business benefits. Here are our top five simple steps to help you achieve superb employee engagement. 

 

#1 – Listen and Change 

When employees dread coming into work, you can guarantee your engagement levels are on the floor. To prevent colleagues experiencing that heart-sinking feeling, it’s time to find out what’s holding your people back so you can take action.   

I often suggest setting up set up face-to-face discussion groups to explore the challenges impacting employees. Ensure people know that there won’t be any repercussions for expressing their views. After all, the more honest they can be, the better for your organisation. 

Prevent sessions from turning into moan-fests by asking people to suggest the kinds of change they’d like to see. By involving employees in the solution, you’ll get them on side and enthusiastic about change. 

Then create a plan of action, delegate tasks and report back on the impact to employees. By taking their views seriously and demonstrating that change is happening, you’ll turn attitudes around, boost engagement and make your business more productive too. 

 

#2 – Share Good Practice Between Teams 

Recognition comes in many forms and holding up examples of fantastic work methods is one. Identify which individuals, teams or departments are excelling in what they do and ask them to share their practices. 

Not only is this a great way for employees to see their ideas and methods being praised but it will raise the performance of other teams too. This kind of peer-to-peer learning makes a refreshing change from more formal styles of training and it also fosters engagement and creates or strengthens links between your employees. 

 

#3 – Meet Different Demographic Needs 

With five generations in the workplace, employers must grasp the different focuses and tendencies between the generations in order to keep everyone satisfied. By understanding the way that each cohort thinks, you’ll have a good grasp of how to change your organisation to meet employee needs. 

This could mean expanding your employee benefit offering to cater to people in different age brackets. Or placing a greater focus on green and ethical issues or providing flexible working options. 

That said, it’s important not to shoehorn everyone in a demographic bracket into the same pigeonhole. After all, a millennial with a family and one without will have very different priorities. Which leads us on to the next point. 

 

#4 – Treat People Like Individuals 

The days of one-size-fits-all is well and truly over when it comes to people management. Yes, processes and policy still need to be in place to ensure you’re treating people legally, fairly and equitably. But the rise of individualism in society at large has spilled over into the workplace. Which means you need to treat each individual as, well, an individual. 

One way to better understand your employees is to ask each team member to complete a free online personality test. Based on tried and trusted psychological principles, 16 Personalities provides valuable insight into individuals, their preferences and approaches to relationships and work. 

Get each team member to take the test and present the most informative aspects of their personality to the rest of the team. It’s a great way to be more open about what individuals need and will help managers better engage with their staff too. 

 

#5 – Get Social 

Personal relationships are a key ingredient in employee engagement. Like any team, people who understand and care about each will pull together and go the extra mile to support one another. And by doing so they’ll also support your business. 

A simple way to generate closer bonds is to sponsor a range of social events like: 

  •  Giving managers a budget so they can take their team out for lunch or dinner 
  • Hold a party 
  • Get employees involved in fundraising events 
  • Launch volunteering days where your team gets to work together away from the workplace 
  • Celebrate every employees birthday 
  • Hold sporting events or start a lunchtime walking club 

 The options are pretty much endless and you can ask a colleague to take charge so the initiatives are employee-centred rather than a top-down idea. 

Employee engagement doesn’t need to be difficult. By gaining a better understanding of your people, their needs and preferences, you’ll help everyone better connect with their colleagues and their work. As a result, commitment will soar making engagement a win-win for your employees and your business. 

For a helping hand with your employee engagement, talk to Olga at Crosse HR on 0330 555 1139 or at hello@crossehr.co.uk. 

 

Get Ahead With Your 2017 HR Strategy

Get Ahead With Your 2017 HR Strategy

It’s almost the end of another year. Can you believe it? Many of us will be starting to wind down for the Christmas break, or, more likely, desperately trying to complete to do lists. In terms of HR, your focus right now is probably managing the Christmas period in the office, or maybe, (though hopefully not), picking up the pieces after the office Christmas party. But before you wind up for the Christmas break, it is important to look ahead to next year and turn your attention to your 2017 HR strategy. Now’s the time to understand how HR will be required to support your 2017 business strategy, and also take stock, learn from experiences and make improvements for the year ahead.

Here’re are a few things to consider for your 2017 HR strategy.

Compensation and company benefits

The new year typically brings with it annual salary increments and bonus payments. Now’s the time to conduct a salary review to benchmark your company against the marketplace and understand the resourcing and retention budget required for your 2017 business plans.

You may wish to offer premium company benefits to be more competitive than other companies in the market. If you have benefits in place already, are you communicating them well enough? Make sure you have an efficient and regular communication strategy in place to improve benefit take up and inform employees of policies and guidelines.

Improve your hiring processes

It is likely that recruitment will be vital to your business growth strategy in 2017, and improving the recruitment process will help you increase efficiency and hire better quality candidates. Consider your current recruitment process. What are the successes? Where can you improve? Consider pre-screening tools, improving job descriptions and reviewing interview processes. For more information on recruitment, read our recent blog posts:

How to avoid discriminating during the recruitment process
How to structure a job description
Recruitment: How to recruit the right people

Do you have an onboarding strategy?

Onboarding strategies offer new employees a better insight into an organisation’s strategy and culture. They also help them quickly get up to speed with their job role. First impressions count. Getting them engaged from day one when they are feeling most positive, will help them bed in quickly, reflect the companies values and increase their confidence in fulfilling their role. Request open and honest feedback from new starters and use it to revamp processes, or improve your onboarding strategy for 2017.

Keep skills up to date

Do you need to invest in training to align the skills of your workforce with your organisation’s strategy for 2017? Training and development are vital to ensure the continued growth of organisations whilst demonstrating that you value, and are willing to develop your team. Training goes hand in hand with employee career progression. The cost of developing existing employees, (with the knock-on benefits to morale, engagement and loyalty) must be considered against the recruitment costs of hiring more experienced team members.

Training doesn’t necessarily need to be costly. You may have the skills in house, in more experienced team members, that can be harnessed to develop those that are less experienced.

Test out a new education initiative, measure the results and strategise for the rest of year.

Employee engagement and culture

Now’s the time to work on your employee engagement strategy. Employee engagement is a vital part of improving motivation, productivity, employee retention and well-being, as well as building a sense of pride and loyalty. Consider mentoring for newcomers, charity projects, celebrating achievement, recognition schemes, social events, feedback exercises, office decoration and team building exercises.

Improve communication

Poor communication is one of the biggest frustrations in many businesses, particularly when they reach a size where there are multiple departments, with competing objectives. Relationship building, however, is vital to productivity, efficiency, and workplace harmony. How can you improve communication processes between departments and team members? Consider the best ways to collect information and the best channels to use to share it, whilst at the same time, avoiding meeting overload!

Time is limited, and energy is often lacking in December, but getting ahead with your HR strategy for next year, will pay dividends. Creating the foundations now will help you hit the ground running in January.

St Patrick’s Day: Time for a Holiday?

St Patrick’s Day: Time for a Holiday?

St Patrick’s Day is once again upon us and this Thursday people around the world will be dressed in green and gold, Guinness in hand and post probably having a good’ol time. Whilst not a public holiday in most of the world should workers be given the day off anyway? Would this increase productivity?

A recent survey by the Chartered Management Institute suggests that a majority of workers are cancelling out their own statutory leave every year owing to the advent of handheld devices. Smartphones and tablets were responsible for 4 out of 5 of the 1,500 managers surveyed working an extra hour a day answering out-of-hours emails and going over documents. The extra hours equate to just over 29 days per year cancelling the 28 statutory days leave. The study also suggested that putting in too many hours leads to work related injury, both physical and mental, and may result in burnout.

Recruitment giant Reed.co.uk found that 54% of workers forgo an average of 3 days leave a year and a quarter of Brits would rather forfeit the occasional day of than leave work unfinished or fall behind. There are many reasons workers choose not to take annual leave days and often this is attached to company ethos around the matter; many employees feel guilty about taking statutory leave, further they dread returning to an overflowing inbox and an intensified workload. Studies also suggest that staff who don’t want to take their statutory leave, rolling it into the next year, end up taking sick days which balances the figure out in any case.

The average French worker clocks 1,500 hours per year and can expect to receive 30 days paid vacation. Traditionally the french working week equals 35 hours and any hours worked after this are be considered overtime. The Office of National Statistics released a report in 2013 showing that on average the British worker is 27-31% less productive per hour than their French and German counterparts. Whilst this cannot be attributed to annual leave alone the figures certainly suggest a less is more approach has been paying off on the continent. French companies spend more on labour saving practices rather than recruiting meaning they get more for their money out of their workers per hour.

Some firms have started to adopt unlimited holiday policies which allow employees to take off as much time as they want provided their work gets done. Global giant Virgin is one such company, CEO and magnate Richard Branson notes in his book ‘The Virgin Way’; 

“It is left to the employee to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off, the assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel a hundred percent comfortable … that their absence will not in any way damage the business — or, for that matter, their careers!”

The model is results focused and companies who also adopt a similar system, such as Netflix, expect employees to be high performing rewarding performance with holiday. At Netflix nobody tracks employee’s time; instead of micromanaging how employees do their work the employee is given autonomy over how they manage their time, this is said to promote a more efficient and responsible workforce. A focus is placed on results and managers are kept in the loop though effective communication and accountability policies. It is believed that unlimited holiday attracts talent and pays off in terms of retention and reduced sickness.

However there has been growing concern that this does more harm than good as the lack of a clearly defined annual leave policy makes employees question; how much is too much holiday? Employees are reluctant to take up leave as they feel their asking for leave will have an impact on their career prospects. The lack of clear guidance can lead to employee’s over working themselves which can have the opposite effect on their health and well-being that unlimited holiday is supposed to promote.

Annual leave policies are extremely important for any business given the potentially damaging effects of getting it wrong. It seems that company culture towards leave can have a real impact on employee wellbeing and of course productivity and sickness.

CrosseHR provides consultancy services  to businesses and can help address policy issues, managing leave and sickness as well as improving employee relations. Call 0330 555 1139 or email us at hello@crossehr.co.uk, you can also follow us on twitter for HR highlights, insights and updates.

Holacracy  – part 2

Holacracy – part 2

I’m rather taken with this new notion of Holacracy first coined by Brian J Robertson, so in my earlier post I just provided an overview. After a bit more research I am able to provide you with a more in depth view of how it works which is described below.

Further information can be got from www.holacracy.org

Circle organisation
To say there’s no hierarchy in a holacracy is inaccurate. There is, but it’s much less rigid than a traditional structure. Its constitution is made up of semi-autonomous circles, with each circle having its own goals and responsibilities. Every circle has a ‘lead link’ that designates people certain roles. Each circle exists within the context of a higher-level circle, but no circle is fully autonomous.
Governance

With holacracy, governance meetings structure how the work gets done, making it clear who is responsible for what and with how much authority. Each employee has complete control over the roles they’ve been assigned or elected to. However, they are still accountable, so if there’s a problem or they have an issue with a colleague, it’s their responsibility to sort it out.

Hiring and firing
In a typical top-down management structure, the power to hire and fire is usually in the hands of managers. With holacracy, it’s less personal, making it more about who is the best fit for each role. But because there are no managers, who actually does the hiring and firing you might ask?

As with any business, employees can be removed, but the process needs to be decided upon by governance, a committee sometimes referred to as an anchor circle. A circle’s lead link can remove someone from a role and find a better fit from the talent pool available if necessary. An employee may also be removed if they can’t find enough roles to do within the company.

Is holacracy right for you?
A company without managers might sound like a recipe for chaos, but supporters of holacracy say it actually has the opposite effect because a workplace free from office politics results in fewer tensions and empowers employees. Ultimately, it gives everyone a voice, which fuels more ideas and opportunities, and is extremely flexible, which is paramount for success in a modern workforce.

However, it isn’t for everyone, and shouldn’t be undertaken without due consideration. Without any one person truly in charge, it’s not always clear where the buck stops when it comes to issues such as company under performance and finance. Also, because staff aren’t promoted or given a clear career path, they may be tempted by more lucrative offers elsewhere. It might also be difficult for current managers to relinquish power.

Lets all run for President – Holacracy in action

This video by Mike Derheim CEO of The Nerdery explains the concept of holacracy , “What if everyone at your company was a co-president”

 

Holacracy

I went on holidays recently and for lack of something better to do, I started reading the BA business magazine. I came across an article by Brian J Robertson on a new concept he has invented for leadership and management called Holacracy. In short holacracy is designed to ensure that good ideas that may come to benefit the organisation overall don’t get stymied by the boss at the top or worse someone else en route.

The old traditional hierarchical management and leadership structures that we are all used to are deisgned to control and that sometimes is no bad thing after all it has worked for centuries at least since the Romans, but the worry with this recently is that it really is controlled at the top and that could well stifle innovation and creativity, whilst it works brilliantly in traditional organisations, it will not work in newer, innovative start ups and creative, which is when the new economy or thought economy is headed.

So how does Holacracy work then, well according to Mr Robertson like this….

Holacracy is a management structure based on the tasks that a company needs to accomplish, not the people within it. This means you have no traditional hierarchy, managers or job titles. Everyone is their own boss within self-organised teams, responsible for influencing the company’s success and vision. Holacracy is a new way of running an organization that removes power from a management hierarchy and distributes it across clear roles, which can then be executed autonomously, without a micromanaging boss. The work is actually more structured than in a conventional company, just differently so. With Holacracy, there is a clear set of rules and processes for how a team breaks up its work, and defines its roles with clear responsibilities and expectations.

Holacracy also allows employees to do other things so they don’t get stuck in a rut. For example, if you’re an IT specialist you can spend some of your time pursuing another interest that will benefit the company, such as helping to run events or social media campaigns.

There is even a website dedicated to it www.holacracy.org