In the most successful businesses, employees are made to feel empowered to speak up and offer their suggestions to management regarding various issues. By keeping employees involved, it can go a long way in improving employee morale and motivation. Known as a staff suggestion scheme, it is a great way to make sure knowledge flows up and down the chain of command. To make a staff suggestion scheme even more interesting to employees, many companies let their workers come up with a name for the scheme. When trying to decide on staff suggestion scheme names, companies have many options.
Know Your Organization's Needs
The first step to take when deciding on staff suggestion scheme names is to know the needs of your organization. Knowing the overall culture, values and behaviors that are accepted will help lead people toward names that best fit the organization. Some names that can be chosen to reflect the organization's needs are:
Choosing the Name
When it's time to choose the name that will be used for the staff suggestion scheme, employees are often encouraged to look at their day-to-day activities and think of ways they can be improved. Other areas employees are asked to examine include:
What's in a Name?
Once everyone has had a chance to think things through and discuss their ideas with one another, the moment of truth has arrived for selecting a name. As stated earlier, the best names reflect the company's values, culture and behaviors in regards to how they treat employees and customers. Some of the most popular staff suggestion scheme names include:
By involving employees and taking the challenge seriously, an organization can make the process of picking staff suggestion scheme names one that will motivate and inspire employees to do their best each and every day.
Posted by Duncan on October 01, 2014
Every manager worth her salt knows that she needs to recognize the contributions made by her employees to keep them motivated and engaged, and to ensure that there is a positive and innovative organizational climate overall. Believing this to be true, wouldn’t it seem simple, then, for her to provide some sort of systematic recognition of her employees in order to make them feel valued and more positive about themselves and their abilities to contribute to the organization’s mission and goals? Well it isn’t!
First off, developing a comprehensive system of employee recognition... takes quite a bit more time than you would think it would, because you can’t employ a scatter-gun approach – there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to the problem that is going to make all employees feel suitably recognized, and that is why so many employee recognition systems fall short of the mark and fail miserably, actually creating more dissatisfaction among employees. You end up with a group of jealous and complaining employees that are grumbling amongst themselves about favoritism and unfairness. This is enough to make any prudent manager hesitant to provide any type of employee recognition!
In order to make an employee recognition program effective, you have to decide what it is that you want to achieve by doing it in the first place. Are you trying to boost morale? Increase attendance? Foster teamwork? All of these things, and more, can be addressed through the types of employee recognition you provide. Then you need to create your goals and action plans so that you will be recognizing those exact behaviors, actions, and accomplishments that you want to see happening in your organization. If you establish employee recognitions that reinforce the qualities and behaviors you are seeking, the employees will soon come to demonstrate them for you. See how this all holds together?
Here’s an example: If you want to increase attendance, in your next weekly staff meeting, hand out a simple tri-fold letter to all employees who have had perfect attendance that week. The top part of the letter is a nicely worded note thanking them for their attendance and relating that attendance to the accomplishment of your company’s mission and goals, and stating that this will be noted in their personnel file, and that they will be entered in a monthly drawing for a gift certificate. Have them return to you the middle portion for the personnel file, and the bottom portion they will drop into the drawing box as they leave the staff meeting. This will cause some buzz! Attendance will be up next week! It is relatively easy to get free gift certificates from local businesses who will hand them out in exchange for the free advertising they receive. If not, that is why you are getting paid a managerial salary!
Another critical matter that derails employee recognition programs... is the perception of of fairness and consistency. Each person who makes the same, or similar, contribution has to have an equal likelihood of receiving recognition for his efforts. And if you have some regularly-given award, such as for meeting a production or sales quota, then you must establish the criteria that make a person eligible for that recognition and ensure that everyone who meets it is duly recognized. To do anything less is patently unfair. To recognize only your highest performer only creates dissatisfaction among all the other employees who contributed to your organization meeting its goals in that production period, especially if the criteria were unclear or the recognition was based solely on supervisory recommendation. This is why “Employee Of The Month” programs, though popular with management, are perceived as unfair and discriminatory by the employees – the intentions of the programs might, indeed, have been positive, but due to unclear criteria and lack of recognition of all those who made equal or similar contributions, they are perceived as nothing more than popularity contests by the employees.
Specificity and timing of employee recognition... are also critical to effective employee recognition, otherwise attempts at recognition can come off looking downright foolish. While everyone likes to hear “you did a nice job yesterday,” it is much more effective to hear something along the lines of, “your presentation yesterday to the Atlas clients, and the way you highlighted the sales figures so that they could see that we were out-performing our competition two-to-one was excellent, John, and was integral in winning us their contract,” is much more meaningful verbal recognition. This is something an employee will play over and over again in his mind as his heart swells with pride at a job well-done – all from some simple, meaningful words of recognition from you. And you must remember that every employee is different in what they find rewarding and how they would like to be recognized – some like the big crowd scenario of a staff meeting, while others prefer recognition in private. How are you to guess? Don’t – ask!
Now that you’ve seen the ways that official employee recognition programs can either hurt or help your workplace, here are the top ten ways to show employee appreciation:
1. If there is money available in the coffers, give it! This could be in the form of bonuses or gift certificates. Everyone appreciates such tangible rewards.
2. Provide opportunity for growth on the job, such as training, cross-training or developmental assignments to other positions. You could ask the employee to participate on special committees or to represent your organization at professional association meetings or civic events.
3. Remember your manners – Say “Thank you” for a job well done and to recognize their effort and contributions to your organization, even if things don’t always go as planned. And don’t forget to say “Please” when handing out assignments, as well. Not only does this make for a more pleasant working environment, but it also shows your employees that you value them as people.
4. Offer flexible scheduling – this can be especially rewarding to a workforce that spans multi-generations, as the younger workers are willing to work split schedules and evening hours, young mothers may have child-care considerations to cover and older workers may be caring for elderly parents. This is especially seen as a reward around the holidays, if you can post a calendar and let workers negotiate amongst themselves to cover all necessary shifts, only stepping in to resolve conflicts, if needed.
5. Present each of your workers with a small gift occasionally – knowing each of your workers well enough to be able to present them with such a small token, based upon their personal interests, and the act of presenting it personally as a reward for their dedication and sacrifice to the mission and goals of the organization, can be a very meaningful reward. This is best done in private, as it often gets quite emotional.
6. Create fun seasonal traditions, and be certain to include traditions from the religious calendars of all your employees, not just those of the Christian faith. These types of parties can be quite festive and can broaden cultural horizons, as well, thereby making your work unit more cohesive as they come to a greater understanding of one another by sharing foods and customs.
7. Go out to lunch once a month, maybe to celebrate the birthdays of all employees born that month, and let the birthday folks choose the restaurant. Getting out of the work setting and talking about anything other than work issues will help you all get to know each other as “real” people.
8. Write up an article about your employee for the company newsletter. Include information about their latest contribution to your mission and goals, but also include personal details about them and their interests, so that everyone can come to know them and how wonderful and valuable they are as a person.
9. Change the balance of the employee’s work, so that they have more of the type of work that they enjoy doing and less of the work that they don’t like or are less skilled at performing.
10. Provide a status symbol – whatever that is in your organization – such as an engraved plaque honoring their achievement, a framed certificate to hang on the wall, a larger work area or office, more or better equipment to use on the job, etc.
As you can see, employee recognition can be a minefield: done incorrectly, it can do more harm to your organization than good. But if you take the time to really figure out what you want to reward, and then structure your reward system so that you will be encouraging those very mindsets and behaviors, you will be able to develop a system that can be satisfactory to management and employees, alike. And if you add to that the types of extemporaneous recognition as listed above, you will be well on your way to maintaining a happy, motivated and highly engaged workforce.
Posted by Duncan on September 25, 2014
It is important for companies to know how to encourage intrapreneurship. For people who are in leadership positions, it is crucial to get people to think like an entrepreneur. This is a key element in helping a company keep a competitive edge over their competition. Intrapreneurship is when a person works for a company and behaves like an entrepreneur. If used correctly, this can be an outstanding tool, both for the people who come up with good ideas and the companies that promote them. The employee can benefit because their ideas can come to fruition without them having to quit their job and risk their livelihood to achieve their dream. The company can benefit because it allows them to keep their best and brightest employees while also taking advantage of their creativity. Let's take a look at some of the ways you can encourage intrapreneurship in your organization:
1. Give employees time and space
It is not realistic to expect your employees to come up with dynamic new ideas if they are still bogged down with all of their normal duties. Therefore, you will need to make sure they have sufficient time and space with which to be creative and let their imagination flow. Schedule a specific day or week for them to devote their time and energy solely to the creative process.
2. Talk about what problems need to be solved
New ideas are great, but you ideally want your employees to only focus their time and energy on ideas that will benefit your company directly. This is why it is important for you to sit down with your employees and discuss the current problems at your company that need to be solved. You should also describe the types of ideas you are looking for. This will give your employees a direction and a baseline with which to work. If you fail to give your people any guidelines, you will most likely get many ideas that your company is unable to implement.
3. Always recognize and praise people for good ideas
The way you encourage intrapreneurship can vary from company to company, but people always want to feel appreciated for their hard work and creativity. This is true no matter what type of business you are working in. Therefore, you need to be sure that employees who come up with excellent ideas are always given the recognition they deserve. If employees feel they are not properly recognized for their efforts, they will not have much motivation to go the extra mile and think of new ideas in the future.
Posted by Duncan on September 22, 2014
Workplace negativity is one of the toughest problems that managers at any level of the modern workforce will face. It gets started slowly, often seemingly without cause, and can build to a crescendo in the blink of an eye, turning a once cooperative and productive employee workforce into a distrustful and hostile mob whose focus has strayed far from the corporate vision, mission and goals. Such a workforce engages in work slowdowns, willful disobedience to directives and organizational sabotage. It is up to you, the individual manager, to keep your finger always on the pulse of collective employee emotions and to thus keep workplace negativity at bay. By following the tips here, you will be able to quickly identify and resolve sources of workplace negativity, before they get out of hand and damage your organization.
Here you have a series of steps you can take to beat workplace negativity. But if you really want to do your organization a service, apply these steps now, and you will avoid the workplace negativity in the first place – a true win-win solution!
Posted by Duncan on September 11, 2014
Now that you have seen the importance of restructuring your formal Performance Appraisal System (in click here to read Part 1 to be more in line with your organization’s vision, mission and goals and how this process, and its results, can translate into employee engagement and customer satisfaction, it is time to look at the quarterly Informal Review. This Review is entirely different in character from the annual Performance Appraisal and serves two unique purposes. First, it builds an employee-management bond by creating a feedback loop where performance information is exchanged in two directions. Secondly, it becomes a primary source for identifying organizational problems and their solutions.
Building Employee Rapport
One of your primary goals in this Informal Review is to build rapport with your employee. You need to make them feel comfortable in your presence and remove the organizational fear of reprisal that tends to be associated with employee-management discussions. You might even want to hold the Review over coffee in a quiet corner of the company cafeteria, if the employee feels comfortable there – ask them first and clear it with your HR Manager. Don’t be afraid to spend the first few minutes sharing a bit of yourself with your employees and learning more about them in return. Such personal engagement by managers fosters trust and employee engagement with the organization, as a whole.
Avoid sitting across a desk or table from your employee, as this is a position of intimidation. Sit beside them or across the corner of your desk, where you can easily share paperwork or a computer screen together. Watch your body language. Don’t cross your arms over your chest, for example, as this indicates that you are closed to what the employee is saying. Smile or keep your facial expression open and neutral, not frowning or downcast. Look the employee in the eyes frequently when you speak. Avoid talking too much, letting the employee do most of the talking. The Guide, below, will assist you in getting a dialog going with your employee.
Beginning The Employee Dialog
Ensure that the employee has access to their individual and team Performance Metrics several days in advance of the scheduled review. Also provide them with a copy of this questionnaire, below, and ask them to review the questions in preparation for the Informal Review so that they will have some answers in mind to begin a dialog with you. Let them know it is not necessary to provide the specific number of items requested in each question, nor is it necessary to have an answer for each question. Make it clear that you are sincerely interested in their input and that this is a vital opportunity for them to participate in how the organization works.
INFORMAL REVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE
1. What three things, specifically, do you feel you have done well during this review period? What is the biggest contribution you feel you make to our organization’s customers?
2. What three things, specifically, could you have done better if you had more help from your teammates?
3. What role do you feel you play on your team? Are you as successful and comfortable in this role as you could be? If not, what holds you back? How can you take steps to resolve this? Would you like to change your role? What would that take, on your part?
4. What three things, specifically, could your supervisor have done better to assist you in accomplishing your Performance Elements and exceeding your Performance Standards during this review period?
5. Are you satisfied that you, and your team, are doing the best possible job to satisfy our customers? Is this proven by your Performance Metrics? If not, where do you think the problem lies? What can be done to fix it, in your opinion?
6. What are your goals for the next review period? Do you require any training to accomplish these goals? If so, please identify.
7. Are there any issues, concerns or ideas for improving our organization that you would like to contribute today?
Conducting The Review
During the Review, remember that these are merely guidelines to begin the flow of communication. Ask follow-up questions (when, where, how & why) and draw the employee out. Use your instincts and watch for non-verbal cues to what they may be hesitant to say. This indicates a remnant of organizational fear. Reassure them that it is safe to communicate openly with you, and that you always are interested in hearing about problems and their ideas about solutions to those problems. One note of caution here: don’t let this turn into a gripe session where all the employee does is complain. If they surface a problem, press them for a solution. If they don’t have one immediately in mind, task them to think of one. Many employees have become so inured to being taken for granted and complaining to no effect that they do this as if on auto-pilot. In order to shake them of this bad habit and make them an effective, contributing member of the team again, you must rebuild the employee-management bond by taking them seriously enough to listen to their solutions as well as their problems. And then take action. Take copious notes during each employee’s Review, question by question.
Once you have completed all of your employee Reviews, your real work begins, for this has not been just a pointless exercise in human resource management. First, compare the notes you took on the individual Reviews and see if the same problems are surfaced by multiple employees. These are likely to be your priority problems that are hindering productivity or having the greatest impact on customer satisfaction. Prepare an After Action Summary Report that gleans the problem/solution information contained in Questions 2, 4, 5 and 7, above, and review it with your employees so that they know they were heard.
Allow them this opportunity to expand the definition of the problems and/or provide additional input regarding the proposed solutions. Implement anything that falls within your span of control. This builds employee engagement, as they can see that “the system” actually works and they will start to trust the employee-management bond and will bring problems to you, together with proposed solutions, on a routine basis.
After you have done all you can at your level, forward the After Action Summary Report up your chain of command for further action. Follow up routinely and volunteer for assignments to take action on problems surfaced by your own team. Report on the action items quarterly to your employees. This, too, fosters employee engagement, for they can see you are actively engaged in implementing solutions to problems they have identified.
The Informal Review, coupled with the formal Performance Appraisal, gives the manager a valuable tool set with which to assess the mission readiness of his organization and employees. By making the Informal Review part of your Performance Appraisal System, you strengthen the employee-management bond and surface problems and solutions as close to the source as possible, which is exactly what you want to see happen. Only then can power and money be applied from senior management to effect organization-wide solutions that will improve your customer support exponentially instead of incrementally. Always remember, your competitive edge comes from the ideas of your human resources and this is one more means of translating those ideas into action, while fostering employee engagement.
Image credits: Image1
Posted by Duncan on August 25, 2014
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