People Power

We focus so much on developing products, services, systems and policies that we can often forget about developing our employees and meeting the basics of their needs and wants. Some valuable information has been collated for you on how your employees can be the people power that you require to continue your business’s success.

Understanding Your Employees

It has been found that employees will take more interest in their work when they are encouraged and are able to share their ideas and contributions and can see them implemented. Ideally your employees just want and need:

1. to be rewarded for a job well done
2. feel involved with the business
3. feel that their contribution is valued
4. work on tasks that compliment their intelligence and fulfill their potential

Peak Performers

Give your employees encouragement and direction whenever it is needed but allow them to have control and carry out their work as they see fit. You employed them for a reason and it is usually due to their capabilities, so let them do what they need to do. Ensure you have clear and established goals and objectives that your employees understand and you will be able to ensure your employee will work to their potential.

Top Tips

Below are the 15 top tips that will help you to build your employees’ morale, meet employees’ wants and needs and improve their perception of the workforce.

1. Always relate to your employees as people and not just hired staff
2. Make sure employees see the results of their labours
3. Adjust your management style to suit individuals
4. Keep employees informed of changes at all times
5. Be clear in communicating expectations, priorities and limitations
6. Make reasonable efforts to keep jobs interesting and challenging
7. Encourage promotion from within
8. Make sure your employees are willing and able to perform what you are expecting of them, especially if there is a strict deadline or there are busy periods
9. Conduct employee performance reviews
10. Always give your employees feedback
11. Tell employees how they can get more money in their pocket
12. State clearly to your employees your management style so they understand your approach
13. Set up well understood communication lines such as meetings, etc
14. Trust your employees. If you have delegated it to them, let it go and let them do it. If they aren’t capable they shouldn’t be given the task to begin with.
15. Welcome your employees’ ideas
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Attitude = Altitude

Have you ever worked with someone who is skilled, knowledgeable and experienced, yet just never seems to get ahead? Most of us have at some time or another. Alternatively, have you come across someone not quite as talented, but seems to always be moving upwards? The difference between these two types is not their level of skill or knowledge or experience. It comes down to one single thing – attitude.

Whether you are a Client Manager, Team Leader or Support Staff Member, the level of success you will have is dependent up one on thing – your attitude. Your attitude – your approach, point of view or opinion (whichever you prefer) influences the way you look at everything around you – your role, your tasks, your goals, your colleagues, your current situation and your future path. Simply put your attitude is an amalgamation of your behaviours, beliefs and feelings – your experiences, education and personality shape your attitude. Knowing this, it becomes relatively easy to see why some people are successful and others (who you might think should be) are not. It has to do with their attitude.

Think of what defines a “positive” attitude in your business:

  • A general “can do” view of the role, challenges and new tasks
  • Preparedness to go the extra mile to help a client or solve a problem
  • Tenacity in dealing with complex issues
  • Viewing problems as a new and exciting challenge
  • Giving praise where it is due, acknowledging the efforts of colleagues and thanking them publicly
  • Looking for solutions, not problems
  • Ignoring the blame game and just getting down to sorting out the problem
  • Acknowledging and embracing different points of view
  • Recognising that being right at all costs is not the path to co-operation
  • Being even tempered, considered and proactive in the approach to issues

While this is just some of the many characteristics of a positive attitude, you might begin to realise that a colleague who demonstrates these behaviours is an incredibly valuable asset a business. If you have a positive attitude, you are likely to:

  • Be resilient and quickly recover from unpleasant or difficult situations. You will look for lessons in the experience rather than continually looking back on how horrible it was
  • Be optimistic about the future. This optimism will help influence those around you
  • Be confident in your skills and ability. You will recognise areas of development and happily embrace learning
  • Help you manage your emotions and express them in constructive ways
  • Take responsibility for your actions
  • Think outside the square and consider all options, even those that appear unlikely

Basically, your attitude will determine your altitude in business and in life. A positive attitude towards your job and your goals can be the determinant of your success. That is, an optimistic outlook, can do approach and view that anything is possible, will often provide you with the energy and enthusiasm to succeed.

http://www.nuOrder.co.uk

Get in touch and ask us to conduct a FREE Business Evaluation Meeting and find out about our unique way of designing and implementing strategies to generate sustainable business improvement.

Recruitment – Top Tips by Lisa Gibson from Triple Three Solutions

So you need to recruit someone into the business? It seems a rationale decision, you are expanding the business, you have noticed that you are working longer hours, getting home later, more customers/clients to see, those few people you do employ don’t seem to be able to take on any of the additional work you are currently doing. Those staff you recruited at the time you set the business up did a good job, but now that you are expanding and developing new markets, those staff, although still doing a good job, they don’t have the skills you need for continuing growth (or that’s what you think).

As business leaders we are faced with all sort of day to day decisions, but how to attract the right people with the right skills at the right time is probably one of the critical decisions that we make without very much thought. All we know is that there is more work needed to be done, bigger targets to achieve, less time in the day to do all the things we need to do to clear the ‘to do list’. ‘Hey Presto’ we need to get somebody – anybody – to fill the gap. I am not suggesting that as business leaders we deliberately set out to recruit poor employees who are not motivated or committed, but we do and can make hasty decisions that may mean we have mediocre performers that may not be capable of developing further than their current level of capability. How often do we hear that a member of the team who was such a good sales person or technical expert, is now failing because they have been promoted to do a bigger job that entails managing people – we promote on the basis of the ‘Peter principle’, that is to the level of the person’s incompetence. It’s important that when you recruit either internally or externally that you know what will be expected within the role and then apply an assessment process to ensure that you have the right person doing the right job.

According to Jim Collins in his ‘Good to Great’ book, one of the principles of a ‘great’ company is  First Who… Then What Collins says, “People are not your most important asset. The right people are.” He uses the analogy of a bus driver to while describing how to create a winning team within your organization. He recommends that you first get the right people on the bus, and then you get the wrong people off the bus, then the right people in the right seats, and then figure out where you want to drive that bus. Hire people with characteristics you cannot easily instill. Focus on who you are paying, not how. He also recommends analyzing someone’s character, work ethic, intelligence, and dedication to their values before deeply analyzing credentials and practical skills

Let’s consider how some decisions to recruit are made. You have given some thought to the structure of the organisation and the people who are already in your employ. You have identified specific skills that are now needed within your business and so you write down what is needed in the form of a job description and the skills that are required of the person needed to do the job. Are we always that clear of the skills required to let someone new ‘onto the bus’? When did you last properly assess the skills of the staff who already work for you – are they the ‘right people but in the wrong seat’? Could this be an opportunity to let someone in your organisation use untapped strengths that you have not already identified. If you don’t currently review your staff and any potential job opportunities in this systematic way, you may miss out and lose good people in the future. Consider how this type of planning might help in the future growth of your business and team. Giving some thought to this early on in the process will help you to get (and keep) the right people in your business.

So what happened next? Consider the next two scenarios and determine what is likely to work best for your business. You have decided that you need to look externally so…….

a. You have met someone at a networking event or you have been told by a friend that they know someone who might fit the bill, they seem OK, they are not working, they can start straight away – BINGO – problem solved. You know what you’re looking for – you have always been a good judge of character. You arrange a drink after work to ‘talk a few things through’ and the deal is done – sorted in less than a week.

…OR

b. You either advertise the job yourself or use a third party to recruit on your behalf, using the job specification to write a compelling job advertisement or a job brief for your recruitment partner. You then interview a number of shortlisted candidates against the criteria agreed, make your decision based on criteria and evidence gained during that process. You may introduce other selection criteria at this juncture – assessment centres, psychometric profiling, presentations to name but a few. The process is allowing you to determine that the individual is:

  • capable of doing the work to be done
  • inclined to work the way the organisation would wish them to work
  • mutual obligations and  expectations which are clearly defined from the beginning of the employment contract

Having considered the two scenarios described which method is likely to have the greatest effect on your business? Remember that from the moment you begin this activity you commence the employee engagement process – this sets the tone of the employee/employer relationship from the first exchange. It is important that whoever undertakes the selection process represents your business as you would expect to represent it yourself. Are you, or the person you have appointed, experienced in recruitment and selection processes?

Based on our experience there are some golden rules to consider, we have picked just 10. I am sure as you read them there will be others that you would expect to consider. Let us know, your comments are important to us.

10 Top tips on getting recruitment right:

  1. Make sure you know what skills you need to recruit, don’t leave it up to ‘I know what I want when I see it.’
  2. Have a clear job specification or role profile – for all parties involved in the process.
  3. If you have an external brand, incorporating mission and values, ensure this is used within your attraction campaign.
  4. Make sure the attraction strategy matches the needs of the business. Do you have time and inclination to advertise the role yourself, handle the response, deal with all candidates yourself, arrange interviews or do you use a third party to  handle on your behalf. If you don’t have the time, or the skills,  get someone else to do it for you – there  is nothing worse than trying to handle a response of 200 plus applicants in a poor way – it damages your company’s reputation from the outset.
  5. When it comes to interviewing the candidates yourself, ensure you have a consistent set of questions which demonstrates that you treat all candidates fairly, it’s good practice for 2 people to conduct the interview, making notes to assist with the  decision making process.
  6. Make sure that any other assessment tools used are relevant for the job being recruited. Why give someone a verbal reasoning and numerical test – if the job they are going to be employed to do doesn’t require those skills. Don’t test just for the sake of it – it has to be relevant.
  7. Have an agreed  set of criteria for selection purposes, so that you can determine the best person for the job based on their technical skills as well as broader  competencies required for the job. Remember Jim Collins’ recommendation – Hire people with characteristics you cannot easily instill. Focus on who you are paying, not how. He also recommends analyzing someone’s character, work ethic, intelligence, and dedication to their values before deeply analyzing credentials and practical skills.
  8. If no one meets the criteria – just don’t hire someone just for the sake of it. Start again. Wrong decisions may end up being costly, particularly if you need then to embark  on a performance management route, or ‘let someone go’ before the end of  their probationary period.
  9. You make a selection decision,  so make sure you take up references – use third parties to undertake this  activity if you don’t have the resources . Agree what references you want  to take that are likely to be a requirement for your business. Do you need credit checks, Criminal Records Bureau, Qualifications as well as employment  references.
  10. Agree the offer and ensure that  the appropriate paperwork is despatched and begin the preparation of inducting the new team member into the team.

Finally, if this is the first time you are embarking upon recruiting someone into your business, you need to make sure you have relevant documentation; contracts, terms and conditions of employment and a staff handbook, which describes what is expected or someone in your employ and what they can expect from you.

If in the past you have made recruitment decisions that have not been as successful as you would have hoped, or you are just thinking about recruiting someone for the first time and you need to know the implications, then call me on 07771 944676 or email lisa@triplethreesolutions.co.uk to have a no obligation discussion as to how ‘getting the right people on the bus’ forms part of your on-going recruitment strategy.

Getting people ‘off the bus’…. now that’s a completely different blog and conversation!!

Get in touch and ask us to conduct a FREE Business Evaluation Meeting and find out about our unique way of designing and implementing strategies to generate sustainable business improvement.

10 Top Tips To Consider When Arranging and End Of Year Party by Lisa Gibson from Triple Three Solutions

1. The invite

Remember that Christmas is a Christian holiday, so do not insist that all staff attend the Christmas party.  An ‘end of year party’ may be more appropriate, but do not pressure someone to attend if they don’t want to on the grounds of religion. If the event is out of hours, also remember that some people have family responsibilities that may prevent attendance.

Secret Santa gifts, although a fun way of exchanging gifts, if inappropriate (notably underwear and sexy toys) may cause offence. These types of gifts  have sparked complaints in the past. As a precaution ask staff to ensure that all gifts are inoffensive.

2. Decorating the office

Use a stepladder to put up decorations – no skateboarding on a swivel chair across the office please.  Don’t hang the tinsel on computers or other sources of heat; and don’t decorate emergency exit signs.

The TUC and Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) warn that your insurance may not cover damage caused by untested electrical equipment – so despite the fact that they brighten up the office on cold, miserable winter days, do remember to switch off those tree lights before going home.

Other festive hazards, and yes it’s hard to believe, include; party balloons, they can kill around 3.6 million people in Britain who suffer from some degree of latex allergy. Over 1,000 people were injured by Christmas trees in 2002, so make sure they are
secure and won’t be knocked over by people passing by or pulling cables.

Fresh party food should be kept in a fridge before the party; use paper cups, not glasses; move computers out of range of spillages; and avoid indoor fireworks, flaming puddings, candles and smoking. You would be amazed what some people will do to light up the party – make sure they don’t ‘light up the building’.

3. Free booze

Employers providing free drink or putting a credit card behind a bar should be careful. In one case, three employees of the Whitbread Beer Company got drunk and had a fight after a seminar on improving behavioural skills. They successfully argued that their resulting dismissals were unfair. A relevant factor was that the employer had provided a free bar – and thus condoned their behaviour. Also remember that not everyone drinks alcohol, ensure that there are drinks to suit everyone’s preferences.

4. Age limits

Keep an eye out for the apprentice or junior in your office. Employers and managers alike cannot allow under-18s to drink. In an extreme example, an employer was found responsible for the death of a girl at the office party due to alcohol poisoning.

5. Tables and photocopiers

Now those of you who traditionally like to dance on desks, beware that this activity is likely to cause damage to property and people.  It amounts to misuse of company property, additionally you can fall off the table and severely hurt yourself, you don’t want to wind up in hospital for Christmas. Photocopying of body parts and other leisure activities on such surfaces may result in misuse of company property. Make it clear that such activities will not be tolerated or that certain parts of the office are out of bounds on the night of the party.

6. Don’t ignore drugs in the loos or anywhere else for that matter.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971, it is an offence for an employer to knowingly permit or even to ignore the use, production or supply of any controlled drugs, from cannabis to cocaine, taking place on their premises. There is also the possibility you will be in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

7. Misguided by mistletoe

Your staff policies on bullying and harassment and discrimination still apply at the office party. Just make sure everyone knows this and knows what they are. This is one reason why mistletoe is dangerous. A survey reported by ContractorUK found that, while 80% of women would laugh off a pass made by a male co-worker, boss or client, 13% would lodge a complaint. One person’s perception of a ‘bit of fun’ is another’s perception of ‘harassment’.

An extreme example of such misbehavior involved a man telling a female colleague that she “needed a good man,” adding that he would like to try her out in bed. At the Christmas party, the man pulled her dress down and made disparaging comments. A claim of sexual harassment succeeded and an award of £10,000 was made for injury to feelings.

The laws on discrimination apply at the office party regardless of location. So when one man told a female colleague, “f****** hell, you look worth one” at an after-work leaving event taking place in a local pub, the tribunal had little difficulty in ruling that it was in the course of employment and therefore discriminatory.

Employers can find that they end up paying for unwanted advances between co-workers if tribunals characterise the behavior as evidence of a culture of vicimisation or harassment.

Sometimes misconduct will be clear. In one case, a senior manager drank heavily at the Christmas party, assaulted some colleagues and told the director to “stick his f****** job up his arse.” He was thrown out and broke the window of a pensioner’s house.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, his claim for unfair dismissal failed. But don’t overlook the behaviour of others. For example, if your party budget extends to an after-dinner speaker, choose carefully. A comedian performed for one company, the host hotel was deemed liable for the offence caused to Afro-Caribbean waitresses by the comedian’s racist jokes.

8. Manage expectations

Alcohol can cause some people to do and say ‘daft’ things, ensure that your staff don’t underake ‘performance reviews’ during the office party. In one case, an employee claimed his boss had promised him a higher salary “in due course” during a chat at the Christmas party. His pay remained static so he quit and claimed constructive dismissal. The employer won the case but only because the nature of the promise was vague. It was a lucky escape as a promise made at a Christmas party is still a promise.

A similar issue is the Christmas bonus. If you have paid a discretionary Christmas bonus for several years, staff can argue that it has become contractual through custom and practice. So if times have been tough and you can’t afford to pay a bonus this year, tell staff why you feel unable to pay it and try to agree a solution. ACAS suggests that you could offer to pay a proportion of the bonus or stagger payments in the next few months; or you could offer to pay the drinks bill at the Christmas party (but be mindful of Top Tip 3 & 4).

9. Getting home

If a member of staff has clearly drunk too much at the office Christmas party and plans to drive home, don’t let them, the employer needs to take responsibility. ACAS points out that he has a duty of care to his employees – and because it’s the company’s party, he must think about travel arrangements. Consider ending the party before public transport stops running; or provide the phone numbers for local cab companies and encourage staff to use them. This doesn’t mean you have to pay for the cabs, just make sure that there are cabs available.

10. The morning after

If the party is mid-week and people are expected in work the next day, ACAS recommends that you provide plenty of non-alcoholic drinks and food. Before the party, ensure that all staff know that disciplinary action could be taken if they fail to turn up for work because of over-indulging. The alternative is to arrange for an evening when there is no work the next day.

Liquid lunches are another risk. If there is urgent work to be done, disciplinary action may be appropriate if staff are late back to the office or intoxicated. But bosses must be careful: a history of festive tolerance could be used as evidence that disciplinary action against an individual is unfair.

Also ensure that proper procedures are followed. At an Ardyne Scaffolding Christmas lunch in the early 1990s, a worker returned a few hours late to work after drinking too much. It was the day before the Christmas holiday was due to begin. Ardyne Scaffolding saw this as gross misconduct but decided to tell the employee after he had sobered up – which meant waiting until after the Christmas holiday. The worker learned of the dismissal through gossip during the holiday and claimed unfair dismissal. He won. The Employment Appeals Tribunal decided that, while it was reasonable to wait for Mr Rennie to sober up before being told that he would be dismissed, and while the holiday had complicated matters, this did not justify a failure to follow a clear procedure.

When all is said and done, it is about taking a sensible approach to dealing with events surrounding this holiday period and any event arranged by the Comapny. So instead of ‘Bah Humbug’ let me wish all of my readers a very HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON and enjoy ‘the do’.

 If you don’t recognise any of the policies I refer to in this blog, contact me and I can help you ensure that you have the appropriate policies in place and help to minimise the risks associated with these events. lisa@triplethreesolutions.co.uk

Statistics and legal references obtained via www.Out-Law.com

The Business Case for Going Green

Reasons For Going Green

Potential costs savings, meeting business supply contracts, brand advantages, reaching green consumers and increasing sales revenue by introducing environmentally friendly products. In this article I cover he human resource aspects in attracting and retaining good employees. The green consumer phenomenon is here to stay and you need to be sure that your personal view does not hinder growth opportunities for your organization that could see it lose market share to competitors who are quick to capitalize on the benefits of adopting sustainable practices.

Attracting Potential Employees

One of the major advantages in adopting sustainable or green practices is the message that it portrays to the general public, customers and potential customers. However this message also reaches those who are seeking employment and in industries experiencing severe skills shortages, it could be a major factor in attracting good employees to your organization. University and college graduates are particularly influenced by an organization’s stance on the environment and are more likely to be drawn to a business that has an established and well documented view on combating climate change and other social issues. This is backed up by the results of the 2007 survey by Monster TRAK that found that:

  • 92% of graduating students indicated they would be more interested in working for an organization that is environmentally friendly
  • 80% of students are currently looking to work in an organization that makes a positive impact on the environment
  • 32% of students are currently looking for a job in an environmentally friendly role

These survey results are of no surprise given that members of the younger generation are more educated on the impacts of climate change and will bear the brunt of further severe weather conditions as the planet continues to warm.

Retaining Existing Employees

Existing employees can also be influenced by your environmental or corporate social responsibility programs. There are many case studies of high staff satisfaction levels from staff surveys of organizations that are known for their sustainability approach. Employees are more likely to be proud of working for an organization that regularly receives accolades for putting back to the community or assisting in the fight against climate change. This in turn leads to an improved level of engagement by employees and closer working relationship between employees and employer. Once again in tight labour markets, this could become a major factor in retaining valued employees and mitigates the risk of rival competitors poaching key employees. It is well documented that replacing staff members is a costly exercise when training costs and learning curves are taken into account.

Conclusion

In circumstances when your competitors are offering identical pay and working conditions, your environmental strategies may be a key factor in attracting and retaining valued employees. As a result your environmental strategies should be widely communicated both externally and internally in order to improve your corporate brand as well as your employee brand.

Next Steps

In the next series of articles I will go through the six P’s of going green for business, covering the areas of Power, Petrol, Paper, Products, People and Partnerships.