Open communication and company transparency…when is it too much?

While working with lots of companies and in particular companies which  are highly motivated to boost sales, revenues, employee motivation and overall employee engagement, it is common to “let staff in” to the trials, struggles and future plans to help them understand the whole picture of the day-to-day operations as well as the overall company goals.

But when is too much information detrimental? How can too much information actually reduce employee motivation and engagement?

  • Discussing financials struggles: difficulties paying staff on pay periods, in ability to purchase necessities for the business to keep proper stock to maximize revenue, not rewarding or providing incentives due to lack of funds
  • Discussing staffing issues: frustrations regarding other staff, pitting staff members against each other, getting too close to staff personally (blurring the lines of boss & employee)
  • Discussing loss of interest in industry: possible sale of business, sourcing other job opportunities, complaining of dislikes
  • Discussing personal issues: communicating family dynamics, discussing personal situations, bringing personal life in to work with unfavorable attitude

While many of these topics for some people seem to be straight forward, common sense, off limit discussions to be having with employees , it is very easy for others to lose site of the big picture as some may believe this form of communication is beneficial. The belief that  “If I am honest with my staff, they will work harder, better and faster for me because they get what I am going through” is an easy belief to have.

However, every situation, company, relationship is a case by case scenario but this notion of “watching what you say ” is important and can greatly affect your working relationship with your staff, staff productivity and motivation and can instantly inflict the mindset of “WIIFM – What’s in it for me” mentality for staff. If they see the boss defeated in day-to-day mentality, what’s in it for them to remain positive, upbeat and productive?

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Manuals, Handbooks & Newsletters

How do your staff stay updated on the latest company developments? Do you find you are repeating yourself over and over again with your staff? What information is provided to your staff upon being hired to ensure they understand your company and the expectations and guidelines?

Some food for thought as often times (especially) with small business’ we find ourselves training, guiding and teaching staff on the fly. We rely heavily on our own knowledge of “how we want the company to run” and we rely on “how other staff want the company to run” but we often don’t have any physical centralized documentation for staff to review.

To ensure each and every staff member has all the information they need to work effectively and manage themselves on a daily basis in accordance to the company policies, we have to provide them with the tools and documentation to start them off right. If we keep relying on our ad hoc approach we find ourselves in a game of “telephone” where the information is passed from one staff to another and the more staff on hand the more distorted the information becomes. In the end, you find yourself cleaning up the mess, firing your staff because they have become ineffective and the process begins all over again.

Guide, train and educate your staff right the first time and have the necessary tools on hand to ensure your staff always have the correct information at their finger tips.

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Team Building

Wether your company is large, medium or small…Team Building is an essential part of your organizational culture. There is no time like the present to organize your next team building function.

Team Building Ideas….

Potluck at the office

Serving food at a homeless shelter

Taking a fitness class together

Bringing in a guest speaker

Head to a sporting event

Plan your Holiday Party

So many ways to re-connect with your team especially during this festive season. End the year with great moments with your team, leave 2011 behind knowing that you are a more cohesive unit.

Start 2012 off right!!!!

 

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What is Human Resources?

According to Wikipedia, Human Resources can be defined as:

“Human resources is a term used to describe the individuals who make up the workforce of an organization… Human resources is also the name of the function within an organization charged with the overall responsibility for implementing strategies and policies relating to the management of individuals (i.e. the human resources). This function title is often abbreviated to the initials “HR“.”

Human resources is a relatively modern management term, coined as late as the 1960s. [1] Human resources progressively became the more usual name for this function, in the first instance in the United States as well as multinational or international corporations, reflecting the adoption of a more quantitative as well as strategic approach to workforce management, demanded by corporate management to gain a competitive advantage, utilizing limited skilled and highly skilled workers.”

Doesn’t that sound very professional, very diplomatic, very broad and quite frankly, very intimidating. If I was a small business with no prior experience with Human Resources I would be overwhelmed just by reading the definition and would surely assume that HR is not something I need to worry about in my company.

The reality is however, HR is something EVERY company needs whether there are 2 staff members or 3000. HR is bringing together the knowledge, tools and information staff need to complete their jobs on a daily basis. HR is creating a team atmosphere amongst the staff to create confidence, motivation and high productivity, HR is the managing of staff payroll, tax deductions, disciplinary practices, hiring, firing and conducting reviews. We can’t forget HR also handles training (creation and implementation) along with developing new tools, policies and change within the organization as well as monitoring and implementing changes to employment standards.

HR is a complicated and complex area of business but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or daunting. With the help of outsourcing, all your HR needs can be met without having to complete the various tasks yourself. S & S HR Outsourcing is a company based on assisting small businesses expand their HR needs,  grow their HR needs and review, revise and change their HR needs.

The hardest part about owning a small business is getting started, the easiest part is having the knowledge that there are other small businesses available to help you along the way.

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Three things to consider…….

When it comes to HR in any company it’s not always about the policies, procedures, manuals, tools or systems that should be set in place but it is often about coming up with new, enticing, functional and economical ways to continually raise the morale in your organization. Whether large or small this is a concept every company must consider and continuously re-consider in order to move forward in a positive direction.

1) Treating your staff like staff……

Do you find your staff appear to be uninterested in their daily work or the company? Perhaps you find your staff appear to be uncommitted to the task at hand, the day-to-day activities or the general inter-office interactions? If so…ask yourself…what do I know about my staff? How do my staff spend their free time? What are the families of my staff like?

Sometimes you will find the issue does not lie with your staff but that the issue actually lies with you and your management team. If staff are treated like staff, expect them to treat their job like a job. If upper management doesn’t find a way to get to know the team, figure out what interests the team or involves themselves in “non-work” conversations with the team you begin to run the risk of staff treating the work like work. Without an additional outlet to communication, without the option to get to know you or you getting to know them, it’s difficult to explore the true personalities of your staff and have them express those personalities within the workplace. If staff can express themselves with other team members, including upper management, they begin to feel they belong to the group, rather than being ‘a single part’ of the group.

2) What company activities have you incorporated lately?

A great way to build team morale, motivation and a stronger internal culture is to get out of the office and do a group activity. It’s no surprise that in today’s world fitness activities are highly regarded as great ways to increase morale as well as helping create a healthier lifestyle. Moving and shaking with your staff in one form or another could be just what the Doctor ordered to boost your company morale and dust off the cobwebs of laughter, excitement and fun amongst you and your team. Such activities could include: Team sports, fitness classes, outdoor activities, bowling or even walking groups.

If you haven’t tried this technique lately or ever, it’s never to late to get your staff out of the office for the day, re-acquaint yourself with your team and your team with each other, brighten the spirits of the organization and have a good ol’ fashion time.

3) When was the last time your employees ideas were considered?

With all companies today, getting feedback, ideas, conducting surveys and gathering opinions from staff is crucial. By practicing employee involvement of company issues the overall morale and motivation of the team can grow exponentially. Think about it…When you are asked for your ideas or opinions and what you said is chosen or incorporated into the “big picture” how does that make you feel….EXACTLY… or as Oprah would say ‘I just had a Aha! moment”

Remember how that feels to know your ideas were used, remember how it feels to know that your opinions mattered, remember how it feels to know you have helped move the company forward…now think about what that could do for your company!

 

 

 

 

 

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How are you spending your day…..?

 

If I was a betting person I would conclude that as a business owner your day-to-day tasks, thoughts and energy is spent working through the following areas of your business:

Finance

Administrative paperwork

Supply orders

IT issues

Customer issues

Equipment issues

Competitor challenges

Promotions

Marketing & Advertising

These areas of business are constantly changing, presenting challenges and keeping us on our toes…but what about the STAFF?

When was the last time you spent time and energy on….

Employee engagement

Staff motivation

Team challenges

New training tools or refresher courses

Performance reviews

Positive feedback, appraisals and expressions of thanks

Reviewed compensation standards

Staff make up a huge part of  business and without them a business could not thrive. We need to remember and incorporate into our daily routines frequency in supporting our staff, encouraging our staff and providing tools for our staff so they can remain motivated, productive and HAPPY!

Remember…our staff are here for us…we are not here for them!

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Creating a job description….Difficult or Straightforward?

As business owners and managers we realize which tasks and skills are required for the position we are looking to fill however transferring that knowledge and ensuring the applicants or chosen candidate(s) understand what is required can become more difficult. Templates, guidelines and a solid pre-defined job description should be created to assist in a smoother hiring process and transfer of knowledge of the position requirements.

Generally speaking, a job description is a list consisting of the general task items,  functions, and responsibilities of a position as well as whom the employee will be reporting too, the skills required, preferred qualifications and compensation outline.

Sometimes however we don’t fully understand what we are looking for in a candidate or exactly what we want the position to entail; this is when a  job analysis should be conducted. It’s important to determine the skills, knowledge and abilities (KSA’s) required to be successful in the position in conjunction with ensuring the position’s duties fall in-line with the company goals moving forward.

In trying to maintain a level of transparency within your company, it is also helpful to include the company goals, current expectations, current company trends as well as expectations for the future.

Inevitably, job descriptions set the standard for what you expect of the employees and what the employees can expect from the company. Without job descriptions roles become blurred, tasks become forgotten and the company goals fall by the way side. Ensure your company remains on the right track by incorporating job descriptions today.

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