Archive for the 'Team Management' Category

Financial fitness courses return a 3-1 ROI for employers and $500 for employees

In this day and age, getting highly qualiofied and capable staff is harder and harder. Some innovative employers are now reaching out to financial professionals to add value to their employee benefits program with financial fitness courses. One expert claims  it provides a 3-to-1 return on investment for employers and benefits employees $500 in the first year alone. That’s a win-win if ever I saw one!

To read the original article, click here.

 

 

Why I get people to write their own letters of reference

If you’ve subscribed or followed my blogs, you know by now about my concept of antimimeticisomorphism – Doing out-of-the-ordinary things to create extra-ordinary results with the least amount of effort and lowest cost.

Early in my career, a mentor got me to write my own letter of reference. He explained that as the requestor and benefactor, it was up to me to do the “heavy lifting”. I was quite taken aback, but what he said next made a lot of sense. Since he hired and worked with a lot of people, if he acquiesced to all the people who made the request, he would spend dozens and maybe even hundreds of hours a year… Doing people “a favour”.

Instead, he cut back the letters to +/- half and spent that time saved to edit and personalise the ones that were submitted to him to a much greater level of detail and relevance.

I have followed this wise approach in my 30+ year-long career realising that there are other benefits. First, I too have found half of the people won’t come back with a letter to be edited. Second, their self-perception of what they think they did can be quite shockingly distorted or pleasantly insightful and revealing. In the former instance, it can be quite awkward (but necessary) to make the edits and in the former I can further highlight those elements that I would otherwise not have considered.

Letters of reference are not worth much since we all know we get them from people who like and appreciate what we did for or with them. There is some credence to accumulating them in large numbers since the volume of positive references is, by itself testimony to excellence and consistency. Someone who can convince 10, 20 or 30 people to provide a letter of reference has to be better than one who cannot or has not had the initiative or forethought to do so.

Of course, when the first draft comes to you, it’s your responsibility to edit it, re-write and edit it in your own voice and style – ensuring it is both accurate and representative of the person you are attaching to your name and reputation.

Yes, sometimes I have refused to write a letter – even for someone who did an “OK” job because for me, “OK” is not good enough for me to associate myself with that person.

One last comment worthy to note – some people will take offence to this approach. You need to “own this approach” to overcome that response. My view is anyone who takes offence has made that choice and as such doesn’t understand what I have explained above. Explaining why is absolutely necessary.

What is also necessary is to no accept the guilt trip many people will try to bestow on you. The most common comments include:

  • “But I worked for you for X years and it’s the least you could do.”
  • “It will only take you 10 minutes…”
  • “Everyone else I asked did it for me, why won’t you?”
  • “I wouldn’t know where to start and I am not comfortable blowing my one trumpet.”
  • “You know me better than I know myself and you’re written more references letters than I have.”
Admittedly, sticking to this “principle” is not easy – but I believe it’s necessary if you want to elevate your relationships to a higher level of character and integrity – especially in this superficial world of false friendships and the proliferation of fake “testimonials and reviews”.
Of course I match the person’s contribution with my own. I once had someone submit a one-liner, which I edited and sent back as a one-liner…!
As a referrer, you’re either part of the problem (perpetuating it with a quick, worthless letter) or part of the solution with a well-developed and meaningful assessment that transcends the standard letter of reference. Something the reader will acknowledge is “different”.
But please let be known, I am biased. I have seen the differences in my 30+ year career. The longest letters I created were for people who are still friends or acquaintances and anecdotally they’ve been considerably more ‘successful’ in their careers. Part of it might be their flexibility to adapt to new situations and circumstances, like this one.

9 Ways To Spot A Sociopath

This is a great article worth reading if you have someone creating havoc in your life at home or at work. Sociopaths are not all the same, but they do have telltale signs: Here are 9 ways to spot a sociopath.

 

 

Are you ready for PRIME TIME?

One of the key concepts of Personal Productivity Principles is the concept of PRIME TIME.

Every time you have a task to do, you have to weigh the time/cost – value equation against your own “productivity expectation” and determine WHEN to do it.

PRIME TIME is best explained with a telemarketing/sales example:

  • PRIME TIME = whenever contact (calls) can be made.
  • NON- PRIME TIME = the rest of the time.

A top gun salesperson (or highly effective business person) only does PRIME TIME TASKS IN PRIME TIME and vice versa.

For example:

  • Reports, time management, scheduling is done early in the morning (NON-PRIME TIME)
  • Calls are made during the day  – maybe even during LUNCH TIME when people have time to talk (PRIME TIME)
  • Paperwork, planning, educational and development tasks are done in the evenings and/or weekends (NON-PRIME TIME)

It’s all pretty SIMPLE to understand – harder to actually do – because most people don’t know what their PRIME TIME tasks/outcomes are.

Once you know your PURPOSE / OUTCOME, everything should fall into place…

But it’s all easier said than done – unless you have a SYSTEMISED approach to time/life management.

Of course, when time permits, NON-PRIME TIME tasks CAN be done in PRIME TIME as long as they don’t interfere with PRIME TIME TASKS.

If you want to learn more about these principles, contact us. These are skills we teach within our Platinum Program.

Praise At Work

I am not an advocate of feeding Praise Junkies as spotlighted in the BBC article hyperlinked, but praise does go a long way to motivating employees. Here is a useful infographic to help you motivate your team.
The_Importance_of_Appreciating_Employees

Interview Question To Test A Candidate

Here’s a quick quiz to get your (mental) hamster working…

I have used mini tests (quizzes) like this math quiz for years in Interviews… You can find thousands of them online, especially on Lumosity.com

Go ahead and have a look, try to solve it and then come back so I can explain WHAT you are looking for to determine a person’s skill, ability AND personality.

Continue reading ‘Interview Question To Test A Candidate’

Recruiting Engaged Employees

Almost all of the research conducted on engagement has so far focused on what leaders can do to engage their employees.

  • But what if it were possible to recruit people who could actually engage themselves?
  • In other words, are there specific characteristics some employees have that make them inherently more engage-able?

The answer, of course, is yes.  And that has just been demonstrated in a new study conducted by psychologists at the University College London.  The researchers assessed over 1,000 adults and they discovered there are seven personality traits that predict whether an employee is more likely to be engaged.  The results are as follows:

  1. Emotional intelligence:  This is the biggest predictor of engagement.  It reflects employees who can control and understand their own emotions as well as those of their colleagues.
  2. Openness to experience:  This is the second-biggest predictor.  That’s because employees brave enough to embrace new opportunities have higher reserves of resilience.
  3. Extraversion:  Extraverted people are less likely to be affected by emotional exhaustion and cynicism, the absence of which ramps up their energy.
  4. Conscientiousness:  Conscientious individuals are predisposed to being engaged because they’re less likely to allow interferences to get in the way of their commitment.
  5. Interpersonal sensitivity:  An interpersonally sensitive team member is one who can maintain sound relationships with colleagues and can communicate in a tactful manner.
  6. Adjustment:  If an employee has the ability to remain calm under pressure, that individual is said to have a high rate of adjustment.  And subsequently greater engagement.
  7. Ambition:  The more competitive someone is – or the more they aspire to progress further in an organisation – the more inclined they’ll be to push themselves into an engaged state.

So what does this mean from a recruitment perspective?

Four things.

  1. Incorporate questions into your interview guide that enable you to ascertain the degree to which a candidate is high on those seven attributes.
  2. Since emotional intelligence is of supreme importance, consider including an EQ questionnaire as part of the recruitment process.
  3. Be mindful you’re not over-emphasising aptitude over attitude in your hiring decisions.  Those seven traits could outshine any technical shortfalls.
  4. Think about providing developmental opportunities to your current employees so they, too, can learn how to adopt those characteristics.

It’s also worth considering whether you, as the leader, are high or low on those attributes.

A good place to start is with emotional intelligence.  Because there are few things more disengaging than an emotionally unintelligent boss.

Original Article Source: James Adonis

Provided By: Mark Mackenzie of Graffiti Eaters.

Unhappy Employees = Unprofitable Business

We understand the logic:

Unhappy employees = unproductive employees = an unprofitable business

The issue begins when we deal with employees as a GROUP – Employees only exist as individuals, just like you EXIST right now, reading this sentence. ONE person at a time is reading this sentence. Even though there might be several or even thousands doing it at the same time, each is doing it in-div-id-u-al-ly.

Too many managers and HR people forget this very important aspect.

This is a “problem” only solved at the personal level with greater initiative, motivation, enthusiasm, encouragement and accountability.

It is a BIG problem, no doubt about it. The first step, in my book, is to have each person on your team or organisation become “purpose driven”, which simply means having their reason for coming into the office aligned with their personal goals, dreams and ambitions. My “My Best Year Ever Program” is one of the first steps I recommend to all my clients, for their own personal planning, but more importantly for their staff to get focused and clear on what they want out of life and consequently their jobs and careers.

the-high-cost-of-unhappy-employees-infographic

You are more committed to being sick than achieving your dream(s)

I bet you’re skeptical, even defiant this is not the case. Surely you want your dreams to come true more than you want to be sick…

Maybe, maybe not.

Sick Leave Cartoon

Let me explain.

I know a lot of busy people. People who complain they don’t have any time to do anything, especially the things necessary for their dreams to come true. The investments in time, money and effort to create the lifestyle you dream about.

These same people keep telling me “If only I had more time, I could be successful… blah, blah, blah.”

Then they get sick. It might be for a day or a weekend. They lie in bed, recuperate and get back to work.

So they have TIME to get sick, but not enough time to CREATE THEIR DREAMS.

Has the penny dropped?

Here’s the thing most people don’t get. When you fall sick, you DON’T HAVE A CHOICE BUT TO REST AND RECOVER. Yet regardless of how busy you are – you do it.

That’s why you’re more committed to being sick than achieving your goals – you simply don’t make the time because it’s not a “MUST” for you.

Every successful person out there who reads this “gets it”. They make “success” their priority – not tasks and to do lists that are thrown upon them.

Give it some serious thought – your health depends on it!

Psst! Did you know that successful people are statistically healthier than less successful people? Interesting isn’t it?!?!

How To Have A Culturally Sensitive Workplace

Modern society is a diverse, multicultural mix of people from different backgrounds and belief systems. There has been a lot of focus on anti-discrimination in the workplace in recent years, but in addition to providing equal employment opportunity, it’s crucial that your company values and supports cultural diversity. Read on to find out some pointers towards ensuring your workplace is providing an inclusive, culturally sensitive working environment.

Workplace  Diversity - Phil Whitehouse

Workplace Diversity – Phil Whitehouse

Engage Professional HR Consultants

Reputable human resource firms are not just there to help with recruitment. They also provide valuable training, coaching and workshopping to help develop your team to not only perform their jobs well, but also work together as a collaborative, accepting and productive team.

Visit www.chandlermacleod.com for more information about how outsourcing some of your HR can help your organisation to be more culturally sensitive.

Reputable HR firms will also help with understanding your HR Training Software.

Encourage Teamwork

When teams truly work together harmoniously and productively towards a common goal, the lines of communication are more open between one another and potential issues get discussed, not argued over. Team building exercises can be formal (e.g. planned, structured sessions with a facilitator) and informal (casual social style events like a lunch or BBQ) or a combination of both, but should be part of your long term, ongoing organisational development plans.

Educate Employees

Education can go a long way in ensuring a harmonious, inclusive working environment. It’s essential to make sure that you have a robust induction program in place that adequately equips new staff members to integrate into the workplace before they start. Regular refresher training with existing staff or conducting some workshops into working with people from different backgrounds and cultures across the business can also be beneficial to having a harmonious workplace. .

Set An Example

Management need to conduct themselves in the same way they expect employees to behave, especially when under duress. Regardless of the company’s expressed values, often the actual organisational culture is a reflection on management’s language, beliefs and behaviours. Ensure you and your team leaders/managers are leading by example.

Remember Everyone Is An Individual

Just as with religion where someone may identify as belonging to a particular faith but not agree with or practice all of the traditions associated with it, there are often variations on how individuals embrace their cultural heritage. While managers should be communicating one on one with their team regularly anyway, make sure you ask them what their personal preferences are before making any assumptions about their needs and beliefs.

Often it is a lack of awareness and understanding, not intolerance, that can cause issues relating to cultural sensitivity in the workplace. Including values that embrace and celebrate diversity and individuals in the company’s operating ethos is one part of the process. Ensuring that the way you actually go about the business lives up to those ideals is also an essential part of creating an inclusive, culturally sensitive and above all else, well performing workplace.

How would you rate your workplace’s cultural sensitivity?

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