Each week we scour the web to find you the most informative, inspirational, and insightful articles about Motivation, Morale, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Followership, Strategy and Culture. Then we edit them into bite-size chunks, to give you the essentials without the fluff. Here are this week’s must reads:

5 Things Leaders Do That Alienate Their Teams – 3rd August

Bases on a study of over 2,000 adults, this article in Entrepreneur suggests that leaders are lacking in some key communication skills. More than two thirds of employees who have an element of virtual working said to keep them engaged, managers need to communicate with them better.  Common mistakes include:

  • Not being open
  • Relying on email
  • Failing to build relationships
  • Moving too slowly to address conflict
  • Not asking for feedback

Tough Love Performance Management – 3rd  August

There’s growing evidence that conventional performance reviews are not working. Most performance management systems are simply too cumbersome and formal for today’s startup world; however, it is important to do these reviews to maintain a direct connection to your team.
The author approached the performance review issue as a design problem looking at different ways to change the process, including: how feedback is given, the interview duration, who leads during a performance review, what the end goal is, and how often reviews occur.
What emerged was what they now call their “Tough Love Reviews” – 10-minute, one-on-one conversation with each employee. Here’s how they work.

  1. The reviewer creates a spreadsheet with the following columns:
    1. Column 1: Employee Name
    2. Column 2: Tough—Two or three trigger words or phrases to serve as reminders during the review. Include performance issues, goals missed, interpersonal issues, and/or general quality of work feedback if it needs improvement.
    3. Column 3: Love—Again, focus on two or three key words. Think highlights, goals achieved, great work, recent accomplishments, or accolades from clients or team members.
  2. Now set up 10-minute meetings with each employee to go over the review.
    1. Minute 1: Explain that the goal of the review (to bring awareness of positive traits and areas to work on). The reviewer asks: “How do you like to receive feedback on a scale of 1 to 10? 1 is gently and nurturing, 10 is pointed and direct.”
    2. Minutes 2-4: For responses 7 or higher, start with Tough. For 4 or lower begin with Love. Those who respond in the middle, 5 or 6, get this question, “What do you think needs work?” which mostly brings Tough to the forefront.
    3. Minutes 4-6: Switch to the remaining section, either Tough or Love.
    4. Minutes 7-10:  Let the employee take the driver’s seat and provide whatever response they want to close out the review session.

Approaching reviews this way gives bosses a meaningful touchpoint with each employee to thank them for the great work they do—and helps employees figure out what is holding them back from realizing their potential so they can help their career, and the company, flourish.

Career Path Enablement Is Key In The Human Age – 2nd August

Loyalty is a two-way street, writes Kevin Kruse. It is worth taking a hard look at whether the value your company offers employees still aligns what they (especially high potentials) are looking for. You can only reduce future employee turnover by accepting “blame” yourself.

According to a new report from Right Management, Fulfilling Careers Instead of Filling Jobs: How Successful Companies Are Winning The Competition For Talent In The Human Age, companies that train managers to deliver career conversations and development opportunities, have;

  • 29% higher revenue
  • lower turnover and talent acquisition costs
  • and stronger customer loyalty.

So what’s an employer to do?

  1. Enable Employees – Help them manage their own careers in ways that increase their engagement and drive value for the organization.
  2. Conduct Ongoing Career Conversations – Train managers how to have meaningful career conversations, sometimes known as “stay interviews,” and make it a requirement that is tracked and measured for success.
  3. Create Individual Career Maps – Create individual career advancement plans for key talent based on the alignment between the organization’s strategic goals and the employee’s career aspirations.
  4. Facilitate Peer To Peer Coaching – Engage everyone in the shared goal of career development using tools such as peer to peer coaching that offers greater visibility and access to opportunities within the organization.

Unless companies make a conscious effort to incorporate effective employee development techniques into their management strategies, they will continue to have low engagement and will struggle to recruit and retain top talent going forward.

Take a look at our Take Charge of Your Career Workshop to see how you can apply these principles in your organisation…tomorrow.

6 Traits of An Engaged Employee – 1st August

Margaret Jacoby lists a few traits that define an engaged employee and that play an essential part in the ultimate success of a business.

  • Mutual Trust – Trust is the backbone of success in any organization regardless of how big or small it is. Letting employees do their tasks without telling them how to do it is one of the best ways to engage your staff. A well-engaged workforce can perform its task with mutual help and trust and needs very little direction at each step.
  • Credible Leadership – An engaged workforce does not only demonstrate credible leadership traits in routine tasks, but also comes up with groundbreaking ways to deal with situational crises and emergencies.
  • Job and Career Satisfaction – Job and career fulfillment is one of the chief characteristics of an engaged employee. Employees who are satisfied with their career and the progress of their career opt to stick with a business for a significant period of time. Energized employees try to work a little bit harder and smarter and put a smile on people’s faces and into client relationships.
  • Focused and Keen to Take Up Challenges – An engaged employee is wholly attentive and knows when to take action and why. He or she is excited to take on a new challenge in order to crack the existing problem in the organization as well acquire new skills and knowledge.
  • Problem Solving Attitude – Employee engagement promotes a culture of unity and belongingness towards the organization and makes it the task of every employee to make an effort in solving any potential problems that might pose an obstacle in a business’s path to success.
  • Better Performance – Finally, employee engagement is the direct linkage between poor and better performance. In fact, employee engagement is the only effective way of measuring involvement, dedication, and performance of employees.

4 Tips for Getting the Most from Your Employee Engagement Survey – 31 July

Blessing White have just released a blog post offering 4 tips to make the best use of your investment in employee engagement surveys.  A brief summary of the tips are:

  1. Be clear about the objectives the survey is attempting to contribute towards.
  2. Keep the survey concise and focus on the bigger picture
  3. Think through the demographics carefully in advance
  4. Spend more time on action rather than analysis

You can read more about the tips here.

Development should be embedded into SMEs says CIPD – 31st July

As part of their report Recruiting and Developing People for SME Growth, the CIPD  (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development) recommends that development becomes an implicit part of an organisations culture.  Read More

7 Ways to Improve Employee Development Programs – 31st July

Many executives grapple with how to improve and enhance their effectiveness. To better understand this problem, the author’s consulting firm did a thorough review of recent research into learning and development programs, followed by a structured survey with top training executives at 16 major corporations in a diverse set of industries, ranging in size from $1 billion to $55 billion in annual revenues. They also interviewed leaders of executive education programs at several leading universities. From this research they observed 7 challenges companies must meet to create development programs that really work:

  1. Ignite managers’ passion to coach their employees.
  2. Deal with the short-shelf life of learning and development needs.
  3. Teach employees to own their career development.
  4. Provide flexible learning options.
  5. Serve the learning needs of more virtual teams.
  6. Build trust in organizational leadership.
  7. Match different learning options to different learning styles.

By clearly understanding the trends emerging in learning and development programs, leaders can better position their companies to select the right targeted solutions to drive results, increase employee engagement, and increase innovation and productivity.

Culture, Brand, Engagement: How Benefits Support HR’s Three-Legged Stool – 31st July

You know the old three-legged stool metaphor: you can’t sit down if one of those legs is off. In HR terms, that means culture, brand and engagement. All three are closely, intrinsically related; even more so given the new world of work.  In this radically changing world, HR knows it needs to undergo a radical readjustment.

But as Deloitte has discovered, whilst 71% of their respondees stressed the importance of reinventing their HR, only 42% said they felt actually prepared and ready to do it – a 30% gap between perception and action.

One firm that is successfully changing its HR approach is Netflix. Meghan M. Biro writing for forbes.com shares her insights in to what’s happening at Netflix.

A Quick Guide To Effective Employee Engagement – 30th July

You wouldn’t be a company if you didn’t have employees. And, if you want to be successful in business, you need employees who are effective, engaged, and excited to contribute. But how can you get your employees engaged?

From business2community.com, there are two main steps to effective employee engagement:

Step 1. Build a Culture That Prioritizes Employees.
Your company culture needs to prioritize employees– there’s no other way to get effective employee engagement.

Create Values, And Live By Them

Step 2. Implement Company-Wide Programming
Once you’ve built a company culture that prioritizes employee, you need to implement company-wide programming that ensures your core values are followed.

Read this guide in full for the detail on how to take these steps.

What are the Business Benefits of Being More Transparent? – 29th July


Adopting an open leadership style can bring enormous benefits in terms of company culture, employee engagement, customer loyalty and productivity, writes Simon Hayward, chief executive of UK firm Cirrus for last week’s Guardian.

Stop Trying to Please Everyone – 29th July

Many of us are familiar with the concept of Getting to Yes, an iconic negotiation strategy developed by Harvard professor Roger Fisher and others. For many managers, however, the more difficult day-to-day challenge is “getting to no” which is what we call the process for agreeing on what not to do.
While saying yes to every assignment may initially please line managers, it usually leaves people over-stressed and inundated with work.
The other key lesson is to remember is that it’s okay to raise questions and push back on assignments and requests, even if it feels somewhat scary to do, such as when you’re answering to powerful people
Sure it’s easier to just say “yes” in the short-term; but taking on an assignment that you don’t have the bandwidth for, or ones that will compromise other key goals, won’t make anyone feel good about you in the long run — and it won’t help your organization achieve its goals. That’s why “getting to no” is such a critical challenge to master.

About Emenex

We help you make your people great.

Emenex enables organisations to get the best from and for their staff. Leaders approach us when they have challenges associated with motivation, productivity, retention, talent management and succession planning. They know that addressing these critical issues delivers higher levels of profit, productivity and customer satisfaction. They also know that a more progressive solution is required – one that delivers above and beyond expectations and enhances their brand with customers and staff alike. The solution our clients are choosing to implement is the extraMILETM Employee Engagement Programme.

The extraMILETM Employee Engagement Programme delivers all the tools and skills leaders need to clearly define and communicate organisational priorities to employees. For employees, it ensures they are prepared and able to align their personal and career goals to the priorities of the organisation. The continued growth and development of both teams and individuals builds loyalty, commitment and engagement. It builds an organisation better able to meet future challenges and leads to higher performance and customer satisfaction.

The result? Individuals and their organisation excel. Get in touch to find out more.

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