Promoting an ‘L&G’ Culture ~ Influential Admin Team Leaders (Part 2 of 2)

Cont’d from Promoting an ‘L&G’ Culture  ~ Influential Admin Team Leaders (Part 1 of 2)

“We should all pick up new skills, ideas, viewpoints, and ways of working every day”, Sir Richard Branson

Other ideas that your Admin Team Leader(s) can explore requires strong negotiating skills in dealing with program vendors with regards to licensing matters. Ideally, this is where your IT department comes into play, as they will be able to offer a wealth of information on this subject, including sharing their direct contacts.

Speaking of your IT department, it is this group of specialists that will guarantee relevant services are provided on your firm portal, assuming your firm has one.

If your firm does not yet have a portal, I would suggest that your Team Leaders meet to work out the commonalities among the administrative body for this team’s specific training programs and coaching needs.

He or she can then speak to the IT team to establish what is plausible. Armed with this knowledge, they could then present their plan to their administrators and HR team for discussion and implementation approvals.

These ideas may well present a more attention-grabbing and engaging atmosphere for your employees to learn and grow, as opposed to the use of the conventional external training and coaching settings that are costly, and often take your employees off-site.

Another approach to ponder, used throughout our history, although considered a touch unorthodox, is the system of bartering firm services for the desired equipment, training, coaching, or another requirement.

For example, if you have a significant number of employees requiring a particular training or coaching, I would contemplate attempting an exchange of services where possible with the high-ticket external training and coaching companies.

Depending on your industry, this exchange could look like offering free advertising, notably reduced printing costs, accounting services, or a significant discount on a myriad of other professional services.

While this method requires clever negotiations skills, the results would surely prove worthy, while creating a win-win situation for each party.

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Promoting an ‘L&G’ Culture ~ Influential Admin Team Leaders (Part 1 of 2)

“We should all pick up new skills, ideas, viewpoints, and ways of working every day”, Sir Richard Branson

http://www.theclci.com/products_PMMS-BSC04.htm

 

If you have an influential Admin Team Leader in place for your department(s), you are most fortunate.

An effective Admin Team Leader will listen to all of your concerns about your role; perhaps as yet unattainable tools or equipment, and of course, learning and growth training that encourage your career advancement.

The Team Leader is your ‘go-to’ to express any job-related issues, whether that looks like an associate concern, workload issues, overtime, or what have you.

While a Team Leader shoulders many responsibilities, their chief role is to make sure their assigned teams are operating efficiently and effectively, and thus, have the right programs and tools at their disposal to work at peak performance levels consistently.

Naturally, discontented employees are not going to stick with their departments or any firm that does not offer a culture of opportunity. Firms not operating in this culture are sure to face real and expensive employee retention issues.

The Admin Team Leader, operating within the firm budget guidelines, must be resourceful in sourcing either internal or external coaching and training resources, and cost-effective tools for the firm, while still offering value for your administrative teams.

Depending on the scale of your firm, and the number of employees requesting (or requiring) coaching and training, your Admin Team Leader(s) may wish to consider:

  1. Sourcing experts inside the firm network to present talks to your team;
  2. Reaching out to firm mentors and coaches, to see if they would be willing to discuss the connected issues and programs together with your team; and
  3. Negotiating in-house contracts for knowledgeable, competent program trainers to keep costs down.

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Is your Firm ‘Connecting’ with You?

Engaged Employees

Connected employees will stay with their firms, become a dedicated advocate of the firm, as well as proactively seek out viable ways to create a positive difference by contributing in some way to the bottom line of the firm’ financial success.

Connected employees can typically achieve higher performance levels with results attributable to their natural dedication and motivation. Therefore, I suggest that there is a remarkable link between connected employees and corporate profit margins.

Employee ‘connectedness’, or engagement is crucial to organizations that seek to not only retain valued employees but truly engage with their staff at all levels, thus increasing its level of performance.

Major Factors of Connection

Many organizational factors influence connected employees & employee retention, such as:

  • A culture of value and respect where outstanding work is valued;
  • Easily accessible, consistent, and constructive feedback and mentoring;
  • Adequate office tools and equipment to complete work responsibilities;
  • Fair and proper reward, recognition and incentive programs;
  • Opportunity for advancement and professional growth;
  • Readily available, and effective leadership;
  • Clear and definitive job expectations, and
  • Generating a high level of motivation.

Do you know how Engaged & Connected your Employees are today?

The first step is to learn what the present level of employee engagement is. The simplest and most convenient tool to measure this component may well be a Comprehensive Employee Satisfaction Survey, which is widely used in our corporations today.

A well-crafted and administered satisfaction survey allows you to understand at which level of engagement your employees are operating. Customizable employee surveys can offer you with a place to begin in your efforts to optimize employee engagement.

The key to successful employee satisfaction surveys is to pay close attention to the feedback from your employees. Typically, this is the only way to identify their specific concerns and issues.

When divisional or firm leaders listen, employees respond by changing behaviour and consciously become perceptibly more engaged, resulting in increased productivity and employee retention.

Engaged employees are more likely to be content in their roles, stay with the company, and consistently strive for higher levels of performance, and ultimately, of course, a promotion.

I believe that listening to your employees’ concepts, and acting on their contributions, coupled with actively involving employees in the decision-making process, are all key factors in realizing the coveted reward of employee engagement.

20 Sample Exit Interview Queries

From the employer’s perspective, the number one purpose of the exit interview is to learn and analyze the reasons for the employee’s departure, based on the premise that criticism is a helpful driver for organizational development. Good exit interviews should yield useful facts about the organization in terms of evaluating and improving all elements of the work environment, culture, systems and processes, management, development, et cetera.

Many employers overlook the opportunity that exit interviews offer; chiefly because exit interviews are often skipped, and starting them is a tough initiative to undertake, given the potentially subjective and ‘fuzzy’ nature of the results; the time involved to conduct them effectively; and the unspoken corporate wish to avoid criticism at all costs.

Exit interviews are nevertheless a unique opportunity for firms to analyze the opinions of departing personnel, who are generally more forthcoming, constructive, and objective than staff staying with the firm. In leaving an organization, departing employees feel liberated, and as such, departing employees offer a richer source of objective feedback than employed staff when responding to the typical staff attitude surveys.

Following are the ‘sample’ queries to consider for your Exit Interview Strategy:

  1. What triggered you to look for a new job initially?
  2. What is the core reason that prompted you to resign?
  3. Was a single event responsible for your decision to leave us? If so, what was it?
  4. What did your new firm offer you that encouraged you to accept their offer?
  5. The quality of supervision is important to most people at work. How was your relationship with your manager?
  6. How was your relationship with your co-workers and assigned team leader?
  7. What could your team leader do to improve his or her management style and skill sets?
  8. What did you enjoy most about your job here?
  9. What did you dislike about your job? What would you change about the job’ tasks and expectations?
  10. Were your job responsibilities outlined accurately during the interview process and orientation?
  11. Do you feel you had the tools, resources, and support necessary to perform your job effectively? If not, what was missing?
  12. We try to be an employee-oriented firm where our employees experience positive morale and motivation. What is your experience of the employee morale and motivation within our firm?
  13. Did you receive adequate feedback about your performance day-to-day, and in the performance review processes?
  14. Did the management of the firm care about and help you accomplish your personal, professional development, and career goals?
  15. What would you recommend to help us create a better workplace?
  16. What are the key qualities and skill sets we should be looking for in your replacement?
  17. Do you have any recommendations on our compensation, benefits, and other reward & recognition programs?
  18. Can you offer any other comments that will help us to understand why you are leaving, how we can improve, and what we can do to become a better, and more attractive firm to work with?
  19. Would you recommend our firm as a good place to work to your friends and family?
  20. What would make you consider working for this firm again in the future?

Naturally, you will want to end the exit interview on a positive note. Commit to using the information provided to improve your workplace, and thank the employee for all of his or her contributions to the firm. Wish the employee well and much success in their new endeavor. In this way, you are closing the interview with grace, while leaving the participants with a positive mental image of the exit interview experience.

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Top 10 Employer Action Steps Following Employee Resignation (Part 2 of 2)

As promised, here is the balance of my article on the Top 10 Employer Action Steps for your reading pleasure and feedback.

Exit Interview — If the departing employee is willing, the employer should conduct an exit interview during which the employee is asked about future employment plans, reminded of contractual obligations (including non-competes, confidentiality agreements, etc.), and directly asked to return all property belonging to the employer.

CONDUCT EXIT INTERVIEWS FOR ALL DEPARTING EMPLOYEES

An exit interview is a prime opportunity for the company to learn of problems the employee may have been reluctant to verbalize beforehand. Exit interviews also give the company one last opportunity to record that the employee denied the existence of any problems the company should know about (e.g. harassment, retaliation). If the employee does raise a discrimination claim at the exit interview, the company can then investigate before the employee leaves. If the claim is valid, the company can make appropriate efforts to try to retain the employee. Even if the employee remains firm on leaving, his or her damages may be minimized, or possibly removed completely.

While an employee’s denial of any “issues” at the exit interview will not prevent the employee from later bringing a suit for discrimination or constructive discharge (i.e., the harassment or retaliation was so unbearable that the employee was “compelled” to end the relationship), it will make the claim seem rather hollow.

Additionally, it will permit the company to show that it gave the employee every possible opportunity to report improper workplace conduct–which the employee repeatedly overlooked. Under those circumstances, a judge would be much more likely to question the employee’s motivations for the suit.

Notify Former Employees ‘in writing’ of Contractual Obligations — Follow-up the exit interview with an immediate reminder letter of the contractual obligations departing employees may have (e.g., non-competition and non-disclosure agreements), and advise that they take these obligations very seriously. Attach or enclose signed copies of their contractual agreements with the firm.

Contact the New Employer — Explain your expectations concerning confidentiality; and follow-up with a letter to them that provides notice of the employee’s knowledge of trade secrets. This informs the new employer and, more importantly, provides a basis for suing it if the employee discloses or uses trade secrets with its knowledge.

Interview Co-workers — Departing employees often talk to their co-workers. In these discussions, they may foreshadow their post-employment intentions, reveal prior misconduct, and perhaps attempt to recruit co-workers for the benefit of their new employers. Co-workers can be a valuable source of information for investigating former employers.

Social Media — If a former employee’s misconduct or candor is in question, former employers might consider reviewing statements made by former employees on various social media channels. These outlets are sometimes used by departing employees to contact former clients or to foolishly post confidential information.

NB: Firms should seek legal advice about each specific set of circumstances before taking any kind of legal action against its former employees.

Supporting Article Research Sources: Fisher Phillips LLP, Mondaq

Preventing Future Departures of your Top Talent

Do not make the mistake of waiting until it is too late, and employees are walking into your office to discuss their impending resignations.

love em or lose em

Stay Interviews are an idea popularized by the book Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay,” which released its fifth edition in 2014 and is available from the Amazon link provided above.

Stay interviews serve two primary purposes: to let employees know how valued they actually are, and to identify problems that may lead to a team member’s departure.

Firms that conduct stay interviews are taking a proactive approach in their talent retention efforts, and are typically rewarded with low turnover because of their attitude.

According to recent research released by the Institute for Corporate Productivity,(USA) these proactive career conversations were included in the top six talent management best practices that companies use to boost employee engagement.

Incorporating this powerful ‘Retention Strategy’

First, tell people what you are doing – If speaking with your staff specifically about their careers is highly unexpected; then do not impose this new process on them without due explanation – doing so will inevitably foster suspicion, and quite possibly an insecure distrust.

Give your teams a heads-up about upcoming meetings, to allow them time to gather their own thoughts, and prepare themselves for career-focused discussions.

Set the expectations – Establish ‘clarity’ with yourself: Why are you having these conversations – what are you hoping to learn, or exchange with your team?

Are you hoping to:

  • Become more connected to your team;
  • Improve firm retention efforts;
  • Hear what’s on your employees’ minds; or
  • Surface potential problems/uncover current issues?

Once clear on your rationale for implementing these stay interviews, you can begin to frame a number of icebreakers to help the meetings flow comfortably for all involved.

Plan the conversation – Rather than thinking about these conversations in a linear format, consider dividing the conversation into “topics” — areas of interest or concern that the employees may have.

Potential topics could include:

  • Enjoyable aspects of the job the employee likes;
  • Aspects of their roles that present some challenges;
  • Current career aspirations; and
  • How you can help as a leader.

After identifying each topic for discussion, prepare two or three questions for each that will encourage an open and comfortable dialogue with your team members.

retain-talent

Planning your conversation in this way will help all leaders to find trends within their teams. In addition, having this format as your guide will keep you on track, should the conversations take an unexpected departure.

Follow upUndoubtedly, your conversations will surface at least one idea that will need your action. You will want to act quickly to show your commitment to the retention process you have just implemented.

Do not labour your follow-up, as taking too much time will allow your new retention efforts to die on the spot, and could have serious ramifications for your own career going forward.

Losing a valuable employee is difficult for group leaders and direct divisional managers. Perhaps equally as important, it affects the remaining team members who are left to pick up the slack until either a new hire is in place or, less popular, an analysis of the possibility of redistributing duties within the current group would be a viable alternative, eliminating the need for a new hire.

While it is not possible to avoid losing top talent in every case, firms can certainly reduce the number of times leaders and management teams experiences that uncomfortable sinking sensation when employees ask, “Can we please meet tomorrow morning?”

We all know that people are a company’s most valuable asset. Large companies with 1,000 or more employees measure employee engagement formally (78%), compared to small companies of 250 employees or less (29%). 63% of public companies reported measuring employee engagement, compared to 37% of private companies. (Source: Ceridian)

Show your high-performing team members that you do have a stake in their careers by implementing Stay Interviews and other retention strategies within your firm.

Communicate openly and consistently, following-up on what you say you can or will do for all firm staff.

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