In “The Three Signs of a Miserable Job,” author Patrick Lencioni writes a fable about a retired CEO who strives to understand what causes misery at work.Read this article...
In “The Three Signs of a Miserable Job,” author Patrick Lencioni writes a fable about a retired CEO who strives to understand what causes misery at work.Read this article...
Performance reviews are important tools that managers can use to boost employee performance and productivity to higher levels, but often fall prey to some common mistakes. As your organization prepares to review employee performance in the coming months, we recommend avoiding these 5 pitfalls.Read this article...
Remarkable HR leaders can emerge at any level. Whether they are an entry-level recruiter with a strong ability to hire unique talent, a tenured training manager who has a knack for building employees' skill sets, or a mid-level employee relations specialist with a unique skill for enhancing employee engagement, remarkable HR leaders impact their workplaces in positive ways.
Every day we witness HR leaders who find great talent in the midst of a skill-set shortage; devise competitive pay strategies to retain their top performers; coach managers to build their leadership effectiveness; create training and development programs that engage and grow their talent; design recognition programs that motivate employees; and so much more.
When we routinely interview HR leaders in the community, we find that many highly effective and respected HR leaders and professionals share certain characteristics. Here are 10 of those qualities.
These are just some of the many qualities that can make an HR leader successful, but the bottom line is that remarkable HR leaders deliver exceptional achievements and results to their organizations by balancing the needs and interests of employees and the business.
Successful, effective performance management by managers essentially boils down to simply answering 4 key questions for your employees.
Managers have an obligation to tell employees what is expected of them in terms of job responsibilities, projects, and goals or objectives. After all, how can you hold employees accountable without telling them exactly what you need and clearly defining what they are supposed to be doing? This question should be answered at the beginning of the performance management process each year and whenever expectations or responsibilities change. Specifically, managers should clarify and define three types of expectations:
Throughout the year, managers must provide honest and accurate feedback and coaching to help employees understand how they are doing and progressing, as well as to assist them in staying on track with their performance. Feedback should include an honest assessment of employees' strengths and weaknesses and could be achieved through regular one-on-one meetings with their supervisor, formal mid-year or quarterly check-point meetings, and a final end-of-year evaluation discussion.
Although informal feedback is crucial, over the course of the year, managers should meet formally with employees a few times (at least twice) to revisit their progress on key projects and goals, address performance problems, and create conditions that help motivate employees in achieving their goals.
Don't expect your managers to take the initiative on coaching and feedback without some structure. Some managers can thrive with this informality, but many others can't. Teach them coaching and feedback methods and require structured interactions to ensure that employees receive the support they need.
Where organizations often miss the mark with performance management is viewing the process as merely a judgment and administrative record of employees' performance. While evaluation is fundamental to the process, performance management also seeks to develop employees' performance and potential to increasingly higher levels.
Based on their on-going assessment of performance, managers should identify opportunities for employees to develop their potential and discuss those periodically with employees. These opportunities may be improving performance deficiencies, attending training, focusing on skill development, or taking on new projects/assignments.
At times, the performance management process also involves answering the question "Where am I going?" in terms of discussing potential career paths and internal mobility and the requirements for moving into higher and different roles in the organization, particularly if these opportunities are tied to performance in their current job.
Incorporating your mission, vision, values, and strategy into the performance management process helps focus your employees on the tasks, projects, and behaviors that matter most to the organization and its growth - especially if your performance management process is aimed at helping your organization meet its objectives and furthering its mission. Equally as important is to discuss how these components link to employees' performance and why certain tasks and goals are important to the organization's success. Consider...
When viewing performance management through the lens of these important questions, your managers can answer the questions that matter most to your employees and that are most important to their success.
This report explores performance management practices specifically related to performance reviews, performance criteria, role of the supervisor, and other issues.
Over the past several years, charges of retaliation filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have significantly increased, making retaliation a major legal risk that employers face. Here are several ways that employers can prevent retaliation.
An employee can sue for retaliation if they suffer a tangible, adverse employment action - such as loss of income or employment as a result of engaging in a protected activity. They must prove that there is a connection between their protected activity and the employment action they received. Examples of adverse employment actions could be a demotion, termination, or pay cut. A negative performance review may or may not be considered adverse depending on the circumstances.
You may not intend to hurt an employee, but an action can still be perceived as retaliatory if an employee sees it as such. For example, reassigning or transferring an employee to another location, shift, or role or even separating employees from one another can be perceived as an adverse action if the action results in an outcome that is less desirable to the employee.
Take complaints seriously and treat them with respect and care - they are indicators of dissatisfaction and usually precursors to a lawsuit. Start by establishing a policy against retaliation which communicates that your organization does not tolerate retaliation and explains the steps employees should take if they have complaints. Research complaints thoroughly and document the actions you take to address them.
Create and maintain a list of all protections under law and distribute it to decision-makers, including supervisors and managers. These protections should include employees requesting FMLA, reasonable accommodations, and those employees in protected classes (race, national origin, religion, etc.). Make sure that decision-makers are aware of the types of activities which are protected under law.
Timing is one of the most important pieces of evidence that usually supports a retaliation claim. The longer the timeframe between the protected activity and adverse employment action, the more often courts have dismissed such claims. Refrain from taking adverse employment actions close to a complaint or protected activity.
Require a trained HR professional to be involved in any employment decisions, particularly those that negatively affect an employee. Conduct a thorough HR review before proceeding with a disciplinary action (i.e. warning, suspension, termination, etc.) for any employee who engages in a protected action and make sure that you have plenty of documentation to back up your decision.
Supervisors can be major culprits of retaliatory decisions and it's important to make sure they are not making any decisions that could be unlawful. While they may feel so inclined to "get back" at an employee, the risks of doing so often far outweigh any benefit. Share specific examples of retaliation by supervisors, common scenarios, and procedures they must follow to avoid retaliation.
On a final note, when it comes to preventing retaliation in the workplace, it's best to consult case law, your attorney, and the EEOC's website for more guidance on the subject.
Please note that by providing you with research information that may be contained in this article, ERC is not providing a qualified legal opinion. As such, research information that ERC provides to its members should not be relied upon or considered a substitute for legal advice. The information that we provide is for general employer use and not necessarily for individual application.
In this series, supervisors and managers learn about potential legal issues such as workplace discrimination and harassment, managing employee leaves of absence, and employee performance issues. Supervisory Series is offered in AM or PM sessions.
Engagement is often viewed as just an "HR thing" when in fact, managers play an even more important role in engaging employees day-to-day. Managers, however, may not realize how their actions engage or disengage employees and how that affects their team's performance and productivity. Here are 3 things managers do which can unintentionally disengage employees.
Unfortunately, feeling undervalued is a common problem in the workplace and it affects engagement considerably. Instead of focusing on performance and creating value, employees who feel devalued spend their energy trying to defend or prove their value and typically underperform in the process. There are a number of common reasons and situations that could cause an employee to feel devalued, such as:
Managers usually don't intend to make employees feel devalued, but the absence of acknowledgement and the effects of how they treat other employees or the decisions they make can inevitably backfire and leave employees feeling undervalued and disengaged.
Trust is also vital to employee engagement. Loss of employee trust in leaders or their managers can create havoc on engagement. Disengaged employees who lose trust in their managers spend more time wondering what truths their managers are trying to hold back from them or questioning their manager's honesty, than creating and driving results.
Managers can lose employees' trust in ways that they may not realize. Saying one thing and doing another is a major reason that trust can be broken. If you promise something to an employee (even if it was years prior), they expect you to follow-through. Keeping your word and being consistent is the best way to keep employees' trust.
Micromanaging or over-controlling how tasks are completed and limiting employees' autonomy can also create distrust. If employees feel like you don't trust or believe in their capabilities, they may reciprocate and not trust you. Trust is a two way street, and you must be willing to give trust to gain it.
Other ways managers create distrust inadvertently are by publically criticizing employees or drawing attention to their weaknesses, keeping secrets and withholding information, making changes without honestly communicating why, telling half-truths, not practicing what they preach, and sugarcoating problems or situations. Every manager makes one of these mistakes at one time or another and the negative effects can be difficult to reverse.
Employees become disengaged when they don't have a good connection with their manager, or when a positive dynamic with their boss changes. For many employees, their boss is one of the most important people in their work-life. As a result, positive, supportive relationships between employees and their managers play a critical role in engaging employees.
When employees and managers stop communicating with one another regularly or when a positive manager-employee relationship turns sour, a disconnect can occur. Being able to resolve and manage conflicts with employees is a skill managers need to maintain their relationships and connections with employees.
Sometimes disconnects happen without managers realizing it. For example, managers can commonly grow apart from employees with significant tenure or those that don't need as much development. Also, managers can often find themselves operating in a vacuum, busily engaged in tasks and projects, but failing to make time for their people. They may become invisible to their staff or a particular employee. They may also not spend enough time trying to develop rapport with employees.
Connecting, developing trust, and valuing employees are three key ways managers can drive engagement. In the ongoing quest for an engaged, productive, and high-performing workforce, managers must realize how their everyday actions or lack of action can disengage employees and give them the skills and insights to create an engaged team.
ERC offers a range of courses to develop supervisors, middle managers, and leaders including popular topics such as communication, conflict resolution, time and priority management, emotional intelligence, and performance management.
Are your managers people who your employees want to follow? Do your managers regularly encounter resistance and wonder why they can't achieve the results they want or why their employees won't follow their lead? More importantly, are employees just following managers because they are the boss, or because they are genuinely inspired and motivated by their leadership?
"Why won't they listen and follow me?" is one of the most common frustrations managers have. Few realize, however, that it takes more than just authority, a position of power, and demands to get people to truly follow you and engage in your vision. Engaged followership is also not something that happens overnight. It takes days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years to position yourself as a trusted, respected, and emotionally intelligent leader that people take pride in following. You earn your followers with your words, actions, and attitudes.
How do you become a manager people want to follow? Start simple. Ask employees these questions on a regular basis.
This question conveys that you care not just about the work, but about employees as people. Naturally, employees follow managers who care about them and will resist managers who show indifference to their needs and interests. Managers who take time to have intentional conversations, demonstrate an interest in the people who work for them, and learn about employees as individuals, gain followers. Care elicits trust and trust breeds followers. Here's a quick self-check to determine how well you are showing you care about your people:
Do you convey that employees are at work to serve you and help you reach your goals, or do you believe that you are there to serve them and help employees reach their objectives? Asking this question shows that you are focused on serving employees and their needs and not just yourself. Conversely, when employees sense that you are just trying to use them as a means to an end, they usually won't follow you.
Great managers who are followed are those that serve their people by resolving problems and going to great lengths to support their people. They view their role as servants to their followers and not their followers as servants to themselves. This mindset radically changes their behavior as managers. They become more concerned with how they can meet their employees' needs and prioritize those needs above their own.
People want to work for a winning team. Employees follow managers who make the right decisions and lead them in the right direction. Exceptional managers pave the way for employees' success - not their failure. They get people from point A to point B.
In order to do this, managers must be effective at managing work and achieving results through others to gain the respect of their followers. Managers who are able to lead and coach their teams and employees with effective problem solving, goal-setting, planning, and management of the work, have team members who want to follow them.
Similarly, managers who help their employees and their teams do better gain followership. Managers who show their employees the right way to work, help them develop their skills and capabilities, redirect them when they do something wrong, and build a competent team gain followers. People follow managers that make them better employees.
People want to follow managers who are interested in their perspectives, suggestions, and involvement. It makes them feel important and purposeful. When invited to contribute to a new project, be involved in creating a new product/service, or asked to provide their views on an issue, employees feel empowered. Managers who consistently ask employees for their opinions, ideas, and involvement and consider a diversity of perspectives can gain lasting followers.
Don't ask these questions just once or even a few times. Keep asking them of your employees (perhaps in different ways) over and over again. They will make employees feel cared for, empowered, worthwhile, and supported -- and those positive feelings will inevitably help turn an average employee into an engaged follower.
Salary conversations - such as negotiating an offer with a job candidate, confronting an inquiry about a pay increase from a current employee, or dealing with a complaint about pay - can be uncomfortable and difficult for employers. Pay is personal. It affects employees' ability to pay their bills, support themselves, and provide for their families. Salary matters, however, need to be discussed with objectivity and frankness by managers. HR can help facilitate these conversations in the following ways.
In the case of current employees, meet with managers to discuss employees' performance, tenure, skill set, scope of responsibility, and value to the organization. With job candidates, look at their skill set, scope of responsibility, experience and education, the job's value to the organization, and how other employees with similar skills and backgrounds are paid for the position. Address how pay decisions will affect the team or department as a whole. Will other employees' pay increases be affected by giving an employee a higher pay increase, or will an increase exceed the range for the position? Is the employee eligible for a promotion or could they be transferred to a role with higher pay? How will the new employee's pay compare to other employees in the position? These are all important issues to consider when discussing pay with current employees or job candidates.
Next, understand the organization's needs, including how the organization is performing. If your organization has a strong track record of success and profitability, it may be in a better position to provide higher compensation or a pay raise. Success generally allows organizations to pay employees better. If performance is lagging or has been variable, it may be advisable to limit compensation costs. Also, consider what the organization wants to reward and how it wants to pay employees relative to other companies.
Help managers talk about pay. Arm managers with the tools, information, and education to understand what is going on in the market relative to employees' compensation. This requires actually understanding the data yourself in order to communicate those trends back to them. Educate managers on the overall market trends for the positions in their department as well as how other companies of similar industry, size, and location are paying their employees. If your organization is truly paying employees fairly and based on the market, there's no reason not to be transparent with the data. Additionally, train managers on your organization's pay philosophy and compensation systems. Make sure they understand why your organization pays employees the way they do, the many issues that factor into pay decisions, the latitude they have in making decisions about pay (if any), and how to discuss employees' total compensation (i.e. benefits, rewards, etc.). Teach them how to explain to employees how they can earn a pay increase (i.e. gaining a promotion, enhancing skills, improving performance) in the future or provide alternative rewards if pay can't be adjusted. The trick to having pay discussions is to be able to justify your decisions and present options.
On a final note, recognize that compensation complaints are often the symptom of a larger problem in the employee's job or the workplace. Ask yourself if pay is really the issue because compensation is rarely a driver of engagement for happy, passionate, and motivated employees unless pay is perceived to be so unfair that it creates a major problem related to job satisfaction. Keep in mind that it will usually take much more compensation to satisfy an employee who is a poor fit for the job, has a bad manager, or is unhappy in the workplace. It may be worthwhile to explore these areas before considering changing their pay.
Use ERC's compensation surveys to determine how other local employers are paying employees of all levels, from hourly to salaried to executive jobs. Click here to see our upcoming surveys schedule.
HR University is a comprehensive course for those who are newer to the HR profession or those who have limited experience or realize it is time for a refresher which covers topics including compensation and benefit plan design, performance management, staffing, and more. Click here for more information or to register for this series which begins April 26th.
Every organization faces the challenge of new manager training: transitioning an employee from team player to team leader. This transition from employee to supervisor is one of the hardest an employee must make in their career. After the promotion occurs, what should you do to make sure the transition goes smoothly and that your new supervisor is successful in their new role?
One best practice is to approach the transition like you would on-board a new employee. Would you expect your new employee to learn by trial and error? Probably not. Like a new employee, anticipate that new supervisors need both initial and on-going training and support to perform their new role and responsibilities. Similar to on-boarding, the more you develop your employee upfront, the less redirection is needed later. Here are some suggestions.
Most new supervisors have little clarity regarding what their priorities and expectations should be in their new role and aren't prepared to be effective in their new role. As a first step, spend time discussing their new responsibilities and performance expectations and how these have changed from their previous role.
Every organization has management norms and a certain style of leadership that supports its culture, so it's important to discuss with your new supervisor how your organization expects employees to be managed. This helps ensure that employees are supervised consistently throughout the organization.
Schedule employees for supervisory training as close to the time of promotion as possible or even prior to the transition, particularly for softer skills (i.e. communication, conflict management, etc.). Make sure new supervisors are set-up with the most critical baseline skills they need to be successful on the job. This will minimize common new supervisor mistakes.
Administering a performance review, conducting a write-up, handling employee leave, or dealing with a grievance are just a few of many complicated issues in which your new supervisor has never been exposed. Make sure supervisors are knowledgeable about correct procedures to handle these issues and can access the proper paperwork and guidance.
Your supervisor will soon find themselves in tricky situations such as dealing with an underperforming employee, high-performing but dissatisfied employee, employee who comes to work late, or a team that isn't working together. These situations require difficult conversations and often require new manger training. Consider counseling and role-playing with them on the right and wrong things to say in these conversations and how to handle and mitigate common employee problems.
One of the best ways for your new supervisor to learn the ropes of management is to spend time with other experienced managers and excellent leadership role models who can encourage and guide them, listen to their challenges and frustrations, and help them learn through their own experiences.
It's unlikely that your newly promoted employee has ever considered how their interpersonal style helps or impedes their effectiveness. As soon as they start managing people, however, the quirks of their interpersonal styles (how they deal with conflict, their communication preferences, their personality, etc.) become apparent. Provide tools to help them become more aware of their style and behavior and flex it to meet others' needs and become a more effective manager.
Every new supervisor experiences some natural reflexes—including the urge to do the work themselves and impose their ways of doing things on others without building consensus or asking for input. New supervisors will need to be encouraged to fight their natural reflexes to go back to the tactics that made them successful in their prior role.
Recommend books, tools, articles, blogs, job aids, and other tools for your new supervisor to access in order to become a better manager. Better yet, create a library of these resources at your organization. This will also help your other managers in their on-going management development.
In their first few weeks and months on the job, observe how their transition is going. Specific issues to observe may include how much (or little) they are delegating, how they are interacting with their employees, and their team's performance. Talk to the new supervisor and employees on the supervisor's team to gather additional feedback. If you notice issues early on and correct them, it's unlikely that they will escalate.
You can never fully prepare managers for all of the challenges they will face, but by providing training, guidance, and support to supervisors before they hit the front-lines you can set them up to succeed as new leaders.
ERC’s Preferred Partner, CareerCurve engaged in a research initiative featuring interviews with 108 female senior leaders across the U.S. to identify the factors executive women consider critical to their success and accomplishments.
The study’s findings not only summarize the financial and economic impact of women’s leadership in the workplace, but also provide a number of insights on key actions that women can take to attain top leadership roles.
Additionally, the study recommends several factors to consider when establishing leadership development training programs for women.
ERC offers a variety of leadership development training programs at all levels of the organization, from senior leadership teams to mid-level managers to first time managers and supervisors.