Do You Want a Reputation for The Best Place to Work?
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Bullying - From The Playground To The Workplace - By Dianne Crampton
Last week a friend and I met for coffee. He had helped me launch my book and it was time to catch up. He darted in late saying his job phone interview was taking longer than expected. Later, he received an instant message that he snagged a face to face interview. For him, things are looking up for a career change.
Currently under-employed, he will tender his resignation this year and some lucky Bend, Oregon (where I live) employer will reap the rewards as another experiences the loss.
Add to this the recent grim details of a study that Right Management, the talent and career management expert with Manpower, reported in January. Of the 1,413 employees surveyed from October through November 2010, only 5% claimed they want to stay at their current position. Nearly 84% said they plan to change jobs in 2011 and are looking now.
My friend is one of the lucky ones as the shuffle of who works where in Central Oregon begins. So for Central Oregon business owners who want to hold on to talented employees and are surviving with boot-strapped finances and P & L statements dripping red ink, what are some employee engagement strategies that will help you build your team's spirit in 2011 and retain talented employees?
For those business owners looking to avoid high turnover at a time when business starts to turn around, here are 3 tips that will help you keep your teams together, employee motivation high and your talent intact.
1. Communicate the big picture.
Consistently communicate your strategies and the big picture. Don't take it for granted that your team will be on the same page after you deliver your message the first time. When your 2011 business strategies and the big picture are unclear, employees often make poor decisions, focus on the wrong things and end up working very hard on off-target goals and eventually quit out of frustration. So communicate the big picture in multiple ways.
Once the big picture is clear at every level of operation, you should share how employees' performances fit into the picture and how their own personal goals will contribute to the overall strategy.
When employees engage to close the gap between where you are now and where you want to be at year end, and can readily see how their efforts make a difference, their work makes more sense. Then when you show them weekly or monthly how their performance made a difference in a measurable way, you can shift from the cheerleader position of yelling into the megaphone "row - row - row" to steering the rudder. This enables you to manage strategies and to remove obstacles that block team success, which frustrates talented employees and has them looking to greener pastures.
Another benefit is that employees come to grips with how their performance impacts other departments and team members. As a result they come forward with ideas to make work easier, more cooperative and more profitable for the company as a whole.
For example, in an exercise we introduced to our TIGERS-Den business members in 2010, one small business owner with 7 employees reported that after understanding the big picture, one employee came up with a cost savings idea that resulted in over $5,000 in net income savings for the company.
Therefore, don't be afraid to share how everyday operating expenses and streams of income fit into the big picture. Ask for ideas from your staff.
2. Invest in Team Training
Training courses are powerful motivators and fit well into your big picture plan when you have a strategy to incorporate the results of the training into your performance goals.
With today's team training, there is no need to spend tons of money sending employees off site or paying overtime for them to attend courses after hours. Many on-line training courses allow for more than one employee to share a computer screen. And companies that have the capacity to broadcast a web training through a conference room flat screen TV will find that such activity increases the potential for a high return on the training investment. It is also an opportunity to build community and share ideas.
The key is to make sure there is a follow up strategy after the training. It is important that your team incorporates some of the points they have learned into daily operations in a measurable and observable way. Then show your team the results of their performance on your company bottom line through your big picture communications.
Therefore, select training that paves the way for your entire organization to benefit rather than just one or two team members for off-site excursions that result in no return on your investment.
For example, the 5 Common Sense Steps That Guide Struggling Teams Out of Conflict & Confusion program provides course MP3s that can be downloaded and shared, live teleconferencing and web casting that can be shared through big screen technology, discussion forum for out of the box thinking with your peers, team meeting discussion guides, planning sheets, and other interactive features that engage leaders and employees for a nominal investment. There are other hourly trainings covering diverse topics and our newsletter subscribers are updated frequently based on what they tell us to look for.
3. Focus on Fun
Fun isn't something you can just make happen. But at a time when a growing number of employees are looking for more from work than just a paycheck, especially younger employees, the fun factor is one reason employees leave companies if it isn't there.
There are many different ideas that will suite some cultures and not others. The important thing is creating a business environment where employees enjoy one another's company that builds community rather than "Us and Them" cliques.
Four business owners, Tony Hsieh, Jack Lee, Jason Levin and Elizabeth Baskin share their insights on fun in the book TIGERS Among Us - Winning Business Team Cultures and Why They Thrive. With companies ranging in size from ten employees to hundreds, ideas for promoting a fun workplace are practical and make common sense.
For financially strapped business owners consider:
- Expressing appreciation for the work your employees do, one-on-one and privately.
- Express appreciation for what a team accomplishes publicly.
- Offer a communal lunch or pot luck once a month and give a lottery ticket to everyone.
- Have employees give the name of one team member in another department who made their work easier that week and give that person a flower in a vase or a credit for music on iTunes.
- Let employees add a personal touch to their workplace.
- Allow for a dress down day once a week if the workplace is formal.
- Provide games in your break room like ping pong tables, card games, nerf darts or board games that encourage four or more people to play at once.
- Surprise employees with a performance gift when important goals have been achieved that their families can also enjoy.
- If you are an outrageous business owner, let your team shave your head like Tony Hsieh did when his company achieved an outrageous goal and take lots of pictures. Film it. Post it on YouTube. Tweet it. Facebook it and by all means tell stories about it in the company for years to come.
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Bullying - From The Playground To The Workplace - By Dianne Crampton
About the Author: Dianne Crampton
RSS for Dianne's articles - Visit Dianne's website
Dianne Crampton helps leaders build engaged and accountable teams. She also licenses and certifies consultants, trainers, coaches and facilitators in the use of TIGERS proprietary tools. TIGERS Success Series, is a trademarked TIGERS team culture process, which stands for trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success.
To view our complimentary webinar entitled Avoid the 3 Big Mistakes That Many Team Builders Make That Keep Then Under Paid And Their Practices Half Full grab a seat here.
To view Dianne's latest team tips video on how to build team commitment, click Here.
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Click here to visit Dianne's website.
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