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Study Shows Executives And Employees Perceive A Different Company Culture

Given how smoothly most companies operate on a daily basis, you would think executives and employee perceive an organization’s company culture in the same way. According to a study by Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, authors of Crucial Conversations, and co-founders and leading researchers at VitalSmarts, this is not the case. After speaking with more than 1,200 employees, managers and executives from companies in a wide array of industries, the study came to a surprising conclusion. In truth, the more senior a person is in an organization, the more positive is their perspective on the organization’s company culture.

The Perception of Company Culture

executives and employees

Different Perceptions of Executives and Employees

When describing their company culture to the researchers, managers and executives used words like innovation, initiative, candor and teamwork. In contrast, most employees had a profoundly different perspective. As opposed to such positive qualities, they expressed the true values of their organization’s company culture as being obedience, predictability, deference to authority, and competition with peers.

As a professional employer organization, Total HR Management understands the importance of building a positive communication bridge between employees and employers. This need is particularly true in light of this latest study. Unfortunately, the different perspectives are serious, revealing a warping of perception from the top to the bottom in most organizations. Given this challenge, an organization’s company culture cannot be taken for granted and should be professionally maintained.

Three Examples of the Difference in Perception

Below are three examples of the differences in this perception:

  1. Conform to Policy and Follow the Rules

Employees were 53% more likely than managers and executives to check this off as a key tenet of their organization’s company culture

  1. Clear all Decisions with Superiors

Employees were 54% more likely than managers and executives to say this point was extremely reflective of their organization’s company culture

  • Speak up whenever a challenge could affect performance

Managers and executives were 67% more likely to say this was truly reflective of their organization’s company culture than employees.

A Dialogue Between Executives and Employees

Commenting on the differences revealed, study author Joseph Grenny said:

There is no way to close this gap without honest, open dialogue. Basically, people say their leaders hype one set of behaviors but reward another — that gap in perception is the starting point for conversation. If leaders are seen as sending mixed messages about what they truly believe will drive performance, they should invite employees to point out this perceived hypocrisy…. Leaders tend to think employees won’t open up—but we’ve seen the opposite. When an executive sits down and truly listens, employees will be surprisingly honest.

Bringing Executives and Employees Together

Given the results, many companies have a lot of work to do when it comes to improving their organization’s company culture. According to the study, only 9 percent of employees have a favorable opinion of their organization’s company culture. Such a low percentage undermines the fostering of long-term employee loyalty and company investment.

The study also showed, however, that when a company promotes the values of speaking up and being honest, company culture change can occur. An important step in such a change is having executives and managers embrace interpersonal skills training. Such training can have a significant impact on the overall health of a company by greatly improving communication from top to bottom.

In the end, Grenny and Maxfield also emphasize the importance of taking action. Listening is not enough because the very act of listening creates expectations. If managers and executives open the honesty door, employees will expect their feedback to be responded to in a tangible manner. At the same time, such positive responses foster long-term loyalty and trust. After all, employees that believe they are being heard are more productive and more invested than employees that feel ignored or bypassed.

Total HR Management Can Help

To learn more about improving employee engagement and your company’s culture, please contact Total HR Management today. Please call (800) 975-5128 today to access the help you need.

 

No Legal Advice Intended: This blog includes information about legal issues and legal questions.  Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider.

Five Key Aspects of Good Employee Coaching

Good employee coaching is not equal to sitting an employee down once a year for an annual review. In an annual review, employees find out what they’ve been doing right and what job areas need to be improved. Although annual reviews are effective HR tools for employee management, they do not replace the importance of week-to-week—sometimes even day-to-day—good employee coaching. Such good employee coaching can improve a company’s bottom line while fostering a positive work environment.

Why Good Employee Coaching is Essential

good employee coaching

Good Employee Coaching Fosters Success

Good employee coaching is essential because it reflects the very heart of a manager’s job description. Of course, a manager manages projects and departmental needs, keeping the business of a company moving forward. At the same time, a manager is called a manager because employees need to be managed.

Let’s use one of the oldest metaphors in the business world: Imagine a baseball team without a manager. Wouldn’t the players be arguing and even fighting over playing time, at-bats, pitching changes, and all the other game and personnel decisions that a manager makes? Moreover, aren’t the men that work for the manager called coaches.? They coach the players, helping them improve their skills so the team can win.

Beyond baseball metaphors, winning is the goal in business as well. As a result, managers and executives need to be like baseball managers and coaches. Beyond managing the greater team, they need to coach their individual employees, helping them achieve ongoing success by addressing the problems and challenges at hand.

With coaching, a manager provides their employees with the opportunity to grow and achieve optimal performance through consistent feedback. Done in a balanced fashion, coaching can outline a roadmap for success. However, when done poorly, employee coaching can leave your employees feeling berated and unappreciated.

By adopting the five key aspects of good employee coaching that are outlined below, you will take your employee coaching to the next level of excellence.

5 Key Aspects of Good Employee Coaching

  1. Build a Bridge of Trust

The foundation of positive manager-employee coaching relationship is rooted in the manager’s day-to-day relationship with the employee. Such a relationship needs to be built on a bridge of trust. In most cases, this bridge is built through honesty and open communication. If your employees trust you, they will be coachable.

  1. Foster Agreement on Performance Issues

Employees need to agree verbally that a performance issue exists before effective action can be taken. If an employee is unwilling to see a challenge, how can you coach them to overcome such a challenge?  A manager needs to be able to define the nature of a problematic behavior while explaining the consequence of such a behavior to the employee. The point is not to scare the employee, but to let them see that something needs to be fixed while emphasizing the existence of a constructive solution.

  1. Address Excuses with Empathy

When confronted, most employees will come up with a number of excuses. Such excuses should not be dismissed or ignored. Rather, respond with empathy by saying things like “I understand why you feel that way” or “I have seen this issue be challenging in the past.” Such an approach will help you to overcome the excuses without tearing down the bridge of trust. In addition, rephrase your feedback so it does not seem accusatory. By recasting a criticism as an encouragement for employees to move beyond problematic behaviors, you can effectively coach them beyond their excuses.

  1. Detail Solutions and Alternatives

As a manager, coaching an employee should not begin until you have the solution to the problem or, at least, an alternative approach to the challenges faced. At the same time, you should encourage the employee to identify alternative solutions on their own. When an employee comes up with an alternative that works, such a solution is more likely to be implemented. Such an outcome gives the employee a sense of ownership of the solution. Since they believe it came from them, they will be more likely to put in the effort needed to realize the solution’s ongoing success.

  1. Provide Ongoing Feedback

The most effective employee coaching underlines the importance of ongoing feedback. Such feedback is not just corrective, but positive as well. Every employee needs the occasional pat on the back. Feedback should be timely and specific. By focusing on the “what” and not the “why” you can take your employee coaching to the next level of excellence. Employee coaching is not designed to criticize the person. Rather, the focus is always on modifying and improving the behavior in order to foster success both for the employee and the company as a whole.

Total HR Management Can Help

Good employee coaching strengthens performance and raises a company’s bottom line. To learn more about employee coaching, please contact Total HR Management. Please call (800) 975-5128 today to access the help you need.

 

No Legal Advice Intended: This blog includes information about legal issues and legal questions.  Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider.

Four Key Elements of Modern Employee Retention

21st century employee retention strategic thinking has gone through a major shift. What kept an employee on the job fifty years ago is not what is going to keep your employee on the job today. It’s not enough to offer a steady paycheck and a successful business model. Today’s employees from Generation X to Millennials want something more…

Meaning and Value = Modern Employee Retention

modern employee retention

Retaining the Best Employees Today and Tomorrow

As a professional employer organization (PEO), Total HR Management has experienced this shift firsthand. As experts in both employee retention techniques and recruitment & selection practices, we have seen a much greater need for meaning and value from the modern employee in a multitude of industries. Although seen as being silly and soft by many baby boomer executives and business owners, in truth, this is not the case.

Employees want to be invested in their jobs, their career at all levels. Not just financially, but morally, philosophically, and even spiritually. The modern employee wants to believe in the work they do and their future with a company. This belief can help lead to higher performance, greater effort, and loyalty. By remembering the four elements outlined below and applying them with your employees, you can improve employee retention for your business.

Four Key Elements of Modern Employee Retention

1) Achievement:

The modern employee needs to have a sense of achievement in their work. A sense of achievement can lead to confidence that empowers your employees to meet performance expectations, reach goals, and achieve their full potential. As a manager, it’s important to recognize achievements. Rather than just a pat on the back, recognition means reinforcement and validation of your employee’s efforts. When an employee succeeds, make sure they understand that they are a valued team member and you see what they’ve accomplished.

2) The meaningfulness of the job itself:

Meaning can be very elusive… This is why an employee’s job needs to be tied to the cornerstone of your company’s values and mission. Let your employees in on the big picture as well as how important their roll really is. By allowing them to feel part of your company’s purpose, it also can provide meaning and purpose to their daily tasks and responsibilities. Moreover, express your key values, beliefs, and goals of the company to all your employees. If they too invest in these values, beliefs, and goals, they will feel part of something meaningful and bigger than themselves.

3) Opportunity for growth and advancement:

The modern employee does not want to be pigeon-holed into a job that has no room for growth and advancement. They need a sense that there is a future for them where they can reach their potential. Take stock of each employee and offer them room for development. If you don’t take this step, a static environment can drive your top performers into looking for relevance and meaning elsewhere.

4) Responsibility:

The 21st century employee is not scared of responsibility. In fact, many equate more responsibility with more influence and control. According to SDT (Self-Determination Theory), more responsibility results in increased initiative, energy, performance, and persistence. More responsibility provides the motivation to succeed. By trusting your employees to handle the responsibility given, you will increase their passion for and trust in the business of your company.

In a competitive marketplace, employee retention is more important than ever. Please consider how you can institute these strategies in your business. Such strategies will lead to better employee retention.

Total HR Management Can Help

If you want to learn more about modern employee retention strategies, please contact Total HR Management today to set-up an HR audit. By taking the first step and calling (800) 975-5128, you will help your company on its long-term journey of sustainable success.

 

No Legal Advice Intended: This blog includes information about legal issues and legal questions.  Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney

Four Strategies For Working With Aging Baby Boomer Employees

Aging baby boomer employees remain a firm reality for American companies in the 21st century. Although many of these baby boomer employees have already been eclipsed, in terms of power, prestige and position, by their younger counterparts, they still provide tremendous value in an office setting. Our culture tends to play down the importance of experience and a proven track record. Yet, baby boomer employees offer these rare commodities in spades. Such long-term value can’t be acquired without being earned.

Working With Aging Baby Boomer Employees

As a manager from Generation X or any of the other post-baby boomer generations, you need to know how to work effectively with aging baby boomer employees. As a professional employer organization, Total HR Management understands the importance of optimizing the value of each employee in an organization. With baby boomer employees now old enough to be the grandparents of many of the people they work with in an office, such optimization has become more challenging.

Yes, ageism often is a problem. We all have heard the stories of aging employees being discriminated against.  Despite such stories, it really isn’t all that common. In fact, what’s actually a greater problem in more companies is not discrimination, but effective utilization. Effective utilization means understanding proper boundaries.

As an employer, what should you expect and what should you not expect from aging baby boomer employees? How can aging baby boomer employees be valuable in a 21st century working environment?

The four strategies outlined below help to clarify these questions.

Four Baby Boomer Employees Working Strategies

  1. Take advantage of their knowledge and mentorship abilities:

aging baby boomer employees

Advantages of Aging Baby Boomer Employees

The majority of aging baby boomer employees don’t mind working for a younger manager. However, they don’t like being ignored and deeply resent it when a younger manager assumes they have nothing to contribute. Nobody wants to be treated like an anachronistic dinosaur. Rather than do this, take advantage of their value

Baby boomers came of age at time when most bosses had the old-fashioned “my way or the highway” management style. Do you realize that baby boomers were the generation that changed this approach? They embraced many of the accepted and softer management concepts of today like empowerment and collaboration.

The work experience of baby boomers has real value. In many cases, they have seen it all before and can apply their past experiences to new challenges. That’s especially true when it comes to dealing with people. Yes, they may be a bit behind when it comes to technology, but people from ancient times to this very day remain very much the same. Aging baby boomer employees understand corporate politics, how to deal with difficult employees, and how to delegate without getting personal. Maturity can be a real asset when it comes to facing such people-oriented challenges. As a manager, don’t make the mistake of ignoring a valuable asset.

  1. Don’t use new technologies as a weapon against them:

Yes, most baby boomers are not great when it comes to using social media beyond posting pictures of their grandkids on Facebook. They also might have trouble with mobile technologies, data transfers, online applications, and the like. Still, this doesn’t mean that they lack value. More importantly, please don’t use this difficulty as a weapon against them.

Rather, allow the younger generation to train aging baby boomer employees in new technologies. In these training sessions, emphasize patience and step-by-step implementation. If you paint a clear picture and offer a basic map, aging baby boomer employees will find their way and adapt to new technologies. Moreover, the mentorship relationship in a business setting is much more effective when it goes back and forth in both directions.

  1. Take advantage of their extended networks:

Let’s not forget that aging baby boomer employees in most cases have been in the workplace for over forty years. As a result, they have developed ongoing extended networks in the industries where they have worked. Given how many times people tend to change jobs and even professions in a lifetime, they usually have contacts in other industries as well. As a manager, take advantage of these extended networks.

If you ask an aging baby boomer employee whether or not they know someone that can do a certain specialized task in your industry, most likely the answer will be affirmative. The only exception to this general rule, once again, is when it comes to new technologies. However, if you are a contractor and you need to know the history of a neighborhood or you have zoning questions, your aging baby boomer employees very likely will know the person you should be talking to or they will have the answer themselves. Yes, Google is essential for finding the latest information and updates in this day and age, but the knowledge and experience of real people never goes out of style. It is an invaluable asset of aging baby boomer employees.

  1. Don’t expect overnighters, all-nighters, or the vitality of a Millennial:

Look, one of the most important truths you need to accept about aging baby boomer employees is that they are aging. Back in the day, they probably worked day and night to get a product out the door or to keep a customer happy. However, by the time a body hits 55 years or older, it takes a week or longer to recover from a single overnighter.

This is not to say that aging baby boomers won’t work hard for your company. They still can work hard and they still do. They get more done, however, when they work a regular schedule. While that might seem like a liability in a startup, aging baby boomer employees won’t blow off work because they partied the night before. Remember the lesson of the turtle and the hare. Sometimes slow and steady does win the race.

Total HR Management Can Help

As a professional employer organization, Total HR Management has experience virtually any employee challenge that you can imagine. We can help you optimize and effectively employ the people in your company, including aging baby boomer employees. To learn more about making this happen in your business, please call (800) 975-5128 today to set-up an HR audit.

 

No Legal Advice Intended: This blog includes information about legal issues and legal questions. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider.

How To Turn Exit Interviews Into A Valuable Resource

Exit interviews should be more than a perfunctory goodbye. Without question, it’s hard for any company to lose a talented employee. Even if the employee was run of the mill, the process can still be difficult. Whenever you have an effective team, losing a team member brings about changes in balance and shifts in authority.

The Value of Exit Interviews

exit interviews

Exit Interviews Need To Be Used Effectively

The question is how to turn such a situation into a potential positive. As a professional employer organization, Total HR Management has learned how to help our client companies turn exit interviews into an ongoing resource. Exit interviews can help to improve employee engagement.

In many ways, the exit interview is the key part of the off-boarding process. Often mistaken as a waste of time, an exit interview can provide your company with valuable information. When done effectively, such an interview can help improve a company’s employee retention strategies. It also can reveal organizational issues that need to be addressed.

Guidelines for Effective Exit Interviews

 

When conducting exit interviews, Total HR recommends that you follow these basic guidelines. By implementing these protocols, a company can turn exit interviews with once valuable employees into an opportunity. The information obtained can become an ongoing resource that can help a company succeed. The goal is to make sure that mistakes are not repeated so valuable employees are not lost for the wrong reasons.

By following these guidelines, you can help your business succeed moving forward.

Nine Basic Exit Interview Guidelines:

  1. Always give an advance written notice of the interview. When you give an employee this notice, provide questions that you might want to ask in relation to organizational issues. The written notice should be given at least two to three days in advance of the interview.
  2. To encourage greater participation, you should detail the purpose of the interview. Explain that although the interview is not required, you would appreciate a frank and open discussion. Promise confidentiality so the employee can open up and be truthful.
  3. If possible, the interview should be conducted by someone other than the employee’s immediate supervisor. By having someone more independent and remote conduct the interview, you open the door to accessing more critical and potentially valuable information.
  4. Balance the interview between universal questions all exiting employees are asked and questions specific to that employee’s job and place in the company. Such a balance provides answers that can be compared and tracked while also delivering detailed information to that particular company position.
  5. Always prepare questions in advance and be honest. Find out what’s lacking in your company culture and what the employee would change if they had the power. In terms of their specific job, ask what needs to be improved and what details about the job should be passed onto the person’s replacement.
  6. Do not discuss office gossip. Avoid asking for personal opinions about specific people in the office. Focus on principles, not personalities.
  7. Ask the employee to identify workplace issues that might be causing low morale and turnover. Give the employee the freedom to be critical. Ask follow-up questions when needed.
  8. Do not take any critical feedback personally. The exit interview needs to be characterized by a professional, business mindset. Like in the office, personal issues need to be shunted to the side.
  9. Avoid burning bridges at all costs. Every employee exit interview and working relationship should ideally end on a positive note.

Critical Information and Exit Interviews

In many cases, an employee exit interview can provide critical information that will help your company. By allowing the employee to take off the gloves and be honest, you open the door to hearing what’s not being said directly in the office. Suddenly, implied problems become more obvious.

As an employee retention tool, an exit interview can boost engagement. The employees left on your team will realize their voices are being heard. Moreover, the knowledge gained is power that you can act on as an employer. With solid data and perspectives provided in an exit interview, you can implement positive changes to strengthen the company as a whole.

Total HR Management Can Help

As a professional employer organization, Total HR Management believes in providing our client companies with the very best in staffing services and employee management strategies. We can help turn your exit interviews into a valuable ongoing resource. To learn more about making this happen in your business, please call (800) 975-5128 today to set-up an HR audit.

 

 

No Legal Advice Intended: This blog includes information about legal issues and legal questions. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider.

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