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The Challenge of 2014: Retaining Talent

10 Mar

It’s no surprise that positive associate relations are necessary to support a safe, happy, and productive workforce. Many organizations pride themselves on their relationships with employees and work hard to ensure workers have a fruitful work/life balance. Yet, how important are these things, really? What are the consequences should an employer choose not to focus on employee satisfaction and talent management? According to recent studies, some employers may have underestimated the importance of keeping their workers happy.

For example, according to career management firm Right Management’s new survey, as many as 83 percent of the 900 employees surveyed reported they would voluntarily leave their jobs in 2014. As active job seekers and established members of the workforce begin to gain higher rates of confidence in the labor market – and as more jobs are becoming available – they are more likely to take employment risks and look for better opportunities.

In fact, in October 2013 more than 2.4 million Americans left their jobs, accounting for 56 percent of all voluntary and involuntary separations that month, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In short, this means employees have the upper hand in making decisions based on their career prospects, and are less dependent on employers. Conditions have vastly changed since 2009 when, according to Right Management’s survey, only 60 percent of employees said they would actively seek new jobs. The upward trend is most likely attributable to economic conditions directly following the 2008 financial crisis, which left many workers dissatisfied and “stuck” in their positions amid financial uncertainty.

Yet now as economic tides turn and workers gain more autonomy, employers must utilize their talent management software to retain top performers and engage their staffs.

Employees Desire More
One of the biggest changes to the labor market is the influx of millennial workers and how their attitudes and preferences have begun to shape the work environment. According to a 2012 Forbes infographic, there are more than 80 million millennial adults in the U.S. and 36 percent of the workforce will consist of these workers this year. This number increases to 46 percent by 2020. Millennial employees differ greatly from their baby boomer and Generation X cohorts in that they are much more technology driven, have reached higher levels of educational attainment, and can make companies appear more attractive to shareholders and prospective workers.

But they also drive the need for employers to offer its employees more than simply a paycheck. According to Forbes, millennials also require purpose and a sense of accomplishment to stay loyal to their employers – a trend that is catching on. A Hay Group study that looked at global job outlook, retention and turnover found that in North America, more than 36.7 million workers will have departed from their jobs between 2014-18, with a spike in 2014. Employees who responded to the Hay Group study also reported a supportive workplace, opportunity for career advancement, and competent leadership as the top reasons to stay with an employer.

“With retention a growing concern for organizations – not just for key high performing employees, but also core employees – understanding the factors that drive commitment and loyalty is essential for managing increasing turnover risks in the months and years ahead,” said Mark Royal, a senior consultant with Hay Group. “Now is the time for organizations to understand where they stand on and tackle these influences, to keep employees from taking flight.”

These trends indicate a growing need for companies to hone in on talent management strategies to ensure the business retains its top performers in 2014. As economic confidence influences employees’ decisions to migrate to better jobs, prioritizing talent management strategies will be essential to the company’s long-term success.

How to Develop a Sound Telecommuting Policy

15 May

Technological innovations have played a crucial role in shaping the work environments of modern offices. While HR software solutions have streamlined processes and freed up resources, advances like mobile communication and video conferencing tools have enabled more workers than ever to craft their own schedules and work from outside the office while still being connected with coworkers and others every step of the way.

The trend in a mobile-enabled workforce is gaining steam among businesses in surging numbers. A recent survey by Challenger, Grey & Christmas found 80 percent of HR executives said their organization extends telecommuting options to employees in some capacity. Other findings indicate telecommuting isn’t a passing fad, but an increasingly essential aspect to a talent management strategy: 97 percent of respondents that offer telecommuting options said they had no plans to cease such benefits.

Yet for all the popularity and growing acceptance of telecommuting, such policies have become a lightning rod for controversy recently. The most notable example of this contentious issue was the refutation of work-from-home options by Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, who ordered company employees to stop telecommuting. In the process, she ignited a debate on the merits and detractors of telecommuting. Through it all, at least one insight was gleaned: Telecommuting, no matter the personal opinions of a select few, is here to stay.

As such, HR professionals and company management need to address the issue of telecommuting by developing a strategy that is aligned with talent management aspects and employee needs. Policy-making is essential to maintaining a beneficial telecommuting position, and below are a few steps to take to ensure organizations reach that goal.

Keep Data Security in Mind
While new technology has been a boon to businesses and employees, it has also been a revelation for less scrupulous individuals. The issue of privacy and data security must be a primary concern for any firm that allows telecommuting.

To ensure data security is addressed, the first step is requiring employees who use personal devices to access company and client information to lock their devices with passwords. While that may seem like a simple enough function, it’s important that firms require alphanumeric keywords to lock personal devices. Consisting of capital and lowercase letters and numerals, such passwords are the hardest to crack and are needed to safeguard private data.

It’s also important for companies to weigh the pros and cons of storing information on public cloud platforms. Such channels for data storage are susceptible to breaches, and firms may do better to store and allow access through a virtual private network with a more secure connection.

Formulate Policy so Benefits Aren’t Diluted
One common problem that businesses run into when crafting a telecommuting policy is balancing the benefits of working from home with the needs of the office. Ensuring productivity is not lessened, while still maintaining a level of freedom, is paramount to a successful policy.

To do this, it’s critical that HR decision makers do not limit the aspects of telecommuting that make it attractive to workers, like requiring employees to check in on the hour. Instead, it should be sufficient that an employee is simply available through online messaging or video conferencing if others need to get in contact.

Additionally, the inherent flexibility of telecommuting needs to be protected under the policy to have it work toward better employee engagement. Having a schedule of planned work-from-home days is neither constricting nor hurtful to the effectiveness of a policy. Rather, it keeps everybody on the same page.

How a Stay Interview Keeps People From Going

8 Feb

Man w clipboardIt’s typically HR policy to conduct probationary interviews after a new hire has been working for 30, 60, or 90 days, provide employees with a yearly review and conduct exit interviews as employees leave the company. One interview tool that HR managers don’t utilize enough in the workplace is the stay interview. This may be the most important type of interview employers can conduct in order to retain their best staff members.

What is a stay interview?
Unlike a job performance review, during which the employer gives the employee feedback, or exit interviews, where companies look to find answers as before a worker walks out the door, the stay interview is an opportunity for managers to ask their top talent: what can we do to make you stay? This one-on-one interview allows employees to discuss what is working for them and what changes need to be made to keep them happy and productive in the job.

Overcoming Trust Issues
It’s best if direct managers conduct stay interviews after proper training. These leaders have a working relationship with the employee, so they already know how that worker performs on a daily basis. As a result, they can more efficiently direct the questions asked during the interview. The biggest issue with stay interviews is trust between a worker and his or her manager. If there is a lack of trust, employees are likely to answer untruthfully, making the whole stay interview process pointless.

Managers need to be trained to phrase questions appropriately so employees don’t feel as if they are getting backed into a corner, or worry that their answer may affect their position. HR managers need to train leaders to ask questions that help drive understanding on employee feelings about the key areas of engagement. This includes company culture, communication, growth and recognition. Managers need to relay the message to employees during this specific interview that the purpose is to find out an employee’s feelings in general towards the workplace at that time.

Companies that wish to implement stay interviews into their HR practices should consider investing in trust-building initiatives and training. These tools show employees that the company is investing in maintaining a good working relationship with them.

The actual stay interview practice can create trust between the employee and employer if the organization clearly communicates the intent of the interviewee. Explaining the purpose of the interview and how the answers will better serve the development of the company can help alleviate employee anxieties about discussing what is working and where they see a need for improvement.

Developing Stay Interview Questions
Like we mentioned above, good interview questions should directly correlate with company culture, communication, growth and recognition. Focusing on employee understanding and feelings regarding these areas in the company are topics that will lead to good discussion. When framing a question, it’s best to stay away from blunt questions that could lead to generic answers and instead, phrase questions so the employee has to specifically identify a problem within the workplace and ways to fix it.

Some examples of bad stay interview questions might include:

  • Do you think communication is going well here? - this question give the employees the option to answer yes or no answer and doesn’t prompt them to go into details as to why something may or may not be working.
  • What could we do to make you stay? - Employees might respond with answers such as better pay, or more PTO time, which may not be financially possible on the business end. Answers to this question could also derail the stay interview, turning it into more of an employee performance review, which doesn’t give any insight about the company culture and day-today practices.

Some examples of good stay interview questions might include: 

  • If you quit today, what would you miss the most about the job? What would you least miss? This type of question asks the interviewee to identify at least one pro and con about the current work place, which may lead to further discussion about the need for positive changes.
  • How can we help you achieve your goals? An employer that invests in its employees’ career development helps keep staff happy and motivated, which breeds loyalty.
  • Are there issues in the workplace that may cause you to leave? This open-ended question sheds light on problems that may need to be addressed within a department or with a specific group of workers. It may also explain why the interviewee has seemed unhappy or distracted at work. Follow-up questions can help managers come up with a solution if the problem still exists, which can ultimately increase their chances of keeping employees from leaving.

During and after the stay interview, it’s important for the manager to be honest and admit that they may not be able to provide everything the interviewee wants, but that their feedback is valuable. Emphasize that as the manager, you can listen to them, hear their concerns, validate their feelings, and assure them that you will do what you can to explore options to solve any issues within the workplace. It’s important that you follow through with issues and concerns discussed during the stay interview and keep the said employee up to date with any progress being made.

Are You Prepared to Manage the Next Generation of Workers?

6 Feb

recruiting-employee-management-generation-yThe baby boomer generation has been slowly retiring, leaving many organizations with vacant positions within their companies. HR professionals are now dealing with a new generation of workers during the recruiting process. These job seekers have high expectations entering the workforce. Since they also have demands different from older generations, it’s important to make sure your organization is prepared to at least meet them halfway.

Generation Y
A recent survey conducted by Knoll of 15,000 employees in 40 countries, across four generations, reported that within the next decade, the workplace will reverse its balance of employees. Rather than a workforce breakdown of 50 percent baby boomer employees and 25 percent Generation Y employees, it will transition to 25 percent baby boomers and 50 percent Generation Y workers.

A number of generational differences were uncovered by the survey, including the business structure of the workforce. Many other companies have conducted similar surveys, all concluding that Gen Y workers feel that being part of a workforce that makes them feel engaged, allows for social interaction and in some way benefits society are among the most important factors when looking for a job.

On the opposite end, Gen Y doesn’t feel that having meeting rooms in the workplace is especially important for them to get their work done. Instead, they are looking for an employer culture that blends personal and private life. This is completely opposite of baby boomers, who ranked office space as the No. 1 priority and view office space as a status marker. The baby boomer workplace was built on face-to-face interaction rather than social media and technology.

Changing the Workplace
It’s important for business leaders and managers to realize that they have control over the employer culture and how they run the company. So what can you and your organization do to appeal to the new generation of workers? Emergency Market blogger Eric Holdeman suggests implementing the following changes in the workplace in order to attract and retain talent:

  1. Don’t be ruled by the clock - Providing flexible work schedules, including the option to work from home and on the go is becoming the new trend among employers. Gen Y doesn’t see an office as a top priority in the workplace, so limiting them to a 9-to-5 desk job isn’t going to attract them or keep them in the job for long.
  2. Bring in mobile devices - Going along with the flexible workplace, businesses need to create policies regarding BYOD practices. Gen Y members do not want to work in a place that heavily restricts their personal and social interactions.
  3. Conduct routine evaluations - Although they won’t necessarily turn down a pay raise, Gen Y-ers aren’t as concerned with money as a reward for their efforts, unlike older generations. Instead, they are looking for employers to give continuous feedback. It’s important for them to know that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed and that their work is in some way, shape or form aligning with business goals.

As businesses continue to compete within national and international markets, they need to remember that virtual recruitment isn’t the only strategy to finding candidates. In order to perfect the job offer, HR professionals should be prepared to invest the time in developing an employer culture that new job seekers find attractive. Focusing on the above suggestions are only a few of the many ways organizations should expect to adapt their business to meet the demands of the new Generation Y workers.

The Times They Are A Changing

1 Feb

hr-change-tips-2013The global nature of employment, coupled with the ever-changing labor regulatory environment, makes the role of human resources management a study in evolution. With the new year come updates to HR laws, best practices and employee development demands on organizations. This may prompt some businesses to revisit how they can develop their workforce, cope with global business pressure, incorporate technology into employee growth and training, and prepare for future organization transformation. We know that the best way to handle change is to be prepared for it, so here are a few tips from the human resource community to survive the transformations of the coming year. Forbes predicts: 

1. There will be a shift away from top-down HR management styles
2. HR will be transformed into a team of skilled professionals
3. Companies will make global leadership a top priority
4. Training will focus on career development
5. HR may change titles

Title Makeover
At the annual Employee Development Roundtable, organizational development and HR professionals discussed the fact that the future of employee and organization development will no longer be classified under human resources, but rather talent management, be sure to make the most of it. The reason for this? “Organizational development is successful when it is seen as a business necessity and not just another department within an organization. It is most effective when it is offered and embraced at all levels of an organization,” said panelist Catherine Halen, vice president of human resources at Beebe Medical Center. Panelists anticipate that this change of direction will lead to:

  • A need to focus on business organization, not just individual employee goals.
  • A drive to inspire employees to brainstorm ideas that will bring innovation and empowerment to the business.
  • Creation of strategy within the company to ensure the business ranks highly among competitors.

Skilled Managers Instead of Top-down HR
Human resource experts want businesses to focus on the overall development, which they believe will change significantly if the human resource department changes its name to talent management. How does this name change affect the way a company manages its employees? That’s where the shift from top-down management comes in. Instead of having a group of people who manage the entire company’s employees, the future outlook is to develop a group of high-performing managers who have expertise in the department they manage. That way, companies can:

  • Focus on training managers to better mentor employees in their division.
  • Emphasize the importance of employee development by offering training sessions to improve different skill sets relating to job performance and tasks.

New Focus on Training
There is a high demand for “doers” rather than managers. Organizations need to focus on on-demand training, coaching and simulation through blended learning systems. Training and career development will be heavily reliant on technology and cloud services to help employers build more formal career development programs. Panelists discussed that many companies need to:

  • Encourage hands on experience rather than text book training.
  • Stay on top of relevant technology to help workers get the job done.

Globalization
Companies are going to shift away from traditional human resource management, which generally focuses on ways to roll out from the original business location, because this type of management doesn’t favor businesses with many locations. Individual workplaces have dynamic differences that make a standard practice, governed by HR, hard to manage based on culture and level of skills in the workplace. To combat single practices, participants at the Employee Development Roundtable suggested businesses:

  • Focus on local organization with a globalization plan on the back burner. 
  • Encourage employees to bring new ideas to the table to help build the business.
  • Utilize talent inside and outside of the organization to build relationships that will have a positive effect on business.

This will help better manage individual enterprises to achieve overall company goals.

We want to know how your HR team feels about the changes discussed above. Is your company going to embrace the new management trends, or stick to more traditional business management? Let us know on Twitter by mentioning @SageHRMS in your tweet or drop a note on our LinkedIn forum, Human Resources & Payroll Challenges for Midsized Businesses.

Creating An Offer Hard To Refuse

30 Jan

job-offer-hard-to-refuseConsidering the current climate that companies and consumers are climbing out of in terms of employment continuity, many candidates have been looking for a while and may feel jaded about the process. Positions they’re applying for now that they may be extremely qualified for were unavailable or incredibly scarce over the past few years. But now that employment opportunities are increasing, once applicants are past the interview it lies in the hands of HR staff to make the call about employing them or not.

Quite literally, it needs to be a phone call.

In a modern age where people are using the internet and Facebook to communicate more than anything else, there are some forms of business etiquette that cannot be overlooked in order to make the perfect job offer. Especially with the job market turning fiercely competitive over the last six months, the best candidates may soon be hard to find once again.

One of the biggest mistakes that HR personnel make when extending a job offer is doing it via email. While it may seem more time effective to employees, a potential candidate will see it as a slight or a sign that the organization doesn’t really care about that position. It is one of the best ways of driving away top talent and creating an aversion for other similar candidates in the future.

It’s imperative that companies move fast to snatch up the strongest talent, as they won’t stay on the market long. Chances are, with the job market becoming so competitive again, the best personnel are already hired somewhere, and those that are still available will once again become scarce. With that in mind, keeping turnover short between interviews and job offers is a good way of showing potential hires that businesses really care about that person’s time and what he or she has to offer.

Making Offers Great With Perks Besides Money

Another factor to consider besides speed and personalization are the kinds of compensation that a company is willing to offer someone. The modern working world is not one solely fixated on the dollar, especially with companies trying to cut costs while still attracting and retaining the best workforce. Sometimes what a business can offer staff members in the form of perks can make one placement more appealing than another, even with lower salary.

Your company can couple stock options or 401(k) vestments early in the employment process. Full medical benefits are also desirable, but wellness initiatives are seeing a new push in the workplace. There are also many organizations looking into educational opportunities, both in sending employees to nearby colleges or providing them with online training programs to further their skills and make them more valuable as individuals, as well as to the businesses they work for. These kinds of programs show that companies are interested not just in the person right now, but what he or she will still be able to offer in a few years’ time.

With the economy rebounding and employment for the best talent becoming easier to find, such candidates are looking for more than just a business that will hire them right now. Potential hires want to know they will have a long-standing relationship with an organization, and that in turn requires seeing the company as one prepared to meet future financial and global obligations. Presenting a corporation in this light also requires that businesses stay on top of modern trends like mobile device deployments, cloud computing and basic online analytics. If a corporation isn’t up to speed with the rest of the world, that in and of itself could sabotage even the best job offers.

5 Tips to Keep Your Payroll in Compliance in 2013

28 Jan

2013-payroll-compliance-tipsWith tax season just around the corner, businesses everywhere will be checking to make sure they have reported records accurately for the past business year. Many HR departments and small business owners have struggled with processing payroll. The task can be overwhelming at times, which may result in pay mistakes. In order to avoid errors, which can cause substantial penalties and fines, the following points represent essential information that every employer should be aware of regarding compliance during payroll processing.

5 Mistakes Employers Make Concerning Payroll

1. File forms on time - In October of 1996, the federal government passed a law that requires all employers to report new hires to their individual states. From there, the states then report the starting employee to the National Directory of New Hires. Most employees are expected to be reported within 10 to 20 business days. Employers should always keep a copy of W-4 and I-9 forms on file documenting every employee. Withholding this information could lead to an audit by the IRS if a report is made.

It’s also important to send the correct forms when filing for taxes. If you are unsure whether a document is required, it’s better to send it in than be sorry that you didn’t later on. Employers who fail to send all qualified forms could be subject to penalties.

2. Not reporting a worker as an employee - Many businesses, big and small, have different relationships with their workers. Workers can be classified as an employee, an independent contractor, a statutory employee or a statutory non-employee, meaning not all workers are continuously employed with a business. If you aren’t sure how to classify a worker, there are several things you should do before hiring and independent contractor. Firstly, make sure to use the IRS Form SS-8 to determine worker status for tax purposes. This form should be submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which will notify the employer as to what category the worker should be classified under. It’s important to withhold taxes and report wage and tax information during payroll periods until the IRS has contacted the business with their classification decision. Not withholding taxes or reporting wages could result in a company paying more to the government after filing taxes.

3. Tax regulation for families - Children under the age of 18 employed by a parent, whether they are the sole proprietor or a member of a 50/50 spousal partnership, do not have to file for Social Security, federal unemployment or Medicare taxes. If the child is still employed after he or she turns 18, the child must have Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from their paychecks. They may, however, continue to be exempt from federal unemployment tax until they turn 21. It’s important to remember the U.S. and state departments of labor monitor classification of workers closely, which is why employers need to identify the family relationship with an employee. Spouses who are employed under one another through a sole proprietorship need to have Medicare and Social Security taxes withheld, but may be exempt from federal unemployment taxes.

4. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) - Minimum wage, overtime, child labor, recordkeeping and equal pay are governed by federal law and they are often some of the most common mistakes regarding FLSA compliance issues. However, business owners must also comply with state regulations regarding specific standards in the workplace if they benefit the employee. Federal law sets the standards for the workplace, such as minimum wage, which is listed as $7.25 per hour and $2.13 per hour for tipped employees. When conducting payroll, it is imperative that HR managers and business owners check their state laws to ensure that they are in compliance.

5. Keep records organized - Any and every document regarding an employee should be kept on file. Paper documents, especially new hire documents, reviews, disciplinary action, and termination paperwork should be stored in a safe place, even after the employee leaves the company. The following is a list of time regulations for employee documentation from the FLSA:

• Employee payroll records need to be stored for three years after the last entry date.
• The IRS requires employee records be held on file for four years after they leave the workplace. Businesses risk fines if they fail to do so.
• Any workplace that employs 50 or more workers must keep records regarding any employee leave in compliance with the FMLA.
• Every state adheres to individual laws governed by unemployment agencies that require businesses to retain employment records. The time frame to hold onto these records can last between four to seven years.

Neglecting to maintain proper payroll paperwork for the above could lead to trouble with state and federal governments. These tips can help HR and business owners better manage employee records and payroll receipts to make sure their company is in compliance with payroll policy. For further information about payroll policy, we recommend looking at the U.S Department of Labor website.

For a more detailed overview of critical compliance issues for 2013 and beyond, as well as summary of options that will help ensure your business can meet regulatory demands register now for the live webcast Compliance in 2013: Are You Prepared? on January 29, 2013 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The Efficiencies and Savings of Electronic Payroll

25 Jan

Electronic-payroll-savingsOld methods of payroll processing required calculations by hand and physical checks for all personnel, even at major employers, but those are outdated modes for a reason. Now, integrated human resources management software and advanced payroll software can assist in completing these tasks quickly and efficiently, as well as provide all staff members with a way of reviewing a plethora of information about their payment and employment status. Finding the options to best utilize these solutions and other options that most fit with these tools can help save money for companies.

Certain agencies are now also facing mandatory changeovers to electronic payment solutions, especially those under federal regulations. Organizations that fall under that category or must remain compliant with specific guidelines should verify that their payroll solutions are up to date, as the government modification to all-electronic benefits payments will hit as of March 1, 2013.

Using Electronic Methods
A vast amount of HR and payroll processes are currently handled through electronic means, including internal employee self-service portals, cloud deployments and virtual server applications. There are other tools that correspond well with these structures, such as electronic payment options, that have become standard operating procedure for many organizations. However, this is not the case with all entities, and failing to institute these kinds of opportunities could be costing companies a good deal of money.

Recently, it has been reported that the Veterans Affairs Department is finally switching over to electronic payments, issuing checks as direct deposits into employee and benefit recipient accounts. There will also be a payroll card option available to those without bank information on file or who prefer to have a separate method for receiving paychecks.

On top of saving companies money, using this solution in tandem with payroll software can help businesses cut paper and labor costs, boosting savings even more. It can also help with document management and file archive tending, so if an audit or eDiscovery should ever occur, these requests will be easy to meet without incurring high investigative expenses.

Caveats to Adoption
Moving to digital check options is a good first step for many companies looking to save money, but there are important aspects to remember when switching to these tools. Employees must be given time to present information necessary for turning over the process, firstly, and all workers should be provided disclosure resources showing if there are any new fees or benefits for them using specific handling methods. In some cases, businesses can forge agreements with certain banks to get payroll released a day or so earlier than traditionally expected, for instance, and other agencies may charge an extra fee for people that continue to request paper checks.

Currently, the U.S. Department of the Treasury stated that more than 70,000 recipients in West Virginia alone could be receiving payroll cards in the near future, as anticipation of the federal electronic payments change has prompted organization to debit cards to its clients. These kinds of cards are also available for companies looking for alternative payment options for their personnel.

Streamlining the payroll process should focus on a single method of payment solutions. If companies can encourage employees to choose electronic direct deposits for HR and payroll convenience, it could represent a huge way to save money at work. Handling all income and outgoing funds through a single payment tool can help centralize cost and revenue data, for instance, making it easier for organizations to manage overhead.

The Importance of Valuing Your Existing Workforce

23 Jan

Value-happy-workforceThe unemployment sector has seen significant movement in the last few months, and some companies see this as a prime opportunity to recruit new personnel. Some companies are still in the midst of reducing overhead and cutting staff, so acquisitions like Apple scooping up Texas Instruments IT personnel after a recent mass layoff have been lucrative moves for organizations poised to make them. On the other hand, employee engagement may suffer in entities where focus is placed on bringing in new staff members rather than investing in the ones already working for a particular company.

Return on employee investment is a huge part of the planning that human resources management software is meant to assist with, as talent and performance management tools allow businesses to monitor individual and group progress. This in turn helps HR personnel pinpoint those doing the best and others slowing the company down, as well as ensuring that adequate training is being given to workers who need it most. By investing in existing personnel, businesses stand to see better engagement, productivity and customer returns.

Plans For The Future

Engagement strategies are an integral part of retaining and improving on top talent, as well as fostering an internal workforce of people specializing in that entity’s corporate culture. Building up those already familiar with how the business is run and its values will make them easier to cultivate in terms of what the business wants specifically.

A recent review of the 50 best small and medium-sized businesses in Canada showed that top companies in the nation experienced engagement scores of more than 80 percent, while less successful organizations saw less positive reviews. Much of this good feedback is tied to the level of interest businesses show in their workforce, the study revealed, as well as extending both full-time and permanent positions to their employees. By treating staff members well, they in turn will speak well of the corporation they work for and take pride in their effort, producing superior products and service in exchange for the service they feel their employers deliver to them.

Overcoming obstacles to engagement and retention are essential in order to boost morale and perform better as an organization, but finding methods to achieve that goal are more clandestine. There are a number of ways of doing that, and many of these can be accomplished without an additional expense to businesses that might already be having a hard time balancing finances.

Steps to Better Engagement

Assessing how employees are doing in their assigned positions is the first task to address with human resources management software, as this can indicate serious issues with basic functions within the corporate structure. It may be a simple matter of assigning additional training to those who exhibit the need for improvement, or it’s possible that placing them in a new capacity or different department could make for a better fit. Helping employees feel comfortable in their job functions will make them feel happier about the company they work for, and it will better serve the organization as a whole.

On top of that, supplying input and feedback as to employee performance will help workers know if they’re doing what they must and if it’s at a satisfactory level. Employee engagement requires that communication lines remain open, and offering regular performance assessments can be a critical part of this equation. Management should initiate these chats, and they must be a regular occurrence, or staff members may not feel that their employers take any general interest in them as individuals.

By encouraging more communication and an amicable environment, organizations can increase retention and employee engagement by making everyone feel like part of the equation. If people think they are essential to the everyday operations of the business, they will take more pride in the jobs they perform, knowing that their efforts are genuinely appreciated.

Despite what some may see as optimism and opportunity in the unemployment market, balancing the cost of hiring and training a new employee versus the return on investment that can be realized by focusing on the existing workforce has showed many institutions the value of the assets they already have. Expanding on internal options and building a better rapport with personnel could be the key to retention and engagement strategies.

Are Your Personality Traits Derailing Your Career?

21 Jan

success-motivation-managementHow many of you have taken a personality traits test to identify what type of learner you are? Do the test titles “What type of partner best matches your personality?” or “What job field would you excel in?” ring any bells? For the most part, the Myers Briggs personality test can help individuals identify their strengths and weaknesses and may better explain why we do the things we do. According to the Briggs test, there are 16 personality types to identify with. (If you’ve never taken the Myers Briggs personality test, do a quick search online. Many sites will let you take the test for free, so you can quickly and easily identify what personality type you have).

Traits That Can Hinder Career Advancement
A recent SHRM survey showed that personality traits can either help or hinder employees trying to move up in the corporate ladder. Think you know which personality type were surveyed to be more successful than others?

If you immediately pinned the personality type labeled ENTJ – which stands for extroverted thinking intuitive judging – you’re right, but only to a certain point. ENTJ’s are assertive and outspoken with a drive to lead others. Although ENTJ’s are classified as being intelligent and well informed, they have little patience for inefficiency and disorganization, especially in the workplace. ENTJ’s often advance to a certain level of the corporate ladder then hit a glass wall due to their competitive and intimidating behaviors.

PDNI Ninth House released a study in August revealing that many business-unit leaders scored highest in this category, which was helpful to their career to an extent. Once they reached level of CEO, however, the competitiveness that drove them to that point starts to threaten their careers. When they are too focused on benefiting themselves, it can derail their upward trajectory. Negative tendencies such as a competitive edge, selfishness and intimidating behaviors do not make for good business leaders.

Traits That Yield Success in The Workplace
It may be less of a shock to know that the most successful CEOs and senior level executives fall into the ENTP category. Someone who is classified as ENTP – which represents an individual with extroverted, intuitive, thinking, perceiving personality traits – is able to bypass their ENTJ counterparts. Unlike ENTJ’s, ENTP’s direct others in positive ways. HR Magazine identified successful supervisors (ENTP’s) as being individuals who can influence others (rather than intimidate team members to get their way), with high levels of energy. Through it all, this group still maintains a take-charge approach.

ENTP’s are creative, resourceful, and quick thinkers, which helps them identify and understand conflicts. These traits assist them in the workplace to go about solving problems in a logical way. ENTP’s are well-versed in considering others and know that positive influence with a bit of assertiveness yields better results than backing employees into a corner and being impatient when mistakes are made.

Obviously there are exceptions to every rule, and ENTJ’s may find a way to break through the corporate barriers. If and when they do, it’s important for them to take a minute and remember that not everyone shares the same attitude. If ENTJ’s want to ensure a long and successful career, they’ll need to focus less on micro-managing others or using hidden agendas to motivate action within the workplace and instead brush up on their people skills. Research consistently shows that one primary reason people leave their jobs is because they don’t like their boss. ENTJ’s have a hard time connecting with others, which comes from differences in individual temperaments. If ENTJ’s aren’t able to compensate for their lack of empathy or patience in some way, they may have a hard time retaining employees.

Now that you’ve been educated on personality traits in the workforce, it may be time to reevaluate how you approach problem solving, teamwork and managing yourself in the office. If advancing your career is a goal for the New Year, make sure you don’t spend your energy competing with every co-worker or brainstorming ways to put others down to better your image. Instead, take charge by showing you’re a team player with a lot of ideas. Positive energy is contagious, making it a great way to influence others in the workplace and show off your leadership skills instead of manipulating them to get what you want.

Managers might find it beneficial to have all employees conduct a personality trait test. The findings can help supervisors better understand how to communicate with individual workers based on their personality type results. Any tools that help communication within the workplace should be utilized by human resource managers and employee supervisors. The Myers Brigg test is one tool that can aid in understanding how employees work and the different ways in which people learn.

Are there any other personality traits that you’ve seen have positive or negative effects on career progress? Let us know on Twitter by mentioning @SageHRMS in your tweet or drop a note on our LinkedIn forum, Human Resources & Payroll Challenges for Midsized Businesses.

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