Unspoken message of involvement

An inclusive culture can be a powerful thing in a business.

Involving people more – what effect can it have?

Involve young staff when visitors come round – ask them to talk to the visitor.  Give an opportunity to a junior person to visit a client, partner or a supplier.

What’s the message you are giving off to that employee? Read more

Doing what you’re told

Do your staff do what they’re told at work?

My daughter does what she’s told.  She’s very good.  I ask her to clear up her books and she does it.  I ask her to wash up her dirty pan and she does that too.

But here’s the rub – if I don’t ask her, it doesn’t get done.

A good employee is one who does what they’re told.  A great employee is one who sees what’s coming and does what’s needed before you’ve even thought about it.

At that point you know they are thinking for themselves.

“Listen till your ears bleed”

Within the business community it is at last becoming widely recognised that if you want higher performance from your staff you have to win over their hearts and minds.  There is a greater understanding that people give more when their attitude to work changes from “somewhere I go to earn money” to “a place where I can achieve my dreams and aspirations”.

But how do you do this?  Employee engagement can seem complicated to achieve and every office has its politics and reasons or excuses why staff engagement is low and why it may be difficult to improve it.

But if you truly believe that your company will be a better and more profitable institution if you improve employee engagement then there really isn’t any excuse for not trying.  So you have to start somewhere – right? Read more

Step forward and move on…

In our post-Brexit world we are starting to see occurrences of divisive behaviours.  Social media has been the platform for a considerable amount of  abusive behaviour in the last few days.  The vote was 52% to 48%, so in most companies with any significant number of staff there is likely to be a roughly equal split in the way the workforce voted.  Leave voters may be behaving triumphantly, Remain voters feeling sad and betrayed, and everyone is watching the financial markets and wondering how long and deep the recession will be.

The less-sensitive amongst your staff from either camp may inflame the situation by making sweeping provocative statements.  Read more

Staff reactions to the EU vote? – A time for reassurance

Business leaders across the country will be arriving in work this morning wondering what to say to their staff about the result of the EU Referendum.

You guys have got a tough job.  Whichever way you voted there will be plenty of people on your staff who voted Remain and are very worried for their future.  And even the Leave voters, while possibly jubilant, will be wondering what they have let themselves in for.

There is a huge amount of uncertainty now, with the financial markets diving, Cameron’s resignation and key figures giving their reactions.  And still ringing in people’s ears are comments such as those made by Donald Tusk (EU Council President) last week predicting the end of western political civilisation on a Brexit vote.

We have to stay calm and remember that this initial reaction will dampen down, but the issue of uncertainty is not going to go away quickly.

So your job today and over the next few weeks is to reassure your staff in any way you can.  Of course it is neither right nor fair to be unrealistic, but while staying in the real world, try to reassure them about the company’s ability to ride out whatever may happen.

It is all too easy for people in this type of situation to talk their way into a hole: for us collectively to talk our way into a recession.  And the way to counter that trend is to look for constructive ways to move forward, to be creative and to find ways to protect the organisation against the more dramatic effects of the Brexit process.

It is unlikely that western political civilisation will end.  That has to be a massive overstatement, but let’s not make things worse by wallowing in fear and uncertainty when there is great work to be done.

“Can’t do” – “won’t do”

Sometimes when managing staff you come across tasks that just don’t happen.  You keep asking but they get squeezed out or rushed through so you don’t get the result you need.  When this type of problem persists it often needs some careful thought about how to deal with the employee concerned.

Take an example.  Perhaps a situation where Jamie is expected to make phone calls to customers to check whether some support problems have been resolved.  It is on Jamie’s job description to do it, but he consistently doesn’t get around to it.  This situation comes up regularly and you keep asking him about it and yet it still hasn’t been done.

Why not? Read more

Giving feedback – scrapping the pointless appraisal

A recent article in The Times reported that Goldman Sachs is scrapping its annual performance appraisal system.  From the article it appears that standard GS procedure has been to meet with each employee annually for an appraisal and, in that meeting, grade each member of staff on a scale of 1-9 for performance.

The article reports that this system has been universally unpopular with both managers and staff. – Any guesses as to why it might not work? Read more

10 common causes of absence and how to respond

  • I’m sick
  • My child is sick
  • My car won’t start
  • My car’s been vandalised
  • I have to wait in for the plumber
  • I’ve got a doctor’s appointment
  • My cat died
  • I’ve got a family emergency
  • I’ve got food poisoning
  • I’ve got a gas leak

As an MD of a small business, I came to dread that time of the morning between 9 and 9.15am.  I’d sit at my desk with one ear listening for the phone to ring with the excuses of why my staff were going to be late or absent.  It was a depressing start to the day and probably a good thing that they couldn’t see my eyes rolling at the variety of excuses I heard. Read more

11 routes to implementing your company vision

One of the most important features of high performing organisations is an aligned vision.  Think of any successful organisation like, for example, Innocent Drinks and their vision and purpose shines through everything that they do.

But it isn’t always so easy for an established organisation and one with a less appealing product to create a vision and embed it into their operation.

A vision for a company is going to express the organisation’s purpose and goal.  It is going to link to the company’s core values and reflect the founder’s deepest desires when they originally set up the company.
The vision helps people involved with the organisation to look beyond short term issues and their next pay cheque, and see the big picture of what they are there to achieve.  With this wider vision people tend to take better decisions and see how they can drive the business forward. Read more

Business Relationships

Relationships are delicate like flowers.

With some people a good relationship comes easily, with others you have to work at it.

Sometimes it can take years to build trust, and it can be undone in a moment by a careless act. Read more