Why Are You Still Here? 5 Ways to Keep ‘Em Coming Back Every Day

Why Are You Still Here? 5 Ways to Keep ‘Em Coming Back Every Day

Turnover is a real issue, even in the most employee-friendly company. Things happen and situations arise that drive the cycle of departure, but as the boss, you can take steps right now to ensure the employees you value remain as members of your team. Keeping employee motivation high may seem impossible, especially when everything in the company does not go as planned. However, the most trying times in your business may create extraordinary opportunities to reflect on organizational behavior and give your corporate culture a boost.

  1. Exercise an Open-Door Policy

One of the easiest ways you as a manager can get your employees to want to stay is by making yourself and your counsel available. In good times and bad, some people may require more reassurance or guidance than others. Some may feel uneasy about their performance and desire feedback to improve it. Showing your workforce that you want to help gives them the chance to engage with you and get the coaching they need to perform at their best.

However, you need to strike a balance so problematic people do not take up all your time. Establish office hours and allow people to sign up for 15-minute time slots. If a matter demands more time, extend it as needed. Creating boundaries with the process makes it run more smoothly.

  1. Take Action When Issues Arise

Allowing complaints against an employee to stand without recourse sends the wrong message to the rest of your workforce. Taking action to stop the spread of poor attitudes and behavior demonstrates that you know what is happening in the business and that you are willing to make difficult decisions to rectify any issues. If you ignore rumors and negativity too long, it can take root and affect employee morale.

  1. Stay Away From Micromanaging

Your workers should lift each other and stay on task without you involving yourself in every aspect of the job. Empowering people drives employee motivation. It fosters an environment of autonomy and allows people to feel less fettered when performing everyday duties. It also helps promote a creative environment and may push employees to go above and beyond the norm.

  1. Recognize and Reward the Good

When something goes wrong, it is easy to dwell on the negative, especially when it comes to a careless mistake. However, if your corporate culture practices employee-shaming, you will not spur employee motivation. On the other hand, if you flip the policy and spend more time praising the excellent work done, employees should take notice.

Rewards and recognition do not always have to be financial, although money definitely motivates. Set up a monthly luncheon and choose a top worker each week to attend. Send a company-wide email that turns the attention to the good things people do. Pointing out the hardworking members of your workforce encourages others to push themselves. Reward shows employees you recognize the good, so when something negative requires your attention, it will not seem that is all you focus on.

  1. Take Team-Building Out of the Office

Hanging around the office day in and day out can become a drag. Get with your management team and put together fun out-of-office days to mix in some excitement. You do not need to make it elaborate; take smaller groups to the movies or maybe do a ropes course or outdoor activity. Even a simple barbeque in the park is a great way to lift the spirits of all.

Employee motivation is essential in retaining people in a competitive market. If your workforce gets the impression you don't care about them, it can send some of your best people packing. Taking a few simple steps to show workers their worth to the bottom line can keep them clocking in day after day.

Terminating an  Employee 101:  How to Know When it’s Time to Let Go

Terminating an Employee 101: How to Know When it’s Time to Let Go

Severing an employee isn’t easy, but it can be necessary. If you have any workers who are toxic to the company, it’s time to let them go. Ideally, employees and employers come to an agreement about employee severance. Then, each party goes its separate ways. This is ideal but not always the usual. When employee motivation is down, you need to look at the employees responsible. For unsure employers, this is when you know it’s time to let an employee go and when to do it.

Misconduct and Unethical Conduct

Misconduct is serious. If an employee shows any sexist, racist or problematic behavior, let him or her go. Do not allow threats or other misconduct to go undisciplined. Unethical conduct can include the following:

  • Theft
  • Slander
  • Fraud
  • Dishonesty

Your company’s reputation hinges on your employees. Don’t let one employee ruin your reputation.

Absences and Poor Performance

Employee motivation goes down if they notice some co-workers aren’t working as hard. Poor performance and chronic absences are a reason for termination. If productivity slips, it may be time for a talk. If the behavior does not change, then it may be time for termination.

Drama and Complaints

Office drama happens. You can’t always avoid it. Some people, unfortunately, like to cause drama. If someone is stirring the pot, gossiping and always the center of drama, it’s a problem. This creates a negative corporate culture.

Complaints also matter. If your employee has customers, vendors and coworkers filing complaints, it’s time to look closely at that person.

Lack of Growth

The office is a place for personal and professional development. If your employee is not willing to improve or to train, then he or she may drag the company down. Employee motivation needs to be high. If your employee makes mistakes and doesn’t seek to fix them, he or she is not useful.

Poor Time Management

Now and then tardiness happens. Good organizational behavior is important. This is especially true when it comes to time management. Say you have an employee with a case of chronic lateness who misses deadlines. Seek to work with him at first. Let the employee know that he isn’t meeting your standards. If the employee continues to struggle, then your company might not be the right fit.

Terminating an Employee

If you determine it’s time to let an employee go, when you do it is important. How quickly do you want the employee out of the office? You also want to consider your worker’s feelings. You should never fire someone callously. Make sure that you take the time to be considerate. This also includes terminating at the right time.

In the past, employers would fire on Fridays. This is a bad idea. The weekend gives the employee time to stew on the firing. He or she can’t jump straight into a job search but has to wait all weekend. Most employers agree that it is better to fire in the middle of the week. You don’t want to fire on a Monday. This leads to feelings of time wasted. Make sure to terminate early in the day.

Remember that a crying or upset co-worker can drop employee motivation. Give the terminated employee a quiet or private space if he or she is upset. Treat him or her in a dignified way. You should always have respect, no matter the conditions of the termination.

When it comes to firing an employee, always consider the matter carefully. Some decisions aren’t as clear as others. Take into account the advantages and disadvantages of keeping an employee. Someone who does more harm than good has to be let go. Nevertheless, remember even in cases of termination to treat all employees with respect.

3 Ways To Get What You Want

3 Ways To Get What You Want

No matter how much you’ve accomplished, there’s always the possibility of increasing your productivity and effectiveness so that you can achieve more of your professional goals. Follow these tips to reach higher still.

1. Set the Right Goals

The first step to achieving goals is to set the right ones. Many leadership and organization psychology experts use the acronym SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound — to help you hone in on the types of goals that will set you up for success. Besides creating a sense of urgency, a SMART goal is clearly defined. “I’ll go to the gym for an hour before work every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,” yields better results than a vague, “I’ll get in shape.”

In addition to setting SMART goals, it’s also important to focus on what you can control and not on the outcome, which is out of your control. According to Think Like a Warrior, by sports psychology expert Darin Donnelly, you’ll get the best results, and be happier, if you focus only on your effort and your attitude. Otherwise, if you focus on results and outcomes, you risk getting discouraged and giving up when something doesn’t go your way.

2. Change Your Habits

Most people know that our habits are what help or hurt us the most when it comes to goal achievement. You may be surprised to learn that one of the most effective ways to change a habit is to change your environment, according to Psychology Today.

Often people fall into negative habits due to surrounding stimuli, such as eating ice cream after dinner because you see the ice cream bowls in the cabinet while doing the dishes. In this example, you could benefit by moving the bowls so you don’t encounter them as often and can avoid the negative habit entirely. Likewise in a professional setting, correcting a negative habit could be as simple as turning your desk or working on a different team.

3. Leave Your Comfort Zone

True leaders are willing to make themselves uncomfortable at times for the sake of achieving their goals, according to Kathy Caprino, a career coach and leadership expert who contributes to Forbes. It takes courage, and a willingness to leave your comfort zone and speak up and propose changes to a system that isn’t working. When you point out flaws in the system, you’re bound to encounter naysayers who want to stay in their own comfort zones. However, when you consider what it takes to make a significant positive impact on your organization, it often requires taking a calculated risk.

Betting Against the Future: Analytics and Insurance Talent Management

Betting Against the Future: Analytics and Insurance Talent Management

Human resources professionals in the insurance industry face a unique set of challenges from both technology and talent. Analytics have made a splash in many industries, but their direct application to insurance HR is not always readily apparent.

Turning your HR operations into a data-driven powerhouse requires convincing management that the investment is worth it. You can note that leading talent management and enterprise resource planning systems offer a bevy of metrics and options to select key performance indicators. But, these often won’t help you apply metrics, KPIs, or global data to your workforce.

You need quick, small wins that address some of the most significant problems you face. This quick dive into predictive and workforce analytics can help you learn where applications may exist and how to think about data for your organization.

Measuring Knowledge Transfer

As an HR professional in the insurance market, you know the industry faces a workforce gap. For many of you, it’s growing.

The aging and retiring workforce has pushed out middle management in almost every industry. The Millennial workforce focuses on digital skills and insurance, as an industry, has struggled to give itself a technologically savvy appearance. Today’s insurance workforce is seeing the most skilled practitioners retire and struggling to pass on lessons to a small set of younger workers that lack significant industry experience.

The transfer of knowledge across the divide is essentially for long-term health of each insurer. If you’re not tracking the success of employees during and after the knowledge transfer, then you might be wasting your employees’ time and harming your company’s long-term viability.

Your analytics should extend to track the formal and informal mentoring that goes on in the workplace. This can be tracked via established programs and with simple questions in a weekly review or check-in that ask: Who was the most helpful in the office this week? Did anyone show you something you didn’t know? What was it?

Onboarding programs already require significant interaction between new employees and your top staff. However, these are often limited to checking off a box so that you know everyone has practiced with your software and read the harassment policy. Following through with talent tracking that knows who demonstrated the software may help you find bottlenecks.

If Dave just gives your employees the handout but Michelle walks them through each process, there’s a potential that Michelle’s trainees will perform better over time when training on complex tasks. However, Dave may achieve the same results when it comes to understanding and adhering to corporate policy because nothing beyond reading the policy is needed.

Michelle’s hands-on approach can then be reserved for training on complex systems where gains are largest. If she enjoys mentoring or the process being reviewed, you might see even higher gains in bridging the skills gap.

Once you establish a baseline of this data, predictive analytics can help you find similar benefits in your knowledge transfer as well as many other KPIs.

Considering KPIs: The Average Time to Settle a Claim

One of the top KPIs across almost all insurers is the time it takes for the company to settle a claim. This data can be tracked across touch points to see how long each person takes to complete their part of the settlement process, as well as tracked separately for each policy the insurer offers.

Policies all have different claims periods so it’s not uncommon to see different a large gap between the speed of closing claims across products. No analytics program will deliver a paradigm shift in claims processing that resolves medical claims faster than a theft.

However, analytics may help you optimize the claims process across your products.

Breaking down the entire process and tracking each individual element may show you that claims in a certain region take longer to have an inspector visit, or a specific hospital may take five calls to get a document compared to your average of three.

Applying predictive analytics to this process can help you best identify partners or employee traits that make someone right-fit for a particular position.

You may also discover common elements that have no negative impact, but highlight areas for improvement. A medical insurer may find that new doctors’ offices are using a certain type of EMR/EHR, and a software improvement on the side of the insurer can yield proper integration so those records auto-populate claims forms.

This is just one KPI, but tracking its data can help insurers realize operational efficiencies that have positive benefits throughout an entire operation.

Consider the EMR/EHR example. Predictive analytics may show that you can expect a certain volume of claims with offices using a specific format. It may also tell you that you can expect a quicker and cheaper claims resolution process after you integrate to use that format. Underwriters now have a reason to offer a small discount for working with integrated partners, using claim resolution data to create a preference for products that will have shorter resolutions in the future.

Taking the Next Steps in Workforce Optimization

Pairing analytics with performance reviews also gives you a chance to ask one of the most important questions for top performers: What aspect of the work do you like the most?

Review this information regularly through workforce management practices like templated performance improvement plans. A steady stream of data will allow HR professionals to track these desired work areas and identify opportunities for top performers and rising stars to experience more of the work they enjoy.

We know that happy workers tend to perform better. The University of Warwick quantified that last year with a study[i] that found happy workers are 12% more productive, while unhappy workers are 10% less productive.

Applying this via analytics and PIP templates is pretty straightforward and won’t impose on any HR team. Review performance data to identify the areas where each employee perform best. Add a question to the PIP template that asks them what work they most enjoy or where they feel underutilized. Review responses and build a list matching your star employees with their desired work areas.

When new opportunities arise in one area, match it with the top employee for that work area. If this creates a gap in another work area, match the top employee for that process, and so on.

Specific to insurance, this may move your team around where certain members interact with vendors while others are your new front-line when claims are first made. Employees who have the best relationships with your inspectors or adjusters may be able to leverage that into improved performance and operational efficiency.

Analytics provides that information that your knowledgeable HR team can use to identify gaps. Modern software and talent management best practices prepare them to capitalize on each opportunity.

How to Win the Battle for Business Growth: President Lincoln’s Lessons from War

How to Win the Battle for Business Growth: President Lincoln’s Lessons from War

Sometimes in the heat of our day-to-day battles in business, it may almost feel like wartime. Overdue deadlines, budgets that are never sufficient, logistics that have an almost perverse way of undermining our best efforts. Where can we turn for solace and for help?

Think about President Lincoln, fighting a war he did not want, being embattled on all sides by conflicting interests and unrelenting political adversaries and facing the collapse of the Union. Sometimes we think we have it tough, but how could he carry out his mission and save the Union as well as stay in office?

The President knew people, he knew how they behave, how they react to circumstances and how they can be led toward someone else’s goal. Lincoln had a few rules that he followed and we could not do better than to emulate his principles.

Get Out of the Office

His first rule was to get out of the office and get to know his assets, get his own answers. During the first months of the war, he made certain he met every new soldier personally, shook hands with him and thanked him for coming to the nation’s aid in time of crisis. During those early months, the President spent more time away from the White House than he spent there.

Read The Forbes Article, How To Connect Powerfully And Avoid Bonding Mistakes For Peak Leadership Performance – by Louis Carter

Today, we know this as MBWA; Management By Walking Around. Lincoln had a deep respect for the men in his army, from privates to generals. He knew that it was vital for the army and its leadership to have the same objective as him.

When we sit in meetings listening to staff, we have to assume they know the people under them, but he learned that was not always the case. He had to make sure he had a firsthand knowledge of the problems and the issues.

Persuade Rather Than Order

His second rule was to persuade rather than coerce. He knew that he could order people to do his bidding, but they would not necessarily be doing what they thought best. By not ordering but by his manner of persuasion, he could accomplish so much more, because his subordinates had been part of the plan and had a deeply felt investment in the things they were about to do.

Lincoln, because of his deep respect for his fellowmen, he was able to enlist their support even for decisions they would have rejected if they were ordered to carry them out. Instead he was able to build a team of supporters who shared a common goal and objective.

9 Ways to Make an Organization Talent-Worthy – by Louis Carter

This reluctance to dictate sometimes did not serve him well. He was slow to replace unsuccessful general officers as soon as he should have but even the ones he replaced maintained their respect for him.

However, even though he had many people who thought poorly of him at the start, Lincoln knew that he would be much better as a leader if he got people to like and respect him, but that respect truly was something Lincoln and all men have to earn.

Lead by Being Led

His third maxim was to lead by being led. He listened very carefully to everyone who had a stake in the decision, asked the right questions to penetrate to the issue rather than the peripheral matters.

Leaders always must know the right questions to ask and be able to evaluate the quality of the answers. Lincoln was a master at this. It also elicited the best answers from his team; he knew that he alone did not have all the answers.

He had to rely on others and that made them feel deeply committed.

Encourage Innovation

This led him to his fourth rule; encourage innovation. He could get the best and brightest around him but he knew that if he did not listen to them, he might as well have know-nothings. His cabinet was full of skeptics and political adversaries but he soon won them over by valuing their help and accepting it graciously.

To not listen to his advisors and his subordinates was to waste their talents and substitute his. They would feel much more committed to a strategy when they had a hand in its conception.

Couch Issues in Wisdom

Abraham Lincoln was a great storyteller. He used stories as a way to get his points across in a non-threatening way, by putting it in the context of his homespun humor.

6 Ways Leaders Communicate Effectively – by Louis Carter

He knew that if people could laugh at his stories and jokes; if they had a smile on their faces, it would be very much harder for them to disagree. One of his famous saying was “You catch a lot more flies with a spoonful of honey than with a gallon of gall.”

Relax and Get Your Perspective Back

The President also knew that the greatest enemy of good decisions is exhaustion, especially mental exhaustion. He and his wife made it a point to visit plays, concerts and musicals frequently, sometimes every week, just to get his perspective back.

It was not to diminish the seriousness and gravity of the day, but rather to feed his inner man with enjoyment and relaxation.

These are all valuable lessons we can apply every day in business, industry and finance. Take advantage of the lessons President Lincoln taught.

Join the ranks of great business leaders on the best network for leaders, Best Practice Institute.

The 4 Best Practices It Takes To Drive Your Employees And Team To Succeed Beyond Everyone’s Expectations

The 4 Best Practices It Takes To Drive Your Employees And Team To Succeed Beyond Everyone’s Expectations

Brian Fishel knows employees and teams. He knows them so well, he has led them through some of the most famous successions, mergers, and transformations in the world. I consider Brian to be the “Bruce Bochy of talent management” – he knows exactly what it takes to lead a team to the championships and nothing is going to get in his way. It is inside of him – natural gut instincts and 100s of thousands of hours of hands-on experience and deep learning that has brought Fishel’s teams success– just as Brochy led his teams to the championships year after year.

Brian knows when you lead a team, you must strike a delicate balance in order to drive them to success. If you’re too unstructured, your team may flounder and not hit their marks. If you’re too rigid, you may fuel resentment and not allow enough creativity and growth. So how, as a leader, can you best lead your employees to succeed beyond everyone’s expectations?

There are lots of ways. We all know what personal and team success looks like—trust, easy flowing communication, making decisions with appropriate urgency, getting things done, positive coaching. We also know what dysfunction looks like—people who won’t work together, in an “un-flowing” environment, where team members are often angry and mistrusting of each other.

Brian Fishel, Chief Talent Officer at KeyBank in Cleveland, Ohio, and Co-Chairman of the BPI Senior Executive Board, narrowed true success down to these four main points: explicit, engrained, energizing, and enduring. Focusing on these four things is key to success in leading individuals and teams.

1. Be Explicit Even Before Hiring

Set very clear expectations before the person is even hired—explain the what, how and why of the work to be accomplished. These explicit expectations must be known across the board also to those who will be interviewing and working with this person. Before the new employee even walks in the door, there should be clearly defined accountabilities and responsibilities. This means explicitly outlining what the job is going to entail, and how people must behave to be successful—individually and as part of a group.

When hired and the candidate becomes an employee, the feedback gathered on them during the interview process against these expectations and requirements must be shared with them very early on in their tenure. Once in the position, give direct and candid feedback often; at review time and more importantly real time in the moment. Offer your concrete observations, as well as actionable instructions about how to change.

WHEN BRIAN STARTED ONE OF HIS TOP EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP POSITIONS, HE WAS TOLD AN EXISTING EMPLOYEE, SHERI, HAD POTENTIAL

One-on-one with her, she told him that she was underutilized and underpaid. She had excelled at her previous job, so why not now? Brian told her very directly his view on her, and he told her prove herself. He laid out the ground rules of what he needed her to do—what she needed to deliver and by when as well as how she needed to demonstrate a different set of leadership behaviors with her teammates.

He also clearly articulated how he would help her be successful. He then communicated as such to her critical internal business stakeholders. Due to the clear direction and her drive, she was promoted continuously with substantial increases in responsibility and pay, exceeded her performance expectations and became one of his top High Potential Leaders.

2. Enable Behaviors That Are Engrained

Now it’s time to make sure what you have made explicit becomes engrained. Catching your team doing what you have asked is what perpetuates this behavior. However, generalizations like “nice job” don’t make the mark. Offer meaningful, specific, authentic praise privately and publicly.

Make sure to match output and behavior—praise and recognize your team for output as well as behavior, so they understand the connection between and the importance of the two factors. Reinforce your expectations at every opportunity. Hold them accountable and coach them when they are off the mark. Talk to them one-on-one about what they need to work on. Help them feel accountability for their own success, the success of their teammates and the company overall. In addition, key stakeholders need to know the parameters and how to approach and reinforce what you are doing. Put all personal or “organization territorial” issues aside and candidly discuss performance and challenges.

Make sure the environment lends itself to openness and candor, and people feel free to share their opinions in open discussion. They will rise to their potential.

NO ONE EXPECTED BOB TO GO FAR. THERE WAS TOO MUCH STACKED AGAINST HIM. BUT BRIAN KNEW HE HAD POTENTIAL

Brian assigned him to lead a highly visible cross-functional project. Brian worked with Bob to scope and define the project outputs and path to success, and identify and rally key stakeholders to get support, and fast! In the end, Bob succeeded beyond everyone’s expectations, including his own.

The team he led became one of the highest performing teams and brought in substantial new revenue growth for the company due to cross-selling initiatives. Giving employees the opportunity to prove themselves before they think they are ready is key. You unleash their capabilities.

3. Energize Individuals and Teams

Create a sense of urgency and passion with the people with whom you work. Set the bar high—very high, in fact, so it’s a stretch to get over. Explain why you believe they can get there. Explain to them why you believe they are ready for what comes next. Articulate the purpose of what you are trying to do. It will energize them.

Lead by example. When explaining to them why you believe they are ready for what comes next, it will bring out of them the potential that is untapped and will reinforce and demonstrate that you trust them. Your energy will create energy in your team. If you want your team to outperform, then set the bar high and give them opportunities and the room and freedom to shine.

ONE OF BRIAN’S TEAM MEMBERS, JOE, HAD BEEN RATED AS A TOP PERFORMER BEFORE COMING ON BOARD, BUT THEN ONE YEAR IN, HE WAS JUST AVERAGE

Why? Brian explained to Joe how their company had different standards. The bar was set very high. Brian praised what Joe had done, then outlined very clearly and explicitly how he could be a top performer. He committed to coaching and helping him succeed and reach this new bar. Joe found these high standards liberating.

Over the next few months, Brian helped Joe realize how to better run the leadership audience by better understanding the audience’s requirements. A year later, Joe had met the high standards. Why? He was energized by the high expectations. They had agreed to what success looked like, which created energy and focus.

4. Teach So Others Can Endure No Matter What

Creating a process that is sustainable is key. Teach your team well, and they can take what they learn and run with it on their own. A team that follows a proven system will be able to endure, even if you as the leader moves on. Enduring means team members grow, progress, have more responsibilities added to their current roles, are promoted, and develop into bigger roles. They take what is asked of them and grow.

This saying applies here: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” We aren’t just getting through the day or creating one product with our team and calling it a day. We are teaching them endurance and resilience. We are helping them learn to stretch their capacity much like a serial marathoner pounds the pavement every day, celebrates his race victory, and then goes out and does it again. And as they go along, they are learning from their failures and their successes.

Success can be measured in many ways, but what it comes down to is this: you know it when you see it. When a team is unstoppable they communicate, are highly productive, are incredibly creative and are unhindered. How is it done? These four areas—explicit, engrained, energizing, enduring—will help you do what it takes. Create accountability, move with urgency, and your team will grow in ways no one would ever have expected.

Brian FishelBrian Fishel has over 25 years of broad Human Resources experience across multiple industries. He has specific expertise in the areas of Global Talent Management, Executive Assessment, Development and Coaching, Succession Planning and Team Effectiveness, and Merger-Acquisition and Culture Integration at the senior most levels of organizations, as well as Staffing and Organization Development. In his current role, Brian is the Chief Talent Officer of Key Bank. Prior to joining Key in 2013, Brian spent 15 years with Bank of America in various senior level talent management and organization development roles, including the Global Head of Executive Development and Chief Learning Officer for the enterprise. Prior to Bank of America, Mr. Fishel held various senior-level Human Resource Generalist roles with The Coca-Cola Company providing human capital advisory support for their Global Marketing, Communications and Finance Functions, The Minute Maid Group, and International Bottling operations. Before Coca-Cola, Brian worked for Pizza Hut, at the time a subsidiary of PepsiCo. He was responsible for designing and delivering Pizza Hut’s executive development curriculum targeted at their senior level field sales and operations executives throughout North America.

He also led their U.S. field sales and operations training organization. Brian is a frequent national speaker on the topics of Talent Management and Executive Development. He is a founding member of the Best Practice Institute’s Senior Executive Board, and has served on the Harvard Publishing Advisory Committee and the Conference Board’s Learning and Organizational Performance roundtable. He has written and published several articles and chapters in various books and magazines on an variety of Leadership topics. Brian holds both a Bachelors and Masters of Science in Education from Miami University of Ohio.

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