Friday, October 30, 2009

Are You Undermanaged?

According to Bruce Tulgan, author of Not Everyone Gets a Trophy, more employees are undermanaged than micromanaged—missing the two-way communication that is craved by many employees.

Just as micromanagers can cause employees to lose interest in their work or leave the job, those managers who undermanage—fail to give the day-to-day feedback to employees—also lose their employees to disengagement.

The job of the middle manager is complex and is often overlooked when it comes to training. Supervisors and managers need to spell out expectations every step of the way, ensure necessary resources are in place, track performance constantly, correct failure and reward success.

Middle management is one of the most important jobs in the organizations—as learning and performance professionals, you must take the time to give managers to skills and development they need to succeed.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Stealing Focus at Work

There is more at risk of being nabbed at work than just your lunch leftovers.

An OfficeTeam survey found that 29 percent of employees have had an idea stolen at work. Even more surprising is that 51 percent of these employees have done nothing about it in response.

In contrast, 26 percent of these employees spoke up to take credit for what was their idea while 13 percent told a manager and another 13 percent confronted the person who stole the idea.

One major reason behind this behavior could be a competitive and anxious workplace atmosphere due to the current job climate. Employees are eager to look like active and useful contributors, and may unconsciously pounce onto someone else’s idea.

OfficeTeam lists a few recommendations to prevent intellectual property theft in the workplace.

Firstly, give your manager regular status updates so that she is reminded of your ideas and their progress.

Also, look for patterns. Is one of your ideas being stolen a one-time occurrence, or is your work regularly attributed to others? This could be a sign that you are not assertive enough.

Finally, don’t act too hastily. If someone takes credit for your idea, make sure you hear his side of the situation. Similarly, if you are wrongfully given credit for someone else’s idea, make sure you clear up the situation to demonstrate your integrity.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Are You Engaged?

A survey by MidlandHR finds that although most companies agree that employee engagement affects retention and overall organizational performance, 49 percent of the companies don't understand the level of engagement of employees and 42 percent don't know how to engage them.

The survey of more than 100 business leaders in the United Kingdom's public, private, and charity sectors had some astounding results. Almost a quarter of all companies don't conduct employee engagement surveys. Of the companies that do conduct surveys, only 23 percent conduct them annually, while 14 percent do one every two years.

Do you do employee engagement surveys? Are they anonymous?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Engagement Loses Ground

Apparently having a job when many others don’t is no longer sufficient.

More than 50 percent of workers say their jobs are stagnant, according to a recent survey by DDI.

Among the reasons employees cited are having no room to advance, not being asked to do more, and not being challenged enough. The reasons are ironic given that many workers say they are burdened with too much work following layoffs and budget cuts.

Were it not for the abysmal job market, even more people would look to better horizons. Half of the respondents who said their jobs are stagnant plan to look for a new job when the economy recovers.

What the survey indicates above all else is that just because people are busier does not mean organizations should ignore engagement. It’s something leaders should focus on regularly.

The number of people who choose to do something else at work other than work is likely the same as it was 10 or 20 years ago. Social networking sites are just a new diversion for bored employees. Spring and summer fever is not new either. Twenty percent of employees called in sick as many as three times over the summer.

We should not read too much into the statistics and ignore the larger problem. Engagement of employees is an ongoing issue, not something that emerged in the Internet age. It is just as easy to ban use of the Internet, social media or personal phones as it is to find challenging roles and assignments for ambitious employees.

Actually Sick, or Just Sick of Working?

While we are entering flu season and people are lining up to be vaccinated, some employees may stay home because they just don’t feel like going to work. According to CareerBuilder’s annual absenteeism survey, 32 percent of employees have played hooky from work at least once this year under the pretense of being sick.

However, not all bosses are pointing fingers, or think that their staffs are lazy. Twenty-eight percent of employers reported that they think their workers are using fake excuses because they are burned out or stressed due to the recession.

Regardless, some employers are vigilant as to their missing people. Twenty-nine percent reported they have checked in on an employee who called in sick with 70 percent requiring a doctor’s note and 17 percent even driving by the employee’s house. Fifteen percent of employers have fired an employee for missing work without an acceptable excuse.

Twelve percent of employees who reported calling in sick said it was because of a work-related item such as missing a meeting, giving themselves more time to work on a project, or avoiding a supervisor or colleague. Other reasons for missing work included a doctor’s appointment (31 percent), needing relaxation time (28 percent), catching up on sleep (16 percent), running personal errands (13 percent), catching up on housework (10 percent), or spending time with family and friends. Nearly one-third of employees (32 percent) reported they didn’t feel like going to work that day.

The survey sample included 4,700 employees and 3,100 employers.

Employers shared some of the more unusual responses they’ve received from employees for missing work. Some of the more creative ones included:

“I hit a nun with my motorcycle.”

“A random person threw poison ivy in my face and now I have a rash.”

“I got sunburned at a nude beach and can’t wear clothes.”

“I got caught selling an alligator.”

“A bee flew in my mouth.”

“I’m just not into it today.”

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Abundance of Talent

The year 2006 seems like a decade ago. At the time executives sounded off about how difficult it was to find and retain the “right” people.

Now there’s definitely more talent in the marketplace. Instead employers are concerned with slogging through the pile of resumes in their inboxes and spending more time with the qualified candidates and less time with the undesirables, according to a survey by TalentDrive.

The recession turned the whole talent “war” into a myth.

With more people competing for scarce jobs, employers list improving their search techniques as the top priority for the coming year. Selecting the brightest just got a lot harder.

Online job boards are a giant void. Employers realize that to find the best workers among the younger generation, they must cast their nets online and through social networking sites. Their ease of use means a lot of unqualified people simply send their resume out hoping for the best, like buying a lottery ticket.

Employers now have to spend more time wading through resumes sent by people who should not have applied in the first place. Fifty-nine percent of organizations surveyed said the best means of finding top talent is through employee referrals.

Strangely enough, 54 percent of organizations said the quality of candidates was up to par once initial selections were made.

Maybe employer expectations are just too high. The best candidates are typically not in the market at the same time. They’re already working.

For all the false optimism about an economic recovery, there truly is no recovery until the job market is no longer flooded with resumes. Forty-eight percent of companies surveyed said their budgets for talent acquisition were cut or nonexistent. We’ll known when a true recovery occurs because at that point, employers will be looking for talent instead of people looking for jobs.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Attracting and Retaining the Mature Workforce

Just when you thought that Baby Boomers were exiting the workforce en masse, the economy went in the tank and the mature workers remained in the workplace. Some of the stereotypes about these workers haven't gone away either: Older workers can’t or won’t keep their skills current and older workers are not tech-savvy.

But as Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre showed in last night's Monday Night showdown with the Green Bay Packers, mature workers still have a lot of knowledge, experience, and heart to help their organizations succeed.

Does your organization have strategies to attract and retain older workers? Do you have a mentoring process in place that includes these invaluable employees?

Baby boomers are not leaving the workforce anytime soon, so you need to find ways to keep them engaged and ways to incorporate all generations into one workplace. The time is now.