Category Archives: Motivation

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How to improve dysfunctional team performance with behavioral assessments

A dysfunctional team is one that consistently loses performance by failing to work and collaborate together in a professional or desirable way. Problems arising in teams and between team members are one of the major problems contributing to loss of performance but solving them can be difficult.

This is especially true because team dysfunction can stem from direct leadership (managers, Scrum leaders, etc.), leaders (business direction, business policy), and from individuals.

Stepping back to assess problems and recognize where things are going wrong is one of the first steps to solving those issues, and in many teams, it will often reveal issues with communication, emotional intelligence, and ego. This may be cultural or local to the team, but should be corrected, and quickly.

One study showed that negative behavior in teams is effective for most dysfunction, although negative behavior may stem from poor soft skills, lack of motivation from leadership, poor leadership, or other issues.

Understanding Teams and Their Leaders

Dysfunctional teams are reflections of a whole. It’s difficult to have healthy leaders or team members if either is unhealthy. But it’s critical to review both independently to look for the source of dysfunction. Chances are, you will find issues with both, but they might both be different and unrelated.

Personality Mapping

Understanding individual personalities that make up a team is important for ensuring teams align in terms of communication style, emotional intelligence, work ethic, work method, and social needs. MBTI shows there are 16 basic personality types and not all of them get along. Team conflicts may stem from simple issues relating to different methods of communication.

For example, a team lead might be communicating in strict, pragmatic instructions to a team made up of mostly creative people who need freedom to do things in their own way, resulting in stifled creativity and dropping morale. In some cases, direct personality clashes can also result in constant or regular conflict, sparking issues throughout the team.

In addition, understanding the personalities of the people on your teams can help with improving performance across the organization. Team composition based on personality is increasingly regarded as important to performance and individual happiness, because a mix of personalities functions better, is more creative, and can collaborate in ways that a silo of similar personalities will not.

Most team frameworks are based on personality assessments like MBTI or The Big 5 but will help you to see where different people complement or clash with each other.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence, emotional quotient or EQ is increasingly seen as crucial to how people function together. Emotional intelligence can be defined as a measure of how people recognize their own emotions and those of others, use that information to guide behavior and thoughts, and manage or adjust emotions and thoughts to other people and to achieve goals. EQ dates back to the 1960s, but was popularized by David Goleman, who argues that 67% of leadership and team goals can be met with EQ rather than IQ.

Measuring EQ with assessments like EQ-I 2.0 can help you to understand how well people are communicating. This can be important, especially in instances where some people are emotionally intelligent and others are not.

People who are not emotionally intelligent can come off as rude, impolite, and hurtful. Leaders lacking emotional intelligence can deeply damage morale. Like other soft skills, EQ is a learnable skill and there are workshops, courses, and books on the market to help teams develop those behaviors.

Asking Questions

Sometimes, dysfunctional behavior builds up over time, typically in relation to a few incidents that slowly get worse. What started out as a single toxic person can result in an incredibly dysfunctional team, despite the team otherwise being functional. This type of behavior is difficult to assess without actually going in, asking questions, and seeing how the team works first-hand. Swapping leaders, implementing behavior coaches, and implementing workshops can be a good way to assess this behavior.

Solving Dysfunctional Behavior

It’s difficult to assess a team and immediately recognize where problems are from and why. In some cases, problems stem from processes and bureaucracy. In others, it’s simply teams not working together. And, in others, it’s poor leadership. It’s important to be open minded and unbiased, which potentially means having assessments completed by a third-party.

Problem: Disagreements are not addressed but are problematic

Team members frequently disagree but feel unable to discuss problems or resolve them. This can lead to unhealthy interpersonal conflict and dropping morale. This lack of trust will result in lack of team collaboration because individuals won’t ask for help or feedback, won’t utilize the skills or strengths of others, and, in short, won’t be part of a team.

Solution – Review why teams fail to discuss problems and implement solutions to fix those issues. For example, if teams feel they aren’t listened to, implementing EQ workshops may be a good solution.

Healthy debates should be encouraged, even if encouragement involves creating team-building exercises and working to solve negative behavior such as others calling out individuals in unhealthy ways. Getting over this type of issue may require acknowledging and working on specific instances in personal history.

Problem – People talk about each other behind their backs

This can lead to silos, “cliques” and “us versus them” behavior, and often ripples out from leadership.

Solution – Assess root problems, implement workplace ethics workshops, and stage workshops on having healthy upfront discussions where people feel free to share criticism to each other.

This may also stem from leaders feeling unable to offer criticism to someone who is “emotional”, which likely means the leader needs communication or emotional intelligence training. Feedback should always be given directly to the person, not to anyone else on the team.

Problem – Not everyone contributes

Healthy teams discuss things together. Dysfunctional teams typically rely on one or two people who take up all the time, space, and air. This can stem from people not being listened to, from the leader feeling like they have the only voice, and people simply not feeling as though they can speak up. In a worst-case scenario, people will either pretend to be on board with ideas they don’t agree with or will remain silent, but will end up working on solutions they don’t agree with or like.

Solution – Implement team-building exercises such as role-swapping, create mandatory speaking roles for everyone in the team, and have leaders specifically call out individuals to ensure everyone contributes. Discussion and debate lead to productive creativity and collaboration. Teams have to acknowledge that a certain amount of conflict is productive.

Problem – Teams work aimlessly

Often, this means that communication style doesn’t line up between how projects are communicated and how teams prefer to work. This can result in teams over analyzing and wasting energy or lacking confidence or feeling stifled by too much structure.

Solution – Assess how people communicate and work to match leadership, project, and team styles up as much as possible. Most organizations have space for every type of leader, assessing team types and matching leadership to that team is the best way to solve this issue.

Dysfunctional teams are everywhere, but the causes of dysfunction are often multifaceted. It’s important to assess the full culture including leadership, individual interaction, individuals, and company culture to determine what might be wrong and why. Only then can you implement the right solutions to create teams that stay healthy for the long-term.


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A Guide to Building a Career During Tough Times

This is a guest post from Michael Deane. Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.

The Coronavirus pandemic has flipped our world upside down. In just a couple of weeks, people around the planet have faced social isolation, illness, and even death. The economy took a hit too, and many businesses are struggling to stay afloat.

The changes are taking place fast and hard. Therefore, it is completely natural to feel anxious and scared as you’re watching your career dreams, hopes, and plans coming to a halt.

How does one go about building their career during these tough times? Don’t worry – the following tips should help you get back on the track.

Secure Your Current Job

Network with your coworkers beyond work-related social services. To protect yourself against layoffs and stay visible at work, build strong internal relationships.

Give yourself an edge by investigating your current employer and understanding key company issues. By doing this, you will have a realistic overview of the situation. You may even find opportunities that will help you secure your job, such as key projects that you can support.

Furthermore, try to become a high-potential employee by showing your interest in different things and demonstrating your learning agility.

Providing additional value to the company is something that can make you indispensable.

Network, Network, Network

Networking means connections and opportunities.

Meeting new people allows you to use their skills to your advantage. You will, however, have to give something in return – your money, your knowledge. People with successful careers network a lot. Their goal is to create profitable, long-lasting relationships.

Use the downtime created by the pandemic to reach out to teachers, mentors, college friends, as well as current and previous colleagues. Ask them how they’re holding up during these challenging times, share your situation, and try to help them in any way you can.

Having a web of connections will help you find lots of career choices and opportunities along the way.

Investigate New Industries

Was your industry hit particularly hard by the pandemic? If it was, recovery may take a long time. Consider switching to another industry. Those that grew during the chaos are obviously the best choice.

Start your research by identifying a couple of target companies. Read through their websites. Your ultimate goal should be to learn as much as possible about a particular company. Study their growth plans, financial stability, as well as products and customers.

Thorough research will be of great assistance when it comes to interviews.

Map Your Skills

Besides researching different fields, think about jobs outside your current scope. Jot down the skills you’re using in your current role.

For example public speaking, design, writing, programming, sales, reception, system administration, project management, data analysis, and others.

Once you’ve completed the list, find jobs that overlap with the skills you wrote down. Are excel skills only a small part of your job? Consider moving to a position where they’re more important, such as analyst of Big Data for a marketing company.

Add Remote-Friendly Keywords to Your Resumé

As you already know, telecommuting is at an increase. Many managers expect workers to show that they’re capable of remote working. Therefore, it’s vital to show your experience and aptitude at it.

In your LinkedIn profile, cover letter, and resumé, make sure to mention document-sharing tools you’re familiar with. Moreover, cite your familiarity with video technologies you have used.

Mentioning how you worked remotely is just as important. For example: “I was a leader of a remote team consisting of 10 workers spread across multiple time zones.” 

If you have any relevant soft skills, such as written communication or time management, highlight them too. These will demonstrate that you’re more than capable of being productive as a remote worker.

Brand Yourself

These days, it seems like nothing is as important as branding. Big-name companies spend tons of money to make themselves look like the market’s “big dogs”. Branding creates your image in the marketplace – it’s an ancient business strategy that still works.

To build your career during these challenging times, brand your name and services. Start doing this by creating a social media profile, a blog, or simply by offering awesome services.

Raise Your Standards

Finally, keep in mind that there’s one factor that separates the successful from the non-successful. It’s your standards – they are responsible for how you behave, believe, and think.

In case your standards are high, you will never be pleased with less than you can achieve. Individuals with high standards are typically more successful.

Take a moment to reflect upon your values. Give your best to improve them. By being the best version of yourself, you’ll succeed in building your career even in these trying times.

Building a successful career requires patience, effort, and time even in the best of circumstances. The tips listed above should help you make the best out of the current situation.


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How to use digital learning to increase employee engagement

In today’s society, technology is rapidly shifting. Interactions, experiences and businesses become more digitized with each passing day. Digital technologies have profoundly changed the ways we do business, buy, work and live. As a result, the landscape of education has undergone a digital transformation. You only need to look at the advancements in mobile phones for evidence of the digitization of education. We have access to a whole world of information at our fingertips through mobile applications and desktop platforms.

Digital learning enables you to make learning fun and accessible for your workforce. By embracing digital learning, you can improve employee engagement for your organization. The importance of employee engagement cannot be stressed enough.

Research shows that engaged employees are happier employees. Increasing employee engagement can also lead to increased attendance, performance, service quality, safety and employee retention. So, if you haven’t yet considered digital learning as an employee engagement method for your organization, you may be missing out on a powerful business opportunity.

The importance of employee engagement

In today’s competitive job market, employee retention is increasingly hard. Digital technologies have made it easier for unhappy employees to find new job opportunities. Almost half of employees considered high retention risk used a mobile app or website to find a new job.

The good news is focusing on employee engagement can reduce employee turnover. Employees who are engaged are far less likely to leave their job and, more importantly, will feel a stronger connection with the company. This strong connection could lead them to be more productive and successful within their role.

One way to increase employee engagement is through digital learning. In today’s age, employees value learning and development opportunities. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, an incredible 93% of employees stated that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. Developing an ongoing digital learning strategy within your organization can be a great way to boost employee engagement.

What is remote learning?

Remote learning allows your employees to learn new skills and enhance existing knowledge without having to visit a physical location. They can undertake training using an online platform. This virtual format offers employees the flexibility to learn from the comfort of their own home or whilst in the office at work.

From mobile-based learning to live webinars, digital courses and virtual educational activities, there’s a wide range of options available when it comes to finding the most suitable remote learning style for your employees. In the past, all job and development training happened in person.

It was often expected that the entire department would complete the training at the same time, in the same place, as a team. It’s unlikely that the rigidity of traditional learning would be able to accommodate different employee learning styles, capabilities or requirements. Therefore, the increased choice and flexibility provided by digital learning could work wonders for your employee engagement levels.

3 key ways to use digital learning to increase employee engagement

To help you discover the benefits of remote learning, we’ve crafted this list of 3 ways digital learning can increase employee engagement.

1) Gamification of corporate training

Gamification in corporate training isn’t a new concept. The term gamification references the integration of gaming elements in non-game applications. Games have an amazing ability to capture people’s attention for a long time. Moreover, video games have been shown to improve cognition, creativity and sociability. These benefits of gaming are all factors that would be equally beneficial for the workforce. Therefore, it’s plausible to surmise that gamification could benefit corporate learning.

The gamification of online learning helps to create a more engaging learning experience for your employees. Using gamification methods such as scoreboards can make employees feel more ownership and purpose when engaging with tasks. This focus on gamification in the workplace can allow organizations to attract and retain the best talent, build a high performing workforce and reduce the cost of employee turnover.

Large corporations like McDonalds have incorporated gamification into their business model and training processes. McDonalds used gamification for till-training exercises. From this till training game, McDonalds employees reported having a deeper understanding of the new till system, improved performance and they felt increased employee engagement. The implementation of this game also resulted in an increase in business performance and average order value.

In a more digital application, Salesforce used gamification techniques to drive user adoption of their CRM system after customers reported employees were not using the platform as often as desired. Named Trailhead, this gamified approach allowed users to gain Trailhead badge of achievement, compete with colleagues and win prizes as they progressed through various stages of the learning process. By gamifying the learning and usage of their digital system, Salesforce was able to increase this customers total log-in percentage to 84% – a significant increase on the previously reported log-in percentage. Further to this, the users of the Trailhead learning platform reported feeling more engaged and empowered.

2) Interactive video content for employee training

As effective as online tasks may be, sometimes your training simply needs live interaction. With 50% of YouTube users in the U.S. admitting to using YouTube to learn something new, it’s evident that video content can be beneficial for corporate learning. Many organizations have recognized the positive implications of video content usage in business, especially short, engaging and interactive video formats.

According to Forrester Research, employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than read documents, emails or articles. Based on these findings, if you want to encourage your employees to engage with your training program, using video format can help make training more interesting for users.

Videos are versatile and can be used for a variety of business training and development purposes. From introducing new services to employee onboarding, demonstrating how to use a new system and assisting employee development, video content can be used across various employee development initiatives.

Providing employee training via video could help increase employee engagement rates for your organization. A recent study found that 94% of employees enjoyed having at least one event live streamed. Live-streamed video content allows for authentic and impactful communication amongst employees.

With screen-sharing and recording capabilities, you can save your video training sessions for attendees to refer back to at a later date. Recording your video training will also provide evergreen training materials as you can use these recordings for future employee learning programs.

3) Self-directed learning for employees

Self-directed learning is when the responsibility of learning is transferred from the instructor to the learner. This transfer of responsibility gives the learner, or employee, the opportunity to make the decisions about their learning. Giving learners choice and control over their learning allows them to adjust the program to suit their needs and provides them with autonomy. This increased autonomy can further increase their interest in and motivation for professional development.

Examples of online self-directed learning for employees includes letting employees set their own completion dates for assessments, allowing them to complete online courses in their own time or having an online training platform where employees can choose the modules that interest them most.

Autonomy is essential for employee engagement. To support this notion, Effectory found that 79% of autonomous employees felt more engaged and thus more accountable for their work and performed better. Therefore, you can boost employee engagement by providing employees with autonomy over their online learning.

Next time you are reviewing your employment training initiatives, it may be worthwhile considering the potential benefits of digital learning. Incorporating online learning into your employee development programs can be a great way to increase employee engagement, as demonstrated by the above examples.


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How to look after your employees’ mental health

This is a guest post from Alicia Christine. Alicia is a human resource professional with expertise in employee experience and wellness. She writes for BestTechie and Techie Doodlers, and shares how businesses can be better to maximize their potential of helping better their communities and society as a whole. Find her on LinkedIn.

The discussion about employee wellness and mental health is becoming more and more important all over Asia. In fact, the Department of Labor and Employment in the Philippines issued guidelines for employers on how to ensure good mental health and well-being in the workplace just last February. This is in line with the spread of the occupational phenomenon known as burnout.

The World Health Organization defines burnout as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. This often results in exhausted workers, reduced productivity, and an increasing apathetic attitude towards one’s job. Now, what do you do if you’ve been noticing the same things with your employees in the workplace?

Don’t fret, you can still turn all of this around. Read on to know more about how to look after your employees’ mental well-being.

Open Up the Discussion on Mental Health in the Workplace

One of the best things you can do to address mental health issues is to provide an environment that is open and receptive to your employees’ struggles. In most cases, employees will never come out and discuss these issues with their employers, as they may be seen as a liability to the company. This will then lead to the problem worsening and negatively affecting both the employee and the company as a whole.

One way you can address this is by opening up the conversation on mental health. This proactive approach to employee wellness will certainly improve the way your workplace handles these issues. A great way to do this would be to educate your managers, team leaders, and supervisors on mental health issues through seminars held by professionals. This way they’ll be able to determine the signs of mental health issues and address them appropriately.

Promote Work-Life Balance

Another thing that’ll go a long way in promoting a healthy workplace is a focus on work-life balance for your employees. The thing we have to remember here is that employees that are physically and mentally healthy tend to work better than those who are not. So while it may seem wise to praise employees that overwork themselves, it may eventually lead to their undoing due to burnout.

So how do you promote work-life balance in the workplace? Well, one thing you can try is a flexible work arrangement. Pain Free Working highlights how flexible work hours allow employees to live more well-rounded lives. They’ll come to work, execute, and then will be free to do whatever they want with their spare time. This will do wonders for their mental health, as they’ll have more time to invest in other things aside from work. In turn, this makes them more productive as they’ll come back to the workplace fresh and recharged making this a true win-win situation.

Bots for Mental Health

Lastly, another way you can push for an overall improvement in your employees’ mental health is through the use of the right technology. Technology has often bridged the gap between society and its needs, and mental health is no exception. Various apps have sprung from the growing mental health crisis that, for the most part, have done an adequate job of curbing the issue.

In the corporate setting, one piece of technology has been surprisingly effective. Fast Company highlights how the use of chatbots make it easier for employees to talk about their issues. This is mainly because the AI is geared towards addressing these issues. Couple this with the fact that the discretion that comes with talking to someone who isn’t a person and you’ll find that you’ve created a safe space for your employees.

Make Use of Assessments

Lastly, one thing that you have to consider when things are going awry is if your employees are in the right roles. While it’s easy to put the blame on the employees or the systems that you’ve put in place, sometimes it’s really just a matter of whether or not something is the right fit. Inc highlights how being in the wrong role often leads to disengaged employees.

One way you can alleviate this problem is through the use of assessment tests. These will give you a good grasp on whether or not someone is in the right role by seeing if their skills and personality are up to par with their current role in your team. Another way to do this would be to just ask your employees whether or not they think their current role is right for them.

If you want to learn more about how to make your workplace one that values mental health and safety, check out this article on 5 Ways to Deal with Workplace Conflict!


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How to Keep Employees Engaged When Working From Home

This is a guest post from Addison Shaw. Addison is a content editor for Better Buys, where she writes about all things software related, ranging from topics on BI, HRMS, LMS, and a few other software categories. When she’s not writing she loves curling up in her papasan chair with a glass of wine and Nintendo Switch in hand.

In the blink of an eye, the world has changed more dramatically than we ever expected it to. The sudden impact of the worldwide pandemic has seen as many offices as possible turn into remote working companies almost overnight. The problem for so many of these businesses is that neither the company nor the employees were particularly prepared for this massive shift in lifestyle and working setup.

It’s highly likely that your company has already experienced many teething issues in the process, most particularly in how to keep your employees engaged and motivated. Without face-to-face contact, it can be hard to stay focused on work projects, especially if you throw pets, housework, children home from school and a myriad of other distractions into the mix. Now, more than ever, a human resource management system is an essential tool for ensuring proper workflow and employee happiness.

With the right tools and processes in place, you can keep your employees engaged in their work and feeling like they are still part of a team – no matter how far apart you are physically. It’s all about setting up new rules for a new way of working.

Schedule Mandatory Morning Check-In Meetings

It’s important to start the day off on the right foot. So many people who are new to working from home think that it’ll be fine to stay in their pajamas and sleep in, rather than sticking to their regular work routine.

By setting up a recurring video conference with your team each morning, every employee will feel the need to get up, get dressed and get ready for work on time. This helps to get people in the right frame of mind to do a full day’s work and can be an excellent motivator.

These morning meetings can do a number of different things for your team. They are a proper way for you as a boss or manager to stay on top of projects and ensure that deadlines are being adhered to.

They are also a way for your employees to get that daily face-to-face interaction with their colleagues, and to maintain a real connection. It can be very lonely working from home, so seeing people (even virtually) each day gives you a little pep that can help you to make it through to clocking off time.

Store Important Data in a Collaborative Cloud-Based Program

When you’re in an office and you need information from someone, it’s a simple case of walking over to their desk and asking for it. In a remote setup, this can be a lot trickier because files need to be requested and then emailed, and this can cause delays. This is why it’s so important to store information that several employees work from on a cloud-based solution. People can then access it whenever they need to.

The other key to this is to look for a collaborative solution. If you don’t have a collaborative storage option, you could end up with a situation like this: if two employees download the same document at the same time, work on it and then upload the new version at different times, the second person to upload the document will override the changes that the first person made.

In a collaborative solution, people will work online on the same document and no individual changes will be lost in the process. You can also check version histories to see what changes were made, when they were made, and by whom.

Show Employees How to Set Up a Proper Work Station at Home

Change and adjusting to new situations work best when it starts from the top down. As a manager or boss, it’s important to show your employees how you are coping with the new setup of working from home. You should make sure that you are always on time and properly prepared for each video conference – especially the morning check-ins. Then there is the setting up of your home workspace. If you can show your employees how it should be done, they’ll be encouraged to do the same in their homes.

Encourage your employees to set up a workstation that is as free from distractions as possible. The area should be just for work – not close to a TV or where you and other people in the house go to relax. Keeping those areas separate will help to keep you focused on work and won’t confuse your brain as much by trying to work in a space you associate with downtime.

Do Something Social at Least Once a Week

If you like to do after-work drinks in the office on a Friday evening, then stick to that. If the whole team has lunch together on a particular day, keep up the tradition. If you don’t have any traditions, now is a good time to start them.

All of these things can be done virtually on a video conferencing setup. It won’t be quite the same, but it will at least allow people to chat about non-work-related topics with their colleagues, and keep everyone feeling like they are in this together.

Take Time to Check in with Each Team Member

As someone in charge, it is your responsibility to make sure that all of your employees feel happy and that their grievances are being heard. It’s just a little trickier to do this remotely because you can’t see people’s faces all day in the office, and spot problems before they become big issues.

Create a roster of all your employees and check in with at least one person a day on a one-on-one basis. Schedule in a video call so you can see their face, as this forges more of a connection too. Through your roster, you can make sure that no one gets left out and you can make notes on any concerns that crop up so you know who to keep closer tabs on if there are any issues.

Wrapping up

While working from home poses many challenges it can be a good opportunity to connect on a new level. This new form of connection can keep employees engaged, and ensure that they perform at their optimum as they feel happy, secure and confident in their roles.


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When to Let Go of Poor Performers in the Workplace

Performance reviews have long been under-fire for practices of ranking individuals into top, middle, and bottom tiers. However, these tiers or other setups showing individuals who consistently perform under set standards can help your organization to improve and succeed. Traditionally, individuals who consistently underperform are simply let go, as they are either fired or do not receive contract renewal.

Modern HR practices typically require a much more human-friendly approach, where you should offer opportunities and tools to improve. Understanding these tools and approaches will help you to understand both how to improve performance and when to give up and let go of someone who simply is not responding to efforts.

Poor Response to Coaching

Coaching and mentoring can greatly improve performance for many. Here, leaders can simply step in to determine what’s gone wrong and why. This may result in the individual being moved to a more suitable team. It may result in their roles changing. It may result in them being pushed into personal development or training to improve specific factors.

Poor performance can result from myriad factors such as stress, poor home-life conditions, poor work-life balance, overwork, a bad manager, a poor fit with team, lack of crucial knowledge or skills, lack of motivation, and other factors. Coaching can help with any of these.

No matter what direction coaching takes, it’s important to monitor results. If someone fails immediately, it may be the fault of the coach. However, if the coach is good, there is a certain point when further investment is likely futile or no longer a good investment. Here, you should set a budget based on the cost of hiring and onboarding a replacement to the same or a higher level of performance and work within that.

No Interest in Development

Individuals who do not respond to or show interest in personal development cannot improve or change. This is important because most remediation efforts for poor performance eventually result in development. Individuals who lack skills for their current role have to be trained. Persons in a role that is changing outside of their ability to perform have to be trained. Individuals who can’t communicate well have to be trained as well.

If someone is not interested in learning and improving themselves, they cannot increase or improve performance. You can typically gauge this before development begins but should do so as it proceeds as well.

Lack of Personal Motivation

Personal motivation is the key to self-improvement and it is one (hard to measure) factor that will make or break the success of any initiative. Without motivation, an individual cannot respond to coaching, cannot push themselves through development, and will not be able to engage with or become passionate about work. You can take on several strategies to boost motivation through empowerment, stress reduction, training, and offering opportunities, but it is up to the individual to respond.

Like with coaching, motivation training should stop at a certain point when it becomes clear that the cost of doing so will exceed the cost of replacing the individual altogether.

Most people will train, develop themselves, and strive to do better when given the opportunity to do so in an understanding environment. People respond well to coaching, are able to make changes to their schedules and work methods and can learn new skills to improve performance. On the rare occasion that individuals do not respond to these methods or the cost of delivering them far outstrips the cost of hiring a new employee, you should let poor performers go.


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3 Ways to Boost Employee Engagement to Improve Productivity and Reduce Turnover

40 years ago, almost no one cared about metrics like “Employee engagement.” Today, most HR departments are painfully aware of the difference engagement can make. With research by the Korn Ferry Group showing that companies with engaged employees are up to 2.5 times more profitable than those without, most of us are right to be concerned.

At the same time, engagement offers room for improvement. Whether your organization already has a relatively engaged workforce or one that focuses on clocking out and going home, you can take steps to improve engagement and business results.

Importantly, employee engagement is never about perks, about specific rewards, or about one-time actions. Engagement only happens with consistent long-term results that drive change.

Link Vision and Strategy to Daily Work

Most people clock into work, perform an allotted number of tasks or work towards specific goals, clock out, and go home, all with no real idea of what they’ve contributed towards or achieved. This can be highly demotivating, especially over the long-term, where individuals often see no real change.

One important way around this type of demotivation is to ensure everyone always knows what they’re working towards. This means linking organizational vision and strategy (or big goals) into smaller goals, broken down into daily work. If everyone can easily see what their work is contributing towards and hopefully how close that goal is, they’ll be more motivated and therefore more engaged.

Empower Individuals and Teams to Own Their Projects

While traditional waterfall organizations don’t often support employee empowerment, doing so can greatly increase engagement. Here, you create cross-functional teams that can handle every aspect of a project they’re working on, assign ownership to that team, and allow people and teams to work towards results in a manner of their choosing. Doing so allows experts who know how to do their own work to optimize, take ownership, and engage with their work in new ways. What does ownership mean? One team will design strategy for, choose how to create, create, launch, and finalize any project. They’ll take full responsibility for its success or failure.

While this can create some risk in that everyone is not following the same standardized processes, you can implement with controls and general guidelines for processes in place to ensure everything is handled to the same (or better) level of quality than before. Why does offering ownership increase engagement? People get to be proud of what they’re working on, to improve it, and to work on it in their own way.

Encourage, Recognize, and Share Creativity and Passion

Not everyone in your organization will be creative, passionate, or engaged. But, when you do see these behaviors, it’s important to stop, recognize, and share them. Doing so can mean something as simple as having Scrum leaders stop to congratulate individuals on a job well done. It can mean improving performance scores. It can mean celebrating teams meeting new targets and goals.

Whatever you choose to do, it should involve specifically offering recognition when you see the traits you want to foster, encouraging them with open workspaces and flatter hierarchies, and creating space for individuals to fail and try again within those goals.

Teams are engaged when they have ownership, room to be creative, and space to communicate and share ideas effectively. If they know what they’re working on, why, and are responsible for the end-outcome, they have that much more motivation to engage with their work. Over time, this will improve productivity and increase employee satisfaction, both of which will cut down turnover and add to real business results.


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How to Follow Up on HR Assessments and Performance Reviews

Performance reviews are a crucial element of most company cultures. At the same time, HR assessments and performance reviews are in the middle of a massive overhaul. Most organizations recognize that old-school performance reviews are more harmful than helpful and many offer little value, only demotivation.

While some of this demotivation surrounds the natural process of being tested and the possibility of being found wanting, most of it relates to what is tested, how, and why. Most organizations don’t have processes in place to actually use performance reviews for positive improvement. At the same time, these processes both add to the value of performance reviews and reduce the negative reactions surrounding them, because employees at every level get something back from their participation.

So here are a few ways to bridge the gap, and follow up on HR assessment discoveries and performance reviews (both good and bad).

Recognize Performance

“Old-school” performance appraisals force HR to categorize a certain percentage of employees into top/middle/bottom categories, with some offering more room for nuance. At the same time, it’s important to step back, look at performance holistically, and recognize where individuals have succeeded and have improved. Doing so will allow you to acknowledge individuals and offer positive feedback.

Understand Failure and Its Reasons

Most people don’t underperform for no reason at all. If individuals are performing poorly, it’s crucial to step back, look at their team, their role, their personality, and, when possible, family and personal life. Here, poor performance often relates to factors such as:

  • Poor role/team fit
  • Poor culture fit
  • High levels of personal or work-related stress
  • Poor management / aggressive management
  • High or low levels of responsibility (boredom/overwork)
  • Poor skill fit (under/over-qualified for a role)
  • Personal disagreements/conflict inside the team or with management
  • Lack of personal motivation

Each of these factors can take an otherwise highly effective and high-performing individual and dramatically reduce their performance. This will result in flagging performance, flagging quality, and changes to the individual’s personality and disposition. If you can identify a reason behind poor performance, especially when it extends to a team or group of people, you can work to improve that performance by correcting the problem.

Improving Role Fit

Some individuals do not fit into certain types of teams, management styles may not fit their work styles, or there may be an excessive amount of interpersonal conflict inside a team. Here, issues may stem from problems such as the individual is over/under-qualified for their role, the individual doesn’t get along with others in the team, or so on. Solving this issue can be complex, but typically relates to moving someone into a better fit, working to improve management styles for that team, or otherwise changing facets of the role or team to improve.

While your actions here can impact just the individual or the team as a whole, those decisions must depend on the performance and behavior of the rest of the team.

Offer Development

Many people struggle to adapt to change, new leadership styles, new tooling, new role responsibilities, and so on. Others are over-qualified for their role but don’t have the necessary skills or behaviors to move up. Recognizing this gives you the opportunity to offer development, so that anyone who is struggling in their role can learn the necessary skills to excel or to move on.

While these types of development initiatives can be costly and require that you conduct behavioral assessments and understand job profiles and individual teams, they will pay off in terms of improved performance, improved motivation, and a happier workforce.

Poor performance in the workplace is rarely as simple as employees who don’t care about their jobs, but it can be. If that is the case, your reaction to a poor performance review should be to increase motivation. In some cases, individuals will show no improvement and should eventually be let go or cut from a team, but the cases where they cannot improve and likely excel in a role where they struggled before is rare. Acting on these motivations and taking steps to improve role and culture fit for an individual will improve performance.


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