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What is employee engagement and why is it critical for every company?

This is a guest post from Melisa Marzett. Melisa is a freelance employee currently working for She enjoys traveling, sports, cooking and swimming.

Employee engagement implies a psychological state of workers in which they are interested in the success of the company where they work, and are willing to invest their time and energy in the common cause. Indicators of employee engagement are initiative, enthusiasm, desire to actively participate in the life of the team, develop plans, make decisions, etc.

In different countries, professionals researched employee engagement to show the enormous impact of this indicator on the performance of a company.

Gallup research from a few years ago found out that:

  • Firms, where employee engagement is at a high level, are much less affected by staff turnover, systematic absenteeism and other breaches of discipline;
  • Factors that have a positive impact on the business (such as the profitability of the enterprise, customer loyalty), in such firms, on the contrary, are more pronounced.

Particularly interesting is the study of Aon Hewitt, which was devoted to one of the leading indicators of business success – profitability. The results illustrate the striking impact of employee engagement in companies on profits. As a result of increased participation by 1%, profits increased by $ 20 million, by 5% – by 100 million, by 10% – by 200 million.

Regardless of the size of the company, if the employee engagement increased, the profits also increased significantly. For a company engaged in retail trade, the growth could be up to 100 thousand dollars, and for a large travel company – up to 45 million.

Based on these studies, we can conclude that managing employee engagement gives companies tremendous prospects for further growth. After all, at the moment more than 80% of enterprise workers around the world are practically not interested in the work process, the quality of their work will leave much to be desired.

The advantages of high employee engagement in the workflow are apparent. At the same time, the staff demonstrates more diligence, creativity in solving urgent problems, politeness and interest in communicating with consumers with engagement. All this has a positive effect on the company’s image, customer loyalty and, ultimately, on the level of profit.

The healthy state of the team, whose employees are interested in the efficiency of their work, also leads to low staff turnover. If it is necessary to establish a new position, one of the employees will gladly take it. And if necessary to create a new role, the head of such an enterprise will not be limited in choice. After all, employees themselves tend to search where all the conditions for employee engagement are.

The researchers also note that low employee engagement is the cause of poor “efficiency” of employees and low quality of customer service. And this, in turn, leads to severe losses of income.

6 Ways to increase employee engagement with HR


It is necessary to create a favorable impression for employees about their company as early as recruitment. When a new employee enters the enterprise, he or she should immediately feel the general atmosphere of engagement. It is especially true of the case when a manager has the opportunity to get a very valuable professional on his or her staff.

When conducting an interview, you should try to immediately establish a trusting relationship with the candidate and prepare the ground for their entry into the team.

Among other best practices are:

  • Assigning experienced tutors for the newbies;
  • Check-in interviews with new employees in a month;
  • Engagement to adaptation an employee’s family members.

The personnel department of Microsoft knows some ways to shape employee engagement at the stage of workers’ adaptation. The number of employees of this company throughout the world exceeds 120,000 people, while employee engagement is at a very high level.

Work in this direction begins with the first day the employee is on the enterprise. There is a weekly adaptation course developed by specialists, as well as many programs for the adaptation of various categories of employees depending on their professional and psychological characteristics.

Stay interviews

A recent study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity has shown that conducting such interviews has a beneficial effect on the company’s market performance. Stay interviews can increase staff retention by increasing engagement, and you can use it along with weekend and evaluation interviews.

It is better to conduct a one-on-one interview in an informal setting. The goal of the manager during such a meeting is to clarify the point of view of the employee involved in various factors of production. Once you compare their answers to those of managers, it is easy to understand when the team is not satisfied with the organization, working process, and more. For a more holistic picture, you can explore employee engagement through interviews with employees who have an average or even low engagement rate.

The importance of ongoing interviews is that they reveal the causes of problems with employee engagement in the early stages, before they reach a critical point. Accordingly, management will have the time and opportunity to develop a plan for improving conditions and maintaining engagement. Also, any interaction with employees on the work of the enterprise increases their loyalty.

Individual development plans

Another factor affecting market performance is the professional development of the company’s employees. The higher the engagement of an employee, the greater his/her need for self-development and increased skills, which s/he will be able to apply in the future.

You can increase employee engagement effectively by creating individual development plans.

  • First, the preparation of such a project can be one of the methods for effective communication between employer and employees.
  • Secondly, the project will take into account the interests of the best employees and give them the necessary opportunities for professional growth.

An employee development plan may include various refresher courses, training, rotation, coaching, or working with mentors from among the most experienced employees of the firm.

Participation in bright, important projects for a company

Providing work with deep meaning helps with employee engagement. Most of the firms with high levels of engagement get to work on projects that are important to their shared mission. The participation of employees in such plans gives a sense of the significance of their work and, as a result, increases production efficiency. Of course, it is impossible to assign everyone to your best clients, but the possibility of joining the team of “chosen ones” also motivates employees.

The best employees with high engagement should be encouraged to rise to new levels. It may be participation in international conferences, attendance at any professional events of various sizes, etc.

A physical environment that stimulates creative thinking and supports health

Often, to increase employee engagement, it would help to revise the design of the working space of employees. The working environment has a significant influence on the mental and emotional state of a person, including performance.

For example, you can divide the workspace into several zones. One can be for concentrated work, another for brainstorming with the participation of the whole team, and a third for recreation. Staff performance will be much higher if the surrounding space is labor-intensive.

One should pay particular attention to recreation areas, which are still not provided in many enterprises. They help increase employee engagement, providing an opportunity for mental relaxation and maintaining physical health.

Time for creative thinking and innovations

The introduction of change always requires long research and planning, which is difficult to combine with daily concerns. You can maintain your staff’s interest in finding new ideas by allocating time on a weekly or monthly basis.

Employees will work on long-term projects aimed at the modernization of production with a great desire and commitment if you select specific hours for this. The introduction of this practice on an ongoing basis began in the middle of the last century. Modern firms also often take the opportunity to direct employee engagement to the development of progressive ideas. Among the famous examples is the Google company, where each employee can devote 20% of the time to developing author projects.

Company executives should understand that employee engagement is one of the most significant factors affecting the overall performance of the team.

Research conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity showed the primary criterion of engagement determines the confidence of employees in caring for their interests.

What makes employee engagement so important: hands-on examples of known companies

Example 1

Kenneth Hendricks, director of the American company for the import of roofing materials at ABC Supply, said that to achieve employee engagement and good relations with customers, employees need to feel comfortable while working. He launched a whole campaign aimed at meeting the needs of workers.

Hendricks devoted a lot of time to communicate with employees in an informal setting. He established a relationship of trust with everyone, creating an atmosphere of unity and engagement.

Besides, the entire staff of the company (which, by the way, includes 350 branches) had a specially designed weekly meeting with photos and personalized lists where corporate goals recorded.

This simple subject was an indicator of the attitude of the authorities towards their subordinates and, together with other activities, became an essential step toward ensuring that employee engagement was top notch.

Thanks to this, ABC Supply is still growing and developing at a desirable rate.

Example 2

Widely known online shoe store Zappos  has always kept corporate culture and employee engagement at the forefront. To join the ranks of the employees of this company, you need to pass this test for participation.

First of all, the candidate undergoes a series of interviews with staff and company executives. The candidate can also receive an invitation to a corporate event, where she or he has to show how quickly they can join the team.

After a four-week adaptation period, the candidate has the opportunity to leave the company, while receiving compensation of 3 thousand dollars.

The fact that less than 3% of people take this offer demonstrates the degree of the company’s prestige.

Employee engagement in Zappos is about a careful selection of specialists who meet corporate requirements and support common ideas and values.

Example 3

Another firm that actively uses the idea of ​​influencing customers through employee involvement is Reebok.

In 2011, a training center was established based on one of the company’s warehouses, where Reebok employees were engaged in improving their physical fitness.

In total, across the year, they lost 4000 pounds. The event received a comprehensive response and is spreading to branches all over the world.

Company executives have found a way to shape real employee engagement based on the personal perception of the company’s values. After all, to sell Reebok products well, you need to be familiar with sports firsthand and understand its importance in human life.

Example 4

FullContact chose another way to influence employee engagement. They developed a whole system of bonuses for staff. For example, once a year each employee receives a paid vacation — incentive amount – 7.5 thousand dollars.

Moreover, the company requires the employee to comply with the following unusual rules:

  • Mandatory use of leave;
  • Lack of professional activity during the holidays;
  • Lack of any connection with the office (telephone calls, mail, etc.)

In this way, the companies are trying to maintain employee engagement through caring for their health. Even during the holidays, managers have the opportunity to fully relax from work, while subordinates at this time can demonstrate their independence.

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How to Recognize Employee Accomplishments

This is a guest post from Linda Ginac, founder and CEO of TalentGuard, a global provider of award-winning career pathing and talent management software. Inventive and driven, she is known throughout the industry for disrupting HR technology and is the inventor of the first commercially available career pathing software solution designed to optimize employee engagement and retention.

Many HR departments around the world face the same challenge: effectively managing a diverse workforce. Part of the struggle in talent management for companies is understanding employee needs and how to fulfill them over time. While some organizations thrive in this arena, others fall short, creating an environment where employees are disengaged, lacking morale, and on the hunt for a new position at a different company.

Keeping employees connected with the work they do and the organization that employs them is tightly linked to recognition. The companies that have high retention rates, attract the best talent, and maintain an engaged workforce over time understand the importance of recognition across all facets of the company. However, providing timely, accurate recognition to the employees who deserve it the most is often easier said than done.

Fortunately, technology has created new ways to deliver employee recognition for the accomplishments they achieve, most notably through performance management software.

Why Recognition is Necessary

Before understanding how performance management software affects positive change in recognizing employees, it is essential to know why recognition is so valuable.

First and foremost, employees around the world are, more often than not, disengaged in the work they do. One driving force behind a lack of engagement is a lack of recognition from peers, managers, and the company as a whole. Employees are more prone to be highly engaged on the job when they are happy, and happiness is a direct outcome of recognition.

Proving employee recognition not only improves the mood and therefore the engagement of individuals; it also creates a workforce that is more likely to stick around for the long-term. High turnover rates cost companies millions each year, and low retention bleeds into wasted recruiting efforts.

Organizations can keep turnover expenses down while simultaneously attracting top talent by having a culture built on recognition. Performance management software lends a necessary hand in this process.

Effortless Recognition with Performance Management Software

Over the last several years, a shift in performance management has taken place among companies in nearly all industries. Instead of focusing on out-dated tactics for delivering performance reviews and appraisals, organizations are moving toward continuous performance management with the help of technology. Performance management software allows companies to create a system that connects organizational and individual objectives while offering real-time feedback and recognition based on employee accomplishments. Managers and supervisors have a seamless way of recognizing and rewarding team members for a job well done, based on their contributions to the whole.

In addition to real-time, accurate feedback and recognition for employees, performance management software also acts as a comprehensive review system. There is no need for managers to rely on old or irrelevant information about an employee’s performance for the appraisal process. Instead, they can use the data found in the performance management system to inform the review more efficiently. This allows employees to feel more connected with the company, and ultimately, recognized for the work they have done over time.

Finally, companies that use performance management software may also use ancillary systems to help with employee recognition indirectly. For example, implementing a career pathing software makes it easier for employees to take control over their career development and progression over time. When these details are easily seen by management, the information can be used to dictate recognition activities and valuable feedback for individuals.

Understanding why employee recognition is important in today’s work environment is a must for any organization wanting to improve outcomes. While not every organization uses the same strategy, implementing a system that includes a modern approach to performance management with a focus on recognizing employees makes the process easier and more efficient. Companies that want to increase engagement, keep retention rates high, and attract new talent can use performance management software to achieve these objectives over time.

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How to Use Humor to Inspire Employees

Humor is an emotion that’s often left out and even avoided at work, but research increasingly shows that humor is a powerful, motivating, and inspirational thing. Utilizing and encouraging humor at work can inspire and entertain, build camaraderie, and drive team spirit, so that employees are happier and more productive. While it’s often something that cannot be forced, and something that must be used with respect, understanding how humor works to inspire employees will help you to leverage it across your organization.

Attracting Attention and Engaging Listeners

In “The Psychology of Humor”, two psychologists share how humor is one of the most powerful tools for driving engagement in listeners. Simply using humor during meetings and discussions brings levity, attracts attention, and keeps individuals more focused on what is being said. Here, the effect relates to building rapport with the listener, where individuals are more likely to trust and be willing to invest time in someone who has brought them a positive emotion (joy or laughter). Building rapport with listeners is a primary goal of nearly any manager or leader, because it is the easiest way to inspire, to drive engagement, and to get teams to be truly passionate about what they are doing.

At the same time, humor makes people more open to new ideas, more open to considering new perspectives, and less like they’re being forced to learn something. Taking a humoristic approach to messages that would normally spark arguments can also reduce them, simply because it’s difficult to switch from a positive emotion to disagreement.

Reducing Stress

Humor is proven to reduce stress, benefiting the nervous system and how people process and handle stress. Integrating humor into everyday work will eventually reduce stress by creating distraction, stimulating and relieving the stress response, relieving pain, and improving mood. Over time, consistent humor also works to improve personal satisfaction, resulting in individuals who are less stressed and more able to handle stress as it occurs. This will, in turn help individuals to stay inspired and engaged, because they’re in a better mood and better able to focus on and commit to what they are doing.

Creating Approachability

Approachable leaders are easier to work with, can help their teams more, and inspire individuals to be open and transparent about what they are doing. Creating a culture of approachability means that individuals will be more likely to engage with leaders, to listen to them, and to bring problems, questions, and even new approaches to them. This will create an environment where people are inspired to do their best and to create new solutions and ideas, because they can bring that higher up and receive recognition and credit for it.

Building a Culture People Want to Work In

While humor can impact nearly every level of work, its largest impact is on culture. If people feel safe and able to have fun with humor, you are building a culture that is pleasant to work in. While humor (obviously) has to be respectful of everyone involved and not at anyone’s expense, humor increases personal satisfaction, builds camaraderie, and helps people to enjoy being together. It also sparks creativity and inspiration, creating an environment that is actually pleasant to work in.

No matter what industry you work in, humor can be a valuable addition to your work floor. While you cannot force humor, and simply telling people to be funny won’t result in a real culture where humor can be effective, giving people room and hopefully examples to use humor as part of leadership and everyday work will have a positive impact across your organization.

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Recruitment Strategy: How to Capture Passive Candidates

In an ideal situation, any candidate for a role will be engaged, motivated, and looking for a job. Unfortunately, LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends shows that 75% of candidates for non-crucial roles and 95% of candidates for crucial roles will be passive. These candidates are already employed, often not expressly interested in moving on to another role and can be difficult to engage and to move into the recruitment funnel. However, they will make up an important part of your recruitment strategy and defining ways to capture these candidates to bring higher skilled candidates into your organization will be crucial to continuing to meet your hiring needs.

Create a Company Culture that Attracts

Most individuals who are open to new job prospects are open to them because they want the chance to be more engaged, more involved, or in a better environment. Developing your company culture in a way that attracts outsiders while remaining appealing to employees is a crucial step if you want to capture passive candidates.

It’s also important that you be able to openly communicate what culture is like to possible candidates. If you can, host events and open house events in-house, so that potentially interested individuals can come to see your culture in action. The key here is often to either invite people after you’ve reached out, or to invite candidates for learning, an actual event, or something else that will actually add value.

Stay Active on Social Media

Most candidates perform extensive research on their own before they consider accepting an offer. Many will have spent a considerable amount of time looking at online presence, researching your organization online, and will have made contact with your brand in places other than through recruitment by the time they accept a job opening. Staying active on social media to create a brand presence that is appealing to customers as well as to potential recruits will greatly aid you in this endeavor. Here, it’s just as important to maintain a presence on LinkedIn as on Facebook or any other social media channel because you do need both.

Network and Build Relationships

It’s easy to reach out to potential recruits to give them an offer and then move on, but this often will not work. Instead, your strategy should revolve around preemptively recognizing where and why you need candidates and working to build relationships with potential candidates. Attending networking events, industry events, and offering cross-organizational development opportunities will give you tools to do this. You can also reach out to individuals on social media to build relationships, without asking anything of potential candidates.

Sell Development and Job Satisfaction

While a common approach to passive recruitment is simply offering a higher salary, this approach will increase costs without necessarily drawing in the best candidates. Most passive candidates rank job satisfaction, professional career growth, and development opportunities as more important than a simple increase in salary, and many will switch jobs for them. If you can effectively demonstrate that your role offers a positive work environment, numerous development opportunities, and room for growth, you will have a clear hook for some of your most desirable candidates (those who want to grow and learn).

While it’s not always ideal to have to choose from a pool of passive candidates, you will often have to do so. The more critical your role, the fewer candidates you’ll have for it, and the more likely you’ll have to invest in recruiting passive candidates. Developing a recruitment strategy before you need it, working to build relationships with potentials, and understanding what to offer will take you a long way to capturing those candidates when the time comes.

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2019 New Year’s Resolution For HR Managers

This is a guest post from Indorse. Indorse is a Skill Validation Platform designed for developers.

As we wave goodbye to 2018 and welcome 2019 with open arms, we will all, most probably, start thinking about our beloved New Year’s resolutions!

That means setting personal goals like eating healthy, read a book per week, investing more time with family & friends, finally find Wally/Waldo, and so on. For most of professionals, that also means setting new goals and strategies.

In this article we will share seven suggestions for all HR managers that are planning on making some changes in 2019 and want to start the year off with new ideas!

Find quicker ways for pre-screening candidates

Pre-screening candidates is one of the most tedious and time consuming tasks for HR managers.

The traditional methods of shortlisting candidates by filtering resumes and by going through multiple rounds of interviews may be too time consuming for HR managers to determine a candidate’s experience and skills according to a role.

In the recruitment space today, this is no longer a struggle if you have the right tools in place for pre-screening your candidate; these include Skeeled, Harver, and Lytmus, among other, which allow HR professionals to save time and energy. Indeed, those tools work by automating tasks in the pre-screening process such as filtering resumes, matching skills to a required job vacancy and more.

So if you have not incorporated a pre-screening tool for your hiring process yet, then it needs to be in your book of resolution for 2019!

Quit the fear of AI taking over your job

Although there are valid arguments on the threat of AI on the career of HR professionals, it is about time to let that fear go. AI is not going to replace HR Professionals. 

In fact, it is an opportunity for HR professionals to automate and simplify tedious processes such as connecting with top talents, providing a more personalized interview experience, etc.

It also allows HR professionals to spend their time and efforts on proactive tasks such as planning new recruitment strategies or working on social employer branding.

HR professionals should understand that AI tools such as Smashfly or iCIMS are just that: tools. They are here to automate tasks and not the job itself.

Thus, take a step forward in 2019 and adopt AI tech by automating some of your own tasks. This will allow you to dedicate more time on developing your recruitment strategies.

Use chatbots as your personal assistant

Recruitment chatbots are applications designed to automate conversations in the recruitment process.

Chatbots such as Xor, impress, and Mya, use natural processing language (NLP) to understand and respond to candidates. Chatbots can be used through various communication channels such as email, SMS, Social Media and Application Tracking Systems.

This allows HR professionals to respond faster to candidates and, in turn, improve the candidates’ experience. If you are not using chatbots in your recruitment process, it is about time to consider using chatbots as your personal assistant for 2019!

Use more job portals

Job portals and career websites such as  Glassdoor and Naukri contain millions of resumes that allow employers, headhunters and/or HR professionals to source potential candidates for a role.

Although having a company website career page is recommended, HR professionals should not ignore the fact that having job posts in multiple job portals leverages possibilities of job exposure to a wide array of candidates.

The only advice is to spend some time drafting your job description with relevant keywords so that it stands out to candidates with the relevant skills.

Automate your payroll processes

First and foremost, running a smooth payroll process is not a task to be left for the last week of every month… Having a smooth payroll process creates a better culture in the company and contributes to the productivity of employees.

If you are tracking  your employees’ attendance, leaves, etc., in a manual manner, then it is time for an upgrade! There are several HR and Payroll systems such as Cadena HR or Workday, which you can implement in order to save time and also reduce human errors that are all too common when it comes to payroll processing.

Ensure a better on-boarding program

On-boarding programs help your employees familiarise with your company culture, objectives and also sets the right expectations for them.

A better on-boarding program helps you retain talent and reach better quality for hire in a shorter span of time.

Other benefits of a better on-boarding program include developing a better workplace relationship and a better engagement rate for your employees. So you may want to spend some time looking at your current on-boarding program and find ways of improving it for the new year.

Commit to hiring diverse candidates

The reputation of a company increases when it demonstrates its commitment to diversity in recruitment efforts. People coming from different cultures have diverse experiences and could contribute to more creativity and higher productivity. This would also allow your business to adapt to the demands of customers that may also be coming from various cultures.

Ultimately, cross-cultural hiring could increase the profits of the company. So if you are not practicing diversity in your hiring, then this has to be on your number 1 priority on the list of resolutions for 2019.

About Indorse

Indorse believes that the solution for an effective and modern recruitment process is a mixture of Human Intelligence & Artificial Intelligence. Unlike other platforms, where a user can claim any skill and add it to his/her professional profile, Indorse ensures that the skills are assessed and validated by AI chatbots and expert developers.

By using the Indorse platform, you won’t need to spend several man-hours to sieve through the barrage of resumes. Spot the right developer by simply using Indorse. And for a free trial, drop us a mail at!


You can also find us on or twitter/@joinindorse

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How to Effectively Handle Employee Complaints

This is a guest post from Allison Hail. Allison has written articles for different sites on topics ranging from travel and lifestyle, to career and business, and has most recently collaborated with NZ businesses such as Keith Andrews.

Even the smoothest-running workplaces will eventually be subject to occasional complaints from employees. Staff complaints are a warning sign to a range of problems: perceptions of favoritism, sexual harassment, or difficulty seeing eye-to-eye with a coworker, to name a few. It’s vital to handle employee complaints quickly and efficiently, and if you’re in charge of managing these, here are 4 things to keep in mind.

4 tips for managing employee complaints

Build a relationship with your employees

If you are a manager, you must make sure that your employees always know that they can talk to you about any work-related concerns. There are many reasons it’s essential to build a strong, positive relationship with your employees: they’ll feel more comfortable running new ideas by you and you’ll know before anyone else if they’re not feeling satisfied with their current roles or tasks.

Additionally, employees who know that their managers are looking out for them are more likely to be engaged in their work. Above anything else, the first step to resolving issues is actually hearing about them, so it’s vital to ensure your staff are comfortable talking to you, should anything go wrong.

Ensure you get the full picture

When listening to your employee’s complaint, try to gain as much detail as you can. For example, if something happened to your employee, find out what happened, who was involved, where and when it happened, and why the employee chose to come forward.  Encourage your employee to give you all the details by listening attentively.

The more he or she feels that they’re being heard, the more information they’ll be willing to give, and the faster you can investigate and resolve the problem. You might also like to ask your employee what action they’d like to have taken about their complaint, if you need a better idea of their expectations. After they’ve explained everything to you, ask them to keep it to themselves – gossip spreads like wildfire around a workplace, but the results can be disastrous if one person unfairly gains a negative reputation as a result of it.

Take your employees seriously

If your employees are complaining to you, it’s likely that something serious – or at least worth discussing – has happened. Don’t brush them off, even if their issues initially appear trivial.

They’ll appreciate being listened to: sometimes, simply getting something off their chest is all they need, with no further action required. By all means, investigate their claims, but so do in a gracious, professional way.  Whether you agree with their complaints or not, your employees will respect you if you visibly try your best to understand them. This respect will help you both at the time of the complaint and in the future.

Create an action plan

Once you’ve had time to figure out your next steps about your employee’s complaint, sit them down and explain your reasoning. If they’re unhappy, give them a chance to explain their rationale and take their thoughts into account. After you’ve moved forward and attempted to resolve the issue, always schedule a follow-up meeting with your employee to ensure they’re satisfied with the result – the last thing you need is a resentful employee venting to all their coworkers about how unfairly they’ve been treated.

Workplace issues might seem less important at times compared to client deadlines and work projects, but to ensure a healthy, happy workplace, you must promptly examine and rectify each problem. Respect what your staff have to say, and any issues will be relatively simple to solve.

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How to Upskill Employees

Today’s technology moves at a rapid pace, with newer, better, and often simpler tools constantly replacing older iterations. Companies like Uber and Netflix are redefining how we do business, freelancers and flex-workers are replacing traditional job-roles, and even the basic functions of life such as banking is changing exponentially.

While the most obvious results of rapid change don’t include how we work, those changes naturally extend to employees and their skills. Rapid change necessitates that old skills will become irrelevant, new skills will be required, and knowledge which was previously crucial is no longer so.

Individuals must continue to grow and change if they are to keep up and remain relevant and valuable in their organizations. Upskilling employees is also about talent retention and reducing turnover, individual and personal development, and developing individuals for new roles and leadership positions. While there are many ways to approach it, the following tips will help you upskill employees in ways that are meaningful to your and their goals.

4 tips to upskill employees

Develop a Culture of Coaching and Mentoring

Most people learn best through coaching and mentoring, where leaders directly involve themselves in helping those they work with to succeed. Here, your goal should be to empower leaders to recognize and directly work with individuals on their teams to coach and mentor them to choosing career paths, improving productivity, changing work patterns, and adapting to new technology. While the nature and goals of mentoring will obviously change depending on your organization, the employee’s level within your organization, and their ambition or career path, it’s an important aspect in any employee upskilling. Managers should provide coaching and support in every setting.

Identify (Up-and-coming) Skill Gaps

While completely retraining individuals is reskilling rather than upskilling, you can work to identify up-and-coming skill gaps and move existing employees into those gaps. For example, if you know that your communications department will switch to a new content management system in a year, you can begin training employees to that new system now, so that their skills remain relevant when the new system is introduced. Similarly, if you’re switching to developing for iOS instead of just Android, you could move developers into training to learn Swift. Ensuring that your employees retain relevant skills for your tools, software, and work-methods is an important part of upskilling.

Invest in Personalized Training and Development

While upskilling must benefit a large number of employees across your organization, it pays to invest in personalization and individual development. For example, if you offer something broad and generic, like an organizational-wide digital course, you’ll likely have relatively low engagement. On the other hand, if you invest in a larger number of courses, help individuals to choose a series of courses that benefit their career goals and paths, and supplement where needed or beneficial for specific individuals, you can drive a much greater level of engagement and motivation.

Create Development Opportunities

Developing leaders, senior technicians, and individuals for new roles is always best-done from within an organization. Here, your goal should be to identify individuals with potential and work with them to ensure their ambition and career path align with your needs and then develop them to that point.

Development opportunities should include assignments, classroom learning, and on-the-job learning, so that individuals have the opportunity to fully prepare themselves for whatever role they will be stepping into.

Upskilling employees is important if you want to keep individuals relevant and valuable inside your organization. While it will require investment in mentoring, training, and learning opportunities, upskilling will also prevent you from creating skill gaps, will prevent the need to fire employees as their skillset becomes less relevant, and will save you money on recruiting. In addition, driving personal development and skills will help you to create more value for the individual, driving engagement and talent retention in your organization.

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Team Vs. Individual Training: Pros and Cons

Whether introducing new work methods, new skills, or working on development, choosing the right training methods to deliver new ideas is important if you want to ensure proper adoption and absorption. You will often deliver the same information to a group of individuals, which can lead to choosing between delivering training in a group or individual format.

While both options have their pros and cons, you can typically review each on an individual basis to choose the best training option for the material being presented. Understanding the pros and cons of team and individual training will give you a good basis to make that decision so you can choose the best training for each situation.

Team Training

Team or group training is one of the most common ways to push information to a large number of people, because most can conveniently learn together under a single teacher or coach.

Pros of Team Training

  • Groups learn tasks together and complete them together. Some studies show that social factors influence learning, resulting in greater retention learning skills, which are later utilized with the same groups
  • Groups learn together, reducing time-investment and costs
  • Teams can give each other input and feedback, increasing learning opportunities

Cons of Team Training

  • Entire teams will be pulled off work at once
  • Social camaraderie can get in the way of topics everyone is resistant to by reinforcing resistance
  • Individuals who require special attention or different learning methods may not receive it

Individual Training

Individual training or one-on-one training is typically the process of using a mentor or coach to teach a specific skill or behavior to an individual, to coach them, or to work on development on a one-on-one basis.

Pros of Individual Training

  • Individuals can easily receive personalized attention, curricula, and coaching to ensure that they have everything to do their best
  • The individual’s specific barriers and obstacles can be approached and tackled by the coach or mentor
  • Curricula can be tailored to meet the individual’s current knowledge, learning speed, and adaptability

Cons of Individual Training

  • Can be time-consuming and expensive
  • Individual training does not facilitate the same group/social retention of skills
  • Individuals who learn alone may not work as well in teams as individuals who learn in teams

Choosing Team or Individual Training

Both team and individual training methods have their benefits, so you shouldn’t disregard either. Instead, it’s better to choose a training option based on the information being pushed, the purpose of the training, and how that information will be utilized.

For example, if you’re working to introduce a new project management platform to a team and want them all to get onboard, group training definitely makes the most sense. This remains true whether you’re teaching skills or behaviors like Agile, which will be used as a team. On the other hand, if you were working to develop an individual into a leadership position, individual training might be a much better option. Similarly, if you were training one person to take on a new role and they were working alone, it might be better to approach training on an individual basis.

In most cases, both team and individual training are effective. However, you may find that using team training as a baseline for most skills is a good idea, which you can then follow up with individual coaching.

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Professional and Conflict-Free Employee Termination Strategies

Terminating an employee is never easy. Nobody enjoys the process but it is a necessary evil of business. If handled correctly, employee termination doesn’t need to result in conflict. There are steps that all HR professionals, business owners or managers should take when letting go of an employee.

Preparation for a Termination Meeting

You can’t wing it when you’re dealing with employee termination. This is something that needs to be carefully planned and executed to minimize fallout, stress, and conflict for all involved.

Gather Evidence

Terminations don’t usually come out of the blue, especially if there are performance related or disciplinary issues. If you’re terminating an employee for these reasons, you need to have properly documented evidence; emails, performance reviews, disciplinary hearings and meeting notes.

Stay within the Law

Pinpoint the main reasons for the termination, is it downsizing, company restructuring, redundancy, violation of policy or performance related. Consult an HR specialist to ensure that the reason is not discriminatory or unlawful.

Prepare for Questions

Be prepared to answer any questions the employee might ask, especially regarding pay, benefits, and procedures that need to be followed. The process can be overwhelming for all parties so prepare a folder to hand to the employee containing all relevant information.

The Termination Meeting

Handling the termination of an employee with professionalism and sensitivity will result in the best outcome for both parties. Regardless of the reasons for the termination, it is important to treat the employee with dignity, respect, and honesty.

Be Brief and to the Point

This meeting needs to focus only on reasons pertinent to the employee’s termination. It should begin by succinctly communicating the company’s decision and presenting the employee with a termination letter, outlining the reasons for termination and expectations moving forward, including final pay, benefits, and any legal restrictions.

Good Timing

The timing of the meeting is important. The best day is Monday, this gives everyone at work time to adjust to the new situation, and gives the employee time to begin looking for alternative employment immediately.

Meet in Private

Termination meetings should always be held in a private area, like a conference room, where other employees can’t see or hear the discussion. But it is important to have a witness at the meeting so that if the employee decides to take legal action it won’t turn into a he-said-she-said situation. The witness should be from HR or senior management.

Handling Conflict

No matter how well prepared you are for the meeting, and even if the employee knows what’s coming, they could still react badly. You need to stay calm and give them time to vent. If an employee responds emotionally, show compassion and understanding but make sure they are clear about the company’s message and the process surrounding the termination.

After Termination

You need to have a plan for moving forward after the termination meeting.

Notify Stakeholders

Be proactive and communicate with all stakeholders as soon as possible. Give a concise explanation and focus on how the company is moving forward.

Be Prepared

Activate a plan to have existing employees pick up the slack. If the terminated employee deals with customers, ensure that there is a competent staff member to replace them immediately. Customers don’t want to know about your internal problems.

Maintain Confidentiality

Termination meetings are confidential and must not be discussed with other employees.

Terminating an employee is never easy but, if handled correctly, it can be conflict-free.

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Leadership Across Remote and Mixed Teams

Digital technology has enabled many new forms of work, but the ability to easily and efficiently work remotely is one of the most pressing. Individuals can choose to work remotely, as freelancers, or may work at home for several days out of the week, creating new and pressing complications for leaders.

Maintaining a sense of teamwork and commitment or motivation for organizational goals across distances is more difficult, and leaders managing remote and mixed teams will struggle with that distance. Here, leaders must maintain connections with persons who may not be physically connected by establishing clear structures, using technology, and ensure collaboration through proper people management.

4 Leadership tips for mixed and remote teams

Hiring the Right People

Not everyone will be collaborative or productive without constant management and accountability. Not everyone can collaborate and communicate well over longer distances or through digital mediums.

A successful hire is someone who is self-motivated, engaged and interested in the organizational goals, and very good at communication. This can be ascertained through skills assessments and competency or behavior frameworks to test how well people are likely to contribute in an unstructured environment, such as when working remotely or from home.

Building Trust

Trust is most easily established by creating close and personal connections with others, closing distances, and making everyone feel like an equal contributor. While this isn’t always possible with remote workers, taking the time to close perceived or actual physical distances as much as possible is an important aspect of leadership.

You can integrate several tactics, bringing nearby remote employees into the office, facilitating communication through tools, and forcing communication through collaboration methods. Your other, and likely most important, tactic will be to treat external employees in the same way as local ones. External employees should receive the same benefits, attention, email address, and access to tools and equipment.

While this won’t always be possible, consistently showing external or remote workers that you value their contribution as much as in-office team members will help you to build trust.

Even when some employees work in other countries, it can be beneficial to have them meet up in person at least once, especially if they are important contributors. This isn’t always possible, but if so, you can compensate for it in other ways, such as sharing video walls to remote offices or asking individuals to share when they leave their desk or office on settings such as in Skype or Slack, and so on.

Establishing the Right Tools

Creating strong team is often difficult when everyone works in office, but it can be even more so when everyone is working at home, externally, or even in another country. Establishing clear and structured communication is one of the most important things you can do as a leader.

You can achieve this by creating clear and structured communication channels. For example, chat and video calling, conference calling, email, and project management tools like Slack are all valuable.

It’s also important to create communication within tooling. Individuals should work in the same tools, in the same way, whether they are working at home or in another country. This will enable better understanding of work processes, better project sharing, and faster communication and collaboration no matter the size of the project.

Create a Structure

Once you have tooling in place, the most important thing you can do as a leader is to establish clear and efficient structures for communication, work deadlines, and collaboration. External employees can’t simply stop by your office to discuss something, they need regular and scheduled ways to communicate and collaborate. Creating set video or conference calls, establishing coaching, developing time and space for collaboration and creativity, and setting a communication strategy will be invaluable in your ability to guide and lead your remote or mixed team.

Remote work is becoming more and more common, with a 140% + growth rate since 2005. However, once you establish strong communication and tooling and create standards for hiring employees based on their ability to self-manage and motivate, most of the barriers preventing good teamwork and communication have already been overcome.

As a leader, your largest considerations will be continued maintenance of structure and communication, while ensuring that everyone feels like an equal and important contributor.

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