Posts Tagged ‘Employee Engagement’

The COVID-19 Curve

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

How can employers work through the Covid-19 curve and support their employees through it?

The COVID-19 virus has created a huge crisis throughout the world, and all businesses are having to take radical decisions on a daily basis.  We are all in completely uncharted territory, and we and our employees may be struggling both professionally and personally to find our way in these challenging and changing times.

Working off the original Kubler-Ross curve that was utilised originally in the 1970s (Elisabeth Kübler-Ross 1969) for people going through grief, we have taken the curve and looked at the reactions that we and our employees may be going through.

We have taken our version of the COVID-19 Curve and considered the following:

  • Today – where are you now on this curve? As an employer hopefully you can move through the curve reasonably quickly as you need to be coming up the end of the curve to support your employees – everyone will work through the curve at a different pace. Some need more time than others, but as employers, we need to be driving positive behaviour and supporting employees as they struggle in the frustration and depression stages.
  • Phases & stages – recognise that each phase and stage is different and will pass. What can you do to help yourself and others move through each phase? By understanding where you and your employees are on this curve, you can provide the particular support they need e.g. if you have an employee who is really struggling and is depressed or feeling very isolated, you need to support them more to move to the next stage. Do you need to give more information or emotional support or is guidance and direction more appropriate at this stage?
  • Acceptance – by accepting our situation and moving to a more positive place, we can rationalise how we are going to continue to work in a changed world – and also make sure that there are the supports in place for ourselves and our employees. The world of work will never be the same again, so it’s vital to accept this and understand the implications. Employers have a responsibility to continually communicate to all employees as more details become available.
  • Integration – this curve gives us an understanding of the natural highs and lows we will all go through over the next few weeks and perhaps months. It will help us to understand and accept your own and others’ behaviours and responses and can give you a real understanding of why some people behave and react in certain ways.

Employers, and their employees, can have bad days and revert back to depression/frustration – they then need to work through the curve again to hopefully move to acceptance and integration.

Employers can significantly help employees by driving strong messages giving employees clear direction and strategic detail so that employees can feel they are getting more control over their working lives. In a crisis that none of us have ever experienced, the key to moving forward is to feel – both personally and professionally – that we are gaining some control over our lives.

Voltedge would like to reassure you that we are fully operational and there are no disruptions to our services. We are following government guidelines and have facilities in place to host virtual meetings and webinars in place of face to face meetings. We understand that each situation is personal to your needs, and we can work with you to customise a plan that works best for your business right now. We are available between 7am and 11pm on info@voltedge.ie, 087 220 1673 or 01 5252914.

How to solve an employee dispute effectively

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Did you know that US research suggests that employees spend an average of 2.7 hours a week in conflict at work?

With employee engagement and retention being critical for all employers, the last thing any employer needs is an internal dispute that upsets employees and affects morale – and could potentially lead to an expensive and difficult case.

Most people hate conflict, but some conflict and difference of opinion is essential in a healthy business – how can we ensure it doesn’t get out of hand?

Jane Simms in an article in CIPD People Management has some helpful tips:

  • Keep it informal: Once a dispute becomes a formal issue, you are then bound to use the formal disciplinary, grievance and bullying procedures and all that goes with them. Aim to resolve issues as quickly as possible – when they are not major, and employees have not become entrenched in their views and opinions.
  • Training: Some businesses ‘hide’ behind formal procedures, and managers are often not prepared, or able, to deal with the issues. Train your managers to deal with managing conflict, having that difficult conversation, and spotting those tell-tale signs of employee conflict.
  • Hands on: Ensure you and your managers are engaged at all levels of your business, having the ability to sit down and have coffee in the canteen and talk can be the best way of gauging satisfaction and/or issues that are arising.
  • Mediation: Have mediation embedded as a normal first stop in conflict resolution so that employees are used to, and understand, the benefits of mediation at the early stages of conflict.
  • Employee engagement: Finally – take a genuine interest in your employees. If an employee is acting out of character and being difficult, a quiet conversation may well show that the employee has a personal issue that can be supported or resolved. Good managers with training can identify these issues quickly and nip them in the bud.

In summary – employee disputes can be very costly in terms of time, management input, morale and employee engagement. The best way to manage any dispute is to work quickly to eliminate the issues if possible. Voltedge Management works with our clients to support them in minimising the risk and to look at the best way of solving a conflict. Send an email to info@voltedge.ie to see how we can help.

Kick start the year with SMART Goals

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

The start of a new year is always a good time to focus on the year ahead and set out a few challenging goals that will motivate and engage you, your managers and your staff for the year ahead.

For businesses, it’s a chance to check in to make sure employee’s objectives are aligned with the business strategy, and everyone is focused on the same goals.

Here is a 6 STEP PLAN to kick start you:

  1. Know the company mission, vision and values – what we are here to do and how we want to do it. When employees feel disconnected to the company vision they can experience a lack of direction. Its important to be aware of how their work fits into the overall organisational framework and how their specific contribution impacts the company achieving its strategy.
  2. Set departmental goals – meet your team, share with them or reaffirm your departmental goals for the year ahead. Ensure they can relate to the challenges and opportunities these goals present for them as a team and what success will look like. Creates shared accountability between employees by “cascading” goals from one employee to another when relevant.
  3. Document individual goals – meet each person on your team individually. Schedule enough time to listen to their input, and hear their concerns and ambitions. Together identify a set of “SMART” goals and objectives that will challenge and motive them to reach beyond their achievements to date and to understand that their contribution will directly impact the achievement of the company goals.
  4. Communicate – keep connected to your team all the way through. Share relevant information with them about developments in the business, opportunities you are exploring, new clients you are working with etc. This will help them understand what is happening in the business, show them they are trusted and valued. In return you will receive commitment and belief from an engaged team. Provides visibility up, down and across reporting levels.
  5. Give feedback – everyone needs feedback on what they are doing and how they are getting on. Focus on their strengths and how they can further build their capability. But it’s also important to give feedback on areas they need to develop and improve. Feedback about performance typically looks at how someone’s work affects other people in that employee’s job area. An effective discussion will include and address the company’s overall strategy. Communicates expectations clearly during every phase of goal completion. Job feedback should focus on growth and forward thinking by and how employees can learn from their mistakes.
  6. Engage and motivate your team – managers who consistently provide feedback and communicate regularly with the teams, build stronger and more engaged relationships. Studies have proven that engaged employees perform at a higher level and achieve a more meaningful contribution to the organisation. This in turn increases retention and helps you build succession plans in each department.

And to refresh you on how to make your goals SMART:

SPECIFIC. Specific goals let people know exactly what’s expected of them with no room for misinterpretation. Specific goals should be able to answer the following:

  • Who is responsible?
  • When must this be done?
  • What is to be accomplished?
  • Which requirements/constraints are involved?
  • Where is this to be completed?
  • Why is this important or beneficial?

MEASURABLE. When setting goals, you must also set specific criteria for measuring progress against those goals. This gives your employees a way to stay on track, aim for target dates, and reach milestones that will serve as ongoing motivation.

ATTAINABLE. Setting overly lofty goals that are truly unattainable serve to demotivate-rather than motivate-your employees. By setting ambitious, yet realistic, goals, you will inspire your employees to fully leverage their talents and all available opportunities in order to achieve them.

RELEVANT. Employees must be able to see how a specific goal is relevant to them and the work they perform every day. Plus by keeping goals relevant, you will help employees better understand their connection to your company’s objectives and the strategic importance of their individual goals.

TIMELY. To be most effective, goals must be structured around a specific timeframe to provide a sense of urgency. This serves to motivate individuals to begin working on their goals as soon as possible.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is a great way to motivate your employees to perform at peak levels, we include this in our Goal Setting Strategies and Performance Management Programmes. Take a look at some of our Training programmes that might help you put this in place in 2017 for your team. Contact us now at info@voltedge.ie or ring the office 01-5252914.