Thank you to Liberty Mind for these tips. How many would you consider using in your workplace?
The more we stimulate learning the more learning will happen. Get feedback on every “event” and learn yourself.
At CakeandHR we have been talking about employee engagement since our very first event. This is because employee engagement encompasses just about every HR process you have ever needed. Be it comp & bens, reward & recognition, succession planning & personal development, organisational development & strategic vision. All of these initiatives have the potential to impact employee engagement in a positive or a negative way.
So why is employee engagement important?
Highly engaged employees benefit everyone, not just themselves, but colleagues and the organisation as a whole and that is probably because engaged employees have a strong psychological commitment to the business or its vision.
We can generally see if our employees are happy, but a happy employee is not the same as an engaged employee, engagement is not necessarily something we can see, but it is something we can measure.
There have been many studies and white papers published that show the connection between employee engagement and organisational success. But, what is the best way to measure engagement in our own work environment?
In their 2021 ‘evidence review’ of employee engagement, the CIPD report that the ‘Utrecht Work Engagement Scale’ is the most trustworthy measure that includes the word engagement. But there are many other scales. Aston University, Business School have produced a useful document ‘employee engagement, a brief review of definitions, theoretical perspectives and measures’, well worth a read if you are designing your own employee engagement survey.
So, what are the 7 strategies that we think are a good place to start (in no order)?
1. USE AN ENGAGEMENT SURVEY; but think very carefully about what you want to measure and why? Whichever engagement scale you decide upon, an engagement survey is a great way of taking a pulse check, a snapshot in time to understand how engaged employees feel ‘right now’. Remember though, that if you ask employees to complete a survey, they will expect the results to be communicated and appropriate action to be taken where areas for concern are identified.
Running a survey and then not communicating the results can make matters worse and the cardinal sin would be to communicate results which show an area for concern and then do nothing about it!
2. ASK BEFORE INTRODUCING SOMETHING NEW; when you have your survey results, you will be able to identify the main ‘drivers’ of engagement in your workplace. One of the most common drivers of engagement is ‘reward’, but this doesn’t necessarily mean high salaries, it can be any form of recognition or employee benefit.
When you have identified solutions for improving engagement through reward, we recommend that you ‘pilot’ any new initiative for the first 12 months and then check the return on that investment before embedding it in your reward structure.
3. LISTEN; engaged employees are enthusiastic about what they do. They are motivated and willing to go the extra mile. They're aligned with the company values. They're proactive and look for ways to do things better, rather than getting stuck in ways that don't work and they do this because they feel able to contribute to the organisations vision or the success of the team or project.
This means we need to listen. Build opportunities for both informal and formal feedback from employees to the business (as well as the other way around) into your performance framework. Employees who feel they have a voice, will feel as if they are contributing to something much bigger than the requirements of the job.
4. PURPOSE: is an Employee Engagement Driver and a win-win for all involved. Employees who feel a sense of purpose in their work tend be happier, healthier, and more productive, they share the same purpose driven mission of why the company does what they do.
For many organisations, Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives are one way of communicating ‘why’.
As with point 3, employee engagement strengthens when employers explain how employees are contributing to the success of the business.
5. THE MANAGER AS COACH: let's face it: nobody really likes to be 'managed'. But we all could do with being 'coached'. This shift in how managers communicate with employees can make a huge difference in how engaged employees feel.
6. PROGRESSION: employees who can identify a structured career path for them and who feel their workplace culture is one that actively supports personal growth and development, are less likely to ‘look elsewhere’ to achieve the next level in their career.
7. BUILD IN PROCESS REVIEW: Any process is designed to get you from A to B. The process you use to improve employee engagement is no different; A = where you are now, and B = your goal for the future. Whether you use a formal ‘continuous improvement process’, such as Lean, Kaizen, Total Quality Management or, something less formal, the point is that at agreed timescales on your journey between A and B, you need to evaluate what parts of the process work and what doesn’t.
7 tips for onboarding your new hires!
Most of us agree that ‘the way we work’ has changed significantly because of the challenges of 2020 and no I’m not talking about BREXIT.
Pre-pandemic, many organisations invested heavily in the onboarding programme for new hires, funding travel and accommodation to bring them to ‘head office’ for a comprehensive programme of meetings, training, and introductions to key stakeholders. So, what has changed?
Starting a new job in a pandemic is a different experience, IT equipment gets delivered by courier, training has moved on-line, and introductions happen by zoom. Managers had to quickly get to grips with having one-to-ones remotely, holding team meetings virtually, measuring output instead of the number of hours at a desk. All of these things are here to stay with hybrid working.
SO, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED ABOUT ONBOARDING REMOTELY THAT WE WANT TO KEEP?
At the time of writing this (September 2021), the government have just launched consultation on the day one right to flexible working, ‘Making Flexible Working default’. This consultation seeks views from individuals and businesses on proposals to reform flexible working regulations and responds to the 2019 ‘Good Work Plan’.
As a reminder, since 2014 any employee with at least 26 weeks tenure is permitted to make a flexible working request, providing they have not made a request in the prior 12 months. Although employers are not necessarily bound to accept that request.
The consultation proposes that employees should be permitted to request flexible working from the first day of employment, i.e. that the requirement for qualifying service be removed, and that the ‘right to request’ be changed to ‘the right to have’.
The consultation document states…
Government’s 2019 manifesto committed to promote flexible working and, subject to consultation, introduce measures to help make it the default unless employers have good reasons not to.
There are 5 proposals included for reshaping the existing regulatory framework so that it better supports the objective of making flexible working the default.
Consultation ends on 1st December 2021, clearly the outcome of this consultation has the potential to transform the workplace in the future.
What do some of our trusted industry bodies say the workplace of the future will feel like?
CBI’s ‘The Revolution of Work’ published in July 2021, say COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the workplace. The majority of us will agree with that!
The report focuses on a survey which CBI Economics has undertaken on behalf of Nexus, drilling into the full experience of remote working felt by companies, and how that’s shaping their future plans.
The report finds that the majority of firms are already implementing a hybrid working practice and assessing the cultural shift required to support this. Although, one area of concern highlighted for organisations is collaboration and innovation.
Key insights from the survey on the experience of businesses during the pandemic and their expectations for the future, include:
The CIPD have produced a useful guide ’Coronavirus: Flexible working during the pandemic and beyond’!
It could be argued that the CIPD response is more cautious than employees will demand, but HR/employers may find this guide useful to plan their own flexible working (or hybrid) approach in the short term.
The guide reminds us that 2020 was not reflective of normal flexible working and organisations should take care not to make any decisions around flexible working based purely on this period. However, this is a good opportunity to review the benefits which flexible working can offer. CIPD remind us not to confuse ‘flexible working’ and ‘homeworking’. Remote or homeworking is just one form of flexible working, the type of home working we have experienced throughout the pandemic is not the usual experience.
However, CIPD do state that there are early indications that many employees will wish to continue to undertake some degree of homeworking. The CIPD guide might help us to plan our response and to address short term employee needs.
What is the difference between a coach and a mentor is a question frequently asked. Here we highlight some of the differences.
When deciding to work with a coach or mentor it is important that you consider the goal you wish to achieve.
“ A method of problem solving and learning in groups, to bring about change for individuals, teams and organisations”
How does it work?
How does an action learning group work?
Five key elements:
Coaching and Mentoring is a different approach to employee development that focuses on future possibilities, not past mistakes and encourages the employee to identify and solve problems and challenges. It is a very non-threatening and positive way to help staff take more responsibility for their own learning and continuous development.
Coaching can .....
A coaching culture can.......
Who Says So?CIPD Training and Development Survey
Companies surveyed who had used a Coaching and Mentoring approach reported the following:
- 99% - said it delivered tangible benefits
- 96% - said it was effective in promoting learning
- 93% - said it enabled the transfer of learning to the workplace
- 92% - reported a positive impact on bottom line results.
Fortune 1000 companies study:
Companies involved in the study reported the following benefits as a result of using Coaching and Mentoring:
- an average of 53% increase in productivity
- 39% increase in effective customer service
- 32% increase in retention of key people
- 23% reduction in costs
- 22% increase in bottom line profitability
Xerox Corporation – 87% increase in effectiveness of formal training when followed up with coaching.
International Personal Management Assoc. – Training programmes supported by ongoing coaching improved workforce performance by 88%.
An International Coaching Federation survey of 4,000 companies found the benefits of coaching to be:
Let’s “follow the data” and get coaching embedded into our organisations!
People distinguish between group coaching and team coaching, generally by defining a team to be a group of people whose members all have the same purpose and goals, and work together in the same organisation. In Group Coaching the individuals are generally a disparate group who have come together for the purposes of learning together.
This approach is becoming increasingly popular in organizations where it makes better use of employees’ time and cuts training overheads (Flückiger, Aas, Nicolaidou, Johnson, & Lovett, 2016).
This article explores the group coaching model, its benefits, and what to consider when setting up and running a program.
What Is the Group Coaching Model?
Group coaching is a powerful and effective coaching technique for working with people to improve their health, wellbeing, personal strengths, self-efficacy, leadership qualities, team building, and beyond (Armstrong et al., 2013; McDowall & Butterworth, 2014).
Coaching in organizations has become increasingly common over the last couple of decades, with human resources and organizational development teams (and external consultants) expected to deliver coaching support on an almost daily basis.
Aside from the cost savings, professional group coaching has many benefits, not least is the ability to strengthen team bonds and improve awareness of the decisions made within a broader structure (Anderson, Anderson, & Mayo, 2008).
However, despite research findings suggesting that organizational interventions are best delivered at a group level rather than individually, most companies continue to coach one-on-one (Brown & Grant, 2009).
To effect real change in any organization, both individuals and groups must have a good understanding of the organization and systemic awareness, recognizing that individual decisions can have broad impacts. Attending sessions with peers can open the individual to awareness of that bigger picture.
Group life coaching for the individual (rather than a business) can safeguard your position as a coach while being beneficial for the client. After all, many coaches end up leaving the field or becoming burnt out because they cannot make sufficient money or find enough clients (Rivera & Rivera, 2019).
So, what is group coaching?
It is useful to distinguish between team and group coaching. The former relates to individuals working closely together as a single entity toward a clear and shared goal. The latter, group coaching, involves any group of individuals; they may not know one another and may differ in their needs and ultimate aims (Brown & Grant, 2009).
Group coaching involves one or more coaches and two or more individuals.
While the aim of coaching is typically to effect change in individuals, group coaching has the additional challenge of handling group-based dynamics by putting in place interpersonal and rapport-building skills (Brown & Grant, 2009).
There may be clear differences between one-to-one coaching – sometimes referred to as dyadic coaching – and group coaching, but at times the two can be combined successfully. It may prove useful or even necessary to switch between approaches as the situation dictates (Anderson et al., 2008).
For example, when a specific need arises or something is proving too personal to discuss in a group setting, a one-to-one intervention may be more appropriate.
However, there are instances when group coaching is preferred. Within an organizational setting, group coaching can promote team building and improve leadership effectiveness (Hackman & Wageman, 2005; Goldsmith & Morgan, 2000). Besides, it is more effective when primarily performed by an internal coach, such as a member of the team or team leader, rather than a parachuted-in consultant.
Broadly, the literature supports the idea that a systemic approach enables organizational development. Group coaching can overcome organizational resistance to change by rising above the focus on an individual’s goals and instead encouraging corporate thinking (Brown & Grant, 2009).
And there is value in reaching a consensus within group settings and listening to a range of voices and differing opinions.
However, group coaching must overcome some crucial challenges to be effective, such as consent and willingness. High-performing teams will not be created if staff attending and participating are under duress. It is worth knowing whether there are valid reasons behind a lack of enthusiasm; perhaps there is uncertainty regarding future career prospects, restructuring, or a resistance to change (Kets de Vries, 2005).
Individuals may also have concerns regarding openly discussing personal feelings or issues in front of peers.
For these reasons and others, such as existing tensions within groups, group coaching can be challenging and requires highly skilled coaches to have a chance of effecting permanent and positive change. Therefore, coaching at a group level is most appropriate when its goal closely aligns with those of the attendees.
Knowledge Share Event 9 June 2020Summary from Raconteur.net May 2020
“Motivating a remote workforce and finding new ways to innovate and thrive is proving difficult during lockdown”. “Remote managers’ biggest concern is employee productivity”.
Adopting an OKR, or objectives and key results-based, approach is one way of doing this. This was first developed by Intel boss Andy Grove in the 1980s and then adopted 20 years later by Google, in start up mode; it then spread rapidly throughout Silicon Valley and is now used by Amazon and Airbnb, Walmart and ING bank.
OKRs have two components;
The CEO sets business objectives for the year ahead and how it will be measured although in these times monthly goals might be better.
Senior leaders do likewise and evaluate quarterly.
Individual employees work towards operational OKRs; at this time maybe daily.
It is vital that people see how they contribute to the overall goals; clarity and focus, OKRs are an anchor in tricky times.
Roof shots versus Moon shots
OKRs should include achievable objectives but also stretch targets that may not be achieved. Only having achievable targets does not account for the innovative or creative risks that would push a company forward (like Google). With OKRs your performance does not have to be perfect because you are free to learn in the process and take different approaches.
Yes the CEO has to set clear milestones but innovative strategies often come from the bottom up.
This is a strategic shift towards a culture based on innovation with calculated risks; the OKR culture rewards learning over strict, rote performance. Grow and pivot. Realign goals quickly in line with the market.
Employees need to be ambitious, autonomous self-starters. But if they are not we can still shift the culture.
(If you are wondering about the relevance of the picture of Sophie, our cake baker, well she has pivoted and grown her business in the pandemic. Its fair to say though that she just had no idea about OKRs! She altered her offering, changed her marketing and came out busier than before. PS the wine bottles don't belong to her)
We facilitated two knowledge shares last week (29th April and 1st May) in advance of any definite government guidance to share ideas on how HR are planning a phased return to work. We shared some good ideas so here is a video summary of both discussions.
Click here to go to YouTube .Be warned that neither I or Edwina are polished presenters!
Through our network of HR professionals we gather a lot of opinion and what actually happens in reality. Become a member to access a whole range of resources but in the meantime read or download our latest opinion below.