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15 Cost-Effective Employee Appreciation Ideas

Your employees are a great part of your business's success regardless of the size or expertise of it. And for that reason you need to show your appreciation to them as often as you can. There are quite many ways to show your employees that you value what they're doing and motivate them to work even harder. If you want to find out what those ways are, take a look at these 15 personalised ideas to show appreciation to your employees. Showing your employees how much you value them and appreciate the hard work that they do for the company is critical. After all, you need to retain top talent, and you also want to promote productivity with your team. According to Glassdoor, more than 50 percent of employees would stay at their jobs longer if they received some kind of reward for their work. However, employee appreciation gestures can seem expensive. You want to enjoy the incredible return on investment that comes from acknowledging productivity, but you also want to save money in the process. Here are some affordable employee reward ideas that will bolster your team's productivity and help you increase business outcome in the process. 1. Food If you need to show gratitude to a group of individuals or to an entire department, treating the team to food is a wonderful idea. This could be something as simple as having a basket of sweet treats delivered or catering lunch for a business meeting. You may also order pizza at the spur of the moment when your team is working exceptionally hard. For a more individualised gesture, deliver a basket to the worker’s home or give a gift card to a restaurant with a handwritten "thank you" note. 2. Car Cleaning A more unique way to say thanks is to have their car professionally cleaned and detailed. Some car detailing companies can travel to your location, and all you need is the employee to unlock his or her car door and grant access to the vehicle. 3. On-site Massage Bringing a masseuse or even a chiropractor into your office to give neck or chair massages is a smart idea for a team appreciation. According to the American Institute of Stress, 80 percent of workers feel stress on the job, while nearly 50 percent say they need help in learning how to manage stress. A massage can help your team relax while also feeling pampered and appreciated. 4. Event or Movie Tickets For special situations that require a very personalised gesture of thanks, giving one or several individuals who have made a stellar contribution to the company event tickets is a great idea. This may be tickets to a favourite sports team match, concert, art exhibit or a movie they might enjoy.  5. A Handwritten "Thank You" Note Simply saying a word of thanks may not seem sufficient, but you may be surprised how far this can go. According to a study by Cicero Group, 50 percent of employees believe that being thanked by managers improved their relationship and built trust with them. It will even be more meaningful to your employees if you take the time to write a "thank you" note that is personalised specifically to them. You may place this note on the employee’s desk while they are out for lunch or on a break. This does not need to be an elaborate message, but it should be authentic and personal. 6. Flowers Flowers are a popular go-to option when you need to say thanks. If you want to personalise your gift of flowers, add a handwritten note or even a small box of the person’s favourite candy. 7. Extended Breaks If you cannot afford to make a big gesture to say thank you, you could offer the incentive of extra free time. This may be a lunch break that is double the length for a week. It may even include a day or two of extra paid time off to be taken at any time during the year. 8. Employee Reward Box If you are not creative at thinking about great gift ideas or if you are not certain which gifts may be well-received, you can ask your employees to place reward ideas into a box. You can then let those who are being honored for their efforts select the reward that they want. An alternative is to ask them to reach blindly into the box to be surprised by their reward. 9. Remote Work Allowing some members of your team to work remotely is a great way to treat them to something special while also benefiting the business. When your team works remotely, you can reduce overhead, and you may see productivity increase. American Express reported annual savings of $10 million to $15 million thanks to its remote work options. This is a treat that allows your team to find an improved work-life balance as well. Letting your team work from home periodically as a reward will be well-received by most of your employees. 10. Performance Coupon When individuals work exceptionally long hours, it makes sense to reward them with extra free time during slower periods. A performance coupon can be handed to each employee when they show signs of greatness. Coupons can be redeemed when individuals want to run a few errands during the workday, leave work early without reason and more. 11. Personal Desk Gift Another type of personal gesture may be to give a special employee a unique and meaningful desk gift. This could be something practical, or it could be something related to their unique interest or hobby. You may know what this person likes or needs first-hand, or you may have to make subtle inquiries. 12. Flexible Work Day If your office does not already allow for flex time, you can individually offer flex time as a benefit. When the employee has earned it, you can let that individual arrive late or leave work early. If your entire team has earned a special reward, you can work shortened hours on a specific, planned day. 13. Celebration of Personal Accomplishments Your team may have milestones outside of work that are worthy of acknowledgement. For example, one of your employees may have just run his or her first marathon. Celebrating these types of personal accomplishments at work can create a more personalised work experience. 14. New Office Necessity You could also give a new office necessity to a deserving employee that encourages continued hard work. For example, buying the individual a more comfortable desk chair may be an excellent idea. Even buying something small and affordable such as a new mouse could be a wonderful gift that will be well received. 15. Great Parking Spot Honoring a top employee with a premium parking spot for a month is a great reward to consider. It acknowledges the individual and gives him or her a special reward that improves their life for a specified period of time. While it is important to think about a thoughtful gift or reward for a hardworking individual or department, it is also important to express gratitude in a personalised and sincere way. The gift or reward that you provide will be much more meaningful when you make the extra effort to verbalise your gratitude as well. 

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3 signs of a dysfunctional company

Here are 3 Signs of a Dysfunctional Company you need to be aware of. Like a car with an engine that can't fire on all cylinders, a business that's dysfunctional may move forward for a while. But eventually it stops running.  Companies don't start out maladjusted, of course. It just tends to happen over time. "The hallmark of a dysfunctional organization is a gap between reality and rhetoric," says Ben Dattner, a New York organizational psychologist. When resources are not used effectively or fairly, when plans are heavy on talk but weak on action or when barriers to communication cripple performance, you're dealing with a dysfunctional company. Once diagnosed, the corrosive effects of such problems can be corrected. But make no mistake: It's neither easy nor immediate. You need to be tough-minded about identifying the source, particularly because it often starts at the top, where the power resides. Here are three telltale signs that a company is unhealthy and some possible ways to get it well again.  1. You've got leaders who fake it.      Recently, management consultant Linda Hanson of Dallas-based LLH Enterprises was called in to help turn around a Houston construction company that had about 50 employees, annual gross revenues of $160 million and senior managers who were at each other's throats. "People were snarly and mean," Hanson says. "There was in-fighting and lots of yelling. They had lost respect for one another and weren't working as a team." A prime example was the information technology (IT) manager. Although every department depended on him, the other managers complained that he "didn't care about their problems, didn't have time, didn't listen, didn't support them and marched to his own drum," Hanson says. The atmosphere got really heated when the chief executive officer, in an attempt to change the culture, hired a new, buttoned-down sales manager who began instituting very different policies and rules. The hiring drew such fire from the other managers that Hanson was tapped to address the company's ailments. She began with exercises in "process mapping." At a meeting of the managers that included the CEO and president, she asked everyone to look at work flow and operations, focusing on inbound orders, external sales, delivery and so on. She asked each manager to stick up a Post-It note whenever he saw a glitch or something wrong, without finger-pointing, of course. "That caused great excitement," Hanson says. "They began to see the duplications and the weaknesses." More importantly, the CEO and president, who were usually removed from such details, had their eyes opened to what was going on. Later, she confidentially asked each manager to evaluate himself and all the other managers. Then she went back to each to report: "Here's how you see yourself and here's how the other managers see you." That stopped a lot of the backbiting. Hanson also required the managers to meet one-on-one for lunch, for a golf game or the like, every month. Each executive was given specific and corny assignments for such meetings, such as being told to talk about a hobby or an interest — anything but work. The idea, of course, was to build relationships. Within four months, she says, managers set up meetings to discuss business scenarios rather than to fulfil assignments, which was the result she intended. Still, the real problem stayed at the top. The CEO and his friend of 10 years, the president, "were both volatile people and they weren't changing," Hanson says. Even though they were asking senior managers to evaluate their work habits and improve peer relationships, the chief executives themselves were unwilling to do the assignments or to work at transformation. "Within four to six months, the company was functioning much better," Hanson says. But it needed another nine months to a year to really come together. And that didn't happen. "You need to set a picture at the top of what the company should look like. It's very hard to say to the CEO, 'You're the problem.' " Lesson: The discrepancy between what leaders say they want and what they really want often causes company dysfunction. You can't ask employees to do anything you're not willing to do yourself. 2. You've got bosses who like to point fingers. No company can flourish in an environment that penalizes experimentation or trust. While that sounds obvious, on a day-to-day basis the nature of risk-taking inevitably means a great number of dead ends before any breakthrough. Very few managers remain calm after hitting the wall. But how you handle those crashes — and how you encourage employees to pick up the pieces and start anew — makes all the difference between a company that encourages innovation and one that stagnates. "When you see a pattern of blaming and people trying to protect themselves and their particular turf, something is wrong," says Ross Moserowitz of Franchise Insights, a Bedminster, N.J., consulting company. Lesson: The remedy is to put your trust in the people you hire and give every employee sincere responsibility. Hands-on, my-way-or-the-highway entrepreneurs won't find this easy. But that's how the business gets better. 3. You've got a CEO who doesn't set priorities. Fast-growing companies are often so intensely focused on moving to the next level that no one is actually in charge. That's how dysfunction creeps in and takes hold. Paul Glen, an IT management consultant in Marina del Rey, Calif., tells about a 20-year-old software company that hired him to create a new product management department. The business had released several successful products and grown to 100 employees with 13 departments, each headed by a different executive. Every one of the managers reported directly to the CEO, so no one had to talk to anyone else about his department's work. When Glen asked each executive what the new department would do, he got 13 different answers. It turned out that the company didn't need a new division at all. What it needed was someone to coordinate the company agenda and get the managers to share information. The idea for a product management department was how the executives expressed their need for better coordination. "The product development department didn't take direction," Glen says. That meant the group simply created products and released them without checking with any other department. So sales didn't know about the features of the new products, or when to sell them. Support and consulting were also in the dark. They couldn't help customers implement products or fix any problems. And so it went. "Each department flew off on its own, trying to do what was right." Priorities were constantly shifting. Decisions were continually made and unmade. "The CEO assumed the executives had the authority to make product decisions and it wasn't her job to tell them what to do," Glen says. While everyone had the very best of intentions, chaos reigned. Lesson: Company leaders must set the mission and the agenda. A hands-off policy can only go so far. Epilogue: Time for a checkup Smaller businesses are both more susceptible and harder hit by the ripple effects of dysfunction. With a close-knit staff, it's easy to make allowances for people's tempers or bad moods or refusal to take responsibility. But, sooner or later, that kind of thinking can catch up with you and the business. Lesson: Take the time now to check the health of your workplace. And make the course corrections you need avoiding 3 Signs of a Dysfunctional Company . Starting now. Take care, take action and be relentless...  Regards,   John Millar Managing Director More Profit Less Time Pty Ltd Profit facilitator, Author, Business and Executive Consultant, Trainer, Professional Speaker Certified Business Trainer, Certified NLP Practitioner, Certified Guerrilla Marketing Practitioner Diploma of Management, Diploma of Human Resources Management John Millar  

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5 Tips on How to Get the Best from your Summer Casuals

As the summer breeze ruffles our hair and we feel invigorated to face the final weeks of the year, for many businesses this time means hiring casuals. In a few weeks there will be school leavers, holiday backpackers and others who will be seeking employment over the coming months, so how do you prepare your team for them and how do you engage them to get the best out of them? In business we are constantly hearing and promoting "team work" and "team values", but when it comes to casuals do you include them? I know of some managers who say, they are only here for a short stint so why put the effort in. If you want your business to prosper during this time and for customers to come back well after the summer season has finished then you need to make the time to include them. Here are five tips on how to build your whole team: Induction The casual may only be with you during the busy holiday period or long term for a few hours per week, however, they are part of your frontline team that is engaging with customers therefore they must be aligned with the values of your organisation and have an understanding of the workplace culture. To often the casual is thrown onto the frontline with no idea what your expectations are, even simple courtesies. How do you welcome a customer when they enter your business or answer the phone? Training Spend the time in providing training to the new team member, not just on the job training. When learning new skills, team members need to experience learning in a variety of ways: TELL ME SHOW ME INVOLVE ME Buddy them up with one of your existing "superstars" in the workplace and encourage them to ask questions (it's the best way of learning). Introductions Have a staff meeting and introduce them to the whole team. It's a great way to plan for the busy times ahead, ask questions, make suggestions and share ideas. A team that is focused and engaged in providing the best service experience to every customer is a team that works well together and has customers returning and referring. If you have a staff room you can also use the room to help build company unity with a photo wall where team members have their photos posted with a short personal introduction. This is a great idea for shift workers. If you have a team that work offsite send a photo and a short bio on the new team member, they may not always get to meet them in person but if they are speaking to them on the phone it's always great to match a face with a voice. Engaging Your Customers There is more to customer service than just saying hello and handling a transaction, it's all about the experience and making it an interaction. Who are your customers and do you have tourists visiting your business? If you do, are you aware of who speaks another language on your team, even the junior casual maybe learning a language at school, sure they may not be able to hold a long conversation (or perhaps they may) but they can at least welcome overseas tourists. How often do we love to hear another Aussie voice or even someone welcoming us in English (even if it's their second language) at the end of long day of touring when overseas and you just want to order a meal without trying to decode the menu! Answering Questions and Empowerment Tell the casual what to say when a customer asks a question and they may not know the answer. Do they know who to go to on the team to ask if you are not there? Customers expect every team member to know the answers, even if they have a trainee name badge on, customers don't want to hear "don't know" with a shrug of the shoulders or a glazed look, like a deer caught in the headlights. Let them know that they can be proactive and not just reactive to situations. Most importantly is respecting all of your team members and they in turn respecting each other, so that when they do come in to work, they work as a strong team.  

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6 Tips for Better Communication

Engaging and developing close relationships with your employees is pretty straightforward when you’re a start-up. You’ll be sitting among your workers, will talk with them every day and probably know all of their names. When you’re the CEO of a larger company or the owner of an exponentially growing business that’s no longer practical, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be a great communicator. The quality of your communication influences your credibility. An increase in your credibility and internal reputation can boost employee engagement, loyalty, attitudes towards top management and their workplace, and make your employees feel more empowered. This in turn can positively impact motivation and productivity at work. Remote working and offices in multiple locations can make communication harder, especially if your remote teams are working in different time-zones or on different projects – projects you may not entirely understand. As such it is easy for these workers to feel undervalued or ignored and that’s bad for business. The communication strategy of a truly inspiring leadership will not overlook remote workers and satellite offices; it will seek to foster a culture of communication the whole company through. Here are some top tips to set about improving workplace culture through better communication. 1. Get face to face Getting out to all locations and regularly meeting staff is the best form of communication. Staff can use this opportunity to have their concerns addressed by senior management. As CEO, it is a great opportunity to spread and underline your message and vision. Site visits also allow you to gauge directly what the specific issues are in each department, location or region and learn what they all do. If you’re not familiar with a certain project choose a chaperone from that department to accompany you for the day around your site visit. You’ll learn a great deal about what your people do, what they are working on and you’ll be able to communicate your strategy on a one-on-one basis and create an advocate for your plans at ground level. Sit down with as many employees as you can and encourage them to share their ideas and innovations on how things could be done better that may get filtered out by mid-management. This two way communication, people insights and personal employee engagement will transform the perception of management and improve workplace culture. 2. Recognise Encourage your employees personally for their achievements. Ask managers to keep you apprised of promotions, targets being achieved and exceeded or qualifications earned. Inspiring leadership will take time to recognise and reward achievement. When you do this you’ll be improving workplace culture by sending a strong message that the CEO cares about their development and success. Do the same for life events – graduations, marriages, births, work anniversaries, religious ceremonies and deaths. Flowers of congratulations or condolences, a book with a personal message of encouragement are a wonderful human touch and create a sense of family and loyalty with your employees. Think about their family too. Maybe write a short letter to the parents of an employee who just got promoted telling them how lucky you are to have them as an employee and proud of their development. Gift a book to the children of your employees attending college or just graduating — you might just be securing a future employee with a simple gesture. Make special effort to do this with remote workers and encourage management to do the same. Remote workers probably require more feedback and recognition than on-site workers as they often lack the regular encouragement and pleasantries you get with the buzz of an office that many of us take for granted. 3. Beware emails Written communication is the easiest to misinterpret. Email is here to stay and the risk of having your email read in an unintended tone will always be there. For internal communication consider using emoticons, it’s 2016 after all! If you cringe at the idea of using a smiley face just take a little more time when sending emails and read them back with different emotions in mind to see if they could be misconstrued. Mimic your audience and make your email seem less edited. Keep your message consistent as well. Conventional advice is to tailor to your audience, be they general employees, middle managers or executives but be wary of this. If a message reaches an unintended audience member it could be taken the wrong way and if it conflicts in any way with a message they’ve received it won’t go down well. 4. Fair rewards Many companies have incentives and reward schemes  but sadly, lots of these employee recognition ideas are counter-productive as they are heavily weighted towards the money-makers. Development, IT, support and admin can feel undervalued when compared to marketing and sales. Rewards days, trips or events should be accessible to all employees. One idea is a dinner club; take your top 20 or so employees out to a great restaurant. Invite the top 1-2 performers from all departments, not just sales, and encourage them to mingle. It’s likely these departments only communicate the most necessary of details and by separating themselves they’re missing opportunities to improve. By including all departments none will feel left out or underappreciated. They will all know that they are equally valued by you and the company. Don’t leave out remote employees either. If necessary pay for their travel and accommodation for the event but make it more worthwhile by inviting them to work in another office for a few days so they can experience a different environment. It’s possible they’ll pick up some ideas to implement in their own office or at home as well as creating new relationships in a different location bringing your company closer together. Try to give each department a budget for a team fun day as well (and make sure it’s on a workday!) It’s possible that your dinner club or whatever you choose to do will include many of the same faces and that too is counter-productive unless you generate team camaraderie. Individual competitions are great but they also carry the risk of individualism and you want your teams sharing info, leads and ideas. Team fun days encourage employees to work together to meet a shared target. 5. Collaborative software Videoconferencing, web-based tools, cloud-sharing and collaborative software allows offices separated by hundreds or thousands of kilometres (or just a floor or two) to work closely together. Telecommuting is on the rise and software can help combat the challenges to that to ensure motivation and productivity at work is not impacted by location. However, these software programs have untapped potential for CEO communication. Ideally you will still get face to face at least once a year with remote teams, satellite offices and overseas headquarters but once a year isn’t often enough to engage with your employees effectively. Services like Lync, Skype and Google Hangouts allow you to communicate with all of these offices without travelling. 6. Blog! A CEO blog, that you write yourself, is an effective method of communicating strategy and progress. Try to include details of the past week, plans for the next week, public congratulations of employee achievements and work anniversaries (in addition to a direct personal message), ongoing vision and details of recent board meetings. When you visit other regions or departments use your blog to highlight what you observed and discovered, insights on the people you met and the great work they are doing. Employee engagement should be personal and public. You can’t meet everyone one on one but you can talk publicly of those you have. Their co-workers will know who they are and by extension will feel personally valued too.

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7 Easy Fixes to Stop Your Employees from Wasting Time

Most employees admit to wasting time at work due to multiple distractions, red tapes, unnecessary meetings and inefficient tools and processes. Keep meetings short, allow short breaks so your team can unwind and set rules on social media access. Invest in proper software and equipment, reward achievements and provide proper training and development.   Over 60% of office workers admit that they waste up to an hour of their work time every day. There are many reasons for that, from talking to colleagues and personal texting, to online activities and opening too many useless work emails. In many cases, the unproductive time also occurs because the workers haven’t been given the proper tools that they need to perform their jobs – faulty phones, old computers and printers that won’t work, unclear company procedures that take ages to fulfil, and so on. They’ll take longer to finish a task, leading to inefficient work processes. Fortunately, there are a few fixes you can try to reduce time wasting and even improve the competency and proactiveness of your team.   1. Invest in proper tools The tools you use for your work can either help your employees succeed or hinder their performance drastically. For instance, old outdated computers and programs take ages to load and save anything, while there are iOS and Android applications that can perform the same tasks for less time. Old printers and scanners are another bane, which waste precious time in offices. Replacing and upgrading your machinery may seem like a huge investment, but it will pay off in a few short years. You should also introduce time management tools to your workers, and make using them a mandatory requirement. Digital calendars, time management apps that remind us of various tasks and meetings, tools that help us organise events in categories, share images and files with colleagues, and arrange tasks by priority, these are all things, which are easily accessible and available, even free, so why not use them.   2. Keep meetings short            The typical company meetings take around twice as much time as they should, which reduces the team’s productivity and makes your employees daydream instead of focusing on the tasks at hand. This is why it’s important to keep meetings short and the audience relevant, which means not inviting people who don’t need to be there. Revise the attendees for each meeting and analyse if it’s necessary for everyone to attend. In addition, it’s good to make a detailed agenda for each meeting and follow it point by point. This way you can avoid any possible distractions and follow a detailed plan, which will ensure maximum benefits from the meeting.   3. Provide employees with short breaks Surveys show that the majority of the workforce is unable to focus their mind on work for more than an hour or two without any distractions. Studies also show that employees, who receive more free time and flexible working hours, are more motivated to work, which enhances their concentration. Therefore, providing your employees with a few short breaks of around 5-10 minutes throughout the day can actually help increase their productivity and make them waste less time. Sometimes, unwinding and relaxing help better than scolding and rushing.   4. Limit social media access This is something that many managers avoid at first, because they don’t want to seem like the bad guy, but statistics show that social media are among the biggest time wasters for companies, so it should be limited. Installing a social media blocker for all company computers will reduce time wasting. However, limiting access to social media completely will only make employees turn to their phones. A good compromise is to turn the social media blocker off for any scheduled breaks or to install a social media blocker, which gives employees the choice of when to block social media. This way you will provide your employees with the opportunity to check social media, but you will make it clear that it’s not an allowed activity at work.   5. Nurture training and development Statistics show that over 40% of employees don’t pay a lot of attention to training and their personal development. This is a big mistake for every company, because it not only means it’s not keeping up with the current pace, but it’s also suffering potential waste of intellect and time. Employees, who don’t receive the necessary training to tend to all their daily tasks, are inefficient and unproductive. As a result, even the work of well-prepared employees will suffer from the actions of those who are not, which will lead to giant losses company-wide. By creating a training culture for everyone, you will avoid all that. Look for lecturers and organise trainings in your office every week on different topics, as you can only win from this.   6. Reward achievements and timely completion It’s been proven years ago that a goal-oriented bonus structure helps boost the productivity of the team, giving everyone goals to achieve, which helps them stay concentrated on work and waste less time on other things. Harvard Business School did a study recently, which proved that the quarterly bonus system is more efficient than the annual one, because the shorter period keeps employees more occupied and motivated.   7. Provide clear instructions  Most people want to do a good job on a task, but this can be difficult if they don’t receive the necessary instructions. In fact, giving a few simple instructions on how you want the task to be handled can save you hours of wasted time in the long run. Keep in mind that different people have different needs when it comes to explanations – people who work with you all the time may be able to understand you after a few short words, while others who have no idea about your work process will need more details. Just give instructions the way you’d want to receive them.

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Boss V Buddy

Too often in business when a frontline person steps up to a leadership role there is no guidance on “how” to handle going from being one of the team to leading and managing the same team. At times it can be hard for the new manager who may feel they need to prove that Executive Management have made the right choice in promoting them while watching their back as shunned team members wait for them to make a wrong move so they can gloat that the Executive Management made the wrong choice.    We are all aware of the team member who likes to divide and conquer managers as though it is a quest for them.  These team members make it very hard for a new manager, therefore it is important that the new manager seeks support from other managers on how to deal with different behavioural styles of team members.   Respect and Team Unity I believe that respect in the workplace is the most important value and over the past two decades have witnessed in both my own company and my clients that when there is no respect there is no unity.  When moving up to a managers role, respect is earned, with the new manager showing the following qualities: Fairness Understanding Mutual Respect When a team is united their purpose is strengthened and results are achieved more quickly when they know they can depend on each other and the flow of communication is open. A manager works “on the business” instead of “in the business” and some new managers find this shift hard; instead of delegating tasks they continue to do them and wonder why they are not achieving their own KPI’s while their team become “frustrated” because they feel they are not trusted to complete the task.   Values Another issue that is seen in the workplace is with people struggling with what are called espoused values versus lived values.    In other words, they say one thing but do another.  There are also going to be differences depending on where  they are in the chain of command, whether they are the CEO, COO, Department Head, Supervisor and even Team Leaders who have just begun their management journey all see things slightly differently.  In order to align their viewpoints, they must have some aligned values. Usually, staff in all those different roles value slightly different things: The HR department usually values people and performance .  The Sales and Marketing Department values styles and competition.  The Finance Department values accuracy, precision and compliance.  While the CEO and COO are the ones who are trying to pull it altogether and steer the team in the right direction.  Common core values can keep everyone moving in the same direction and build trust and cooperation between these management silos.   Socialising This is an area that can be especially hard for a new manager who has always socialised with the team on weekends.  Moving into a leadership role it is hard to gain respect from the team and manage with authority if over the weekend they have shared confidential matters about other team members or acted inappropriately.  It is not to say a new manager has to cut themselves off from those they once socialised with, however, they do need to consider their actions and not to discuss work related matters outside of the workplace particularly if it pertains to another team member.   Career Journey No matter where you are on your journey there will always be those who are envious of your achievements and sometimes these co-workers could be your friends.  It is important that you begin your leadership role understanding the tasks involved and to seek out a mentor (outside of the company preferably) to discuss ways on how to go from being a “buddy” to a “boss”.  

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Boss, can I talk to you about a pay rise?

Hearing these words often causes the knees to knock and the stomach to churn for any business owner or  manager. I think I have this conversation with each of my clients at least once a year. If it makes you feel any better please be assured that the person asking the question is usually just as terrified to ask as you are to hear the question. This is one of those questions that must be answered, clearly, fairly, and in a timely fashion. I am asked how the owner or manager should answer this question and I think it is a fairly simple process to follow, that doesn't mean it is easy, it just means it is simple.  These are the 4R's to handling the pay rise question. 1. Reflect Turn the question back to them and ask them why they believe that they have earned a rise in pay. Listen very carefully to the answer they give. They may need time to think about it, let them take that time and come back to you. You can do your own thinking during this time. When they give you an answer, listen to understand the perspective that they have taken. An answer along the lines of "Well I want to buy a new boat and need more money" says that they are thinking all about them, and not about the results they create for your business. It is straight forward, not easy however, but straight forward to say no to this request. What we really want to hear is an explanation about how they are creating even more value for the business and doing more work thereby deserving a higher pay packet. An answer that is more attuned to "Well boss, I have been filling in for my boss every time they go on leave for the last few months and the place does not miss a beat whilst they are gone. I have implemented some new systems for how we [control stock/answer calls/ship on time/improve quality] and the results have been that we are making more money" An answer like this shows a focus on creating value for the business and an indication that the improved performance has been sustained over a period of time. 2. Review Look at the answer that they have given and then review the wages you are paying the person and people who have similar roles and similar responsibilities. If the person is performing at a higher level than others being paid the same then they may be justified in asking for more money. If their peers are actually performing poorly in comparison then you have some work to do to performance manage others as well as look at the pay rates of the employee who has queried you. Tolerating poor/low performance is unacceptable if you want a commercially superior business. Look at you financial performance and make sure you can afford the pay rise. If you want to give the pay rise but cannot afford to do so then it is time for a good long look in the mirror. If you are underpaying good employees who are worth more then you are almost certainly underpaying yourself. When is a good time to stop kidding yourself and make the changes you have been avoiding so your business performance improves and you can pay yourself and others what they are worth? Yes, that is harsh, No I won't apologise. Face up to it and fix it. 3. Roadmap If the answer you have come up with is Yes or No I suggest you layout a roadmap for the employee. If the answer is Yes then the roadmap is about the new job responsibilities and roles that must be fulfilled that justify the increase. Be clear and specific. The discretionary effort they have show to convince you of their value is now 'normal' effort and they need to keep lifting the bar. If the answer is No then explain the roadmap to improved performance that the employee must comply with before you consider any further requests for a raise. Make it clear and specific. The choice is then up to the employee. Make sure you are prepared to say Yes if they come back and have met the benchmarks you have set. 4. Rapport In all of these conversations you want to create, maintain, and strengthen the rapport you have with the employee. You can even give them the bad news and have them understand the changes they have to make and leave the conversation without having any resentment if you have rapport with your employee. If you follow the 4R's you should find it easier to handle this dreaded question (it should not be a dreaded questions by the way) and work through the issue fairly and clearly. The best outcome is if you can go tot the employee in advance of the question and reward them for their superior performance knowing that you can afford it, the business can afford it, and it helps to ensure their loyalty to the company.  

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Business Leadership: 10 Tips For When You First Get Staff

After setting up your business, there will come a time when you’ll need to hire staff to help you run it. How you lead these first employees will determine whether your business will continue to grow, stagnate, or crumble and fall. Because beyond anything else, good leadership is what makes or breaks a business. But let’s face it, being a good business leader is not easy. Leading your small business will be very different from working alone. You will, therefore, need to develop your leadership skills to be able to build a team that will take your business to the next level. Here are some actionable leadership tips that you can put into practice when you hire your first employees. Lead by example. What you do sets the tone for the kind of behaviour that is acceptable in the workplace. Don’t just tell, show. Do what you’d like your new employees to emulate. If you establish rules of conduct and don’t follow them yourself, you can be sure that no one will follow them too. If you want to encourage your employees to behave in a certain manner, precisely and correctly demonstrate the behaviours you want to them. Be humble. Be sure to share the spotlight with your staff by crediting them for their good work. If you happen to make a mistake, admit that you made a mistake. If an apology is needed, be sure to give one. Show your willingness to seek solutions from others when you’re beaten. Showing your human side earns you respect from both your employees and customers – a crucial ingredient for successful leadership. Communicate effectively. Effective communication is just as important in business as it is in your personal life. A good leader needs to be able to articulate their message in a way that is understood by everyone. And remember, communication is not a one-way-street, you also need to be a good listener. Know your team. Interact with your employees to find out more about them. Know about their families, what they like to do, their dreams and ambitions. This will not only help you show them that you care about them but will also enable you to get information that you can use to motivate them. You can write the information down after conversations if you think you might forget it. Get a mentor. Great leaders know when they need help, and if you’re just starting, you definitely do. Find someone who has more experience than you and ask for advice when faced with a difficult issue.  Work on your emotional awareness. As a leader, your primary job is maintaining relationships. A wise leader strives to accommodate the sensitivities of others. Provide feedback. When an employee does something good, make sure you commend them for it. If there is something you don’t like, tell them privately in a respectful manner so that they can work on improving themselves. Encourage creativity. Empower your team to bring forward their ideas. Giving your employees the opportunity to try out their ideas gives them a deeper commitment to your company, enhances their problem-solving skills so that they don’t have to constantly rely on you for guidance, and improves productivity. Be fair and just. Treat all your employees equally without any prejudice. Whether you are reprimanding, rewarding or promoting, make sure you do it uniformly for all your employees. Always keep improving. Great leaders are constantly seeking to improve their leadership skills. Keep your mind open to new things and seek to acquire the best possible practices. If you have just hired your first employees and need to improve your leadership skills, CDL Insight Consulting can be of great help to you. They provide tried and tested programs to help entrepreneurs become better leaders for the success of their businesses. Check them out at www.cdlinsight.com.au to find out more on how to be a better leader. 

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