We trust your month is off to a good start. With this month's newsletter we plan to make it even better for you. We start by sharing some of our latest tips on improving employee productivity through targeted training and strategically placed recognition. We also continue our popular Q & A segment in which we answer those all too difficult questions that really get you stuck. This month we help out a manager dealing with a tense power struggle and another struggling with the best accounting system to purchase. We are confident that you will learn a helpful lesson or two.
Latest Employee Productivity Tips
In last month's newsletter, we looked at building employee capability. This month's tips focus on linking training and employee behaviors to business results. All too often we see a disconnect between the training programs conducted and employee behaviors encouraged and what the business really needs to improve performance. Here are our latest tips to help you and your organization make the connection.
Training Impact from Employee Behaviors
Constructing an impact map with the help of your key stakeholders is a great way of linking learning outcomes with the required employee behaviors and desired business results. Here are some quick tips on how to go about creating an impact map.
Training Tip - Tell People Your Evaluation Strategy
Training evaluation is something you do at the end of the training program. Right? Well, focusing trainers and program designers on the business outcomes and participant behaviors at the start of the program is a powerful way to get your people engaged in training for results right from the start.
How to Stop Talking AT Your Employees
Telling employees how their work fits in with the overall strategic objectives of your organization is fine. But don't stop there. To translate this knowledge into action, you will also need to recognize their efforts when they do the right thing.
Are you wanting to get more out of your learning and development programs? Check out our comprehensive "how to" guide and toolkit, From Training to Enhanced Workplace Performance Learn proven strategies and techniques for finding performance roadblocks, aligning training to real needs, developing training partnerships, engaging learners and demonstrating bottom-line impact. Download today!
Stay Up to Date
Keep up with all of the latest news and commentary by regularly visiting our Business Performance blog. Check out some of our other recent blog posts on training and managing change. Whilst you are there, why not hop in and join the discussion?
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How can I get my General Manager to take me seriously?
My job is to manage Operations, Information Technology and Human Resources in a logistics company. I have written a number of company policies, but the General Manager has made the Office Manager and her staffs exempt from complying. When I have tried to reprimand her direct reports for non-compliance, she and her staffs ignore me. The General Manager says he will fix the problem, but never does anything about it.
To begin with, clearly the Office Manager enjoys a favoured position with the General Manager and wields a lot of influence with him. Knowing this, tread very carefully before trying to reprimand one of her workers. Going in with all guns blazing will only serve to exacerbate an already tense power struggle.
It may help to separate your challenges into two areas:
- your employment contract/role expectations with your employer, and
- interpersonal issues around building relationships, credibility and conflict resolution.
With regards to the first challenge, first get clear on what your understanding of your contractual relationship is, decide what gaps there are, and then make a time to sit down with the General Manager to work together on how to meet those obligations. Do not write a memo to him spilling out all your grievances as a first step. A face to face meeting in a quiet (preferably neutral) area is required. Certainly bring notes to the meeting, as these will help you structure what you want to talk about.
On the specific issue of the scope of the policies, have the discussion with the General Manager on the purpose of the policies. Are they to give the appearance of legislative compliance, to provide order and predictability to the work environment or to provide a vehicle for the company to treat all employees impartially, or is a combination of these? If the General Manager agrees with the "impartiality" goal, then point out how having certain employees exempt from the policies works against this goal and that, if widely known, will damage the morale of the other employees.
The important point here is to let the General Manager tell you why he wants policies. If his reasons do not include "impartiality", take a risk management approach. You can say something like, "Yes, I agree with your goals for writing and implementing our new policies. The risk is that if you exempt certain people from them, then worker morale will go down, tensions will increase, ..." Then let the General Manager make the decision and wear the risk.
With regards to the second challenge, be mindful that you are the new kid in town and that you will need to earn your stripes. The General Manager and Office Manager have a long history in which perhaps many favors have been bestowed and obligations earned. In trying to enhance your position in this three-way power struggle, remember that how you see yourself is not how others necessarily see you. Consider working with an impartial person to help you examine your inner beliefs and values and how these play out, sometimes unconsciously, in the way you relate to others.
A management coach can help you critically examine your unspoken assumptions and help you develop an action plan for progress. As an aside, the challenge is NOT "Everyone else is broken and how can I get them fixed". The real challenge is, "What do I need to do to change my values and behavior so that I can get what I really need from my work and from other people?" In your discussions, if you come to realise that your needs cannot be met in this organization no matter what you do, then you will need to seriously consider terminating the relationship and moving on.
Do you want to find out more about building a feedback culture in your organization? Get Jennifer McCoy's practical guide, 2 Way Feedback, today. This compact e-book is packed with strategies for building trust and creating a high performance culture in your workplace. Used successfully by business owners, team leaders and managers, use it at all levels of your organization. Find out more and download the book from our 2 Way Feedback web page.
"It's short, accessible, full of the 'good-oil' -wise and practical suggestions about feedback and within a solutions focused framework. Great for supervisors and managers and busy people."
Ross Gillespie (Director), CoachCorp Pty Ltd
Which accounting system should we buy?
I am the Information Technology Manager for a small manufacturing firm. We have been using the same archaic accounting system for over 10 years and the management team recognizes that we need to implement a more modern system. We also want to update our current inventory management system with a comprehensive ERP solution. What accounting system should we purchase to work best with the ERP software?
It is all too easy to get dazzled by the "features" and the marketing speak. Do some extensive homework now so that you don't find out later that the software you bought doesn't meet your current and future needs. Here is a list of helpful questions to get you started.
- What are your current and future accounting and ERP needs?
- How many people will be using the system all together and at any one time?
- What hardware platform will it need to run on?
- What software operating system will it need to run on?
- What other systems will it need to interact with (HR/inventory/planning)?
- How critical are your operations and needed service responsive?
- What is your budget?
Keep in mind that the price of the software is only about one third of the total cost of ownership. Find out annual upgrade and maintenance costs for each system. Divide your requirements into "must have" and "nice to have". For each of the "nice to haves", assign a weight to its importance. Once you have done this, score how each of the proposed systems meets your specific requirements.
Find and talk to other users of the products you are considering, especially users using the same combination of accounting and ERP software. Each software vendor should be able to supply you with the names of people who have purchased the software and are willing to speak with you. And don't forget to include in your deliberations and trials the people who will actually be using the software on a day-to-day basis. If they can't use the system, the rest is moot.
Do you need to keep on top of your training providers, program participants, budget and schedules? Are you getting lost in a mound of paperwork and reports? Check out our affordable training management software. With Training Tracker you can easily track all of your employee training with up-to-the-minute automated training activity and expenditure reports and charts. Find out more and download the free demo version from our Training Tracker web page.
Visit our web site at www.businessperform.com for lots of expert guidance and practical tools designed to help you get ahead of your competition. Also, be sure to pass this newsletter on to friends and colleagues who want to stay up with what's on. From all of us here on the Business Performance team, we wish you a productive month and look forward to communicating with you again soon.