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Why Connecting With Your Employees Is Good For Business

Improving employee engagement is easy to talk about but challenging to carry out. 

Many of our clients here at Insightlink gleaned from their engagement surveys that employees often express a strong desire to feel connected to their work. One way to meet this need, and retain employees, is to give them a voice in how they do their jobs. In other words, asking employees for their suggestions can increase connectedness. “Employee suggestions can have a significant impact on productivity, turnover and overall organizational performance says Robert Gray, President of Insightlink Communications based in Palm Springs CA.. Other experts agree that "People need to be listened to even if their ideas don’t work or don’t make sense," explains James Campbell Quick, professor of organizational behavior at the University of Texas at Arlington. "By not listening, it makes people psychologically withdraw and you may miss … the million-dollar suggestion." Read full post

How The 9-Box Grid Reduces Turnover

 

Confusing a high-performing employee for a high-potential employee can be a costly mistake. As Robert Gray, head of Insightlink Communications points out, “An organization that fails to distinguish between performance and potential will have difficulty identifying talent and could be contributing to unnecessary turnover.”

After decades of performing employee research Insightlink has found this is a common predicament for many organizations. This is especially true for employees in sales departments where often top-performing sales reps are promoted to managers but they struggle to shift away from their own individual sales results to helping the sales reps they manage achieve their sales goals. Meanwhile an employee in an administrative role who may have supported his or her team for years without a promotion, looks elsewhere for a new job because they feel undervalued and overlooked. Both these scenarios hurt moral and result in preventable turnover.

Employee research is an essential tool in the battle to reduce turnover and can help organizations understand where they are performing well and where they are struggling. In addition to conducting employee surveys to get employees thoughts and opinions about their jobs, a 9-box grid compliments this research giving HR and senior management even more knowledge about their employees. Used together these two tools can expose areas of weakness where engagement and job satisfaction levels are low and identiy which employees are being most negatively affected.

 

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A Smart Way To Engage Your Employees And Reduce Turnover

Studies on turnover estimate that when an employee leaves a company it can cost the organization between 30 to 250 percent of that person’s annual salary due to factors like loss of productivity and other associated replacement costs.

Imagine a high potential employee disclosing her long term goal to her HR Manager to work in strategy. We know of one instance when an HR manager dismissed this goal saying 'everyone wants strategy...strategy is a dream job'. I suppose a young aspiring woman could respond in one of two ways. One, she might feel challenged to achieve her goal despite the odds and the negativism or two, she might start having thoughts about finding a new job where she can make her goal a reality.

If she does resign, this would be considered preventable turnover, meaning the employee is leaving for a reason specifically related to their work experience that could have been avoided! 

Perhaps not everyone who wants to work in strategy will have that opportunity; but there are still ways to encourage employees to grow and develop strategic thinking skills that would benefit any organization at all levels and could delay and prevent some employees from leaving. Strategic thinking is a skill worth cultivating in your employees and managers because it teaches them to focus on what is really important. HR analysts Jill Fowler and Jeanette Savage describe strategic thinking as, ‘recognizing trends and challenging assumptions while maintaining a global view of situations and an affinity towards embracing change’. Read full post

Business Growth Strategies Tips To Improve Your Workforce Management

  
 

As your company grows, workforce management should become top priority. It is a challenging yet crucial facet of your operation, that grows in complexity as demographics shift and technology advances over time. You must thoroughly gather and analyze data to make informed choices about recruiting, retention, productivity, performance and engaging employees. Also, keep in mind the best resources and tools that will support your management goals. Here are some tips for business growth strategies, in regards to workforce management:



Recruiting



You must make sure your workforce is composed of creative, motivated, intelligent individuals who can fit into your company and also work toward its improvement. Enhance the composition of your team through strategic recruiting. First, you must identify your People Brand — ask yourself, “why should people want to work for me?” As you begin to answer this question, you will see certain attributes and values emerge, which can then be combined to figure out your ideal, like-minded candidate. With an established People Brand, your recruitment team can make informed decisions about the candidates they seek out and pursue.

 
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How To Diagnose Your Organizations Cultural Health

 

Why should workplace social networks be important to HR specialists?


It matters because these networks drive your compant's culture.
Karen Stephenson is an anthropologist who teaches social network theory as part of the MBA program at Erasmus University in the Netherlands. Stephenson has successfully applied her research in cultural anthropology to corporations and discovered a way to map an organizations social capital and identify critical participants within social networks.

Understanding social networks are not social media


Social media like Facebook and Twitter are about collecting and connecting at a superficial level. Social networks are about trust and powerful relationships that happen mainly face to face.


Why are social networks important to HR Specialists?


Stephenson explains that social networks are the formal and informal bonds through which people communicate and get work done-the invisible bonds of trust and the water cooler relationships that happen between employees. These networks are different from the hierarchal structures that define authority; they are not found in organizational charts. 
Together, Social networks and hierarchy form a company culture. Read full post

Ways to Retain High Potential Employees

 

If up to one quarter of your top talent is tempted to quit, what can you do to prevent them from leaving?


High-potentials are the people companies hate to lose. HR professionals are more anxious about losing these employees than any others and with up to one quarter of their top talent thinking of leaving, finding a solution is a struggle. In some cases, there are no solutions because if an employee is hard wired not to care about who they work for, they will leave if a better opportunity comes along and there is nothing you can do to change their minds. Fortunately, this represents about 5-6% in most companies. The good news is that not all high potentials are hard wired to leave…. It’s the problems they face that are frustrating them and cause them to begin to look elsewhere.


Who are these people?


In an article titled ‘Are You a High Potential’ the Harvard Business Review cited research by Jay Conger, Douglas Ready and Linda Hill who defined these employees in this way:
“High potentials consistently and significantly outperform their peer groups in a variety of settings and circumstances. While achieving these superior levels of performance, they exhibit behaviors that reflect their companies’ culture and values in an exemplary manner. Moreover, they show a strong capacity to grow and succeed throughout their careers within an organization—more quickly and effectively than their peer groups do.” Read full post

Ways To Heal Employees Caught In The Shame Blame Game

 As humans when someone accuses, blames or shames us most of us react in one of six ways. We will either withdraw, become defensive, lash out in a counter attack, beat ourselves up internally, be a people-pleaser in order to counter the inner feelings of never being good enough or, we look for a solution to the problem that results in positive change (which we all recognize is the healthiest response but not the easiest to do).

At work employees respond to blame and shame, criticism, judgment or threats by withdrawing which ends up translating into a lack of engagement, low morale and motivation
We all know people who react defensively or try to justify their actions; they come across as whining, argumentative, and sometimes hostile, none of which anyone enjoys. Unfortunately, the response could also be a counter attack, which would sound like a verbal attack…the situation could get ugly and extremely uncomfortable. The ripple effectof all this negative energy affects co-workers (consciously and subconsciously) causing apathy and bad feelings to flow. This is what drives engagement levels down and costs people and organizations their emotional and financial health.

Blame and shame don’t work for anyone but it takes knowledge and understanding and leadership to get a grip on the problem and turn it around. 

For example, do you ever feel like you are walking on eggshells at work?
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Why Employees Who Mask Their Unhappiness Are Lethal

 "An organization pays a heavy price when its bright, capable people quit and leave. But it’s even more costly when bright, capable people quit and stay.” — Rodger Dean Duncan

One of the overwhelming challenges of being in HR is being held accountable for maximizing retention and reducing turnover. A great deal of effort and energy gets spent making sure employees don’t quit but there are many times when they do despite it all. Feelings of abandonment must echo the halls of HR when it happens but there are other ways unhappy employees process their environments that are not so obvious but maybe more lethal. 

There are three basic tactics or coping mechanisms employees use when they are unhappy with their jobs:
  1. Proactively work to make the situation better. This may seem like the best path but it also the most difficult. It usually involves confronting people about the root causes of their frustration. It requires that the unhappy employee confront people, and possibly their own direct manager, about the reasons they are struggling and that can be demoralizing.
  2. Quit. This one is pretty straightforward. At some point, people will decide that life is too short to be frustrated and discouraged at work, and they’ll search for a new job. And if they’re good at their jobs it won’t be difficult for them to find a new one and leave.
  3. Quit and stay. Ultimately, this is the path of least resistance, and the one many employees choose, sometimes even subconsciously. These folks rationalize not quitting by thinking “Hey, I’m still getting paid so I’ll just hang in and detach emotionally so it doesn’t get to me anymore.” If this decision is being made by enough employees, then this will erode a company’s culture from the inside out as service, productivity and morale decline. 
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How To Bust Boredom and Be The Change In Your Organization

 Do you or your employees feel bored at work?


Unfotunately many of us would answer yes.

Current reports reveal that boredom is running rampant not just in assembly lines but for white collar workers who ‘waste away, unchallenged and uninspired’ at their desks’. 

Sandi Mann from the University of Lancashire studies boredom and found that ‘ boredom is a condition that can be more stressful and damaging than overwork’. To help us understand boredom she explains that being bored at work does not happen because you have nothing to do. It happens because nothing you are doing appeals to you. 

What a terrible reality to think employees are coming in every day but checking out mentally because they feel no connection or derive any personal satisfaction from the work they do. And, what a terrible thing for employers as they watch morale decline and profits weaken.

Understanding what causes boredom is key to any positive change. We believe part of the process should include an employee engagement action plan to really get to the heart of the disconnection and understand what is causing employees to feel bored in the first place. Boredom is one of the key drivers of poor work performance, accidents, absenteeism, sleepiness, and stress-related health problems so it deserves attention in most organizations, including and especially offices. Read full post

There Are No Good Reasons To Waste Your Vacation Days

Hard working Americans seem to have lost their way in recent decades.


It seems we have forgotten that we have a limited time here on earth as we work ourselves to death to pay our bills when we should be spending our time on worthwhile things that make us happy like family, friends, our passions and our hobbies. Many Americans persist in frittering away and wasting vacation days that are earned and deserved however, denying themselves the chance to rest and relax. In fact many are proud of being  workaholics, which is commonplace and symptomatic of many employees in our culture today; but the reality is when we do the same thing day in and day out, week after week month after month we become dead inside and we forfeit our quality time for what? More work….

Does it bother us that we are known as the ‘No-Vacation Nation’? Not surprisingly the United States is the only developed country in the world without a single legally required paid vacation day or holiday. In stark contrast, figures from CEPR's study "No-Vacation Nation Revisited reveal that every country in the European Union is required, by law, to provide at least 4 weeks of paid vacation every year.

Italians, who get over 35 days of vacation per year might be enjoying life a whole lot more too as they live on average four years longer than Americans. Italians get paid for a 13th month in December (paid twice for working one month) so that they can afford to pay their bills and enjoy a vacation. The message “life is short’ seems to be alive and well in the world, just not in the states! Read full post
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About

Insightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.



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Why Connecting With Your Employees Is Good For Business

How The 9-Box Grid Reduces Turnover

A Smart Way To Engage Your Employees And Reduce Turnover

Business Growth Strategies Tips To Improve Your Workforce Management

How To Diagnose Your Organizations Cultural Health

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