Don’t take the easy way out. Here is a lesson from history!

This is a very hard lesson for people to learn.  Society has made it so easy for people to take the easy road these days.  Parents, do yourselves a favor and do not give your kids the easy way out, teach them that hard work does pay off.  The world is a tough place, accept it and work to reach goals!  A lot of you out there know that I was a history major so I like to use it as a tool for coaching.

I believe history can teach us a lot. Throughout history, there are those who made good decisions and those who made bad ones. The former reaped the rewards and the latter suffered the consequences. In any case, there are useful lessons that we can learn from their experiences.

titleI will share with you a lesson I learned from the story of Alexander Severus, a Roman emperor from 222 to 235.  I became interested in this particular emperor because his assassination started the Crisis of the Third Century.

As it turned out, he was assassinated by his own troops. But how could that happen? Why did the troops kill their own emperor? Well, the short answer is that the emperor chose the easy way and his troops didn’t like it.

Germanic tribes invaded the Roman Empire during the time Severus was emperor. The emperor marched out his troops to meet the invaders. The troops were ready to fight and defend their land. But what happened? When they were near the enemy, the emperor chose to bribe the enemy instead. He tried to buy them off using the empire’s wealth. Instead of facing the challenge, the emperor chose the easy way.

The troops didn’t like it. In fact, they were angered by it. They looked down on him and eventually decided to kill him.

It’s tragic, but it also contains a profound lesson: don’t take the easy way. Don’t take shortcuts when you face a problem. It may look easy and attractive, but it’s not without its danger. What you should do instead is face the challenge and do the right thing. It might be painful and take a long time, but the reward makes it worth it. Here are two kinds of reward that you will get if you do the right thing:

1. Lasting success

By taking the easy way, you might seem to achieve your goal (peace, in the case of the emperor), but it won’t last for long. Since taking the easy way means you never solve the root of the problem, the problem could resurface at any time. On the other hand, if you take the more difficult route and solve the root of the problem, you will get success that lasts.

2. The respect of others

When those around you see the way you handle your situation, they will respect you. They will look at you as someone to learn from. You might even become an inspiration to them.

Doing the right thing is easier said than done, but it’s something we can all learn to do. Remember the story of the emperor: don’t take the easy way. March into your battles courageously and solve the root of each problem.

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Workforce Planning…..Create the plan now

Workforce Planning

Workforce Planning is a core function of human resource management and it is related to the systematic identification and analysis of what an organization is going to need in terms of the size, type, experience, knowledge, skills and quality of workforce to achieve its objectives. It is a process used to generate business intelligence to inform the organization of the current, transition and future impact of the external and internal environment on the organization enabling it to be resilient to current structural and cultural changes to better position itself for the future.

A strategic workforce plan usually covers a three to five year period, aligned to the business needs and outcomes.  Before you can successfully create the plan you need to fully understand the goals and forecast of the business.  It focuses on identifying the workforce implications, current, transition and future business strategic objects and includes scenario planning.

Operational workforce planning usually covers the next 12-18 months and needs to align with the timeframe of the business planning cycle.  it is the process and systems applied to gathering, analyzing and reporting on workforce planning strategy.

Workforce Analytics Approach

An analytical approach is important as it provides a fact based method of understanding workforce behaviors. This analysis typically includes reviewing employee recruitment, promotion and turnover patterns. The analysis also uncovers the hidden causes of overtime, absenteeism, and low productivity.

Steps in Workforce Planning

There are fundamental activities that make up a Workforce Plan:

Getting Started
Establishing the team, building the business case; linking corporate, business, finance and workforce strategy; establishing communication plan to engage stakeholders; segmenting the workforce against strategic priorities; reviewing existing data; identifying information gaps; identifying future focused business scenarios.
Environment Scan
Environment scanning is a form of business intelligence. In the context of Workforce Planning it is used to identify the set of facts or circumstances that surround a workforce situation or event.
Current Workforce Profile
Current State is a profile of the demand and supply factors both internally and externally of the workforce the organization has today.
Transition Workforce Profile
demand and supply factors for the transition from current to future workforce.
Future Workforce View
Future View is determining the organization’s needs considering the emerging trends and issues identified during the Environment Scanning.
Analysis and Targeted Future
Once critical elements are identified through quantitative and qualitative analysis, the future targets that are the best fit in terms of business strategy and is achievable given the surrounding factors (internal/external, supply/demand) are determined.
Risk Assessment and Risk Mitigation
The process is about determining appropriate actions to manage risk assessment and identify risk mitigation strategies to deliver the targeted future.
Action plan to embed strategic workforce planning into business planning process.
Monitor and measure impact of strategic workforce planning on business outcomes.

Gossip, Gossip, Gossip – Why can’t people just shut their trap?

Let’s face it, gossip runs rampant in just about every workplace, right?  I swear that sometimes it seems as if people literally have nothing better to do than gossip about each other.  They talk about the company, they talk about co-workers, and OF COURSE they talk about their managers.  They can frequently take something that is a partial truth and turn and twist it into a whole speculative truth.

One of my favorites is when employees gossip about the amount of money they are making, and more often than not, they do not tell the truth.  So, unhappy coworkers storm down to the Human Resources office asking about their pay and how to get more.

Let’s face it, you have to expect a certain amount of gossip; people want to know what is going on at their workplace, and they like to discuss work issues.  The key to this is to know when the gossip is out-of-hand.  You need to take action if the gossip is doing the following:

  • Disrupting the work place and the business of work
  • Hurting other employee’s feelings (We can go into a huge HR debate here but we will skip it….this time)
  • Damaging interpersonal relationships.
  • Injuring employee motivation and employee morale.

If you find yourself having to address gossip frequently, you way want to take a step back and take a hard look at your workplace to understand consistent themes in the gossip.  Is it possible that you do not share enough information with employees?  Is it possible that employees don’t trust you and that they are afraid to ask about important things?  Just something to think about before you completely fly off the handle.

If gossip hasn’t been managed in the past, the gossip tends to become a negative in your work culture.  With that being said, don’t let negative gossip go unaddressed.

Managing gossip is pretty simple, just manage it as you would any other negative behavior from an employee.  I encourage you to use a coaching approach whenever possible to help the employee improve their behavior.

But, when needed, gossip management starts with a serious talk between the employee and the manager or supervisor.  if the discussion of the negative impacts of the employee’s gossip has no effect on subsequent behavior, begin the process of progressive discipline…you know the routine – Verbal, formal write up, suspension, termination.

If you assertively deal with the gossip, you will create a work culture and an environment that does not support gossip.  It will keep more employees happy and on-board with you and your organization.

Keep this in mind…

“Who gossips to you will gossip of you.”

Hey Hey You You – Come “meet the team” – The interview process continues…

So you are working your way through the interview process and you get the call, “Come in for a “meet the team” style interview where you will meet the people you’ll be working with if you’re the candidate we choose.

The style of these interviews are normally much more informal that the previous ones and will give you the chance to get a feel for the culture of the business, as well as allow your potential co-workers a chance to see if you would be a good fit.

They can be tricky interviews, so that’s why I’ve come up with some tips on how to ace that difficult “meet the team” interview.

A False Sense Of Security. Don’t be lured.

Depending on the style of the interview, you might find yourself in a situation where you’re just chatting with some really cool people – but beware!

While they may seem trustworthy and very “friendly”, this could be an act to extract information from you to discover what you’d really be like to work with.

My top tip would be to be friendly, but cautious. You want to connect with these people, but you also don’t want to put your life out there during this final stage.

Be Yourself – But Not Too Much!

Following on from the last point, while this interview is an opportunity to show off your personality and reveal the “real you”, you still need to keep your guard up and portray the best possible version of yourself.

You will feel relaxed and like you can share things with your new prospective co-workers – but they really don’t need to know that you go get drunk at bowling on Wednesday’s or got “laid-off” from one of your jobs for hating the sales manager.

Make sure you still treat this as a professional interview and avoid telling them anything you wouldn’t want your new boss to find out.

Don’t Drink Too Much

Occasionally, these sort of interviews will take place in a bar or restaurant to take the formal edge off the situation.

However, this is dangerous territory as a lot of your potential colleagues will be taking this as an opportunity to indulge in an alcoholic beverage or two – so do you conform or stay sober?

Well, it’s really up to you, but definitely don’t have more than one drink. Do you really want your co-workers’ first impression of you to be drunk you dancing on the table? Didn’t think so!

Show An Interest In Your Potential Co-Workers

Even though this situation is all about getting to know you as a person, it’s also a great chance for you to ask some questions about the people you might be working with.  Yes ask questions!

People love it when someone takes an interest in them, and it shows that you have a real interest and enthusiasm for working with them and at the business.

Now, I’m not talking about questions like “What’s your sign?” or “Are you single, Dylan?”, but asking them how long they’ve been a part of the company, what the work environment is like or how they find working there is perfectly fine and appropriate!

Team Building. Employee Excitement and Employee Motivation. Can you motivate your team?

Team Building – Employee Excitement and Employee Motivation

An employee’s excitement and motivation for the job are at its peak when they are first hired to your organization.  However, it is pretty common that after settling into a routine of the daily grind, the excitement and motivation begins to fade.  So, before that happens the employer has an opportunity to reverse that trend.  Does that mean you should throw a party every day? No, of course not but once, twice or even a few times a year can build moral amongst your team.  I try to do something on holidays, it is the perfect time.  Halloween is on Saturday this year, so maybe have a Friday halloween celebration, salsa making competition and tasting or a costume contest.

Team-Building is Important to Employee’s Sense of Belonging

Team building is the most important term.  The purpose is to include “everyone” and to encourage those that usually keep to themselves to join in on the activities.  It is amazing how many employees learn things about themselves and the ones around them that they never knew before.

Misunderstandings can dissolve when seen from a different perspective
Alliances are formed when faced with a dilemma to work through
Personalities are exposed in new and different ways
Ideas come to those that free themselves from the “it is how it has always been done” mentality
Team-building days are fun as well as challenging.

There is going to be a Team-Building Day – Now What??
It is easy to talk about a team-building day but making it happen may be more challenging. Deciding what to do and where to do it involves making many decisions, consideration of the cost and what would make the greatest impact. Why not let the employees plan the day? The details would be different for a small business compared to a large business of course. A small business may include only a few employees while a larger business could include a hundred or more. The type of business would also make a difference – would outdoor challenges be best or would a cooking class and challenge be better?

What is the best Team-Building Event
Team-Building events are often thought of as outdoor challenges like rock climbing and obstacle courses. They may even include a trip to another state or a cruise to an exotic island. While those are great ideas they are not the only way to improve employee motivation. The state of the economy over the past several years has caused many businesses to change their extravagant ways. In some ways that is a good thing because often simple is better. Employees interact with each other instead of their surroundings. Getting to know each other is easier when there are fewer events.

Asking the employees what they would like may be surprising. Special training to improve their positions in the company, working together for a charity or taking hands on personal improvement classes.  There are some great tools out there for just these types of events.

Team-Building Days Improve Employee’s View of their Job
Employees that love their jobs appreciate the benefit of a team-building day. Positive events also affect employees that have begun to dread going to work every day. Create a scrapbook to remind each employee and the employer of what is good about where they work now and in the future.  I encourage you to keep those scrap books in a conference room, the HR department, or some other semi common place.  It is fun for employees to reminisce about the event and it shows new potential employees that the company cares about employee happiness.

If you would like some team building exercises or would like us to facilitate a fun hands on team building event please call us today!  We have facilitated numerous events and find that our clients leave with a smile, get re-engaged at work and always look forward to the next event.  We run event for as little as 2 or 3 employees all the way up to 100+ employees.