Posts Tagged ‘Employers and Morale’

Managing Employees: Tips to Make it a Little Easier

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

employeescreeningblog, pre employment screeningMost leaders have good intentions. They work hard, and strive to develop their employees’ talents and abilities to reach the organization’s goals.

But not all of them are successful. Sometimes, it’s the little things that need attention, but can make a big difference in morale and productivity. Keeping good employees happy can help ensure they stick around longer, which makes work easier and more pleasant for everyone—and by reducing turnover, helps the bottom line.

Here are a few small ways to make managing employees easier:

  • Get rid of unnecessary processes and rules. Ask staffers what rules and procedures are hampering their productivity or just making them unhappy. See if there are ways to rework policies to achieve the same goals. Is it really harmful to allow purple hair or for employees to eat at their desks?
  • Clarify your expectations. Employees will achieve more if they know what’s expected of them. They don’t often know what the outcome of their tasks should be, or exactly what a “good job” looks like. Tell them what you need, what success entails, and how their work will be evaluated.
  • Uncover and use employees’ talents. Get to know what really lights up your employees. What are their passions? What are they really good at? Can you incorporate their best qualities into their current position, or should you create a new position? You’ll get better results when employees feel fully utilized.
  • Don’t waste their time. Unnecessary meetings, meetings that start late or don’t have a strict agenda, weeks of work that gets tossed because someone changed their mind about what was needed—they’re all big time wasters. Plan well and respect everyone’s time.

As in any relationship, keeping communication open between managers and employees is key to success. Ask people what resources and tools they need to be successful, and  find a way to provide them. Then, eliminate things they don’t want or need, and above all, keep listening.

Great Leaders Can Motivate Without Money

Friday, December 16th, 2011

employee screening, employee background checkLow on cash this holiday season? You’re not alone. Studies show that holiday bonuses will be few and far between this year. In fact, one survey of 100 companies showed that 43 percent would not be giving year-end bonuses—up from 28 percent in 2007.

So how can you convince employees to stick with you, even though you’re running leaner operation, and morale is suffering? Luckily, creating a great team often has nothing to do with money—and everything to do with leadership.

How Leaders Motivate Without Spending Money

  • Encourage New Leaders: Make examples out of your best employees. Encourage them to step up and take on more responsibility. If they need more training to perform at a higher level, make sure they get it.
  • Say Thank You: When someone does a great job, show your appreciation. Every time. If your company reaches an objective, share the accolades with everyone.
  • Throw a Party: Celebrations make everybody feel good. Closing early on a Friday and bringing in pizza is a great, inexpensive way to kick off the weekend. Plan a picnic in the summer, or a bowling party in the winter. Anything to break the monotony of work and show your team that you want them to enjoy themselves will go a long way.
  • Invite Ideas: Ask your employees what they think, instead of always telling them what you think. Hold regular brainstorming sessions, where everyone is allowed to contribute. Whether you use their ideas or not, it still makes them feel engaged and valued.
  • Encourage Teamwork: Instead of making one person in charge of a team or project, have the entire group work together as a team, as equals. You may find they are more motivated to do well when they feel empowered.
  • Break Down Barriers to Communication: Asking for ideas and encouraging participation is a great start to better communication. Ignoring titles and allowing staff to break out of their job descriptions can also help.
  • Insist on Accountability: When employees are given high expectations, they will strive to meet them—and feel good when they do. If they don’t, let them know they are still accountable for getting the job done. Don’t allow an employee to present a problem without suggesting a solution. Eventually, everyone will be more accountable for their work and for improving their performance.
When hiring new employees, be sure to conduct proper background screening. The best pre-employment screening process includes employee background checks, employee credit checks, and criminal background checks. You’ll know you’re hiring safe when you screen employees before offering a position.

Staples Survey Shows Holiday Gifts Boost Morale, Productivity

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

employee screening, pre-employment background checkEmployers often struggle with whether or not to buy gifts at the holidays for employees and customers. And if business is sluggish in this economy, it’s even more important to know if it’s a good move to spend precious funds on gifts.

A new survey by Staples, the office supply store, reveals that it could be worth the time and trouble to reward employees and show appreciation to customers at the holidays: because they like them. Even small gestures impact motivation and productivity among employees.

In the survey of 215 employees from companies of various sizes and across industries, 60% said they like their company more if they received a holiday gift. A huge majority (75%) said gifts improved employee morale, while one-third said they improved employee productivity.

As far as corporate gifts go, one in three respondents said receiving a gift from a business made them want to do business with them again in the future.

How can employers handle this without spending too much, or alienating customers and employees with the “wrong” gift? Here are some tips:

  • Plan early so you can personalize gifts with your logo, or come up with just the right gift for the right price. Waiting until the last minute almost ensures you will be forced to spend more money, make bad choices or be stuck with whatever’s left at the warehouse store.
  • Food is almost always appreciated. However, tread carefully when choosing food gifts. Keep diet and religious restrictions in mind. You can’t go wrong with healthy and fresh foods, such as fruit, or when you give a variety of foods in a basket so each recipient is able to enjoy something.
  • Employees often enjoy electronics. Depending on your budget, you could choose to give MP3 players, headphones or tablet PCs.
  • Gift cards are general enough to be enjoyed by nearly everyone.

Do you give your employees and customers gifts? Do you plan to do it this year? If not, why not?

Simple Employee Lessons From Trader Joe’s

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

screening employees, employee pre screening

Trader Joe’s is a popular and growing specialty grocery chain, with locations scattered from California to Rhode Island, Wisconsin to Arizona. Part of the store’s success is its company culture which landed it on Fortune magazine’s list of best places to work. Trader Joe’s believes that happy employees make customers happy, and happy customers spend more money and come back more often.

Here are some ways Trader Joe’s works to make employees happy:

  • At Trader Joe’s, employee are valued, not expendable. They treat employees like they want their employees to treat customers.
  • Opportunities are offered to everyone. Managers are promoted from within.
  • Training is extensive, and each employee learns about the specialty products in detail. They believe it makes their work more interesting, and helps them stick around longer than the average grocery store employee. Employees need to know what is expected of them, and Trader Joe’s has that covered.
  • While the number of employees in the store at any time may be few, in keeping with Trader Joe’s low-overhead approach, they are paid well. The company pays employees an average of $21 per hour, with health insurance and retirement benefits.
  • A cross-training environment means that job descriptions are not strictly followed, and store managers often work side-by-side with cashiers to restock shelves or sweep floors.
  • The collaborative, informal working environment allows crew members the freedom to be themselves and make their own decisions.
  • The company focuses on finding highly motivated people with a knack for customer service and a passion for food. Working with other highly motivated people is a real perk for everyone.

Trader Joe’s believes that your people are your brand. They trust their employees to make decisions and treat them with respect. They ask for and take employees’ contributions seriously. And they pay them well.

All of this employee goodwill creates loyal crew members who grow with the company. And customers can see the differences between Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores. Some call shopping there like being part of a club, and think it’s a cool place to work.

Many companies would love to hear their customers say things like this!

10 Leadership Traits Anyone Can Use

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

employee screening, pre-screening, employment screeningLeaders vary in their styles and how they motivate employees to perform at their best. But good leaders have commonalities that help everyone around them. All business owners and managers can learn from the great leaders, who typically utilize the following traits to be effective:

  1. Confidence: No matter how you go about boosting yours, confidence is an essential trait that every leader needs. If you’re not confident in your abilities, no one else will be. Being confident doesn’t mean being arrogant or knowing the answer to every question. It does mean knowing what you don’t know and being willing to find out the answers.
  2. Curiosity: Finding out who you really are and learning more about your team members are important aspects of becoming confident. Knowing your strengths and those of your direct reports makes everyone more efficient.
  3. Focus: Great leaders know where they are going. They are focused on the goal and how to achieve it.
  4. Listening Skills: Just as focus on a goal helps you achieve it, listening to people moves everyone toward the objective. People who don’t feel heard will soon tune you out. No matter what rank or level a person is, giving them your full attention will make you soar in their eyes.
  5. Integrity: It should go without saying that leaders do what they say they’ll do with honesty, so people can count on them and trust in their words. Lack of integrity will sink a leader quickly—and has no place in any reputable company.
  6. Engagement: The ability to engage an entire team is a sign of a great business leader. By challenging your people, seeking their ideas and recognizing their contributions, you’ll have then engaged and motivated to help achieve the goal.
  7. Communication: Being a good communicator means being open to sharing both good and bad news, talking about your vision and hopes for your team and your company, and instills trust. It also fosters communication back to you, which all leaders need from their teams.
  8. Support: Foster a positive environment that helps your teams flourish. Letting people know you truly care can motivate them more than money.
  9. Collaborate: Ask for ideas and help from your team members, both the best and those who may struggle more. Collaboration makes people feel valued and encourages them to do better.
  10. Celebrate: Let people know you’re proud of their accomplishments. Celebrating successes helps relive stress that today’s competitive environment can bring, and helps recharge workers’ batteries.

Whether you’re a business owner, project manager or team leader, you owe it to your people to work on strengthening your leadership skills. Not only will your team feel happier at work, but they will be more productive and may even stick around longer!

If you’ve found the perfect candidate, don’t overlook proper background screening. The best pre-employment screening process includes employee background checks, employee credit checks, and criminal background checks. You’ll know you’re hiring safe when you screen employees before offering a position.

5 Tips for Integrating New Employees More Successfully

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

employee screening, employee background checkWhen you’ve gone to the trouble of advertising and recruiting, then interviewing, screening, hiring and training a new employee, you want to make the most of your investment. Integrating new hires into your company is a skill and takes some effort. But making them feel welcome and acquainting with your culture can make the process much more successful.

Here are 5 tips for successfully integrating new employees:

  1. Communicate ahead of time. You wouldn’t have a party without telling your guests what to bring and where to park, would you? Do the same for a new employee. Send an email a week ahead of their start date with information regarding dress requirements, parking, stashing personal items, obtaining lunch onsite or nearby, and any other niceties you can think of.
  2. Be prepared. There is nothing worse than a new employee showing up for his or her first day and finding out that no one was expecting them. The least you can do for a new hire is to be prepared! Whoever did the hiring should greet the new person upon arrival. Have all the required paperwork ready to fill out. Show them around and introduce them to co-workers as you go.
  3. Tell them what to expect. Outline a new employee’s first day, and then give them a schedule for the first week. Knowing what to expect will help them prepare for and meet your expectations.
  4. Consider putting the new hire right to work. If you hired them, you probably need the help, correct? Give your new employee a chance to work their new job for an hour or two on heir first day. Most people are excited to go to work—especially if they’ve been unemployed during this long recession. Why not start their training right away?
  5. Provide a mentor or buddy, if appropriate. Ask long-term employees who are open to meeting and helping new hires to watch out for the new guy or gal. Help them learn where the coffee supplies are hidden. Take them for a walk at lunch to learn the neighborhood. Share the company values, mission and culture in a relaxed way. Mentors can be quite valuable during a new hire’s orientation!

Integrating new hires is a one-time-only opportunity. Done well, it can lead to a more successful relationship with your employees; missing the mark can lead to higher turnover as new staff feel frustrated, unsure of their role or just unwelcome.

Plan for Employee Retention Before They Plan to Leave

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

happy employer and employee on employee screening blogWhat makes employees happy and loyal? Company culture, extra perks, feeling appreciated by their employers—all of these factors are important, but they are not the deciding ones when employees are faced with the decision: “should I stay or should I go?”  The two things employees put at the top of the list are pay and benefits.

According to a survey conducted for the last three years by a Florida staffing firm, compensation and benefits are the most important thing in their relationships with their employers.

Although fewer workers have quit jobs this year (according to the U.S. Department of Labor), history suggests that workers who are unhappy will start looking for employment elsewhere as the economy improves. And the main reason they’re unhappy?  Their pay has been cut during the recession.

One study, conducted last May, showed that employees at 235 large U.S. firms are less committed to their employers—so those firms who managed to keep their strongest people during the recession may be at risk of losing them.

What can employers do to hold on to good employees?

1. Make up for pay cuts: it’s a sure way of making affected employees happier. And if you plan on giving raises, say so! Now is not the time for surprises—people need reassurance more than ever. So don’t keep plans to yourself, or use a pay raise to bargain with an employee after they announce they’re quitting.

2. If you promise a pay raise, follow through: nothing is worse than making a promise and not delivering on it.

3. Be flexible: We’ve shared lots of ideas in this blog about boosting morale and supporting employees’ needs. Sometimes it can make up for lower pay—but not always.

4. Pay a performance bonus: If you can, write a bonus plan that rewards your staff for meeting objectives. Pay-for-performance is a good way to give a sense of ownership and commitment.

5. Be open and accountable: if management is getting raises and bonuses, and staff is not, be prepared to explain why.

Be sure to check out our Pre-Employment Screening services. Protect your business, increase your peace of mind and lower turnover by hiring smart!

How Employers are Boosting Productivity

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

happy employees on employee screening blogEmployers who cut staff to deal with a business slowdown, often experience a slowdown in worker productivity, too. Here are some free ways to boost it back up.

Be flexible: Not only do employees who work for managers they consider flexible produce more work, they are healthier. A recent study undertaken by eight federally-funded research teams in the U.S. show that employers’ policies affect employees in ways they might not have imagined. Cardiovascular disease is twice as prevalent in employees who have bosses unwilling to work with them on family issues like caring for sick children.

Employers with a culture of flexibility, such as remote work programs and flex hours, have workers who sleep an average of 30 minutes more per night. The same study reported that nearly 80 percent of workers want flexible work schedules, but many believe they will be overlooked for advancement if they ask for it.

The study also shows that businesses with open and flexible cultures have more engaged and supportive employees, and much less turnover.

Be supportive: Employers and workers are both feeling the strain of job cutbacks, losses in sales and profits, and an uncertain future. However, employers should try to be as supportive of their remaining employees as they are demanding of them. Listen to employees’ needs and suggestions, especially when re-prioritizing duties are necessary. Some tasks may have to be eliminated when staffing is decreased. Be empathetic to what your employees can physically and emotionally take on.

Be inclusive: When employers ask workers to take on more responsibility, productivity can be negatively affected. Consider giving your best workers leadership roles and the titles that go with them when you ask them to work longer and harder. A sense of ownership can boost morale and productivity.