How Coaching Can Save Your Team

Employee engagement and retention are (or should be) top of mind for company leadership and HR teams. Having an engaged workforce means a stronger, more productive company. Unfortunately, only 34% of employees report being fully engaged in their workplace. That said, companies have been spending a lot on this problem. In fact, an estimated three-quarters of a billion dollars, each year.

Obviously, this is a huge issue with many components. Employee development and education, benefits, and company culture all play into the employee experience, which directly impacts retention and engagement.

It’s all about the culture

This issue poses too many factors for business (especially small ones) to address from every vantage point. Most medium and small sized companies have a tight budget set aside for employee experience. But you don’t necessarily have to spend a ton of money on perks to create a culture of productivity and engagement. Not surprisingly, 76% of employees cite their manager as the leading influencer of workplace culture.

With that in mind, you’d assume companies are taking advantage of this knowledge and setting up their managers and leaders to be trailblazers for building a happy workforce, right? Sorry, not so much.

A shocking 71% of companies do not feel their leaders are able to actually lead their organization. And we can assume that leaders who are unable to lead are negatively impacting the people they’re supposed to lead.

So, if managers are the major influencing factor in creating company culture, and companies don’t feel they’re doing their job well, it’s time to think about the tools they’re given to accomplish company goals.

How are your managers trained to manage? Do they even get training? Or does your company just promote highly functioning employees into manager roles and let them figure it out on their own?

Training your managers to take a different approach to supervising their teams might just be what your company needs. But how, you ask? By training them to coach instead of manage.

Coaching vs. managing 

The difference between coaching and managing is fairly simple. Where managers:

  • solve problems
  • answer questions
  • delegate tasks
  • evaluate performance

Coaches take a different approach. Instead, they:

  • empower their team to solve their own problems
  • ask questions
  • encourage employee input into how tasks get accomplished
  • urge employees to think critically about their own progress

Coaching also involves continuous conversations back and forth between team members, individuals, and managers. It is a highly effective way to engage your workforce.

Empowering your employees is at the core of why coaching is so effective. By empowering your employees to solve for their own problems, you are showing that you value their opinion and trust their ability to address and overcome challenges. Employees who are given the lead to solve problems become more self-reliant and feel a greater sense of accountability and responsibility, which leads to increased engagement and satisfaction.

Demonstrating trust in your employees to effectively address challenges is a very direct way to help them build on their own self confidence as well. Helping employees grow by creating a culture that nurtures self-confidence and independence is a sure-fire way to make people feel valued. Not to mention a sense of personal growth. 

Building an ongoing dialog between your employees and managers, as well as within their own team, is also a significant part of coaching. Where managers might only speak with individuals before or after a large project or when it comes time for their yearly assessment, coaching encourages a much more fluid form of communication.

Think increased employee recognition and opportunities for development. When there is an ongoing conversation between manager and employee, there is increased opportunity for managers to discover previously unknown strengths and skills that the employee may have. This can lead to employees getting assigned projects that play into their personal strengths and allow them to develop skills they are highly interested in.

Increased communication is also an effective way to suss out employees who are struggling and may need some extra support or direction. Showing that you are paying attention and willing to help guide and support an employee through a difficult time generates loyalty and a sense of safety that people value.

Value for you and them

Coaching is a much more people-focused way of managing your company. There are many different ways to implement coaching within your team and many different types of coaching to consider. By training your managers to coach, you’re not only giving them better tools to nurture a happier, more engaged workforce, but you’re investing in the future of your   by offering more opportunities for personal development and creativity.

So before you consider spending capital on unnecessary toys for the employee rec room, think about whether or not your managers could use training in how to coach their teams to success. Remember, employee experience and culture comes directly from leadership. So give your leaders the tools they need to win, and watch your company win.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners
 
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HR’s Secret Weapon: Marketing Communications

If you were asked what HR’s job is, I’m sure you’d come up with a list of answers. Keeping the company in compliance, managing workplace risk, providing resources and support to employees, payroll, hiring top talent, maintaining a positive company culture… the list goes on and on. But what ties this all together? 

Communication. 

HR has the responsibility to communicate all this and more to company employees, but all too often the tactics fail to actually get enough attention to be noticed. This is where HR can take some pointers from marketing. Because when it comes down to it, marketing is communication. And HR needs high quality communication to do their job well 

Think about it. How difficult is it to get an employee to read (and understand) their benefits package, or the employee handbook, or any other important information HR needs them to have? Difficult enough to be causing HR professionals some frustrating headaches for sure 

So how do you approach this problem? Following are some marketing tips HR can apply to their communication tactics to getand hold, the attention they need. 

Send out a weekly or monthly email/ newsletter  

HighlightsUse this to highlight work events that are coming up, give a shout-out to a team or employee who has gone above and beyond or completed a big project, and talk about things you want the entire company to know about. This could be an upcoming employee survey, a deadline for enrollment for benefits, or a reminder about checking tax withholdings to help employees prepare for tax season.  

PerksOverview the perks you offer to employees such as opportunities for personal development and career coaching, company retreats, and PTO. Keep the resources you make available to employees top of mind 

GoalsReview company goals and how specific teams and departments can help reach them. This is a great opportunity to highlight what different teams are doing to reach the same overarching goal. This can help align departments and keep everyone focused and feeling the team spirit. Plus, if you give a shout-out to a team or an individual, you’re creating a culture of appreciation and recognition! Talk about a good employee retention strategy!  

TeamworkThis also encourages different departments to see how they support each other, further bringing the community together. The more clarity there is about how teams work together and support each other, the higher functioning the company. And the less time HR spends on mitigating interdepartmental disputes.  

Attract the talent your company is looking for  

Marketing works to help guide people from being prospects to customers by meeting them at all the various points of contact they might have with your company. It’s marketing’s job to draw customers in with useful information, content offers, and guidance specifically targeted to where they are in their journey to becoming a customer.  

HR can take the same approach with attracting the type of employees they want working for the company, sometimes even hitting two birds with one stone.  

For instance, you can create a video highlighting your company values, perhaps interviewing aemployee about their experience or covering a recent charitable event your company hosted or participated in. This type of content is not only one of the more successful types of content marketing, but it could also help promote you to prospective employees. People tend to want to buy from (and work for) a company that shares their values and makes them feel good.  

HR can also take a page from marketing’s book by streamlining the process to apply. Just like you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to interact with your company (i.e., providing social icons for sharing and having easy options for answering questions and contacting support) you want to make it as easy as possible for job seekers to apply to work for you. You can: 

  • Keep the process down to five minutes or less  
  • Offer useful information at different points of the application process to help applicants discover more about you and what to expect throughout the application process 
  • Convey your company values and culture through the job description 
  • Highlight the perks and benefits your company offers 
  • Showcase the employee development and training services you offer 

Great communication = trust 

When it comes down to it, HR has a lot on its plate. So make it easier by learning to communicate often, clearly, and with the employee (or prospective employee) in mind. The better you communicate, the more people feel they can trust you, and the easier it is to do your job. It also means you get your message across in a way that sticks. 

As an HR professional, you work so hard to make other people’s jobs easier and to help provide useful information that will support and inform employees. We know how challenging it can be to find successful channels for communicating. So next time you’re looking for an effective way to provide that helpful information, think about how marketing would approach it and try using some of these tactics to help you. It’ll maximize the work you’ve done to provide support, and it’ll help them receive it.  

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners
 
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How (NOT) to Deal With Workplace Conflict

Interpersonal conflict is something every workplace has to deal with at some point. When people work in close quarters, there is bound to be some type of friction that comes to the surface and needs to be dealt with. 

Sometimes the people in the conflict are able to work it out themselves. This usually happens if both people are willing and able to sit down with each other and hash things out. However, there are many people who are uncomfortable with directly addressing issues and conflicts and who will do anything to avoid uncomfortable conversations.  

This results in passive aggression, negativity, decreased productivity, and team dysfunction which can spread and begin to negatively affect other employees. Conflicts like these are best solved quickly, and strategically, and often guided by management. 

Unfortunately, if leadership isn’t prepared to handle conflicts correctly, they can have a much greater negative effect on the situation and will end up making it worse for everyone. Here are a couple leadership practices that are guaranteed NOT to succeed in solving a conflict. 

Avoidance 

We know you’re busy. You’ve got a million things on your plate and goals and quotas to meet. So that argument between Tim and Kathy on the production team just doesn’t seem important enough for you to prioritize today. Oh sure, you’ll get to it, but it not today. Maybe tomorrow. Or next week? You’re hoping that maybe by then, it’ll just go away. Spoiler alert: it won’t.  

Avoidance can come in many different forms. For instance, say you’ve talked to Kathy and Tim separately and heard their different sides of the story, but you haven’t yet set up a meeting with both of them together. It might feel like you’ve made some progress after hearing them both initially. People often feel better after they’ve had a chance to get their story out and feel heard. This might have even deflated their frustration for the time being. But it won’t last.  

No one likes to have uncomfortable conversations, and you’re no exception. Being in leadership doesn’t mean you’re automatically exempt from having the same reservations about confrontation as the rest of humanity. You may be a good problem solver and a good listener, but if you just stop at having individual conversations and don’t move forward to confronting the issue together, you’ve halted the healing process.  

Separation 

Keeping people apart when they are fighting might work with children, but it isn’t a sustainable solution for dealing with conflict at the office. Employees must be able to work together and rely on each other as a team. Just trying to give them different projects and hoping they won’t run into something that requires them to work together isn’t going to help you or them in the long run.  

Just listening to their individual stories and sending them in different directions is setting your team up for failure. Plus, it’s setting an unhealthy standard for how your company handles interpersonal conflict.  

It’s better this way 

Unless you take the step to get them talking face-to-face, you’ve just put the problem on hold, not dealt with it. Having a functional, healthy team should be a top priority for any leader. The chances of meeting your goals with a robust team working together are much greater than working with dysfunctional team and their infighting.  

Taking an hour out of your day today to solve a conflict will save you hours of cleanup work later down the road. It’ll also ensure that the conflict doesn’t expand and begin to affect other team members.  

Constructive confrontation = solution 

If you’re uncomfortable with confrontation, or not sure how to go about mitigating the conflict, it helps to go in with a plan.  

  • Structure the conversation so that both parties have their chance to speak and respond to each other  
  • Encourage them to each take accountability  
  • Set the expectation that they will come to a resolution, creating a clear, actionable plan for how they will move forward 
  • Set a follow-up meeting a week or two down the road to help keep everyone accountable  

You may never be comfortable with confrontation, but fortunately, with practice you can get better at successfully dealing with it. The more you set the expectation that conflict will be dealt with in this way, the easier it is to do it. Hopefully, it becomes so ingrained in your company culture that co-workers will begin to do it themselves without the need to bring in leadership to help mitigate the discussion.  

So next time there’s a conflict at the office, don’t hesitate to deal with it then and there. Don’t put it off, don’t avoid the uncomfortable conversation. Show them you believe in their ability to solve the problem themselves by bringing them together to do so. You’ve got this and so do they.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by Andrey Popov

 

Paying Overtime: No Buts About it

If your employees are willing to go the extra mile, you’ll want to make sure they are rewarded accordingly. Doing so could mean dishing out individual or group recognition, special bonuses, or other creative onthejob perks.   

That said, if going the extra mile means your team is working overtime, creativity may not be an option. If you have employees who are overtime eligible, you’ll have to play by the rules.  

If your overtime-eligible employees are putting in more than forty hours in any given work week, whether it’s mandatory, approved, or unapproved, they must be paid overtime.  

The following are NOT solutions to paying overtime: 

Adjusting hours or pay periods  

An overtime eligible employee who works 60 hours one week and 20 hours the next is still entitled to overtime for those 20 hours worked in week one. This is true even if all of this occurred in a single pay period. Hours worked per week are hours worked per week. Period.  

Work weeks can begin on any day and at any time and may be different for various employees and work groups, but the work week must be a set standard. Employers cannot shift work week start days or times to avoid paying overtime and hours cannot be averaged over multiple weeks or pay periods.  

Withholding pay for any reason 

Overtime pay earned in a particular week should be paid on the regular pay day for that specific pay period. It cannot be withheld as an incentive, until it reaches a certain number of hours, in retaliation, or for any other reason.  

Paying the wrong rate 

One common wage and hour violation is when employers attempt to pay overtime hours at an employee’s regular rate of pay. This is an incorrect payout. While the first 40 hours of the week are paid at the regular rate, all additional hours worked in that same week must be paid at 1.5 times that rate.  

Mixing up employee classifications 

Some employers misclassify employees to avoid paying overtime, but this can be a very expensive longterm strategy. Intentional misclassification of employees can result in time consuming audits and expensive fees and fines. Class action lawsuits can lead to exorbitant legal costs and settlements, negative PR, poor morale, and damaged reputation. 

Replacing it with comp time 

In one studyone-third of 500 private-sector employers said they used comp time instead of overtime — a common violation of the FLSA. Private sector non-exempt employees covered by the FLSA must be paid for all overtime hours worked and are not eligible for comp time. Even if both the employer and the employee would prefer a comp time system, it’s rarely legal. The FLSA still mandates that nonexempt employees be paid overtime instead of granted comp time  

But we didn’t mean to… 

Sometimes employees aren’t out to get anyone. They just don’t understand the complicated rules and regulations and how to apply them.   

  • Supervisors may think all exempt or salaried employees are exempt from overtime.  
  • Employers may not understand how to properly classify their positions.  
  • Employees may be classified incorrectly and not even know it themselves.  
  • Companies may have a comp time policy that is in violation of FSLA. 

Meanwhile, overtime can seem like a squishy concept in the following circumstances: 

  • When employees want to work extra hours and insist they don’t need to be paid for it. 
  • If technology allows workers to be available 24/7 and they are taking advantage of it. 
  • When employees are voluntarily working extra hours and not tracking or reporting it. 
  • If employers instruct employees not to work overtime, but they are doing it anyway. 
  • When businesses are using a comp time system that is in violation of the FLSA.  

In reality, overtime rules are not squishy at all. They cannot be bent, circumvented, or ignored. The FLSA requires that all overtime eligible employees be compensated for overtime if and when they work it, no matter what the circumstances surrounding it may be. Not buts about it. 

It’s important to note that overtime laws and requirements can vary by stateand that they may provide greater protection for employees than what is given under the FLSA. Where federal, state, and local laws are in conflict, the law that is most beneficial to the employee should be upheld. This is why it’s critical to stay on top of your local regulations or work with an expert who knows the laws inside and out.   

Making sure your company is playing by the right overtime rules will decrease your business risk and your HR headaches. And that’s a winning strategy.  

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by Roman Samborskyi

If Your Company isn’t Using Video, it’s Time to Hit Record

There’s no doubt, communication and marketing have been constantly changing and evolving since the creation of the internet, and it can be hard to keep up. But one thing is for certain, the popularity of video content is on the rise and it isn’t going to slow down.

To be clear: video content is more than just a trend. It’s becoming foundational to the way brands and people communicate online. Every minute, over 500 hours of video content is being uploaded to YouTube. Every minute! That’s a staggering 720,000 hours every day, just on YouTube.

There isn’t any getting around it: video content is here to stay. If your company hasn’t already embraced video as a key communication tool, it’s time to get onboard.

It’s what people want

Any good marketing strategy is based around giving people what they want. It’s just common sense. Video is a lot more popular than any other form of online content. You are much more likely to grab attention and engage visitors with video content than you are with text. 80% of people visiting a site are going to watch a video over reading the text on your page.

It’s the same with social media. Your posts are much more likely to get liked and shared if they have video content. People just find it more engaging to watch video. Period.

Get remembered

Viewers are also more likely to remember visual content. People are able to remember 65% of visual content they are exposed to days after seeing it. Talk about a good brand recognition strategy! The more people remember and recognize you, the more likely they are to trust your brand, which helps build authority and attract the type of employees you want within your community.

This is what good marketing is all about. Creating a brand that people recognize, trust, and want to engage with.

But using video marketing isn’t just about making content people will like and remember, it’s about growing your business and producing results. Any successful marketing strategy should have the goal of educating, engaging, and selling. And what form of content do you think is successful at driving sales? You guessed it.

Drive engagement with your product

You’ve probably heard that people want to watch a video before buying a product or filling out a form. It’s true! Using video to encourage people to engage with your content offer or product greatly increases their final decision.

Here’s what the statistics say:

It’s Not Just About Your Customers

While customers are the obvious target for using video marketing content, there’s a whole community of job seekers out there looking for the company that’s right for them. Using video content—the type of content that grabs the most attention and sticks in people’s brains—to promote your company culture and values to prospective employees is just plain smart.

Imagine you create a video that showcases your employee community and company values. Maybe you even include a recent charitable event you participated in or sponsored. Then think of everyone who comes across the video. You’re not only giving prospective customers a chance to build a personal and emotional connection to your company, but you’re giving job seekers a chance to get a feel for what it might be like to work for you.

Use video content to create a reason for people to want to work for you (and to buy from you!) by showcasing your strengths, your values, and your vision.

Aaand, action!

So there you have it. Your company can raise brand recognition, increase website visits, engage new customers, drive sales, and attract top talent. All by using video content. Don’t think you have the funds to do it? You may be surprised! There are many ways to create fun, engaging video content on a budget. Plus, if you invest in video marketing, you’re almost guaranteed to be happy with your ROI.

If you’re looking for the next best way to improve your company’s marketing strategy, look no further. It’s just a video away.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by Maxim Lupascu