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Performance Management

The four principles of effective time management

The four principles of effective time management

By on Nov 16, 2017 in Blog, Performance Management | 0 comments

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, many managers are under plenty of stress trying to complete multiple tasks in the next month.  Here are four principles of effective time management to help you achieve more with less stress. 1. Important Items versus Urgent Items Many managers spend their workday in a frenzy of activity, but achieve very little.  To make the most of your time, ensure that your understanding of what’s important is not clouded by your sense of urgency. Important items are the proactive or progress tasks that will move you closer to your goals and objectives, help you reach a position fundamentally better than the one you are in now, and have a direct impact on moving the business forward. Urgent items are the reactive and maintenance tasks that do not support your goals and objectives, but still must be completed, occur as a result of everyday interruptions, and leave you in the same position as you were before. 2. When are you most effective? Knowing when you are at your best and planning to use that time of day for your priorities is effective time management.  Whenever possible, tackle important work or activities when you are most alert and energetic because they will seem easier and you will accomplish them faster.  Be sure to schedule less demanding tasks when your energy levels are decreasing. 3. Remain Flexible Avoid scheduling each day to the extent that it is impossible to stay on track.  Consider that interruptions are bound to happen and projects may take longer than anticipated. To allow for the unexpected, leave some open time in your daily plan.  A good rule of thumb is to leave approximately 40% of your day unplanned because certain days of the week can be more hectic and require more time.  Leaving part of your day unplanned can also help ensure that you have time to work on the important tasks that will move you toward your goals. 4. Planning Time Underestimating the time needed to accomplish a task is not uncommon.  To give yourself sufficient time to do things properly, reduce stress, and promote productivity be sure to: Schedule about 10-20% more time than you think the task...

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Time and stress management

Time and stress management

By on Nov 14, 2017 in Blog, Communication, Performance Management | 0 comments

In today’s increasingly busy workplace, many managers find themselves working longer hours in an attempt to meet the demands and pressures of their position.  This has left many managers feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Do you ever feel stressed and frustrated because of: Missed deadlines and commitments? Forgotten details and lost paperwork? Projects not running as planned? Not having enough time for family and friends? Having too much to do in too little time? If you answered yes to even one these questions, you are not alone.  A major cause of stress among managers is the feeling that there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything they need or want to do. Some managers say they choose to work in their free time because it is the only way they can: Have time to focus on important projects. Work without interruptions and distractions. Ensure that important tasks and projects get done. Reduce stress and anxiety during other periods of the week. However, the secret to accomplishing more with less stress isn’t in working more hours – it’s in working smarter.  A key difference between effective and ineffective managers is how they use the hours they have. Time management has long been recognized as one of the keys to ensuring higher productivity and reducing stress by using your time most effectively.  Time management is the personal management of tasks, behaviors, and activities. To ensure effective management of time you must: Work toward professional and personal goals each day. Focus on the important rather than the urgent. Use your most productive time wisely. Allocate sufficient time for the completion of tasks and projects. Take time to plan and prioritize when scheduling your day. Eliminate behaviors that waste time. If you need help improving your workforce strategy, contact us and check out our blog for more helpful...

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Evaluating the performance appraisal system for salary planning

Evaluating the performance appraisal system for salary planning

By on Oct 5, 2017 in Blog, Performance Management, Reward and Recognition | 0 comments

In our last post, we recognized that October often marks the beginning of salary budget planning for the next year and shared merit increase expectations for 2018.  We also mentioned that many organizations are moving away from the traditional performance appraisal process to better reward employee performance.  One way to change your performance review system is to focus on having a conversation with your employees about performance.  Some benefits of a conversational review are: Employees’ performance is measured against their achievements, goals, and objectives.  This allows for detailed documenting of performance which can be used to accurately reward the employee. Employers can learn what employees need to succeed.  Together they can discuss what needs to change in the future and managers can help their employees perform to the best of their ability. Employees are given an evaluation beyond just a number.  This is more valuable for improving performance and allows for honesty between the manager and the employee. Employees focus on accomplishing goals when pay is based on goal achievement.  So, if you do edit your performance appraisal system, it is also a good idea to review and update your merit increase practices.  For example, if performance conversations become a regular practice every quarter, it might make sense to adjust merit rewards to a quarterly schedule.  Another potential way to revise merit practices is to offer variable compensation.  Variable pay as a percent of salary can reward performance at every job level and connects compensation to corporate, department, and team goal achievement. If your company is thinking about adjusting their performance review system to increase employee engagement and improve productivity or revise their merit increase system, contact us and check out our blog for more helpful...

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How conflict can be a positive influence in the workplace

How conflict can be a positive influence in the workplace

By on Aug 31, 2017 in Blog, Performance Management, Supervision | 0 comments

In the past, we’ve discussed various causes of workplace conflict as well as the importance of resolving conflict [see here and here].  But how do we go about addressing conflict when it occurs?  The first critical step to handling conflict is understanding that it can be a positive influence in the workplace and should not always be seen as a problem.  Instead, conflict can be viewed as an opportunity, for example, consider the following: Conflict leads to changes and improvements Conflict provides an opportunity to re-evaluate a situation, and forces us to look for new solutions – whether it’s in the way a team works together, how a service is delivered, or the way a product is used.  While it can seem like an unpleasant process to those involved, conflict leads to a better way once it has been recognized and resolved effectively. Conflict can be a sign that someone’s needs are not being met Conflict can be a symptom of someone’s dissatisfaction in the workplace.  If employee dissatisfaction is high, productivity, performance, and profitability will suffer.  The key to resolving conflict here is to identify what needs are not being met and find out why.  For example, employees may be looking for performance feedback—which management isn’t currently providing.  By diagnosing dissatisfaction, employers can move to increase worker satisfaction and benefit from dramatically improved business results. Conflict can result in amazing ideas Encouraging positive conflict is often a great way to innovate.  For instance, appointing a “devil’s advocate” when brainstorming is a well-known way of forcing participants to think about different sides of an idea and innovating further.  In the day-to-day workplace, as well as in a brainstorming session, conflict can work well in this way as long as it’s handled effectively. While conflict can be a destructive force, it can also be constructive if it is used as inspiration in a respectful and compassionate manner.  By being able to utilize conflict positively when it does happen, your business will create a healthy and innovative workplace environment. If you need assistance with conflict management or other human resource needs, contact us and check out our blog for more helpful...

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Common causes of workplace conflict

Common causes of workplace conflict

By on Aug 29, 2017 in Blog, Communication, Performance Management | 0 comments

Conflicts in the workplace can be uncomfortable for everyone and lead to a negative office environment.  Fortunately, understanding a few reasons conflict arises can help prevent the problems and encourage employees and managers to overcome these difficulties.  Some of the common causes of workplace conflict may be: Personality differences.  Employees come from different backgrounds and experiences, which play a role in shaping their personalities.  When employees fail to understand or accept the differences in each other’s personalities, problems arise in the workplace.  For example, an employee may possess a straightforward personality that results in him speaking whatever is on his mind, even if the timing is inappropriate.  This employee may offend a co-worker that does not possess the same type of personality.  The co-worker may feel as if the employee is rude or disrespectful, leading to conflict. Clashing values.  Like personalities, the values of employees differ within the workplace.  A difference in values is sometimes seen when a generational gap is present.  For instance, young workers may possess different workplace values than older workers.  The difference in values is not necessarily the cause of employee conflict in the workplace, but the failure to accept the differences is.  When employees fail to accept the differences, co-workers may insult each other’s character and experiences.  As a result, the conflict intensifies until the right solution is offered and accepted. Poor communication.  Poor communication is often one of the main causes of conflict between employees in the workplace.  This can happen because of a difference in communication styles or a failure to communicate.  For example, a manager might reassign an employee’s task to the employee’s co-worker, but fail to communicate the reassignment to the employee.  This could cause the employee to feel slighted, which can transform into animosity among the two employees and the manager.  Failing to communicate may cause employees to make incorrect assumptions and believe workplace gossip.  Poor communication not only causes conflict but decreases productivity and employee morale. Competition.  Unhealthy workplace competition may be another cause of employee conflict.  Some industries foster competitive environments more than others.  For instance, if salary is linked to employee production, a workplace may experience strong competition between employees.  Competition that is not properly managed...

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Revisiting benefits to promote employee retention and lower turnover rates

Revisiting benefits to promote employee retention and lower turnover rates

By on Aug 2, 2017 in Blog, Employee Benefits, Performance Management | 0 comments

In Part 1, we shared numerous reasons employees might decide to leave your company. As we know, it can be very costly to handle high turnover rates and repeatedly onboard new employees. Establishing and maintaining an employee retention strategy can help you keep your best talent. Employee job satisfaction and engagement factors should be considered the key ingredients of employee retention efforts. Here a few contributors to job satisfaction: Job security. Employees want to know they are going to continue to have their job. If they feel their position is threatened they may start to look elsewhere. Keeping an open dialogue and addressing job security fears as they arise will help your workers feel secure. Job opportunities. The opportunity for advancement is extremely appealing to employees of all levels. People like to feel they are working to better themselves and that there are options for them to grow at a company. If employees do not find areas to grow at your company, they may move to other businesses to find those choices. Taking the time to evaluate and recognize hard work and accomplishments tells employees that they are valued at your company. Even just a simple “thank you for your work” at the end of a meeting, week, or particularly challenging task helps employees feel recognized and increases their job satisfaction. Compensation and benefits. Offering competitive and fair pay drives employees to stay with your company. Additionally, traditional benefits packages [healthcare, retirement savings, leave, and financial planning] are also important to most employees. We understand that it is not always cost effective to increase employees’ compensation or benefits packages, sometimes it is simply not in the budget. However, there are other strategic benefits you can offer that promote work-life balance which is becoming increasingly important to employees. Here are some: Wellness initiatives can help increase work productivity and decrease health care costs and unplanned absences. Helping with student debt repayment or education assistance can help retain employees of younger generations as they come to dominate the workforce Flexible work practices such as telecommuting, remote working, and flexible hours can often be implement with little to no added costs and are a huge benefit for workers. Lastly, spending time explaining...

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