Wednesday, October 4, 2017

THE Most Overlooked Resource to Manage Employee Problems

I'm excited to announce the release of my first course with LinkedIn Learning, How to Deal with Employee Problems
Here's the link to check it out.

This is a very popular challenge! The course is an attempt to not only provide practical advice, but also to elevate the experience from just an administrative exercise to a strategic experience that serves the broader needs of a business.

My belief is that anything that happens in the work enviroment can be clues to organizational health, operational effectiveness and efficiencies, as well as where profits can be gained or lost. And...employee behaviors play a substantial role in all of this!

That's why dealing with employee problems needs to be handled beyond a traditional, one dimensional approach.

Creating the course served my ongoing desire to remind my fellow HR colleageues and the senior leaders they serve, that behavior needs to be taken more seriously and that a working knowledge of and how to work with it is an imperative competency for all leaders. We call it a leaders HQ or human quotient.

It also reminded me that many HR professionals tend to be more operations and process orientated vs. human behavior - human dynamics orientated. Yet, we really need to be  competent in both.

I love Steve Browne's quote in his new release HR on Purpose, "We need to move away from the practice of pulling out a manual and dealing with people soley through policies and procedures. You need to address people as people first.... When you approach interactions with the intention of understanding first before acting, you'll be surprised how you'll come up with alternate solutions."

Because this competency is lacking -- understanding and working with human behavior -- there are many opportunities to effectively manage talent and employee performance that are overlooked or missed altogether. And, by the way, when I say employee performance, I mean that in the broadest possible sense. I see it as how an employee behaves in all work contexts.

A significant consequence of this deficit is that dealing with employee problems tends to be reactionary. So the course offers several pro-active strategies to minimize or avert what could be major issues. One key theme of all those strategies is to communicate early and often what behaviors are expected as well as unacceptable.

Managing Employee Problems through the Lens of Onboarding
One strategy I did not include in the course is utilizing onboarding. I highly recommend we rethink onboarding through the lens of setting behavior expectations for individual contributor and management performance. 

Why wait until something happens?  Why not set a benchmark right from the start and from which coaching can occur.

So what might that look like? Onboarding could (and I think should) include a training regiment of themes through-out the early months of employment, perhaps 30-90 days, that sets expectations and builds a foundation for positive performance. 

In the work we've done with human performance over the past 19+ years, I've concluded there are 6 core areas every employee needs in most work environments. Those suggested below are presented via 5 questions and then the recommended behavior themes and corresponding learning seminar follow. (In some cases, the theme and the learning seminar topic are the same):

1). Can and in what way (style, attitudes, behavior) will they do their job...will they get the results desired? ..that is execute key deliverables in the time allotted?...driven by how they think and behave.

Related behavior themes & learning seminar topics : 
self management, personal motivation => emotional intelligence (EQ)  
getting results/desired outcomes =>  time & productivity management 
ownership of work product, personal commitment to engagement => personal/professional branding 
ability to learn, think, problem solve = creative, innovative, critical thinking, mental agility

Part B of this is - can and/or are they using technology competently and efficiently to do that work

2). Can they work effectively with others? can they and are they willing to be  understanding, respectful and able to work with different work styles, personalities => emotional intelligence, team collaboration 
rapport & relating style => communication, managing conflict

3). Can they be lead? (an element of #2) e.g. work well with authority / leadership - relationship to authority => EQ

4). Can they and are they willing to add value in ways beyond their job description? personal values => personal/professional branding, situational leadership 

5) Can they effectively communicate in writing. Some employees spend 70% of their time writing =>communicating in written form/ business writing.

In summary, beyond the question, "Is someone capable of doing a job based on executing the functions of the job", you can see that success in any role can be broken down (assuming they are the right fit for the job) to... 

"Can I and am I willing to manage myself to get results and can I and am I willing to work constructively with others?"...and do I know how to do that...?"

I think we assume, albeit subconsciously, that when most employees walk through our company doors there is some level of maturity and competecy from which they will function related to the list above. Yet, as the labor market tightens, as studies show that emotional intelligence is on the decline, and as volite social factors grow, any asusmptions about maturity related to self management and constructively getting along with others should be set aside. Let's not guess or hope. 

Additionally, consider the same for newly hired managers. Just because their resume reflects experience in managing does not mean they are competent at managing people and/or human behavior. Therefore, onboarding should also include some basic management orientation relating values and exceptions for the kind of manager desired.

Remember experience does not necessarily equal competence or managing from or with the same values.

In summary, if you had to choose what learning seminars to budget for or which to consider including in an onboarding strategy, here are what topics/themes I recommend:

1. Personal - Professional Branding => ownership, engagement, personal empowerment, individual leadership

2a. Time & Productivity Management => get it done, get results
2b. Using software/technology efficiently

3. Emotional Intelligence => work effectively with others, can be managed, lead

4. Team Collaboration => work effectively with different work styles/personalities, managing conflict

5. Creative & Innovative Thinking/Mental Agility => learning to how to think which includes critical thinking, strategy and problem solving.

6. Business writing

If you bring in external help...say a training company, no matter what the creative title is of a seminar (and there are many out there -- seminar companies are good at that for marketing purposes), the learning seminars need to include these elements as core content, teaching participants how to:
>  self manage, self motivate, take ownership
>  management time to get results and learn to be the most productive they can
>  work collaboratively and constructively with others, which includes working appropriately with authority and as well as peers
> learn to think and problem solve (this is an ownership element as well)
> learn to effetively communicate in writing

I hope you'll take the time to pass this information along, as well as take a gander at the course. 

Additionally, I encourage you to take the time to rethink your onboarding program as a way of setting a structure or framework for desired employee behaviors and performance at the very beginning and settting them up with the knowledge and tools -- the how to -- for better results.

If you need additional discussion about core courses for employee on boarding, give me a call as well as go to our website. We have a page entitled:  Employee Core Competencies Series.  All the topics/themes listed above we offer in a package. 

Ph: 888.388.0565 // Em: | The link to Steve's Book - HR on Purpose

Here are the relevant links to the course: 

=======================================================================The Human Sphere™ is a holistic talent management-organizational develoment consultancy that partners with forward-thinking senior leaders to bridge the gap between people, performance, and profits. We help leaders gain a working understanding of human behavior (their HQ-human quotient) to successfully apply to operations and growth. We focus on business growth through human-focused, results based leadership. // email: // Ph: 888.388.0565

Learn More
If you want to learn more and read case studies in detail,  I recommend 2 of our latest executive briefings: 

> Show Me The Money! Solving the Mystery of ROI to Unlock Profits & Increase Company Value - click here to access This is one of the best, easy to read discussions on how to connect human behavior to profits (a critical knowledge point for all leaders).

> I've Been Around the Block a Few Times: Let me Save You a Few Trips and Some Money Along the Way (my 20th anniversary briefing of insights and advice, which includes my top 6 business building tips through the lens of leveraging the human element) - click here for a complimentary digital copy.

Both are full of unique business building strategies and concepts that have proven to impact any company's P/L. Want to improve your people management? Want to generate operational improvement? You'll want to get both!

 Schedule a complimentary advisory call and receive a copy of our latest executive briefing.

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