Jan 17

SPARKING CREATIVITY IN EMPLOYEES

By J. Lenora Bresler, J.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR

 

It’s the beginning of a new year but for many, January seems like the “winter doldrums.” After the excitement and energy of the holiday season, energy level and productivity of workers often decline in January. This is very bad news, especially since a survey of the American labor indicated that only 12-15% of American workers are giving their best to their jobs at any time and that the average American worker only makes 2.7 work-related suggestions a year.

It is clear that employers must do something to jumpstart creativity. A good idea is an “idea generation” campaign whereby staff is encouraged and rewarded for offering innovative solutions. Businesses that enact such campaigns report up to a 70% improvement in quality and also in employee morale, which is understandable in that employees routinely say that having management listen more to their ideas is a good way to keep them happy.

Idea generation campaigns must begin with employers taking a realistic look at their current policies. Many company procedures actually discourage innovative thinking by putting in place so much committee or cross-departmental red tape that employees are discouraged to speak.  The reason for such procedures is often a desire to keep costly mistakes at a minimum, but the fact is that in today’s competitive environment, most productivity gains resulting from incremental change are not going to the profit bottom line of the business but to customer cost savings.  This means that only large productivity gains engendered by dramatic changes will prove of major impact to the business, so employees should be encouraged to make drastic suggestions.

Businesses can consider awarding Giraffe awards, recognizing those who “stick their neck out” with new ideas, even if those ideas did not prove ultimately successful. Also, post problems on a bulletin board and encourage staff to write suggestions for solving the issues on post-it notes and attach them to the board.  Give prizes for worthwhile ideas not only to the person who had the idea but also to his or her supervisor, to encourage the manager to create an environment of idea-generation.  Encourage employees to give suggestions across departments by facilitating a “Not Invented Here” award.   Another thought would be to a have a one-idea-for-improvement contest conducted company-wide for one month and see how much energy is generated.

It takes a concerted effort on the part of employers to stir the creative juices of their employees, but the return on that time investment can be very great!

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Dec 06

On the 6th day of Christmas, I was told how to party

Over the next month and a half, all over America, employers will sponsor holiday parties for their employees, the intent being to express appreciation and to boost morale.  Yet, many of those celebrations will turn into boring events that serve neither purpose.   So here are some tips for planning a fun holiday event for your staff:

  • Avoid alcohol. Drink has divested many a co-worker of inhibitions that are best left intact.  An employer must be concerned about the liberty taken or the ribald comment made at a holiday party – harassment charges and discrimination lawsuits have been known to begin with inappropriate comments made at a company’s social function.
  • Ask your employees what kind of function they want. Upper management may make a well-intentional guess as to what their staff wants — and be absolutely wrong.  For example, management may think employees would enjoy a black-tie dinner and dance at a country club, but such an event might be intimidating or just not interesting to some workers.  Employees with families might prefer an informal holiday breakfast or a picnic where they could bring their children.  Other workplaces might enjoy a dinner at the home of one of top management.  You cannot know for sure what your staff would enjoy unless you ask them – so do ask.  You won’t, of course, be able to please everyone, but you will be able to get a notion of the majority’s preference.
  • Plan some kind of mixer games or name cards at tables to facilitate interaction between management and staff and between different departments. If you don’t have some planned interaction, you will probably find that the workplace clicks stay together.
  • If you use your holiday social as a time to recognize superior performance, make the recognition fun and imaginative, not just a stuffy recitation of awards. No one enjoys long Academy-award-like presentations so punch up employee recognition with imaginative touches.  And, it is not the time to give out bonuses or holiday gifts if the value of such awards vary considerably – comparison will only breed envy at an event where you are trying to foster comradery.
  • Involve upper management in the actual work of planning and putting on the event. So often the work of putting together a holiday party is placed on staff, on top of their regular duties.  Is it any wonder some employees view company parties as a burden?  If a holiday event is actually intended to honor staff, don’t make them plan it themselves –that’s like asking someone to plan their own surprise birthday party!  Management needs to do some of the “grunt work,” including decorating, themselves!
  • When choosing a location, date, and time, be considerate of your staff’s schedules. Many employees feel obligated to attend work-sponsored social functions whether they want to or not.   Therefore, try to make it convenient for them.  If the event is scheduled for a work night, be sure they have time to go home and change clothes with leisure.  Consider letting them leave work an hour early.  Don’t schedule your company party for a night when other major holiday events are happening, for example the city Christmas parade or the community Christmas pageant.

With a little forethought, your holiday social can be a joyous time of good spirits that can have wonderful repercussions on morale for the year to come.

 

J Lenora BreslerJ. Lenora Bresler, JD, SPHR, ASC graduated at age 20 from law school, J. Lenora Bresler is an attorney, SPHR, and leadership and engagement speaker, author, trainer, and coach.  She is the owner of Bresler Training, LLC. dedicated to assisting organizations to create the best leaders, teams, and relationships on earth.  An in-demand keynote speaker and consultant and a favorite with HR Florida audiences for years, J. Lenora specializes in bringing strategies that can immediately be applied. Her most recent book is Instant Insight: 15 Questions to Great Relationships. J. Lenora also teaches all modules of the certification review courses for two separate universities.

J. Lenora is Immediate Past President for Mid Florida SHRM, and currently serves as Editor for the HR Florida Review Magazine.

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Oct 20

There’s Always That One…The Difficult One

difficultWhile I’m sure we all occasionally wish our workplace could be full of high-performing, intrinsically-motivated, exceedingly engaged employees who are always happy and satisfied and never complain, argue or make unreasonable demands, truth is our workplaces are made up of real people.  It’s the variety of the unique experiences, skills, temperaments and other characteristics that provides us with a workplace that keeps us interested and engaged.

Any of our employees can have a bad day or days.  These real people have headaches, aging parents, money troubles, unfulfilled dreams…any number of distractions that plague them during the workday and can cause us to have a challenging day.

But, then there’s always that one.  The truly difficult one whose attitude is so twisted it routinely causes you problems.  They keep things stirred up.  This employee needs constant attention and causes lower productivity, employee complaints and, ultimately, increased turnover, if not appropriately addressed.

Robert Bacal, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Dealing with Difficult Employees, says “…difficult people mainly use their conduct to control their situations and other people’s reactions. Because people respond differently to the difficult person, the difficult person can manipulate, control and influence the reactions of those involved in the encounter. Even if bad things happen to difficult people, the payoff is that they have created the situation, and that gives them a sense of control.”

So, we must address the bad behavior.  Ignoring it just perpetuates it.

I’m a fan of the direct approach.  Providing unemotional feedback regarding how their behavior is impacting others and ask for their cooperation in making changes.  Sometimes when I’m having this conversation, the employee acts surprised to hear that they are problematic.  It’s interesting to hear how they believe they are the hardest worker and couldn’t possibly be causing problems.  I don’t try to convince them.  Rather, I offer suggestions for how they can alter their interaction with others to contribute to team cohesiveness.

Sometimes that works.  Sometimes it doesn’t, but even if it doesn’t have prolonged success, it’s a great starting point.  And now, I have a second conversation. I refer to our original discussion, but now state specific expectations as well as the consequences of failure to meet the expectations.  And this time, the difficult employee is not surprised to hear there’s an issue.

If there is a repeat of the behavior, you have to be the strong one.  You must follow through with the consequence.  Remember the difficult employee is that way because the behavior has worked in the past.  If you’re not willing to take the next step, then you’re decided to allow the bad behavior to continue.

joycex125Joyce has over 30 years of progressive human resources experience in the private sector environment.  She holds a Business Administration degree from Emmanuel College, Franklin Springs, GA; was awarded Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation by the Human Resources Certification Institute and holds an Advanced Certificate in Internal Investigations.

She has served on the board of the HR Florida State Council since 2007 and currently serves as Immediate Past President.  She has been a member of the Florida State University Center for Human Resource Management Board since 2008 and was a Board Member of the Big Bend Society for Human Resource Management from 2006 through 2009, serving as President in 2008.  She served on the Big Bend Business Leadership Network Board from 2005 until 2007 and currently serves on the Springtime Tallahassee Foundation Board.  She is a past-president of Extra Point Club, a Florida State University Seminole Booster organization.

Joyce has been named a Tallahassee Volunteer of the Year Finalist and Leon County Schools Volunteer of the Year.  She was selected as one of the “Twenty-five Women You Should Know in Tallahassee” and was honored with the designation of the Florida Resources Professional of the Year in 2008.  In 2009, the Florida Trend Magazine featured her as a Trendsetter in Human Resources.

Joyce resides in Tallahassee, FL and is a member of Big Bend SHRM.

Click here to find other posts written by Joyce.

Talk to Joyce at:

LinkedIn

@joycechastain

Chastain Consulting

joyce.chastain@hrflorida.org

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Jul 29

The Top Six NEW Reasons You Should Attend the HR Florida Conference & Expo

HRFL16 Banner

The clock is ticking—we’re just over 30 days away from the 2016 HR Florida Conference & Expo. Are you as excited as I am? Whether it’s been a few years since you attended, or you joined us just last year, or you’re new to the conference, this year’s volunteer conference team has gone above and beyond to give you the best conference yet, with many bonuses and events that you don’t want to miss!

 

  1. In addition to our world renowned keynotes, expert master and concurrent speakers, we also invite you to be the expert and participate in one of our conversation hubs. Submit your topics by the registration desk and meet up with colleagues throughout the conference to interact in small groups. These hubs bring together HR professionals to discuss and share your experiences and best practices within the HR profession.

 

  1. More credits than ever available this year! This year’s conference has been preapproved for up to 14 SHRM professional development credits and 15 HR Certification Institute general recertification credits for attending the entire conference (including sessions during both lunch hours).

 

  1. Have you been keeping up with the official 2016 HR Florida Conference Ambassador? Manny the Manatee has traveled the world via planes, trains, and automobiles and is excited to host you at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, where he’ll be making his rounds with photo ops and all sorts of conference-time fun! Don’t miss out on all of his adventures across the state as he helps us promote the conference. Click here to check out his Facebook page!

 

  1. We offer plenty of opportunities to exercise your mind—we want you to exercise your body, too! Join us Monday morning for a BOOTCAMP Workout sponsored by FitKit. FItKit CEO and corporate fitness consultant Amie Hoff will lead us for a 30-minute total body workout that will get your heart pumping, muscles sculpted, and body fit. This is a fun, high intensity class that uses bands, tubing, and your own body weight to strengthen and tone the body with cardio moves that torch calories. All fitness levels welcome. Registration begins at 5:45 and class will run 6-6:30am.

 

  1. Monday night, we invite you to join the party—poolside. After a day of informative sessions, slip into some flip-flops, grab a beverage, and watch this year’s duck race in the lazy river. You can purchase your rubber ducky at the Silent Auction inside the expo hall. Proceeds benefit the SHRM Foundation and everyone can enjoy the race.

 

  1. As you are packing your bags, don’t forget your flapper dress or your zoot suit for Tuesday night’s party in the Great Gatsby mansion, sponsored by Right Management. Don’t have a costume? No problem! We’re providing a trio of hair, makeup and costume professionals to get you in the right frame of mind—and time!

 

That’s just a sneak peek – more surprises are in store, and we can’t wait to see you next month!

Keynotes

Go to the conference website for all of the details and register now! http://www.hrflorida.org/mpage/2016agenda

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Jun 28

HR Florida State Council is seeking Volunteer Leaders for 2017!

volunteerbanner1Are you an HR professional seeking an opportunity to get more involved in the HR Community? Or perhaps you are a current volunteer leader who would like to volunteer at the state level. Well, we have news for you! HR Florida is currently seeking applications for volunteers to serve in various capacities on our State Council. As a 100% volunteer entity consisting of 28 SHRM affiliated chapters across the state, we coordinate professional development efforts, and serve as the conduit for communication among SHRM and chapters as well as at-large members.

Check out the many ways you can volunteer by visiting www.hrflorida.org or simply by clicking on this link http://bit.ly/28Uv1T2

 

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