Weekly Edge

3 reasons you get bad employees - and what to do about it

Heather Frame - Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Do you ever wonder how people get great employees?  Ever think you’ll never get great employees yourself?  Can’t get them to do what you need?  Can’t get them to stay?  

 

Before you blame your Team, remember that old adage: ‘You get the employees you deserve.’  Let’s start by taking a look in the mirror. The most common errors that occur are hiring the wrong person, inadequate training or evaluation and, finally, a lack of leadership.  Now, let’s take a look at those issues in greater detail.

1. You’re hiring the wrong person or putting them in the wrong place. Using personality profiles can help to measure a candidate’s qualities before they are hired.  We use DISC and VAK to help make the right match of person and position. The DISC profile measures a person’s natural (away from work) and adapted (at work) behavioural tendencies.  The profile takes about 10 minutes and yields some very useful tips on individual strengths, opportunities for improvement, and keys to motivating.

 

The VAK (stands for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic) measures communication modalities.  In addition, examine the hiring process and the questions that are being asked.  What do you need to change based on the lessons you’ve learned in the past?  Ask questions that uncover values and look for alignment with your company’s values.  We have found that a “bad employee” is rarely due to the lack of job competence—it’s more often a failure to mesh with organizational values.  You must hire character because that can’t be taught. An employee with a great “values match” will still underperform if you assign them to the wrong job.  Go back through your job descriptions and modify for what the business needs, then hire the person that fits that description. Chaos results when you change the job to match the skill set of the newest hire. 

 

2. The problem could be that your training, measuring, and evaluation process is inadequate.  When was the last time you revised your orientation process?  Your company handbook?  The initial process for training a new hire?  What KPI’s (key performance indicators) are they held accountable for?  How often do they receive feedback?  Who mentors the new folks and for how long?  We recommend that all employees participate in the regular team meeting (what do you mean “I don’t have one”) and are asked at each one: What can we do to help you succeed in your job?  Many years ago, we heard of a “training method” referred to as “Leave alone, zap”. This means that the new hire is, in effect, turned loose to figure things out and then “zapped” when they make a mistake.  This, or any similar approach, basically sets someone up to fail.  As expensive as staff turnover is (time, repeated re-training, lost productivity, etc), it is certainly worth investing in refining the process so that we do a better job and “start over” less often.

3. The Leader doesn’t know what he/she is doing, so neither does the Team. In order to have great followers, there has to be a great leader.  No team will ever out-perform its leadership.  Are you the kind of leader that a great employee would want to follow?  Are you running the kind of business that a great employee would want to work for?  We can assure you, the team watches everything you do and dissects everything you say.  Start with your communication—do you communicate clearly and regularly?  Are you consistent in your statements and behaviour?  Do you do what you say you will do?  Also, if you “waffle” or delay making decisions, you are viewed as weak and indecisive.  If you have the courage, survey the Team about their views of you as the Leader, and be willing to “sharpen your saw” to make some changes.  Change your outlook, change your results!

Things that make you go hmmm... about blended behaviour

Heather Frame - Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Follow up on blended behaviour article from last week.  Here are some of our favourite quotes on blended behaviour to make you go hmmm…

 

 “Behaviour is a mirror in which everyone displays his own image”
 
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 
 

“The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don't know what to do.”
 
John W. Holt, Jr. 


 “If fear alters behaviour, you're already defeated.”
 
Brenda Hammond

 

 “Human behaviour flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge”
 Plato

Blended Behaviour

Heather Frame - Wednesday, April 10, 2019

We’ve been reading a lot (and we mean a LOT!) of books and online on baby sleep at the moment (yes, our second child who is now a mere 3 months old, took a while to settle into sleeping ok at night). 

 

One of the more interesting concepts we’ve read about is “blended behaviour”. It’s when your child might show some sign of being sleepy such as rubbing his eyes, but then flash you a big smile and coo happily like he’s wide awake.  In short, it’s blended behaviour, and he’s probably very tired! Don’t let the smile fool you. 

 

Ever had one of your employees exhibit adult blended behaviour?

Snappish one minute and lovely the next? They could well just be tired.

When do you need to take it in hand? When the snappish behaviour continues longer than an “off” day. 

 

One day they’re dishonest and the next day perfectly pleasant?

It’s likely they’re just simply dishonest.

Confront them at the first instance of dishonesty and explain that it’s not tolerated in your workplace. 

 

Lazy one minute and interested the next?

You probably already know their heart isn’t in it.

What can you do to help them revitalize their interest?

A new challenge perhaps?

But be sure they know we all have mediocre parts to every job and without that (boring) backbone getting done, the business has no substance. 

 

Keep an eye on blended behaviour in your employees and look to overcome it straight away for optimum performance in your business.

What Extraordinary Leaders Do

Heather Frame - Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Today we bring you Chris Widener’s top 7 traits of extraordinary leaders.

 

In case you haven’t come across Chris Widener before, he is a very successful author and speaker on leadership and personal development, amongst other things.  If you are serious about growing your business and leadership skills, then this is for you.  Enjoy!

 

What?  You don't think that you are a leader?

 

You are!

 

Everyone influences others to some degree. Now, you may not be a very good leader... but that is altogether a different story!  Even if you are in need of some help in the leadership department, and we all are, here are some skills you can work on immediately to help you become the leader you want to be.  Then you can influence those around you like never before!


Be A Leader

 

1. Good Communicator.  Extraordinary Leaders are those who can take the vision they have and communicate it in ways that their followers can easily understand, internal, and own. Then, and only then, can they carry it out!  So, focus on speaking and writing more clearly, and with the passion that you have for the vision you have.  Use different ways of communicating, including different ways verbally and non-verbally.  Above all, communicate often!

 

2. "Sees" the End Result Long Before Others.  I think the greatest compliment on my leadership skills I ever received came from a gentleman who told me that "you see things about 6 months before the rest of us."  Without tooting my own horn (okay, a little bit maybe...), that is a skill of a leader.  They are always looking out ahead of themselves and their situations. Followers are worried about what happens today, while leaders are thinking about and strategizing about what they see for tomorrow.  Be constantly looking ahead.  Practice making projections.  Get good at "seeing" the future. When you can do this better than others, they will look to you for leadership!

 

3. Ability to Define Goals for Self and Others.  Do you know what your goals are? Can you define them?  Can you articulate them clearly (see number one)?  Can you do this for those who follow?  Can you define and set their goals?  A Extraordinary Leader works at clarity and definition of goals so that they can be internalized and acted upon by others.  Work hard at this skill and others will follow!

 

4. Ability to Set Strategy and Course of Action.  What will you do to reach the goal?  Many people can say where we should go, but it is the Extraordinary Leader who can lay out a plan for everyone to get there!  Work at laying out a plan for you and your followers.  Remember that there are people with different skill and passion levels, and take this into account!  Get good at this and when people want to get to their goals in a hurry, they will call on you to lead!

 

5. Ability to Teach Others.  One of the greatest leadership development companies in the world has been General Electric.  This is because their CEO, Jack Welch, has always emphasized the need for current leaders to teach others.  He himself spends what others would consider an extraordinary amount of time in the classroom teaching.  But remember, he is an Extraordinary Leader and he is developing Extraordinary Leaders to follow behind him.  Work hard at your teaching techniques, and be sure to use as many situations as possible for the opportunity to teach those who would follow.

 

6. Ability to Inspire Others.  You may have a great goal, but if you want to be an Extraordinary Leader, then you will have to put a little oomph under your followers!  This is the ability to inspire!  Work at helping them to see the big picture, the great end results, and how good it is going to be for them and others.  Above all, make it exciting.  If it is a good goal, it should be exciting.  If it isn't exciting, then dump it and get a goal that others can get excited about!

 

7. Delegates.  An Extraordinary Leader is rarely a person who is doing everything him or herself.  Extraordinary Leaders get their job done through others.  They figure out the way, communicate the way, and inspire the followers to go that way, and then they get OUT OF THE WAY!  Delegate to your people.  Empower them! Set them free to soar!
 

This is what an Extraordinary Leader does.  Leaders who do it any other way are just extraordinarily tired at the end of the day with very little to show for it!

 

Attention Detention

Heather Frame - Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Heather here today…… This morning Marcus was getting our young son out of bed as I walked past the door to his room half asleep and groggy…. Moments later – tears.

 

Confused I walked back to the room only to discover that I was in fact the cause of the tears.

 

As I’d walked past the doorway my son had seen me and had sent a huge smile my way.  Without any acknowledgement from me a I disappeared tears ensued.

 

After revelling in my parenting fail and smothering my tiny one in masses of kisses it hit me that I’m guilty of doing a similar thing in the workplace at times.

 

Despite knowing how people need praise and recognition in a workplace, I’m sometimes a blur of emails and tasks and instructions.

 

When was the last time you stopped to acknowledge someone in your workplace?

 

A smile, a moment or a word of praise missed might not result in tears in your workplace (who knows it might if missed too often), but think of the added benefits to the working atmosphere if you remembered to do it more often.

 

Who needs your attention right now?

Motivation Gone Wrong

Heather Frame - Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Today we bring you a classic example of motivation gone wrong.

 

A big Australian company once used the approach of placing large stickers on employee’s desks declaring them ‘not competent’.

 

Now, while most of us can look at this example and clearly see that it’s not going to do much for motivation, as a leader in your organisation, do you recognise when you are doing this in other, subtler ways?

 

We both acknowledge that we don’t always.

 

A criticism might slip from your lips in front of the whole office when it could have been delivered directly to the person in question in private.

 

A well-deserved opportunity for praise may pass unnoticed, despite feeling great appreciation.

 

A hastily typed email may not convey the jovial tone in which a comment was meant in your head.

 

Now, you wouldn’t go and slap a ‘not competent’ sticker on an employee’s desk, but how good are you as a leader in recognising if you just slammed a virtual one down in their inbox or mentally imprinted it on their forehead?

 

And, more importantly, can you adjust the behaviour for next time?

3 reasons you get bad employees - and what to do about it

Heather Frame - Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Do you ever wonder how people get great employees?  Ever think you’ll never get great employees yourself?  Can’t get them to do what you need?  Can’t get them to stay?  

 

Before you blame your Team, remember that old adage: ‘You get the employees you deserve.’  Let’s start by taking a look in the mirror. The most common errors that occur are hiring the wrong person, inadequate training or evaluation and, finally, a lack of leadership.  Now, let’s take a look at those issues in greater detail.

1. You’re hiring the wrong person or putting them in the wrong place. Using personality profiles can help to measure a candidate’s qualities before they are hired.  We use DiSC and VAK to help make the right match of person and position. The DiSC profile measures a person’s natural (away from work) and adapted (at work) behavioural tendencies.  The profile takes about 10 minutes and yields some very useful tips on individual strengths, opportunities for improvement, and keys to motivating.

 

The VAK (stands for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic) measures communication modalities.  In addition, examine the hiring process and the questions that are being asked.  What do you need to change based on the lessons you’ve learned in the past?  Ask questions that uncover values and look for alignment with your company’s values.  We have found that a “bad employee” is rarely due to the lack of job competence—it’s more often a failure to mesh with organizational values.  You must hire character because that can’t be taught. An employee with a great “values match” will still underperform if you assign them to the wrong job.  Go back through your job descriptions and modify for what the business needs, then hire the person that fits that description. Chaos results when you change the job to match the skill set of the newest hire. 

 

2. The problem could be that your training, measuring, and evaluation process is inadequate.  When was the last time you revised your orientation process?  Your company handbook?  The initial process for training a new hire?  What KPI’s (key performance indicators) are they held accountable for?  How often do they receive feedback?  Who mentors the new folks and for how long?  We recommend that all employees participate in the regular team meeting (what do you mean “I don’t have one”) and are asked at each one: What can we do to help you succeed in your job?  Many years ago, we heard of a “training method” referred to as “Leave alone, zap”. This means that the new hire is, in effect, turned loose to figure things out and then “zapped” when they make a mistake.  This, or any similar approach, basically sets someone up to fail.  As expensive as staff turnover is (time, repeated re-training, lost productivity, etc), it is certainly worth investing in refining the process so that we do a better job and “start over” less often.

3. The Leader doesn’t know what he/she is doing, so neither does the Team. In order to have great followers, there has to be a great leader.  No team will ever out-perform its leadership.  Are you the kind of leader that a great employee would want to follow?  Are you running the kind of business that a great employee would want to work for?  We can assure you, the team watches everything you do and dissects everything you say.  Start with your communication—do you communicate clearly and regularly?  Are you consistent in your statements and behaviour?  Do you do what you say you will do?  Also, if you “waffle” or delay making decisions, you are viewed as weak and indecisive.  If you have the courage, survey the Team about their views of you as the Leader, and be willing to “sharpen your saw” to make some changes.  Change your outlook, change your results!



Ten Ways to Reward (and Retain) Staff

Heather Frame - Monday, September 04, 2017

It’s easy to notice all the wrong things your staff are doing and pull them up on it, it’s harder to notice all the good things they do and find an appropriate reward.  So here are ten different rewards to consider, including the potential upside and downside of each.

 

1. Give them a pay rise.
The downside: A $2,000 pay rise may equate to an increase in take home of only say $25 per week to your employee, not ground breaking. Plus, you’re then committed to that extra $2,000 ongoing.

2. Give them a bonus
The upside: A bonus is a one off, it’ll mean a lump sum goes to your employee (to some this is much more exciting than a trickle feed of $25 per week). It’s also not an ongoing commitment.
The downside: A lump sum payment can be harder on your cash flow.

3. Public praise
The downside: Some people can get really embarrassed and you can be seen to be playing favorites.
The upside: For those that love the spotlight, this praise in front of their colleagues can be worth more than gold.

4. Private praise
The upside: This is so easy to give, as long as you remember to and are sincere.
The downside: The words “come into my office I need to talk to you” may initially strike fear into your staff if they are more used to fire coming from your tongue than praise.

5. Home style praise
Sending a heart-felt card or letter home to a staff member’s parents (for Gen Y’s) or to their partner or kids is a way to show your appreciation.
The downside: sending the same letter to all your staff is just lazy and you’ll get busted.
The upside: having your staff member’s family feeling awesome about where their relative works and what type of person they work for.

6. Gifts galore
The upside: A well thought out gift is remembered and talked about, cultivating a stronger culture for your organization.
The downside: A lame impersonal gift does nothing to cultivate the relationship going forward.

7. More responsibility / promotion
The upside: If you chose the right person to move forward in your organization they’ll grow and shine with the responsibility.
The downside: Promote a person not yet ready into a management role and you’ll not only have issues with that person but with all they manage.

8. Flexibility
The staff member who knows that they can take off an afternoon to watch their kid’s swimming carnival and make it up later tends to value the organization a lot more than the rigidity of always adhering to the letter of the law.
The upside: adding flexibility such as the above example, or allowing a staff member to start an hour early, or offering a day off per year for your staff to do charitable work can be easily implemented.
The downside: it takes management to monitor this to ensure flexibility doesn’t equal you being walked all over.

9. Train them / develop them
One of the greatest compliments you can give to a staff member is to say – I appreciate you and I want to see you develop and grow. Easy ways to do this: get a speaker/trainer into your office, do a training session yourself, go buy a book or buy one for each of your team members or set up a training library your staff can borrow from at any time.

10. Your time
One of the biggest complaints by staff in our experience is that “my manager/boss doesn’t listen to me”.
The upside: It’s easy fixed if you know about it and care to take the time.

The manager/boss’s dilemma
You now have to pick the right reward for each of your individual team members. For the introverted person, public praise could be the worst thing they can think of. For some, throwing money at them when all they really want is a heart-felt thanks could be a huge insult.


It’s not easy to reward appropriately, but the best manager/boss’s try and try again until it becomes another skill in their talent war chest.

Working with your team

Heather Frame - Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Below is the famous 4 FISH principles.  Are you doing this at your workplace ?

Play ~ Work made fun gets done!  Play is not about games or toys; it is about your state of mind.  Be creative in your problem solving.  Encourage people to dare to dream.  How can everyday tasks be made fun and challenging?  Play energises you and the people around you.

Make Their Day ~ When thinking about this principle, remember to keep it simple.  Turn an everyday encounter into a pleasant experience for someone.  Your kindness, patience and thoughtfulness will be returned.  A GREAT customer service policy!

Be Present ~ This principle means you are focused, listening and even empathising with someone - or paying full attention to the task at hand, not reading emails or thinking about what you’ll do on the weekend.

Choose Your Attitude ~ If you look for negativity you will be sure to find it.  Empower yourself to respond to challenges and problems in a constructive and positive way.  Celebrate success.  There are dozens of small things you can celebrate every day.

10 ways to become an employer of choice

Heather Frame - Wednesday, August 12, 2015

10 ways to become an employer of choice, create staff loyalty and increase retention and engagement

So the question here is how do we whip our staff into a frenzy (as opposed to just whipping them)!

Listed below are the simple, and yet at the same time not to simple top ten tactics that have worked time and time again to keep staff engaged, encouraged to grow and yet still say with you.

1. Communication – find ways to get your team to come to you when there’s an issue, not to whine behind your back.

2. Create problem solvers – encourage your team to bring any problem to you, but to always bring a solution at the same time.

3. Reward fairly - based on performance, not time in the job.

4. Develop champions – who can grow into their roles and champion and action new ideas and techniques.

5. Trust – regardless of how you’ve been burnt in the past, treat your team first with trust.

6. Reward creatively – consider education rewards, family based rewards (such as dinner vouchers) and tiny rewards (such as their favorite chocolate bar) instead of just standard pay rises or bonuses.

7. Involve your team – get their opinions, seek their feedback, hunt out criticism before it infects your business.

8. Show the path – foster career drive by showing your team the career paths open to them within your business.

9. Listen – instead of always talking.

10. Lead by example – live in a manner consistent with what you say. It’s managing, not parenting, so “do as I say, not as I do” just won’t cut it.

Until next week,

Heather & Marcus