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When the employees of an organisation clearly understand the direction their company is taking and are excited about it, the profit margin of that company is twice as likely to exceed the median, according to research.

The onus lies with the HR department to steer a company to a new high, as it is the custodian of the organisational mission and vision. Right from creating an environment that drives employees to collectively work towards the company’s vision to develop the talent pipeline, HR has a significant impact on key business metrics.

Nowadays, around 51 per cent of companies are linking business impact to HR programs, according to a recently conducted survey. Apart from this, about 60 per cent of organisations believe in holding the HR accountable for business outcomes and not just talent acquisition. The HR department is expected to do much more than merely putting up policies in place or the right processes or systems.

Listed below is a simple process using which you can align your HR and business goals:

1. Clearly Comprehend the Organization’s Strategic Goals and Direction

It is of great importance that HR clearly understands the organisation’s strategic goals and direction so that they have a say at the decision-making table. If the HR lacks clarity on the broader organisational goals and objectives, it becomes an obstacle not just for the business, but it becomes challenging for the HR to align and support those objectives.

To gain clarity, ask the key business stakeholders such as the CEO or CFO and some other members of your C-suite the following questions:

  • What is the key business KPI of the company?
  • How can the HR contribute towards helping to drive those KPIs?
  • What is the best manner in which the HR can support the C-suite?

Based on the responses that you receive, you will have a clear direction to increase productivity, reduce costs, and opt for go-green initiatives.

2. Articulate the HR Goals

Once you have clearly defined what success means for your organisation, it is time for you as the HR to clearly articulate the goals of your department. In case this is the first time that you are attempting to do this, you may need to make some educated guesswork about what may work for you. You would also need to test that hypothesis to figure out if you are correct. Let’s consider a few examples:

Business Objective HR Hypotheses/Objective
Increase productivity
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your employee onboarding process
  • Automate the administration work of your organisation via workflow-driven HRIS
Reduce costs
  • Focus on increasing employee retention/decreasing employee turnover
  • cut down labour costs and reduce vendors
Go green
  • Make a conscious decision to go paperless

While the above-outlined hypotheses may be a great way to align HR and business goals of your C-suite, but they are quite abstract. Thus this is the time that you need to test out some specific actions towards the same.

3. Formulate your Action Plan

When you say that you are going to increase employee retention, it is actually a statement and not your action plan towards achieving the same. If you don’t have a strategy to measure, you won’t be able to truly align your goals. Thus you should create specific targeted actions that can help you achieve your objectives. Here’s how to do this:

HR Objective Action
Increase employee retention/decrease employee turnover
  • Create and roll out employee satisfaction surveys to gauge what’s going on in the mind of your employees. Include questions such as:
    • What according to you is the most difficult challenging part of your job?
    • How do you think the company can improve?
    • How do you rate your satisfaction level with the compensation that you receive?
  • Take the data derived from this survey to implement specific employee retention reducing measures. For instance, if the majority of your employees are not happy with the compensation that they receive, talk to your C-suite regarding the same. If a lot of people are pointing out that the company culture needs improvement, you can probably start a culture club in your company to address the same.
Evaluate the effectiveness of the employee onboarding process of your company
  • Try to go digital with your onboarding process. Make all your new hires submit their paperwork online and get it completed before their first day of joining.
  • Inform your newly hired employees of structured milestones to be achieved in the first couple of months to ensure and track that the onboarding process is moving efficiently and quickly.
4. Involve your Business Leaders in Your HR Game Plan

To truly align your HR goals with the business goals of the organisation, you have to get everyone at the same table. After creating your HR game plan by identifying specific actions to take, involve your business leaders and ensure that they are in agreement with your project and feel that your strategy aligns with the business goals.

5. Measure your Progress

After you align your HR goals with the business goals, you must ensure to measure your progress. To demonstrate to your leadership how HR is supporting the business, you must have data to back up your claims. As of now only 25 percent of the organisations have relevant HR data to furnish to necessary stakeholders in the business.

Let’s take a look at some examples of the type of measurement that can be helpful to the business stakeholders:

Action Measurement
Conducting employee satisfaction surveys
  • Conduct employee satisfaction surveys at regular set time intervals such as monthly,  every quarter or at least once a year. After conducting the survey, compare the results derived from the surveys to previous ones to check if any progress has been made and if yes, in which areas.
Digitize onboarding paperwork
  • Compare the time and cost for onboarding that was required before and after digitising the onboarding process to make a note of the areas where savings have been made.

If you properly align your HR goals with your business goals, it won’t be an overwhelming task for you. All you need to do is to break down the process into the steps outlined above, set clear goals, and continue measuring the progress made along the way. So, what’s the reason that the majority of HR departments aren’t adopting these measures?

The reason is that half of the organisations feel that the HR department is bogged down with administrative tasks. They never have the time to perform the crucial tasks necessary to bring about this alignment of HR and business goals. If you have a single tool that cuts down this repetitive work efficiently and smartly, the HR department will be free to focus on more strategic tasks at hand. Companies need to understand that without the HR fully at the decision-making table; the organisation is missing out on strategies and perspectives that are crucial for the overall success of the business.

The post Strategic Alignment: HR and Company Business Goals working as one appeared first on EmployeeConnect.

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HR directors face increasing demands of their time-management skills, recruitment strategies and people-management abilities in today’s competitive workplace. HR departments are charged with not only keeping perfect records and complying with ever-evolving government and industry regulations but also with contributing to and nurturing business objectives through recruitment and motivation. The globalisation of business adds its own headaches in managing foreign business transactions, remote workforces and multiple regulations in many jurisdictions. Implementing the right HR Software, or HRIS, to automate and facilitate business processes becomes increasingly critical to success for all companies whether they’re small or large.

It’s critical to ask the right questions before settling on a version of HR software. Choosing the right software, vendor and technology becomes much easier when you define clear objectives, and implementing any solution becomes smoother with fewer trouble spots. Global HR trends aren’t making the job any easier because the challenges that confront HR departments include adapting to major demographic changes such as meeting the needs of rapidly increasing numbers of women in the global workforce, fostering cultural diversity, replacing older workers with broad skill sets with untrained workers and encouraging older workers to continue working past minimum retirement ages.

Unfortunately, too many decision-makers fail to ask the right questions before implementing HR software, which results in buying systems more or less advanced than you truly really need and encountering transitional problems of burdensome magnitudes.

A roadmap to a successful HR software implementation should focus on the following stages.

  1. Understanding Strategic priorities
  2. Evaluating the vendors
  3. Planning the HR implementation project
  4. Implementing the project
  5. Going live

Following the roadmap will eliminate many problems and ensure that you and your staff understand what’s needed at each stage of the process. The guide includes revealing questions to ask so that you can choose a vendor with the right mind-set, experience and priorities.

Strategic Priorities

Defining your strategic business priorities is a critical first step before choosing HR software. It’s easy to get caught up in exciting software capabilities, automation of time-consuming tasks and management capabilities that could transform your recruiting efforts. Then you remember: You only have 30 staff. There’s certainly nothing wrong with owning a small-to-medium-sized business enterprise if it’s rewarding work and pays the bills, but you won’t need top-of-the-line HR software to manage a small staff. There are many out of the box systems that will meet your needs. Conversely, if you are global organisation that operates in many countries and jurisdictions, you could easily fall victim to the capabilities gap that confronts many global businesses. I.e. The struggle to recruit and develop leaders, engage recruits through multiple touch points and reinvent HR to drive business innovation.

Key Questions to Define Your Priorities

There are many basic questions to consider such as whether your company can operate well enough to use advanced software features or grow its business enough to implement new contracts or work independently of collaborative business arrangements. Some of the most important questions to ask include:

  1. What expectations do key stakeholders or decision-makers have?

Satisfying stakeholders is the key to winning budgetary approval even if all the goals don’t align with HR best practices.

  1. Will you need to make promises to the executive committee, key thought leaders or decision-makers in the company?

Promises unfulfilled can damage your reputation even if the project succeeds beyond your wildest hopes.

  1. How should early priorities and long-term goals be segregated?

It might seem disingenuous, but mapping out your project to harvest low-hanging fruit is critical to success. Give yourself the chance to realise some easy wins and remind stakeholders of these priorities and accomplishments. The smaller the business, the more important it is to manage expectations and communicate your progress regularly.

  1. Will you need to simplify work processes by allowing mobile access, remote work and flexible shifts?

The world is changing its work environments, and millennials increasingly demand more flexible working options.

  1. How will your staff handle the hands-on aspects of recruiting and performance management?

Technology can manage many things, but it can’t exhibit leadership or cultural empathy. Your HR staff might require refresher courses in people-management skills to take advantage of everything that your new HR software offers. Performance management increasingly uses agile techniques, but many companies have staffs that are mired in conservative processes.

Choosing your HRIS partner

There are thousands of vendors and options, but essentially, all software can be divided into three categories: Legacy, Bespoke and SaaS.

Top questions to ask before choosing a vendor include:

  1. Is the vendor selling a legacy system or ‘multitenant SaaS’ system?

Some companies or decision-makers might shy away from SaaS systems that they view as unproven, but legacy systems are often disproportionately respected because they’ve been tested and proven. Legacy systems allow you to bespoke your system, but unless you pay to integrate the software fully into your business systems, you’ll face a learning curve and uncertainty about whether the system will even work when it goes live. You might have to adjust your business to work with a multitenant SaaS system, but you’ll know that the software works as promised.

  1. Should you build or buy your system?

There’s a lot of talk about choosing the right legacy provider and automating core processes with custom builds, but that flies contrary to current trends that favour using cloud-based SaaS services. If you and your staff don’t know coding and technology, building a legacy system is a mistake unless you find a rare breed of developer that will collaborate fully and train your people. SaaS services are designed to be operated by those with little or no technical experience. All users share the core system, and you know that the system and any upgrades will work as designed.

  1. Does the vendor offer customer groups?

It’s important to talk to people who’ve used the software before you can truly assess how easy it is to use. Will the company provide training and respond quickly to emergencies? Are well-established customer groups available to discuss issues such as adjusting a business process to the system?

  1. How mobile-friendly is the system?

Look around, and you’ll see an army of people glued to their phones like zombies. People prefer to use their own devices where they’ve got everything stored from contact numbers to appointment schedules. Is the system compatible with mobiles while protecting company security?

  1. Does the vendor show interest in your business?

Many vendors don’t bother to ask about your business, so how can you trust them to provide relevant software? What is the vendor’s experience in working with companies in your industry? The right vendor will honestly discuss the pros and cons of different software options because no system works perfectly for every business.

  1. How configurable is the system, and how willing is the vendor to make adjustments? Configurability should be in the blood of HR software vendors. Legacy systems tend to examine every issue to create a holistic system, but SaaS vendors tend to assign as much as possible for clients to configure. The more configurable your software, the greater the software’s usability will be.
  2. How accessible is management information?

Accessibility and thoroughness of the management information are critical issues. If the vendor glosses over these features, move on to another vendor.

Planning an HR Software Implementation

How you implement your software will affect your business, consume resources and generate wider implications such as short interruptions of business. The strategy you use also depends on which type of software you’ve chosen. Even the simplest choices–such as choosing a single supplier and configuring everything yourself–could generate unexpected trouble spots.

  1. Determining Your Current HR Function

It’s critical to know what your current system does and what differences are expected after implementing the new software. Try to determine which company stakeholders will be impacted and at what stages during the implementation process. A robust engagement plan will include plans to provide service that at least equals current benchmarks during the transition process. It’s important to provide continuity, so consider using members of the current HR team in the new dynamic. Key players must have the right motivating factors to provide smooth transitions, so consider offering key team members choices of position in the new hierarchy or other work incentives.

  1. Indetify the Project Lead

Who should lead the project? This is a critical question because the person will be building something that other people have to operate for many years. It’s important to try to get everybody involved in planning and development so that they won’t face information overload when the project goes live, but it’s especially critical for the current HR team to be involved even if it won’t be the same after implementation.

  1. Should You Choose Single or Multiple Interfaces?

One integrated system might be ideal for your needs, but some companies choose different providers for ‘best-of-breed’ systems, which could generate multiple interfaces. Each interface generates its own potential trouble spots, risks, additional work and complexities unless you choose to integrate your software fully by hiring a custom developer, and there’s still a considerable learning curve. It’s important to compare the benefits of using multiple providers against the efficiencies of using a single provider and interface. Smaller companies should opt for a single interface or an out-of-the-box solution that has in-built integration capabilities.

  1. Determining Stakeholder Roles

Each department has its stake in HR, and these stakeholders include the finance, IT, legal, sales and HR departments. The larger your organisation is, the more stakeholders you’ll need to satisfy. It’s critical to keep each group informed and engaged in the project. The implications are very different between ‘buying and owning’ and ‘sharing and renting’ strategies. For example, SaaS service will simplify many processes such as automatic updates. The old-world HR business model involved getting everyone’s agreement before any action was taken, but today’s businesses respond more agilely to many common business issues. Stakeholders could face the need for accelerated approvals and should prepare accordingly.

  1. Managing Risks

You’ve got to determine how much time and how many resources to allocate for managing risks. Completing an early risk assessment is critical. For example, payroll processes can never be compromised, but other risks might be so unlikely that you do nothing to prepare for them. Some might be covered by special teams of experts or contractors.

Integrating Projects and HR

The roadmap to a successful transition must cover ground that includes governing the project and governing the functions. It’s inadvisable to run the project and the HR department separately, so it’s important to plan on HR staff taking expanded roles during the implementation and integration processes. Plan for an increase in workload during the transition no matter how much the software vendor promises to streamline processes. The project implementation team should include people from different areas of the company and, if possible, a vendor representative.

  1. Phasing Implementation

Consider what current practices and new developments are the most essential for your business. It might be better to transition to the new system in stages. During this time, it might be necessary to train new managers in the old performance system. An HRIS team leader should be selected based on careful consideration of his or her qualifications for defusing stressful situations. Regardless of strategy, you should recognize that some leaders need to be trained and vetted first in the new controls before allowing everyone access. That includes providing self-service options for employees, which is one of the bigger benefits of HR software.

  1. Expanded Support Options

Remember that there will be system failures regardless of how careful and comprehensive your plans might be. The workload will increase dramatically as you approach implementation, but don’t try to save money during this time by cutting back resources. It’s wiser to reduce functionality for a given time than fail to meet expectations. This advice also applies to smaller companies where stakeholders might be expecting dramatic changes. It’s never good to compromise on staff and money during implementation, but if something’s got to go, choose reduced functionality and explain why to company stakeholders. Keeping communications open and transparent is the best strategy for dealing with reduced functionality.\

  1. Demonstrating Value

During implementation, it’s important to demonstrate value, but to do so, you must have a strong understanding of current HR processes and their effectiveness. That provides a measuring stick for comparisons. In some cases, changes in HR processes must be made to accommodate the software. Some processes might be difficult to show added value, so it’s important to develop benchmarks that will measure success.

Going Live with Minimal Fuss

First impressions are important, which is why it’s critical to reduce functionality and provide sufficient resources to generate a successful launch of the new software. You might choose an important company event, anniversary, new operating year or new HR process as the starting point for going live with the new system. The bigger the difference the new software will make after the launch, the better the event will be for generating favourable post-implementation buzz.

  1. Communications Are Critical

Research shows that change initiatives are nearly twice as likely to fail as a result of organisational resistance rather than technical or operational issues. Communications are therefore critical for fostering the right expectations and preparing staff to handle change as flawlessly as possible. Rank-and-file staff tend to fear these events irrationally, so reassuring different company constituencies might be a practical solution. Rumours will multiply, so take control of the process by outlining what’s going to happen and when. Make a timetable that delineates when the system will apply to ongoing business processes.

No matter how careful and transparent you are, some focused and skilled resources will leave after any major change in operations. That’s just an inevitable part of change, but you can minimize these disruptions with the right communication and leadership strategies. Smaller companies can be particularly vulnerable to defections, so it’s important to have a backup plan for covering the functions of people who leave the company.

  1. Timing Switch-over Events

Determining the optimal time for turning off the old interfaces depends on the software, your existing staff’s familiarity with the new system, how quickly the new system can take over the functions of the old legacy system and whether security issues have been arranged such as assigning access IDs. During the transition, there will come a time when the project lead hands over the system to lower ranking staff to manage configuration, transition or system roll out. The danger, however, for both small and large companies is that these jobs might be filled by IT people instead of HR staff. It’s critical that HR staff learns how to configure and maintain the system.

Understanding Your HRIS Strategy

An HR system can only manage the processes you plan for it to do because each system–whether legacy, fully integrated or SaaS technology–depends on the data available and your core criteria in defining your business needs. No matter how useful or popular a given software solution may be for other businesses, the real test is how the software works for your specific business needs. Grand technology is useless unless it achieves your objectives, streamlines your business and frees staff time for other projects instead of doing repetitive HR tasks like payroll calculations.

Depending on your business, HR software can streamline the traditional imperatives like payroll and remuneration management, but truly effective HR software can also facilitate recruitment, performance development and other HR objectives. Companies with best-in-class programs for talent management are more likely to be using software to track HR performance across multiple benchmarks, and cloud-based software is growing faster than ever. HRIS can transform management capabilities in extraordinary ways, but ultimately, managing the technology requires service-based people interactions and an inherent understanding of what technology can and can’t do for your own business.

The post Successful HR Software Implementation: Tips & Best Practice appeared first on EmployeeConnect.

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It can indeed be challenging to focus on anything good when bad things keep taking place in your life. However, the good part is that it is possible to train your mind to focus only on the positive things in your life, instead of pondering on the negative. This is not an article on positive thinking. This article discusses how you can change the way you think by changing your destructive thinking patterns. Analyse for yourself if you happen to use any of these thinking patterns in your day to day life.

Let’s take a look at some of the common negative thinking patterns.

Common Destructive Thinking Patterns
  1. Everything is Bad in my Life:

A lot of people tend to have this thinking pattern where they feel they cannot trust anyone and nothing good will ever happen to them. For instance: “I won’t get this job. The interviewer also did not seem to like me. In fact, I did not like them anyway.”

  1. Conclusion Without Any Evidence

Some individuals tend to jump to conclusions without any evidence to support their conclusions. This is indeed a negative thinking pattern, as it will limit you in viewing the actual reality. For instance: “I saw this guy near the child in the park yesterday. He must be the kidnapper.”

  1. Nothing Good will Ever Happen to Me

People with this thinking pattern draw the conclusion on their own based on generalization that nothing good will ever happen to them. This kind of thinking pattern is deep-seated in the sub-conscious. It is the inability to consider and believe that they are worthy of receiving or experiencing anything good in life. For instance: “I will never be financially stable. I was never stable previously, so there is no way that I can hope to be stable in future as well. I might as carry on with this miserable job, as it at least pays off my bills and the mortgage.”

  1. I Know it All

This is a negative psychic thinking pattern. People with this thinking pattern presume that they know exactly what other people are thinking about them. They also presume that people always have something bad to speak about them. For instance: “She thinks I am ugly. I will try to avoid speaking to her.

  1. Procrastinating

This thinking pattern is also known as the “should, would, could” thinking pattern. People with this thinking pattern already know what they need to do in order to change their life. They are quite cable and they are aware of it. However, they would take steps based on “if only”….For instance: “I know I am smart enough to pursue the degree. I could go to the university anytime and I would, but right now I am just too occupied with other things. So, I shall apply next year.”

  1. Emotionally Driven

People with this thinking pattern are controlled by their emotions. Their emotions control what they are thinking and perceive their reality of what their vision is. For instance: “I feel not capable of doing this task, so I must be incapable.”

  1. Self Blaming

These people have a thinking pattern that everything is their fault. These individuals see themselves as the cause behind everything bad that has taken place in their lives so far. For instance: “It is my fault that he left me for someone else.” These kinds of individuals do not take credit or responsibility for all the good things that take place in their lives.

  1. Considering Everyone Else as Incapable

These types of individuals are of the thinking pattern that everyone else is wrong. They consider everyone else as incapable of doing anything correctly and they think that their way is the only and the best way to do it. For instance: “He can’t do it, I know. Keep this for me. I shall fix it once I am back from work.”

The above-mentioned thinking patterns are some of the common thinking patterns that we come across in our everyday lives. We may be even using some of these patterns ourselves.

Changing Destructive Thinking Patterns

Step 1: Recognize the issue. The problem lies in the fact that there are a lot of individuals who just do not think there is an issue. So they do not feel the need to change. If you wish to change these destructive thinking patterns you first need to acknowledge that there is a need and you need to recognise what changes need to be made. It all starts with how you perceive life.

Everyone perceives life differently. Hence, everyone’s perception of reality is bound to be different. While this may sound like a weird concept to some individuals, but think about it for some time, it may change the way you perceive the world.

Since everyone’s perception of the world is different, it all comes down to the thinking patterns that they use in their day to day lives. If you perceive that life is wonderful, you will only tend to notice the wonderful things in your life. The complete opposite will be the case if you tend to think that your life is miserable. If you change your thoughts, you can literally change the world that you live in. However, for that, you first need to identify your destructive thinking pattern.

Step 2: Be aware of when you tend to use these destructive thinking patterns. Every individual may apply different thinking patterns based on what they are doing in their lives. For instance, you may be using a positive thinking pattern at work, as you are quite good at what you do. But you may be using a destructive thinking pattern in your personal life when it comes to matters of the heart. Being aware of your own destructive thinking patterns can help you to change that pattern. Now that you are aware of the fact when you tend to use the destructive thinking pattern, this is the right time to change it.

Step 3: Replace the bad with the good. This is something that you obviously cannot do immediately.  You need to give some time to allow your old thinking pattern to die consciously and slowly and introduce the new improved thinking pattern. People want a quick fix solution, but life is not like that and you cannot change these patterns in a day. The best thing is to let it take its own course and slowly replace it with a thinking pattern which is better for you. Start by working on more than one destructive thinking pattern at a time.

In order to change your thinking pattern, you need to first recognise the pattern, Be aware of when you tend to use the pattern, slowly change and introduce the new thinking pattern and keep on working on all your destructive thinking patterns

The post How to Change Destructive Thinking Patterns appeared first on EmployeeConnect.

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Whether you are a front-line supervisor or the CEO of a company, “trust” in some form is critical whenever it comes to performance. Trust is in fact considered to be one of those softer topics that busy managers rarely think about on a day to day basis.  In fact, it never makes it to a list of objectives or an annual performance review. This is not at all encouraging news, as the “trust” issue needs to be on a manager’s mind every single day and in every encounter.

It is this failure to build trust with peers, co-workers, and team members which is the formula behind strife, stress, and suboptimal results. Effective managers understand that building trust is a complex and sometimes slow process. Here are a few tips to help you build trust in your team.

Power Tips For Building Trust On Your Team
  1. To effectively give trust to your team members, you need to gain their trust as well. The majority of people are likely to move mountains even to repay this powerful yet simple gesture of respect.
  2. Develop a habit of linking individual and team priorities to the overall organisational goals and strategies. People are more likely to thrive when they have the context of the work they are doing. They are also likely to perform better if they understand the context of their work, aligned with the bigger picture.
  3. Keep your team informed about the company’s financial results. Whether your company is privately-held or publicly-traded, the amount of time that you spend in talking about and explaining the financial results of the company is highly appreciated. When you display this level of transparency, it suggests you trust your team member with this crucial information.
  4. Spend more time to understand and support the career aspirations of your team members. When you invest more time and effort to help a team member achieve his or her career aspirations, it suggests you care for the individual. Organic & honest caring begets trust.
  5. Be vulnerable enough to admit your mistake whenever you commit one. You should also make an effort to ask for your feedback and then do something positive with the input received. Take efforts to thank the team members who provided you with their constructive inputs.
  6. It’s a good idea to give away your authority once in a while. If you have the norm of conducting regular operations meetings, try rotating the responsibility of developing the agenda and leading the meeting. Try to delegate decision-making as often as possible to teams or individuals. By doing so, you not only show your trust in others, but you also give them an opportunity to strengthen their trust in you.
  7. Share the spotlight with your team members. People don’t trust a manager who continually elbows their way into the centre stage, hogging the limelight for the team’s accomplishments. It’s a good idea at such times to step back into the shadows. When you do so, you will realise your team members will repay you many times over.
  8. When something goes wrong, occasionally take the heat for your employee’s mistake and keep them safe.
  9. Match your words with your actions, as people on your team are always keeping score.
  10. You must always beware of lessening the value of accountability. Everyone must be accountable for his or her actions. Any exceptions to this rule will end up destroying your credibility and nullify your efforts of building trust.
  11. Never allow challenging issues to linger. Your team members may have empathy for you in navigating the bigger issues, but at the same time, they expect you to do your job well so that they can do theirs.
  12. Develop the habit of holding your team members accountable for building trust between and with your team members. Your team is a direct reflection of you as a leader. So hold them accountable to the same standards that you follow for yourself.
  13. Educate your teams how to debate, decide, and talk. Teach your team members how to discuss alternative approaches or alternative ideas while searching for the best approach.
  14. Whenever a team member makes a mistake, encourage them to share the lessons they learned.
  15. Always operate from a state of the clear and visible set of values. Take the effort to define the values of your organisation that describe the acceptable and aspirational behaviours for your team members. Make it a habit to not only teach these values but also reference them constantly.

Trust is not instant; it’s built over time, driven by the factors described above. Every day there are opportunities to build or break trust. Focus on winning these small but significant moments of trust.

The post How to Build Trust in Your Team appeared first on EmployeeConnect.

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Background checks are frequently run as part of the pre-employment screening process when you are hired for a position. They are used by companies to help ensure the safety of your future co-workers and the company, especially if your new job will require you to be in contact with sensitive information or documents, as well as finances.

Here’s a rundown of what you should know about these checks:

1. They Want to Know You’re Being Truthful

Part of the information obtained during a background check will determine if there are any outright lies on your application or resume. It’s been estimated that 10% of resumes have red flags in the education section where applicants have either lied or overstated their levels of education. 44% of them had negative driving records and 10% had criminal records in their past. 39% of all background checks have at least one red flag, and even 23% of resumes list employment that can’t be verified or isn’t correct.

2. They Are Likely Looking for More Than Just Criminal Records

Some of the information that a background check will obtain includes arrests as well as actual court records, convictions, warrant information, sex offenses and incarceration details. Some employers will validate your Social Security number to make sure you are eligible to work in the country and haven’t assumed someone else’s identity.

Many employers will also check for your presence on the sex offender registry. Others, depending upon the industry, will run an actual credit report to make sure you are in good standing on current loans, don’t have collection accounts and have no bankruptcies in your past. This is often the case for jobs where you’ll be in charge of other people’s money or advising them how to invest it.

If you are applying to a job where you’ll be required to drive or travel, you’ll likely be subject to a driving records search. States vary on how far back an employer can search, but most range between 3 and 10 years.

3. References and Drug Tests Matter, Too

Additional parts of a background check, depending on how thorough the employer is, can include references from prior employers and personal character witnesses, worker’s compensation records and military records. The amount of information an employer can obtain will vary on these matters across state lines.

Many times, a drug test will be part of the required background check. Ongoing random drug tests may be also be a condition of your employment, so read the fine print so you know what to expect going forward.

4. They May Run Checks on Current Employees

Pre-employment screening isn’t the only time a company will run a background check. Depending on the industry, workplace culture and types of sensitive information employees will have access to, a company may choose to run checks on current employees at regular intervals. However, the checks must be conducted on every employee, or risk claims of discrimination.

5.       Social Media Accounts Aren’t Off Limits

Don’t forget that many employers will look at your online social media accounts to gather more information about your character and determine what type of public image you will portray about the company. Even if your accounts are on the most private of settings, you should never post offensive photos, comments or memes that can turn off a future prospective employer.

Final Thoughts – Honesty Is the Best Policy

Most background checks will simply verify the information you’ve given your future employer, like past job responsibilities and titles. The specific information that they can obtain about your past will vary depending upon the records they’re interested in and your state’s privacy laws.

If you embellish too much on your resume, you should change it to reflect your true abilities and work history. If you are asked to take a drug test and you know you will likely fail, tell them so. If you have a criminal history, tell them about it. Some employers will still hire people with checkered pasts, but they don’t want to offer positions to people they can’t trust. Just remember to always be forthcoming, since they will likely discover it anyway.

Author: Sophie Wright

Sophie is a passionate blogger. Being in love with writing her whole life, she started her Free Background Checks blog as a way to shed light and give knowledge on many major social issues and make a difference with her word. The blog was born out of a pure desire to share and connect.

The post What Employees Should Know About Background Checks appeared first on EmployeeConnect.

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When you allow your team members to make decisions and take action within your organisation, it’s known as ‘empowering employees’. It’s quite important to empower your employees if you wish to have a sustainable business. The real growth of an organisation takes place when you have multiple individuals working together instead of just relying on the hard work and dedication of a few.

Empowering employees is an organisational culture in itself. The key steps involved in empowering employees include clear communication, trust, and strategic delegation. If you wish to empower your employees in your organisation, here are a couple of tips for you:

  1. Delegate work with the right intent: Delegating work for the sake of taking work off your plate is not the right approach. You must delegate work to your team members with the intention to grow and develop the capabilities of your team members.
  2. Always set clear expectations: Before empowering your employees, you must define the boundaries where your team member is free to act. When you set clear expectations with your team, you are allowing them to make informed decisions aligned with organisational goals.
  3. Give your employees the freedom to work on their assignments: Whenever you delegate work, you must be mentally open to accepting their way of accomplishing the task. It may be different from the way in which you would probably do the same assignment. Refrain from micromanaging your employees. Be accepting of the fact that your way may not be the best or the only way to complete a task.
  4. Provide your employees with the required resources: A common complaint amongst organisations first implementing employee empowerment practices is that they still have employees who walk into the office expecting their issues to be solved magically for them. You need to understand that you have to provide the required tools and resources to them.
  5. Always offer constructive feedback: You should always be specific and thoughtful about the input that you provide while debriefing on a project. Instead of merely telling someone that they did a good job, you must be specific about the attitude or actions that you would love repeated from their end.
  6. Include your employees in goal setting and decision making: Always involve your employees at the time of decision making or goal setting. If you feel you can’t involve them during these preliminary processes, at least stay open to their input or ideas.
  7. Clearly, communicate the vision of the organisation: It is becoming increasingly important for employees to feel that their efforts are contributing towards building something which holds significance from an organisational perspective. Hence you must clearly communicate the vision of the organisation to your employees. By doing so, you empower them with the knowledge that they are making a difference to the organisation with their contribution.
  8. Appreciate your employees for their hard work: If you appreciate your employees for a job that’s done well, you increase the chances of them performing well again in future. Your appreciation will encourage them to take action, to be innovative, and to be proactive while solving issues.

Your organisation will no doubt be able to attain a certain level of growth under your direct management. But for the sustainable growth of an organisation, it definitely needs a team of empowered employees.

The post 8 Tips for Empowering Employees in the Workplace appeared first on EmployeeConnect.

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It is a common knowledge that individuals with high emotional intelligence have a greater chance of getting hired, promoted, and earning a better salary.

An individual’s ability to identify and control his or her emotions and to be able to understand the emotions of others is termed as emotional intelligence. When an individual has high emotional intelligence, they can build better relationships, defuse conflict in teams, reduce team stress, and also improve job satisfaction. A high emotional intelligence paves the way for increased team productivity and retention of employees as well. That’s the reason employers are keener towards hiring and promoting candidates who have a high emotional quotient (EQ).

According to Daniel Goleman, there are five pillars of emotional intelligence. Let’s take a look at them to figure out how these pillars can give you an edge.


An individual’s ability to identify one’s own emotions, strengths, weaknesses, emotional triggers, values, motivations, goals, and the ability to understand how these factors can affect his or her thoughts and behaviour is termed as self-awareness.

For instance, if you are suddenly feeling annoyed, stressed, or uninspired, probably it is a good time to check with yourself what it is that is making you feel these emotions. When you are able to identify the emotion and its cause, you find yourself in a much better space to address the same by taking the right action.


The ability to regulate your emotions and to be able to control them instead of them controlling you is termed as self-management. It is a fact that even individuals with a high EQ may be subject to impulses, negative emotions such as stress and anger, bad moods etc. However, when you have better self-management, you can delay your response to certain aggressive or stressful situations. When you are able to delay your response, it gives you time to react thoughtfully in a much more clear-headed manner instead of reacting impulsively. Negative emotions not only impact the people in and around you, but it has a negative bearing on your well being as well.


The key factor which prompts you to take action whenever you face a certain setback or an obstacle is termed as motivation. Individuals with a low motivation level are more likely to be averse towards taking risks and they quickly become anxious and give up. Owing to their lack of motivation, it may prompt them to express negatively pertaining to their responsibilities at work or project goals. This can highly impact the overall morale of the team.

Individuals who are highly motivated are more likely to seek feedback, push themselves, strive towards improving their knowledge and skills and monitor their own progress as well. That is why such individuals are always considered to be an asset to the team.


When you have the ability to emotionally connect with others and understand their concerns, feelings, and points of view it is termed as empathy. This is a key skill to possess especially when it comes to negotiating with both internal and external customers and stakeholders. Empathy helps you to anticipate the needs or reaction of others.  Empathy is an important quality to possess especially when you work in a team. It helps in generating harmony within the team. When you are able to identify and respond to the emotional needs of your team members, it automatically paves the way for a happy work culture.

Relationship management

An individual’s ability to strike a rapport with colleagues, build trust and garner respect from colleagues is termed as relationship management. It is as simple as trusting and to be trusted in return in the team. A manager who has great relationship management skills is able to successfully guide, inspire, as well as develop their team members thereby impacting the overall productivity and performance of his or her team.

While it may seem that emotional intelligence comes naturally to some, it is possible to increase one’s emotional intelligence if you are willing to genuinely work towards it!

The post Why Emotional Intelligence Makes You More Successful appeared first on EmployeeConnect.

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When accomplishing business-related tasks, few teams are as effective in reaching their goals than a high-performing team. Simply put, high-performance teams get results. A high-performing team can consistently deliver, despite the odds.

Developing such a team gives you the ultimate competitive advantage.

When a team is highly focused on achieving their goals, the employees, management, and customers benefit from it. Duties are shared more effectively, employee discord is diminished, and customers receive a more inviting corporate environment.

So what is the best way to encourage and strengthen your team? By utilizing employee training and development. Here are six ways to use employee training and development to build a high-performing team.

1. Prioritize professional skill development

Continuing professional development is perhaps one of the best ways to foster a better team. Investing in professional growth leads to many valuable benefits, including:

  • Decreased turnover
  • Improved workplace morale
  • Staying on the cutting edge of new tech and trends
  • A consistent level of training

Some ways to emphasize professional skill development are by introducing workshops such as public speaking classes or creative writing courses that allow employees to hone specific skills that benefit the company.

2. Use a structured employee onboarding process

Having a formalized onboarding process improves new hire productivity and manager satisfaction. A structured onboarding process enables new employees to transition to your workforce with the necessary training to positively impact engagement.

There are several ways to include a formalized onboarding process to build a high-performing team.

  • One is by providing new hires with access to essential documents, resources, and information that set them up for success.
  • Another is to assign a mentor for the first week or month to facilitate a seamless transition. A mentor can serve to check in on progress periodically and address any questions the new hire may have.
  • Having training courses available for new hires can be useful in assigning tasks that plan out milestones and goals.
3. Implement cross-departmental training

Encouraging employees to engage and share with different departments in your company not only fosters a more cohesive work environment but also creates a more collaborative culture. Cross-departmental training helps your employees build stronger relationships, develop new skills, and encourage networking.

By tapping into your internal resources, employees can gain a better understanding of the inner workings of your company, which can help build trust and accountability, and helps each department focus on results.

4. Give employees resources

When employees have access to an online database of resources, they are equipped with the training tools they need to grow as a team. Having access to development and training activities that challenge them fosters an environment that’s conducive to learning and growth.

The classes and professional organizations they can join promote upward mobility, helping employees feel like they are succeeding. Internally, your company can schedule a monthly “Learn-at-Lunch” program that educates and trains employees on the latest trends and research.

Using the lunch hour to educate and train your employees with courses like digital marketing training can strengthen team bonding and stimulate employee engagement. An employee-led “Learn-at-Lunch” course, in particular, can be extremely useful in creating an engaging workplace culture that increases staff productivity, commitment, and morale.

5. Have regular reviews

While the implementation of traditional annual performance reviews has fallen out of favour in recent years, they are still important to the fabric of a high-performing team — particularly if done right.

Rather than focusing on rankings and cutting bottom-tier workers, performance reviews should focus on goals. Formatting performance reviews to ensure employees are being professionally challenged and praised for excelling keeps employees happy and appreciated.

Performance reviews are also a great time for managers and employees alike to communicate. This can be a moment to recognize areas or skills that require improvement. It can also be a time to introduce a tailored training plan that gets employees excited about the prospect of developing their skills.

6. Introduce a learning management system

Software that promotes e-learning help companies streamline and optimize employee training programs.

By implementing online corporate training, your company can create skill-based learning programs catered to your business’s specific needs. E-learning can significantly cut down on costs and time while increasing employee engagement.

A learning management system ensures employees are provided with a roadmap to success. A learning management system establishes a company-wide learning culture that empowers employees to improve their skills in an easy, accessible, and engaging manner.

Cultivating winning teamwork

Building a high-performing team is achieved by creating a framework built around employee training and development. Employee development fosters team members to grow individually while supporting each other’s goals and initiatives.

Employing the right training and development plan will result in a high-performing team racing towards a common goal.

With over 20 years of experience in B2B marketing, Annick Nuyens first worked in the hospitality service industry and then moved to the knowledge industry. She currently works for Informa in the Dubai office, where she oversees marketing for public and in-house training courses, conferences, exhibitions and managed events across the Middle East and Africa.

The post How to Build High-Performing Teams Through Employee Training and Development appeared first on EmployeeConnect.

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Diversity & Inclusion has been on the priority list of smart organizations for quite some time. However, recently the need for its genuine inclusion has risen significantly owing to some very high profile incidents. For instance, the film industry has been reporting incidents of sexual harassment for quite some time. Also, there have been initiatives like the gender pay gap reporting. The rise of such instances has been responsible for making diversity & inclusion a priority.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons as to why diversity & inclusion is significant and why it should be on the top of your priority list regarding your organisation’s people agenda.

  1. You will understand your customers better

One of the most obvious reasons for adopting better diversity & inclusion is that it will help your organisation to understand its customers in a much better way. According to reports, in 2014 the combined disposable income of around 12 million disabled people in the UK was estimated to be roughly around £80 billion. However, the 2017 report indicated that out of the 12 million disabled people, only around 3.4 million disabled people are employed. It is obvious that those organisations that employed disabled people will certainly be able to design products and services which are best suited for their needs. This automatically gives them a competitive edge. Likewise, the same will apply to customers belonging to other demographic groups as well. With this growing awareness, organisations now realise the significance and benefits of diversity. Around 49% of employers who were surveyed for LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends in 2018 have stated that they are focussing on diversity so that they can represent their customers better. Some of the other reasons stated by the respondents of this survey included improving the organisational performance (62%) and improved organisational culture (78%).

  1. Diverse teams lead to better performance

When you have cognitively diverse teams, they can solve problems faster compared to teams of cognitively similar individuals. Apart from this, according to a report published by Deloitte in 2013, when employees notice their organisation’s commitment and support towards diversity, they tend to feel included and thereby their ability to innovate seems to increase by around 83%. Also, when you have diverse teams, they are reportedly found to be 60% faster regarding decision making compared to non-diverse teams. Reports have further corroborated the fact that an all-male member team seems to make around 38% of decisions in a large organisation. This gap worsens in organisations which are less diverse such as the firms in Silicon Valley.

  1. Diverse teams promote greater creativity and innovation

When you have a workforce that comprises of people from diverse backgrounds, skills, and experiences, the ideas that emerge out of such teams are indeed more creative as well as innovative. According to statistics generated out of a McKinsey study, US public companies with a diverse executive board seem to have around 95% higher return on equity as compared to non-diverse boards.

  1. It becomes easier to hire and retain talent

When an organisation supports a diverse demographic group, it has a direct impact on the retention and engagement of employees as per a study conducted by Women Ahead in 2017. Some organisations have shifted their focus from diversity & inclusion towards the concept of ‘belonging’. The feeling of belonging offers employees psychological security which thereby prompts them to give their best at work. It is a fact that the most diverse of organisations cannot retain and engage their employees if the employees don’t feel accepted and included.

  1. It will enhance your organisation’s brand

Most large organisations in the UK needed to publicly disclose their gender pay gaps for the first time in April 2018, it has created a more significant level of public awareness. According to a PWC survey conducted in 2017, around 54% of women and 45% of men seemed to have researched if an organisation had diversity & inclusion policies in place before deciding to join the organisation. Another 61% of women and 48% of men opined that they assessed the diversity of an organisation’s leadership team before deciding to take up an offer.

As a result of such transformation, a recent Glassdoor study revealed that a lot of organisations are expected to increase their investment in diversity & inclusion. Around 59% of organisations were of the opinion that since they lacked to invest in D&I, they are facing a crunch in attracting high-quality talent. On the other hand around 20% of organisations said that owing to their organisation’s diversity & inclusion initiatives, they have been able to influence a candidate’s decision of joining their organisation.

The post The Importance of Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace appeared first on EmployeeConnect.

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The culture of an organisation depicts its basic personality with how its people work and interact. However, organisational culture is a complex and elusive entity which evolves in the midst of leadership, strategy and other circumstances. In other words, culture may be defined as a self-sustaining behavioural pattern that decides how things are done. Culture is not something that can be easily copied. It comprises repetitive habits, emotional responses, and instinctive habits. Organisational cultures have a trait of slowly evolving and continuously recalibrating. The way in which the people of an organisation go about their business is shaped and reflected by what its people think, feel, and believe. The formal efforts towards changing an organisation’s culture have seldom managed to figure out what motivates the people of an organisation. When strongly worded memos are communicated, people continue to go about their ways and function according to the habits which they are comfortable and familiar with.

However, this should not deter leaders from trying to improve and work on building a robust organisational culture. They need to change their perspective. When an entire machine cannot be replaced, they need to work towards realigning some of the more useful parts. Similarly, when changing behaviour and culture, leaders need to organisations some of the emotional forces within the present culture differently.

The alignment of corporate culture is impacted by the following three dimensions:

  • Symbolic reminders comprising of artefacts which are completely visible
  • Keystone behaviours of recurring acts which tend to trigger other behaviours of both visible and invisible kinds
  • Mindset, comprising of beliefs and attitudes which are widely shared but for the most part invisible

Out of these three dimensions, behaviours are the most significant and powerful factors which drive real change. Hence if an organisation works towards changing some of the most critical behaviours, mindsets will automatically follow. With time, altered habits and behavioural patterns are successful in producing better results. An organisation’s culture is made up of several reservoirs of emotional influence and energy. When strategic priorities and cultural forces are in sync with one another, organisations can draw energy from the way its people feel. This also helps in accelerating an organisation’s movement to gain a competitive edge or to even regain certain advantages once lost.

Research suggests organisations which use informal emotional approaches to influence the behaviour of its people are more likely to experience a change that lasts. Companies which used a few of these specific cultural catalysts reported achieving a marked improvement in the emotional commitment of its people and in organisational pride.

While there is no set formula, equation, or algorithm that will guarantee results if an organisation adopts the following principles it will be able to deploy and improve its culture and increase the odds of operational and financial success.

Guiding Principles of Organisational Culture Development
  1. Align with your organisation’s present cultural situations. Certain cultures which are deeply embedded cannot be replaced or uprooted with simple upgrades or by carrying out major overhaul efforts. The existing culture of your organisation cannot be instantly swapped for a new one. No culture is entirely all good or all bad. To work with an organisation’s culture in an effective manner, you need to understand it, figure out which are the dominant and consistent traits.  You should also determine under what type of conditions are these traits like to prove to be of help or may act as a hindrance. In other words, even cultural traits have a yin and a yang side to it.
  2. Link behaviours to business objectives. When people discuss motivations, values, and feelings, the conversation may often lead to distractions. People tend to walk away from a culture when the message is unrelated to day to day work. To avoid this kind of disconnect, you need to offer well defined and tangible examples of how interventions in the culture zone can lead to an improved financial outcome and enhanced performance. Select behaviours which specifically target measurable business improvement performance.
  3. Change behaviour and mindsets will follow. Just as night follows day, it’s a common opinion that behavioural change is followed by mental shifts amongst people. That is the reason why organisations are often seen to try and change the mindsets of its employees by communicating the values and presenting them in glossy brochures.  It helps, but moulding an organisational culture requires much more than merely saying it. If you try to change an organisation’s culture just via training, top-down messaging, and development programs, it seldom helps in changing the behaviour or beliefs of its people. Research suggests that people are more inclined towards acting their way into believing instead of merely thinking their way into acting. An excellent place to start is to bring about changes in the behaviours of people. These changes in the key behaviours are actionable, tangible, observable, repeatable, and measurable. Good examples of behaviour changes include empowerment, interpersonal relations, and collaboration. Empowerment changes entail reducing the number of approvals that are required to make decisions. Interpersonal changes entail mutually devising practices which help in raising contentious grievances or issues. Collaboration changes entail setting up simpler ways to convene joint projects.
  4. Focus on critical behaviours. As an organisation, you need to be quite selective regarding selecting behaviours. Select a small number of critical behaviours that are likely to have a maximum impact once put into practice. Identify a few things which people do across the organisation which positively impact the business performance. Ensure that these set of behaviours are aligned with the organisation’s overall strategy. The organisation also needs to check how its people feel about doing these things so that it can tap into the employee’s emotional commitment. The next stage should be to translate these critical behaviours into simple and practical steps which can be adopted on a day to day basis. Lastly, you need to be smart in selecting your beachhead groups of employees who will project these behaviours. Some of the employees may respond strongly towards these new set of behaviours while there may be others who are likely to implement and spread them.
  5. Deploy genuine but informal leaders. People should not get confused with authority and leadership. Leadership is considered to be a natural attribute, which is exercised and displayed in an informal manner and it is independent of any kind of title or position in the organizational chart. Authentic informal leaders are found in every organisation, but they are not recognised and are often underused and overlooked when it comes to driving an organisation’s culture. Such leaders can be identified through surveys, interviews and utilising tools such as organisational network analysis. Once these leaders are identified, they can become powerful allies who can influence the behaviour of other employees by setting examples. When companies map out their organisations, they are able to identify leaders who project core leadership strengths. Organisations tend to push the organisational culture into silos of human resource professionals. Keep in mind that formal leaders are equally critical towards championing and safeguarding desired behaviours, reinforcing cultural alignment, and energising the personal feelings of employees. If employees detect a disconnect between the projected culture and the one that leaders follow, they are likely to disengage quickly from the propagated culture and simply mimic the behaviour that their senior leaders are projecting. The formal leaders need to demonstrate the change that they wish to see. Here as well, select only a handful of the right kind of leaders to be on board in order to kick-start the process of demonstrating the change.
  6. Demonstrate the impact of culture change quickly. When you fail to share the result of efforts and initiatives for several months, people are likely to disengage and become cynical. That’s why it’s important to display the impact of efforts on the business as quickly as possible. One of the most effective ways of doing it is to have performance pilots in place for high profile demonstration projects. Pilot projects involve low-risk efforts which introduce certain behaviours which can be evaluated and assessed.
  7. Employ cross organisational communication methods. This is to ensure your message spreads across various departments and functions virally, top down and bottom up. One such powerful method to spread ideas is via social media either through LinkedIn posts, Facebook, and Tweets from genuine informal leaders. Social media is one of the most effective media these days to share news and information, as well as critical behaviours. It is a general trend that people are usually more receptive to changes when such changes are recommended by colleagues, friends, and other associates. Just as it is an art to make content go viral, it is an art to make behaviours go viral as well. When behaviours go viral, the leaders of the organisation see an increased performance as well as recognition of peers and leadership.
  8. Align the new cultural direction with the existing way of doing business. In other words, you need to align behaviours with programmatic efforts. The cultural interventions and informal mechanisms must integrate and complement with the other common formal components of the organisation. When an organisation provides a structure in which people work through analytics, organisation design, lean process improvement, and human resources, it promotes a logical level of motivation for the employees. Similarly, informal organisations encourage the emotional commitment of employees which characterises outstanding performance.
  9. Actively manage the cultural situation over time. Organisations which have been highly successful in working with culture are known as culture rockstars. They are seen to proactively monitor, manage, care for, and update the cultural forces of their respective organisations. When the strategic and operating priorities of an organisation are aligned, the culture of an organisation can provide hidden sources of motivation and energy which can accelerate changes much faster than formal programs and processes. While your organisation may have a highly effective culture today, it may not be relevant or good enough tomorrow. While an organisation’s cultural situation may be multi-dimensional, challenging, or often even difficult to deal with, it still requires a robust set of emotional resources.

The culture of an organisation can be compared to natural forces such as tides and wind. These elements of nature are always there in the background, but they are sometimes obvious, and sometimes unnoticed. These forces of nature cannot be fundamentally altered or tamed. However, if you respect them and understand how to make the most of them, they can be an excellent source of energy and assist in a compelling manner.

Do not plan for overnight results. Expect an evolution rather than revolution. One of the challenges of changing the culture of an organisation is that the change is gradual, rather sometimes too slow for leaders who face fast-paced, disruptive competitors. The good news, on the other hand, is that if you approach culture intelligently and with respect, you can utilise it to accelerate your competitive advantage.

The post Guiding Principles for Building a Successful Organisational Culture appeared first on EmployeeConnect.

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