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Stages of Team Development: A Complete Guide For LeadersKashyap TrivediMay 22, 2018
The psychology has offered us a lot in the past and will continue to offer in the future.

Popular psychologists have understood the behaviour of beings and provided theories that can make the world a better place to live. One such theory was developed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965 regarding team development, and stages involved in team development. Bruce added a stage called “Adjourning” in this theory in 1977 and made the stages of team development more realistic.

In this article, we will chat about stages of team development and what tips you can adapt to develop an awesome team that can drive your organization to the heights of success.

Let’s begin.

Five Stages of Team Development: 1. Forming 2. Storming 3. Norming 4. Performing 5. Adjourning

We will look closely into each stage of team development, and try to understand the tips that can make the stages of team formation more efficient.

1. Forming

This is more like a first date where members are polite, and they choose to keep mum in awkward parts. They haven’t met each other before, so you can expect polite behaviour and a smile on a face from every corner.

Here are some tips you can follow at this stage of team development to make the best out of it:

  • Discuss each member’s skills, interests, and hobbies. This information will give enough details about every individual, so like-minded people can start having conversion.
  • Discuss project goals and motive of this team formation. You would definitely love to make sure that all the team members are on the same page when it comes to the project.
  • Don’t forget to mention the ground rules. Sure, every member has a different personality and preferences, but when it comes to project, you must clarify some ground rules that every member has to follow without a break. Like, communication or reporting.
  • Define every member’s role. In a team, people with different knowledge and backgrounds are gathered. As a leader, you should make sure that each member is familiar with every member’s roles and responsibilities.

In the forming stage of team development, you can create an environment where new people can start interacting. Defining personals interest is one of the finest ways to do that. Two people interested in Chess or Dance will definitely have a word with each other after the meeting.

2. Storming

“He was so polite when we had our first meet, now he is just Sheldon Cooper.”

Yes. That kind of stuff happens. When you realize the person is not exactly the same as you met him/her the first time, you’re stepping into the second stage of team development – Storming.

Storming is actually very good as each member will start to know each other closely. It can have a positive as well as a negative side. The positive side is, members will be closer psychologically after knowing each other, and that will flourish the work. The downfall is, there will be some clashes of opinion, and hate may arise.

Tips you can follow in the second stage of team development – Storming:

  • Gather a team meeting if you come to know about such clashes. Try to go to the bottom of it just to understand the workstyle of both the members.
  • If it’s necessary, involve yourself between the two members to make the workflow smooth.
3. Norming

This is the stage where members accept each other as they are.

“He keeps on listening to metal. But, he is awesome at graphics.”

In this stage of team development, every one understands that each member is different, and they start working with joint efforts, despite the clashes they hold. They understand that work should not be compromised because of the clashes, so they find ways to deal with personal issues.

Tips for the third stage of team development – Norming:

  • Appreciate the team members who found ways to solve clashes and chose to work together. It may motivate them to become closer friends, and inspire others as well.
  • Keep reminding the team about the importance of the project, so if some members are finding hard to settle down, they will start finding way to connect.
4. Performing

Performing is the most beautiful stage for the project. Members are in sync, they have understood each other very well, and the performance of the project is at the peak.

Tips you can follow in the fourth stage of team development – Performing:

  • Even though this is the golden time of the entire process, change in opinion is still going to happen. You would love to make sure something small doesn’t turn up too big.
5. Adjourning

Adjourning is a painful phase for team members where project is completed and everyone has to separate. Few members will be emotional as they have made wonderful friends over the journey, while some may be in relief that the project is finally completed.

Tips for the last stage of team development – Adjourning:

  • Well, there’s no particular tip for this stage. You can genuinely appreciate the hard work of your team and wish them good luck for the future.

Things You Can’t Ignore When You’re Leading a Team or a Company

We learnt about the stages of team development, and what tips you can adapt to build the best team in the world. Apart from that, here are some things you should keep in mind in the entire process of team building:

1. Keep the purpose clear

As a leader, you have to take decision that are not in favour of some employees. But the best thing to do is to remind them about the motive of the project or organization. Whether you’re a team leader or an employer of an organization, you must make sure the motive is not hurt.

Keeping the purpose clear will help you in decision making. Sometimes what happens is you take decisions that are not easily accepted by a few members. But, you have to make sure they know why you took that decision.

If it helps, involve each member in the decision making process, and let them know why you took that decision. Because there are going to be tons of conflicts, and each time work is affected, there’s a plenty of loss waiting for you.

2. Ground rules are must!

To fulfill the motive of the project, you definitely need some ground rules. Despite every member being different in nature, there are certain rules that must be followed. Like:

  1. Clear communication
  2. Clean reporting
  3. Progress reports
  4. Daily progress reporting
  5. Goal analysis

You can set up ground rules according to project need, but you should be the one who make sure they are followed. To keep everyone on the same page,  You can use time tracking app and project tracking tool to make sure the project is heading in the right direction.

 

3. Let the members make decisions

As a leader, decision making is utmost important. But that doesn’t mean you take every small decision involved in the project. Let your team members take certain decisions. Let the team members take decisions where niche expertise is required.

When team members are given such freedom to decide, they give more efforts in the project and things become brighter.

4. Conflicts are normal, but never avoid them

As we discussed, conflicts are one of the major parts in team building process. They can lead to good connections or bizarre situations. As a leader, you want to make sure conflicts are resolved, and feasible approach is chosen.

But, never make the mistake of ignoring a conflict. It can grow, and turn the table other way round. There might be some situations where it becomes impossible for two people to stand in the same room. So, before things go wild, take charge and help them resolve!

5. Take insights from meetings

Sometimes, in a meeting tons of issues are discussed and it becomes unclear the motive of the meeting in the end. Take a brief of meeting at the end to summarize, so the members stay on the same page.

You can also take feedbacks to improve upcoming meetings. Someone would say “This meeting was about X, but spend 20 minutes in discussing Y.”

Such way, you can use feedbacks to improve further meetups.  

Bottomline

The process of creating and developing a team is one of the most important factors in the success of your project or company. To develop the team in the finest way possible, it is utmost important to understand the stages of team development from the root.

Do let us know your thoughts in these stages of team building, and we will be happy to discuss your ideas.

Cheers!

About The Author

Kashyap is a Digital Marketing Executive at MinterApp – Time & Project Tracking Tool with Invoicing features. As a passionate writer, he loves to write about Small Businesses, Productivity, Problem Solving Strategies, and Digital Marketing Findings. When he is not at work, you’ll see him reading books in some random cafe.

The post Stages of Team Development: A Complete Guide For Leaders appeared first on Keka.

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Despite so many tools available to change the way ineffective systems of performance management works, there are seldom good things said or experienced about them. Everyone has a performance review once or twice a year, but rarely would anyone go out of their way to mention how positive the whole experience is. Because let’s face it, it is mostly not!

What’s so wrong with performance management?

The biggest problem with the way performance management is done is focusing too much on the past. A past that is long gone and a time period, the accurate details of which are impossible to remember. The extreme focus on things of the past makes it an unpleasant activity and experience for both the managers and employees. Focusing too much on the past results in negative outcomes over 30% of the time. Highlighting failures of the past affects the self-esteem of employees and can hurt them emotionally. Employees may also lament that performance reviews focus on parts of recent events that do not highlight their accomplishments. This gets worsened by the fact that managers carry their own subjective bias in their reviews. Peers often know more about employees than their managers. The end result is a system that does not meet its most basic intent of actually improving performance but ends up damaging relationships and perceptions of employees towards their managers and the companies at large.

Because of so many such issues with performance reviews, organizations have been and continue experimenting with a number of fixes. The biggest response has been to eliminate annual reviews altogether and make people management a much more regular process. Other companies have made feedback a part of company culture, with detailed quarterly plans and reports by employees on their activities and results. Employees want regular feedback about their performance and organizations are trying to help employees know how they can continuously improve their performance.

But the solution does not lie in the complete abandonment of annual performance reviews.  A system that has been going on for decades cannot be uprooted and done away with in one review cycle. The answer lies in revamping the old method, aligning it to the needs of the workforce and business objectives, while keeping in mind its original advantages. Below I have listed the top three things that need to be included in this revamp list.

First things first, the performance review system needs to be fair and accurate. Getting judged by a manager who probably has not even invested that much time in the employee is not fair. Similarly, expecting a manager to review his subordinates in a period of one week isn’t fair either. These activities seem like stressful tasks for both parties and are often a one-time event, which makes its validity highly questionable. Reviews should involve multiple perspectives and reliable information over a period of time. This should include inputs from not just managers, but also from peers and even customers.

Secondly, if reviews are to be efficient, the way it is conducted needs to be directed by the right kind of objectives. Most processes involving reviews take an inordinate amount of time, clearly missing the goal. Such a process makes it tiring for everyone to give it importance in addition to their busy schedules. Instead of making reviews a never-ending process of endless paperwork and box-ticking, it should aim at ways of actually improving performance levels of employees.

Lastly, compensation decision is not the only thing why performance reviews are conducted.

Sure, compensation decisions are made on the basis of review meetings, but they are not the reason why reviews exist. Reviews help make people better people and performers, and compensation or salary structure is just a part of this initiative. Culture tops compensation any day and with time, and solely relying on compensation to get a more productive workforce can only be a temporary solution. For benefits that are sustainable over the long run, it needs to go beyond the limits of just salaries. It should include elements of coaching and formal training, to help talent grow and develop into their best versions.

Long story short, reviews are here to stay and new processes of performance management need to focus on remodeling older processes, not abandon it completely. This new system should preserve the best things about the past models and do away with elements that do more damage than good. The needs of a more modern workforce need to be included in the new model so as to make it achieve goals.

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The biggest reasons for motivation at work are recognition, appreciation, and validation. Without these three elements, employees are bound to quit sooner than you can imagine. Focusing too much on strategy and not so much on what employees actually want can end up making zero difference.

There are times when employees go above and beyond their capacity at the workplace. This can be either to finish their own work or helping build a team. If such talented employees making the most impact aren’t recognized by their managers, they will gradually lose their passion to work hard and deliver great results.

Employees have a deep desire for recognition, with 93% hoping to be recognized at least once a quarter. A lack of recognition can cause high levels of disengagement. 76% of millennials said that they would leave their jobs if they felt underappreciated. Another study by Dan Ariely also found that we desire more money to do tasks we are not appreciated for.

Recognition does not always mean spending lots of money to get gift cards or heavy bonuses. Even a slight pat on the back or some positive feedback once in a while can work wonders. Regular feedback gives employees the sense that their progress is being monitored and they are allowed to grow. Employees will be motivated to continue working hard when they feel like they matter. 40% of employees would put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often.

Now that we know the positive effects of regular recognition in the form of feedback, the question is how can managers turn this into a regular affair. The answer is simple – feedback needs to be made an integral and regular part of the culture of an organization, be repeated in order to make it a habit. These will begin with tiny dedicated steps being taken every single day to change behaviors.

Technology can be a great way to make this process of regular feedback more spontaneous and practically doable. Tools that allow not only feedback from managers but also from peers such as a 360-degree performance review tool can also be a great adoption. If an employee or a teammate does exceptionally well and achieves a goal, does a great job in closing a sale or gives a rock-solid presentation, it should act as a cue for people in the team to automatically send out good thoughts or praises.

Another important thing to remember here is to be genuine and descriptive. Giving feedback just for the sake of giving it by using words such as “good work” or “nice move” can give out the impression that you don’t mean what you’re saying. Giving employee feedback will only make sense if you show some genuine concern in making the receiver improve in the areas concerned. Without an inherent interest in ensuring that your subordinate actually improves his/her performance, there is actually no point in giving employee feedback. Like it was highlighted in the beginning of this article, having an authentic and unadulterated interest in the growth of the person you are giving feedback to will be enough for you to be honest and appreciative of the receiver’s emotions. And this will chart out the path for a quality feedback session.

Feedback cannot be vague with ambiguous adjectives such as “great work,” “inspiring,” “not up to the mark” and the like. The feedback needs to be very specific and substantiated with achievements. Ambiguous feedback can be interpreted in a lot of ways. This is why you need to make your point very clearly so that there is no room for confusion. For example, you can say, “You did very well at the conference. We have more than 100 people wanting to talk to us now. I want you to discuss how you achieved this with the rest of the team tomorrow morning to motivate them.”

The great thing about positive feedback is that it is an intangible reward in itself. We need to make it a habit in organizations to help in employee retention.

The post The Single Most Important Habit to Ensure Employee Retention appeared first on Keka.

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The world of business is now obsessed with finding ways to develop a more productive workforce. This is because productivity directly translates into revenues. But when it comes to employee productivity, one issue that goes completely out of the discussion relates to factors that cause employee distraction multiple times a day.

Having too many distractions at work reduce the quality of work, lead to missed deadlines and great losses in revenue. They are the silent but biggest productivity killers which often go completely unaddressed.

Distractions at work are of two kinds. One is created by employees themselves, which are under their control (use of mobile phones, social media, breaks etc.). However, distractions are also caused by other factors which are beyond employee control. The biggest among them is meetings.

The idea of conducting meetings is to build team spirit and coherence in the larger scheme of things. This is among departments as well as within team members of one department. However, most meetings end up being a complete waste of time because they are not well planned. I have personally attended so many meetings which are conducted just for the sake of it. I am sure even you have. There is a general lack of realization that unplanned and unnecessary meetings can lower productivity levels and frustrate employees beyond repair.

There are several problems with inefficiently conducted meetings. First, the presence of one authoritative voice leading the conversation and setting the pace for the rest of the members. This one person is mostly dominating the flow of communication and is also in complete charge of approving or rejecting ideas from other members. There can also be more than one voice, but mostly from people higher in the organizational hierarchy. Such an approach might not make other members in meetings comfortable, as there might be introverts too. The aim of a meeting should be to make everyone comfortable enough to express their opinions, without the fear of being judged. This is what we call psychological safety, one of the biggest indicator of a successful team as per a study by Google.

The second most common problem with meetings is the involvement of too many people. These people just sit through them, without learning or contributing to it at all. 91% of employees admit to daydreaming during meetings and 39% even admit to dozing off! Can you blame them? While they are doing this, they are losing out on precious time that they could be using to finish important tasks at hand. These are the people who are continuously thinking. “Why am I here?” Perhaps this is why 73% of employees have admitted to bringing other work to meetings. It should be remembered that everyone is busy and unless the agenda is immediately relevant to the employee in question, there is no need to involve everyone.

Meetings take up 15% of companies’ time on an average and the benefits of these meetings remain questionable. Every such distraction, no matter how brief, comes at a price paid by companies in terms of hours of lost productivity and increased stress. According to a survey by Atlassian, 31 hours are spent in unproductive meetings per month. Every minute wasted in a meeting is a cost to the company conducting it. If you are to believe it, companies are estimated to lose over $75 million a year due to poor meetings!

Companies need to start measuring and setting goals for lowering the total amount of time teams spend on meetings. Managers need to ask how they can make meetings the most effective and value worthy. They need to ask if they are even necessary or can be replaced with quicker and far more effective ways to communicate. Asking team members for their inputs could be a way to start making meetings more streamlined.

The post This Everyday Workplace Element is Killing Employee Productivity appeared first on Keka.

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Not all employees are going to be great performers. Even great performers sometimes experience a slack due to a variety of reasons. Low employee productivity is not good for businesses. But at the same time, it is inevitable. But how can managers deal with poor performers?

There is no single answer to this question. This is because there is no one single way to determine or find a solution to resolve the issues related to poor employee performance. This is why managers get uncomfortable dealing with poor performing team members. But no matter how uncomfortable it gets, it needs to be dealt with on an immediate basis.

Here is a step by step way to deal with employees whose performance has not been optimal.

  1. Question your sources

The first question to answer for any manager is the reliability of the source from which the information of poor performance has been derived. Relying on staff members might not be the best way to judge the performance of an employee. It has been documented that extensive employee manipulation of feedback ratings has occurred in companies using a 360-degree feedback for performance evaluation including GE, IBM, and Amazon. It needs to be based on objective information, and not on subjective opinions.

Instead of directly jumping to conclusions related to the employee’s poor performance, the following two key questions need to be asked:

  • Has the employee been unable to meet his targets or deadlines over a long period of time?
  • Is the employee making too many blunders, despite constant supervision?

Answering these questions will make the start of the analysis non-personal and purely professional.

  1. Analyze reasons for poor performance

Poor performance is most often a result of a variety of causes. Whatever the cause might be, it needs to be evaluated. The way to do it is to sit with the concerned employee and communicate. Robust and effective communication is often the solution to most problems.

Find out if the employee is going through any of the following:

  • An overload of work or a complete lack of work
  • Issues with colleagues
  • Personal issues
  • Change in the type of work

Try and find out if the sudden slack in performance can be attributed to any of the above factors. Set the tone for a human and informal conversation with the employee. Listen for most of the time, asking questions when absolutely necessary. Considering the needs of your employees will make them feel better about the situation as well.

  1. High key issues through detailed feedback

It is important that employees feel like their contribution matters when it comes to their work. Whenever their performance is not optimal, managers should reassure them of their importance and how their work impacts the overall business. Managers need to be completely honest and genuine in their endeavor to do this.

At the same time, the key issues where the employee is lacking also need to be clearly highlighted. An accusation is not the way to take here. Under consequences of poor performance need to be stated clearly. This needs to be backed by proper evidence that proves the employee’s poor records. For example, if the employee has been missing work a lot lately or coming in late, attendance records need to be shown. Every feedback needs to be specific and elaborate, to give maximum clarity.

  1. Make way for the employee to participate

Employee feedback is always a two-way street. A manager cannot define each and every route to be taken by an employee. A manager can coach, guide and supervise, but an employee needs to be able to work independently. This can only be possible when employees have a say in what they do.

Once managers have a detailed conversation about the causes of poor performance with the employee, they need to help employees participate in suggesting ways to do better in the future. Even if the manager lays out a path and formulates a plan of performance improvement, the employee needs to agree and be comfortable with it. Forcing things down can seem authoritative and might even lead o rebellious behavior. The focus should be to arrive at a mutual agreement to a plan, and deadlines set to it.

  1. Hold regular reviews for updates

It all does not end at laying down plans. Managers need to hold regular one on ones to check on the progress of the deadlines being assigned to the employee. This will make employees more accountable. Guidance and coaching should be offered at various stages whenever needed, but also shouldn’t be excessive. Managers need to find that right balance to motivate employees and keep them on their toes.

Performance support tools should be made available to employees at various stages to help them navigate their ways themselves. Offer them tools that can help them be better at their jobs. For example, offer them a free training on a particular function or give them access to a walkthrough for a core process. Technology can be valuable in empowering employees.

  1. Reward improvements

According to a study by Pavel Vosk, a Washington-based business, and management consultant, the biggest contributor to demotivation is a lack of recognition for extra effort.

Rewards and recognition are what we all crave for at the end of a hard day’s labor. It gives validation to our work, which acts as a motivating boost to more hard work later. It also gives a sense of purpose to what employees do day in and day out. Rewards such as bonuses, perks, monetary vouchers can work. But it need not always be something related to money. Small gestures can also go a long way. Always give due recognition to high performers in front of their colleagues. Be genuine and substantiate it with examples.

These steps are for employees who have been there for a while and suddenly start showing signs of underproductivity. There will, of course, be cases where some employees will not respond to any of the above efforts. In such a case, a strict decision needs to be made. Bur for all those employees who are not lacking somewhere, but actually going through something else need to be given a second or a third chance.

The post 6 Ways To Deal With Poor Performers appeared first on Keka.

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How Leaders Can Turn an Underperforming Employee into a SuperstarKalpana AryaMay 1, 2018
What really determines your success in the leadership role?

The number of assignments you have handled successfully till now, or the attitude of your co-workers (yes, co-workers! Great leaders don’t just supervise but work with the team) towards the work at hand.

Inspiring your co-workers is as important as developing managerial effectiveness. Your strategic thinking and decision-making abilities should inspire others to take up more challenging assignments, and have a positive impact on themselves, the team and the organization.

Employees may feel detached at work for multiple reasons – Resistance to change, overwhelming workload, nagging boss, unsupportive colleagues, etc. Many business owners make the mistake of immediately re-evaluating the position of underperforming employees with the company. However, the sign of true leadership lies in getting things done even by a team of demotivated employees.

It’s time to analyse what can be done to motivate your employees. Tech innovations in the form of HR management solutions can help corporate leaders transform underperforming employees into superstars. Keka HR management software can be used for assigning daily tasks, tracking performance, managing training requirements and making the review process effective. From acquiring new talent through collaborative hiring to nurturing and managing talent with 360-degree review and constant feedback, Keka software makes every process smooth and efficient. This software provides opportunity even in the middle of underperformance.

All you need is the right HR management solution and these tested strategies to transform underperformers into superstars.

1. Understand the Dynamics Within the Team

Don’t rush to judgement. Understand different factors that are at play and affecting the performance of your team. Start by getting to know each person within your team in terms of their strengths and the opportunities they are eyeing on. Understanding the dynamics within the team is important to know what impacts the performance of employees.

2. Develop the Feeling of Camaraderie in the Team

As a leader, you need to take proactive steps to develop the bond of trust and keep every team member motivated towards achieving the organizational goal. Be more present in team meetings and take an active part in overcoming performance hurdles of every employee. Express the interest in the progress of every individual and the team by showing up more at the time when they need directions from you.

3. Link Employee Activities to Organizational Strategy & Goals

Employees often feel detached at work when they have no idea how they are adding to the larger organizational strategy. So, why not take a proactive approach and illustrate the impact of individual performance on peers, customers and stakeholders. This can have a positive impact on the way employees address tasks at hand.

Moreover, your employees need support and timely training to explore new ways of working and achieve more. When employees lack the required skills and knowledge to deliver in the changing work environment, they cannot perform as expected.

4. Make Employee Behaviour Align with Organizational Vision

While detailed and timely feedback will keep employees engaged at work, rewards and recognition will help in sustaining the positive behavior. When you recognize performers in the team, you reinforce your expectations to other employees, at the same time. This way, you end up aligning the behavior of your employees with the broader organizational vision.

5. Use Positive Framing

Employees are likely to perceive a new assignment as an unsurmountable task. It’s up to you how you frame that view into a positive one. By being genuine to employees in all the work-related conversation, you can present even a new challenge in a positive light. Positive framing isn’t the denial of current challenges, but it’s a perception that there is more to the outcome than to the present situation. This perspective helps in changing the outlook of underperforming employees. They start seeing opportunities in every assignment at their disposal.

6. Instigate Positive Stress

Not all stress is bad. Positive stress helps employees feel capable and fully engaged at work. Even recent scientific researches affirm this fact that positive stress release adrenaline, which increases the blood flow and promotes action.

As a mentor, you can instigate the positive stress in employees by holding them to higher standards and asking for more. At the same time, you need to provide support to help them get there. As long as the stress is not overwhelming, employees can work with a sense of purpose and meet expectations.

7. Create a Fail-Forward Culture

With every challenge comes the risk of failure. No one would brave a new challenge if it carries with it the threat of punishment upon failure. Instead, focus on imbibing the fail-forward culture in which failures are acceptable. Failures can help employees learn new lessons and foster innovation in ways to achieve desired results.

8. Be Prepared to Make Some Tough Decisions

At the end, you may try all these efforts and still some folks fail to deliver. In those situations, you need to take some tough decisions like terminating consistent underperformers for the good of the team.

About The Author

Kalpana Arya is a passionately vociferous writer who eats, drinks and sleeps words. She is working with Techjockey. A self-confessed tea-lover, she loves to travel and explore new vistas.

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Companies spend over $720 million each year on employee engagement initiatives. Organizations have realized the direct correlation between a highly engaged workforce and successful businesses. However, the results are still not right. This is because the wrong element is being tried to get fixed.

Engagement is a result of a host of factors which is why it cannot be treated as a sole metric. Engagement is a state of mind among employees – the way they view their work, how they feel at work and about their colleagues. All these are thoughts that are formed over a period of months or years. The walk taken hence needs to be in the opposite route to see the kind of external influences that shape the mind of the employees.

The solution lies in your culture.

If your employees are disengaged, the reason is that their thoughts and preferences do not align with your culture. Your workplace culture defines the values and principles it upholds and translates into its products, services, interactions with clients and peers. A fundamentally flawed picture of this can lead to employees being confused about their own visions, let alone the organization’s goals. Such feelings will one day make them quit.

If culture is not paid importance to, it can create barriers towards engagement. For example, if people know that their initiatives are not going to be valued before the layers of approval are sought after, they will not be motivated to go about their ideas. If culture interferes with the success of employee initiatives, it will create an unhappy workforce.

The answer does not lie in offering attractive benefits or giving free lunches. What matters is if the culture is aligned to create a motivated and happy workforce.

Workplace engagement cannot be forced through some random initiative using the best in class technology. If you want to ensure a great level of employee commitment, passion, and loyalty towards work and company, engagement needs to be ingrained in your business and everyday life of employees.

Here are some ways to start:

  1. Hire right

This is the most crucial element to ensure you start right from the very beginning. Cultural values of each company are carefully crafted and they need to be adhered to at all stages of an employee lifecycle. Whenever hiring takes place, the most important aspect to consider about a candidate apart from the role fit is the cultural fit. It is highly possible that an employee who has great past work experience and records might not feel connected to the vision of a company. While a person with lesser experience with a tremendous passion and connection to the company’s beliefs and goals can be the right choice. It is up to the leaders to figure this out at the very start so that the beginning of the journey itself is well thought out, with cultural values given the most preference to over other aspects of recruitment. Similarly, the candidates should also be asked if they feel a profound connection to the company or not.

An example of a company that does it is Zappos. Zappos has a cultural fit interview. New employees are hired for a week to see for themselves if they think they will be a good fit. Employees can train for a week and decide if they actually feel connected to the vision and mission of Zappos or not. If the new employees do not see a connection, they are offered $2000 to quit after the first week of training. The ones that stick after the first week are the true cultural fits. Zappos believes that when the company culture is tunes right, great customer service and a great brand will happen on its own.

  1. Onboard right

Once the best cultural fit has been hired, the next is to onboard right. Onboarding doesn’t mean a day of goodies and introductions. Onboarding is training, and like training, it is a process rather than a one-day event. A good onboarding program is crucial as it gives the new hire a handle over his responsibilities. During this, pay attention to how you are promoting your organization’s culture through the work at hand. Do not abandon them once they are hired.

Onboarding helps employees get a good grasp of their role and how their contribution matters in the larger scheme of things. This helps them define their sense of purpose, which keeps them motivated. Onboarding should be with senior members of the team as well as a warm welcome by peers. Goals should be clearly defined so that there is absolute clarity and no room for frustration or confusion. Welcome questions and ensure a mentor is assigned for feedback as well as clarifications, as and when they arise. Open communication should also be deemed as a value so that employees can voice their concerns and offer their ideas.

  1. Focus on goal management

Goal management is an extremely crucial part of performance management. Without clear goals, employees will be left confused and directionless. And just laying down goals is not the answer. Managers also need to be available for their employees as and when the need arises. Be it providing learning tools for employees, coaching them on real issues, recognizing and rewarding employee performance in formal and informal ways or offering genuine feedback on activities. Only when managers define all these strategies clearly can they help contribute to achieving organizational goals.

For effective goal management to take place, hierarchy also needs to be minimized. According to David Greenberg, Founder, and CEO at Updater, unnecessary management layers serve to diminish everyone’s connection to their team goal. Setting specific and challenging goals consistently leads to higher performance. Just telling people to do their best can work till a limit. Goals need to be higher in the effort and that will most likely generate the greatest level of performance.

  1. Reward and recognize employees

According to a study by Pavel Vosk, a Washington-based business, and management consultant, the biggest contributor to demotivation is a lack of recognition for extra effort.

Rewards such as bonuses, perks, monetary vouchers can work. But it need not always be something related to money. Small gestures can also go a long way. Always give due recognition to high performers in front of their colleagues. Be genuine and substantiate it with examples.

There is no one single way to this. Recognition can range from being an email expressing gratitude to walking towards your employee’s desk and thanking him on behalf of the entire office. You can also hold sessions where you can give some sort of a badge or a certificate of appreciation to those who outshine on a regular basis. Whatever is the way you choose, make sure you do it.

  1. Continually develop your employees

Employees want to grow continuously in their professional career and they want to be involved in organizations which understand this aspiration of theirs. 87% of millennials say development is important in a job. Career growth is the biggest contributor to higher retention levels for employees in today’s day and age.

With the massive rise in the manufacture and use of mobile devices and the internet, knowledge can be accessed at the click of a button. Employees want to be actively learning and on-demand training and access to a pool of rich content are what can keep them satisfied. Training delivered across mediums and devices, along with flexible learning opportunities can give them the assurance that their organizations deeply cares about for their professional development and contribute to employee engagement.

  1. Show empathy

According to the 2017 Businesssolver Workplace Empathy Monitor, 85% employees agree that empathy is often undervalued by their employer. Empathy as a value has gone ignored in organizations Understanding the feelings and needs of a workforce is the key to driving a better workplace experience.

Empathy and compassion are prerequisites to positive employee engagement. Empathetic leaders listen intently to what actually affects people and provide them the complete liberty to express their concerns. They try to understand people by putting themselves in other’s shoes from a neutral perspective, without letting judgment or an ulterior motive guide them. This helps them understand people better and interact accordingly. Being genuine in this entire process is a must as employees also understand the difference between fake interest and actual attachment. The amount of mutual trust should be high, with no elements of micromanaging or hierarchy disrupting the true nature of things.

Being empathetic means to be able to listen to employee concerns, not to agree to all of them. It means for managers and leaders to be available and approachable for discussion. When this happens, employees feel more comfortable and belonged. This makes them more committed to achieving excellence in their field.

Start small by looking at the larger picture, but starting with the small aspects. Hire right, trust your employees and make them accountable for their own achievements. This will help you end up with a happier workforce.

The post Walking Backward in Creating a Culture of Employee Engagement appeared first on Keka.

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Employee Happiness – It’s the Little Things That MatterBhaswati BhattacharyyaApr 24, 2018
The way employees view work has seen a massive shift in the last couple of years.

A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.

~ John Ruskin

Work is a place where employees spend so much time on a daily basis. It takes away most of our thoughts and energies for the day. We also attach our sense of purpose to what we do. All this makes it essential for a workplace to be a happy place.

A healthy work environment also matters to the workforce because employees spend 44 hours on an average of work in one week. That’s almost as much time they spend sleeping in a week! Keeping employees healthy and active is, therefore, a prerequisite these days. Offering employee wellness programs and giving employees that extra option to unwind and relax is what is demanded. This needs to be supported by constant career growth and professional development through training and mentoring, doing work that actually inspires them, having flexible work hours and schedule and the scope for a long vacation.

Companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20%!

Thankfully, with the rise of social media and a completely new generation of workforce, workplace well being is a badge of honor for companies everywhere. The values and culture of a workplace are transparent, with organizations trying their best to prove how their culture sets them apart. Culture remains as one of the biggest attraction for hiring and retaining new talent and also one of the biggest factors candidates look at when they research about a company. Social media platforms such as Glassdoor can make or break companies on the basis of reviews. The lists LinkedIn and Fortune take out once in a year about the best places to work at are looked at with pride and set benchmarks each and every year for the rest.

Smaller companies have employees who feel more connected to each other, the founders and the goals and visions of the company. This becomes a real challenge when companies grow. With a large number of employees, divisions, and locations, it becomes harder for a purpose-driven company to find ways to ensure everyone is happy, everyone feels valued and recognized. This makes it all the more important to break down employee happiness initiatives into smaller blocks, making each and every manager accountable for achieving a truly engaged workforce.

36% of employees would give up $5000 a year in salary to be happier at work.

Airbnb is one such company that has constantly remained on top of the best companies to work on the list. It ranked #15 on Linkedin’s top 50 companies to work for in 2018. Mark Levy, Global Head of Airbnb’s Employee Experience team shares how employees are a true part of the culture, be it designing their own office spaces, getting long breaks every year to rejuvenate and recharge themselves and also offering employees an integrated life. They believe in letting people do what they love and love what they do. This offers what employees crave for in today’s world –  a sense of purpose, development opportunities through training as well as a clear path for advancement.

Fitting into the culture and values that a company upholds is of utmost importance to be able to have a workforce that is engaged. Zappos is another such company that pays heed to this necessity by hiring right. They have a cultural fit interview. New employees are hired for a week and see for themselves if they think they will be a good fit. Employees can train for a week and decide if they actually feel connected to the vision and mission of Zappos or not. If the new employees do not see a connection, they are offered $2000 to quit after the first week of training. The ones that stick after the first week are the true cultural fits. Zappos believes that when the company culture is tunes right, great customer service and a great brand will happen on its own.

There are many more such companies that are achieving the highest standards when it comes to ensuring employee happiness. Just like how companies put thought into building products that provide solutions to customers and make them happy, employee motivation strategies also require deep focus. Employees need a real-world understanding of how their individual contribution impact and touch people’s lives. Make sure you tell them that they matter more often.

About The Author

Bhaswati Bhattacharyya is a Product Marketer at Keka, an employee experience HR platform. Passionate about economics, Bhaswati also loves storytelling. She has a keen interest in start-ups, food and travel. In her ‘me time’ she picks up fiction novels, tries different cuisines or explores routes to less-traveled places on the world map. Get in touch with her @Bhaswatibh

The post Employee Happiness – It’s the Little Things That Matter appeared first on Keka.

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PAYROLL 1. Ability to Add Multiple Level Approval Chain for Expenses

Now user can add Approval Levels for the Expense Claims at the Policy Level.

Path: Settings>>Expenses>> Edit/Add New

2. Ability to Manage Expenses from Inbox

Now the employee added to the Approval Chain of Expense can manage the Expense requests from Inbox.

The details like Amount, Date of Expense, Kilometers, etc. can be edited by the Approver while approving the Expense Request by clicking on Edit icon as shown below:

3. Employment Status Filter in Current Salary Structure Report

Now we have the option to filter the employment status and pull out the report for working and relieved employees separately or for all the employees.

4. Multi-Level Approval Chain for Loans

Now user can add multiple levels for loan requests. And the system does not allow to save the configuration if Payroll Admin role is not added to any of the levels.

Path: Settings>>Payroll>>Loan Settings

5. Ability to Manage Loan Requests from Inbox

Now the employee added to the Approval Chain of Loans can manage the Loan requests from Inbox.

The fields that are shown when approver clicks on an Action button varies based on their role.

  • If the Approver does not have any access to the Financial information then the following fields will be shown.(other than payroll admin/global admin/HR Manager)
    Loan Amount, Repayment term, Loan Released Date(Expected On date), Loan EMI starts from will be shown as shown in below image and those fields can be edited while approving the requests. The default values given in Loan settings will be auto-filled in remaining fields.

  • If the approver is having access to the Financial information then all the fields that are required to create the Loan will be shown.(i.e. Loan Amount, Repayment term, Loan Released Date(Expected On date), Loan EMI starts, Interest rate, Interest Calculation, Disbursal Mode and can be edited while approving the loan request.

6. Expense Claim with Break up Report

This report shows the breakup of expenses submitted by the employee between the selected date ranges. It will show all the Submitted, Approved, Paid, In approval Process and Rejected Claims.

Path: Payroll>>Reports>>Expense Claim Breakup Report

7. Opening and Closing Lines in F&F Statement

Now user can add opening and closing lines and those will be shown in Full and Final Settlement document.

To configure this navigate to the path: Settings>>Payroll>>F&F Statement

The added lines will be shown in full and final settlement statement as below.

8. Ability to Show Exit Comment in Exit related Reports

The comments given by privileged users while initiating the exit for an employee will be shown in the below Places:

  • Employees>>Exits>>In Progress/Completed/Cancelled
  • Employees>>Attrition Employee Report
  • Employees>>Employee Master Details Report

Bug Fixes:

1. Fixed tax calculation for ‘Let-out-Property’ under Section 24. Initially, the system was limiting the Interest on Housing Loan to Rs.2,00,000\- for calculating the Tax exempted amount for Let out property. But there is no limit for that and the limit was for calculating the loss/gain for house property.

2. Ability to override declarations when imported with zero. Now by using the Import admin can override all the declarations made by the employee with Zero. This will update all the declarations irrespective of their state(i.e. both Approved, Waiting for Approval). This is done by using Investment Declaration import.

3. Fixed arrears calculation when there are multiple salary revisions for the employee. There was an issue in calculating the arrear amount if there are multiple revisions made for an employee with the same effective date. Now it is fixed.

4. Showing LOP days in decimal only if the employee has Lop value in Decimal. From now onwards, the Paydays and Loss of paydays will be shown in decimal only if the Lop is in decimal otherwise absolute value will be shown.

5. Fixed issues occurred while generating Form-24Q for quarter four.

6. Ability to hold the Salary by reporting manager for newly assigned reportees.

7. Fixed showing of approvers for Expense Policy if timesheet feature is not enabled.

8. Fixed Issue of showing Projected values in Income tax sheet if the settlement is done with Pay action as Already Paid and now proper values will be shown in Employee Income Tax sheet, Income Tax Reports and Form-16.

CORE HRIS 1. HELP DESK

Now User can raise their issues as tickets from Keka over their organisation and can get their queries and issues solved and answered internally for which category the ticket is been raised.

Adding Ticket Category with a default assignee: 

On raising a ticket of the particular category the ticket will assign to the default assignee employee.

Where every ticket can be able to update by Global Admin, HR Manager, HR Executive at any point of time irrespective of the category assignment.

Path: Settings >> Employees >> Helpdesk

How an employee can raise a ticket:

Every user can raise ticket and can check the status of those from Open & Closed tickets tabs.

Tickets assigned to them are been listed under Assigned to me section where user take necessary action like changing category and status of the ticket.

2. Ability to Create or Update Folders under Employee Documents

Now we have provided the user with an ability to create or update folders under employee documents and add, manage document types under them.

Employees can provide related information under these documents through their profile.

The path to set up the folders to be shown in Employee Documents: Settings >> Employees >> Documents >> Employee Documents

3. Ability to Manage Organization Documents

We have now added an ability to create or update folders under organization documents and add, manage document types under them. Employees can view organization documents uploaded by admin on their documents page.

Path: Employees >> Documents >> Organization Documents

LEAVES 1. The ability for Reasoning while Rejecting a Leave Request

Now we have given the approver an ability to give a reason for leave rejection.

2. Ability to Restrict Maximum Consecutive Days for Applying for Leave

Now the user can define the maximum number of leave balance that can be availed in a month, specific to leave type. This leave can be availed in one instance or multiple instances, but should not exceed the max. threshold defined.

Path: Settings >> Leaves & Holidays >> Edit Leave Type >> Leave Restrictions

3. Ability to Ignore Half day Leave taken by an Employee when there’s Sandwich Policy

By setting this rule, any half day leaves accompanying week-off or holiday from the corresponding setting, will not be considered under the sandwich rule.

4. Implemented Email Notification to RM, HR Manager, HR executive when Employee’s leave Request is Cancelled Bug Fixes:

1. Fixed leave approval issues from homepage dashboard, per payroll actions, year-end processing. There was an error when tried to take actions on any leave request from homepage dashboard, per payroll actions, year-end processing. This is fixed.

2. Fixed leave accrual when there’s experience accrual configured.

3. Fixed issue of leave request getting auto approved when it is edited.

4. Fixed issues of approval, cancelling comp-off.

ATTENDANCE 1. Ability for Admin/RM to Add Time Entries on Holidays or Week-offs

Admin/RM can add time entries for employees on full day week-off or holiday. Previously, it was available only for half day week-off and a working day

2. Implemented Multilevel Approval Chain for all Attendance Requests

We have now implemented multilevel approval chain for all attendance requests i.e, Attendance adjustments, Remote clock-in, WFH, OD. Users can define any number of approver levels for each of the attendance requests in corresponding capture schemes.

Path: Settings >> Time & Attendance >. Attendance Capture Scheme

3. Ability to Manage all Attendance Requests from Inbox

Now the employee added to the Approval Chain of attendance can manage the attendance requests from Inbox.

Bug Fixes:

1. Fixed issue of exporting remote clock-in requests report.

2. Fixed issue of showing incorrect shift time. Previously, if there’s a new shift created with new timings, it was updating old version shift timings, this is fixed now.

3. Fixed issue of showing incorrect shift name in employee job tab. Previously, older version name of the shift was viewed in employee job tab. Now this issue is fixed.

TIMESHEET 1. Option to Import Tasks from Saved Timesheets

Now the employee can import any number of tasks from saved timesheet weeks so that he need not enter same tasks in every week again. Tasks entered in one week can be copied to various weeks, he can choose all tasks or few of them from the pop-up.

Bug Fixes:

1. Fixed issue while invoicing & downloading invoice.

The post Keka Monthly Update – April 2018 appeared first on Keka.

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The ultimate aim of performance management is to improve employee performance and productivity which helps organizations reap the benefits of a highly productive workforce. Organizations everywhere are struggling with this. This is highly unsettling given the amount of time leaders, managers and HR professionals spend on measuring employee performance. According to a Gallup report in 2016, Accenture estimated spending over 2 million hours on performance evaluations alone. What is the point of so much effort if the ultimate goal of improving performance and a higher ROI is not being met?

A lot of organizations have seen this wastage and realized the loss they are facing. Many organizations have chosen to even put an end to this by discontinuing annual reviews. But is this the solution? Without understanding the current problems of an existing system, will running towards a new one be actually helpful?

One of the main reasons why performance management continues to fail is because too much emphasis is given to measurement, rather than development. This is done despite the fact that development is key to ensuring successful performance management initiatives. Somewhere in the middle of reviews, calculations, and meetings, the role of development goes completely missing. Performance management becomes a mandatory activity, rather than a carefully thought out process to help bring about a change in people’s behavior.

Performance development cannot be brought about by just changing the way annual reviews are conducted. It is much deeper and requires a fundamental shift in the culture of organizations. Such initiatives aim at changing the way work is viewed by employees and how work happens within and across teams. It requires managers to be extra proactive and see themselves as coaches, not bosses.

Passionate and dedicated managers can single-handedly create a huge impact on ensuring the success of performance management in organizations.

Unfortunately, managers who operate within the confines of traditional performance management systems have struggled to inspire and develop their employees. They have not been given the tools or guidance from top leadership to help them set clear goals for their employees, give consistent and regular feedback or making sure evaluation as a process is deemed fair by employees. Organizations need to coach their managers to fill up these huge developmental gaps and make performance management actually work for organizations.

Setting clear expectations

Setting clear expectations for employees drives what we know as “intrinsic motivation.” When employees can see the value that their contribution can have towards a much higher cause, they are more than willing to do their best. Clear goals and regular coaching to achieve these goals are key to driving this intrinsic motivation.

Effective goal setting, however, continues to be a distant dream for organizations. This is coupled with the failure to help employees achieve those goals through coaching and feedback. Despite an abundance of research on how goal clarity and progress monitoring is an essential part of successful performance management practices, managers are mostly unaware of best practices.

Setting clear goals is not just about a job description. It reflects tasks that an employee has to carry out on a day to day basis for the achievement of short-term and long-term goals. It requires clear-cut roads mutually set out for each employee and his specific job role. This is not a reality as research by Gallup suggests that only 41% of employees strongly agree that their job description aligns well with the work they do. Those to strongly agree with this statement are 2.5 times more likely than other employees to be engaged.

Employees might feel frustrated and aimless when their managers fail to guide them to connect to their role to the bigger picture. This is worse for the millennial generation who want a job that feels meaningful. Without a clear sense of purpose, engagement levels drop and employees leave. The cost of replacing these employees and re-hiring talent is another huge cost to organizations.

30% of employees strongly agree their manager involves them in goal setting. These employees are nearly 4 times more likely to be engaged than other employees.

~ Gallup

Just laying down goals is not the answer. Managers also need to be available for their employees as and when the need arises. Be it providing learning tools for employees, coaching them on real issues, recognizing and rewarding employee performance in formal and informal ways or offering genuine feedback on activities. Only when managers define all these strategies clearly can they help contribute to achieving organizational goals.

Long story short – the best managers always set clear expectations. No one likes to work with a manager who is not clear about larger goals or how to achieve them as a team. Ad hoc work arrangement and goal setting, and measuring employee performance on the basis of that could be a recipe for disaster. Employees need to be made aware of their company’s strategic objectives. This will help get clearer results.

Choosing to coach over bossing

According to research from Leadership IQ, employees should be spending six hours per week interacting with their leaders. Regular engagement with managers is crucial to understand where employees stand and also help them improve. The same study found that employees who spend six hours per week with managers are 29% more inspired, 30% more engaged, 16% more innovative and 15% more intrinsically motivated than those who spend only one hour per week.

But how successful are organizations in actually making sure employees and managers meet? Lack of time and overburdened with work is a common sight everywhere that prevents this from happening.

Employees who receive daily feedback from their manager are 3 times more likely to be engaged than those who receive feedback once a year or less.

~ Gallup

This needs to change as employees cannot just meet managers at the time of setting goals and then directly at the time of review. This entire gap has very little formal guidance give and take. This is why most employees are left in the dark about their performance. This leads to confusion and frustration. What employees want is an increased attention from managers, with continuous guidance on what goals to achieve and how to achieve them. Employees want coaches and mentors who can contribute towards their professional growth.

Gallup has found that employees who strongly agree they have had conversations with their manager in the past six months about their goals and successes are 2.8 times more likely to be engaged. Regular one-on-ones are a great way of facilitating open conversations between managers and employees. Managers should do a thorough research on what the employee has been handling in the last couple of weeks and prepare open-ended questions for the same.

Creating accountability

Employees who strongly agree that their manager holds them accountable for their performance are 2.5 times more likely to be engaged.

~ Gallup

Accountability is critical to achieving high performance. Till the time an employee is not willing to take full responsibility for fulfilling the needs of a job successfully, he will not give it his 100%. Without accountability, establishing expectations or spending time coaching or giving feedback is also a waste. This is why effective performance development should require managers and employees sit regularly to review progress.

In order to be accountable, employees need to feel like they have control and ownership of tasks. If employees have no control over the way their performance is measured by a manager one fine day, he might feel like the entire process as being unfair and inaccurate. Performance metrics are mostly not under an employee’s control which makes the measurement questionable. With the current scheme of things, employees are held accountable for work that they don’t always have the tools to support or accomplish successfully or work that they were never asked their opinions on.

One way to create more accountability among employees is by conducting progress reviews where managers and employees equally contribute to creating opportunities, prioritizing tasks collaboratively and determining and changing goals as required. These goals should be achievement oriented, fair and contribute to the learning and development of the employee. These reviews also need to discuss winning moments of employees and build self-confidence and motivation through recognition and pats on the back. Employees will be more likely to own their performance if their managers get them excited about what they can achieve and how good they are with what they do. Failure and difficult feedback also need to raised in ways that do not undermine employees but make them better learners.

Thoughts, comments or feedback? Let us know in the comments section!

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