Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why. . .Why. . .Why? The Need to Understand.

By Richard Hohmann

At the most basic level of alignment, companies must make sure that employees understand how the company makes money. Employees need to understand the basic financial facts about not only how the company makes money but how revenue drives profitability, and how cash flow can inhibit growth or how cost reduction can impact success.

Since mid-level managers are the ones left holding the bag in terms of communicating with the workforce and we better make sure that our managers have a high level of business acumen so that the employees can have confidence that the decision making process is based on something more than a gut feeling. Understanding the financial thread that ties everything together in the company better not only be understood but communicated to the employee. The engaged employee wants to know why. Why did we decide to do that, why did we layoff people in our most productive department, why aren’t we advertising in the Wall Street Journal? People want to understand and the best way to get them to understand is to talk the talk – business acumen.

Workers just might start to understand how difficult it is to be successful in reducing costs when healthcare costs have risen in double digits for the past five years, fuel costs have doubled, and fortunately have come back down to a reasonable rate. People need to understand that their performance in their role directly affects the success of the company.

Let’s start talking to and training our Middle Management and employees about Business Acumen, Decision Making, Problem Solving, and basic finances. Provide a real foundation for not only communication, but for action plans and for people development that leads to organizational effectiveness.

It is really getting rough out there and you need to keep your key employees informed. Your employees count on leadership to be the visionary and they want to know what you see as well as what they are reading in the newspaper or hearing on the TV. Now is the time to communicate that the strengths of your people make the difference in organizational effectiveness. We all need to improve our skill-sets and competencies when times get rough but we must understand why we need to do that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Where have All the Leaders Gone?

One financial advisor stated that we are in the middle of a very dark tunnel. If that be the case, I guess I can say that I don’t see light in either direction. The economy has offered some hiccups but no demonstrable change and it does not appear to look like there will be any major change in the very near future. We are in a bail-out mind-set and it is kind of frustrating when most small or even mid-size companies have no real safety net to protect them from making bad decisions. The job market is much worse today than it was even two months ago. So where is the light going to come from?

Possibly the most frustrating thing for leaders and managers is that they have to personally manage the employees so that they stay engaged in their jobs and don’t get distracted by the lack of sunlight. I would go even further to state that much of the leadership prefers to stay in the dark and not come out into the light, if there is any, and address the issues straight forward with their employees.

A recent survey from the public relations firm of Webber Shandwick noted that 71% of workers felt leadership should be communicating more about the current economic conditions and 54% of the workers have not heard anything from their leadership on how these conditions might affect their company and positions. On top of that, it was interesting that almost 75% of the workers said they had heard their colleagues and co-workers talking about the subject, but not the leadership of the company.

Where have all the leaders gone? Maybe they don’t realize that it is a tunnel and mistook the current environment for a cave. I really believe that leadership today is scarce and middle management is being forced again demonstrate that they are the glue holding the worker to the strategy of the company. Engagement is more than having fun in your job. It is an understanding that your contribution is significant in regard to the overall effectiveness of the organization. This engagement process must incorporate the alignment of individual goals with those of the company, demonstrate why performance management can make a difference, and the really great companies focus on their strengths to get them through the rough times and they do this by planning.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action

Do you know what EEO and AA laws really are and how much they can both affect your company? Equal Employment discrimination charges and alleged wrong doing is a reality. Our workshop, on November 13th will teach you have to run a compliant EEO and AA company. Hiring, Promoting, and even project delegation can be a potential litigation. Attend this workshop and stop guessing if you're compliant with these laws, know it.

As mentioned in prior posts, we have a new Senior HR Consultant,
Rose Ludgate. In this 1/2 day workshop she will be teaching you how to attract, develop, and retain people with a mix of talents, experiences, and perspectives.

11/13/08 8:30am-12pm
Location: Marmora, NJ
Registration Fee: $79, includes EEO and AA samples to take to your company.
This 1/2 day workshop is for the business owner, manager, or anyone in a leadership position. Attract, Develop, and Retain people with a mix of talents, experiences, and perspectives.

You will also learn and understand the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. More Info

Register Now