Thursday, February 25, 2010

Development of Your Employees

Tough Times – Better Leadership

Tough economic conditions usually demand the need for most human resource departments to change their strategies and focus on the immediate needs like layoffs, hiring and wage freezes, reduction in benefits, and more. These are the same quick fix measures that have been used every time we slip into a downsizing mode or economic recession.

Maybe it is time for Human Resources to try alternative measures to contribute to the business objectives of the company rather than just using a band-aid that doesn’t fit. If we really believe that our people are our most valuable resource, then why are we not more concerned with the development of our future leaders and retaining our good to great employees, particularly our middle managers? For any company to weather this storm, it must develop its high potential employees and improve the productivity of its already high-achieving workforce.

Let’s just focus on two premises. The first is that employee development is the ultimate responsibility for any manager working in any organization. Those that focus on stretching people toward their potential will be the most successful managers moving forward and always have been. Second, improving individual performance and development drives business performance and result in improved organizational effectiveness. Now is the time that all Human Resource professionals need focus on their people development, succession planning, and goal-orientation.

Most people realize that being effective is more important then being efficient. HR must demonstrate how people development can produce the desired results in good times and bad. Most employees, including the HR Department, spend the majority of their time working on tasks and events that mean very little to the business strategy of the company. All employees need to spend more time on their roles and responsibilities that make a difference in the company’s achievement.

There has never been a better time to demonstrate the return of investment to your executive management team by developing the potential and leadership abilities of your people. People are your most valuable resource. It is more important than ever that the employee is viewed as a “Total Leader” and their potential growth and development is what will enable us to weather this storm and be more successful in the future.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Small Business Desired Outcomes

It has always been my philosophy to focus on the desired outcome and then determine a plan of action that will ensure business success in relation to that goal or objective. It is apparent that most businesses do not focus on the desired outcome since the majority of employees are not focused on the strategy of the company.

It is imperative that employers focus on their talent management but which of the talent management areas do we focus on first, hiring and selection, retention, engagement, or development? Forget about all the talent management trends and recommended solutions. Create an employee engagement vehicle that will provide the opportunity for the employee to focus on the strategically developed outcomes.

So, what are the challenges facing your organization in the next year or so? Do the majority of your company or corporate challenges center around revenue generation, systematic cost reduction in operating expense, profitability, customer maintenance, etc.?

Now that we understand the company or corporate challenges and we have formulated a strategy to overcome those challenges to provide the desired outcome in terms of revenue, cost reduction, personnel succession, or profitability, isn’t that when we should provide a talent management assessment.

I find that most HR Professionals either are not asking themselves the following questions or they are not being asked by the executives of their company or corporation to provide answers for those questions.

- “Do our employees feel connected to this strategically developed plan of action?” I would review the process to determine if clearly defined goals were established and how far down the organizational chart have they been presented and understood.

- “Do we have the right people in the right places to allow us to accomplish our goals and objectives moving forward?”

- “Do we have turnover concerns at any or all levels within the organization, particularly the front line?”

- “Do we have any key employees leaving the organization over the next twelve months and what does our succession plan look like with those positions?”

There is a real disconnect. When are companies or corporations going to realize that the strength of their organization is based on the strengths of the individual employee? We have not only lost focus of the desired outcome, we have lost focus on what will allow us to grow and to sustain this growth moving forward. It is the strengths of our people from the latest hire to the most senior officer.

So HR Professionals, what does your executive summary and recommendations for implementation of action plans for the strategic development process look like in terms of providing solutions to turnover, engagement, lack of talent or skills, and providing the employee with the needed resources to do the job?

The People Development and Organizational Effectiveness should start with a plan and this plan should be evaluated periodically using an assessment process that tells the company or corporation how they are doing in terms of engagement, skill development, and encouragement using strengths as a basis for success, and sharing information among peers and management to improve communication and outcomes.

The real problem in my opinion is that HR must take a proactive role in the people development and organizational effectiveness and be willing to be measured for achievement in the areas of turnover, retention, engagement, and achievement. Human Resources must exhibit their leadership skills and take charge of maximizing the effectiveness of their employees to achieve the goals and objectives of the company or corporation. Make sure your talent management processes include middle management particularly if they are the hiring manager. Remember to “eat the elephant in small bites” because when we try to eat the whole elephant in one sitting, we tend to have difficulty swallowing”. Start small and look for significant and meaningful results. Focus on the challenges and the talent needed to meet those challenges.

That’s what business is all about.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Are you too blunt?

Take these steps if coworkers and close friends say you come across as blunt and hurt others without knowing it.

  • Watch your choice of words. Don't preface remarks with dismissive or hostile works or phrases. Don't Say for Example: "It's obvious to me . . ." "I don't see how . . ." or "I can't believe . . ."
  • Monitor your tone of voice. Even when your words are positive, your tone can convey hostility. How would you feel if someone said with a sarcastic edge, "That's a great piece of work"? You'd probably take the comment as an insult.
  • Listen to yourself. Many people don't realize that their tone is gruff or negative sounding. One way to tell is to record yourself during a phone conversation. Listen to the take carefully. How do you sound? Friendly? Matter-of-fact? Or is there an unfriendly edge to your voice? Hearing what you sound like to other people can be a revelation. If there's a hostile edge to your voice, you'll need to consciously modify your tone.
- Adapted from "Bluntness," Tony Alessandra

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Delegate More Effectively


Delegation is one of the most valuable training tools available to the manager. A manager must make it a valuable experience for all parties involved.


Delegation can be one of the best motivational tools available to a manager. Providing a developmental plan for an employee is one of the best methods for retaining good employees.

Time Management

Delegation is the key ingredient to time management and allows the manager to concentrate on the important tasks, not just the urgent tasks. The use of a planning and administration system that allows you to track delegated assignments can improve performance and communication.


Delegation can help maximize the interests, strengths, and contribution of both the employee and the team. Stretching the employee can be essential to their growth and development.

Multiplier of Productivity

Delegation can be a multiplier of productivity. Productivity and performance improvement are key components to a results-oriented culture.


Delegation takes planning. Make a special plan for delegation by listing all of your tasks and then creating categories such as the things only I can do, things that can be simplified, things that can be eliminated, and things that can be delegated (Simplify, Eliminate, or Delegate).

Monitor Progress

Delegation must be monitored by providing appropriate feedback with measurable results.

Set Levels

Set levels of delegation and formulate goals to move as many people as possible to the highest level.

Challenge the Potential

Consider delegation to be the greatest challenge for you to develop their potential and to use more of their abilities. Succeeding with these challenges will move the entire organization forward.


Provide feedback on performance and make it a continuous process. Feedback must be given daily, weekly, or monthly. Communication is the key to organizational success in a results oriented culture.