Archive for Business

Low Morale? Here’s What HR Thinks You Want

juan-pablo-galavisWe had a lively monthly meeting yesterday at my local SHRM chapter gathering.  Two teams of 5 were formed – consisting of 4 students from each of our local SHRM student chapters (Louisiana State University and Southern University) plus 1 HR professional.  The teams faced off against each other, Family Feud style, answering with the “most popular answers” in order to win glory, prizes and bragging rights.  Approximately 2 weeks before the meeting, local HR professionals/chapter members were surveyed to gather the top 100 answers to questions including “Most Common Reasons Employees Give for Missing Work” and “Things Candidates Should Not Wear to a Professional Job Interview” (flips flops – shocker! – came in as #1 for that one).

And then we got to “Name a Way to Boost Employee Morale.”  The top ways, as listed by local HR professionals, were:

  • Recognition/Rewards/Appreciation: 28
  • Parties/Company Events: 18
  • Lunch/Picnic: 18
  • Vacation/PTO/Flex Time: 10

What?  No Casual Friday? Cake on your birthday? Employee of the Month parking spot?



Do you know why morale is low at your company?

It’s because your employees are underpaid, overworked, and have no power.

It’s because they aren’t trusted to make decisions.

It’s because you courted them with promises of champagne and endless sunsets and now withhold your love like you’re Juan Pablo at the final rose ceremony.

It’s because you expect your professional, exempt, high-potential employees to sit with their butts-in-chairs in the office even though they could accomplish their work, probably more efficiently, from home or their neighborhood CC’s Coffeehouse.

It’s because you’re inflexible and enjoy pointing to rules and policies as the answer to every query of “why?”

It’s because your Assistant Supervisor of Quality Input Operations was promoted, received no training on how to manage people, and is a total jackhole who rules by fear and intimidation.

It’s because you don’t realize the world of work has changed dramatically since 2001 2011.

It’s because you, Ms/Mr HR Manager, continue to embrace the Human Resources model born from the industrial-age even though we’re living in the social-technology-EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE age.


So yeah.  Go and solve that morale problem by hosting a potluck and throwing a picnic.

And then wonder why you can’t get anyone to have a different view of what HR is all about.

(Photo : The Bachelor – Facebook) The Bachelor.

Using Employee Feedback to Drive Breakthroughs

guy at concert .. armsLast week I teamed up with the folks at ClearPicture to present a webinar on “Using Employee Feedback for Business Improvement.”  As we were speaking to an HR audience we focused on what many in human resources are familiar with – gathering employee feedback as part of an employee engagement survey.

We who work in the HR sphere can scarcely turn around without hearing, reading and talking about employee engagement yet even though we discuss this topic ad nauseum we still struggle to come up with a common definition ourselves; for purposes of the webinar we opted to use a definition from author Kevin Kruse “Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.”

While we used the employee engagement survey as an example our webinar was not about engagement. Rather we talked about how HR professionals should approach any feedback process with a goal of gaining insight that can lead to business breakthroughs. Desired results are organization specific of course and will depend upon one’s industry, customers and organizational strategies.  Organizational goals often include revenue growth or cost-savings but could just as easily be superior project performance, better decisions or even, for government entities or non-profits, how to solve problems that concern citizens/constituents.

Our goal as presenters was to ensure that HR professionals view an employee feedback process in a holistic and enterprise-wide way – whether they have 200, 2,000 or 20,000 employees.

Five Step Process

Clarifying the purpose – At this stage it’s important to set the context and clarify the purpose for gathering feedback.  Answer the when, why and for what reason questions at the outset; include the compelling needs for gathering the data and explain how those needs are tied to organizational goals.

Gathering feedback – Determining the manner in which feedback will be gathered is critical in order to meet the needs of the audience. Several things come into play at this stage including determining the mix/types of questions (i.e., open-ended vs. closed-ended) as well as encouraging employee participation by thinking ‘like a marketer’ – crafting the right message and going to where the employee audience gathers which may include mobile, social or via some sort of gamified technology.

Analyzing the data – For the most part HR practitioners are not trained statisticians but they must put on their statistician hat (or work with someone who can assist them) at this stage in order to accurately review quantitiave vs. qualitative data and also to ensure they don’t fall into traps around causation or correlation or making invalid comparisons between seemingly related pieces of information.

Correlating the data – Remember how we talked about this feedback process having an enterprise-wide focus?  This is the stage where it truly becomes one. HR professionals should look beyond their traditional sources of HR data (HRIS, ATS, LMS, etc.) and link not just HR data and the feedback data but also see how data gathered from other parts of the business fits into the whole.  Questions to ask may be: What are the sales numbers for the company and how does that match up to the organizational hierarchy? What about customer or service trends?  How is shipping of product handled?  Do we have a call center where number of calls per day, customer satisfaction and time-spent-on-calls is tracked?  HR practitioners know that in those functional areas the leaders are tracking it all and now is the perfect opportunity to dive into the human/people elements related to these business operations.

Taking action – The biggest complaint from employees is that whenever feedback is asked for nothing is ever done so this final step is where communication should go into hyper drive.  While taking action includes setting goals, monitoring progress and holding people accountable it also includes ensuring that employees get answers to:

  • “what do we (leaders) know now that we didn’t know before” and, most importantly
  • “Who will be responsible?  When will it happen?  How will we monitor it?  WHO will do WHAT by WHEN?”

Three Key Items

Throughout any feedback process (such as an employee engagement survey) it’s important to:

  1. Have a purpose that is aligned with organizational strategy
  2. Communicate and clarify
  3. Take action by following through and following up

You can check out the presentation slides here. As an HR professional you can guide and influence organizational leaders in meaningful ways that can lead to successful business outcomes, improvements and breakthroughs.

Jobs, Careers and Transitions – Take the #EWS2014 Quiz

I’m a sponsored blog partner with Spherion and participating in the release of findings from this year’s Emerging Workforce Study.  All opinions are mine.

Are you satisfied at work ?  Do you believe you’re on the right track to success in either your job or your career ?  Naturally, if you think about it, a job is quite different from a career and by better understanding the differences you may be able to confirm whether you need to make some transitions to ensure you’re on the right path.

Last week I shared  information from Spherion’s Evolution of the Worker Study and today I’m excited to provide information about Spherion’s new ‘Job or Career’ quiz which may give you insight about your very own Job or Career mindset.  Based on 15 years of research conducted by Spherion, this quiz will provide you with some insight as to whether you’re in a job or career … and what steps you can take to improve your work life.

Whether you’re a job seeker or employee, an employer or HR professional or just someone who wants to gain information about applicable career topics, I encourage you to spend a few minutes completing the quiz.

And.. extra fun!!…by taking the quiz on this site, you’ll entered to win a $100 American Express gift card!   To enter, simply share your results from the quiz as a comment on this post.  And never fear …if you don’t wish to share with other readers if you find yourself in a ‘job or a career” go ahead and take the quiz and share something you’ve learned after taking the quiz.   I’ll chose one entrant by using an online random name generator and you’’ be notified via the email address (which only I see) that you provide when posting your comment.

Taking the quiz will also enter users to win one of three Career Boost Business Packs from Spherion that include an iPad Air and an assortment of other office essentials to help on their path to success! (note…final day to enter is 3/27/2014).  Click on the image to access the quiz. 


Additional Resources

Check out for additional content where you can also find some tips mapping out a career path, ideas for workplace success, and ways to transition your current job into a career.

Remember to watch for the release of the full findings of the EWS study in April. For updated information follow Spherion on Twitter, join them on Facebook or check out the hashtag #EWS2014.



Spherion partnered with bloggers such as me for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any idea mentioned in these posts. Spherion believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

From Informing to Engaging: Communicating Effectively in Organizations

colour office chairs 3dThe Trickle-Down Method

Once upon a time the flow of information in organizations followed a fairly predictable course; executives announced a new program, initiative or product and dictated the content to an administrative staffer who passed it on to a corporate communication staffer who fine-tuned the announcement. The memo (remember paper memos?) was typed up and cascaded down via the organizational hierarchy. Then, depending upon the strategic importance, an all-employee meeting might be called after which individual managers followed up and answered questions within their teams and departments.

After digesting the news, most employees simply went back to their jobs and decided that they would worry about the new initiative when it affected the work they needed to complete. “That’s a sales program,” an employee in the Accounting Department would think. “It has nothing to do with me.”

In this scenario both leaders and employees failed to understand that employees, no matter their role, are business partners for the entire enterprise. We wouldn’t withhold critical information from an external business partner, fail to ensure their understanding, or clarify their role in meeting goals yet many time we have done just that with our internal business partners – employees.

We’ve always known that engaging with our external business partners is necessary for success and now – finally – we understand that engaging with our employees is just as important.

Making Communications Employee-Centric

More organizations now understand that internal communication is an integral component for the reinforcement of their organizational culture; when, where and how they communicate with employees supports the organizational values by which they say they live. When company leaders focus on the manner of their internal communication and take steps to do it with intent, their employees/business partners are much better equipped to understand their role in driving strategy and attaining goals.

When defining an internal communication strategy designed to engage employees there are a few key things that will make sure employees are at the center of the process:

Ensure communication is targeted and timely. Focus on providing the right information to the right employees at the right time. Technology platforms can assist in targeting message by location, language, work groups, or other areas.

Promote interaction. To strengthen a culture of transparency and engagement ensure that conversations are two-way and not just top-down. Effective use of social business tools allows dialogue to open up and encourages informed and relevant conversations between leaders and employees and across organizational silos.

Consider format and platforms. Ensure that communication platforms are easy to access and tailored to the internal audience; desktops, tablets, and mobile-enhanced platforms can all be used to further goals of promoting conversation and encouraging feedback.

Measure engagement and interaction. When launching an internal communication strategy the most important step is determining how it aligns with strategy and how success will be defined and measured. There are numerous ways to monitor, measure and track not just consumption of information but also interaction and ultimately engagement.

While leaders may outline strategy, the employees are the ones who execute on the strategic vision or initiatives of the organization. Having genuine, honest, two-way dialogue allows individual employees to truly understand their role in furthering business goals and strategies.



This post originally appeared on Bizzuka’s Big Idea blog.  Bizzuka provides custom Web site designinternet marketing, and intranet development services for small and medium sized business throughout the United States. In addition, Bizzuka is developing a syndicated messaging system which allows workforce communications to cut through the noise and deliver information effectively and promptly.