StrategyDriven Talent Management Article

Effective Ways to Get the Best from Your Employees

StrategyDriven Talent Management ArticleIn the world of modern business, any way that you can get ahead of your competition and make your business more efficient is worth it. In order to make these gains there are several things you need to do. However, the main one is ensuring that your employees are on board and working together towards the same goal. Even though your workers are a group of individuals, there are ways you can get them working together effectively. Here are some effective ways that you can get the best out of your employees.

Make Productivity a Central Issue

If you ask your employees to work harder, the majority of them will probably comply. However, not all of them will, and this might be because there is no general work ethic to work harder or longer. To get the best from your employees, you need to make productivity one of the central core values of your business:

  • Create a mission statement that sets out in detail everything that your company needs to do and is expected from your workforce.
  • Put this mission statement at the heart of your company and show it to any potential employees. That way when they come for an interview, they will have no doubt what’s expected from them.

Reward Innovation and Efficiency

Many businesses have a mixture of talented people, some of them might not necessarily be doing jobs that they were initially trained for or that they have the qualifications for. These hidden talents can be the best way forward for your company as they could be used to innovate your business and provide efficiency. To find these hidden gems try and encourage work-related competition to find new ways of working and new ideas. As an added incentive you can offer a reward for the best idea and allow the employee who came up with the idea the opportunity to work with the team to implement it.

Make Training Effective

Effective training is more than simply teaching your employees what to do; it also enables them to work to the same objectives and to create a consistent product. Good training also helps your employees feel valued and allows them to have a degree of autonomy. You also need to ensure that you are giving your workers the most up-to-date training possible. You can read more here about some of the more important training that they should be getting as a matter of routine. How you deliver the training is as important as the content itself, it needs to be fun and interactive to capture your worker’s imagination and stop them from tuning out.

Have Clear Rules in Place

People generally find discipline a lot easier to deal with when there are parameters clearly set. You need to ensure that your rules are detailed, and any consequences are clearly laid out. For example, if you have within the rules that workers are allowed to make phone calls but only during their lunch hour, then they will understand that this is the appropriate time. You also have to lay out what will happen should they make calls outside this time period.

Make the Environment Healthy

There have been many studies which have shown just how much of an impact the location and condition of an employee’s environment can have on their performance. After all, you are asking your workers to spend several hours a day in one location. For that to work effectively, you need to have an environment that is comfortable and meets their needs. For example, is there a kitchen area or a rest space where they can have lunch and take their breaks? Is there adequate heating and cooling to keep the temperature within the office or the work area within reasonable limits? The variables can have an impact not only on your worker’s mood but also on their productivity.

Maintain Morale

An important factor in having a happy workforce is morale, if your workers are unhappy or if there are problems in the office then this can quickly lead to unhappiness and lack of enthusiasm. To counteract this, you need to keep your eye on team morale and also make sure that you are in tune with what your workers want and need. In some cases, this might even mean dealing with individuals who are upsetting the balance within your workforce.

Encourage Feedback

With many companies, their bosses will often ask for their employee’s opinions at interview and perhaps even when they leave their job, but it can actually be of more value if they continually asked their opinion while they’re working. Some bosses confuse this with giving their employees too much power, however, the exact opposite is true. If you are concerned about your employee’s welfare and about the way they’re working you can encourage a great deal of respect and loyalty within your workforce. This loyalty not only ensures that you retain good staff, but it also helps to encourage other high-quality staff to your company by word of mouth.

Hire from Within

Even the most patient employees will soon decide to move on if they feel that their job is going nowhere. You might also encourage people to leave if they are being regularly overtaken by workers below them or bringing in new workers to take jobs above them. Filling vacancies from within your existing staff is a good way to maintain a high level of experience. You also negate the issue of staff getting to know them and understanding the type of personality they are. Some bosses feel that this can promote jealousy amongst staff however if you are giving all the staff an equal opportunity then there should be less of a problem.

Your workers are the most important part of your business besides your customers. For that reason, it is vital that you ensure you get the best from them and you keep them happy and healthy. If you can do this then you will have a workforce that is loyal, enthusiastic, and willing to take on additional work if the business requires it.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article

Empower Your Employees With Learning… Whatever Your Budget

As an entrepreneur, you know that your unique combination of passion, talent, skills, training, experience and business acumen are integral to the success of your enterprise. Nonetheless, you also understand that you could not have achieved the measure of success you’ve gained in your enterprise alone. Your great ideas light the way, but the hard work, dedication, passion and ingenuity of your staff also plays a huge role in your business success. As such, your employees deserve every but of support, training, development and guidance you can provide them.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article
The trouble is that this invariably comes at a monetary cost to your business. Smaller and newer businesses which are still finding their way and doing their best to keep their heads above water financially are understandably full of trepidation when it comes to spending money at the expense of their all-important profit margins. Fail to invest in your employees, however, and the results could be disastrous.

What happens when you fail to develop your employees

While it’s understandable that new entrepreneurs might be keen to keep a close eye on the purse strings, this may be at the expense of your business. Underdeveloped employees will at best lose motivation, resulting in a loss of productivity or dip in quality of service for your customers. At worst, they may quit your organization altogether, even running into the open arms of your competitors, thereby giving them an edge over you. Even if this doesn’t happen, you will still have to endure the expense and dip in productivity while you recruit and train their replacement.

Let’s take a look at just a few of the ways in which you can give your employees the gift of professional development…

In-house training

If you want to ensure that your employees do things your way, making sure that your customers get such a continuity in service that it’s like you’re dealing with each and every customer yourself. While in-house training can be cost-effective and ensure brand continuity, every now and then an outside perspective is appreciated, which brings us to…

External training providers

The benefit of using external training providers is that no matter how knowledgeable you may be, even the best of us has blind spots in our knowledge. External training providers can bring a fresh outside perspective to your business while also having training and motivational techniques that you may never even have considered. While again this may result in additional expense, it may well be to the benefit of your business.

Online learning or community college

If you worry about a productivity dip while your employees are developed on company time, you may benefit from funding, or part-funding their own learning through community college or online learning. This puts the onus on the employee and gives them the gift of academic or vocational qualifications that can empower them throughout their career. With a plethora of online courses out there from an online rn to bsn program to just about any academic degree you can imagine, online learning is an extremely powerful tool that shows your employees how much you value them.

The only downside is that it may be tricky incorporating their learning into their operational activities in a cohesive way.

An open door

Finally, sometimes the best and easiest form of development comes in the form of an open door. By allowing your employees an opportunity to talk to you and taking the time to explain processes and procedures in a little more detail you can ensure operational excellence while establishing yourself as the kind of boss they can always rely on.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article

Want to Thrive in Today’s High-Speed, Hypercompetitive Business World? Teach Your Management Team to Iterate.

StrategyDriven Talent Management ArticleWhen boiled down to its essence, management is a system of managers, operating in concert, constantly adjusting resources based on new information coming in to keep the business on target. It involves coordinating complex efforts, enabling group work and constantly asking the question, “What’s the next most intelligent step from here?”

In other words, management is the feedback system of the organization. And managers who continually ask themselves and their teams what that next logical step to be taken is – and then take it, learn from it and repeat the process – are Iterating.

Iteration is the way effective systems solve problems whose solutions are too complex to be predefined. Just look for the highest?performing entrants in any given market space. Chances are they’re Iterating.

An organization that Iterates moves the right information up and down the hierarchy, in regular and useful ways, in support of good decisions. It doesn’t get stuck in an overly rigid plan, but instead stays flexible as it pursues clearly defined outcomes.

If you want to run a fast, flexible, focused management team, use these five key practices:

1. Output and Status Broadcasting. Managers must be crystal clear with themselves and each other about what they’re doing. They do this verbally via Verbalized Summary Outputs (the VSO), and they do it graphically with Pragmatic Dashboards. The VSO is a list of statements summarizing the output the manager will deliver to the organization into measurable, countable outputs – three to seven items that, together, account for roughly 80 percent of his or her results. The list should take 60 – 90 seconds to say out loud in a meeting. VSOs confirm alignment and provide a line of sight into how each manager’s (and thus each team’s) work impacts the bigger picture.

A Pragmatic Dashboard turns the verbal information of the VSO into graphic information, one graph per VSO item to avoid unnecessary data. The graphs are summaries of measurable output that include historical data on past performance, along with two futures: the planned future alongside what’s now expected. With these in hand, aimless monologues transform into specific discussion about the future because everyone can see what’s not going to go as expected.

2. Work PreView Meetings. In an Iterative organization, Work PreView Meetings are the regular meetings between a manager and his or her direct reports. They have a consistent rhythm that involves providing information, making decisions and ensuring plans are carried out with regularity. Meeting leaders strive to maintain a forward-looking orientation so that discussions of status are minimized and the focus is on “What’s going to happen in the future, and what should we do about it right now?”

The ultimate goal of any Work PreView Meeting is to decide what to do with the resources at hand given what the team knows now and what is has to work with. To do this, members present issues using an “OSIR Structure” – they begin with an Objective that involves measurable results; then a Status statement of future prognosis and expected variance; a short summary of the Issue causing the variance; and finally a specific Recommendation for a suggested action. This format ensures that the “presentation” is over within about three minutes, leaving the majority of the group’s time for productive discussion about what action to take next in light of the new information.

3. Group Decision-Making. Ideally, groups solving problems together are made up of only five to seven individuals. Larger groups can come together to approve or decline recommendations, but not to attempt to solve problems. Whether a group decision is happening in a large group or a small one, the process comes down to members teaching and the decider learning. When the focus is on understanding each other, rather than on obtaining agreement, information transfer is clearer and more complete. Once the decider has learned all he or she can and made a decision, the team implements without failure or sabotage, even if they don’t personally agree. The team is always Iterating and no decision is “final,” but every decision must be fully implemented or else no learning can come from it.

4. Linked Teams. Redefining how managers and their reports conceptualize their relationship to others in the organization means moving away from the notion of managing a group of individuals and instead running a team with a single charter. Everyone succeeds or fails based on whether the entire team succeeds or fails. This allows Iteration through proactive resource sharing, and it tears down silos as peers ask, encourage and even push each other to accept help. Managers are better off, and the organization is more successful, when peers on a team work to understand each other and make trade-offs in support of higher-level goals.

5. Front Line Self-Sufficiency. The fundamental function of front line managers is to make individual employees as self-sufficient as possible at both delivering their output and at forecasting it. To do this, managers need to put in place clear goals that are defined in terms of output, not task or process. Managers must also give front line employees ready access to the resources they need to do their jobs. Once front line employees know what they’re supposed to do and have what they need to do it, all that’s left to promote self-sufficiency is to make sure they’re keeping track of their own work – without management intervention. As individual contributors make accurate forecasts – promises – about their future output, trust improves between front line employees and managers, and better information flows up to higher levels of management, helping the organization as a whole to IterateSM.

About the Author

Ed Muzio, CEO, Group HarmonicsEd Muzio is CEO of Group Harmonics and an award-winning three-time author. An expert in the scientific study of measuring and modifying human behavior, he is a sought-after consultant to business and industry worldwide and a popular media source. His new book is Iterate: Run a Fast, Flexible, Focused Management Team (An Inc. Original, 2018). Learn more at

Group Harmonics, Inc., claims the exclusive right to use “Iterate,” “Iterative Management,” and the family of “Iterative” marks in connection with business consulting goods and services.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article

3 Ways of Taking Better Care of Your Team

As a business owner, it’s up to you to make sure that your employees thrive. Without them, your business would certainly not be where it is today – and, unless you take proper care of them, you might see them move elsewhere.

They could end up with one of your competitors instead, for example, which ensures them the kind of success that you could have enjoyed.

That’s why the best of kind of business owners focus on taking care of what really matters: their human resources. Here is a handful of ways on how you can do exactly this and be a great leader and boss for your team.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article
#1 Be available

Being a great boss means that you’re not going out of your way to stay above your employees. If you’d prefer not to be liked by your team, however, this is probably the best way to go. Well-liked leaders know that getting to know them and being friendly means that they’re going to feel a bit more appreciated and liked.

Plus, it’s a good rule-of-thumb, in any way, if you want to be liked as a person in general.

Although business owners and managers usually have a lot to do, it’s actually all about the little things. Being available doesn’t mean that you constantly have to attend to their needs and keep an open door; it just means that you should try to stop for a chat every now and then.

Besides, everybody knows that the best kind of ideas and the most insightful conversations happen around the coffee machine these days. Chat with your team, talk about what they’re up to, and take an interest in their personal lives as well – that way, you won’t just be a well-liked manager, you’ll also be the go-to person for gossip around the office.

#2 Encourage learning on the job

While some people join your team and think they already know everything there is to know, others are aware that they should try to continue to learn. These are the people you should pay a bit of extra attention to as they might be very valuable to your company.

First of all, they’re showing motivation and drive by wanting to learn more – and, secondly, the knowledge they soak up will help your company to thrive and prosper as well. It’s not always that easy for employees to know where to start, though, and even if they mention that they’d like to learn a bit more, they might not know how to do it.

This is where your great management skills come in. Give them the tools to learn and they will definitely grab the opportunity if they’re serious about furthering their knowledge.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article
There are many ways to do this, though, and it all depends on what they need to learn. If you’re taking onboard new employees or launching a whole new branch, it could be a good idea to get in touch with a virtual reality studio so that they get an in-depth understand of what their new surroundings will be like.

This is an investment that will continue to benefit you, by the way, as you can use the virtual reality video to introduce every new employee on your team. That way, they’re going to be properly informed by the time they start working – and you save both time and money on having to train them.

Another benefit to this is that you might get better results from them, in the beginning, than you would have had without the video. When they are able to immerse themselves during the training and get a real understanding of what they’re up against, it suddenly won’t feel that overwhelming when they start the job.

On the other hand, you might have a seasoned employee who wants to become a better public speaker or a better leader for their department. Treat your team to a seminar on public speaking, for example, or send them off for a course – their increased knowledge will definitely benefit your company as well.

#3 Reward hard work

Some employers seem to forget that hard work should be rewarded. You don’t have to praise individual employees in front of the whole team, though, rather than treating your entire team to some rewards when they’ve worked well together.

Take them out for a lunch on the company, for example, give them a gift card to show your appreciation, or do something fun together as a team. The idea is that you want to build a team that is strong together while also making sure that their hard work is being noticed.

Teams that are rewarded together tend to stick together as well – and, that way, you won’t have to look for any replacements too often. Think about other ways you can make sure that you’re attending to their needs as well; flexible working hours is proven to boost both productivity and motivation so it should be just what your team needs.

By getting to know them properly and understanding their personal lives as well, you’ll be able to point out who needs these flexible working hours more than others. Working from home is a great way of showing them that you understand how important their lives outside of work is, and they will definitely appreciate you more for it.

Although all of the great things you do for your employees is to make sure that your business continues to prosper, the key to being a good boss is actually to be friendly and empathetic. It might not be your ideal version of a boss, but it is your employees’ ideal version – and, at the end of the day, that’s what really matters.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article

How Digitization Can Boost Remote Working

When you are a remote worker embarking on your first freelance adventure, you will need to find ways of increasing your productivity and getting new clients quickly. Doing so means that you will be able to generate both your desired income and the portfolio of high quality of work that will make you instantly stand out as someone to watch. A key element to achieve this is that you will need to look into how to digitize your work effectively, and, in turn, reap the benefits from making the most of modern tech. This handy guide will give you insight into where to start.

Choosing your own work environment

One of the joys of freelancing is that it gives you the freedom to choose where you want to work, and of course, when you want to work. If you have your business digitized and set up online for clients to find you and your portfolio, then the sky is truly the limit for where you want to set up shop. A great idea is to consider using a co-working environment, like those at, as this gives you a professional setting and a proper work base, rather than just sitting at your kitchen table trying to work through your commissions and projects.

Counting the money

Just because you are going to start working in a freelance capacity doesn’t mean that you necessarily have all the training and skills to keep on top of your earnings, costs, and taxes. When you are starting out on a new business venture such as this, the last thing you need is menial tasks getting in the way of your work and progress in the industry. A solution to this is to start using accounting software for freelance work. Using a cloud-based software means you can update your accounts anywhere you have an internet connection and your phone to hand. Another benefit is that accounting software will save you time that can be better spent earning money and talking with clients.

Showing off your portfolio

A final element to making your freelance career a success is getting your work in front of potential clients. The best way to this digitally is to learn how to make a small business website, where people can find you and commission work instantly. By converting your work into digital files, you can have your portfolio readily displayed on your own website, which will make it easier for people to see the kind of work you produce and be more likely to hire you for their next project. Uploading your work onto a digital platform will mean that, not only can people see how good your work is, but they will be able to see how much you have been commissioned for and infer how much professional experience you have. This information will put you on strong footing for getting customers.

Becoming a remote worker is a great way of changing your life for the better and using technology will only make this easier.