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4 Ways To Engage With Your Team

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One of the most overlooked obstacles to a business’ success is the engagement of its workforce. Engaged employees are what we like to call “unlocked” – they are more likely to go the extra mile for the business, be more loyal, as well as breed a more positive workplace environment for the whole organisation. In short, engaged employees mean all the cogs can turn smoothly.

A recent study of British employees showed that only 36% of the workforce in the UK is highly engaged. This means that the remaining 64% ­– which could very easily be sitting in your business – remain uninterested in doing their job to their full potential and are impeding the company’s growth and success.  A disengaged workforce has the ability to undermine the best of business plans and strategies.

We have seen it happen before. Here are 4 actions you can take to interact with your team and cure their disengagement.

1. Showcase a high level of leadership

At the heart of an effective workforce is an individual who showcases the highest levels of leadership, regardless of the size of the team. The foundation of a strong leader is the ability to communicate effectively and consistently. Set the business direction and sell it in to your workforce.

If your employees do not know which direction the business is heading, they will not be able to alter their behaviours accordingly. Furthermore, ensure that there is reciprocity in the communication – foster the culture that your employees are able to come to you with ideas. Giving your employees some ownership in the business’ direction and processes is a pivotal step in ensuring workforce engagement.

The best way to do that is to ensure that you are managing your team effectively. You can download some further tips plus an easy (and free) system for managing a small team’s tasks here. Additionally, ensure that you help your employees understand the purpose and meaning of their work.

Each individual needs to know how their responsibilities are impacting the greater business. As a leader, it is important for you to facilitate a working environment of transparency whereby people can question what they are doing and how it adds value to the organisation.

2. Recognise Achievement and be a Problem-Solver

Employees are more likely to work harder for you if they know that they will be recognised for the effort they put in. As it is much more common and easier for employers to criticise their workforce, the size and manner of recognition for a job well-done is not as important as the existence of it.

If employees know that you care and are grateful of their work, they are more likely to be more productive and engaged in their responsibilities. The key word here is “Value”. If you can make people feel valuable, they will reciprocate by giving it back into the business.

Furthermore, criticism is sometimes necessary for a business’ workforce, however when employees underperform, try to understand the root cause of the situation as well. Your employees will react more positively if you are able to help them work through their issues rather than just be a disciplinarian. As I have recently written, stop giving feedback and instead give feedforward.

3. Build Relationships

People react positively in a workplace when they are in an environment which is conducive to relationship-building. Not only should you foster relationships between employees, but it is also pivotal for the business owner/manager to do so as well.

Building camaraderie in the workplace will allow you to create a unified front in tackling your business’ obstacles. As an employer, you need to realise that each of your employees is unique in their work motivations and styles. Therefore, you should invest time in your employees by getting to know them and, in a top-line sense, understand what makes them tick.

4. Be Future-Focused

One of the reasons why employees re disengaged in their roles is that they are not able to see a future with the business, or do not have confidence in the business’ ability to grow with their personal objectives. Therefore, not only should you foster a positive belief in the business’ direction in the future, but you should also ensure that employees are assured that their personal development is possible with the company. If employees are able to see a future with the company and know that they will be able to grow with it, they will have no reason to disengage.

However, you also need to ensure that you make your employees understand the link between what they are doing today to what the business is aiming to achieve in the future. Finally, make sure you do not take employee engagement for granted. Just because you believe that your business has all of the above, you will still need to ensure that you monitor your employees’ satisfaction and beliefs toward the company.

Many organisations do so through satisfaction surveys. This is all well and good, however when conducting surveys, ensure that you act on what has come out of them, and that you are not treating them as an easy KPI to tick from the list. It is the actions you undertake between the surveys that are what matters, rather than actually conducting them.

It is easy enough for some businesses to comment on employee disengagement as a generational trait or an individual’s own issue, and in some circumstances this might be the reason. However, the organisation is the entity responsible for providing a work culture which gives its employees every opportunity to engage in the business – and you are the organisation.

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Be More Google: How a Comfy Chair and Playstation Can Improve Profits

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It’s easy to feel the weight of expectation when thinking about building culture into your business. The fantasy working environments of Google or Pixar, the radical management practices of Netflix, or the carefully crafted ‘friendliness’ of Innocent Drinks all feel expensive in terms of planning and investment.

But your company culture already exists. The services your business provides, the people you’ve hired and your shared values are already in place.  So how can you go about making it work for you, and what impact will it have?

Crafting a culture statement

A company culture may well ‘emerge’, but in order for it to be an effective part of your business strategy you need to be able to define and communicate it.  By its very nature, distilling your culture into a clear statement has to be a collaborative process with input from your team.

Start by considering the three core values you hold as the leader of your organisation. Then, working with your management team, have them identify three values for each of the following:

  • Their personal integrity
  • What helps customers decide to do business with you
  • What the company wants to be known for

The resulting list may contain overlaps and similarities. Refine what you have whilst bearing in mind the characteristics needed to fulfil the business’s mission, where your focus should be to achieve success, what qualities you value in who you hire and what traits might conflict with these values. Your final list will form the basis of your culture statement. This should sit alongside your vision and mission statements as the bedrock for your organisation’s operations.

The impact of a strong company culture

Research has shown that companies who adopt a ‘performance-enhancing’ culture can achieve up to six times higher revenue growth than those without. But aside from the bottom line, there are other advantages to being able to define and effectively communicate your culture:

  • Attract and retain better employees, lowering costs and improving levels of expertise.

Your company culture should seek to support professional success, growth and pride in the role staff play. It should also empower staff and enable autonomy. Netflix’s ‘Responsibility and Freedom’ policy may be a little too radical for smaller business to implement effectively but the principles are sound. A good culture will provide the context within which staff have the freedom to act in the best interests of the business and the customer in the moment, whilst still upholding the company’s long-term values.  This loose/tight concept is extremely effective in motivating staff and improving performance.

  • Ability to adapt to change.

Having a clear set of values and practices independent of specific technologies or processes creates a ‘familiar’ environment for customers. This sense of safety means customers are far more likely to come with you when you seek to adapt to a changing marketplace.

  • Encourages customer loyalty and advocacy.

A clear culture creates a consistent customer-experience no matter how they choose to interact with you. In a world where poor service is so rapidly shared, consistency and clarity are keys to customer service success.

The power of your company culture comes from its ability to directly impact your customers’ experience of your business and services. It doesn’t need to consist of expensive planning sessions, grand gestures and sparkling campuses.

A good company culture is one in which your staff can thrive and grow, where autonomy is enabled through a shared vision and where every interaction with your customers makes them feel like a VIP. A well-defined and strategically aligned company culture has the ability to drive all these elements and really set your business apart – which ultimately leads to greater impact, greater profit, and greater success.

Want some extra guidance and advice?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionWhen you are building something as important as company culture, it can help to have a fresh set of eyes.

A complimentary strategic session will give you an insight on how London’s business coach of the year could help you accelerate and ramp up your already successful business.


How to Build a Loyal Team

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Building a loyal team isn’t as easy as it sounds, and maintaining one is even harder.

Nobody wants a business with a high turnover of staff; this is negative for the morale of existing employees and implies that there is something intrinsically repellent about your company. Ideally, you want staff who want to stick around and who will do their utmost to support your business.

Happy, faithful employees are highly visible (and free!) marketing for your enterprise… so how do you go about building such a team?

Find the right fit

Building a loyal team starts before the point of hire; invest time and energy into finding the right person for your business. This doesn’t only mean skills – it’s also about how they as an individual will fit into the workplace.

A bad hire can be financially detrimental to your business; in a Forbes survey of employers, 41% estimated the cost of a single bad hire as being $25,000, while a quarter estimated the cost to be $50,000 or more.

Finding the right person can be tricky, despite the rise in job applications.

First of all, ask yourself this about each candidate: are they serious about working long-term for your business? Have they shown signs of commitment in the past, or have they got a lot of short-term placements on their CV?

Next, think about compatibility. Would this person fit in well with other employees and clients? Are they easy to get along with? And a team player?

Having the relevant skills and qualifications for a role is important, but without compatibility with your existing team, and business ethos – a candidate’s worth is questionable.

Build confidence in your leadership

If your staff have little confidence in your leadership you will find it difficult to keep the team onside. There are many different leadership styles but there are a few key fundamentals.

Obvious as it may sound, employees will only be fully secure in your leadership when you are self-confident. If you don’t seem certain in your own decision-making, how will anyone else be?

Also, without self-assurance your perceived ‘passion’ for the business will lack integrity. This is equally, if not more, important if you are taking on a business with existing employees.

As the leader of an enterprise you also need to keep learning. Whether it’s specific to the general running of a business or the particular industry you are in, you need to find ways to keep growing, which will in turn allow the business to flourish. Staff who see their leader who is focused on positive growth will, in turn, be infected with that enthusiasm.

Empower your employees

If you keep an employee in the same role with nothing to aim for, they will move on elsewhere. But if you give them freedom, control and opportunities you demonstrate the trust you have in them to do their job and a desire to nurture that they will respond well to.

Offer extra leadership training, or digital marketing courses, or other skill-enhancing programs if appropriate and always ask staff their personal opinion on work-related issues – this way, you are giving them ownership of their own little part of the business. And when you own something, you look after it.

If an employee has a family and struggles with child-care, trust them enough to let them work from home some days – they will feel more fulfilled as a whole, and want to do better for you in response to your understanding.

It’s not complicated – if you want employees to stick around for the long term, make sure that they have a concrete reason as to why they would.

Create a happy culture

This is essentially the communication between management and employees, and employees with other employees. Improving company culture can be done on a day-to-day basis and occasional team bonding events and excursions.

Always make sure you check in with staff on a regular basis – make it your business to know if they have any worries, or, conversely, if they have anything to celebrate or be proud of. Those few minutes of attention and concern will give you an enormous return on investment.

Celebrate birthdays (and make them memorable) and involve your staff in deciding what might be fun team bonding exercises.

“‘Corporate culture’ is a catchall phrase that can be quite vague in terms of its definition”, Kate Harrison, writing for Forbes, says. “So many things go into creating a culture and there is no one-size-fits-all model.” Harrison suggests that there are several ways for businesses to improve their corporate culture – for example; implementing tools like a ‘points and rewards system’ to improve employee motivation; and ensuring that ‘fun’ in the office should not only happen to draw in new talent, but to ‘inspire creativity’.

Loyalty isn’t a given with any employee: you need to work for it. But when you do, you can be sure that you will reap the benefits.  

By Rose Hill, online journalist for BusinessesForSale.com, the market-leading directory of business opportunities from Dynamis. Rose writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including PropertySales.com and FranchiseSales.com.

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Stop Giving Feedback to Your Team

Feedback is one of the most misused of management concepts. Management Consultants will continually talk of the importance of providing feedback to your team members as one of the essential requirements to running an efficient and profitable business. 

Managing your team is something that has a number of facets, of course. This includes running good team meetings, giving them the right kind of guidance, and helping them manage stress as a few examples.

However, providing feedback has often come up as one of the most difficult parts for many of my clients to get right.

Commenting on your employees’ work is not just about delicately giving constructive negative feedback, but it is also highly effective in keeping your team aligned with the business – which is very important in keeping them motivated.

In this video, I explain a concept that my coach, Marshall Goldsmith, has taught me that will redefine the way you look at feedback.

Have you had trouble with giving feedback? Leave a comment on your main issue with giving feedback and we will discuss how you can start feeding forward instead.

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text: 

Hi my name is Shweta from London Coaching Group. I very often get asked by my clients that what is the best way to provide feedback to their team members. 

Now providing feedback is one of the essential skills of a leader or manager and you need to make sure that the team member is aligned with where the company’s headed to, knows what you or she is doing, what the person is doing well and what the person needs to improve on. Now it’s an exercise which I’ve realized that not very many people enjoy because it’s very tricky to give that positive and also not so positive feedback to the other person. 

There is also a fundamental problem with feedback. It is about the boss. Something that cannot be changed, something that’s static, something that’s limited. World what you to consider going forward is actually you placing feedback with feedforward. Now this is the concept which I was start about my business coach Marshall and I thought I would share it with you.

Benefits of Feedforward

Now there are some very clear benefits of replacing feedback with feedforward. The first one is that successful people, they do not want to know what they’re not doing so well. They want to know the ideas of how they could become better. So that’s the first one.

The second is, that people generally don’t take feedforward as person or other personally compared to feedback. Now we might say that we are providing constructive feedback and it’s all about the performance and not about the person. But let’s face it, the sense of identity is so closely linked with the world that people are doing. That it’s difficult to dealing and then people getting to justifications and defenses go up and it just becomes a very different kind of an exercise compared to what you really wanted to be. So that’s another important benefit.

The other one is that the process of feedforward is a lot faster compared to feedback. A small tip there is rather than talking about the boss and trying to prove that while you’re right and the other person trying to prove why you are not right and getting into a debate and still trying to be soft and trying not to upset the person, feedforward is pretty much like this: “Look, I’ve gone through what you’ve done so far, I’ve got four ideas, four suggestions for you to improve on what you’re doing. You might not want to consider all the four ideas. Even if you consider to our four, you’re two steps ahead. I want you to think through it and once I finished telling you my four suggestions, I just want to say thank you. Or if you can come back and then discuss the ideas that you want to take forward a lot more in detail.” And that’s it. And then you tell them well the four suggestions for moving forward. And people generally are – it’s difficult for them to critique it or criticize it because it has still not happened and you want them to think through it and come back with more detail.

That’s the other clear benefit and as I’ve explained in this process, people tend to listen more closely to feedforward than to feedback. And you can imagine, I’m sure you’ve experience this, that when you’re giving a feedback to someone, they are actually thinking of their response in their head that how are they going to combat what you’ve say. How do they justify that they are right and you might not be that right. 

Finally the way I see this as a leader, as a manager, it’s more productive to help people build themselves than to actually get into that whole struggle of trying to prove a point which is not something that I’m sure you enjoy or you want get into. So, once again enjoy giving feed-forward to people. What is it that they can improve moving forward because done is done. Let’s see what we can do with the future.

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How to Get Your Team to Work Harder

There have been a number of times where my clients have come to me saying, “Why aren’t my team members doing what I tell them to do?”

In the end, how to get your team to work harder is to give them the right kind of clarity and guidance so that they can produce the outcome you are expecting.

In this video, I explain why team members usually do not get their work done, and a simple practice that could dramatically improve their execution of tasks.

In the end it all comes down to ensuring you have some decent team management strategies in place, that you are holding the right kind of team meetings at the right frequency, that you are earning your colleagues’ trust and that you are making sure you are in the mindset of managing activities, not people.

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text: [hide-this-part morelink=”Show Transcript”] Hi, this is Shweta from the London Coaching Group. What I want to talk about today is why don’t team members do what you’ve asked them to do.

3 reasons why team members do not get their work done

Now there are 3 main reasons why somebody does not do the things that you want them to do: The first being that they don’t see the value in the thing that they have to do. The second is they don’t understand what they have to do. And the third being that there’s too much to do.

Solutions

One one of the ways that you can take care of this – simple thing – that when you’re having a briefing to your team member please make it very clear that what’s required and what’s optional.

Now there’s something that is non-negotiable and you want them to do then, towards the end of the discussion a simple practice to have is to actually ask them recap what they have understood so that you and the other person could be on the same page and please also ask the question that they have everything that they need to execute the task that you’ve asked them to do and finally they are comfortable with the timeline that you have given them.

If you have this simple practice every time you ‘re having a team briefing or a team member briefing I’m quite certain that you’ll see the improvement in the execution of the tasks by your team members. [/hide-this-part]

What kind of problems have you had with your team? Let us know in the comments below and we will see if we can help.

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A Recruitment Process: Pay Less to Your Next Employee

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Most candidates when searching for jobs end up applying for positions that pay a lower salary. As business coaches, we often help our clients with their recruitment process, and even work with a partner who offers a service of posting job ads for them on a number of tried and tested job boards.

As a result, we have posted numerous advertisements and have done quite a bit of split testing to perfect the process. One of the things we noticed is that when we have run ads for the exact same position – with an identical job description – but at different salaries, we have received more applications on the one with the LOWER salary.

Why would people apply for a job with lower salary?

Well it has to do with confidence. Many business owners/employers have become proficient in destroying the confidence and self-esteem of their employees. As a result, the job market has become rife with candidates whose own estimated worth is far lower than they are actually worth.

It has also meant that you have many talented people who are desperate to escape from a role that is simply not right for them. You can change this in your own business by implementing good practices to manage your team. Incorporating the following steps into your recruitment process will not only get you great employees, but you can also keep them for longer. It is all about creating a more nurturing environment for them.

Steps to Add to Your Recruitment Process:

Step 1: Post a job ad with a lower salary as well

First, post your ad for a lower salary than you think you would normally pay for this job and post one at the higher salary too. You are more likely to attract a larger pool of candidates – as we have seen in our numerous ad posting – so you will have broader choice.

Step 2: Interview candidates and compare

Once you have found someone you think is a winner, interview him or her closely and see how he or she stacks up against those who are demanding a higher pay. How do their qualifications compare? How does their experience and ability to talk about their work compare?

You might be surprised to find someone far better in the lower-salary group. We usually get our clients to use the 4-hour recruitment process to get their business in front of more potential employees – so that you can find someone who is really suited to the position.

Step 3: Increase their pay

The key, however, is that once you have gotten them in your business, and they have proven their worth – you then need to increase their pay! Make sure that they are being paid more than what the market would offer so that they will never leave. This is a great incentive structure because not only are you incentivising with money, but the pay raise is also praise.

You are encouraging them by indicating that you see their worth and that you are willing to pay them to keep them. That kind of encouragement and self-esteem building is invaluable – and will earn you loyal employees every time. We have seen it happen time and again, and it is a really simple process to implement in just about any business.

Of course, you cannot just increase their pay to keep them. This particular strategy should be used along with a robust recruitment process, an effective team management system, effective communication and meetings with your team, and careful attention to your company culture if you want to be absolutely sure of retaining employees.

Have you got a recruitment process that works well for you? Share it with us in the comments below.

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