There’s little doubt that businesses benefit from having engaged employees. The landmark piece of research in this field, the MacLeod Report, provided conclusive evidence that staff who enjoy their work and feel connected with their company are more loyal, productive and committed to their jobs.
But eight years on – and several more convincing research studies later – businesses still seem to be struggling with the concept, with surveys showing that levels of disengagement across industry are still high.
It’s a problem that companies cannot afford to ignore. The shock waves created by Brexit, a volatile economic climate and political upheavals around the globe have combined to create massive uncertainty in the workplace. If companies want to keep hold of talented employees, they need to make sure people feel valued, understand where the business is going and can see they have a part in its future.
With employment at an all-time high, companies are having to work harder than ever before to find and keep talented people. A structured approach to recruitment is fundamental to getting the right candidate in the right job at the right time.In a busy environment, however, managers are often so keen to get someone in post that they launch into the search without proper preparation.
Rushing into the hiring process often results in both time and money being wasted. Managers are flooded with inappropriate CVs, spend hours interviewing unsuitable candidates and can end up appointing someone who isn’t a good fit and leaves within a few months.
So what are the key steps you need to take to streamline your recruitment and make sure you end up with the best person for the job?
Setting objectives for individual team members is often regarded by managers as an unnecessary and time-consuming task because by the time these are reviewed, usually once a year during the annual review, they are obsolete. They feel that people’s job descriptions, coupled with a chat during their annual appraisal, should be enough for them to know what needs doing .
The ability to set objectives effectively is, however, a valuable weapon in a manager’s armoury. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) goals help to keep people energised, focused on the right tasks and aligned to the overall business direction. As well as being SMART, the best objectives will take into account the skills and overall development needs of each individual for their career and stretch them as much as possible. Not only will these objectives be reached, the person will have grown in the process. Without these, they may never have gotten there or known they could!
Clear objectives, which are regularly reviewed, also help ensure teams are agile enough to respond to sudden market changes or shifts in internal priorities.
Here are five reasons why managers need to shift their mind-set and start to see objective setting as an integral part of the way they manage their teams.
Giving difficult feedback is part and parcel of every manager’s job. Maybe someone isn’t pulling their weight in the team and it’s causing a bad atmosphere. Perhaps a project has gone badly off course and is in danger of derailing completely. Or maybe an employee has inadvertently upset a client, who is now threatening to take their business elsewhere.
Whatever the reason, it’s probably fair to say that pulling people up on some aspect of their performance or behaviour is a task most managers dread. They are unsure about how best to deliver the message, worried about how people will react and unsure of what they should do if the employee gets angry or upset.
But shoving issues under the carpet and hoping they will go away is not an option. If employees are not aware that their behaviour is causing an issue, they will continue to behave in exactly the same way. If people are going about a task the wrong way, they won’t know unless someone tells them. And if a team member is ‘coasting’ and continues to get away with it, resentment will start to build and there will be a knock-on effect on the rest of the team.
A useful way to approach giving difficult feedback is to shift your mind-set and look at it in a different light. If you regard feedback as an opportunity to motivate the team and help them grow, rather than a task to be dreaded, it becomes a valuable tool that can help you raise morale and performance. It’s always helpful to recognise that generally most people actively want to do a good job. In fact, I’ve never yet come across people who just go to work day in and day out, not caring about their job or the work they produce. Often, they are just unaware of their impact or gaps in their knowledge, and would welcome feedback that is delivered with a genuine intent to help them improve.
So what are the key steps managers need to take to ensure difficult feedback is given in a constructive manner that helps people move forward?