Monthly Archives: May 2014

Achieving Approval From Superiors

man hand shake relationships business

Reach out to your superiors to impress and strengthen relationships. Image courtesy of patrisyu and freedigitalphotos.net

Part of being a great support for your MD or CEO is about developing a strong relationship with them, by showing them you are both working towards the same goals and are on the same team. This isn’t just about making their life easier: it will make your job easier if communication is kept tight, and your manager will trust you more. Have a think about what you have done to help out your superiors lately. Use our thinking points to consider where you could impress.

Get to know your boss
Like you might when you get to know a new friend, pleasing your boss relies on knowing what they like! We’re not talking about what they want for lunch, but the things they like in the work environment. How do they like to communicate? How much do they want to know about your progress and updates? What are their goals and priorities for the business?

Make their priorities your priorities
Speaking of goals, you should make yourself clearly aware of the direction the organization wants to head in, particularly when in a development role you should know about this already. Do you know what key developments would really please your manager? Is it turnover, or is it employee morale? Is it retaining staff or ensuring your company has fresh, motivated young graduates? Remember you’re a team and keep your goals clear.

Provide solutions, not problems
Problems will arise all the time, but it is not the problem itself, but how we deal with it that shows your worth to your manager. When a problem does arise, don’t just simply point it out; consider possible solutions. If it is appropriate, go ahead and try to fix the issue straight away, but the least you can do is suggest a way forward. It is positive, helpful and shows you are thinking!

Be an honest and loyal employee
As a manager in your office, you are a role model, and as such the respect you hold for those above you will impact on your team too. Do not express criticisms of your manager or speak poorly of them infront of others. If you have an issue with the way something has been done, it is far better to air this to them personally and respectfully, for the good of the business. If done the right way, your manager is likely to be grateful for your input. Trust is always key.

Work for the future, not just today
Your job is bigger than you, it’s not just about working towards this month’s pay check or the end of the day, your superiors are thinking about the long term plan for your business and so should you. Do your job well, and take a long-term interest in the company and its objectives. It’s likely this way you will feel a greater satisfaction with your day-to-day jobs too. You will also grow and develop in line with the business, and come to see your superiors as people who are supporting your development, which they are! So do your bit and give 100% to your job each day.

5 Tips to Help You Manage Your Training and Development Budget

piggy bank watches his spending and budget

Balancing your needs and your budget can sometimes be a strain. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles on freedigitalphotos.net

  1. Assess the skill gaps that are in your company
    Giving everyone the same generic training may seem like the most efficient way to spend money, but if it is not actually helping many people, then it becomes a waste of time. Online assessments can be handy to find out if training is necessary and if so which areas. Then tailor training to needs.
  2. Encourage sharing of best practice
    Although communication technology has improved, working at individual desks and computers can sometimes cut us off from more natural teamwork, and we may not think to share something helpful with other colleagues. It doesn’t need to be in a group email either – make it something informal and employees might be more likely to join in. A group on Facebook or LinkedIn would be a great way to engage employees out of office hours as well, to share knowledge, and be more interested in developing themselves.
  3. Make an annual plan
    It could really help to map out when you intend to hold development opportunities in the year, and allocate your budget to each accordingly. You may well find that once national holidays and busy periods are pencilled in, then making your budget last the whole year won’t seem as daunting.
  4. Eliminate extra costs
    Training can end up being more expensive than you expect because clients are frequently expected to foot the bill for additional costs which arise as a consequence, such as the venue and accommodation. If you’re training a large team, this can get very pricey. Try looking for a training provider who will be able to deliver in-house, vastly reducing what you have to pay.
  5. Identify your ROI and follow up after training
    Assess and evaluate the results of the training – if you are fortunate your training could end up paying for itself through increased results in your revenue. Training should always be viewed as an investment rather than a cost.

4 Tips to Help Retain a Workforce

Give your employees reasons to stay, not reasons to leave! Image courtesy of stockimages at freedigitalphotos.net

Give your employees reasons to stay, not reasons to leave! Image courtesy of stockimages at freedigitalphotos.net

A recent study shows 85% of HR executives state the single greatest challenge they have in is being able to recruit AND retain good quality workers. There is a growing number of younger people joining the workforce, bringing different ideas and attitudes about work with them, particularly in the Middle East.

We know it is difficult to retain quality in your delivery to customers if your work-force move on almost as soon as they are trained. Not only does this waste your time, but it wastes your money. It typically costs $7,000 – $14,000 to replace an employee – does your company have money like that to burn? How can you help keep the employees you have invested in?

1. Improve employee recognition program

Or if you don’t have one already, then you should! Taking home a pay packet at the end of the month is one thing, but it does not fulfil our basic human need to be recognized and appreciated for what we do. This doesn’t need to be expensive – pumping more money into your employees isn’t what it’s about. In fact if it is more out of the ordinary, it is more likely to catch their attention, and be something they will remember. In one company, the manager hands over the keys to his convertible BMW M3 to the best performing employee for a week; he thinks that a bonus would be a drop in the ocean, but his employees do not forget driving his car.

2. Create a positive environment through managers

This starts at the top of the company and must work its way down through all the managers. Poor relationship between worker and line-manager is often cited as a reason for leaving. Many managers do not even realize the impact they have on workers underneath them. One way to combat this is through manager training. Managers need the skills to understand how they impact on the work environment and are a key part of the employee retention strategy.

3. Provide the chance for employee suggestions

Staff will feel valued if they know their input matters and has the chance to be heard. Try to involve your workers in decision making or in the development of new products. This can increase a sense of belonging to the company, and they will feel an invested interest in the business’ success too, as there is a sense of equality, no matter where in the company you work – everyone becomes valued and important.

4. Provide opportunities for growth and development

Did you know in a recent survey 40% of employees said they would leave their jobs if there was another role with the same benefits, but more chance for growth and challenges in their job? Your workers don’t show up just for the money, they will want to expand as people and add to their skillset, so you must be able to cater to that need. If there is an individual development plan for each employee, they won’t feel like they are stuck in a ‘dead-end’ job. Development is also of course a fantastic chance for you to boost the results your business is making, and improve motivation and morale in your workforce!

9 Ways to Please Your Manager

Provide answers not problems to your manager. Image courtesy of iosphere and freedigitalphotos.net

Provide answers not problems to your manager. Image courtesy of iosphere and freedigitalphotos.net

  1. Find out what is important to your manager, and make it your priority too. A team works better when everyone is aiming for the same goals, and if there is any uncertainty there, your manager would certainly respect you more for starting that conversation.
  2. Look for opportunities to take on more and go the extra mile. See how you can apply yourself to other aspects of the team’s workload which could benefit from your input. Your boss will only think better of you if you can more than is asked of you, as long as you can do it well. Just be careful not to step on anyone’s toes!
  3. Remember that you are a team. The success of your manager is something to be proud of, to support, but is also your success too. Respect your manager’s authority but remember you are strong together and they rely on your input as well. Value yourself in the same way you value your other colleagues.
  4. Assess your performance and improve where you can. Talking about areas for improvement can make some people feel like they’re not doing well, but everyone can be better at their jobs, and to settle for your current performance will mean you will tire of your job before long.
  5. Actively seek out solutions to problems. Your manager will appreciate employees who bring answers rather than questions. When faced with a problem, can you take initiative and really try to think about what you could do, instead of passing it on or causing your manager a headache? Even if you presented a variety of suggestions, it will show that you are trying to be pro-active about your work and you are an asset to the team.
  6. Thank them. Your manager is just as much a part of the team as anyone else, and they have a lot of difficult decisions to make. Although you should treat them with respect, they will be grateful for your thanks when it is due; if they feel you appreciate them, in turn they will appreciate you more, and this creates a stronger team cohesion.
  7. Don’t waste the company’s time. It’s not fair on your manager, or the rest of your team if you stand around drinking coffee on the company’s time – they are paying you for your skills, so don’t take your position for granted. If you genuinely have nothing to do, ask your manager what you can be doing – I’m sure they will be thankful for your initiative.
  8. Don’t wait to ask for help. If you are stuck on something, the longer you leave it the harder it will become to speak up, and the problem may grow meanwhile. There is no shame in asking for help and showing that you are actively seeking answers and are willing to learn, which is good for you and your manager.
  9. Come to work with a good attitude. Leave your personal life and problems at the door and come to work fresh, ready and prepared. You wouldn’t be expected to deal with the brunt of someone’s else’s personal issues, so don’t make yours a problem for your manager or anyone else on your team.