Tag Archive | "employees"

Business Sense: Identifying Value Added Activities

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Business Sense: Identifying Value Added Activities

Posted on 02 August 2018 by CRadmin2

By Harry Hollander of Moraware

Having trouble finding good help these days?

Ed Young (WeReduceChaos.com) recognizes that pretty much everyone is struggling with this issue. In a growing economy, growth in jobs outstrips the supply of good labor.

In addition to getting more creative in finding and attracting new employees, an often overlooked solution is getting more value from existing staff.

Think about the term value added. Truly value added activities are those which transform a material into a product that a customer is willing to pay for – a good example is the saw operator. Value added time for that job is ONLY the time that the blade is cutting material. Everything else – everything – is non-value-added.

You’re paying for the good labor you already have, plus spending money and time chasing new talent. How much of that time & money is being wasted on non-value-added activities?

As soon as you finish this article, take a few minutes to watch your saw operator. Which activities are value added and which are not? How much of your saw operator’s day is spent on non-value-added activities?

Next, figure out how can you reduce or eliminate those non-value-added activities. Would it make sense to have a low-wage helper moving product around in your shop to allow your highly skilled and higher paid operators spend more time on value added activities? What can you do to speed up loading and unloading the saw table? Download the handy VA/NVA analysis tool to quantify the impact of making those changes.

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Need New Talent? Hire a Veteran

Posted on 23 May 2016 by cradmin

HireVetsFirst2If you have positions open in your shop or office or you are planning on expanding, you may want to consider hiring a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces for the job. According to the Veterans’ & Training Service (VETS), veteran unemployment has dropped 23 of the last 24 months to reach a low of 3.9 percent, but that still leaves more than 752,000 able-bodied veterans still unemployed. Many veterans still have a difficult time landing jobs, but plenty of resources as well as tax incentives are available for employers who can help these hard-working Americans earn a decent living.

Where to Find Veterans

Many employers across the country have stated that they would prefer to hire veterans over most other job candidates, but they simply don’t know how to find them. However, several resources are available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), other government agencies and several nonprofit organizations.

A great place to start searching for veterans in need of jobs is through the Department of Labor’s dedicated website for veteran employment: Veterans.gov. This program provides one-on-one assistance to veterans through 2,500 American Job Centers in local cities and communities throughout the nation.

In addition to other services for job seekers, the website also provides resources for employers. You can make a public commitment to hire veterans and receive a free hiring toolkit titled America’s Heroes at Work. You can also post job descriptions and current opening and connect with a region al employer outreach specialist who can provide local resources for hiring veterans.

Other resources that could offer assistance in locating veterans in need of work are as follows:

Incentives for Hiring Veterans

The U.S. government provides several incentives to employers who hire veterans, which are detailed in the Guide to Hiring Veterans published by the White House in 2012. While some of the tax incentives in the guide are slightly outdated, a tax guide for 2016 was recently published by Military.com. The primary credit available is the Returning Heroes Tax Credit, which provides an incentive of up to $5,600 for hiring unemployed veterans, and a credit of up $9,600 is offered through the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit. Other credits may also be available through the Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration.

It is also possible for employers to be reimbursed for training some unemployed veterans through the VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) services. This program pays qualified veterans half of their salary for six to nine months while in training in addition to the tax credits. Finally, you can take part in a non-paid work experience program. In this program, participants are not paid a wage, but they receive a monthly subsistence allowance by the VR&E.

This Memorial Day, consider doing something more to show our veterans you care by offering them the jobs they need to support themselves and their families.

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Seven Habits of Diversity-Conscious Managers

Posted on 07 July 2015 by CRadmin2

By Lenora Billings-Harris

Think of a leader/manager in your life who really motivated you to be the best you could be. What attributes or characteristics describe that person? What habits did he or she have that worked for you? Over the past few years, I have asked hundreds of leaders that question. Here is a sampling of the most frequent answers.

My motivating leader:

  • Was fair and respectful toward others
  • Had high personal standards
  • Believed in my abilities and potential
  • Helped me believe in myself
  • Encouraged and stretched me
  • Led by example
  • Mentored and coached effectively
  • Asked for and appreciated different points of view
  • Listened
  • Criticized objectively
  • Had integrity; was honorable
  • Helped me solve my own problems
  • Had a vision
  • Developed a trusting environment

The specific word diversity was rarely used when people described their best, favorite or most effective manager. However, fairness, respect, objectiveness and the ability to listen recurred frequently. Clearly, these are key skills for managing a diverse workforce.

The attributes mentioned above describe an effective manager and leader. The challenge within a diverse environment is to be able to practice these behaviors with all contributors, rather than only with employees with whom you are most comfortable. Developing the diversity dimension of leadership requires a commitment to demonstrate the following behaviors consistently:

Identify Professional Aspirations

Learn the professional aspirations of all team members and support their efforts to achieve them. Many organizations have some type of career development or succession planning process. In order to make these programs more effective within a diverse environment, be sure that you are talking to all of your staff about their career aspirations. Even if your organization does not have many opportunities for individuals looking for upward mobility, your interest in their career and your assistance in their development will be greatly appreciated and will usually motivate people to do their best work. If there are no opportunities within the organization and the employee ultimately leaves the company, you then have a positive ambassador in the overall community.

Create Opportunities for Positive Exposure

Create opportunities for highly talented employees to be exposed to leaders who may not otherwise interact with them. Perhaps they can present a report, attend a meeting in your place, or conduct various other activities whereby they can interact with leaders in the organization who, if impressed, can impact their career in a positive way.

Create Cross-Functional Teams

As organizations have downsized, right-sized and re-engineered their businesses, many management positions have been eliminated, thus requiring groups to work together as teams in order to complete the necessary tasks.

When cross-functional teams work effectively, ideas flourish. People are exposed to each other’s ideas and discover that different departments have different viewpoints. That exposure is beneficial to the overall innovation potential of the organization. When creating these teams, remember that putting people together does not automatically make them a team. Training is needed to help develop that group of people into an effective, trusting team. Without training, diversity collisions because of stereotypes about age, tenure, communication styles, as well as ethnicity and gender can be divisive to the team’s effectiveness.

Delegate Fairly

Sometimes leaders have a tendency to delegate to the same people all the time because they do good work and things will be done well. However, if you are going to truly develop all team members, regardless of their packaging, you need to identify projects, tasks and responsibilities that could further develop their skills. Once the task is delegated, be sure to coach, and be clear regarding your expectations about updates and results.

Do not Tolerate Inappropriate or Disrespectful Behavior

Communicate and support intolerance of inappropriate and disrespectful behavior. This practice relates to “led by example,” and “was fair and respectful,” as descriptors of effective leaders. This must be an ongoing behavior on your part, one where you are constantly looking for opportunities to teach tolerance and respect within the workplace. This skill is one of the most difficult diversity management skills to perform well consistently because most people do not know how to provide negative feedback constructively. If you are silent or laugh nervously at “dumb blonde” jokes, for instance, your behavior may perpetuate the inappropriate actions of your staff.

Evaluate Performance Effectively

Most employees really want to do a good job. The problem is often they do not know what a good job is because the clues from their leadership are unclear. The clues frequently differ based on superficial or stereotypical judgments regarding age, gender or ethnicity. For example, what is considered acceptable or superior performance for a woman engineer is often different from the standards for her male counterparts because of unwritten expectations. If the skills and expectations for the job are clear, the measurement criteria is clear and the feedback is continuous, then it becomes easier for you to be fair with each employee.

Consider Individual Needs

Consider individual needs when enforcing company policies and guidelines. The idea is to be fair. However, fair does not necessarily mean the same. There are times when you must decide how to implement policies without showing favoritism while recognizing the different needs of your staff.

Coordination of work schedules is an example. Although within a department, and within the same job category, everyone is probably expected to arrive at the same time and leave at the same time, it would be appropriate, when necessary, to allow flextime. Be sure to clarify the requirements.

You may have noticed that nowhere have I suggested that effective leaders manage based on ethnicity, gender, disability, age and the like. Effective leaders realize that everyone in the organization contributes to its success, when people are treated as individuals rather than just members of various groups. The more you are able to relate to individuals, the more you will be able to create an environment that causes them to produce at their highest level, regardless of their packaging.

Actions that Make a Difference

  1. Make time to talk privately with each of your employees on a regular basis. For example, if you have 10 employees, provide each with 30 minutes every two weeks where they have the opportunity to share with you whatever they wish. They can ask any questions or give you ideas, and you have the opportunity to get to know them personally and coach and counsel them as necessary.
  1. Ask your staff, individually, how they would prefer to be managed and how they would prefer to be rewarded. Often, we assume money is what everyone wants. This is not necessarily true. When you ask an employee how he or she wishes to be rewarded, you may discover personal interests and professional aspirations that you can be supportive of. For example, perhaps one employee might be most motivated by having the company pay part of his or her child’s tuition. A childfree person may be most appreciative if the company provided additional vacation time so that she or he could visit a favorite place.
  1. Take your staff to lunch every now and then – just to chat. The more actions you take to demonstrate sincere interest in the individual, the more likely your staff will want to go the extra mile. The challenge is to make the time. Once you see the real person, instead of just their “packaging,” the benefits to you and the organization will abound. Their differences will then be an asset instead of a barrier. The opportunity is there. You can make a difference.

About the Author

Lenora Billings-Harris, CSP is the author of The Diversity Advantage: A Guide to Making Diversity Work.

Copyright© 2015, Lenora Billings-Harris. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at [email protected].

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Ten Principles of Motivation

Posted on 19 May 2015 by cradmin

by Nido R. Qubein

One of the questions I hear most often from executives and managers is the following: How do I motivate my employees to do the things I want them to do?

The answer is – You don’t!

We can’t motivate people. They are already motivated. But we can determine what motivates them and use this knowledge to channel their energies toward our company goals.

From my 20 years of helping executives solve their people challenges, I’ve learned a few basic principles about motivation. Let me share them with you:

All People Are Motivated

Some people are like water in a faucet. They have the motivation; all you have to provide is the opportunity. The water is already motivated to flow. But it doesn’t have the opportunity until you open the tap.

Others are like mountain streams, which flow swiftly but follow their own channels. People, too, may move energetically but toward their own goals. We in management should make it worth their while to channel their motivations toward the results we are seeking.

People Do Things for Their Reasons Not for Yours or Mine

We in management have to show employees what’s in it for them when they follow behaviors that benefit the company. We can show them by using rewards and recognition, appealing to their sense of pride and achievement.

People Change Because of Pain

When the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing, people will change. For example, Americans didn’t start buying smaller, fuel-efficient automobiles until the pain of high gasoline prices became greater than the pain of switching to less roomy and less powerful cars.

The Key to Effective Communication Is Identification

When something becomes personal, it becomes important. When our clients or our employees begin to identify with who we are and what we are, good things begin to happen. Large corporations have discovered that.

Prudential, for example, knows that its customers want to buy security. So it doesn’t just sell insurance, it markets peace of mind by inviting all of us to buy “a piece of the rock.”

Kodak didn’t sell cameras, it invited its customers to “trust your memories to Kodak.”

AT&T doesn’t tell us to make long-distance calls. It asks us to “reach out and touch someone.”

In dealing with employees, it isn’t enough to appeal to them on the basis of loyalty to the company. They need personal reasons for showing this loyalty.

Whether we’re instituting a new educational program or undergoing a total restructuring, we can get our employees on board more readily if we show them how the change will affect them for the better.

When my company sets out to lead businesses in developing their human-relations skills, we don’t tell them what we’re going to do for the company. We talk about what we’re going to do for the individual. For example, in the introduction to one of our manuals, we tell supervisors the following:

“We’ve designed this complete educational system to help YOU master the skills of supervisory management and enjoy the rewards of leadership and career enhancement.

From management’s standpoint, the training was designed to increase the effectiveness of the organization. That’s what sold the company on the program. But from the employee’s standpoint, it was to upgrade the skills of the individual. That’s what sold the employees on the program.

The Best Way to Get People to Pay Attention to You Is to Pay Attention to Them

That means listening to others and not just hearing them. Listening is active; hearing is passive. If you listen to individuals long enough, they’ll tell you what their concerns and problems are.

It’s very important that executives listen to their staff and associates. We need to take the time to get to know them, not just by name but also by their interests and aspirations.

We should try not to come across as interrogators but ask them friendly questions about how they are, what they did over the weekend and what they’re doing on vacation. Then listen. It’s amazing what you’ll learn.

Pride Is a Powerful Motivator

Everybody is proud of something. If we find out what makes our people proud, we can use that insight to channel their motivation. Pride is tied closely to self-esteem. My friend, Robert W. Darvin, has founded several successful companies, including Scandinavian Design, Inc., and has often used our consulting services and invited me to speak to his people. His observations on self-esteem are worth repeating:

“There’s only one thing that counts in a business: building the self-esteem of your employees. Nothing else matters because what they feel about themselves is what they give to your customers. If an employee comes to work not liking his job, not feeling good about himself, you can be sure that your customers will go away not liking or feeling good about your company.

You Can’t Change People; You Can Only Change Their Behaviors

To change behavior, you must change feelings and beliefs. This requires more than training. It requires education. When you train people, you just try to teach them a task; when you educate people, you deal with them at a deeper level relative to behavior, feelings and beliefs.

The Employee’s Perception Becomes the Executive’s Reality

This is a very important point. When we speak to employees, they don’t respond to what we say, they respond to what they understand us to say. When employees observe our behavior, they respond to what they perceive us doing and will try to emulate us.

Suppose you send an employee to a developmental workshop or seminar and she comes back brimming with new ideas and information. But you haven’t been exposed to all this stimulating stuff, so your behavior doesn’t change. The employee realizes this and concludes that the behavior she observes in you is the behavior you want. This may not be the case at all. You may want the employee to implement all these new ideas, but your employee’s perception is the reality you get.

You Consistently Get the Behaviors You Consistently Expect and Reinforce

We should look for ways to reward employees for doing the things we want them to do. The reward may take the form of financial incentives, prizes or simply public recognition of a job well done. Reinforcement can be positive or negative, as my roundtable partner, Ken Blanchard, has taught us all. If employees learn that a certain type of behavior results in lower earnings, less favorable hours or less desirable territories, they’ll adjust their behavioral patterns.

We All Judge Ourselves by Our Motives, but We Judge Others by Their Actions

Put another way, we’re inclined to excuse in ourselves behavior that we find unacceptable in others. When our employees are late for work, it’s because they’re irresponsible and have no interest in their jobs. When we’re late for work, it’s because we were attending to necessary details that had to be taken care of.

When employees engage in undesirable behavior, we shouldn’t try to assess motives or change them. Just deal with the behavior. We can’t change the motives of our employees, but through positive or negative reinforcement, you can affect their actions.

Follow these principles and you’ll find yourself surrounded by motivated employees who are channeling their energies toward your goals – goals in which they have personal stakes.

About the Author

Nido Qubein is chairman of an international management consulting firm that serves clients across the United States and in a dozen other countries. He is a partner in several companies and serves on the boards of 17 universities, companies and community organizations, including a Fortune 500 company with $56 billion in assets and the Bryan School of Business. He has written many books and recorded scores of audio and video programs, which are translated in several languages.

Copyright ©2015, Nido R. Qubein. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at email [email protected].

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