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Seven Ways to Use Rewards to Fix Employees

1. Understand why the employee is having issues.
Communication is the first step. Incentives or rewards will not engage problem individuals if they are struggling in other areas, so identify the root of the problem. Why is the employee struggling or not living up to expectations? Is it a lack of skills that can be solved with training? Is the employee's personality creating obstacles to learning or improving? Are personal problems creeping into the office and causing performance issues?

2. Know the corporate culture.
To build an effective rewards and incentives program, know employees and understand the culture in which they work. Many variables contribute to corporate culture, and demographics is one of the biggest factors. If an employee falls outside of the core demographics, he or she may not feel engaged with other employees or company business methods. Continuous training and interoffice gatherings, social or business related, can help alleviate feelings of not fitting in with peers.

3. Customize programs.
In general, trying to execute a one-size-fits-all program is a recipe for failure. This is especially true in a diverse workplace. Knowing employees' interests and hobbies helps. Do they like to travel, golf or ski? Are they shoppers or homebodies? By matching rewards to their interests, talent managers can create a more personalized approach to demonstrate caring and motivate employees after a program ends.

4. Communicate.
Regardless of the type of rewards program, maintain continuous communication. Don't rely on the prize to motivate an employee throughout the process. For some, the prize may seem too far from reach; remind employees that their small, daily efforts can have a huge impact. Utilizing the right communication methods can be the fine line between success and failure. Asking for feedback lets talent managers know if the program is reaching its intended audience and can help when planning the next program.

5. Know when to make changes.
If the aforementioned steps have been taken and employees are still not productive, they may be complacent from doing the same tasks for years or be bored by a lack of stimulating challenges. Offer them a different role, perhaps one featuring newer experiences to remind them what they liked about the company in the first place. This is worth trying because it can be less costly to reposition employees than to replace them. If there is no immediate opening, developing a career path could make them more engaged in their current job.

6. Know when to get help.
There are times when managers might be in over their heads. Managing an effective rewards program with constant communication takes a lot of work, and seeking external assistance can help hit established targets.

7. Know when to call it quits.
A toxic employee can greatly impact the morale and productivity of an entire team, rendering an incentive or rewards program useless. Knowing when to terminate could be the best thing for the employee and the company long term. Much like personal relationships, opening new doors can lead to a happier environment for everyone.
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10 Best Practices for Your Human Resources Department

1. HR is a potential employee's first impression

Human Resources departments should strive to not just be super efficient and organized with new hires, but should really think of themselves as the first ones to welcome a new employee and make a positive impression. Taking care of a new employee/intern's unique needs is an important responsibility that should be done carefully.

2. Put it in writing and set expectations upfront

Don't assume new hires know what your organization expects. What may appear simple to you is foreign to the next person. Develop a straight forward employee handbook or manual to address the basics including job descriptions, attendance expectations, e-mail communication etiquette, payment methods and more. Review standard operating procedures and set people up for success.

3. Screen for culture fit

Every organization has a culture of its own. It is up to the entrepreneur to choose to define and build it or let it develop on its own. Screening a candidate for a cultural fit is critical. We have passed over numerous talented candidates because they were not appropriate for the culture that we have worked so hard to build.

4. Understand motivation

You must know what motivates your employees—financial rewards and money is not always the best way to give your employees drive. Every HR department must set-up non-financial rewards programs like mentorship lunches, featuring special employees or better parking. Money is not the only driver of strong employees.

5. Go hi-tech or go home

Streamline the HR workflow by using technology to improve communication and accessibility. Some specific examples include HR management system software, Internet based payroll, and electronic applicant tracking. These electronic systems will save time, money and reduce the errors caused by archaic paperwork.

6. Be transparent

Generation Y-ers heavily emphasize workplace culture, benefits and transparency. Sometimes these issues even trump salary considerations. Therefore, the most crucial HR best practice that every business should implement is stressing the transparent culture of the business during interviews.

7. Create a talent community

Turn your careers page into an interactive social community by utilizing talent community plugins  prospective employees. Provide valuable content through these means and regularly interact with interested individuals.

8. Be consistent

After setting up appropriate policies and procedures, be sure that you're enforcing these rules fairly and consistently across all employees. Nothing undermines your respect like the perception of playing favorites (and be sensitive to how things may be perceived). Even if employees do not like certain policies, if they're enforced consistently it makes it much more difficult to be questioned.

9. Keep your eye out for who you want to hire

Relying on applications means that you're relying on people who self-select (and are driven by the need for a job more than anything else). For some positions, that's fine, but you need to keep an eye out for people who are fantastic and already have jobs. Hiring employees away from other companies tends to mean you're selecting the pool of potentials.

10. Be personally involved

As an organization grows, the owner must choose their battles wisely and hiring is one of the most critical because its the lifeblood of your company. Eventually you will need to hire an HR director, but by being involved in each and every hire you set the tone for how your company runs and who is in charge. Employees work harder for owners they can tell are 100 percent dedicated to quality control.
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How to Create More Value From Employee Surveys

 
create value from surveys
 
CEOs often proclaim that "people are our most important asset." Yet many HR departments find themselves unable to play a significant part in translating these words into reality for several reasons:
a) Some HR departments rely so heavily on benchmarking that they fail to customize their strategies to their organization's unique circumstances, thereby almost guaranteeing they will, at best, stay average.
b) Others get too caught up in the flavor-of-the-month programs.
c) Many are so busy putting out fires they have no time to address what's truly important - drivers of business results.
d) Despite its potential, too often the only thing that comes out of the annual employee engagement survey is a big data dump with no real impact.
Analyticscan ensure HR is not pigeonholed as non-strategic and out-of-touch. "It's no longer possible for HR departments or functions to ignore analytics," said Larry Costello, executive vice president, Tyco Fire and Security. "The forces bringing analytics to the forefront are simply too powerful to disregard."
Talent leaders can use a four-step process to create an HR analytics strategy that will transform the traditional engagement survey into a source of actionable business intelligence.
Step 1 - Create a smarter employee survey.
Traditional employee engagement or satisfaction surveys are not up to the task of producing actionable business intelligence. Engagement is necessary to produce great results, but it's not sufficient. For example, in the Harvard Business Review article "Manage Your Human Sigma," while describing an analysis of customer engagement at a multi-site retailer, Gallup researchers state, "Our working assumption was that at least a few of the top employee engagement stores would also be top customer engagement stores. We were wrong.
Just one store appeared on both lists."
There are two major deficiencies in most employee engagement surveys:
1. They pay too little attention to critical organization-level factors such as work processes, hiring processes and informal learning. These factors are big drivers of business results, but are typically not among the top employee engagement/satisfaction drivers. For this reason, they are under-measured in most surveys.
2. They miss the opportunity to tap into workforce wisdom about the drivers and impediments of what it takes for an organization to be a good seller and a good community and environmental steward - both of which are increasingly necessary to an organization's ability to outperform its competition.
Employee survey content should be expanded to include a broader set of questions that go beyond HR's current concept of employee engagement.

Step 2 - "Linkage analysis" to business outcomes.
Next, statistically link the data from the smarter employee survey to data on desired outcomes.
Linkage analysis can be done with soft outcomes data collected within a smarter employee survey, which includes engagement - including employees' intent to stay and willingness to recommend the organization to friends as a good place to work - as well as elements such as employees' reported ability to help the organization achieve its cost containment goals; and the extent to which employees report that the work environment supports excellent customer service.
Data on hard outcomes comes from outside the survey, such as sales, safety, turnover and customer satisfaction, and is then mapped to the survey. This involves aligning these outcomes to the survey responses of the employees who provided them. It is important to note that this mapping requires the survey be non-anonymous. Hence, creating business intelligence from a smarter employee engagement survey requires contracting with an independent third-party analytics firm, since failing to do so is likely to result in less-than-frank responses to a non-anonymous survey.
Thespecific statistical methodologies that should be used for the linkage analysis will depend on the outcome being analyzed. The techniques can range from complex multivariate analysis, such as logit regression or panel estimation techniques, for most individual-level data, to more straightforward univariate analysis - correlations and statistical testing of differences of means - for group data with small sample sizes.
However, it's important not to get hung up on the statistical nuances since there are plenty of experts who can help with this. The critical point is that linkage analysis is the missing connection that allows organizations to move beyond guesswork, hope and intuition on the people side of their business.
"Leveraging analysis that connects areas like employee engagement to important business results is the missing link," said Mary Humiston, senior vice president, global human resources, Applied Materials. "It is helping us to develop a strong fact-based HR strategy for driving improved business results. Identifying the unique human drivers of our business outcomes with precision and rigor is helping us to elevate our game."
Step 3 - Create a rigorous, fact-based process to identify the best areas of opportunity.
It's important to understand that benchmarking is not analytics. For example, knowing that an organization benchmarks at the 90th percentile on a specific survey item should not be cause for celebration - unless linkage analysis reveals that the specific item drives an important business outcome. And a low score on a specific survey item should only create significant concern if it drives a key outcome. Benchmarking provides little, if any, basis for creating a fact-based HR strategy.
Following a survey, many organizations spend lots of time working on their lowest-scoring items. They would therefore focus heavily on seeking to improve survey item A - the item with the lowest overall score.
However, if a second piece of information is added to the mix, a different conclusion emerges.
Remember survey item A with the lowest score? Turns out it's a negative predictor of sales and therefore is actually a poor target for improvement. The best area of focus turns out to be survey item B, which has the fourth-lowest score, but is both an important positive predictor of sales and still an area of relative weakness. While it might be tempting to wonder what the specific survey questions are that correspond to A and B, that would miss the point, which is that each organization must do its analytics homework to determine the survey items that are most important for it rather than accept a one-size-fits-all answer.
The content of the actual survey items in this example doesn't matter; the results will be different for every organization. That's the point of doing this analysis - to help organizations move beyond benchmarking and target survey items that are the most important predictors of their organization's business outcomes.

Step 4 - Make insightful and easy-to-understand recommendations.
Getting to step 3 can be challenging, since it helps move organizations beyond potentially misleading one-size-fits-all benchmarking measures. But to enjoy the full advantage of this breakthrough, effectively communicating the findings from the analysis is essential. Three points to keep in mind:
1. Avoid data dumps and the temptation to share everything learned in the course of the analysis.
2. Home in on the most important findings and implications, and focus on those.
3. Communicate simply and compellingly. This is as much art as science, but it's critical skill to create actionable business intelligence on the people side of the business.
The top areas of opportunity emerging from Step 3 provide a compelling business case to create a fact-based HR strategy to drive business results.
"At Applied Materials we are using analytics to convert both HR data and business data from information into actionable insights," said Angela Sheffield, head of global workforce planning at Applied Materials. "The executive team is very engaged - they are asking for more. It really helps them to understand the link between what goes on in HR and our business results and guides them to where the biggest levers are for improvement."
One of the real beauties of this approach is that it is possible to provide insightful, customized reports to each manager and offer specific recommendations for actions the manager should take - based on his or her specific pattern of results - to help that manager achieve his or her objectives.
Once this has been achieved, it is typically no longer necessary for HR to push the findings of the employee engagement survey onto the organization - the organization starts to pull for the analysis and insights. The move from push to pull is a significant breakthrough in HR's ability to help the organization be truly strategic.
There are powerful forces - in terms of both supply and demand - that are bringing HR analytics to the forefront. First, technology advances have made HR data available on a scale that was heretofore unimaginable. More importantly, the growing economic premium associated with superior human capital management means that HR strategy is simply too important to be left to gut and intuition. If HR doesn't step up to the plate, another part of the organization is sure to fill the void.
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