Challenges to Change

  1. Lack of Competence. A new system implies new skills – fear of not being able to make the transition causes people to push against the process.
  2. Poor Timing. Planning an initiative and implementing the process during a period of relative calm is a necessity. Resistance may occur when alterations are introduced at an awkward time.
  3. The Lack of Reward or Incentive. A plan to address the upside for employees and the gains that will be made is necessary. Failure to do so is a breeding ground for a lack of motivation.
  4. Office Politics. Every organisation has its own share of in-house politics. Employees may resist as a political strategy to “show or prove” that the modification decision is wrong.
  5. Job Loss. Any process, technological advancement, systems, or product alteration will include streamlining, working smarter, cost reduction, efficiency, or faster turnaround times.
  6. Poor Communication Strategy. An inability to communicate the what, why, how, when, and who of success in terms of the methods for measuring it is a set up for resistance.

What strategies is your business undertaking to address the normalcy of resistance?

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com

Change Management – 30 % Success Rate

The literature on change management success typically states a 30 % success rate. Two main factors play the biggest role in the failure are transparency and the creation of a safe haven for the communication of the good, the bad, and the ugly from employees to those managing and implementing the change.

The tried and true strategies for implementing change – having a change team in place, engaging employees at all levels of the organization, forming a communications strategy, and creating a compelling vision for change are typically in place.

The questions that need to be asked are:

  • Is the communications strategy transparent? For example, are potential lay-off’s and work flow changes addressed?
  • Has the change management process factored in that as people we react from an emotional base first? Is the method of communication designed to appeal solely to the intellect?
  • Has the design and implementation of the initiative provided an opportunity for a safe and repercussion free environment for the employees to share the good, the bad, and the ugly from an emotional perspective?

Transparent communications, and a safe place for employees to express what they are feeling may prove to be a game changer in the change management industry.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Change & Transition Specialist, info@effectiveplacement.com.

 

 

Reasons for Hiring Workers Over the Age of 45

Strategic managers and HR professionals need to address the skills, knowledge base, and institutional memory that is required for their company to grow. Date from StatsCan there is now an equal number of workers aged 25 to 34 and those aged 55 and above who are active in the workplace. That number strongly suggests that to keep up with the demands of running a business – older workers are now a necessity.

Efforts to retain and attract older works need to be top of mind for those who want to ensure the viability of their businesses in the long term. Offering older workers flexible work arrangements, training and development opportunities is important.

Benefits of keeping a mature workforce include:

  • Knowledge based on experience;
  • Dependability and commitment;
  • Established networks that add value;
  • Matching clients to your employee base – mature clients like to deal with mature employees.

What strategies is your business undertaking to ensure that the mature employee stays on?  Do let me know as I am genuinely interested.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com

 

Steps to Take When Managing Difficulties

Strategies for coping with difficult situations, circumstances or people involve the following:

  1. Identify and use your support network. Be it a friend, a trusted co-worker, a neighbour, or an EAP counsellor – reach out, connect and share your feelings (if possible) or simply what is occurring to you and around you in the aftermath. Focus on expressing what you need from the other person.  Examples may be a safe place to share grief, the need for someone to simply listen, or a scheduled break from your usual routine.

 

  1. Get some sleep. Self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. A good night’s sleep gives you the perspective you need to deal with the situation you are in.

 

  1. Set boundaries. When you are vulnerable it is important to have boundaries in place. Take time for yourself to rest and recoup. Avoid as much as possible other scenarios or people that will add to your stress factor. When you have looked after yourself you are in a better position to offer support or request the support you need.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com

 

Buzz Words – Indicate a Lack of Clarity

The following summary of buzzwords and their overuse by GetVoIP is interesting and worth sharing. Which ones cause you to groan inwardly? Which ones are you using? I admit that “unpack” has been one I have used and will now be finding another more suitable word to express the need to look deeper.

“The problem with buzzwords is that most are overused, clichéd, and unclear,” said Reuben Yonatan, whose cloud communications company GetVoIP came up with a study on the 25 most annoying buzzwords.

Here’s the complete list of 25 buzzwords that irritate your colleagues along with an estimate of their usage increase over the past while according to GetVoIP:

  • Bring to the table – up 1738%
  • Cutting edge – 10%
  • Deep dive – 207%
  • Deliverable – 151%
  • Ducks in a row – 485%
  • Empower – 411%
  • End of day – 57%
  • Fast track – 360%
  • Game changing – 341%
  • Guru – 21%
  • Hit the ground running – 578%
  • Innovative – 21%
  • Ideate – 14%
  • Knowledge transfer – 1077%
  • Low-hanging fruit – 955%
  • Move the needle – 100%
  • Pain point – 182%
  • Reach out – 53%
  • Synergize – 119%
  • Take to the next level – 3714%
  • Take offline – 1579%
  • Unpack – 70270%
  • Value-added – 88%
  • World-class – 305%

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant – Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com.

For more info about GetVOIP – check out https://getvoip.com/blog/2018/03/13/25-business-buzzwords-infographic/

 

 

Soft Skills are Essential in Today’s Workplaces

Working with hiring managers in several different industries including mining, safety, manufacturing, and health care the one common denominator for skills from the Executive Suite to the frontend office has been soft skills. Yes – soft skills – those skills that require having good to great people proficiencies. Most managers agree that technological skills are taught in higher education or learned on the job. Soft skills on the other hand are a learned behavior that is not typically taught in the workplace.

Soft skills in this case refer to interpersonal communication skills, relating to others, being approachable, having a good attitude, being pleasant to work with, having cognitive or emotional empathy, and having harmonious interactions with others. Mastery of these skills enables a person to engage and influence others.

The person with great soft skills leads with confidence. They are also able to manage stress. Another attribute is patience. By that I mean knowing when to take action steps and when to slow things down until the timing for a change process is more fully aligned.

Having a good work ethic in terms of being present to the situation, with a willingness to learn something new is part of having well developed soft skills. Lastly engaging in business behavior that mirrors truthfulness, has integrity, and is transparent are key aspects of the soft skills toolbox.

It turns out that people with an Arts degree may have the right type of soft skills to succeed in areas that are uncertain and murky.  That being the case – here are the soft skills that people with a Liberal Arts education tend to have:

Being curious and willing to try new things. It is speculated about 70 % of working people want to be told what to do and when to do it over and over again.  Enter the need for curiosity, and the ability to make up the rules as you along, a strong characteristic of Arts grads.

Decoding or analytic skills. Unpacking systems and processes are what Arts graduates are generally better at than others.  Using critical thinking skills developed during the degree courses is invaluable in terms of putting all of the puzzle pieces together into a logical framework.  It is also valuable when it comes to unearthing details overlooked by others.

Reading people and communicating. Having empathy and being able to see people as they are is a skill that Arts graduates have in spades.  Focusing on what others want and need and then being able to communicate that clearly is hugely beneficial.

What soft skills do find are essential in your workplace? And which team members demonstrate these skills in spades? Are they by chance Arts Degree holders? Do let me know as I am genuinely interested.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant – Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com.

 

Employee & Company Growth Are Often at Different Paces

You were hired for your dream job at company XYZ. For the first few years you were in the zone – you meshed with the company culture and were a great fit in terms of your attitude and behaviour.  Suddenly or maybe gradually you began to feel less aligned overall with the company.

As an employer you notice that one of your star employees is indifferent. The person maybe quieter or appear to be less involved. An underlying tension or apprehension is evident. The company or the employee may have grown by leaps and bounds. What started off as a great fit is no longer.

When facing a situation with an employee who is no longer a good fit there are some steps you as the employer can take to mitigate the situation. First you can meet with the employee and develop a transitioning out plan.  Working with other businesses to find a home for the employee is a win-win scenario. Another option is to look internally to determine if there is a role that will use put the talents and skills of the employee to good use.

What have you tried to ensure both you and an employee come out as winners when the fit is gone?

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com

Hire that Contract Worker

Companies today face many challenges with most being taxed to address the constant changes that are being undertaken to keep pace with client demands. Coupled with the volatility of the dynamics involving environmental and organizational transformations that are occurring the circumstances provide the perfect storm for the use of contractual consultants.

  1. Contract workers take the edge off of overwhelm due to overwork and or contraction.
  2. Contracts allow a business to keep its overhead manageable.
  3. Contracts with consultants add a different perspective to the workplace that in and of itself leads to positive change.
  4. Contract workers take the edge off of peak vacation periods and ensure that projects and or production stay on track saving costly financial overruns.

Contractors are a beneficial investment of time and resources especially in relation to the challenges of ongoing change.  The true value of a business is the people who work in it.  Shorter term contractors provide invaluable assistance in addressing current and future volatility.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant Change & Transition, info@effectiveplacement.com.

Managing Work Performance Utilizing Continuous Feedback

Over the past 10 years the issue of measuring employee performance based on a traditional model of the annual performance review has received a great deal of attention. The annual performance review has been shown to be ineffective for several reasons. A common factor in the demise in popularity for the annual performance review is the lack of relevant feedback to the employee from the manager in a timely way.

Employees today value feedback that is timely and constructive. Those in a leadership position would do well to focus on the on the merits of taking the time to shift their focus from employee performance reviews as a chore to one of addressing providing the feedback that employees desire.

Businesses that have embraced an approach that offers regular feedback are using a Continuous Feedback Model. The model relies on regular feedback to employees. Feedback is not always on work related issues. It may take the from of inquiry as to special traditions or plans around a public event or holiday. Good communication is the hallmark of the model and requires managers and employees alike to focus on improving their own communication skills and style.

The approach is designed to make a point of letting an employee know when they excelled or when there is an improvement required. Discussions between a manager and an employee occur one-on-one. Leaders ask employees questions that facilitate growth in the form of identification of behaviours that lead to success or a lack of it. Leaders and employees both benefit from the approach in terms of opportunities for growth and correction.

Implementation of the model does require a cultural workplace change or transformation. A period of transition is required for leaders and managers to adjust to providing timely and relevant feedback to their teams. It also requires that leaders improve their own communication styles. This often requires specialized training or mentoring. Employees also require training or mentoring in relation to requesting feedback. The process of requesting feedback becomes the basis for further cultural change in that it brings about sharing and trust. These attributes in turn are the basis for employees and managers alike to change their behaviours to have a different result.

Once leaders and employees are comfortable with a communication process that encourages feedback the process moves from occasionally as in quarterly to a more continuous style. Team members may also offer one another feedback as the comfort in the model grows.

Has your business changed its style of performance appraisal to a form of Continuous Feedback? If yes what have the results indicated? Do let me know as I am genuinely interested.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com

Business Conduct & Transparency

Transparency in business conduct is a challenge that requires alignment from the executive all the way to casual staff. A blueprint for conduct alignment that is worth sharing follows.

  • Take the time to develop a business code of conduct and ethics. Ensure you have input from all levels of the organization when developing the code.
  • Orientation for all employees from the CEO / President to the part time casual staff is mandatory.
  • Ensure employees understand and appreciate that decisions they make and activities they engage in reflect the principles in the code of conduct.
  • Encourage employees to refer to the code when faced with a decision or challenge.
  • Provide a safe and confidential method for employees to voice concerns or areas that may need to be reviewed.
  • Engage a random selection of employees from different divisions or departments to review the code of conduct every 2 – 3 years. Incorporate recommended changes to the code and have all employees re-oriented to the differences.

Transparency is present at every level as is the level of engagement. Employees typically buy in and those who do not leave to pursue other opportunities.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com