Why Good Communication Is So Important

Communication begins the second we’re born.

We soon discover that making loud noises usually gets us what we want! Hopefully for most of us, our communication skills become much more advanced from then on. Though, you may meet the odd person who seems to still operate on this premise.

In business, as in life, communication is essential for survival. Done effectively, it helps your team be happy, creative, and productive.

Think about all the positive attributes you want your team to possess – trust, loyalty, efficiency, passion for the job (and the business as a whole), and commitment. Good communication is essential in creating each of these factors.

Let’s dive a little deeper into why good communication is essential to your business.

Why Good Communication Is So Important

Creating Buy-In

If an employee doesn’t understand or buy-in to the values and purpose of your organisation, they are unlikely to go the extra mile in any aspect of their role. So basically, you end up with someone who clocks in and out and does the bare minimum.

However, when you are able to effectively communicate your company’s “why,” you start to build a sense of belonging.

When employees understand how their role contributes to the bigger picture, they will take more pride in their work and serve as powerful advocates for your business. The side effects of buy-in include engagement and loyalty.

Increasing Productivity

Productivity is a key component of a successful business. Without being productive, you and your team are just wasting your own time… and company time.

One sure-fire way to increase productivity is to work on communication within your organisation. To do their job well, employees need to understand what is required of them. With the right information, they can do that job faster and more effectively.

Foster A Positive, Happy Workplace Culture

Nothing builds resentment faster than not listening to your employees – which equates to not valuing or respecting them. Communication is not a one-way street that only goes from the top-down. You must allow two-way communication. That means giving employees an avenue to voice their ideas and opinions without fear of being shut down.

It’s incredibly empowering for people to trust that if they bring a concern or idea to a manager, they will be heard. And who better to know how to improve the way things are done within your organisation than the people doing them!?

Building Cohesive Teams

Small issues can quickly develop into major HR issues in a workplace environment. Good communicators know how to listen without overreacting, which is essential in preventing misunderstandings and conflict.

Teams that work well together naturally create good morale, which, of course, is great for productivity!

Inspire Innovation and Creativity

When you encourage everyone in your organisation to openly share ideas, you foster an environment of innovation and creativity. Your employees are your biggest asset. They know the business inside out and potentially have so much to offer.

But if you make them feel as if their voices aren’t important, they’re not going to share these insights with others. Instead, foster an environment of open sharing. You never know what your team might come up with!

Building Trust

Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. Trust affects engagement, culture, and ultimately, productivity, so you don’t want to lose it. Communicating clearly helps managers to be transparent, which in turn builds trust throughout the entire organisation. Down the line, this translates to transparency and trust among your customers and clients.

Encouraging multi-directional, good communication within your teams shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be one of the foundations of your business strategy. If this is an area you think needs some work, trust us –it’s well worth the time and effort to improve.

Luckily, the Spice Gals are here to help you develop great communication within your business. Get in touch with us today if you want to discuss the power of communication further.

What Is Performance Management and How Can You Do It Well?

 

 

Managing the performance of your employees is one of the most essential and delicate aspects of running a successful business.

It is a little bit like adding the spice to a curry. Get it right, and you have got the perfect dish to keep everyone satisfied and powered-up. Get it wrong, and you are going to have a lot of unhappy people looking for somewhere else to eat!

While many managers find the concept of performance management intimidating, it’s actually pretty straightforward. Being transparent, authentic, open and honest are the keys to success.

Let’s have a look at some of the key ingredients for effective performance management.

 

What Is Performance Management?

Firstly, let’s cover off the main question… what does effective performance management look like?

Many people make the mistake of assuming that performance management is the appraisal process. But it goes far deeper than that. In fact, effective performance management is actually about creating an environment in your workplace where your team are enabled to perform to the best of their abilities.

As you can imagine, a lot goes into creating that kind of environment. It is not something you can leave to happen on its own – to magically create a great environment without any input.

So, these are our best tips on how to create the kind of space that enables your team to perform to the best of their abilities… and to want to do it!

 

Clarity

Would you send an invite to a dinner party but fail to include the date, time, and location? Only if you didn’t want someone to show up, right? The same goes for managing your staff. Be clear on what they are expected to achieve, how they should best go about it, and give specific deadlines.

A clear job description will help set the initial guidelines. That needs to be backed up by creating the right expectations on both sides of the relationship. Once your people know what is expected of them, they can really shine. It might help to set KPIs or goals in line with their abilities so they always have a target to strive for.

 

Follow-up

The days of formal annual performance reviews are fading away. Modern, effective managers are all about regular check-ins. They don’t have to be formal, structured meetings all the time (though it does help to schedule some catch ups of this nature). The point is to meet on a regular basis. This coaching method lets you catch mistakes early on, identify if people are on the right track, and help them shift attention if necessary. It allows for on-the-spot, timely feedback, and saves everyone’s time in the long run.

 

Feedback

While we all prefer to avoid or delay uncomfortable situations, managers need to give feedback promptly. Don’t save up your input (whether positive or negative) for a formal review when it is no longer relevant. A good mentor and coach will make use of teaching moments, giving constructive feedback as and when needed. You will find employees appreciate honesty (when delivered in a helpful, appropriate way).

Managers should also be setting a good example by actively asking for feedback from their team.

 

Future-Focus

While not every discussion needs to be sunshine and rainbows, it is important to ensure feedback is focused on developing skills for the future, not dwelling on what has gone wrong in the past.

When things go well, you can talk about how to repeat and build on these successes.

When challenges arise, look at ways to avoid and improve on these in the future without placing blame. Perhaps the employee can be paired up with another team member, receive further training to upskill, or be given more resources in order to meet their future objectives.

 

Reward and Recognition

Perhaps the most crucial part of performance management is getting the reward and recognition part right. Your employees need to feel appreciated for the work they do. Sometimes, this can be as simple as a heartfelt, individualised thank you. Other times, it may need to be a bigger incentive.

Most importantly, ensure that your rewards are fair and effective. Keep in mind that this is not a “one-size-fits-all” process. Different things motivate different people. Expend some energy finding out what works best for every individual.

 

If you are looking to get some structure in place when it comes to performance management at your workplace, then we can certainly help you do that. Get in touch with us here at Spice HR to enable your team to perform at their very best.

Why You Need an Effective Training and Development Program

Why You Need an Effective Training and Development Program

Is your idea of training and development sending your team on a once-a-year health and safety course?

Then we’ve got some news for you… You are doing your business and your team a huge disservice.

Training and development are buzzwords in the HR world for good reason. Regardless of the size of your organisation, investing in individuals is an investment in the success of your business.

A well thought out, consistent training and development strategy boosts staff morale and engagement, increases staff retention, skyrockets productivity and efficiency, and even helps your company’s future growth and success.

Yes, it really is that important! Let’s talk about why.

The Benefits of Training and Development

Increased Employee Satisfaction

Employees that feel inadequate, unsupported, or under-challenged can become bored and disengaged. In contrast, providing relevant training and development opportunities shows your staff that you value, appreciate, and support them. This provides increased job satisfaction, which results in increased loyalty and retention.

Improved Performance

Happy, engaged workers are more likely to go the extra mile for your business. And they will do it because they want to, not because they feel they have to. They will do their job more efficiently with fewer mistakes. This helps your business stay ahead of the game and there will be less of a requirement for intense supervision of your team. They will be able to take pride in operating autonomously.

Develop Future Leaders

Prepping your employees for future promotion can be priceless. It gives them something to strive for, ensuring they will always enjoy applying themselves to the job at hand. A solid development program includes strategic planning to fill potential skill gaps from within. Recruiting leadership roles internally puts you on the front foot. They already know and understand your business and have proven themselves. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that you can save time and money, and avoid the mistake of a costly bad hire.

Innovation and Creativity

Learning opens the mind and paves the way for innovative thinking. Just because something has always been done one way does not mean that it is the best way. Ongoing training and development creates opportunity for creativity, but also for innovation in your practices. This will help you to create a strong and dynamic organisation.

Attract Quality Employees

Job hunters are very savvy these days. They expect more than a steady pay packet. They want a great place to work. A business that invests in and cares about its employees will quickly gain a reputation as that great place to work. You will be able to attract top talent to enhance your team of go-getters.

How To Approach Training and Development in Your Business

There are some key things to remember when you are developing a training program for your workplace.  Probably the most important thing is to not get caught up in the traditional definitions of training. Courses and formal training play an important role, but only as a small portion of an overall culture of day to day learning and mentoring.

The 70:20:10 rule is a popular and effective way of outlining the different aspects of employee development.

70 percent of the work happens on the job, as your employees learn by doing. Select projects and assign responsibilities that get people out of their comfort zone and challenge them to stretch their abilities.

20 percent of the time should include learning from mentors, who could be colleagues or managers. Rather than a formal development plan, this kind of training should be organic and encouraged to happen naturally in the workplace. Personalise development in response to skillsets, areas of interests, and different learning methods.

The last 10 percent is formal training, which could include digital courses, seminars, conferences, or additional certifications and qualifications. Don’t forget to focus on both hard and soft skills.

Today’s employees are looking for careers, not just jobs. Fulfilment, personal growth, and ongoing development are high on the list of priorities for top candidates. Taking the time to develop a culture that values professional and personal development will be reflected in the positive engagement of your team and the future success of your business.

If you are interested in developing an effective training and development plan at your workplace, then get in touch with us here at Spice HR.  We can help you create an effective and practical plan that can upskill your team and benefit the entire business.

How to Complete Effective Performance Reviews

Do you groan when the time for performance reviews roll around?

You are not the only one!

Shocked? We didn’t think so. Managers and employees alike dread the traditional annual employee review, which has persisted throughout the business world for decades.

What might surprise you is that the traditional way of conducting staff reviews is not only a total drag, but it is ineffective, if not downright bad for business.

Research shows that a whopping 30 percent of performance reviews actually decrease employee performance. Oops!

But just because the old style of review has become irrelevant to a modern workforce, it doesn’t mean the process should be scrapped entirely. There are plenty of ways to reinvent and adapt your staff reviews so that they are quick, easy and infinitely useful for your employees and the business.

Here is what you can do…

 

How to Complete Effective Performance Reviews

Give Prompt and Regular Feedback

Scrap the idea that performance reviews should only happen once a year at a formal sit down. There are so many reasons this idea just does not work, such as:

  • It is difficult to summarise a whole year in one review, especially if items you want to discuss took place months ago
  • It is stressful for all parties
  • Feedback is commonly only from one person (who may be unwittingly biased)
  • There is little feedback or follow up during the year
  • Managers suffer from “the recency effect” (only recollecting events from the last few months rather than the entire year.)

Staff reviews should be about coaching and developing your staff, not just reviewing past performance. Employees want immediate feedback – even if it is negative. The quicker you can provide feedback, the more likely it is that you can change (or reward) behaviour – resulting in a higher performing individual.

 

Mix It Up

You don’t have to trash the entire concept of the annual staff review. When combined with regular informal catch-ups and slightly more in-depth quarterly conversations, it can be a valuable tool to sit down with your employee and renew their goals and aspirations for the year ahead.

Just make sure it is supplemented with those regular catch ups!

 

Ditch the Numbers

Trying to condense an entire person’s work ethic, success, challenges, goals and behaviours into a single number or rating is not only one-dimensional, but it is also ineffective. Numbers tell you very little about the growth or development of an individual.

Instead, focus on capturing information in a more expansive way. Don’t be limited by a score. The key is providing honest feedback on all areas of their performance. You can tell very little from a number on a page. But real constructive feedback can work wonders.

 

Keep It Positive

It is no surprise that 90 percent of employees are more motivated by positive feedback than “constructive feedback.” Managers who are afraid of conflict might save up all their unpleasant conversations to have at a performance review – preferring to get it all out of their system in one go. But a staff review should focus more on the good than the bad.

Take note of all the good things that your team do. Not just their work, but their attitude around the office, how they help their colleagues, even if they pitch in to clean up the break room. Positive reinforcement is really helpful and will help make performance reviews so much more manageable.

 

Look Forward, Not Backwards

If you are providing feedback to your staff on the spot as it is needed, then reviews can be used more as “previews.” Spend time with your employee creating goals and objectives, rather than spending an hour rehashing old material.

That switches the focus from the past to the future. Talk openly about their goals for the year if they want to upskill and if there is the chance of more responsibility and progression. They will leave feeling energised and ready to take on the year head.

 

Listen Don’t Lecture

This is a conversation between two people. And part of being a good conversationalist is to listen openly. Allow your employee to lead most of the discussion, and listen more than you speak. This shows them that you respect and value their opinion. It will ensure they feel a valued member of the team.

 

Include the Rest of the Band

Studies show that often, reviews and ratings are more reflective of the person doing the rating than the person being rated. Translated, that means the manager may have biases (even if they’re not aware of them). To avoid this, and get a well-rounded, more accurate insight into a person’s performance, bring in peers and other managers, or even request customer feedback for a 360-degree review.

 

If you are still groaning and scratching your head about the performance review process then feel free to get in touch with us here at Spice HR. We can help you to establish a review process that works for your workplace. Drop us a line today.

 

What Is Your HR Data Telling You About Your Business?

Data. Many people think of it as numbers that someone rapidly types into a spreadsheet and then uses a complicated formula to calculate something.

But data comes in many forms. Including HR data. That is data that you can use practically in your business to tweak processes, increase staff morale and look after your people better.

We tend to think that if the Spice Girl’s management team had spent more time analysing their HR data, the band would not only still be together today, they would have a level of success to rival the Beatles…

Okay, maybe not. BUT they may have been able to stretch the gig out a little longer, keep their most talented members – ahem, yes, there were a couple! – from jumping ship early and had a much more positive team culture.

How are the Spice Girls relevant to your business? Well, HR is so much more than just crunching numbers, dealing with disputes and endless piles of paperwork. In fact, HR analysis is a rapidly growing field of expertise that modern, successful businesses are using to their advantage.

Let’s look into how you can use this data in your business.

What Is HR Data And How Can You Use It?

There is plenty of useful information in your HR functions if you know where to look for it. Using the data you collect from performance reviews, exit interviews, training information, staff satisfaction surveys, staff retention and even sick days, you can make smart decisions that add immense value to your business.

HR data collection is not a new thing, but utilising it effectively – if at all – is a relatively recent advancement. It is all well and good conducting exit interviews and monitoring sick days, but what is the point if you don’t use that information? It’s like buying a rack full of spices to improve your cooking and leaving them sitting in the back of the cupboard.

The key to using this information to drive success is knowing what to look for. Is there a specific issue or question you want an answer to? Do you want to know how to reduce absenteeism, evaluate staff training, or predict which new hires are going to stay the distance? HR professionals can nail down the questions, use the freshly gained or existing data to do all of these things and more.

Here are just three things your HR data will tell you if you know how to ask:

How To Retain Your Top Talent

Does your data suggest that once your employees become proficient at their jobs and reach a certain level, they will leave? Then it is time to dig a little deeper to find out WHY this happens. Then you come up with solutions to keep your top achievers on board, such as more opportunities and training, or a better work environment.

You will only find out the reason for their departure by asking them. We suggest conducting an exit interview with each team member that leaves the company. Not all will be leaving because of the happenings at your business, some will leave for personal reasons. But, you can find out a lot about the culture, processes, work environment and available resources by asking people their opinions.

 

How To Keep Your Employees Happy

Everyone knows that a happy employee is a productive, loyal employee. Do you really know if your top performers are satisfied with their work?

If not, find out. You can look at absentee rates between departments or individuals, assess who your most efficient team members are, then use those insights to make improvements. The bonus of a happy workforce is staff retention, which saves big money on recruitment and increases efficiency.

You can also ask your team to answer some survey questions. To find their true feelings, you can make it anonymous. You just need to ensure that you are asking the right questions to get the targeted data that you need.

 

Assess Performance

Did Posh Spice work harder than Baby Spice? Did Sporty bring in more money than Ginger?

They are important questions to ponder within your own team. If you know which employees work faster and produce a higher quality of work, you can aim to replicate that productivity across the board. A key thing to understand is, what is making them so much more efficient than the rest of the team?

Once you understand that, you can act accordingly. It might mean offering further training for underperformers, boosting staff morale, offering flexible working conditions, team building, or any number of other things.

 

If you would love to access the hidden gems in your HR data but you aren’t sure where to start, then give us a call here at Spice HR. We can help you sift through the information and boost business at your place. Get in touch today.

The Importance of Training and Development for Your Team

Do you groan at the thought of training and development for your staff? So much time, so much money, so much energy, so much effort has to go into training right?

But have you thought about what you can get out of it?

Training and development does not only offer benefits to your team members, but it can do wonders for your business as a whole. Let’s have a look at why training and development should be a vital part of your plan for each year.

 

Why Training and Development?

The initial training of a new team member is a given. After all it is vital that they know how to perform their role safely and effectively to begin with. But is there a need for training after that, surely they already know how to do the job?

We find the need for ongoing training is a constant debate in businesses. Is it worth the investment? We say wholeheartedly yes! And here is why…

Standing Still

You would not dream of letting your business stand still. To let it go about its daily functions without some forward planning. You strive for growth and improvement so that it continues to be successful. So why would it be any different with your team members? Regular staff training is essential for the skill development that will help your business to grow.

Industry Changes

Industries are constantly evolving and changing. If you don’t keep up with their changes then you will get left behind. Legally you need to make sure you are on top of regulations and you won’t be able to do that without updating the knowledge of your team. Technologies change on a daily basis, so a one-off training session is not sufficient. All of your team members should be comfortable with the available technology and know how to use it to its fullest capabilities.

Stay Ahead

If your business is not progressing forward, then it is highly possible you will be passed by your competitors. By constantly advancing your team, you can ensure you remain competitive in the marketplace.

Highlight Skill Gaps

If you are on top of your training it will be easy to identify any gaps in the market, or gaps within your existing team. Identifying these gaps early means that you can train someone to fill them and your business will not have to suffer for it.

Advance Team Skills

Once an employee has learned the basic skills required for their job, you can easily build on their knowledge with ongoing training. This allows them to cement the knowledge they already have and build upon it. Team members that know more and have more skills, have more to offer your business.

Increased Job Satisfaction

Staff morale is an extremely important component of your business. If it is low then you will have unmotivated and unproductive staff who try to get by with minimum effort. However, if your staff morale is high, your team will enjoy coming to work and will put in their best effort every day. Ongoing training shows that you value your staff. Allowing them to advance their skills will give them greater job satisfaction and keep the morale high at your workplace. Everybody wins!

Staff Retention

It is human nature to want change and progression. If you can offer your team opportunities to progress within your business, then they will want to stay with you. That means you minimise the need for recruitment – a costly and time-consuming process. By internally promoting existing staff you can ensure they have a comprehensive knowledge of your business. You also know their work ethic and that their skills are suited for the role.

Attract New Talent

Your team members are the backbone of your business, they are your most important asset. By having a reputation as a business that provides ongoing training, you will be able to attract the best staff from the beginning and retain them.

 

As you can see, ongoing Training and Development of your team has many benefits to your business. But sometimes it can be difficult to know how to implement such a programme at your workplace. If you need some guidance on how best to establish an ongoing training programme, then get in touch with us here at Spice HR.

Training and Development is something that we are truly passionate about and would love to help you implement the right kind of programme for your business. Get in touch today for a no-obligation chat!

Stop. Collaborate and Listen …

 

Stop.  Collaborate and Listen … Spice is back with a brand new invention.

Got an HR problem yo, we’ll solve it. Check out our skills while the Spice Gals resolve it!

Spice, Spice baby!

Listening is Everything

Listening in Orange

 

The art of listening is a learned skillset that can have a tremendous impact on your work environment.  It will ensure you actually hear when your staff tell you what they want, what they really, really want!

Call the Spice Gals today to spice up your listening life – if you really, really, really wanna zig-a-zig-ah!

Time to listen up folks!

We could all do with this reminder from time to time.  Listening to understand is a learned skill.  Spice HR specialises in creating and delivering targeted onsite training, to help your staff with their communication.

Get your staff listening in the right way, contact the Spice Gals today!

THE biggest communication problem is we don't listen to understand.