Monday, 2 July 2012

Keep your Employees Happy. And Reap the Benefits!

Over the past decade, holidays have become part of the ‘working life’ of individuals. Indeed, a lot of importance is being played upon the need for employees to take some time off to unwind themselves and, as many say, ‘shut off’ from the overly laden schedules around which our lives centers. Sometimes, employees take a one- or two-week holiday every year or two.

This may not sound as pleasant to the employers, managers and HR personnel, who have to duly plan their own scheduling and allocate work to ensure the overall smooth running of the company. Needless to say, a sound policy and plan for scheduling holidays is vital if your company is to succeed. Research shows that companies that allow their employees to go on holiday without too much havoc, actually manage to retain their team members while ensuring adequate staffing levels.

So, how should you approve holiday requests diligently and possibly without having to worry too much? Here are some tips to help you devise a win-win holiday schedule—from which both you and your employees benefit.

1.         Keep in mind that it is YOUR policy
If you want your employees to know what the holiday scheduling system is, and that it is, really, a fair one, they need to be able to see the policy. New employees in particular should be introduced to the policy, outlining rules on when they can and can not take vacation, what notices are required, and how notice should be given. A handbook could be distributed to employees including in a particular section this policy.

2.         Know when to go
Since most employees plan their holiday well ahead of time, you should let them know equally well beforehand what the ideal time(s) to take time off would be. For some businesses, holiday weeks are the best times for workers to take leave, as business is slow. But for others (particularly retail), holidays can be nightmarishly busy.

3.        Don't object
This is one of those moments where it’s wise to be ‘hands off’. One of the biggest objections regarding holiday schedulinging is the employees' feelings that the management chooses sides. If you want to be fair, stick to your policy, and allow your employees to work out the rest on their own. Only intervene if it becomes absolutely necessary.

4.         What about setting deadlines?
Establish a reasonable deadline for holiday requests. This will give you time to plan ahead and find other workers to replace or to whom you can give the workload. However, if a vacation is short and sure not to cause any problems, you would be unwise not to approve it. This may get employees to think twice about their happiness levels at work.

5.         Keep confidentiality
For whatever reason your employee needs a holiday (an employees' grandparents' gold wedding anniversary, or an employee getting married), you should not judge as to which is more important. It is your duty to keep confidentiality, especially if the employee has made it a point not to share it with the others.

While we hope that these tips will do their trick that will keep your employees happy, remember to take time to plan YOUR own well-deserved holiday. We wish you a happy summer holiday!

Nikita Pisani @ Muovo

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Tips for Employee Retention

1. Offer a competitive benefits package, including health and life insurance and a retirement plan.

2. Provide employees financial incentives such as raises, bonuses and stock options.

3. Consider hiring a human-resources manager if your company is nearing 100 employees.

4. Make sure employees know what's expected of them and how they can grow within your company.
Nikita Pisani @ Muovo

Increase your Employee Retention

Managing stuff can get difficult...
Have you ever wondered why some of your well-performing and ‘good’ employees leave your company? There could be, in fact, ample reasons. Changing their present job to another one (with better conditions), moving abroad, starting a family, separating, taking on a gap year, and so on. As we can see, money is not always the biggest factor that compels an individual to hand in his or her letter of resignation. There are other factors that need to be considered, which will be listed in separate paragraphs below:

a) Increase your Employees’ Motivation LevelsThe HR and management of the company need to engage employees in new, interesting ways to keep them motivated. Few are, however, as important as creating a sense of personal progress in individuals working within the organization. Employees’ sense of belonging and improvement in their work is key to their—and the company’s—development.
For instance, if an employee proposes a new, creative way to improve his or her working environment, from which both the employees and the company can benefit, it must be encouraged and possibly implemented.

b) Train your Employees. Get Better Results.
Constant training will help the employees to acquire new skills that will keep them on their toes. Every employee working within a company has unique capabilities, needs, and obligations. Employees can discuss with each other, whereby they will not only be learning from each other, but also giving insights to their team members. As Armstrong rightly  puts it, ‘they can readily put their learning into practice’ (Armstrong, 2009, p. 559 ), and as such, give a real dimension to the things that they are able to learn. At Muovo, we consider training as crucial, given that it allows you to know better and keep your workers giving them new tasks with higher responsibilities, perhaps. This avoids the tedious, expensive process of hiring new people.

From the employees’ viewpoint, knowing that their employers care enough to invest in their training is motivating, where, the concept of undergoing continuous learning is in itself a major morale booster. For them, this means that the management actually wants to keep them by investing in their training.

Engaged or Disengaged Employees?
There is a huge difference however between engaged and disengaged employees. Engaged employees take pleasure in the work they do and feel zero to little stress, even if they are doing challenging work. They are the ones who seem to mark how days are just flying by.

On the other hand, disengaged employees lack enthusiasm, motivation, and they seem to dread having to come to work. They are the ones who stroll around the coffee machine the longest, take cigarette breaks more often than the others (and perhaps stretching a 5-minute to a 10-minute break), and wonder what they are doing in the company. Tasks are done because that’s ‘what the boss says’ and not because they find any satisfaction in the work they do. A letter of resignation from such employees comes to no surprise.

c) Provide  mentoring support
Mentoring gives employees feedback from the employer, perhaps showing how well they are doing within their organisation. More importantly however, mentoring allows employees to sound off on issues revolving around work, allowing them to resolve their problems efficiently. Note than mentoring can be facilitated internally or outside the organisation—choose whichever works best for you and for your employees.

Finally, every employee wants to feel that they are doing a good job, especially if they really are. This is why the management must make an effort to demonstrate their appreciation towards their employees to keep them motivated. Talk and interact with employees. Make them feel proud of the work they do. They need to feel that your company’s success is at least partially due to their efforts. Always remember that an employee who feels that he or she belongs to the company or organisation, is a happy employee. And a happy employee, is, more often than not, a productive employee.

Nikita Pisani @ Muovo

The 3 Things Start-up Founders Need to Know About HR

If you are running a business, you know how many things you have to do on a daily basis – calling up clients, making appointments, postponing appoints, issuing invoices, paying bills, and so on. If you have workers employed with you, additional tasks include – checking on your workers, buying coffee (and milk) so that your workers are all nicotine-supplied and geared up for work, and the list goes on.

To avoid this, co-founder and CEO of TribeHR, Joseph Fung, mentions three vital HR issues that you need to implement if you want your business to be successful.

These are: a) personality, where he describes the importance of creating the right 'mix' of employees within your organisation; b) transparency, which discusses the element of ‘sharing’ among employers and employees, and what effective managers should share with their employees; and c) addressing the ‘Why’ or the vision of your business, which you want in turn to instil in your employees.

If your employees do not know the purpose of your business, and hence, of their job, they are not likely to remain motivated for very long.

Find out how to make your business flourish

Nikita Pisani @ Muovo

Why Creativity & Innovation is Key to Progressive Development

Creativity  is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. Innovation is the production or implementation of an idea. If you have ideas, but don’t act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.  (Linda Naiman)

Over the past decade, Malta has seen a substantial change and development in the human resource sector. Upon joining the EU, back in May 2000, Malta had to introduce new laws that are in keeping with the other Member States: Malta had to be able to grow, moreover, within the human resource dimension.

Several companies in Malta, including banks; schools; recruiting agencies; factories, amongst others, offer their staff in-house training. The human resource departments of these companies usually carry this out, in their attempt to let their employees’ refine themselves, and or to gain further mastery of their work. In his Handbook of Human Resource Management (1999), Armstrong contends that HR people are, in fact, ‘strategically positioned’ as to observe and to analyse the short- and long-term running of their organisation. They need to be well aware of what is happening in their organisation.

HR people however need to be creative and innovative in how they approach their staff. Just to give a few examples, some companies (locally based) hold ‘plant competitions’, where every employee needs to bring in a plant, water it, and take care of it. They also organise costume-based network parties (in the case of recruitment agencies); take their employees for a badger karting evening, or paintball, or abseiling (these are all activities that have really been organised by the HR departments).

Having worked in companies that do create such activities, and others that don’t, I could see the difference in atmosphere of such workplaces. Those companies that organise activities for their employees, at often times manage to foster a sense of ‘inclusion’ or ‘camaraderie’ among the employees; those companies that do not engage in such activities, however, leave their employees rather detached from one another and from the company itself. This is not to say that the latter company will break down, yet, if activities were held among the employers and the employees, there would be a more positive atmosphere, which could in turn lead to workers that are more productive. This shows that innovation within the workplace can indeed lead to new dimensions of performance.

In his study of creativity and innovation with relation to the HR department on a local bank, Luke Borg  explains that for innovation to flourish, companies must create an environment that fosters creativity. This could involve the bringing together of multi-talented (and perhaps multi-national) groups of people who work in close collaboration together, by exchanging knowledge, ideas, and hence shaping the direction of the future. To do this, of course, there needs to be ‘intrinsic motivation’ and the employees’ love towards their work. Combined together, creativity, innovation, and love for your work can give your company a high competitive advantage over your competitors. 

Nikita Pisani @ Muovo


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