5 Considerations for Employee Development, plus a Bonus

How do you distinguish your organization from others? And more importantly from your competition? Technology is leveling the playing field in most industries. Large generational organizations battle with start ups that where never in the market only a short while ago. And more are on the horizon.

Companies are focusing more and more on maintaining the clients they have earned. In this battle for loyalty the key component to customer engagement is (your) people… human contact and connection with fellow humans; the personal aspect of listening, understanding and responding. Thus the term Human Capital.

Yet most employer – employee relationships are shortening. Job roll over / employee turnover fell drastically after 2008/2009 recession from a high of 20% … however as the North American economy recovers this trend is on the upswing and back up to 15% in 2013.

It is puzzling to recognize that we take things for granted, we take people for granted and we take relationships for granted. This is sometimes true of customers, but all too often and frequently it is true of our employees. We take them for granted and they sense it.

What are the key consideration to address this in the mind of management?

1) Employee Development improves Organizational Efficiencies… sometimes referred to as, the bottom line.
2) Training programs afford peer discussion, interaction and sharing. It brings a community approach to improvement.
3) Training, development reduces knowledge gaps, reduces errors and builds team confidence.
4) A commitment to employee development benefits our employee relationship.
5) Employees are often the first line with customer, customer issues & our deliverables… they are industry differentiators.
6) BONUS Item – Consistent commitment to Employee Development reduces employee turnover.

Monetary reward is of course valued greatly by employees but so too is recognition. And a unique thing about money is soon after given, it is often forgotten, especially once it is spent. Nothing says recognition and appreciation to employees the way an investment in their knowledge, skills or performance practice expresses. It says to the employee team; You Are Valued. In a business and employment relationships’, educating is often time one of the most valued contributions that is made.

And like any relationship that attention needs to be continuous. So, your commitment to train and develop your employees says to them, you care and wish to invest in them and wish to partner in success.

One last point, if you think about it, an investment in human capital is an investment in organizational capital.

Having a tool at hand 24/7 to support training & development is a valuable asset in the initiative to educate. More ideal would be a fully supported system that places no burden on your companies resources, be those both technology or personnel.

QuizzPoint Corporation makes the training and professional development process of our customers easier by identifying knowledge gaps so improvements can be made to increase understanding and execution.


Employee Engagement… is a lot like any Engagement

No matter what type of engagement you enter into there are always a few common threads. In order for it to go well, it requires preparation, planning and execution. It is not done haphazardly. It is not done on the spur of the moment. The commitment to success brings with it the commitment to effort and energy. 

Anyone with any business experience understands that presentations, meetings and training sessions require the commitment to success. Anyone seeking to establish a new relationship understands that initiating contact, communicating benefits, listening to feedback and demonstrating value requires the commitment to success. 

So for new opportunities and for new relationships our commitment to the efforts and energy to attain success becomes an automatic reflex. For some reason we do not always have this understanding for the relationships we have currently established. It is puzzling that we take things we have for granted, we take people for granted and we take relationships for granted.

This is not so good when the relationship is with our partner. And if we have a good partner, they point out rather quickly that they are feeling ignored, or worse, taken for granted. What are employees if not our partners? However in the case of employees they are far less likely to speak up for a variety of reasons that include office politics, organizational structure, the environmental culture and the shear courage necessary to ‘raise your hand.’

When starting a new relationship, we must demonstrate that we care, that caring benefits those with which we wish to begin this new partnership. Yet in actual fact far less effort and energy is required to maintain and keep strong those relationships we have in place… if we are listening and responding when they communicate. And this is where the ‘taking for granted’ eventually comes back to bite us.

Nothing says you are appreciated more than spending time to hear and respond in a personal relationship. It tells the other party they are valued. In a business and employment relationships’, educating is often time one of the most valued contributions that can be made. Nothing says you are appreciated more than spending time (and money) to train and develop the abilities of those with which you are engaged with in business.

And like any relationship that attention needs to be continuous. So, your commitment to train and develop your employees says to them, you care and wish to invest in them and wish to partner in success.

QuizzPoint Corporation makes the training and professional development process of our customers easier by identifying knowledge gaps so improvements can be made to increase understanding and execution.


Why is Employment Engagement Important; Stability

What motivates individuals to work for one organization…? Why do people leave organizations? Why do they stay when things get tough, when stress mounts and tensions rise?

Let me suggest that the key reason is not money, but the feeling one is valued. The feeling your work is appreciated. The sense you are a member of something. The idea your efforts contribute to the benefit of others. And more and more people, in particular young people want to do something that gives them more than just money. Not to say money is not the major driver for most people… but when good people are recognized, say in an industry and not just within a certain organization then they have the option to consider the intangibles that come into play after the dollars and cents are added up. They seek to align themselves with a corporate culture in agreement with their values.

I would not be so naive to suggest that some are not solely motivated by the dollar sign, the greed factor. One need only open or view the latest news to find tales of total self-service. It has always been so, and will remain thus. But such opportunities are limited or outside the legal lines of play. The costs of those successes often higher than realized, the drive to achieve them rooted in a function of the ego and a view that success, recognition and appreciation are measured by wealth.

Let us leave the philosophy, psychology and behavioural considerations aside. Most people work to attain financial security, personal control and well-being. Most people, realized or not, have an income ceiling or index their working life will offer. By working smart you can maximize the fruits of your working efforts to be sure, however there are reasons why the number of truly wealthy individuals in the world is a very small portion of the total working population.

Not long after beginning a working career one must decide how far up the economic ladder they seek and feel they need to attain and what price they are prepared to rise. Such opportunities require skill, ability, knowledge but also connection and a touch of luck. I am a believer that hard work is however a mandatory cornerstone.

Whatever level one seeks along the way most wish to be valued and contribute in a meaningful way. Individuals seek to grow and develop. The organizations that can provide this have leverage on attaining the best talent. Incorporating training and development into yearly targets is not a small task, which is why our QuizzPoint online software can be a beneficial resource. It makes the development challenge, less challenging.

With QuizzPoint, clients have a hands free, fully managed training and employee development solution. It is used to assist with H&S training (WHIMIS, Fall Protection, Height Safety, etc.), harassment awareness & policies, best-practices programs and employee indoctrination. Contact us for a test drive.


We look forward to any and all input.

Employee Retention – Keeping Your Team

You have invested a great deal of time, energy and money to find your employees… are you doing enough to keep them? Do you know what they want from their career? Do you know what they want in the future? Who among them is/are your next wave of supervisors, managers, leaders? What are your employee retention strategies?

If you haven’t considered any of this as you pilot your business to the calendar end of year here is some eye opening news, from one of the largest employment, staffing, recruiting companies; Manpower. A recent study revealed over 83% of workers who participated in an online poll stated they would actively investigate and seek a new position in 2014. Now let this sink in for a moment. It seems to be simply too outrageous.

In fact lets assume that for some reason we cut the number in half… it is still 42%. So what would be an almost 50% employee turnover do to your organization? As a technology development company, candidly we utilize contract professionals on a regular basis… nonetheless I almost spit up my coffee as I came across the report. As business owners, operators, executives, management… just what do we do in the face of such information. Even if we cut the number in half again, to 21% potential turn over, it would be a virtual tidal wave. And whatever it is we should be doing, we had better start doing it this moment… And Oh, what are the sandbags (strategies) we need to employee (excuse the term)?

‘Employee dissatisfaction has a ripple effect’, noted Scott Ahlstrand global practice leader. The statement is so obvious I could not understand why I fixated on it for several moments. When we run businesses, we are busy… running businesses. The employees we have attained are monitored for performance, but how well do we listen and see the other factors that impact that performance. Do we address employees sense of contribution well enough as managers?

Lets leave aside workplace culture and environment for the moment. Lets focus on our focus on our employees themselves. One of the more recent terms used is employee engagement but what does this actually mean and from whose perspective is it taken? If you are intent on keeping your people and not just a select few but those contributors who keep the wheels turning daily, then it must be from their perspective.

Perhaps people who took this survey where just venting, but it speaks rather perhaps to a mood. Employees are looking for an employer who will invest in them as part of their business practices. Engagement in one definition means intension to marry. Maybe that is what employees are looking for, a long term, two way relationship.

Employee development needs to be an ongoing component of best practices. The investment in employee training and development on a continuing basis, helps vest the employee and link their improvement to the organization. Employee development becomes employee retention.

 (Survey source – Right Management, talent & career management / Manpower Group, Oct – Nov 2013. 900 participants contributed across North America)

QuizzPoint Corporation assists our customers with the performance development of their people, and leave the driving to us… Our service is Hands Free, Full Service, which is to say we do it all for you (customers). Upload or link course materials, enter all user data/email, enter the tests, set appropriate parameters, send communications to update and inform participants of quizz, post quizzes, notify you of knowledge gaps. 

You can administer (view) the results of all quizz activity in real time from system access and we can also send you notices, reports. 

With Quizzpoint clients have a hands free, fully managed training and employee development solution.


Employee Retention and Employee Development

Study after study in the Human Resources and Staffing industry is showing more and more that organizations that invest in the training and development of their people have an easier time keeping their people. So why is the training and employee development budget one of the first to evaporate when expenses are reviewed, reduced or cut? I would suggest because despite what many managers realize about the importance of employee development, the connection to employee retention is no so easily demonstrated on a spreadsheet. Under pressure it is too easy to look at a budget line, to consider only the immediate and to avoid the practical steps to arrange and maintain an ongoing employee development strategy. But like it or not; employee retention and the investment in employee development are connected at the hip.

Customers continue to tell business that service is vital. Business is desperate to expand their customer base. Customers are people. 

Technology is merging and leveling the playing field between organizations and despite the fact some organizations seek to reduce staff, it is people who are now the key differentiators between organizations. Technologies operates generally to a similar functional standard, from turning on your smart phone to your auto. But when it doesn’t turn on… you need a person. In fact when it hiccups, you need a person. (Oh yes, there are those who have the aptitude to do the fix, but who has the time, energy)

Is there someone to hear me and answer my question? Can I connect with a knowledgeable person to solve my problem? Will someone respond to my email in a timely manner? Will anyone pick up when I call? Do I get customer service or MUST I do it myself? 

Given the option most people would prefer to connect with another human in making a buying decision. In the retail sector (bricks and mortar); a major expense of the physical store is the cost of staff, yet if the staff is not well trained, knowledgeable and welcoming what is the benefit of going to the mall in the first place. Online shopping grows every year but as the product varieties expand so to does the need for a customer-seller relationship. Online your competitor is just 8 seconds away… Enter the hybrid online store with actual phone customer service option for  stronger customer service bringing people back to the model and being a significant part of the purchasing decision, providing of course the on hold wait is less than 22 minutes.

Getting references for products is helpful and is valuable component to a purchasing decision. These can be found online, but isn’t talking with a person who knows the product(s), industry, trends and issues more valuable, someone with experience and knowledge is helpful to talk with and adds value. 

People look for help before making decisions and though we can all research on line is it more in-depth than  having someone we can explain our buying objective to, getting specific and helpful insight into the features that most appeal to us and gaining their insight  as someone on the front lines hearing daily about produce strengths and weaknesses also adding to a better decision.

People understand how they want to be treated and appreciate that someone else does likewise. People become attached to people and through them to organizations. People connect with people, be that via etech or by direct person-to-person experience. Would you buy from someone you don’t know or someone you know first hand and can interact with.

eCommerce is here to stay, but interpersonal relationships and experience is not about to disappear or be reduced in value and benefit for buyers. People are difference makers.

Every organization admits good people are hard to find. So why risk the loss of a good employee by not investing in them… doing so only increases their value and the value of the organization to others. Those organizations that invest in their people are investing in themselves.

QuizzPoint Corporation assists our customers with the performance development of their people. Take control of your department, region or company human resource training initiatives.


To Employee Develop, Or Not To Employee Develop

Is it better to invest in employee development or just steal talent from within your industry? Spending the time and money to engage in employee development is significant…”Finding, recruiting or pitching human resource talent might be less costly” seems to be an attitude taken my some organizations… It seems to be too common a theme on many levels, what you aren’t prepared to do for yourself… better to steal. Am I being too harsh? I’m not so sure.

Training and employee development is not an overnight, one month, one quarter or even one-year engagement if serious commitment is being given to the process. Organizations can often identify weaknesses but don’t have the energy to direct to what could be simple knowledge transfer and not process or method changes. The skills often reside in the organization, just not a program to share, train and develop others. Enabling and aiding firms to do this has been our history, which included undertaking course development and training so let me now comment on that aspect.

Hiring outside training and employee development professionals/firms requires a great deal of work. One must be certain they grasp your goals and can do an adequate assessment of your human capital to understand where the knowledge gaps are. They must understand the organizational culture, focus and direction… and this is NOT gleaned from a meeting or two. Once an individual or training company is selected… like any good coach they require the time, a term of engagement, to assist them to make the connections necessary to win trust and create results.

If you choose to have adept internal specialists, motivated managers or industry leaders that are present in your firm engage in ongoing training (an excellent model in my view) you need to make a significant investment, both time and resources to support the individual. Then you must afford that person the correct time and budget required to accomplish the objectives.

When you lose a person, you lose momentum. Sometimes breaking the tie is better because what looked to be a good match, simply did not pan out, on one or both sides. It is in fact a relationship and we have all had our share of both good and bad. We realize that bad ones need to end. But in an organization it is far more complicated, therefore important to understand if lack of training is a part of the mismatch.

Employee development is a more productive solution. Employee development requires planning and commitment… but it is the best defense against inefficiencies and employee retention problems. Your people already have knowledge of the industry, your organization, your culture and your goals. You know them, strengths and weaknesses. An industry superstar you have recruited away from somewhere comes in with only one of those things… has usually been overpaid to jump ship to join you and may bring a superstar attitude, that you have reinforced by seducing them.

I suggest it actually isn’t cheaper to steal anything… there are always hidden costs and consequences and this is just as true with people. If you have a program for ongoing employee development, you are most likely in the best position for long term and sustainable success.

QuizzPoint Corporation assists our customers with the performance development of their people. Take control of your department, region or company human resource training initiatives.


Employee Development – Taking Your Team to the Next Level

With technology leveling the competitive landscape between organizations, human capital is becoming the key differentiator determining success. So organizations need to be focused on employee development more than ever. It is a critical investment that does not get enough attention by executive management groups far too often tunnel visioned on this quarter’s financial results.

In his May 20th blog, Tien Anh Nguyen, points out (paraphrased) ‘…constant renewal of skills & abilities… are the hallmarks of fast growing… companies.’ (full article link)

<a href=”http://blog.openviewpartners.com/employee-development-process-focusing-on-strengths”>blog</a>

The cost of employee replacement is by far vastly underrated. Proper recruiting should deliver the proper abilities and skills sets for the designated role. Every good recruiter looks for the ‘stretch’ value of an individual, which is to say how much growth and development range is in this individual.

It is then the responsibility of the organization to assist in that development. Organizations know best what is needed within their team in order to achieve their targets… so more and more they are taking hands on control over employee development. How many sports organizations farm out team practices to outside people? Managers and team leaders must take on training as part of their annual business plans and incorporate its execution.

Some organizations look to sports teams as examples of how to address success. What do all sports teams do, and do all season long… practice. Practice is continued training and reinforcement of existing knowledge and skills. Yet this is the sport example not fully recognized in business.

All individuals in business organizations wish to grow their skills and advance their careers, however part of this process needs to include keeping daily skills and focus honed. What we refer to as being ‘Performance Readiness’.

Because a task is or appears simple should not have its importance overlooked. Telephone customer service is a prime example to a very important and valuable component of business that we all interact with… How quickly it is apparent to us when we get on the line with a great customer service person and what it means to us and to our brand loyalty.

Tien has coined an interesting term… ‘glue’ individuals. I think we can all recognize what is meant by this term and the value of having such individuals. It says to me… future leader. The training and development process, done first hand and in house will identify who and how employees will support the organization and its future requirements.

Investing in employee development signals your commitment to your team and support for them reaching their full potential. A key component to this process is self-evaluation and it must be incorporated into the process to turn ownership and responsibility for growth to the individual. It should be an integral part of the tools used and the methods engaged.

QuizzPoint Corporation assists our customers with the performance development of their people. Take control of your department, region or company human resource training initiatives.


Leadership – Develops Leadership

       With the advancement of social media and the greater and greater numbers of people being connected, how is leadership being affected? And is being an influencer being a leader? No!

         Influencing is ideal for social media. The two were made for each other… interpersonal communication of ideas, opinions and shared information. It has become a series of quick… in a world seeking quick… Quick food, quick news, quick arrangements, quick delivery… But how about quick answers? Not so much.

         The pursuit of advanced thinking and hunt for new ideas is necessary and laudable. It takes effort and a touch of magic I have discerned from those I have engaged with and respect to share discussions on innovation, imagination and creativity. Paraphrasing a famous Ad man; ‘Great advertising is 50% process and 50% magic… and great advertisers think they know which is which…’ We build and support universities to engage in the industry of ideas. And so we should, so we must. It is after all our thoughts that make us unique on the planet.

         In a free and open society everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but every opinion is not equal. Not every opinion is considered, researched, crafted, articulated. Many are, like social media itself… just quick. They are many times blasts of emotion and knee jerk reaction. Off the top of the head blusters of …. ‘opps, how do I delete that’s’.

         Leadership requires execution. Have you ever heard someone say ‘I have this great idea for a (movie, book, series, product, etc…)! Any true leader will tell you that idea and remark is only the jump off point if in fact the idea is worthwhile; worthy of the cost of pursuit.  Because it is the pursuit where leadership comes in.

         Execution is the difference between a good idea and a finished result. I have never come across a good idea that did not require good execution to bring it to life. Good execution is not quick. It requires a vast investment of hard work, working capital, efficient organization and processes and finally the oversight of leadership. 

         Organizations with effective leadership have leadership layered through their structure. They develop leadership. They provide the methods and process for teams and departments to develop, add knowledge and master understanding.

QuizzPoint Corporation assists our customers with the performance development of their people. We are here to assist you take control of your department, region or company human resource training initiatives.