Category Archives: Uncategorized

An Organizational Workplace Conduct Assessment

1) Is everyone in your company aware of your company’s workplace conduct guidelines?
Yes
No
Unsure

2) Do all employees know what can constitute a hostile work environment?
Yes
No

3) Do all employees know the difference between quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile work environment harassment?
Yes
No
Unsure

4) Is there a written and publicized policy for reporting workplace conduct violations?
Yes
No

5) When reporting a workplace violation, is there a defined process that is in place for investigating?
Yes
No
Unsure

6) Are egregious behaviors swiftly dealt with in your company?
Yes
No

7) Is your HR department highly regarded in terms of trust and integrity?
Yes
No
Unsure

8) Is upper management fully committed to a harassment free workplace?
Yes
No

If you’ve answered “No” or “Unsure” to any of the above questions then check out Common Decency®, our award-winning workplace conduct program.

 

The Value of Leadership Assessment Centers

Organizations, both small and large, are in the business of attracting, developing and retaining leadership talent. They continually ask the question, “Do we have the right talent in the right place at the right time?”

Leadership development is vitally important but, oftentimes, organizations don’t know how to handle it effectively. The key is to have a system in place to ensure that organizations can answer the question affirmatively, such as an effective succession plan. Such a system begins with identifying key talent, or those employees with high potential, in an organization. The talent is gauged by assessing individuals against the key leadership competencies vital to that organization or vital to a specific leadership role within the organization. Once those key individuals are identified, the next step is to determine the development plans necessary for those individuals to progress to more responsible leadership roles.

An effective method of assessing individuals against key leadership competencies is to conduct a leadership assessment center, which consists of a series of timed activities that may include interviews, simulations, and exercises designed to predict how well participants will perform in a specific role. Assessors independently observe, review and assess the participants’ actions and behaviors in each of these activities and then collaborate to provide a rating on each competency, together with a narrative on how the participant performed. The assessors then provide feedback to each participant on their performance relative to the competencies assessed and also provide a summary report to senior management.

A combination of well-designed exercises and the use of independent, objective assessors to gauge competency proficiency in a leadership assessment center is a win-win for both the individual and the organization. This combination, done effectively, yields a fairly accurate profile of the individual who, oftentimes, confirms the results. Together, the participant and assessors can highlight strengths and determine development plans for competencies needing improvement.

The leadership assessment center is a powerful tool that can provide both the individual and the organization with some answers to the question on what it takes to progress to a higher level of leadership.

Learning Dynamics has over 25 years of experience designing and facilitating leadership assessment centers. For more information, visit us at www.learningdynamics.com.

Enhancing the customer experience. Focus on a quality conversation, not just quantity.

Many customer contact centers are being challenged with enhancing the customer experience while at the same time managing their call volume and statistics. Reduced customer loyalty and expectations of high levels of service are becoming the norm. Our experience in working with customer contact centers has shown us there are three things to consider:

1. Determine the real reason for the call. Representatives fall into what’s called “automatic listening” as they hear a customer issue. When a representative thinks they know why a customer is calling they tend to jump right to the solution. Without knowing it, they may be cutting off the customer conversation leaving the customer feeling they haven’t been heard or valued. Even though they may have heard the issue 47 times this week, it is the first time for the customer. It is crucial to ask probing questions to gain a clear understanding of that specific customer’s situation so the customer feels like they’ve truly been heard.

2. Restate the issue. When you have to sign for a package, it indicates delivery. Communication happens the same way. The customer needs to know their communication has been delivered. One way to do this is to restate the customer issue. In general terms, restate something the customer told you so they know they’ve been heard and their communication has been delivered. You don’t have to restate every word of their story, just pick some highlights. I usually start with “So if I understand you correctly…” or “It sounds like you…” , then I restate their concern. If you’re off base, then it gives you the chance to clarify the issue before jumping to a solution.

3. Solve the problem and ask the key question, have I resolved the reason for your call? One way to track customer experience is to measure first call resolution. When a customer has to call in a second or third time, studies show the call actually takes longer to complete. The customer usually provides more and more detail while they vent their frustrations making the call take longer and more upsetting for everyone which ultimately ends up with reduced customer loyalty. It is easy to set up a tracking field or tick mark system to track your progress.

Customer experience is a differentiating factor for business. If you want to learn additional approaches, call us at 203.265.7499 or email bwalker@learningdynamics.com.

Training can be an Antidote to Workplace Violence

In today’s volatile world, workplace security has become even more important. Progressive organizations realize that workplace violence could happen within their organizations and take steps to ensure that their employees are prepared.

One of the strategies that has proven helpful is providing training, especially to managers and supervisors. This training helps managers and supervisors recognize and respond to potentially harmful situations in the workplace.

In approximately 70% of the incidents we read about, there were warning signs. In some instances, these warning signs were not recognized and/or responded to. Effective training can raise the awareness of these warning signs.

Sometimes, reprimands, poor performance reviews, terminations and layoffs can turn volatile and lead to workplace violence if they are not handled properly. Also, a growing number of domestic situations spill into the workplace. Workplace violence training needs to address how to best handle these situations.

Workplace violence preparedness training also needs to remind managers and supervisors of being aware of suspicious individuals (“malicious intruders”). If something does not seem right, trust your instincts and contact Security, HR, your EAP, or even 911.

For more than 20 years, our “Safe and Sound” training program has been used to help keep organizations safe.
http://www.learningdynamics.com/training-safe-and-sound.htm

Knowing When to Seek Assistance from HR

Managers face a myriad of daily responsibilities that can, at times, appear daunting.  In addition to carrying out business objectives, managers are simultaneously organizational advocates and employee advocates.  This is where HR can help.  HR supports the organization in staffing, development, policy management, performance management, training and development and employee relations.  Effective managers recognize and understand the importance of reaching out to HR, when necessary.  By working with HR, managers can make better decisions and, in the case of employee relations issues, lessen the risk to them and to the organization.  Here are just a few areas where it is advisable to seek assistance from HR.

Harassment – HR is trained to handle allegations of this type to ensure they are handled fairly, consistently and legally.  While managers are agents of the organization and, therefore, have a “duty to act,” seeking HR assistance can ensure that harassment allegations and complaints are handled in a timely and thorough manner and support the manager in carrying out his or her normal duties.

Workplace Violence Warning Signs – Any issue that can put the health and safety of employees at risk must be brought to the attention of HR.  Some examples include physical assaults, threats, intimidation or bullying, and physical or verbal abuse.  The manager who recognizes workplace violence warning signs must contact HR (and, possibly, Security, your EAP or 911).  HR or these other resources can best advise and work with the manager on how to handle employees who display workplace violence warning signs.

Employee Development and Performance Management – HR often plays the role of career counselor and many times has good ideas on how to help develop employees.  HR can assist the manager in creating development plans.  By the same token, HR is a knowledgeable resource when writing performance reviews to ensure that the reviews are fair, balanced and unbiased.

These areas are, by no means, exhaustive.  Effective managers seek HR assistance and guidance in the face of many challenging issues involving employee behaviors, interactions and policy compliance.  When in doubt, it is always advisable to call HR.  The common goal is to ensure there is a positive, productive work environment for all.

Moving the Needle by Motivating Millennials

Millennials now make up about 40% of the US workforce. As Baby Boomers retire, these youngest workers who were born in the 80’s and 90’s are becoming more important than ever before to the success of your organization. Companies that engage this group will win, while those for which Millennials are a mystery will struggle.

There are things Millennials have in common with everyone else. Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and our youngest employees (Gen Z?), all like to be recognized for doing good work. Who doesn’t like to be appreciated? Also, everyone needs their basic needs met. A reliable paycheck, pleasant work environment, and other base-level considerations must be addressed. That’s the foundation. Here are some ideas to consider, and some things to avoid, as you take the Millennial motivation and management challenge more seriously.

Do These Things

Help Millennials understand the meaning behind their work. Why is what you are asking me to do important? How does it affect others in the company? How does it help our customers? How does this work move us forward in our mission? These and other questions should be answered to get Millennials engaged. It’s not that they enjoy playing 20 Questions; rather, they want to understand how their work is important. Help them connect the dots.

Engage Millennials by showing them corporate values are real. Nearly every industry has been affected by Millennials’ search for authenticity. Whether considering the food they eat, the cars they drive (if they do at all), the clothes they wear, or where they choose to work, Millennials want to know your words are backed by action. If your actions are inconsistent with stated goals and values, you can expect Millennials to head for the exits.

Spend time with career planning. How do you see your youngest employees progressing in the organization? Have you shared this by discussing it directly with them? If not, you run the risk of losing talented people to other organizations that present a more compelling vision. Your Boomers might have been OK with a no-news-is-good-news approach, but that isn’t going to work with your youngest employees.

Respect them and ask for their opinions. Millennials come from different parenting and educational experiences than earlier generations. Relationships have been less rigid and more open. They expect their opinions and ideas to be heard and respected. If they don’t get this chance, they will find somewhere else where their contributions will be considered.

Don’t Do These Things

Expect loyalty. This isn’t your fault. Millennials are a product of the economy they have witnessed and experienced. They know nobody who has experienced lifetime employment with the same company. On the contrary, they have seen parents and others laid off in round after round of downsizings. They do not expect to be with you forever, even if you try to convince them otherwise.

Set rigid work rules and requirements. Why, exactly, do your employees need to be in at 8:30 AM? Why do you want them to dress a certain way? “Why?” is a big question, so be prepared to answer it effectively. If not, you run the risk of being seen as a fossil who makes rules “just because we’ve always done it that way.” You will also alienate this group and lose some great people.

Talk about shareholder value. Millennials are not interested in making the shareholders wealthy. This will be especially true if shareholder interests are in conflict with some other social value. See the comments about authenticity above.

As Millennials continue to grow in importance in the workplace, their contributions can make a significant difference in the performance of your organization. By getting this intelligent, tech-savvy, high-energy group engage in their work and your mission, you can move the performance needle to new highs. Get to know your people and what’s important to them so you all (yes, even your shareholders) can reap the rewards.

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Learning Dynamics can help you maximize the contributions of all generations in your organization. Ask us about Managing a Multigenerational Workforce and other training programs to help your company invest in people.