4 ways to encourage better teamwork in your business

In a teamwork culture, team members work collaboratively to further their team’s objectives, perhaps even placing these objectives ahead of their own individual goals. Organisations where employees work alone or in silos will arguably become less productive over time compared to organisations that encourage teamwork.

The message should come from the top, with your Senior leadership team communicating the clear expectation that teamwork and collaboration are expected. However, there are some key issues which should be dealt with as a team leader or line manager, in order to maintain a positive teamwork culture. We’ve highlighted 4 ways that you can encourage better teamwork, based on both our experience of working with organisations on their employee engagement and leadership development strategies and by looking at trends within the employee surveys that we’ve conducted for our clients.

Leaders are only as good as their teams (and vice versa!)

As a leader or manager, you are setting the tone for the rest of the employees in the workplace and your positive attitude and energy will help to motivate and inspire your team. There is lots of good advice out there on how to be a good team leader but I’ll highlight a couple of issues that often come up in our clients’ survey results.

  1. Try to adopt a coaching approach rather than a ‘do as I do’ attitude, allowing team members to demonstrate what they can do without constant interference. Giving clear instruction without micro-managing will prove to your team members that you believe in their abilities and efforts.
  2. Consistency is key when it comes to managing your team. It’s impossible to build trust amongst your team is there’s perceived favouritism. Make sure team members feel they are treated fairly and equally, and take care not to exclude anyone from group decisions or activities. It seems obvious, but conduct team meetings on a regular basis and allow your team members the opportunity to volunteer or get involved with special projects or tasks.

Encourage open communication

Encouraging a culture of open communication will help develop great teamwork and will undoubtedly have a positive on your team’s overall performance. Communication is often an area which scores poorly in the Employee Surveys we conduct. In our experience, many employees often feel that they aren’t being listened to, whether it’s by their immediate managers or the senior leadership team. Your team should be confident in sharing their ideas, points of view, and feelings and not be afraid of doing so.

Let employees know their contribution is valued by introducing rewards for feedback and suggestions. Encouraging contributions from teams rather than individuals will help get team members working together more closely so make sure you offer rewards for collaborative efforts as much as recognising individual contributions and achievements.

Define and share responsibilities

The more clearly you define your team members’ roles and responsibilities, the more effectively they can meet expectations. The team as a whole, as well as individual team members, must have clearly defined responsibilities and objectives in order to focus their efforts. Your team should be encouraged to recognise each other’s role on the team, helping one another when needed. No one completely owns a work area or process all by themselves. As a manager, make sure your team members have opportunities to cross-train others in the team so that the team’s contribution to the business and service to customers is reliable and consistent. This inspirational quote sums up the point perfectly: “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” (Phil Jackson)

Resolve Conflicts

You spend many hours of your life at work, so getting along with your colleagues is very important. Conflict and ‘politics’ amongst team members is a major cause of stress at work. For example, our clients surveys have revealed instances such as team members arguing in public, others giving each other the silent treatment and where one person was left to do all the work while their team members allegedly ‘slacked off’. As a manager or team leader you’ll need to make sure that any tension is resolved as quickly as possible to prevent long-term damage to your team dynamic. Put in place a clear process for employees to raise and resolve issues, so they know they are being listened to, taken seriously and that issues will be dealt with fairly. Teams which include people that do not get along with one another will quickly collapse, become inefficient and unproductive.

 

Team up with INSPIRING…

At INSPIRING, we’ve helped thousands of organisations with Employee Engagement issues over the last 15 years and we’d be happy to share our experience with you. We are also an approved CMI centre providing leadership and management training at different levels with the option of CMI qualifications.

Call us on 0800 612 3098 to find out more or email info@inspiring.uk.com or get in touch using the form.

How to Create Effective Learning Within Your Organisation

Providing effective learning within an organisation is a necessity, both for employees to help them reach their potential and for the organisation to grow as a whole.

To ensure effective learning is taking place, organisations should consider reviewing what is on offer for each employee and the different methods of learning available. You will not want to waste time and resources trying to teach employees in ways that are not going to be the most beneficial. Creating effective learning enables the right learning techniques to be applied to the right employees to make learning as efficient as possible.

How to Determine Effective Learning Techniques

One of the best-known learning techniques is from Kolb’s Learning Cycle (1984).

Effective Learning

The Learning Cycle claims that effective learning happens when the individual being trained has experienced the training either in a hands-on capacity or within a training course. They then have interpreted this for themselves and gone onto digest it and understand what they have been taught. The last step is implementing their new knowledge.

To understand this cycle more clearly an example is when a child learns that a fire is hot. They learn by putting their hand near to a fire and it will hurt them and therefore they will not do this again. Thereby effectively completing the Learning Cycle.

Learning Styles

Understanding that different individuals have different preferences is key to Honey and Mumford’s (1982) Learning Styles theory. They developed the idea that as individuals, we prefer one of the four stages of Kolb’s Learning Cycle more than the others. This is to say that we are more receptive to training in our preferred element.

Theorist

These individuals like the theory behind things. They need to draw upon concepts and facts to fully engage with learning. They prefer to be challenged intellectually by information and create their own theory or conclusions.

Methods of Learning

  • Models
  • Quotes
  • Facts
  • Statistics
  • Theories
  • Background Information

Reflector

These people like to learn by watching others. They prefer a back-seat role where they can see what others are doing. They like to be at the edge of activities to observe, this allows them to collect multiple pieces of data and draw their own conclusions from watching activities from different perspectives.

Methods of Learning

  • Self-analysis
  • Observation
  • Feedback
  • Coaching

Activist

These learners like to be thrown into the deep end. They love to be put straight into activities. They have an open-minded approach and are open to new experiences and different ways of working. They often find success in crisis situations.

Methods of Learning

  • Problem Solving
  • Puzzles
  • Role play
  • Group Activities

Pragmatist

Pragmatists need to see how things work in the real world. They find it hard to relate to activities that are not true to life. They constantly seek an opportunity to put what they are learning into practise to see if it holds up. They focus on outputs and implementation.

Methods of Learning

  • Problem Solving
  • Ability to test the training
  • Case Studies
  • Discussion

Using learning styles to facilitate effective learning

Effective learning is the result of identifying what learning style suits an individual and allowing them to learn in that way. There are many free online Learning Style Questionnaires. It would be beneficial before starting any training within the organisation to discover how your employees learn the most efficiently. The Learning Styles are a very good indicator for how well employees will respond to certain training methods. Despite this, just because they have a preference does not mean they are incapable of learning through other methods. When conducting training, the focus should always be on the training and trying to effectively deliver it to employees. Sometimes training cannot be delivered in a way that some employees will enjoy that is just a fact of life. But, for the most effective learning it is beneficial to try and alternate learning styles.

Reward and recognition of employees without breaking your budget

Rewarding staff is a great way of motivating them and maintaining employee satisfaction. But how can you do so without spending money? We understand that as a business you can’t throw bonuses their way every time you want to say ‘well done’ or ‘thanks for the good work’. We’ve created this article to share some top tips for showing your employees appreciation for a job well done without putting pressure on already stretched budgets.

Keep hold of your talent

Employee satisfaction is absolutely vital in any workplace, but that doesn’t mean salary reviews and end of year bonuses have to be the ‘be all and end all’. To motivate and retain talented employees for the year ahead, employers need to develop more innovative recognition and reward strategies that don’t rely on money alone. Doing so will protect against misalignment between company goals and individual activities and keep everyone on track. You will maintain and improve employee happiness without damaging the company’s budget.

Honesty is the best policy

Speculation and gossip surrounding pay increases and bonuses can be dangerous. It’s impossible to eliminate this completely but you can make sure that you’re delivering a consistent and honest message about opportunities for financial reward in the coming months and years. Employee wellness is important, so it’s important they know how things like pay increases work because, if for example, an employee had false information, and was hoping for a bonus/increase in the nearby future it could lead to constant disappointment and the employee might start doubting their work and lose motivation and interest. That’s why it’s important you provide accurate information. This will give your employees a sense of control over their futures and help to create an open, honest workplace.

Offer opportunities

A good way to recognise high performance is to offer opportunities to broaden your employees’ experience. For example, ask them to lead an internal knowledge sharing session or offer a day’s job shadowing. This could lead to creating a new role for them in another area of the business. Engaging with the aspirations of your employees and creating personal development plans that help them realise their ambitions is crucial to retaining talent.

Regular feedback

Taking the time to evaluate your communication and feedback processes sends a strong message that you care about employees’ development and that good work will be recognised. Without structured feedback employees can feel like the quality of their work, good or bad, goes unnoticed. Staff surveys and focus groups are a good way of achieving this.

Say ‘thanks’!

It’s common knowledge that  a lack of recognition from management is one of the most demotivating factors for employees. Taking the time to highlight good work will boost employees’ job satisfaction and put any constructive criticism in context. Drawing attention to achievements across teams can be a powerful motivation to other team members.

Why Linkedin is now the best place for recruitment

The recruitment world is changing. We are connected like never before, with online platforms able to bring us instant recruitment posts as soon as a job goes live - with professional networks, groups and connections all communicating across various social media platforms. LinkedIn is increasing in popularity as both a job posting and referral site.

Posting a vacancy on a job board can be a complicated business. Big traffic recruitment sites get a high volume of applicants, but these applicants are not always of suitable experience, training, or qualifications. When you need to fill a specialised role, you also look to recommendations from businesses that you work with. A candidate that comes recommended can hugely simplify your process of employment. Particularly if you work in a specialised industry, finding a candidate as unique as your job requirements may involve specialist help.

That’s why your employee recruitment strategy should focus on LinkedIn. This is not to say that you should remove job boards from your recruitment strategy; finding new talent is one of the best ways to grow your business. LinkedIn offers the ability to easily find other professionals in your field. Here are our favourite ways for taking advantage of what LinkedIn has to offer:

  • Build a constructive network for your company online and you will find that recruiting a suitable candidate becomes far easier, as your job posts are seen and engaged with.
  • Stay in touch (and on good terms) with anyone who has worked for you or with you in the past. They will have other contacts in the industry, so even if they don’t work with you again, they may know someone who would be perfect for your role.
  • Actively use LinkedIn. Respond to other company or individual queries and raise your profile.
  • Make use of groups dedicated to your industry. Primarily these will be discussion based, but it will again raise your profile.
  • Use InMail. You can send requests to contacts and acquaintances for recommendations for your role.
  • Actual job listings. LinkedIn offers paid job boards for employers, where job seekers can search for free.  Encourage your network to share this listing. It will also be boosted to any LinkedIn members who are registered as seeking employment in that field.
  • Target both active and passive candidates. You can contact those who are seeking employment, but LinkedIn also works for headhunters. Advanced searches can help you identify potential candidates who you can InMail.

LinkedIn is ideal for building strategic relationships. As with networking, LinkedIn allows you to introduce yourself to other business professionals in your field and discover new candidates who may previously have inaccessible, or unavailable for work. It also builds your profile within the community, meaning when you do reach out to a potential candidate they are more likely to recognise and reciprocate interest.

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10 Business Thought Leaders You Need to Follow Today

The online world is a hub of thought development and business insight. But how do you cut down to the nitty-gritty of genuine information? Find the people who have it.

Here’s our top ten thought leaders who will actually inspire you, help you genuinely motivate your workplace, or seriously develop your conversational abilities. Follow them on Twitter for some quick snippet intros into what makes them tick.

Gary Vaynerchuk (GaryVee)

Known for: CEO of VaynerMedia and VaynerSports. Investor in (and vocal on the topic of) social media.

Follow him if: You want to know how to wield social media to your advantage.

https://twitter.com/garyvee

Elon Musk

Known for: Tesla, SpaceX, PayPal and SolarCity (to name a few).

Follow him if: You are interested in sustainable energy and businesses that invest in humanity.

https://twitter.com/elonmusk

Alice Korngold

Known for: Philanthropic thought leader, and consultant for global businesses and non-profit organisations in corporate community involvement.

Follow her if: You are interested in leadership and development with a positive social impact.

https://twitter.com/alicekorngold

Tim Ferriss

Known for: Leading tech investor. Ferriss is an angel investor to a number of companies including Facebook, Twitter, Evernote and Uber. Author and inspirational speaker.

Follow him if: You want to read the latest business book everyone is talking about.

https://twitter.com/tferriss

Kate Darling

Known for: Expert in robot ethics at MIT, nominated for Digital Thinking awards.

Follow her if: You are interested in the relationships between humans and robots as they evolve.

https://twitter.com/grok_

Michael Porter

Known for: The most cited author in business and economics. Winner of multiple business leadership awards.

Follow him if: You want wisdom backed by a lifetime in the industry.

https://twitter.com/michaeleporter

Nilofer Merchant

Known for: Ted Talk ‘Sitting is the new smoking’. Made over $18b in sales from personally launching over 100 products.

Follow her if: You want to know how to best unlock the capacities of others, and other business strategy solutions.

https://twitter.com/nilofer

Tony Robbins

Known for: American author and entrepreneur. One of the most popular and well known thought leaders.

Follow him if: You want motivation to succeed.

https://twitter.com/TonyRobbins

Simon Sinek

Known for: Motivational speaker and marketing consultant. Focus on inspirational leadership and organisational structure.

Follow him if: You want be a great leader.

https://twitter.com/simonsinek

Eric Brynjolfsson

Known for: Academic and professor at MIT. Brynjolfsson co-wrote ‘Race Against the Machine’ .

Follow him if: You are interested in the co-working of digital tech, employment and organisations.

https://twitter.com/erikbryn

 

Anyone you think we should be following? Let us know.

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Develop talent within your team to plug your skills gaps

Competition is immense when it comes to attracting candidates with the best qualifications and skills. So with the cost of recruitment rising all the time, coupled with the on-going skills shortage issues in the UK, there’s never been a better time to spot and nurture talent from within your existing workforce.

According to the CBI/Pertemps Network Group Employment Trends Survey from December 2016, the outlook for 2017 is positive, with expectations for further increases in people finding employment, particularly on a permanent basis. However, there are continuing issues in the UK regarding lack of leadership skills and talent management. In the report, Carmen Watson, Managing Director and Chair of Pertemps Network Group, comments “The survey results show very little sign of the skills shortage easing, and employers are increasingly concerned about where they will find the future talent essential to fill crucial roles.”

The CIPD’s 2015 Resourcing and Talent Planning survey (in partnership with Hays) found that only half of CEOs have talent management as a key priority. The survey also found that skill shortages are escalating, with over four-fifths of respondents believing that competition for talent has increased.

John Telfer, Managing Director of Inspiring comments: “Recruitment can be an expensive business, not just financially, but also in regards to time. The right talent management system will help you understand which skills you need to look out for, and reduce the costs involved with staff turnover.”

Using a tool such as Inspiring’s Leadership Framework can highlight skill gaps in up and coming managers, help to identify suitable mentors and spot employees with the potential for internal promotion.

Offering training that fills these skills gaps is a good way to help your staff develop. This could be done formally through an external training provider or informally through work-shadowing or internal coaching on specific skills and leadership competencies.

John Telfer added: “The people within your organisation are what makes your business. Choosing to focus on your workforce and ensuring you can keep hold of talent will help your business to achieve its goals and drive success”.

TEAM UP WITH INSPIRING!

Read more about the Inspiring Leadership Framework and our CMI Leadership and Development Programmes.
Call us on 0800 612 3098, email info@inspiring.uk.com or get in touch using the enquiry form on the left.

Motivated employees mean greater productivity

Research shows that a motivated employee is far more productive than one who is not, therefore making sure your team feel happy and supported is not only ‘the right thing to do’, but it is also right for your business.

Everyone knows the difference between working with someone who is motivated and someone who is not. The extra commitment, enthusiasm, focus and productivity of a motivated person are obvious to see.

Research shows that a motivated employee is far more productive than one who is not, therefore making sure your team feel happy and supported is not only ‘the right thing to do’, but it is also right for your business.

So what should you do when the positive vibes are lacking and how should you deal with an unproductive member of your team? The answer is: you set about changing their attitude!
We’ve come up with a few of the ways in which you can support your employees to help them become more motivated and productive members of your team.

Give training where needed

Everyone hates not knowing what to do. Your employees are more likely to be productive when they understand what exactly is expected from them and they are given the training to perform such a task. Training gives confidence and confidence leads to employees that are productive.

Let your people shine

You’ve invested in training, spent time getting to know your team and have spotted some real potential – so don’t let it go to waste! Giving individuals the opportunity to use their skills to the best of their ability will give them great satisfaction whilst the business will gain value by making the lost of them.

Encourage self-determination

Enable your people to make decisions for themselves at a level appropriate to their role and responsibilities. Allow individuals to initiate and regulate their own actions whilst ensuring line managers step up to their role of supporting their team members. It’s about creating a good level of trust within your business, i.e. does the manager trust the team member to do the job? Does the team member feel trusted?

Be supportive

Make sure your employees know that, however you feel about them, you are willing to offer your support and stand up for them. If employees believe that they are supported by their employer (and their line manager) in getting what they want out of work beyond just money, they will respond with positive behaviour.

Make sure they know their contribution counts

Make sure that your people understand the impact they have on business performance as a whole. At all levels they should be able to describe the contribution they make and the important part they play in the success of the organisation.

 

Team up with INSPIRING…

If you want to increase productivity in your organisation, team up with INSPIRING. We can help you develop an effective employee engagement strategy, which will reward you with greater levels of innovation; increased commitment from employees and, ultimately, better productivity that will impact directly on your business’s performance.
 

Why people are leaving your organisation (and what you can do about it)

Understanding why people leave your business and having the strategies in place to deal with issues effectively is crucial if you want to retain your best employees.

If people are leaving your business, it will usually be for one or more of the following reasons:

Lack of manager support…

Unsupportive managers are a key reason for people leaving. It’s a common saying that people leave their manager, not their job.
The skills and behaviours required for leaders and managers are different. An Inspiring Leader has a clear and compelling vision for the organisation. They can engage their team and encourage increased productivity. An Inspiring Manager will be able to set objectives and communicate effectively to their team, helping your employees to pull together and achieve your business goals.
INSPIRING can help you diagnose problem areas and provide tailored development through our Inspiring Leadership programmes.

Not such a great place to work…

Culture, physical working environment and operating policies all factor highly in ensuring a healthy, engaged and productive workforce.
The culture within your organisation impacts the happiness and satisfaction of your employees. It also strengthens, or weakens, employee retention and affects how your business attracts new talent. Conducting a culture survey will pinpoint what’s needed to create and maintain a positive culture: i.e. valuing, recognising and supporting individuals contribution to the company, both from the perspective of the employer and employee.
You could also look into having a wellbeing survey , which measures the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of your employees, as well as identifying areas where you can improve wellbeing within the workplace.

Career progression…

You will have a better chance of holding on to your employees if you have plans in place for talent management, succession planning and learning and development.
Spotting employees with leadership potential and helping them to develop their skills and behaviours will reap big rewards for both the individual and your organisation. Have a look at our recent article ‘How to identify future leaders in your organisation’ for more about this.
As well as offering learning and development solutions, INSPIRING can help with design and implementation of a tailored performance management system to ensure that your team is set relevant KPIs / objectives that not only reflect your business needs, but also correlate to their personal development.

Not feeling valued…

Employees will leave if they are disengaged and don’t feel appreciated. Reward and recognition isn’t always about money. Everyone would like to get paid more for what they do, but other important factors for job satisfaction include opportunities to:
• grow and learn new skills;
• to progress their career;
• to work on challenging and stimulating projects;
• to be acknowledged and praised for their efforts; and
• to feel that they are an important a part of the overall business.

Working with BSI’s new people management Standard (BS 76000) will ensure your people practices are clearly defined and consistent. As a result, your employees will be more engaged, paving the way for improvement in both individual and business performance.
INSPIRING can support you throughout every stage, from your first look at the Standard through to initial audit and beyond. Achieving certification against BS 76000 will help your staff to understand their impact on the overall business and demonstrate that you truly value your people.

The best way to find out why your people are leaving is to ask them!

Conducting Exit Surveys will help you understand why employees leave, enabling you to identify any problem areas. INSPIRING’s bespoke exit surveys, with reports tailored to your business, will help you to understand and reduce staff turnover.

 

Successful recruitment – what to look out for

There is a growing demand for workers within the private sector. As more organisations look to recruit, the competition is hotting up to attract candidates with the best qualifications and skills. It’s not just about who’s got the best CV – its about being able to spot potential in a candidate.

The CIPD’s 2015 Resourcing and Talent Planning survey (in partnership with Hays) found that half of CEOs have talent management as a key priority. The survey also found that skill shortages are escalating, with over four-fifths of respondents believing that competition for talent has increased over the past two years.

John Telfer, Managing Director of Inspiring comments: “Recruitment can be an expensive business, not just financially, but also in regards to time. The right talent management system will help you understand which skills you need to look out for, and reduce the costs involved with staff turnover.”

Using a tool such as Inspiring Leadership Index can highlight skill gaps in up and coming managers, help to identify suitable mentors and spot employees with the potential for internal promotion.

You could also choose to create your own Talent Bank. For large organisations this could help manage internal vacancies and contract placements, whilst smaller companies benefit from recruiting and sharing talent across groups of organisations with similar business needs.

Emotional intelligence also factors greatly in spotting and managing talent and much research has been conducted around how it links to performance in the workplace. Findings suggest that high levels of emotional intelligence are particularly useful for managing interpersonal relationships and leading teams.

Mariah DeLeon, Vice-President of People at workplace ratings and review site Glassdoor, recently wrote for Entreprenuer “While different companies embody various values and cultures, success in the workplace is strongly influenced by a person’s emotional intelligence, a quality that should be a non-negotiable when vetting job candidates”. Entrepreneur’s recent article on this subject gives examples of 7 Interview Questions That Determine Emotional Intelligence which could result in some interesting responses from interviewees and help spot those with potential.

TEAM UP WITH INSPIRING!

Read more about Inspiring Leadership Index and Talent Bank. The people within your organisation are what makes your business. Choosing to focus on your workforce and ensuring you can attract the talent you need will help your business to achieve its goals and drive success. Call us on 0800 612 3098, email info@inspiring.uk.com or get in touch using the enquiry form on the left.