Think teambuilding is all about organised outdoor pursuits and cocktail making classes? Think again:

We’re all pretty clued up these days when it comes to the importance of building teams that work together to drive a business forward. No one is questioning the benefits of having great work teams, but there is a great deal of confusion around what it actually means to develop a team that operates at its full potential.

There are some common misconceptions that are still holding leaders back, and it could be the case that the information that you believe to be correct is stopping you from making progress.

Let’s take a look at why everything you think you know about teambuilding may  be very wrong.

You don’t have to fork out a fortune on events

Sure, there are many, many companies out there who will organize an elaborate and carefully executed event for your employees. From outdoor pursuits to cocktail making classes, there’s an option for pretty much everyone. And often, these solutions are very good. They’re planned and managed by seasoned professionals, and plenty of businesses have used such options with great results.

Of course though, the price tag can be extremely high. Before writing off your teambuilding goals as an expense you can’t afford, take the time to look at the bigger picture and what you actually want to achieve. A different approach could save you a huge chunk of cash, and could lead to much better results. Real teambuilding often happens in the office – not off-site.

It’s not about making everyone like each other

Too many leaders think that teambuilding is all about promoting friendships in the workplace. When you employ a diverse workforce, not everyone is going to feel compelled to share their weekends together, or meet for dinner and drinks on an evening. But that’s not what you should be aiming for.

It’s about encouraging people to develop the skills required to work together towards a common goal. It’s about creating focus on the benefits of working alongside each other. These things should always be the aim of any exercises and techniques that are put into practice.

Leaders don’t hold all the responsibility

Yes, you and your senior leadership team must lead by example and demonstrate the benefits of working together. But if your efforts are all about encouraging managers to take all of the responsibility and have everyone else fall into whatever they’re told, you’re going to miss the mark.

The best work is achieved when individual team members take responsibility themselves. Do they have the skills to have the necessary conversations? Can they step up when the manager is out of the office? If not, what can you do to help them to get to this stage?

Hopefully, reading through this article has challenged what you think you know about teambuilding and has given you plenty of inspiration surrounding where you might be missing the mark, and where you can make improvements.

If you want to improve the way your staff work together and you want some help from someone who has been there before and developed proven solutions that can be tailored for any business, get in touch. We’d love to discuss how we could help you to overcome your challenges and move forward.

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Use your final quarter wisely. Get your HR practices up to speed with these no-brainer tips:

As we quickly roll further into the year, most business owners will be focusing on a couple of things. If you still have some big goals that you haven’t quite achieved, now’s the time to pull your socks up and make that final push. There should also be plenty of time for reflection though, so you can work out your wins, your losses, and what you need to do differently this year.

Make sure that you don’t neglect to think about your people practices and how you’ve performed over the course of the last year. It’s true that many HR changes can’t be achieved overnight, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take action. In fact, there are certain things that you can do over the next several weeks that will help you to make positive and tangible changes.

Are you ready to take on the challenge? This is what we suggest:

Assess how compliant you are with recent legislative changes

There have been several changes to employment law this year and many business owners would like to say that they know they’re fully compliant. When it comes down to it though, are you absolutely positive that you’re doing everything you should be?

We understand that the day-to-day complexities of running your business can sometimes get in the way, but if you haven’t done everything that’s required of you, you could be leaving yourself very vulnerable to future problems.

Start planning

At the moment, you might be caught up with the practicalities of recruiting or ensuring that your existing employees are ready to deliver exceptional service.

That’s great, but make sure that you’re looking a little further ahead. What key challenges will you face this year and next? What opportunities could you harness to help you to meet your wider strategic goals? A plan will put your mind at ease, and ensure that you don’t find yourself faced with any unwelcome surprises.

Take advantage of an HR audit

As a business grows, there will be a wider range of HR tasks and responsibilities that need to be taken care of. Keeping on top of everything can be a massive job, and savvy leaders realize that they can’t do everything themselves.

It’s very likely that your business could take many benefits away from an HR audit. Having an experienced HR professional come into your company and assess what’s working, and what needs to be improved, could be just what you need to make sure that you end the year on a high note and put practical steps in place to raise your game. Interested to find out more about this?

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

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Are you welcoming new staff into your business? Get it right the first time!

Recruiting a new member of staff for your growing business can be a really exciting time, but it’s something that you should definitely consider carefully before you rush into taking action.

One of the key challenges that you’re going to face is ensuring that your new recruit is welcomed into your existing team without any significant issues.

Of course, some of the basics can be covered by exercising a little common sense and forward planning. You probably don’t need us to tell you that your new member of staff will need to be able to log in to the computers, access your policies, understand their terms of employment, and know where they need to go if they want to grab a sandwich or use the bathroom.

There are wider considerations that need to be made though, and while they’re often pretty simple, they’re easy to overlook. Here, we’ll explain more:

Be sure to brief your staff on the changes

Before your new member of staff starts work, hold a briefing with the existing team so they know what’s happening. Explain a little about the role that your new recruit will be carrying out and how that fits into the bigger picture. Too many problems occur simply because there has been a lack of communication, so make sure that you keep everyone updated and involved.

It might be the case that you’re asked questions about how the changes could impact on existing roles. Staff may be concerned that they’ll no longer be able to work overtime, for example. Be prepared for questions of this nature, and try to provide detailed and honest answers wherever possible.

Know who has responsibility for the induction/new employee orientation

If it’s one of your line managers who will have overall responsibility for your new employee, you need to make sure that they’re capable and willing to step into that role and really own it. Having someone who will oversee the induction process, ensure that any necessary boxes are ticked, and solve any problems that might occur is the only way to stay organized.

In practical terms, the induction or orientation is likely to involve a varied cross-section of the team. There may be some job shadowing carried out, for example, or you might decide that it’s a good idea to ‘buddy up’ new employees with more experienced members of staff.

Carry out regular check-ins with your new employee

Getting to grips with a new role can be a big challenge. It’s likely that your new employee will have a lot to learn over the coming weeks and months. You might traditionally carry out formal performance discussions once every 6 or 12 months, but you really shouldn’t wait this long with your new recruit. Make sure that conversations are taking place more regularly.

Bear in mind that appraisals, formal or otherwise, aren’t just about telling someone where they need to make improvements. They’re about supporting the individual so they can reach their full potential, listening to their thoughts and concerns, and developing an action plan to get them to where they need to be.

Recruiting staff, and everything that goes with it, can be extremely daunting. As with all things though, you become much more confident with a little experience and a good plan to stick to.

If you’re looking to build your workforce and you feel like you’d benefit from working with a professional to ensure that you get things right, feel free to connect with us.

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Are your staff too busy thinking about the holidays at the moment? Here’s how to turn things round:

That time of year is here again. Holidays are being booked, the weather changing, and workers across the country are looking forward to a bit of well-deserved time away from their desks.

But while many people will be worrying about how much they can squeeze into their luggage allowance and whether last year’s clothes still fit, many business owners will have a more pressing concern. As temperatures start to change, how do you ensure that the season doesn’t have a negative impact on productivity?

As always, we’re here to help with some practical suggestions. Read on to find out more about what you can do to ensure that you’re doing all you can to avoid any problems.

Organize the holiday schedule in advance

If you find yourself in a situation whereby 50% of your employees are off at the same time, it’s quite likely that you’re going to run into difficulties.

Obviously, it might be a bit late to get this sorted out for this year, but it’s definitely worth taking the time to think about how you’ll approach the working calendar next year. As well, it won’t be long before you’ll have to start thinking about how you’ll manage your staff over the next holiday period, so you can probably take away some very important lessons.

Bring the holiday feeling to your office

When the weather changes and there are – let’s face it – many other things that your employees would rather be doing than sitting in the office, it could be worthwhile to think about how you can raise spirits and inject a bit of oomph back into proceedings. If some members of staff are away on holiday, you can ensure that those who are left behind aren’t feeling deflated and demotivated.

Your approach here needn’t cost you a fortune, and there are many options for you to choose from. Could you contact a nearby personal trainer and ask them to lead an indoor or outdoor workout for your staff? Small gestures can make all the difference.

Give your HR processes an overhaul

It’s natural that there will be certain times of the year when you notice a change in productivity. Sometimes, slight fluctuations are unavoidable, and you need to simply do all you can to minimize the impact. If reduced productivity has become a longstanding problem though, it’s time to address the reasons why, and do something about it.

Your people processes and procedures will often provide you with clues, and they can also be the remedy. Is your business suffering as a result of poor management practices? Are you using outdated systems? Are your employees dissatisfied with certain aspects of their roles, or the way in which the business is being operated?

An overall HR health-check could be exactly what you need to start making some positive changes. We’d be delighted to have an initial chat with you about how we could help.

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Your guide to ensuring that your line managers are improving performance:

It doesn’t take a business guru to tell you that if you want your company to thrive, you need to make sure that your staff are firing on all cylinders. Of course though, as is often the case when it comes to the tricky business of managing people, this can be much easier said than done.

If you want to achieve big things, you need clear and effective processes in place to help you to get there. Your line managers play a huge role in creating a productive and high-performing culture, and you need to ensure that you’re driving them in the right direction.

Here, we share some of our tips for encouraging your line managers to step into their roles and play an active part in improving performance.

Create procedures that underpin your objectives

Your line managers can often only operate within the constraints that you provide them with. If you want them to excel in particular areas, you need to create a framework that allows them to do so. For this reason, it’s important that you consider what you already have in place that helps staff to reach their full potential.

Do you have a policy that outlines how often and in what format performance discussion should happen? Is there something in place that ensures the work is being carried out? Who ultimately chases things up to ensure that procedures are being followed? It’s not necessarily about ticking boxes, but you do need to create systems that encourage the day-to-day tasks to be carried out.

Give your managers the confidence and skills they need to have meaningful discussions

Unfortunately, making sure that performance discussions are taking place is only the first hurdle. It’s not so much about frequency, as it is about the quality of the conversations that are happening.

At the end of the day, talking about performance and addressing areas of concern can be daunting, even for the most experienced line managers. It’s important that you give them the opportunity to hone their skills, and to keep developing them on a regular basis. Consider how you can do this within your business. It may be the case that you need to roll out some training sessions, or perhaps you need to have your own one-on-one discussions with your management team so you can better understand how you can support them.

Encourage your managers to facilitate career development in their teams

Performance management isn’t just about fixing problems and making sure that the work gets done within a specified frame of time. It’s about looking ahead towards the future and ensuring that your business has the right kind of talent to drive operations forward and achieve growth.

The key takeaway here is that if your employees aren’t being given a chance to flourish, they’re likely to start looking elsewhere. Do you really want to lose your talented members of staff to your competitors? Be sure that your line managers are having open and honest conversations with their direct reports about where they see themselves in the next five years, and that information is taken seriously and considered when it comes to planning the direction of the business as a whole.

If line management capability is something that you want to improve, we can help. We believe that successful businesses are created when leadership teams are given the tools they need to excel. Contact us for an initial discussion about how we could bring our practical approach to your business.

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Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

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Your appraisals probably aren’t fit for purpose. Here’s what to do about it:

Recent research from PwC revealed that two thirds of larger companies are thinking about revamping their appraisals processes. The Performance Management Research found that businesses are becoming increasingly eager to ditch the once-a-year approach and instead concentrate on developing practices that create a continuous feedback culture.

It’s often suggested that it’s time for appraisals to be scrapped in favor of more business-focused solutions, but it’s unlikely that savvy leaders will be taking them completely off the agenda anytime soon. After all, if you want your staff to achieve great things, you’re going to have to ensure that you’re giving them the right kind of support. Appraisals still have a very important role to play.

But it’s true that it may be time to update your approach, and consider how you can make your performance management systems really work for your business. Read on to find out more about the directions that you might want to take in the future.

How can you harness technology?

Technology is changing the way that we work and the way that we carry out our everyday tasks, so it makes sense to think about how it could be used to provide a better solution to facilitate effective performance management. Some leaders will see this as a headache, but once you get past the teething issues, it could prove to be one of the best things that you ever do.

A system that’s accessible on the go could be just what you need to make sure that assessing performance is something that happens on a regular basis, and not just at the end of the year as a last-minute activity. The beauty of turning to technology is that you can create a system that meets all of your needs. Want the ability to hold discussions remotely? Want staff to be able to quickly upload evidence of their achievements? Anything is possible. The prospect of having less paperwork will certainly appeal to many!

How can you provide value for your employees?

One of the main reasons appraisals are sometimes so passionately disliked by employees is because they fail to see the value that they can offer, not just to the business, but to themselves as individuals. Performance management mechanisms can be seen as a way of ‘checking up’ on them, and bringing to light the areas in which they aren’t hitting the mark. When you think about it like this, it’s no wonder that you’re struggling to get your staff on-board.

Consider what kind of changes you might be able to make to turn the tables. How can you ensure that the process helps employees to reach their own career goals and get to where they want to be in your business? And importantly, what happens after the discussions have taken place? Your workers are much more likely to feel that the process brings value if they can see that changes are being made and that they’re being enabled to sharpen their skills.

Keep your eye on the bigger picture, but also try delving deeper into the aspects where you can make a real change. Need a little help with getting off to a great start? Get in touch. We’d be happy to discuss how we might be able to assist when it comes to getting your appraisal processes up to speed.

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