Keeping Employees Motivated And Engaged!

Appreciation and acknowledgments are central to the outstanding performance of any employee. Employee engagement has been the talk of the corporate world for a long time. In lay man’s terms, employee engagement or work engagement refers to an employee who is fully involved in and is enthusiastic about his or her work and thus will act in a way that promotes the well-being of the organization.

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How do we keep up with Technology?

big_image002Imagine your life without email, mobile phone, laptop, cable TV… difficult, isn’t it? OK, we are quite adept at using these. What about Face Book? Do you twitter? What about an iPad?

Let’s look back, for a change. Do you remember predecessor versions of these gadgets and tools today? Hardly. Why? Because to paraphrase Alvin Toffler in Future Shock, technology feeds on itself. Technology makes more technology possible.

That means the new technology spawns new tools that make the old tools obsolete. The good news is that at any given point of time, there are only a handful of tech tools to adopt and master. Some are so good that they remain impervious to new predatory technology and they become a part of our daily life, always present like a faithful friend.

In any case, humans have enormous capacity to learn. It is only our own apprehensions that limit how much we learn.

The answer to the question is both “yes” and “no”. Yes, there is an ever-expanding repertoire of tech goodies. Yes, we have to learn them to stay current, if not competitive. No, it is not as difficult as it looks because with the advent of one new tech tools, some of the old ones disappear.

So, let’s work on our minds to break down apprehensions that we cannot keep pace. All these years we have done quite well and I am confident we will overcome and persevere in the days to come.

Thank you for reading my blog and for sharing your comments.

RK Prasad

CEO

Encouraging Employees for Innovation

When we talk about innovation, companies don’t just look at traditional research and development for innovations or cracking new campaigns, but simple ideas from their employees to help drive the organization forward. It is the responsibility of the managers to make their employees innovate. Though not a simple job, managers can try and assist their employees to get more innovative and think unconventionally. Some of the most common ways are by:

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Fair Evaluation of Employees

In my capacity as a manager, I once had to evaluate my team members during an annual appraisal. I was bit anxious as I had just been assigned to head their project a month ago. Nevertheless, it was an experience. The next time around, I was in a better position to evaluate my team members.

The very first question that hit me when I was asked to evaluate them was: How does one do a fair evaluation of one’s team members? After the first evaluation, the HR department gave me a checklist of measurable performance criteria that applied to members of my team. And I kept these criteria handy during my own appraisal with my boss.

Below is a fairly common set of measurable performance criteria that help me with annual evaluation of my subordinates.

  • Initiative or Ambition: Are your team members ambitious in the sense of taking initiative to perform or improve the process, product or work environment?
  • Cooperation/Attitude: Is your teammate a pleasure or bore to work with? What is his or her opinion towards you, peers and overall work? Is he or she cooperative and flexible with his or her peers by performing job functions outside his or her normal duties?
  • Attendance: Is your team mate’s regular absence having a negative impact on the morale of other members or on the department’s productivity? Regular attendance of any one employee can set an example for peers to be punctual towards work.
  • Communication Skills: Is your team member capable of communicating with his peers, managers and clients? Has he or she ever been involved in any issues due to communication skills?
  • Focus: Is your team member able to maintain focus on the task assigned? Does he or she prefer to finish personal work while still at work?
  • Loyalty: Does your subordinate understand his or her job responsibilities? Does he or she feel proud while talking about the project or Company?
  • Improvement: Has your team member shown a marked improvement in his performance from the previous appraisal?
  • Integrity: Does your subordinate display morally upright behavior at work? Does he or she respect the privacy of his or her peers and clients?
  • Knowledge: Is your subordinate technically sound enough to perform his or her job responsibilities?
  • Productivity: Is your subordinate responsible enough to meet productivity requirements and project deadlines?
  • Quality of Work: Do you receive more positive or negative feedback from the client regarding your team members’ quality of work? What are your observations on the quality of work your department produces?
  • Reliability: How reliable is your subordinate? Does he or she demonstrate dependability? Is he or she the one you rely on when someone makes a mistake?
  • Stress Management: Is your subordinate open to changes in the work environment? How does he or she interact with other members when the project is nearing its deadline?
  • Team Work: If one of your team members is on leave, does his or her peer willingly pitch in to finish the tasks assigned of the absentee?

Alongside the above mentioned criteria, employees’ performance levels need to be measured in these ways:

  • Has your employee mastered the requirements of his or her job and able to perform in a way that reflects an understanding of his job duties?
  • Does your employee meet minimally acceptable standards in terms of technical know-how of the job requirements?
  • Does your employee exceed your expectations in some aspects of the job while being an average performer in other matter?

Do share your thoughts with me on the same.

Qualities of A Good Leader

Qualities of A Good Leader

My boss in my last job was an amazing person. He never ever behaved like one. He was a buddy to the young and old alike. His pep talk motivated people to work smart. He was the first to arrive and last to leave the office everyday. Under his tutelage, the company met its target. He was a true leader in all senses of the word. I have learned everything about being a good leader from him, though I do know that I have a long way to go to be like him.

Not everyone in life can easily imbibe good qualities to be an effective leader. The qualities that I think make a person stand out in the crowd are:

  • A person should believe in his or her ability to be a good leader. If one is uncertain about one’s skills and capacity, one will never be able head a company.
  • One must be a good communicator. To be a good communicator, one must always listen first, analyze and observe as action speaks louder than words. Accept relevant suggestions from colleagues and subordinates. A good communicator also puts across whatever needs to be done simply and effectively.
  • A good leader is a man of character i.e. trustworthy and honest. He or she makes ethical decisions based on his or her own set of principles. A good leader encourages employees to be morally upright and stand up against wrongdoings.
  • The first step to being knowledgeable is to be thorough at one’s work. A hunger for more knowledge and a good problem-solving ability, besides being a good guide to colleagues and subordinates are some pointers in this direction.
  • A good leader can think, foresee future opportunities and give equal importance to the present. He or she should successfully encourage his or her colleagues and subordinates to think differently, recognize the need for change and work towards achieving a common goal, both professionally and personally.
  • A good leader knows the importance of earning respect rather than demanding it. He should work to earn the respect of his team members and reciprocate the same. He should not discriminate between white and blue collared staff.
  • A good leader has a positive attitude and encourages others to be positive even in a crisis. He should be able to control his emotions and encourage and motivate others to overcome lean patches in their professional lives by learning new skills.
  • A good leader is committed to meeting his project deadlines and completing tasks on hand.
  • When a plan goes awry or fails, it is a good leader who takes responsibility and acknowledges the team members for work done.

The above list is not an exhaustive one. Please feel free to add qualities you think are important to be a good leader.

Do share your thoughts with me on the same.

View E-book on E-learning 101: A Beginner's Guide to Understanding What E-learning is About

Templates For Creating Online Courses

While creating a storyboard for online courses, I usually turn to templates to make my task simple. If you’ve more than a few members of your team working on the same project and you need the look and feel of the course to be consistent when done, it is ideal to use templates.

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Should Experienced Employees be Trained?

The other day, my friend was ranting about attending a training session at her new company. She has over eight years’ experience in her field of work, but still has to attend training sessions organized by her company. Her ranting reminded me of my training sessions with the company I joined just a year or two ago. Despite finding the whole process boring, I was glad I attended the session as it helped me know more about company, people, work responsibilities and more.

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Change Management Training – Managing Resistance to Change

Change Management Training – Managing Resistance to Change

The adage, ‘Change is the only constant’ is true since most people resist change. They prefer to live their lives, professional or personal, dictated by a routine. Even a slight change in their routines is not appreciated. Similarly, if changes for betterment of a company are proposed, many employees resent those changes. This holds true especially with long term employees of an organization. It is human nature to choose a stable and predictable environment where all change seems unnatural. Though change is inevitable, people fear it because of:

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Are you investing in the new hire orientation programs?

In my first job there was never a formal orientation for new employees or an introduction procedure in place. On the other hand, at my second job, I was astonished to be part of an hour-long employee introduction plus orientation. The introduction of each employee of the company along with a one-on-one meeting with my Project Manager and team members made me feel really welcome. Besides the introductions, I also had a two-hour session with the HR Manager and his team to know more about the company, its products, services, etc. At the end of the day, I knew about the company, policies, regulations and more.

I wonder how different things would have been if I wasn’t introduced to my manager, teammates and other colleagues. I would have felt unwanted and unwelcome. No wonder, orientation and training of new hire are considered a must these days.

If a new employee leaves before the end of his or her probationary period, the company loses a capable employee to its competitors and increases costs of recruiting and training new candidates.  Training and orientation sessions offer the new hire the much-needed knowledge on the various departments, workgroups and interaction amongst them.

Besides lessening the fear, new hire orientation training helps the new employees understand the company, its culture, organizational structure, ground rules, policies and procedures, office timings, products and services, and so on. Also, helps them to build a can-do-it attitude and become knowledgeable about one’s roles and responsibilities.

Investing in a new hire orientation program to increase the new hire’s confidence in his or her decision to join your company will motivate the new hire to produce his or her best work immediately. This will increase the new hire’s chances of continuing with your company in the long run as it infuses a sense of belonging.

A good way to test the effectiveness of new hires’ training and orientation is to give them a short questionnaire or web-based test at the end of the session.  To test the effectiveness of the training of the job requirements, it is ideal to wait for a month or two to rank their performance. To appraise the employee on a daily basis, assess his daily job responsibilities, methodology and his code of conduct while dealing with a problem.

Do share your thoughts on the same.

Tips to Make Your Brainstorming Session Prodcutive

I was once asked to sit on a brainstorming session for new marketing collateral. The concerned teams discussed and floated infinite ideas for collateral designs. Finally, the design team created three or four templates based on the ideas generated at the meeting. I came out refreshed at the end of the session, amazed at the ideas that floated all around.

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