Employees want to add value… so let them!

Is your team clear on what they need to do and why? And if not, how do you think that’s impacting your bottom line? Maybe it’s time to wipe the canvas clean, assess current-state versus desired-state and get everyone on the same page.  

Many times I’ve come across teams or people doing tasks simply because they were asked to (sometimes years ago!) and no one has told them the task is no longer required so of course they keep doing it.

It’s a pretty safe bet that you can think of an instance like this… maybe a report gets manually entered, generated or printed – but the data, process or outcome has changed over time and it’s no longer adding value or needs to be updated to truly be meaningful.

Or maybe a role in your team remains only because the person occupying the role is a valued member of the team and you don’t want to lose them… even though the tasks they complete, no matter how competently, are getting surpassed by technological advances or other change initiatives.

Guess what… employees want to be adding value! They strive to do a good job and produce meaningful work. If they’re not adding the value you think they could be – maybe it’s time for a clarity session. Going back to the drawing board and identifying expectations, accountability, change management, and aligning to the bigger picture – your company’s strategy, mission and purpose.

This is NOT about finding cost synergies and downsizing, making people ‘do more with less’. This is about going through an important exercise in order to increase productivity, efficiency and engagement. It’s about identifying and playing to people’s strengths – setting people (and the team) up to succeed.

By having clarity around their role in a team and ultimately the organisation – your employees can be empowered, proactive and assess if what they’re doing is actually adding value. So let’s embrace a continuous improvement mentality … as a manager you can have a go at this yourself, or you can get someone (cough, cough, maybe me) in to run the sessions from a non-biased perspective.

Initiating a discussion is a good way to get the ball rolling. But it needs structure and guidance if it’s going to be successful. I’ve got a number of tools and templates to guide this process and keep it on track. Also, you can focus on your job as a leader, as well as being a willing participant (this can be a time-consuming process if you’re not familiar with it). 

A clarity coaching session guides you and your team through a people-friendly approach to establishing or restructuring tasks, roles or functions. It can (and should) be delivered in a non-confrontational, non-threatening manner and focuses on growth, development and contributing to the achievement of the team and organisations’ wider strategy.

See how this could be of benefit to you and your team? Connect today to find out more.

I’m no innovator… but that’s ok

I’ve just realised that I don’t have to be ‘an innovator’. I’ve decided it’s a label I don’t need to twist myself in knots trying to add to the long list of things that I am and that I’m proud of, and here’s why.

I see pressure all around for us to be innovative. In this highly connected / social / sharing world thoughts and ideas are popping up and progressing at an astonishingly rapid pace. If we’re all innovative, ahead of the curve, pioneers… who are the doers? The people who ground these ideas and concepts into practice, process and allow them time to grow roots and show their true value.

Don’t get me wrong… I see the desire / need / requirement for change / progress / evolution (I am in learning and development after all!). I’m just not one of the inventors stretching the bounds and disrupting the status quo on a visionary level.

And until recently, I thought that made me less. I thought I had to fake it or hide the fact that it’s not a natural thing for me to lean into (as much as I may want to at times). Just because I don’t class myself as an innovator, doesn’t mean I’m not creative and imaginative.

I do believe in playing to our strengths. Stretching ourselves and continuously developing in the field we thrive in and / or are passionate about. There are a lot of bloody fantastic ideas out there already that aren’t being harnessed to their full potential. Which remain relevant.

I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if I didn’t think it was pertinent and dare I say it – imperative to flourish in today’s world. The fundamental aspects of communication, connection and problem solving are indeed very useful skills in managing the change going on around us / to us / because of us.

I may not be an innovator, but I am still relevant. And I’m more than ok with that.

Engagement (or any) surveying is not enough

Asking someone a bunch of pre-determined questions on one particular day, of one particular week, in one particular month in their career journey with your organisation is a standard way of ‘measuring’ employee engagement. But how do you know you have all the right puzzle pieces?

I can think of many times in my career that a survey was administered in a time of turbulence for me or my team. It may have been the shitty time of budget cutting; or maybe a new project was just launched; or the team was disrupted in a multitude of other ways. But I knew (or at least hoped) that the survey results weren’t a true reflection of their engagement overall.

Without a deep dive, or even just a focus group ‘sanity check’, how do you know the true value of the feedback you’ve collected? If it’s been a crappy day/week/month for someone, does that reflect on their survey answers? In my experience, hell yes! You may still need to address the issues front and centre, but you definitely should check the validity of the engagement data before making any decisions about long-term action planning.

The best way to find the root cause of disengagement or even that tipping point between fully connected and just doing ok, is discussion. Using insight-encouraging questions to gain clarity, a deeper understanding of your employee’s engagement levels, is critical if you want to turn meh into good, or good into lets-smash-this-out-of-the-park.

If you’re serious about employee engagement, focus groups and deep-dives are important. Use them, or better yet – get an unbiased perspective (like me!) to run them for you.