Archives for posts with tag: Training

 “If Mama’s not happy, then nobody is happy.” There is a reason that Training and Education are number one on the list to keep employees happy. Happy employees mean more productivity, higher retention rates, and a boost to everyone’s bottom line.  Here are 5 Best Practices to show your most valuable assets what their happiness means to you. (Or for the rest of us to show our bosses what we need to show ’em the money!) 

 5 ways to Keep your Rockstar Employees Happy

By Daniel Debow, Rypple Oct. 15, 2011, 9:00am PT

The Googleplex, Google’s corporate headquarters in Mountain View California, is legendary for its perks. Employees have access to unlimited free meals, haircuts, dry cleaning, massages, and even onsite medical care.

Yet earlier this year, when Google interviewed its employees about what they valued most at work, none of these extravagant benefits made the top of the list. Neither did salary. Instead, employees cited access to “even-keeled bosses who made time for one-on-one meetings, who helped people puzzle through problems by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who took an interest in employees’ lives and careers.”

Tangibles like salary and benefits aren’t enough to guarantee that your best and brightest creatives will remain engaged. Indeed, a recent landmark study by Arnold Worldwide of 3,000 employees and 500 executive leaders across a range of communication and advertising firms found that 30 percent of the advertising workforce say they’ll be gone from their job within 12 months.

 Take Jill, an outstanding, experienced copy editor whom Agency X recently recruited at considerable expense from one of its chief rivals. Despite her outward success, she’s unsure how she’s performing, where she stands in the company, and how she fits into the overall goals of the agency. Her pay is great, she loves the Friday office happy hour, but over time, she finds herself feeling demotivated by the lack of communication, and checks out.

The loss of star performers like Jill doesn’t just leave a talent vacuum to fill; it also leaves a gaping hole in the bottom line. Indeed, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal calculated that it typically costs a company about half a position’s annual salary to recruit for that job ¾ and several times that if the position requires rare skills.

So how can your company keep its stars engaged? It comes down to creating a culture of communication — one in which employees know where the organization is headed, how they fit into these plans, and what’s expected of them. Here are a few key strategies your agency can employ to make this happen.

1. Create a culture of education

The average Starbucks barista gets more training in a year than the average employee in a communications company, according to the Arnold Worldwide study. For employees, the single most important motivational factor was the ability to learn. Yet the study found a huge disconnect when it comes to perceptions about company training. While 90 percent of employees say they learn by figuring things out on their own, only 25 percent of executives think that employees learn independently.

To keep employees motivated, agencies need to build a culture of learning, where employees leave more enriched at the end of each day.

2. Provide regular, consistent feedback

Employee feedback is a critical part of the education process, and shouldn’t just be relegated to the annual review. To be effective, feedback needs to be specific and actionable. But that’s not always how it works.

In a study by Leadership IQ, 53 percent of employees said that when their boss praises excellent performance, the feedback does not provide enough useful information to help them repeat it. And 65 percent responded that when their boss criticizes poor performance, it doesn’t provide enough useful information to help them correct the issue.

Feedback, both positive and constructive, is most effective when given right away. Negative feedback given a month after the fact can lead to a passive-aggressive environment in which an employee feels powerless to act on the advice.

Think of it this way: no one wants to go a full day knowing their price tag was hanging from the back of their shirt, or the remnants of the salad they had for lunch were still stuck in their teeth. If an employee does something well, that activity should be encouraged. And if there’s room for improvement, they should be given the opportunity to learn for their next task.

3. Set time aside for weekly 1:1 meetings

At first, most employees and managers will cringe at the idea of yet another meeting. But instituting weekly 1:1 meetings can be the most important step you take to retaining your top performers.

In its quest to build a better boss, Google discovered that its worst managers weren’t consistent in their 1:1 meetings; some focused on meeting with people who were underperforming, while others met primarily with the top performers.

Consequently, Google implemented the best practice of 1:1 meetings with all team members.

These meetings can cover anything and everything ¾ from upcoming projects to the latest client news. With each week, discussions about goals, feedback, and concerns become a lot more natural ¾ unlike the awkward, starchy conversations during annual reviews. Over time, it becomes easier for both sides to raise potential problems and deal with them early on, before they fester into something destructive.

4. Manage the grunt work properly

Not every project is going to be awesome. That’s just the way business works. And chances are your employees understand this.

However, managers need to handle such projects responsibly and that means a few things. Boring projects should always be balanced with more stimulating work. Employees should always be told how any grunt works fits into the overall needs of the company (“If we do a good job on x, we’re hoping the client will give us their cool launch next year”). And specific parameters should always be set for the boring stuff ¾ meaning employees should always see light at the end of the tunnel.

5. Publicly acknowledge good work

All too often, managers see motivation in terms of financial compensation, but money is far from the only way to effectively reward talented employees. A 2009 survey by McKinsey Quarterly asked which incentives were the most effective in motivating employees. The top two responses were: “Praise and commendation from immediate manager” (67 percent), and “Attention from leaders” (62 percent).

Praise and commendation go a long way in making employees feel noticed and valued. And the impact of a pat on the back is multiplied when it’s done publicly. Through public commendations, employees not only feel the support and respect of their manager, but the entire organization as well (including top-level executives). Creating a framework for “social recognition” will encourage a culture of appreciation throughout your firm.

Keeping your rockstar employees on board has always been important, and don’t think that economic uncertainty will keep your employees around. Your company has worked hard to recruit some bright people and great talent; make sure an opaque work environment doesn’t drive them into the arms of your competition.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Esparta. 

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) is a framework of best practices and approaches that will best facilitate the delivery of high quality information technology (IT) services. ITIL® outlines an extensive set of management procedures that are intended to support businesses in achieving high quality services and valuable IT operations. Is ITIL right for you? What are the benefits and possibilities from return on investment?  Augusto Perazzo a principal consultant at PA Consulting group lays it out.

 

Is it Possible to Achieve a Return on ITIL?

July 12, 2011 By Augusto Perazzo

There has been quite a few arguments in trying to prove or debunk that ITIL can produce any kind of ROI. The pragmatic answer is: Yes it can, but not as easy as ITIL guidance can hope for.Let’s step back and define what ITIL is. A simplistic view is that ITILis a set of best practices that seek to improve the management and delivery of IT services. Like most best practices or processes guidance, it has been put together by drawing from the collective experience of practitioners and organizations that have tried to solve the IT efficiency problem in the past.ITIL’s first version was developed in the 1980s on behalf of the British government. Thus ITILv3, released in the summer of 2007, is an attempt to integrate and systemize best practices that have been previously loosely applied to the IT service management (ITSM) domain within the last 25 or so years.When looking at improving IT service management there are then two main options: try to figure out an effective way in isolation or to leverage an existing framework such as ITIL (which has been adopted and tested by thousands of organizations worldwide). Chances are that ITIL will provide better odds to the challenge.

 ITIL ROI

ROI has the following components: Cost of investment (COI) and results of the investment. A positive ROI, which we seek, means that the results should be larger than the investment. Cost of implementing ITIL is the investment and the ITSM improvements we seek are the results. The challenge then becomes the quantification of ITIL costs and IT service improvements.

ITIL costs are anything and everything you will spend in order to design and implement your custom ITIL solution, including any tools, internal resources and external help. The technical aspects of an ITIL implementation are relatively easier to estimate and carry on; organization change management is where the devil works!

Any process improvement program, which an ITIL implementation surely is, will carry a high and usually hidden cost for change management (efforts to bring people on board and provide them with the willingness, abilities and capabilities to succeed and to follow and leverage the ITIL based processes). Your ROI calculation must include a good chunk of change for that part of the investment. Most ITIL implementations fail because little attention is given to the devil’s playground.

IT service improvements

To know how far you have traveled, you need information on both the departure point and the destination you have reached. Once you reach a destination, it is relatively easy to quantify where you are: How much time and thus FTEs and thus money your organization spends on managing and delivering IT services. The problem is in baselining your departure point before you leave.

Most organizations do not have a clue about the true cost of their current ITSM practices (or lack thereof). The assessment, once you reach your destination, is easier because after an ITIL program you should be better equipped to do so.

Because of this ITIL ROI conundrum, we usually recommend to clients that they embark on a process improvement program — ITIL or other — using an iterative and a long-term timeline. For example, improve your Incident management processes first so that you can start collecting meaningful data and measure the cost of incidents and its impact on productivity. Improve IT financial management early so that you can calculate the true cost of IT services and so on. Once you have basic IT performance information that can be baselined, move on to bigger investments.

In sum, to determine ROI, you need to define what the cost to deliver IT services is today, what the cost of the investment to improve is and what the cost to deliver IT services will eventually be once you reach your destination. Most organizations with more mature policies around program funding will require a business case before approving the journey. Nonetheless do understand that this is only an estimate as you will not know for sure how much the investment will cost you and how much the future cost of delivering IT services will be once you are done.

A good piece of advice: Make sure you have several waypoints defined between your departure and final destination and leverage the lessons you learned from these small trips to calibrate the remainder of your journey. Comparing the estimated ROI for these waypoints to the actual ROI and the causes for discrepancy can provide much valuable information on how to go about the rest of the program and how to reset expectations.

Augusto Perazzo is a Principal Consultant at PA Consulting Group. Augusto works closely with Business and IT executives to define strategies and operating models, optimize processes and empower people, leveraging the power of information technology to design and deliver better services and products. Augusto has an MBA degree from USC Marshall Business School and holds ITIL and PMP certifications.

 IT Training Company, Tandem Solution, has partnered with Service Management Dynamix™ to provide a broad spectrum of ITSM training options for students. In addition to public and private training (Class Outlines), together they also provide a full complement of ITIL® Consulting Services: The Experienced Consultants/Trainers (Keith Sutherland  &  Butch Sheets) have long been considered  industry experts. Moreover, they serve on multiple ITIL® examination review boards and have over 70 years of combined IT experience and 20 years of formal IT Service Management knowledge. Contact info@training4it.com for more information or your free needs assesment.

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