Why Performance Reviews Are Critical for Small Businesses

There are certain advantages a small business has that a large multi-national corporation simply cannot, by its very nature, posses. Namely, these are a certain warmth, personality, a sense of being natural… However, perhaps the most important aspect is this – flexibility. Namely, a small business can change, shift, turn. Just compare an elegant mini cooper with a semi.

And for this reason, a small business can utilize performance reviews much better. Namely, performance reviews have gotten a bad rap as being just annoying, bureaucratic by-the-numbers sessions. This is because big companies can’t handle doing this properly, either because of their size, or simply not caring. However, having a small, dedicated team, means that you can do a performance review on a regular basis, and it also means that they have a much greater effect. Below are the reasons why these are just so important.

Time for praise (and error correction)

The entire point of performance reviews are to assess the performance and efficacy of a certain employee. How well did they do their work, how had are they working, how are they handling any pressure that may have been added to their plate.

Performance reviews present a time where you can reward good behaviour, and where bad behaviour can be corrected. Let’s face it, a busy business owner has a lot of thing on his or her mind. This means you simply forget things, even stuff as important as letting some employees know just how good of a job they are doing. It’s a great opportunity to provide some kind of reward as well. It also helps you sit down and see what one person is doing wrong.

Think of this as an opportunity bot to praise and correct your staff, as well as serving as a reminder for you to do so.

 

Helps with goals

Without goals, you are practically rudderless. Goals are something one should strive towards, one should move towards. With proper goals, you know where you are going. In turn, you then know if you’re on the right track or not. With this in mind, think of performance reviews as an opportunity to speak to employees about goals, both theirs, and how they integrate with the goals of the company.

In fact, setting goals is something any company (or for that matter, any individual) should do as soon as possible. By figuring out the goals of an employee, or by helping this person figure them out, you get to see how motivated they are, and how well they can mesh with your company. An ambitious, driven person who wants to start a family in the same town your local business is located in is much more dependable than a person who wants to travel as much as he or she can, without thinking too much into the future. On the other hand, this same vagabondish individual is perfect for positions that require travelling and going out of town.

With this in mind, it helps you figure out why certain people just don’t perform as well as they could, and can help you understand how to get good employees even better.

 

Forces you to reassess

Having performance reviews done regularly helps you take a look at your company, and see where you are right now. It forces you to sit down and analyse what is happening within your company, and how you can improve further on along the way. Perhaps your own leadership skills are not up to snuff, or you may have some other issues you need to attend to.

Juggling too many things at once can make life difficult for any business owner. Getting proper smb management solutions, instead of creating them yourself alone, can help you push forward with your company, and lighting a part of the workload you have. This can make reassessments easier, and make it simpler to integrate performance reviews into your reassessment protocols.

The carrot and the stick

Motivation is obviously important, as we’ve mentioned. But, with regular performance reviews, you can keep some less than stellar employees on their toes, while giving good ones something to look forward to. If they know that you actually care about their performance and intend to review it, both problematic employees and star workers will go the extra mile to give you their all.

And remember, always praise in public, scold in private, if you want to keep your people motivated. Scolding people in public will make your staff be afraid of making mistakes in the future, which will paradoxically lead to mistakes, or will stifle creativity. On the other hand, praising in public boosts morale of an employee even more than if you were to just sit down with them.

Conclusion

Performance reviews are important and useful, especially for small businesses. As a small business, you have a greater impact when dealing with your employees, and can influence them more, both positively and negatively.

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Employee Engagement: 27-29 September 2017, Amsterdam, Netherlands — Press Release

Marcus Evans: Employee Engagement | The HR Tech Weekly®

Amsterdam, July 18, 2017 — Employee engagement has a direct impact on employee branding, an engaged employee will always praise his company and its achievement and can become a brand ambassador.

Companies increase their efforts to better understand the reasons beyond employee engagement. Although multiple tools can be used ranking from basic surveys to sophisticated games or applications, not many companies combine their findings with HR data about employee absenteeism, turnover rate and other data to gain a deeper insight about employee engagement trends. Predictive analytics can also help companies determine the source of hire sources, evaluate the ROI of employees and optimise the hiring process.

The Employee Engagement conference organised by marcus evans on the 27th-29th of September, 2017 in Amsterdam will provide a pan-European insight in employee engagement and its development. It is a unique opportunity for Employee Engagement specialists and Human Resources Experts to discuss the challenges of engaging employees. Practical cases will be presented to highlight the link between employee engagement and the organisational performance, the impact of internal communication, leadership and organisational culture on employee engagement. This conference will also explore the means by which we can guarantee employee engagement through the entire employee life cycle and turn it into employee experience.

Attending this premier marcus evans conference will enable you to:

  • Improve the employer branding and communicate about the company’s values to the employees
  • Put the company’s culture at the service of employee engagement
  • Create a sense of belonging among the employees
  • Use predictive analytics to improve employee engagement
  • Maintain employee engagement after a M&A or a strategic transformation

About marcus evans Group:

marcus evans Group | The HR Tech Weekly®

marcus evans specialises in the research and development of strategic events for senior business executives. From our international network of 63 offices, marcus evans produces over 1000 event days a year on strategic issues in corporate finance, telecommunications, technology, health, transportation, capital markets, human resources and business improvement.

Above all, marcus evans provides clients with business information and knowledge which enables them to sustain a valuable competitive advantage and makes a positive contribution to their success.


If you would like to receive more information regarding this event please email Constandinos Vinall at ConstandinosV@marcusevanscy.com or visit the website here.

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What Does the Future Hold for Global Payroll?

Written by Jan Van Mol, Head of Global Alliances at SD Worx.

Clock Closeup

Businesses are always looking for new ways to improve and innovate, and the payroll industry is no different. Payroll is arguably the purest form of HR data, providing employers with real-time information that can inform a more intelligence-led approach to business decision-making. Payroll systems that deliver insight as well as a good service for both employers and employees will undoubtedly gain long-term business intuition. Because of this, forward thinking organisations need to embrace a payroll system that can provide an optimum payroll service for employees across all departments and local market. Investing in a global payroll system that encompasses the individual needs of an organisation is the answer, but how can global payroll providers ensure that multinational businesses comply with all in-country legislations?

Retaining talent and providing the best service for employees is paramount for business leaders – something that has been fueled largely by the advent of new HR technologies. Studies show that if employees are not being paid correctly and on time, the knock-on effect on retention is significant. Employers that do not harness the benefits of global payroll will consequently fall behind in the competitive race, with business penalties spanning the short and long term.

With an increasing number of business leaders starting to understand the benefits that can be reaped from investing in global payroll, how can we expect global payroll to progress in the future? Below are three industry predictions:

1. Improved Employee Engagement

With Generation Z about to enter the workforce, businesses need to look ahead and think seriously about how to cater to the needs and requirements of these digital natives – and that includes playing to their payroll preferences. Generation Z grew up with technology, is comfortable using it, and has come to expect it in the workplace. If businesses can’t cater to these needs, they will struggle to retain the best talent within this workforce bracket.

SD Worx expects to see an increasing number of built-in employee engagement functions within global payroll systems over the coming year, which will include functionalities that improve and enhance the employee experience. These functionalities will be tailored to their users – self-service and user-friendly tools for Generation Zs and Millennials, for example. There will also be an increase in measurement and reporting tools that enable close monitoring of workforce experiences in a way that can then be acted upon to boost employee engagement.

2. Deeper HR Integration

Forward thinking organisations will begin to integrate payroll with wider reward and recognition benefits to create a single, comprehensive system. With the line between work and home life becoming increasingly blurred amidst the ‘always-on’ culture, businesses need to ensure that they have the right technologies and systems in place to help combat this and deliver positive workforce experiences. Payroll systems that incorporate add-on rewards and wellbeing benefits will therefore become increasingly commonplace in coming years.

3. More Data-Driven Predictions

As mentioned above, modern payroll systems now provide much more than a monthly back office function – with the right solution, they can deliver on-going business critical insight into an organisation. The desire for global business insight is increasing year-on-year, and if managed in an optimal, systemised way, accurate payroll data will increasingly begin to provide the source of this much sought after visibility. When combined with other data sets such as employee performance and talent management, the collective insight this delivers can enable business leaders to act upon information in a reactive way, but also in a predictive context to support future planning. Key examples include being able to better identify employee attrition and absence patterns in order to correctly forecast recruiting needs and save costs.

Global payroll providers not only ensure that employers are complying with global legislations, they also guarantee that local requirements are met too. Local legislation frequently changes – like Australia adopting Single Touch Payroll this year, for example – and many large organisations have already been the target of fines due to breaking compliance with local payroll requirements. Every country had different regulations, and it is the job of a global payroll provider to tailor their offering with the needs of each organisation.

The future is often uncertain at times, but global payroll with local capabilities can improve forecasting and planning, giving the business a strong and more insight-led direction. It is clear that the growing trend for global payroll with local capabilities will remain a key business requirement as businesses expand internationally and the world becomes ever more globalised.


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Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: Are Soft Skills Winning?

hard-skills-vs-soft-skills

The whole debate about soft skills versus hard skills sounds like a relatively modern debate, right? Not at all. The debate has been raging for many years – as far back as last century even. In 1918, Charles Riborg Mann, a physicist, engineer and civilian adviser in the US War Department, published research that discussed the importance of soft skills versus hard skills in engineering disciplines.

Within the study he asserted that: “personal qualities such as common sense, integrity, resourcefulness, initiative, tact, thoroughness, accuracy, efficiency and understanding of men are universally recognised as being no less necessary to a professional engineer than are technical knowledge and skills”.

Research by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center built on that 1918 study, leading them to conclude that only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge. What does the other 85% come from? Good, well-developed soft skills of course.

So the debate about soft skills versus hard skills is nothing new. However, thinking tends to fluctuate over which skills – soft or hard – are most important when hiring. At the moment, the swing is definitely towards soft skills and it has been going that way for some time.

Why? For starters, there is the undeniable fact that hard skills date very quickly now. What was relevant and required five or even two years ago is soon redundant. Skills and knowledge regeneration is constant and employees need to have the right mindset that enables them to keep learning, keep developing and keep moving forward.

As a result, employers place less importance on what employees already know. They want to know what employees are capable of in the future, what their aptitudes are and how well placed they are to apply the skills needed today and the skills needed tomorrow.

It’s all about agility. It’s a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world that we live and work in and if organisations are to be agile, as they need to be, then they need agile employees. And being agile requires employees to have a whole host of personal attributes that fall into the soft skills category – flexibility, adaptability, creativity, dynamism, connectiveness, emotional intelligence and so it goes on.

There is lots of research that says that these are the skills that employers want now and will want even more in the future. A survey by Talent Q, part of Hay Group, for example found that nine in 10 employers think graduates with soft skills will be increasingly important as globalisation continues to gather pace. But those graduates are already in high demand – 81% of employers say they face strong competition for graduates with people skills.

A report carried out by Grant Thornton, a professional services network of independent accounting and consulting member firms, shows just how much value is placed on soft skills in the modern workplace, even in a profession that is all about numbers. The report, called ‘The Evolving Accounting Talent Profile’, said this in its executive summary: ‘Today’s CFOs find that technical skills are a necessary, but not sufficient, competency among accounting professionals. As they and their staff become more engaged in organisational decision-making, soft skills such as critical thinking and communication are increasingly important”.

Another report, this one carried out last year on behalf of McDonald’s UK, called ‘The Value of Soft Skills to the UK Economy’, states that soft skills are worth over £88 billion in gross value added to the UK economy each year, underpinning roughly 6.5% of the whole economy. That figure is expected to rise considerably over the next five years. The report predicts that by 2020, the annual contribution of soft skills to the economy will have grown in real terms to £109 billion and to just over £127 billion by 2025. Soft skills are worth a lot.


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What Organizations Need to Understand About Their Millennial Workforce

millennials-writing

Whiny, impatient, hard-to-please, disloyal – these are some of the adjectives associated with millennials at the workplace. This generation born between 1980 and 1996 has also been identified as job hoppers and the hardest to retain. Companies of all kinds are obsessed with understanding millennials better. The Global Human Capital Trends Report, 2016 also stated the rise of millennial workforce as a demographic upheaval, which is a major force of global change in the talent landscape.

The truth is – this particular lot of the population has more or less the same needs as their older generations. In fact, a study by IBM debunked most of the myths associated with millennials. It showed that they actually want the same things from their workplace like their older generations (except for a few differences in matters such as retirement plans!).

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But why are they still hopping jobs? 21% of millennial workers had left their jobs in the last year to do something else. Gallup has found that millennials struggle to find good jobs that engage them. In fact, millennials are the generation with the highest rates of unemployment and underemployment in the US. The problem of engagement is even severe with only 29% of employed millennials being engaged at work.

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The only explanation to this is that they are clearly not getting what they want. It’s not that the millennials have a completely different view of the world as compared to the older generations, or are asking for too much. With the digital wave setting in and technology being readily available to this generation, organizations need to understand what exactly is expected out of them.

This is extremely critical as the presence of millennials in the US is huge. They are going to make up 40% of the workforce by 2020 and 75% by 2025 (as per the U.S. Bureau of Statistics project). If such a major part of a generation is not engaged at work, the cost of it will also be huge! As per Gallup, millennial turnover costs the U.S, economy $30.5 billion annually. At the same time, 60% of millennials are open to new job opportunities – this basically means that for businesses, half of their millennial workforce doesn’t see a future with them.

As per Gallup, the following things set millennials apart from other generations:

  1. They really care about their job roles and view them as stepping stones and growth opportunities to their larger goals. 52% of millennials cite career progression as their first priority, followed by competitive salaries (PwC).
  2. They are deeply committed to what they do professionally.
  3. They do not want to work for bosses, but for coaches who invest and contribute to their personal and professional development.
  4. They want more than free beers and a fun workplace as opposed to Baby Boomers and GenXers – they need to be convinced why and how an organization will help them learn, grow and develop and further their careers.
  5. They want an emotional and behavioral connection with their jobs.
  6. They want a high level of well-being – be able to spend on things that they want, rather on things they should have. Work life balance is key for them and they aren’t getting it. As per a PwC research 28% of millennial respondents said that their work life balance was worse than they expected before joining.

What Millennials Want from Performance Management

Performance management is a very critical area for most companies to crack as it defines the relationship between a manager and an employee. Millennials want coaches over bosses, and they can only stick to an organization that gives them managers who would potentially invest and contribute to their personal and professional growth. Like any relationship to succeed, communication is crucial here as well. Millennials are hungry for frequent and consistent communication and feedback from their managers. Level of manager involvement is directly proportional to the level of engagement that a millennial employee might have:

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Lack of feedback – The reason for disengagement in this regard is also clear with statistics, as only 21% of millennials meet their managers on a weekly basis (Gallup). The exchange of feedback is low. Regular meetings, along with frequent feedback can lead to more engagement and better performance for teams as well as companies as a whole. Performance management needs to be a process spread over a year, rather than a year end discussion which focuses on assigning a number, which clearly is not holistic in nature.

Lack of flexible options – Along with feedback, millennials also wants flexibility at their workplace and move beyond the 9 to 5 cycle of drudgery. 77% of millennials say that flexible work hours are key to boosting productivity (Gallup). They love the idea of being able to work from any location with technology easily available – 39% of millennials believe that more options to work remotely would result in higher productivity.

Leadership and Millennials

89% of organizations cite leadership as one of their top challenges.

~ Global Human Capital Trends Report , 2016

Millennials bring high expectations to a workplace and they look for a recipe that gives them a rewarding, purposeful work experience, combined with constant learning and development opportunities that steers their career progression. Leaders and people managers are the most important stakeholders for driving engagement. HR managers should support leaders in creating an engaged environment at workplace. Leaders who motivate and coach their subordinates, who in turn motivate and engage theirs, are a key ingredient in creating a culture of engagement that sustains business results in a highly dynamic global environment. HR managers should demonstrate investment in helping leaders focus on building skills, empowering their colleagues as well as motivate individuals to ensure that they drive their own engagement.

In the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016, 39 % of millennial respondents pointed to leadership as one of the most sought after aspects at the workplace. They also believe that businesses are not doing enough to bridge the gap and ensure that a new generation of business leaders is created. The survey also revealed that 71% of those millennials who are likely to leave their current company in the next two years are unhappy with how their leadership skills are being developed.

As per the Global Human Capital Trends report 2016, only 7% of surveyed respondents reported to have accelerated leadership programs for millennials. 28% of respondents reported weak or very weak leadership pipelines. And 21% of companies have no leadership programs at all! Many organizations are still finding it difficult to identify potential leaders and develop them, despite heavy investment being done to achieve the same.

On-the-job Training Opportunities

30% of executives see learning as the primary driver of employee development in the Global Human Capital Trends Report, 2016. Professional growth within the company is possible through learning and customized and blended training programs – which is something the young workforce is desperately looking for. Millennials have reported that they will move elsewhere if employers fail to provide learning opportunities to them. What needs to be done here is that employees need to be viewed as customers who long for satisfaction, rather than being treated as students who are pressurized into traditional classroom methodologies. This is the generation who loves exploiting the power of technology and mobile devices, and if learning programs are not aligned with these wants, they are most likely to leave that organization.

Millennials and other young employees have grown in a self-directed learning environment and have been exposed to the internet from an early stage. In fact, 85% of millennials access internet from their phones. They get most of the information they need from their mobile devices and 93% of millennials use social media to connect with their friends and family, as opposed to 84% in older generations. This is why they expect access to dynamic learning opportunities that fit their individual needs and schedules, as well as suit their talent and interests.

The digital wave has hit the world and the millennials want to take advantage of it. They want to be able to be on the move and work remotely. In fact, as per a study by PWC, 41% of miilennials prefer to communicate electronically at work than face to face or even over telephone.

What Organizations Need to Do

  • Help millennials grow: Only 28 percent of millennials feel that their current organizations are making ‘full use’ of the skills they currently have to offer (Deloitte Millennial Survey, 2016).

Managers need to really understand the personal and professional goals of millennials. Understand the areas that interest these passionate people and offer them opportunities in the same.

  • Mentoring: As per the Deloitte Millennial Survey, 2016, among those millennials who have somebody acting as a mentor, 83% are satisfied with this aspect of their working lives.

Millennials want and value frequent feedback unlike annual reviews that dominated in the past. They are more than willing to know how they are doing on a regular basis and expect real time feedback. Organizations need to make continuous feedback a major part of their engagement strategy.

  • Encourage learning: Millennials are hungry for knowledge and they want to experience as much as training as possible. Organizations need to focus deeply on this aspect and build and measure the effectiveness of learning programs, along with mentoring programs. Technology plays a key role here as it allows L&D professionals to play with the way they want training to happen, and also retain the interest of this young lot by providing them with innovative learning options. A lot of technological innovations have come up that have helped organizations train their staff as well as measure the effectiveness of their programs. Capabiliti by Qustn is one such product that has helped L&D professionals connect learning with their business goals. See how.
  • Focus on culture over profit: Millennials give more importance to people and culture over monetary aspects. Corporate values that are shared with and believed by millennials also promote loyalty—particularly when employers demonstrate a strong sense of company purpose beyond financial success. Those likely to remain longest share their organization’s values, and are more satisfied with its sense of purpose and support of professional development.
  • Flexible options: Currently, millennials lack flexible options as 77% wish to have greater mobile connectivity, such as via tablets and smartphones (Deloitte Millennial Survey, 2016). Lack of remote working options is also serving as the greatest gap between current supply and demand surrounds the issue of remote working—fully 75 percent would like to start to, or more frequently, work from home or other locations where they feel more productive. If organizations work around providing such options to millennials, it will definitely increase their levels of satisfaction and boost productivity.

About the Author

Bhaswati BhattacharrayaBhaswati is a Product Specialist at Capabiliti, a mobile-first training and engagement solution for enterprises. Passionate about Economics, Bhaswati also loves storytelling. She has a keen interest in start-ups, food and travel. In her ‘me time’ she picks up fiction novels, tries different cuisines or explores routes to less traveled places on the world map. Follow her on Twitter at @Bhaswatibh


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How to Survive a Management Audit

How would you fare if auditors walked in the door tomorrow morning and started scrutinizing all your processes, policies and procedures? Here are descriptions of several types of audits and four tips for making your management audit less stressful.

This is a test. Which of the following are common occurrences during IT Management Audits?

1. Staff members quit.

2. Staff members break down in tears in front of the consultants.

3. Staff members fly into a screaming rage at the consultants.

4. Staff members lie to the consultants.

5. Staff members refuse to cooperate.

6. All of the above.

If you selected item 6, you get a gold star! There is no reason for any of these behaviors but they occur all too often, especially in organizations in which audits are not routine events. The consultants are there to identify problems and help improve operations. They wouldn’t have been hired if everything was peachy keen, but Information Technology management and staff members rarely see it from this perspective. Identifying the problem is the first step to recovery. All Information Technology organizations should be managed as if an audit is imminent. How would you fare if auditors walked in the door tomorrow morning?

Why are you being audited?

There are many reasons for conducting audits, but following are the four I encounter most often.

Regulatory compliance audits

In market sectors such as Financial, Behavioral Health, Medical, and Pharmaceutical, periodic audits are the norm and the guidelines are clear. In any given year, a Behavioral Health clinic in NY State, for instance may be required to undergo 4 separate audits including Medicaid, HIPAA, OMH (Office of Mental Health), and OASAS (Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services). In many of these cases, the auditors show up unannounced or on very short notice.

Compliance audits aren’t technically management audits, but the scores on such audits are certainly a direct reflection of management’s performance. Would your policies, practices, procedures, and documentation measure up to the scrutiny to which a Behavioral Health clinic is subjected?

Performance audits or ‘What’s wrong with our IT operation?’

Often, members of the IT management and staff think they are doing a spectacular job but the customers and executive management disagree vehemently. In the worst cases, end users are preparing their pitchforks and torches in case the audit doesn’t bring about some positive performance outcomes. These audits are tough; the IT staff is defensive and they all assume that the consultants are there to fire them. Sometimes, the hostility reaches levels that make me feel like Patrick Swayze’s character, Dalton in the 1989 movie Road House. I have been accused of cherry-picking information, interrogation, and cross examination and I have been screamed at in front of a large audience. The truth is, I am simply researching a complex problem and I will work diligently to provide answers to the people who are paying me to do so.

During these audits, employees sometimes resign even before the final report is released. This is unfortunate because poor performance is a reflection of management rather than staff. At other times, excellent employees leave because they have had their fill of ineffective management. Frustrations become bitter tears dripping on the conference room table, even from managers.

New management

Sometimes, incoming executives want an X-Ray of organizational performance and requesting an audit is an intelligent professional move. They want a clear distinction between the previous management’s practices and their own and they use the final report to establish a program of organizational change.

IT is too expensive

Occasionally, IT audits are conducted because executive management considers the IT operation too expensive. They want an independent audit and a strategic plan that shows all the viable options.

4 tips for a lower stress audit

If the auditors are coming next week, there probably isn’t much you can do to improve the outcome, but there is plenty you can do to make the process more comfortable for everyone involved.

Answer binary questions with binary answers

When questions requiring a Yes or No answer are met with lengthy explanations, it is a clear indication of a problem. When I ask if you have documentation of your daily security log validation, just say yes or no! If you don’t have the required documentation, no amount of explanation is going the help. Also, I am not really interested that you are going to begin implementing your security program next month. Good for you, but I only care about what your actual practices are at the time I ask.

Don’t lie, embellish, or bury information

I always walk into audits and assessments taking a neutral, objective stance and I appreciate clients who don’t try to pre-program me. I will selectively ask for evidence or documentation for every statement you make and false statements will certainly damage your credibility. When subjects provide evasive or ambiguous answers, my inner Columbo puts on his trench coat. Equivocation and rationalization drive me to keep searching until I get the answer. Just tell the truth.

Instruct your staff to cooperate politely

I recall one compliance audit where a staff member served up every document request with a plate full of anger and hostility. The odd thing about it was that all her ducks were in a row, which is pretty unusual. So, why the anger? Don’t unleash it on the consultants.

I remember several engagements where the IT staff tried to tell me that their IP addressing schemes and Visio diagrams were secret. Huh? As soon as I retrieved my jaw from the floor, I went over their heads and arranged for delivery of the requested information. These events created suspicion and hostility that weren’t required.

In two organizations I contracted with, staff members claimed their Security Policies were secret! How does that work? These sorts of behaviors are indicators of significant departmental and organizational problems.

Prepare documentation in advance

All documentation including policies, procedures, infrastructure documentation, logs, hardware and software inventories, PSA system reports, etc. should be readily available for the consultants. They will ask to see it. I generally ask for all this information before I go on site for the first time and I am always appalled by the number of organizations that have none of the documents that are generally accepted to be components of a solid Information Technology Governance program. Sometimes these data dumps include reams of irrelevant information in the hope that I won’t find the smoking gun.

Auditing for organizational culture

I include a frank assessment of departmental and organizational culture in my reports and it is sometimes less than flattering. Delivering this information to executives and managers generally creates a tense silence while they try to chew and swallow that particularly tough piece of meat. They rarely argue because they know it’s true, but few have dared to state the obvious out loud. A realistic and objective assessment of company culture is required to address the root causes of problems. Bad management, inefficiency, malfeasance and incompetence have often been enabled for years before an audit is finally initiated. Interdepartmental politics, turf wars, jealousy, meddling and backstabbing all contribute to the problems at hand and managers throughout the organization are responsible.

In many cases, executives and managers have worked in large, bureaucratic organizations for their entire careers and they can’t see the signs of broken company culture. They think bad behavior and dysfunction are the norm.

The final report

If the final report is not a testimonial of glowing praise for your IT operation, I urge you to sit back and reflect carefully before lashing out. The report is a mixture of data, facts, and input from your coworkers and end users. I always base part of my conclusions on both formal and informal interviews with end users and managers from every department in an organization. What ends up in the report is a reflection of what your colleagues really think about your operation. My career started with a four-year stint in army intelligence and I actually do cross examine and interrogate. The natural inclination of some IT Directors is to argue and pick apart every statement and conclusion in the report, but this is definitely the wrong approach.

A nearby local government entity with which I am familiar recently received a failing audit from a state regulatory agency. It wasn’t a first-time fail and the endemic problems have been simmering for decades. Several executives from this entity made statements to the press that the audit “was a gotcha audit. It’s all about paperwork and there is nothing real here. We’re providing excellent services.” Talk about denial! I believe they will come to regret those statements since the infractions were extremely serious and they will likely have to return millions of dollars to Medicaid. They may call a missing signature “a gotcha,” but Medicaid calls it fraud. Their culture is so broken that they really need a turnaround expert and complete replacement of the management, but they haven’t reached rock bottom yet, apparently.

In recovery

The correct response to a failing audit is to contemplate the report carefully and develop a proactive remediation plan immediately. Humility may save your job, but you can’t step off onto the recovery road until you admit you have a problem.

Ask for help. Operations that have been dysfunctional for years can’t be turned around overnight. Organizational culture may inhibit a turnaround and objective, external assistance may be required.

Listen to what your colleagues and objective auditors had to say and take it seriously. Don’t go swimmin’ in denial.

This article was originally published in CIO as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

About the Author


Source: How to survive a management audit | CIO

How to Build a Better Workplace

For any employee in any industry, their workplace is revisited over five days a week for more than 8 hours a day, making it as close to a second home. When you find your employee dreading to come to work, rushing to leave early and underperforming from the expectations you’ve set – you haven’t provided a nurturing and safe environment for them.

Quynh Vu
Quynh Vu, Content Coordinator at EmployeeConnect

A home is desirable and employers today need to be aware of what makes their employees desire to stay and work for them. In doing so, you set yourself on the path to retain your employees. By providing them a place of comfort, they open up, allowing you to understand them on a personal level. You make them realise their potential and reward them to drive performance. As a result, there is satisfaction experienced for both parties including a greater capacity to sustain a competitive advantage over your competitors. With all great ideas that lead to greater results, it begins with an initial step and that is to create a better workplace.

Creating a better workplace involves narrowing down pivotal components that encompass both achieving organisational goals and meeting the desires of employees. We explore each aspect to provide you a framework to follow to achieve greater outcomes.

1. Understanding what employee engagement is

Greater and precise understanding of employee engagement is an important aspect that should be undertaken first. Different leaders within an organisation have different perceptions of what employee engagement should involve. The difference in perspectives is illustrated with inconsistent employee performance outcomes. With these inconsistencies, you’ll begin to notice when your organisation does well and when it doesn’t.

What’s important and should be clearly established are goals to be achieved, the methods used to coach your team and continuous ways to manage them meaningfully and positively. They should be done without being too prescriptive, letting your employees have some autonomy. This three step approach followed carefully will build a two way street between consistent performance in both your employees and organisation to create tangible results.

2. Providing a high performance culture

Following on from clearly defining what employee engagement is and putting the framework into action, you’ll develop a culture of consistent high performance. Why this is necessary is to act as a motivating tool for your employee. They say “those you surround yourself with will influence what you will do”.

You want to foster an environment that strives on motivation or else nothing can be achieved. You’ll be able to boost morale and see this driven spark inside your employees. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of competition as that’s what truthfully drives the majority of people. As a result, you notice how determined your employees are to return to work thirsty to achieve more.

3. Fostering for innovation

You, as a manager, want to steer clear from setting a superior aura against your employees, undermining their ideas. This will just plant in their heads a perception of being a mouse in the company. Most employees desire to be on par with you in an organisation, and the best way to foster for that is allowing them to contribute ideas.

Any new idea is an innovation. Innovation strikes the ability to have an idea, in turn contributing to the organisation’s growth. It can be used as a brainstorming tool to draft potentials for gaining ground over your competitors. Two brains are better than one – so what could be even better than having the brains of your whole team of employees on board to drive your organisation?

4. The overall employee experience

At the end of the day, experience is what matters most to your employees. This is what will make or break the expectations they’ve set for themselves. Your employees are essentially your customers – in a sense, they do serve you and your organisation’s wellbeing. You want to satisfy their experience at work the same way a customer wants to experience satisfactory customer service.

If you put it into perspective, as a customer you’d want to experience that five-star rating service in a restaurant. If the service does not meet your expectations, you wouldn’t think twice about returning would you? The same goes for your employees, they wouldn’t want to return to work if their journey so far in your organisation has been a terrible experience.

Have your employees wanting to come back for more by developing this enriching and addictive experience. Feed positive energy, nourish their personal growth and provide the resources to let them aspire to be greater. Doing just those activities and you’ll see your employees coming back for more.

The workforce environment is inevitably competitive. To keep up with the changes and sustain organisational growth you need the best people to back you up. To keep them being your allies fighting to feel almost close to home. You need to start to create a better workplace.


Source: How to Build a Better Workplace – EmployeeConnect Blog