During times of economic strain, one of the initial casualties within a company’s budget tends to be its employee development initiatives. Yet, paradoxically, these very investments in learning and growth are pivotal for a company’s survival and ability to outpace competitors during such challenging periods.
The importance of Learning and Development (L&D) extends beyond mere box-ticking exercises. It’s about creating resilient programs, even when resources are scarce, ensuring employees are equipped with the necessary skills to drive organizational success. Despite financial constraints, companies can strategically design effective L&D programs that make the most of available resources without compromising on skill enhancement.
Effective L&D Programs With Limited Resources
The key lies in prioritizing critical skills that directly align with the company’s developmental objectives. By pinpointing skills that yield maximum impact, even with limited resources, employers can craft a focused approach to employee development. This might mean narrowing down the learning options available but aligning these choices with organizational objectives for a more targeted outcome.
Employers should adopt a versatile approach, akin to being “L&D mixologists,” by offering a blend of learning experiences. This could include online asynchronous programs, forums, mentorship groups, or in-person workshops, catering to diverse employee learning styles.
Collaborations with educational institutions and industry associations could also prove beneficial, providing access to cost-effective, high-quality content. Leveraging existing benefits, such as tuition assistance, aligned with the company’s L&D goals, is also crucial.
Why Should Employers Invest in Employee Learning and Development?
But why should employers prioritize investing in L&D, especially during financially challenging times? These investments speak volumes about a company’s commitment to employee well-being and professional growth.
Moreover, in an era of rapid change and evolving job markets, fostering skill development through L&D becomes a strategic maneuver. Equipping the workforce with adaptable skills becomes imperative in navigating through shrinking teams, changing roles, and emerging technologies.
Common Misconceptions Regarding Employee Development Initiatives
Dispelling common misconceptions surrounding employee development initiatives is crucial. Despite budget concerns being a top challenge for L&D leaders, there are ways to navigate these limitations. Relying solely on formal training programs isn’t the only option; informal opportunities, like mentorship programs leveraging experienced team members, can be equally effective.
Also, understanding that a one-size-fits-all approach to learning might not cater to diverse learning styles is vital. Flexibility in learning options is essential for the effectiveness of L&D programs.
How Does L&D Contribute to Employee Attraction and Retention?
The role of L&D goes beyond skill enhancement; it significantly impacts employee attraction and retention. Studies indicate that a large percentage of employees value learning and development opportunities. Offering personalized career development prospects not only attracts ambitious talent but also ensures the engagement of existing employees. This personalized approach caters to their learning preferences and offers mobility, both within and outside their current roles.
Investing in L&D initiatives creates a supportive culture within organizations. It demonstrates a commitment to employees’ futures, leading to heightened engagement and increased retention rates. When development goals align with business objectives and are integrated into daily work routines, it not only enhances morale but also translates into tangible reductions in turnover rates.
In conclusion, irrespective of financial constraints, investing in L&D remains pivotal for companies to navigate turbulent economic times.
Launchways recommends organizations follow these key strategies:
- Craft resourceful and targeted learning programs
- Prioritize critical skills
- Foster a culture of continuous learning
For more information on making organizations adapt, grow, and retain talent in an ever-evolving business landscape contact us!
In early 2023, an alarming trend emerged in the world of employment – employee satisfaction took a significant hit. What’s even more concerning is the strong link between this decline and the economic conditions that surround us.
As someone who’s seen the ebb and flow of employee satisfaction trends in Chicago, I can attest that this downturn is nothing to take lightly. It’s not just about personal job contentment. It’s a domino effect with consequences that echo through both individual lives and the business world.
The Ripple Effect on Businesses
Have you ever noticed how your mood can affect everyone around you? Well, the same goes for the workplace. The Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2023 report rings the alarm bell loud and clear.
Low employee engagement isn’t just an internal issue; it’s causing a whopping $8.8 trillion loss in the global GDP. That’s not pocket change by any means. It’s a stark reminder that if you’re not thriving at work, you’re unlikely to be thriving in life.
The impact of this downturn varies dramatically across industries. Let’s take a closer look:
- Despite a slight dip, the construction industry remains the happiest place to work. It maintains the top position in employee satisfaction.
- In the travel and hospitality sector, employee satisfaction is on the rise. It’s like a sunny day after a week of rain, with scores improving from the second to the third quarter.
- On the flip side, the following industries are navigating three-year lows in the third quarter: technology, finance, and food and beverage.
- Nonprofit organizations have shown consistency in employee satisfaction from one quarter to the next. There’s a glimmer of hope with a small year-over-year improvement.
- Healthcare and education have witnessed significant rebounds in employee satisfaction. Healthcare, in particular, has improved by a remarkable 17% since June, with expectations of further progress.
Identifying Root Causes
So, what exactly is an employee satisfaction crisis, and why should it concern us? To put it simply, it’s a situation where employees are far from content with their work lives. The consequences are far-reaching, and they’re not pretty. Reduced productivity, higher turnover rates, and an overall dip in morale are just the tip of the iceberg.
The key here is early recognition. Identifying the signs of a crisis is akin to diagnosing an illness. The sooner you spot it, the better the chances of recovery. This is where feedback becomes invaluable. Conducting surveys, engaging in interviews, and analyzing data reveal what’s ailing the organization.
It’s not surprising that the average employee’s happiness often correlates with their tenure in the company. Those who’ve been around for less than three years tend to be happier. It’s like the excitement of a new relationship; everything’s fresh and exciting. The onboarding process plays a crucial role in this initial enthusiasm. Sixty-two percent of employees believe their first-day impressions hold. So, creating a positive first impression lays a strong foundation for a lasting relationship.
Another critical factor is company size. Smaller companies have managed to maintain employee satisfaction. Larger companies have seen unhappiness increase with their growing workforce. Therefore, we can extrapolate that smaller and medium-sized businesses with fewer employees generally have happier workers. It’s like the cozy ambiance of a small café, where everyone knows your name, as opposed to the impersonal atmosphere of a huge chain.
Leveraging Automation for Employee Engagement
Now, let’s talk about solutions, particularly those involving automation. Automation isn’t just about cutting costs and speeding up processes. It can be a game-changer for employee satisfaction. You see, it can streamline HR processes, freeing up time for more strategic efforts. It’s like having a personal assistant who takes care of the repetitive tasks, leaving you to focus on the bigger picture.
Automation can also enhance communication, recognition, and employee feedback collection. With the right tools and platforms, you can foster a culture of appreciation and open dialogue. It’s like having a suggestion box that’s always open, where employees can voice their thoughts and receive timely responses.
Tailoring Tactics to Your Company
But remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Every company is unique, with its own values and culture. So, the tactics need to be tailored to your organization.
First, assess your company size, industry, and existing HR processes. This is the foundation for choosing the right automation solutions.
Moreover, align these tactics with your company’s mission and values. These values add “flavor” to your workplace culture. They should be evident in every interaction and decision.
Monitoring and Continuous Improvement
The journey doesn’t end with implementation. You need to monitor and make continuous improvements. Data analytics and feedback loops are your secret ingredients for success. They help you gauge the impact of automation tactics and make necessary adjustments.
As you can see, we’re living in a time where employee satisfaction is more critical than ever. The effects of a satisfaction crisis are far-reaching and can have devastating consequences. But there’s hope, and it lies in automation and strategic solutions. There is a growing gap in employee happiness as companies expand. This emphasizes the importance of adapting HR strategies to the changing times.
By being proactive and keeping open lines of communication, we can create an atmosphere that helps employees at work and also in their lives. So, if your business is experiencing low employee satisfaction, know that you’re not the only one. There are answers available. Don’t hesitate to seek advice and help to set up automation solutions that suit your specific requirements. Just like a good recipe, it’s all about the right ingredients and a dash of innovation. Your journey to happier, more engaged employees starts today. For more information, contact Launchways.
August has been an eventful month for government agencies overseeing workplaces. With new and returning rules pushed forward by both the National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. Department of Labor, employers and HR leaders need to take notice.
Companies should begin preparing now so they have less to do when the rules are finalized and implemented.
Here are a few of the key points for HR leaders to consider.
News From the National Labor Relations Board
Last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced returning to a rule that would reduce the time between a union expressing interest in representing employees and the actual union election. Around the same time, the NLRB also changed the process for unions to organize, making it easier for unions to organize and could even remove the need for an employee vote.
The Final Rule ensures the following steps occur more quickly to make pre- and post-election hearings more efficient.
- Pre-election hearing
- Distribution of election information to employees
- Ensures elections are held quicker
Chairman Lauren McFaren stated, “It’s the basic principle of the National Labor Relation Act that representation cases should be resolved quickly and fairly. By removing unnecessary delays from the election process, the new rule supports these important goals, and allows workers to more effectively exercise their fundamental rights.”
This could be good news for unions, but it may not be the best news for your company.
Recent polls show that support for labor unions is strong across many industries. Therefore, no industry is entirely safe from the possibility of unionization.
What Does This Mean for Your Company?
If you are an HR leader of a company at risk of unionizing, you should take these developments seriously. Building positive relationships with your employees is crucial to union avoidance.
Supervisor training plays a critical role in maintaining employee satisfaction and reducing the likelihood of unionization. Well-trained supervisors understand company policies, labor laws, and employee needs. This enables them to foster positive workplace environments.
When supervisors effectively communicate, provide support, and address concerns, employees feel valued and heard, diminishing their desire to seek representation through unions. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, supervisor training became something of an afterthought, and that is becoming evident.
News From the U.S. Department of Labor
In another recent development, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has also proposed a new rule. This rule aims to raise the minimum salary that workers must earn to be exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Basically, the proposed rule would increase the minimum salary for exemption from $684 per week to $1,059 per week or $35,568 per year to $55,068 per year. The rule would also raise the “highly compensated employee exemption” from $107,432 annually to $143,988 per year. Furthermore, the DOL could automatically adjust these figures every three years.
What Does This Mean for Your Company?
Like most employers and HR leaders, you may need to figure out which jobs will be impacted by this proposed rule. Then you might weigh potential overtime implications against the following options:
- Employing measures to shift duties and reduce costs
- Switching employees from exempt to non-exempt
- Increasing employee salaries
While inflation has led many employers to increase salaries over the past few years, few have increased by the substantial margin that the DOL’s rule suggests.
What Can You Do?
Although the NLRB’s changes become effective December 26, 2023, the DOL’s rule is likely to be decided in late 2023 or early 2024. Until then, the DOL encourages the public to share their opinions before it implements a final rule.
Employers who might be affected by this new rule should definitely take advantage of the opportunity to provide feedback. The DOL is required to consider all public comments before making a final decision.
Although you should only make big changes once the DOL rule is finalized, it’s not too early to begin thinking about your strategy. That will make things easier when the final rule is eventually published.
When planning your response to the new NLRB rules, you should immediately fortify your HR department and begin training your supervisors and managers. Trained supervisors can resolve workplace issues promptly and fairly, addressing employee grievances without needing third-party intervention.
That not only strengthens the employer-employee relationship but also contributes to a harmonious work environment that is less susceptible to unionization efforts.
Human resources (HR) is a crucial department within any organization, as it plays a critical role in managing the people who make up the workforce. It’s common knowledge that HR is responsible for recruiting, training, retaining, and developing employees. However, HR members are also responsible for ensuring compliance with employment laws and regulations, as well as fostering a positive workplace culture.
In recent years, the role of HR has evolved beyond these traditional responsibilities. HR is now tasked with driving organizational transformation and aligning its people and business strategies. In order for HR to contribute effectively to the growth of the business and be effective in this expanded role, it needs to be more methodical in its approach.
In other words, HR must elevate its position to be on par with leadership.
To comprehend where to properly apply their efforts, HR leaders must establish a good rapport with business clients.
Building a bond of trust will help them understand the underlying causes of their clients’ work business concerns and determine optimal ways for achieving the goals set.
Here are some key methods HR can use to elevate its position.
The first step is to understand the business. HR needs to analyze the company’s goals and objectives and then identify which workforce needs are required in order to achieve them. Leaders should demand to be included in the organization’s management team and strategic planning efforts.
By working closely with senior management, HR can gain a deeper understanding of the organization’s goals and strategies. This understanding can help HR ensure that the organization has the right people, skills, and capabilities to achieve its goals.
Collaborate With Business Leaders
HR leaders must collaborate with key leaders from other departments, such as finance, IT, and marketing. This collaboration ensures that businesses make economic decisions regarding talent management, granting employees the necessary tools and resources to remain productive and helping organizations become more desirable employers. It allows the organization to run smoothly and achieve its objectives.
Change Prediction and Management
Organizational transformation requires significant change, and HR can play a critical role in helping businesses stay on top of the most recent trends and manage them. HR leaders need to remain current on all internal and external changes, as these can tremendously impact the business. To stay competitive in the job market, it’s vital to be aware of what the latest tools and systems are, as well as other changes in technology.
By elevating its position, HR can provide leadership and guidance to employees and help them navigate the changes that come with this and any other organizational transformation.
Data analytics is an integral part of the modern workforce. In particular, HR roles are far more dependent on data-driven insights than ever before.
HR must establish a performance management system aligning with the company’s goals and objectives. This involves setting clear expectations for employees, providing regular feedback on their performance, and using data to identify areas for improvement.
Modern technology has enabled HR managers to take proactive action and utilize data for making intelligent forecasts regarding the possibility of employee turnover, recognizing employees predisposed to climb up the corporate ladder, and fine-tuning the work atmosphere, etc.
Attracting and Managing Talent
Talent acquisition is one of the most critical functions of HR. It involves building a strong employer brand, implementing an effective recruitment process, and hiring for long-term success. HR needs to create an environment that attracts top talent to the organization. This can be achieved by promoting the company’s values, culture, and opportunities for growth.
Retaining top talent is critical to the success of any organization. By elevating its position, HR can develop and implement effective talent management strategies that enable the organization to attract and retain the best people.
HR Needs to Fight for a Seat at the Table
Being an effective team member goes beyond just working quietly in the background; they need to have their voices heard. HR leaders must recognize and articulate the bottom-line impacts of their own initiatives. This will further enable decision-makers to recognize the impact of their efforts on the bottom line.
Therefore, it’s important to measure, track, and communicate the success of your activities to ensure your contribution isn’t overlooked. By doing so, HR can contribute significantly to the growth and success of the organization.
At the beginning of 2020, working from home was often viewed by employers and workers as a privilege that few were able to take advantage of regularly. By the end of this year, remote work has become an accepted and, at times, a dull reality of life as the COVID-19 pandemic continues on.
While working from home offers employees new benefits such as a more flexible schedule (and often a more comfortable wardrobe), many have reported feeling mentally and socially disconnected from their team or organization. As impromptu discussions in the hallway and the ‘meeting after the meeting’ are no longer available socialization options to employees, these feelings of isolation are understandable and natural side effects of working in virtual silos. However, if these feelings of detachment are left unchecked, they can lead to obstacles in employee productivity and overall happiness, which may ultimately result in major inefficiencies or unwanted employee turnover.
Today I’ll cover:
- Creating the right environment for remote employees
- Ideas for strengthening team camaraderie in the virtual environment
- Fostering an Encouraging Atmosphere
Overcommunicate In Order to Avoid Confusion
Working from home has required employees to be more proactive and intentional when communicating with one another in order to avoid unnecessary conflict. In a remote environment, communication between colleagues is often reduced to written messages via email, text, or chat. Without vocal cues or body language to contextualize the sentiment of your message, recipients can easily misinterpret your meaning or intention, leaving them feeling anxious or frustrated. In order to negate these unnecessary misunderstandings, it is important to be extremely clear about what you’re trying to say.
For example, a short email that reads “Please do this again” may sound like a straightforward message, but its curt nature may be interpreted by the recipient as “The work you submitted was subpar and I am frustrated that you’re not getting this right.” Instead, surround your directive with encouraging language to both build the confidence of the recipient while being specific about what parts of the work need to be redone. This is especially important when a power dynamic is involved, i.e. a conversation between a manager and their employee. A more productive version of your email could read “I thought you did a nice job with this work project. However, XYZ needs to be redone in order to [insert rationale].” By being mindful of your word choice now, employers can avoid addressing unnecessary concerns or fears their employees may be having later on.
Make Meetings More Meaningful & Avoid Meeting Fatigue
While in-person interactions are currently prohibited in the interest of employee health and safety, virtual interactions through streaming video are a great way to foster connection between employees. Many companies have invested in software solutions like Zoom or Microsoft Teams that teammates can access from home to provide a safe alternative to in-person meetings. However, many employees can choose to turn their camera off during meetings. In order to create clearer channels of communication,
consider requiring everyone to turn their cameras on during virtual meetings to increase attentiveness and foster more authentic conversation. Keep in mind that meeting fatigue is a real phenomenon, and remote work can exacerbate this frustration since all meetings are now conducted in the same virtual and physical space. While managers may intend for increased virtual face time to foster a sense of connectedness, too many virtual meetings can ironically work against efforts to increase group affinity, resulting in employees feeling mentally drained and less willing to meaningfully contribute to the group discussion. Try to reduce unnecessary meetings to avoid leaving your employees feeling burnt out.
Dedicate Time for One-on-One Conversations
Finally, there may be questions or concerns that employees don’t feel comfortable sharing in a group setting. As busy managers notoriously have full schedules during the workday, it can be hard for employees to find time to bring their concerns to their manager’s attention, and they may even question whether their topic is important enough to warrant a discussion. It’s important that employees feel heard and valued, especially in a remote setting where messages can easily be misconstrued. Managers can be sure that employees are supported by holding dedicated and recurring virtual office hours where employees are welcome to bring up topics important to them. By proactively making themselves virtually available to employees, managers can forge stronger connections with their direct reports and strengthen team buy-in.
Steps to Strengthen Your Team’s Bond
Making time and virtual space available for socialization is crucial to retaining a strong and connected workforce. In order to maintain trust and a sense of camaraderie among employees, managers have been forced to get creative with group interactions that are outside the scope of work-related tasks and projects.
High-energy and engagement group interactions like virtual trivia sessions, games, and quizzes can enable team members to create deeper ties with one another. Examples of fun and easy games are “two truths and one lie” or home scavenger hunts. For a more relaxed approach, managers can hold virtual happy hours or craft nights on a weekly or monthly recurring basis, where team members can get together to participate in a shared and casual activity. To keep employee morale high, introduce an interesting question that all attendees must answer or ask team leads to acknowledge a specific employee for the good work they have recently done. Note that employers don’t have to facilitate all of these informal meetings either- in fact, managers may find that extending ownership of workplace culture to employees helps to foster a stronger sense of unity (and additional creative ideas).
Finally, it’s important to repeatedly remind your management team and employees that we are living through an unexpected time during which whole organizations have had to make accelerated and major adjustments in order to continue functioning. While some organizational expectations may remain the same, other look very different. For instance, work must still be submitted on time but wearing a sweatshirt to a meeting is now permissible. Emphasize patience and understanding to managers and employees alike, as each individual is dealing with their own unique set of professional and personal challenges in the face of remote work during this global pandemic.
Remote work is not without its challenges. However, managers armed with proactive solutions and creative ideas for team building are better situated to foster a strong sense of employee connection in the face of social isolation. Remember:
- Leverage clear and careful language in emails/texts and use video when possible to contextualize your message and avoid misunderstandings
- Look for creative ways to foster a sense of unity on your team through virtual interaction without creating meeting fatigue or employee burnout
- Extend grace to all and make yourself available to employees to increase feelings of trust and validation in employees
Speak with Launchways for more virtual workplace guidance, including resources for employees who are struggling with isolation during COVID.
One of the keys to success in any organization is diversity. Diversity of thought, diversity of backgrounds, diversity of age, and diversity of gender can all contribute to generating ideas and strategies that will give you a competitive edge.
Having multiple departments, as most companies do, provides a natural diversity of skillset within an organization. Your IT leaders possess a different skillset than your sales team. Your marketing and public relations employees have talents that your accountants never will, and vice versa. Having all of these skilled people working for your company is ultimately what will lead you to success. However, there will also be occasions in which these skillsets clash.
The HR and finance leaders within your company possess important – but seemingly contradictory – skillsets that are both critical to the success of your organization.
In this article, we’ll discuss the following:
- What HR and Finance Have in Common
- Key Differences Between HR and Finance
- Bridging the Gap Between HR and Finance
Key Differences Between HR and Finance
Let’s start off by discussing some key differences between the two departments.
The first and most obvious difference is that HR is focused on human capital, while finance is focused on monetary capital. Your HR leaders are probably much more willing to pull out the check book to invest in employee training and development. Finance, on the other hand, might have a hard time quantifying the return on investment of such activities. Employee discipline or internal conflicts between coworkers are the things that keep HR leaders up at night, whereas finance is more likely to be troubled by cash flow issues. When it comes to big picture decisions, finance will be considering the bottom line, while HR will be thinking about employee morale.
Another key difference between the two departments is the language that they speak. The jargon and acronyms that either team uses will surely be hard to understand by the other. When finance talks about AIR, APR, and CDs, don’t expect HR employees to catch on to what they are saying right away. The same thing applies when HR folks are discussing COBRA, FMLA, FFCRA, and DOL. Business leaders should be prepared for this language difference when trying to bridge the gap between HR and finance. Don’t be afraid to slow the conversation down and translate when needed!
What HR and Finance Have in Common
Before we talk about how to bridge the gap between HR and finance, let’s acknowledge some things that the two departments have in common.
First of all, both departments care about the success of your company. HR leaders will be ecstatic when the company reaches financial goals, and finance leaders will be just as thrilled when the company hires and retains top recruits to join the team. When the company is successful, revenue will increase and everyone will make more money. It’s a win-win for everyone – both sides can agree on that.
In the modern workplace, both HR and finance depend on technology and data. Unless you’re leveraging outdated systems, both departments will integrate numerous technology platforms into their systems to improve efficiencies and data understanding. These platforms are based in the cloud more often than not. It’s always been a no-brainer that finance relies on data. HR’s reliance on data has become much clearer in recent years as employers strive to improve benefits packages as well as recruit a more diverse workforce.
Finally, remember that both departments have very complex jobs. Managing human capital is an extremely challenging task, especially in the modern world of pandemics, social justice, and a renewed focus on equity. Navigating the economic impacts of COVID-19 and the corresponding financial fallout on your company is an equally challenging task for finance.
Bridging the Gap Between HR and Finance
Utilizing technology is the best way to bridge the gap between HR and Finance. Ensure that HR understands the basics of what technology finance uses, and vice versa. Whenever possible, get HR and finance on the same, integrated systems. Set up a meeting with both departments, as well as IT, to talk about what platforms exist that can handle both HR and finance processes.
The advantage of using technology to bridge the gap is that technology should have no bias. For example, if an HR employee understands what technology finance is using to make investment decisions, they are more willing to trust that decision. When a finance employee understands what technology HR is using to make strategic talent decisions and investments, they’ll believe that HR is doing everything possible to best invest company dollars.
Make sure both departments are involved in the big picture, strategic decisions that guide the direction of your company. Giving both parties the opportunity to share their perspective from day one of strategic planning will help them know that company leadership is trying its best to meet their needs.
If all else fails, try falling back on the similarities between HR and finance that we discussed in the previous section. Regularly reminding your staff from these two departments about what they have in common can help them see how the success of their counterparts will benefit themselves as well. Consider developing some teambuilding activities or discussion guides to facilitate this type of conversation with your employees.
Business leaders should understand that the employees in HR and finance have different skillsets and perspectives. Key differences include:
- HR is focused on human capital, while finance is focused on monetary capital.
- The language that is spoken in each department is often very different.
However, these two departments also have many similarities. Understanding and acknowledging these similarities is an important step towards bridging the gap between the two departments:
- Both departments care about the overall success of the company
- Both departments rely on technology and data
- Both departments have complex jobs
In addition to helping employees understand these commonalities, helping them understand and implement the technology that their counterparts use is an excellent way to help bridge the gap between HR and finance.