Informations Systems Consultant

Archive for March, 2012

8 Qualities of Remarkable Employees


Forget good to great. Here’s what makes a great employee remarkable.

Great employees are reliable, dependable, proactive, diligent, great leaders and great followers… they possess a wide range of easily-defined—but hard to find—qualities. A few hit the next level. Some employees are remarkable, possessing qualities that may not appear on performance appraisals but nonetheless make a major impact on performance.

Here are eight qualities of remarkable employees:

1. They ignore job descriptions. The smaller the company, the more important it is that employees can think on their feet, adapt quickly to shifting priorities, and do whatever it takes, regardless of role or position, to get things done. When a key customer’s project is in jeopardy, remarkable employees know without being told there’s a problem and jump in without being asked—even if it’s not their job.

2. They’re eccentric… The best employees are often a little different: quirky, sometimes irreverent, even delighted to be unusual. They seem slightly odd, but in a really good way. Unusual personalities shake things up, make work more fun, and transform a plain-vanilla group into a team with flair and flavor. People who aren’t afraid to be different naturally stretch boundaries and challenge the status quo, and they often come up with the best ideas.

3. But they know when to dial it back. An unusual personality is a lot of fun… until it isn’t. When a major challenge pops up or a situation gets stressful, the best employees stop expressing their individuality and fit seamlessly into the team. Remarkable employees know when to play and when to be serious; when to be irreverent and when to conform; and when to challenge and when to back off. It’s a tough balance to strike, but a rare few can walk that fine line with ease.

4. They publicly praise… Praise from a boss feels good. Praise from a peer feels awesome, especially when you look up to that person. Remarkable employees recognize the contributions of others, especially in group settings where the impact of their words is even greater.

5. And they privately complain. We all want employees to bring issues forward, but some problems are better handled in private. Great employees often get more latitude to bring up controversial subjects in a group setting because their performance allows greater freedom. Remarkable employees come to you before or after a meeting to discuss a sensitive issue, knowing that bringing it up in a group setting could set off a firestorm.

6. They speak when others won’t. Some employees are hesitant to speak up in meetings. Some are even hesitant to speak up privately. An employee once asked me a question about potential layoffs. After the meeting I said to him, “Why did you ask about that? You already know what’s going on.” He said, “I do, but a lot of other people don’t, and they’re afraid to ask. I thought it would help if they heard the answer from you.” Remarkable employees have an innate feel for the issues and concerns of those around them, and step up to ask questions or raise important issues when others hesitate.

7. They like to prove others wrong. Self-motivation often springs from a desire to show that doubters are wrong. The kid without a college degree or the woman who was told she didn’t have leadership potential often possess a burning desire to prove other people wrong. Education, intelligence, talent, and skill are important, but drive is critical. Remarkable employees are driven by something deeper and more personal than just the desire to do a good job.

8. They’re always fiddling. Some people are rarely satisfied (I mean that in a good way) and are constantly tinkering with something: Reworking a timeline, adjusting a process, tweaking a workflow. Great employees follow processes. Remarkable employees find ways to make those processes even better, not only because they are expected to… but because they just can’t help it.

By Jeff Haden courtesy of http://www.forbes.com/sites/augustturak/2012/03/02/10-leadership-lessons-from-the-ibm-executive-school/

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden

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CUT THE COSTS, KEEP THE EMPLOYEES


We are all aware of the fact that the world economy has become so deranged and taken a downhill dive that has seen many businesses struggling to maintain a healthy profit margin. Most companies have already put cost cutting measures in place and some are still trying to find solutions to the economic meltdown to ensure business survival.
Profitability and survival are the key purposes for all functions in an organization and here I will highlight a few ways that the HRM function and work on cost cutting while ensuring that both the employer and the employee share the burden and both still survive in this tough times.
  •  Reduction in Salaries
We all agree it is better to have ‘some’ income than to have ‘none at all’. Therefore, most people will agree to a cut in their pay than loss of the job. This has to be done within the legal set up of the country in which you practice bearing in mind some countries do not allow reduction in the basic salary so you might have to work on the allowances.
Also, this has to be clearly communicated to the employee and if possible it is better to give a time frame until which the salary will be revised again.
If your organization has a Union, you have to inform the Unions and get their input in the revisions too.
  • Eliminate or Reduce Leisure Benefits
Some companies spend hefty amounts of money on employee leisure benefits, e.g. club memberships, Sponsoring trips and activities for its employees.These are things the company can tone down on or ultimately eliminate from its expenses. If it is absolutely necessary to have the benefits then it will be better for both the employer and employer to share the cost at agreed on percentages. Another way is that the company could come up with a way for finding discounts on leisure activities and inform the employees or decide to go only for the discounted ones.
  • Increase/Introduce employees contribution to health plans
Good health is a cornerstone of efficiency and optimum productivity and it somehow has to be taken care of.
If the employees already contribute to their health plans, increasing their contribution will reduce the costs footed by the organization. However if the organization bears the full cost of insurance it is a viable cost cutting idea to introduce employee contributions.
  •  Reduce working hours
Employees working hours/ days can be reduced and the employee agrees to be paid for the hours/ days worked.
This should be done within the legal system of the country in which you practice because some countries do have laws against such practices.
  • Proper work plans to reduce overtime
Scheduling of work should be done to fully optimize the manpower within the official work hours and reduce/ eliminate cases of the employees doing overtime unless it us after all, overtime is extra pay that is calculated at a higher rate and that is costly.
  • Give compensatory leaves
In cases where working extra hours is absolutely necessary, the employees could accumulate the overtime hours and take as compensatory leave instead of being paid overtime.
  • Compulsory Unpaid leaves
During low production seasons, employees can be sent on compulsory unpaid leave and recalled as soon there is work for them
  • Paid Volunteer programs
In this case employer taps into the employees’ special skills, spare time (with which the employees need to make extra money) and the need for employees to develop.
 For example: Instead of outsourcing a trainer, a willing and qualified employee can give training as per the organizations need and be paid for it.
Employees with time to spare after work and are willing can be paid to do data entry for the company instead of hiring another person with a full salary and benefits.
The condition for employees being let on to the paid voluntary programs is that their regular jobs must be done efficiently and so should the tasks they volunteer to do so that you still maintain the best quality.
  • Employee lending
Have you watched the European Football games and you hear of Players being ‘on loan’ in other clubs when they are not needed by their clubs for a season? Even organizations can try that.
Considering the Laws of the land and the Union agreements; an organization can lend its employees to other organizations when there is no work for them to do. This might actually be a moneymaking venture for the organization and the employees gain new experiences and work practices that can help improve the firm and also develop the employee.
The bottom line here is to ensure that we reduce lay-offs but still cut costs. It is clear that in some cases, the number of employees has to be reduced first then the other softer measures are put in place. However I believe that any HR practitioner would like to explore other options before cutting the source of income for any employee.
Ultimately being a HR Practitioner makes you an employee who has to think like an employer and find a pivot point that works for both the employees and employer. 

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