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Improving Work Processes At Your Place Of Business

clock February 28, 2014 08:09 by author Administrator

Improving work processes sounds like a great goal, but how do you actually achieve it?

Better Processes:

  • Enable organizations to achieve their goals and objectives
  • Reduce operational costs
  • Enhance the quality of their goods or services

Work process improvement is a conventional aspect of organizational development in modern management practice.

It requires businesses to identify, analyze, and improve their existing processes. Such companywide undertakings promote efficiency, helping to increase profits and bottom line performance.    

Business process improvement (BPI) is vital for brand success and longevity, particularly in today's competitive economy.

Organizations can use formal or informal BPI approaches to keep pace with their competitors. 

Small businesses prefer to adopt informal methods of job improvement. While medium and large businesses lean towards standard BPI techniques. With that in mind, here are some useful tips for enhancing work efficiency using both.

Start Making Improvements from the Top

The decisions and plans to improve processes in an organization should ideally start from the top.

Process owners, business leaders, and managers are responsible for formulating the strategic approaches.

At the informal level, this might simply involve:

  • Adopting fresh ways of market research
  • Automating the way customers place orders
  • Using new procedures for receiving invoices from debtors

However, at the corporate level, it requires adopting standard acceptable models, and implementing them across the board.       

Organizations such as IBM are trailblazers in the use of BPI to increasing workplace performance. Tech giant Microsoft also requires its top management to follow the Six Sigma approach.

Train Workers about Strategic Workplace Improvement

Knowledge is a key element of business process improvement.

Organizations should communicate their process improvement goals to workers, and then train them on how to contribute.

For small companies, training can simply entail a one-day workshop or seminar. A survey before the training can establish the current levels of workers engagement and efficiency. 

In most cases, major companies can afford specialized training for their employees in light of the BPI approach they intend to implement.

Wal-Mart, FedEx, and McDonald's have training programs for their staff. These regular training activities ensure that workers learn ways to improve their performance. 

Engineer Job Improvement Activities

Any approach taken for improving work processes should have a means of measuring results.

Internal or external benchmarks are necessary in organizational BPI activities. They assess impact against established standards and expected outcomes.

Managers in small establishments can use internal workplace surveys, questionnaires, and reports. These tools give you an idea of the impact of workplace improvement activities.

External approaches to workplace improvement such as Six Sigma, Helix Methodology, and Process-Oriented Architecture, usually come with predetermined ways of assessing implementation and measuring results. 

These include complex workflow charts, formula, indices, surveys, and reports, to gauge the effects of the activity empirically. 

In summary, business process improvement is today widely accepted as a means of helping organizations to realize their goals and objectives.

Companies can adopt either formal or informal techniques of improving work processes, to cement their position in the market.

Such initiatives should ideally start from the top management, and trickle down to smaller departments of the organization.

Workers should receive training as part of the strategic plan to improve company performance. Decision makers should analyze and measure BPI results with a view to making the process continuous in their respective organizations.



Why Employee Loyalty Is Important

clock February 27, 2014 13:50 by author Administrator

You probably put a lot of effort in enhancing customer loyalty and forget one vital aspect: employee loyalty. You may not know why employee loyalty is important.

Know that before your customers get satisfied, your employees must have given their all. The satisfaction that your customers talk about is largely a result of the value they get from your business. Well, only loyal employees can create the value you need to turn your business around.

Why Employee Loyalty is Important

As mentioned earlier, loyal employees contribute extensively to the productivity of your business. They are able to create the value required to put your business on the path to success. Customers are always on the lookout for value and nothing else. So, when they find value in what you offer, then you assure repeat visits.

A large chunk of your company image originates from the products or services you offer. Your employees are the ones who produce the products and deliver services on your behalf. This means they carry your image squarely on their shoulders. To improve this image without spending a lot, try building loyalty in your employees.

One of the most critical components of your business success is customer satisfaction. The desire to experience exceptional value again always draws the customer back to your premises. Well, only loyal employees can provide exceptional value.

How do you Build Employee Loyalty?

Before you can enjoy these benefits, you must first build loyalty in your employees. Here are ways to do it.

Connect With Your Staff

The only way you can connect with your employees is via communication. Make sure you communicate with your staff regularly in a clear and concise manner. You need to understand that not everyone in the organization receives information in the same way.

This is why it is vital to explore variety in your communication efforts. This makes sure everyone gets the message in a convenient way, which enhances bonding.

Provide a Reason for Your Employees to be Loyal

Don't expect your employees to take up loyalty without a reason. Rack your brain and come up with something that will convince your staff that you care about them. One way to do this is to provide a pleasant working environment for them. Such a gesture will show the workers that you take their welfare seriously and they in turn will reward you with their loyalty. 

Play Your Role Perfectly

However close you get to your employees, don't forget your role as their employer. Employees should know they have someone who can make the right decision, even in the tightest situation. Once they have faith in you, winning their trust and loyalty is easy.

Be a Good Example to Your Employees

Some workers are able to learn from example. Try to be a loyal employer. Loyalty as an employer entails committing your efforts to the success of the company. Additionally, don't criticize your employees in front of others.

Develop the same attitude in your top managers, so that they recognize the importance of being role models. Let the managers find ways of showing their support for the subordinate staff at all times. You never know how infectious these actions can be to other employees.

Did You Know?

You end up spending a lot of money every time an employee leaves and you have to hire and train a new one.

Some of the tasks that were handled by the previous employee remain unattended, due to lack of the right person to handle them. This cuts down your profits.

It pays to keep the staff you have right now. So, find a way to enhance loyalty in your employees to enjoy the benefits.



Ways To Prevent Workplace Theft

clock February 25, 2014 19:20 by author Administrator

Employee theft is a growing problem in the United States.  With the downturn of the economy over the last several years, this problem has only gotten bigger.  Recent figures show that employee theft adds up to as much as $400 billion lost from businesses each year. 

As much as 90 percent of all companies experience some form of employee fraud.  For small businesses, as much as 5 percent of their revenue is lost due to employee theft or fraud. 

No business sector is immune to this problem. Schools, colleges, hotels, hospitals, retailers, and healthcare are all at risk for workplace theft and fraud.

How Does It Happen?

There are many ways an employee can steal or defraud their employer.  The ways can vary, depending on the industry and the role of the employee.  Some of the easiest and most common ways are: 

• Stealing cash

• Stealing inventory

• Theft of time

• Credit card theft

• Workers compensation fraud

• Stealing from customers

• Stealing supplies

Unfortunately, the prosecution rate for employees who steal from their workplaces is very low. 

Many companies (especially smaller businesses) are unsure of how to even prosecute an employee.

They’re also weary of how much it may cost them and how much time it will take.  This means theft statistics are probably underreported and it's a more severe problem than numbers reveal.

Tips to Prevent Workplace Theft

There are several steps companies can take to help reduce and prevent workplace theft.   In many cases these steps start before the employee is even hired. 

1. Use Background Checks

It is a good idea for a company to screen potential employees with a pre-employment background check.  It's even more important to do this if the employee will be handling:

  • Cash
  • Merchandise off high value
  • Private financial data
  • Medical data

Each company should check with the laws in their state before conducting such a screening, as laws can vary.

2. Check References

Many employers skip over this step.  But, it can be a good way to weed out the potential bad apples.  Checking references of former employers or supervisors can be especially helpful.

3. Make Conduct Policies and Guidelines Clear

If a company does not have a conduct code or a code of ethics they should consider adopting one.  Once this is in place it should be given to all current employees and communicated to potential employees. 

All hired employees should sign and date a copy, agreeing to abide by the standards.  If clear standards are set, there is no question what's acceptable or allowed.

4. Audit

Conducting audits on a regular basis is a good way to prevent workplace theft and fraud.  When employees know that someone is coming behind them and checking their work, many tend to be more honest.

5.  Watch for Signs

Research shows that there are signs that are common amongst those who commit theft in their workplace. 

Many do so because they feel underappreciated, or see the behavior of management as unethical or unfair.  They feel they are owed something by the employer, so their behavior is justified to them. 

Here are a few signs to watch for: 

• Unexplained change in behavior

• Unexplained company debt

• Missing financial records

• Employee not taking vacations

• Being over-protective of their workspace

• Preferring to work unsupervised or at home

6. Set the Mood

Setting the right tone in the office or other workplace will show employees that the company takes this seriously. 

Management can do this by holding regular one-on-one meetings with each employee.



How To Discipline An Employee For Poor Performance

clock February 24, 2014 12:15 by author Administrator

No manager or supervisor wants to have to discipline an employee for poor performance.

It can be difficult to convey disappointment with an employee's performance. You still want to be compassionate and encourage the employee to do their best.

However, certain strategies allow the employee to learn from their poor performance. Here's how to help them become the best employee that they can be.

Motivation

Often, discipline takes on a negative connotation, but it doesn't have to. In a positive light discipline can inspire employees to grow.

The goal of motivating an employee through discipline is to improve their performance. It's not getting them started on a path that leads to eventual termination.

Example: An employee has a difficult time arriving on time. The usual reaction is that they get a verbal warning, or written warning, which can be perceived negatively.

However, using motivational discipline to help the employee arrive on time would be a collaborative discussion about how to better manage time.

This allows the employee to take note of their punctuality. It also helps them gain skills, awareness, and knowledge of their employer's standards and expectations. 

When they arrive on time the following day, be sure to give them a thumbs up and let them know that you notice and appreciate their effort. Positive praise works wonders compared to negative discipline. 

Be Specific

When it comes to meeting with an employee regarding discipline, it's important to be specific.

Employers fall into the trap of using vague phrases such as "bad attitude" or "insubordination." The employee may not be aware of the specific behaviors that led to the meeting.

Without specifics, employees may become upset and the meeting may go poorly. Be candid; explain the behaviors or actions that led to the meeting.

For example, if the employee made a snide comment during a meeting, be sure to include that as an example. This will allow the employee the opportunity to reflect on their behavior and learn from it.

Address The Issue Head On

Often both employers and employees want to avoid conflict. This means they will try to get out of difficult conversations . But, when it comes to an employee's performance, the issues must be addressed.

By meeting with them and explaining the expectations you are in a better position to help empower your employee. By framing it as a meeting and less of a discipline referral your employee is more apt to embrace and adopt positive changes.

They are more likely to engage in a productive dialogue. Perhaps they were unaware of certain aspects of their duties and now they know how to perform their job better. It's important to train your employees and model appropriate behaviour.  

It's also important to give your employee the chance to improve their behavior and encourage them along the way.

Handing out discipline to an employee is not a comfortable experience for the employer or the employee.

Adopting a more motivational standpoint allows discipline to be viewed in a positive light. Employees who feel that their employer supports them and listens perform better.

Praised employees perform better than those who are constantly berated and written up.

Of course not all situations in the workplace warrant motivational discipline. Issues such as drug use, stealing, or sexual harassment are much bigger issues and may even need dismissal. 

Motivational discipline can be the difference between a good employee or a pink slip.



Why Every Business Owner Needs an Employee Training Plan

clock February 21, 2014 22:25 by author Administrator

It all starts with a plan. Every business owner can benefit having an employee training plan for their new employees.

A good training program helps new employees integrate into their roles quickly and effectively. Ongoing training ensures employees stay on the cutting edge of their profession.

Benefits of Employee Training

Employee training programs serve many purposes within an organization. First, these programs enhance your company's current workforce by teaching your employees new abilities and skills.

Second, good training programs make your company more appealing to prospective candidates. 

Everyone benefits from a well-structured employee training plan that provides relevant ongoing training. Employees will be happier and more satisfied in their jobs, if you give them the opportunity to learn and grow.

This results in fewer problems with time management, accidents in the workplace, absenteeism and high turnover. Low turnover reduces the expense of constantly recruiting new people for the same positions. 

Training programs help strengthen company morale and employee motivation. Increased motivation results in greater productivity, which spurs your company's profits. 

As employees grow more effective and efficient, they feel more confident to accept greater challenges.

As an employer, you'll have employees who can generate new ideas, resolve problems and improve work performance. There's nothing like having a skilled workforce that's committed to your business.

Types of Training

Training programs vary from company to company. It all depends on your particular objectives and needs.

Many companies integrate skills like:

          Team building
•          Team development
•          Leadership training
•          Communication and coaching

These programs help managers and staff learn how to work together within their departments. People in management positions can especially benefit from these soft skills.

Training programs should be geared toward meeting employees' specific work needs and responsibilities. These programs could incorporate job training, mentoring schemes, in-house training or individual studies.

Training as an Investment

Companies that institute and maintain a strong employee training plan set themselves up for success.

Training programs impart valuable knowledge and skills that workers need to perform their jobs more effectively. If you're in sales, trained employees can build better customer relations and generating successful sales.

If you're in manufacturing, proper training equips your employees with the abilities and skills to produce quality products. 

Training is an investment into your company's future. Your company enhances its image, making it a more appealing place to work. Most employees prefer companies that offer them opportunities for advancement. A business that values its employees will make an effort to meet their career goals and objectives. 

A pool of talented individuals comes in handy when someone leaves unexpectedly or accepts a transfer to another location.

A good workforce requires less pushing and prodding to get the job done right. This frees your managers for more productive services. Trained employees also adapt to the ever changing business environment. This makes them a force you can depend on for the future.

The success of your business depends on having well-trained, dependable and committed employees.