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4Cs Blog: Happy Employees = Happy Customers

Posted by Insightlink on 03/10/17

How to Give Gifts to Your Employees That Actually Matter

If you’re an HR manager or the head of a company, you’ve likely given some thought to rewarding your employees. After all, giving gifts and offering perks to the most hardworking individuals on your team is a surefire way to improve morale, increase retention and make your team members feel appreciated. But sometimes company gifts fall short. Not all employees get excited about receiving a new computer mouse, a coffee shop gift card or even a watch. The art of making gifts meaningful is approaching them thoughtfully, and designing them based on the recipient’s personality type. So here’s a quick guide to get your wheels turning about how to properly pat your best staff members on the back.


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Posted by Insightlink on 02/23/17

How To Guard Against Bias During Performance Reviews

We all want performance reviews to be fair but biases exist and we know that too. All of us have biases and it is human nature to show a preference for people that share similarities and reject people with characteristics that we are unfamiliar with.

Bias is of particular interest to us as employee researchers because of the way it plays out in the workplace between employees and their supervisors. Performance reviews offer real insight into how biased opinions trickle down from supervisors towards their staff. And for this reason, it is essential that companies that do annual reviews work diligently to reduce or eliminate bias from the process so that every employee is given a fair and accurate review.

Many HR managers are aware of our human tendency to be biased so they adopt and implement programs they believe are free of bias. Even with this awareness though they still fail to address unconscious biases. These are almost impossible to overcome because they are implicit; we ourselves, are unaware of them. Even if you try to get people to explore their own hidden biases they cannot as it can be difficult for people to acknowledge that their biases even exist.


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Posted by Insightlink on 02/09/17

Why Connecting With Your Employees Is Good For Business

Improving employee engagement is easy to talk about but challenging to carry out. 

Many of our clients here at Insightlink gleaned from their engagement surveys that employees often express a strong desire to feel connected to their work. One way to meet this need, and retain employees, is to give them a voice in how they do their jobs. In other words, asking employees for their suggestions can increase connectedness. “Employee suggestions can have a significant impact on productivity, turnover and overall organizational performance says Robert Gray, President of Insightlink Communications based in Palm Springs CA.. Other experts agree that "People need to be listened to even if their ideas don’t work or don’t make sense," explains James Campbell Quick, professor of organizational behavior at the University of Texas at Arlington. "By not listening, it makes people psychologically withdraw and you may miss … the million-dollar suggestion." Read full post

Posted by Insightlink on 01/25/17

How The 9-Box Grid Reduces Turnover


Confusing a high-performing employee for a high-potential employee can be a costly mistake. As Robert Gray, head of Insightlink Communications points out, “An organization that fails to distinguish between performance and potential will have difficulty identifying talent and could be contributing to unnecessary turnover.”

After decades of performing employee research Insightlink has found this is a common predicament for many organizations. This is especially true for employees in sales departments where often top-performing sales reps are promoted to managers but they struggle to shift away from their own individual sales results to helping the sales reps they manage achieve their sales goals. Meanwhile an employee in an administrative role who may have supported his or her team for years without a promotion, looks elsewhere for a new job because they feel undervalued and overlooked. Both these scenarios hurt moral and result in preventable turnover.

Employee research is an essential tool in the battle to reduce turnover and can help organizations understand where they are performing well and where they are struggling. In addition to conducting employee surveys to get employees thoughts and opinions about their jobs, a 9-box grid compliments this research giving HR and senior management even more knowledge about their employees. Used together these two tools can expose areas of weakness where engagement and job satisfaction levels are low and identiy which employees are being most negatively affected.


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Posted by Insightlink on 01/12/17

A Smart Way To Engage Your Employees And Reduce Turnover

Studies on turnover estimate that when an employee leaves a company it can cost the organization between 30 to 250 percent of that person’s annual salary due to factors like loss of productivity and other associated replacement costs.

Imagine a high potential employee disclosing her long term goal to her HR Manager to work in strategy. We know of one instance when an HR manager dismissed this goal saying 'everyone wants strategy...strategy is a dream job'. I suppose a young aspiring woman could respond in one of two ways. One, she might feel challenged to achieve her goal despite the odds and the negativism or two, she might start having thoughts about finding a new job where she can make her goal a reality.

If she does resign, this would be considered preventable turnover, meaning the employee is leaving for a reason specifically related to their work experience that could have been avoided! 

Perhaps not everyone who wants to work in strategy will have that opportunity; but there are still ways to encourage employees to grow and develop strategic thinking skills that would benefit any organization at all levels and could delay and prevent some employees from leaving. Strategic thinking is a skill worth cultivating in your employees and managers because it teaches them to focus on what is really important. HR analysts Jill Fowler and Jeanette Savage describe strategic thinking as, ‘recognizing trends and challenging assumptions while maintaining a global view of situations and an affinity towards embracing change’. Read full post

Posted by Insightlink on 12/28/16

Business Growth Strategies Tips To Improve Your Workforce Management


As your company grows, workforce management should become top priority. It is a challenging yet crucial facet of your operation, that grows in complexity as demographics shift and technology advances over time. You must thoroughly gather and analyze data to make informed choices about recruiting, retention, productivity, performance and engaging employees. Also, keep in mind the best resources and tools that will support your management goals. Here are some tips for business growth strategies, in regards to workforce management:


You must make sure your workforce is composed of creative, motivated, intelligent individuals who can fit into your company and also work toward its improvement. Enhance the composition of your team through strategic recruiting. First, you must identify your People Brand — ask yourself, “why should people want to work for me?” As you begin to answer this question, you will see certain attributes and values emerge, which can then be combined to figure out your ideal, like-minded candidate. With an established People Brand, your recruitment team can make informed decisions about the candidates they seek out and pursue.

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Posted by Insightlink on 12/15/16

How To Diagnose Your Organizations Cultural Health


Why should workplace social networks be important to HR specialists?

It matters because these networks drive your compant's culture.
Karen Stephenson is an anthropologist who teaches social network theory as part of the MBA program at Erasmus University in the Netherlands. Stephenson has successfully applied her research in cultural anthropology to corporations and discovered a way to map an organizations social capital and identify critical participants within social networks.

Understanding social networks are not social media

Social media like Facebook and Twitter are about collecting and connecting at a superficial level. Social networks are about trust and powerful relationships that happen mainly face to face.

Why are social networks important to HR Specialists?

Stephenson explains that social networks are the formal and informal bonds through which people communicate and get work done-the invisible bonds of trust and the water cooler relationships that happen between employees. These networks are different from the hierarchal structures that define authority; they are not found in organizational charts. 
Together, Social networks and hierarchy form a company culture. Read full post

Posted by Insightlink on 12/06/16

Ways to Retain High Potential Employees


If up to one quarter of your top talent is tempted to quit, what can you do to prevent them from leaving?

High-potentials are the people companies hate to lose. HR professionals are more anxious about losing these employees than any others and with up to one quarter of their top talent thinking of leaving, finding a solution is a struggle. In some cases, there are no solutions because if an employee is hard wired not to care about who they work for, they will leave if a better opportunity comes along and there is nothing you can do to change their minds. Fortunately, this represents about 5-6% in most companies. The good news is that not all high potentials are hard wired to leave…. It’s the problems they face that are frustrating them and cause them to begin to look elsewhere.

Who are these people?

In an article titled ‘Are You a High Potential’ the Harvard Business Review cited research by Jay Conger, Douglas Ready and Linda Hill who defined these employees in this way:
“High potentials consistently and significantly outperform their peer groups in a variety of settings and circumstances. While achieving these superior levels of performance, they exhibit behaviors that reflect their companies’ culture and values in an exemplary manner. Moreover, they show a strong capacity to grow and succeed throughout their careers within an organization—more quickly and effectively than their peer groups do.” Read full post

Posted by Insightlink on 11/29/16

Ways To Heal Employees Caught In The Shame Blame Game

 As humans when someone accuses, blames or shames us most of us react in one of six ways. We will either withdraw, become defensive, lash out in a counter attack, beat ourselves up internally, be a people-pleaser in order to counter the inner feelings of never being good enough or, we look for a solution to the problem that results in positive change (which we all recognize is the healthiest response but not the easiest to do).

At work employees respond to blame and shame, criticism, judgment or threats by withdrawing which ends up translating into a lack of engagement, low morale and motivation
We all know people who react defensively or try to justify their actions; they come across as whining, argumentative, and sometimes hostile, none of which anyone enjoys. Unfortunately, the response could also be a counter attack, which would sound like a verbal attack…the situation could get ugly and extremely uncomfortable. The ripple effectof all this negative energy affects co-workers (consciously and subconsciously) causing apathy and bad feelings to flow. This is what drives engagement levels down and costs people and organizations their emotional and financial health.

Blame and shame don’t work for anyone but it takes knowledge and understanding and leadership to get a grip on the problem and turn it around. 

For example, do you ever feel like you are walking on eggshells at work?
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Posted by Insightlink on 11/21/16

Why Employees Who Mask Their Unhappiness Are Lethal

 "An organization pays a heavy price when its bright, capable people quit and leave. But it’s even more costly when bright, capable people quit and stay.” — Rodger Dean Duncan

One of the overwhelming challenges of being in HR is being held accountable for maximizing retention and reducing turnover. A great deal of effort and energy gets spent making sure employees don’t quit but there are many times when they do despite it all. Feelings of abandonment must echo the halls of HR when it happens but there are other ways unhappy employees process their environments that are not so obvious but maybe more lethal. 

There are three basic tactics or coping mechanisms employees use when they are unhappy with their jobs:
  1. Proactively work to make the situation better. This may seem like the best path but it also the most difficult. It usually involves confronting people about the root causes of their frustration. It requires that the unhappy employee confront people, and possibly their own direct manager, about the reasons they are struggling and that can be demoralizing.
  2. Quit. This one is pretty straightforward. At some point, people will decide that life is too short to be frustrated and discouraged at work, and they’ll search for a new job. And if they’re good at their jobs it won’t be difficult for them to find a new one and leave.
  3. Quit and stay. Ultimately, this is the path of least resistance, and the one many employees choose, sometimes even subconsciously. These folks rationalize not quitting by thinking “Hey, I’m still getting paid so I’ll just hang in and detach emotionally so it doesn’t get to me anymore.” If this decision is being made by enough employees, then this will erode a company’s culture from the inside out as service, productivity and morale decline. 
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Insightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.

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