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25 July 2019

The Benefits of Employee Engagement Surveys

How happy and engaged are your employees? If you don’t know the answer to this question then it’s probably about time to think about introducing employee engagement surveys. Why, you might ask? As it happens, engaged employees are the foundation of every successful company.


Employee engagement surveys aren’t a new concept, but they are becoming more popular than ever before. It seems an increasing number of companies are starting to realize how important it is to know what can engage or disengage their employees.


Studies have found that there is a direct link between employee engagement and the productivity and profitability of an organization. Let’s take a closer look at why employee engagement surveys are so important for your organization.


Give employees a voice

One of the key reasons for using employee engagement surveys is to give employees a platform for open feedback. It’s the ideal way to build a two-way communication process and include employees in business decisions by giving them a direct voice to the management team. Being actively involved in the process let’s employees know that they are a valued member of the team and that their opinions matter.


Of course, it’s also about building trust and allowing employees the opportunity to let you know how they really feel about their jobs. It’s important to know if there are areas of work or the work environment that employees aren’t happy with and then actively work to address those issues. If you don’t ask employees for feedback you may never even know that there’s a problem.


Mark The Job is a great place to look if you’re wondering what type of questions to include in your survey.


Driving organizational growth

Gaining collective insight from all of your employees let’s you know what areas of the business to really focus on. For example; if all of, or most of your employees indicate that they don’t feel as though they haven’t been given the right tools or technologies to successfully do their jobs, then you know that you need to make a few changes.


Another example is the revelation that the company’s strict nine-to-five policy is viewed unfavorably by the majority of employees. This could play a major role in valuable employees deciding to leave the company to find work with more flexible employers. Whatever the outcome, these surveys play a big part in helping to build a stronger, more appealing work culture. Essentially, a company that employees are happy to work for.


Why is employee satisfaction so important?

An engaged employee is one who is willing to go above and beyond their normal duties. Higher morale leads to higher motivation, and this leads to higher productivity within the organization, which ultimately leads to higher profits. The ripple effects of employee satisfaction cannot be overstated. Here are just a few of the benefits of having happy employees:


  • Reduced employee turnover
  • Increased productivity
  • Better company reputation
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Reduced hiring, recruiting, on-boarding and training cost


Greater employee loyalty

As the youth of today are entering the working world, the meaning of employee loyalty is evolving. What used to be defined as a long-term commitment to working towards company goals, is now a lot more like a tit-for-tat exchange. In fact, research suggests that almost 50% of employees would take another job if the opportunity presented itself.


Just because an employee isn’t actively seeking a new job, it doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t leave if a better opportunity came along. This is why employee engagement is essential. Engaged employees are far more likely to remain loyal. Employees won’t leave if they are happy within their current role and feel as though they are valued and appreciated member of the team.


Why employee engagement is so important?

Employee engagement goes far beyond team-building and get-togethers. It’s what increases performance. Engaged team members view the entire company and understand their purpose, where, and how they fit in. This leads to improved decision-making. Organizations that put effort into ensuring that they have engaged employees typically outperform competition, enjoy higher profit earnings, and are likely to recover easily after financial setbacks. Employee engagement is one of the key differentiators when it comes to growth and innovation.

Posted by: Edit Ford

24 July 2019

Effective Employee Retention strategies

A successful business requires consistency in all areas, including employees. Having a high retention rate means that an organization is able to keep team members on a long-term basis. This means that less time and resources are required for training new employees, and let’s not forget about the importance of loyalty.


The retention of motivated and positive employees is essential to the success of every organization. You can’t expect to build a successful company if your employees are coming and going at a rapid pace. The longer an employee stays in a role, the more skills they acquire, and the more valuable they are to the organization.


With that said, here are eight strategies for implementing effective employee retention.


1. On-boarding and orientation

It’s all about setting your employees up for success from the very beginning. From day one new employees should be taught about how things work - the information needed to function daily, where to park their car, ID cards, regulations and policies, and all other important things. Don’t forget about the technical side of the job. Just because a person is hired for their skills and experience, it doesn’t mean that they know how things work within your organization. It’s important to clearly outline what’s expected of them, as well as introduce them to any new systems that they may be required to use.


2. Match expectations, responsibilities and rewards

Most of the disatisfaction experienced by employees in the workplace is due to a clear mismatch between expectations. This is why clearly defining expectations from the very beginning is so important. Let’s not forget about cases where employees feel as though their efforts aren’t being fairly rewarded or recognized for their work.


It’s so crucial in today’s competitive labour market for organizations to offer lucrative compensation packages. This includes; salaries, health benefits, paid time off, and bonuses.


3. Training and development

One area where you can really improve on employee retention is in training and development. Equipping employees with the necessary skills to perform their jobs and helping them to build their careers shows respect for them. It shows them that them that their work is appreciated and that the company cares about their professional growth. This ensures a motivated workforce and results in greater productivity. It’s about supporting and encouraging employees’ career plans.


4. Conductive work environment

The work environment is one of the key factors attributing to employee retention. If employees are working within an organization that has effective management team, strong ethics and culture, open communication channels, and where all employees feel as though they are a valued member of the team, they are more likely to stick around. There will always be work-related stress, but it’s about keeping the pressure minimal and creating a conducive work  environment that employees are happy to be a part of.


5. Managing the work-life balance

In the 21st century work-life balance has become very important to employees. When organizations ignore the fact that employees are people and not machines, big problems arise. As a company you don’t want employees who are unhappy and hold grudges against you, and then quit. Giving employees time off, allowing them to leave early, and understanding that they have a life outside of the office are small things that go a long way in ensuring people are happy and productive in the workplace.


6. Communication and feedback

Employees who don’t feel engaged or involved tend to feel disconnected from the organization. When they do, other opportunities that arise become more appealing. Keeping open lines of communication is important so that you know where your employees heads are at. If there’s something that they are unhappy about, you want them to know that they can tell management about it, and measures will be put in place to fix it.


7. It comes down to effective management

Typically, employees don’t quit jobs, they quit managers. Since the employee is working directly with the manager, basically the manager is representing the company to the employee. This is why employee satisfaction is so closely linked to the manager. If managers aren’t actively working to ensure that the work environment is conducive for employees, problems may arise. Managers need to show employees that they have their best interests at heart and should work together with them to achieve goals.


8. Bond beyond work

Lastly, it’s important to create an environment to interact and communicate with each other outside of the workplace. Organize informal chats over a cup of coffee - that doesn’t involve any work talk. This helps to create a warm and nurturing environment, opposed to a strictly formal relationship.

Posted by: Edit Ford

21 June 2019

Returning to work (Career Break) - Employees point of view

Whether you’ve taken time off from your career to begin a family, been out of the workplace following a redundancy, or taken a break to travel the world, there is no reason why you can’t jump right back into the job market as soon as you’re ready to. Going back to work after a significant break can be very daunting. You may feel anxious about starting a new job or worry that your skills are not up to scratch because a lot has changed since you’ve been away from the workplace.


Taking a career break is something that most people will do at least once in their lifetime. So while you may feel like you are alone, more people than you think have probably taken time off work at some point in time. According to research, approximately 4% of workers have taken time off work for 6 months or more. It was also found that 73% of women have taken a break from the workplace for “family reasons,” while 47% of men have taken a career gap for “personal reasons.”


There are various different reasons for taking a break from your career, but generally they fall under the category of being voluntary. Whether you’ve been out of the job market for 12 months or 12 years, getting back in the game is no easy feat. But, by following a few simple tips, you can make the process a whole lot easier.


Assess your career needs and wants

It’s no good just diving into searching for any job that you can come across on the internet. It’s essential to take a bit of time to consider what you want; what kind of job will be fulfilling and worthwhile? Do you want to follow the career path that you were on before your break or do you want to try something new?


Take time to identify the skills and experience that you have acquired over the years. How can this help you in your new endeavours. It’s also important to think about why you want to go back to work (aside from financial reasons). Also keep your needs in mind; whether it’s flexible hours, salary requirements, or anything else that you may need.


A lot of people make the mistake of jumping straight back to the first job that they find. But first and foremost it’s important to determine what you need and want from your career.


Be honest about your career gap

Ignoring the fact that you have been out of the work environment for a while won’t help you. Be honest with employers and tell them why you took a career break. You’re not the only person returning to the workplace after a career gap, and worthy employers will understand your reasoning. You just need to communicate that it’s irrelevant to your job seeking process.


For instance, highlight your strengths and previous experience to show employers that you are the perfect fit for the job. Be ready to respond to questions, and be open and honest about your career gap. But, be sure to paint it in a positive light - like feeling grateful for having time to spend with your children, or maybe you did some volunteer work during your break.



Networking is very important for anyone and everyone in the job market - whether you’ve taken a career break or not. As the saying goes: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Take advantage of your existing connections. Contact old employers. You never know, perhaps they have a new position open that interests you.


Speak to old colleagues, family members, friends, and acquaintances. Let them know that you are looking for a job. You never know, perhaps there’s a job opening at a company they work for or they may know of companies that are hiring people with your skills.


Refresh your skills

During your job search you may discover that there’s a whole new world of jargon. Completing an industry specific course and obtaining a new certification can go a long way in helping you to secure a new job after a career break. It’s shows employers that you are serious and willing to learn.


For instance, if you had a job role in digital marketing prior to your break, you may need to learn a few new skills before returning to the workforce. There’s a good chance that technologies and processes have changed, so earning a certificate can get you up to speed again.


Seek out employers who value job returners

You should never have to apologise for taking a career break. Remember that employees returning to the workplace add value by bringing fresh thinking and a mature perspective. You deserve to be in a job just as much as anyone else and are equal to your colleagues. Don’t bother approaching employers who seem to think that hiring workplace returners is a favor.

Posted by: Edit Ford

20 June 2019

Career Breaks: How employers can support work returners

Both men and women take career breaks for various reasons. Whether it be to travel the world, start a family, or take care of an elderly parent, career breaks are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace. These days, employers tend to offer more generous parental leave policies and other family-related benefits to help workers to better manage their work-life balance.


So while a number of employers are providing opportunities for their workers to take some personal time off, there’s now the concern of what should happen when these employees return to work. Many employers are apprehensive about hiring “work returners” because they feel like they no longer have the necessary skills. However, in reality, employers can also benefit from the experience and skills that employees gain while away.


Rather than viewing work returners in a negative light, employers should embrace the opportunity to take on employees that are able to bring a new and fresh perspective into the organization. Here are some of the best ways that employers can support work returners.


Flexible work policies

As obvious as it may seem, being open to allowing flexible work policies is one of the best ways to support employees who are returning from a career break - they often have other demands on their time (perhaps children) - which makes these policies particularly important.


Various studies have found that women returning to the workplace regard the freedom to manage their own time as the most important factor. With this in mind, it’s likely that employers will only attract the best talent if they’re open to the idea of flexible working policies.


Consider the concept of job-sharing

Job-sharing allows employees to spend more time at home by sharing their work responsibilities with a coworker. Basically, this involves hiring two or more people for the same job on a part-time basis. They then work together to complete the full responsibilities of the role.


Job-sharing is especially attractive to new parents and can be a great way to help them to transition back into a full-time role after returning from parental leave. It can also be very effective for those who are returning from a personal sabbatical. Currently, job-sharing isn’t a very popular practice, but it’s expected to become increasingly common over the next few years.


Internships for returning professionals

Several companies are attempting to engage and work with returning professionals by offering mid-career internships that are targeted at those who have been out of the workforce for over two years. They typically involve a skills training or professional development aspect. Usually, these employees will work on a special project or take on the job duties of a permanent employee.


This is a great way to fill any gaps that there may be in the employees skills and help them to re-enter the workplace. Often times it only takes a few weeks, or maybe a few months for employees to get back into the swing of things. Just a few refresher courses and filling them in on new developments, and they’re good to know.


Employee support groups

Employee support groups could be used within the company as a whole. But they can be especially beneficial for those who are returning from a career break. With many organizations becoming increasingly open about allowing for sabbaticals and implementing parental leave policies, there are likely to be a group of people who have returned to the workplace after taking a break.


It’s important to give these employees a place to talk about their experiences and any concerns that they may have. They could be assigned a mentor who will address any questions they have, challenges they may be facing, or can give them some sound advice.


Provide childcare support

This is a big one. Childcare services are becoming increasingly expensive, which is why many professionals consider financial support for childcare to be very important. These days, it’s often more economical for one parent to stay at home and look after their children because of how costly childcare has become.


This is why an increasing number of employers are starting to build a childcare support aspect into employee's salaries. It also means that employees are able to work to their full potential without having to worry about their children. You want your employees to know that you care about their personal lives and offer as much support as you can to make their lives a little easier.


Making it easier for highly skilled workers to return to the workplace following a career break offers an opportunity for employers to hire dedicated and experienced employees who can bring a new and fresh perspective to the business.

Posted by: Edit Ford

29 May 2019

Building positive relationships in the workplace

Did you know that according to research, people who have a best friend at work are up to seven times more likely to be engaged in their job? But, it doesn’t have to be a best friend. It can even just be a colleague that you have a good relationship with. Effective interpersonal relationships form the foundation for success and satisfaction with your job and career. The fact is, work relationships can positively and negatively affect your job satisfaction level, as well as promotional opportunities, pay increases, and goal accomplishments.


This isn’t only true for employees, positive work relationships are vital for the success of managers too. No matter your experience, education, or title, if you can’t get along with others, you will never accomplish your work mission. You see, when you build positive relationships, you become more comfortable and are less intimidated by others.


A lot of people struggle with building strong workplace relationships. But, with these simple tips, you should be able to improve your workplace relationship-building skills quickly and efficiently.


Speak positively about the people you work with

Whether you’re a junior-level employee or the person running the show, it’s important to form a habit of speaking positively to those you work with, as well as about those you work with. You wouldn’t believe how often the information that is shared gets back to the person who is being discussed. As a manager, you don’t want an employee to hear via word of mouth that you’ve got a problem with them. As a colleague, it would also be detrimental to your working relationship with that particular person. If you want to build good work relationships, don’t contribute to office gossip.


On the contrary, people love hearing positive things that are discussed about them. It’s a great way to build trust and will make that person more open to communicating with you. Positive feedback also encourages employees to progress in their work and makes them feel like a valued member of the team. If you’re a manager, you can use Mark The Job to help you to complete formal employee evaluations.


Encourage others to become involved in your activities or projects

If you’re a manager or an employee and need help, ask for it. It’s important to recognize when you are in need of extra resources and to utilize the resources that are available. More likely than not, your colleagues will be more than happy to help you out when necessary. The best part is that working together on a project is a great way to really get to know each other. As a manager you will get greater insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your employees and also have the opportunity to connect with them on a more personal level.


Share more of yourself at meetings or casually in the office place

A great way to build relationships is to let others know who you are. As a manager you can start off by saying a little about yourself and then asking employees to do the same. Sharing your knowledge, expertise, and personality at meetings will make you more approachable and help in the process of building strong relationships.


Another way to do this is to pop into a co-workers office during the day and chat a bit. Start off by greeting them, ask how there weekend was, or ask about their family. These are some great conversation starters and can be very beneficial in building relationships.


Support and appreciate others

Show your appreciation whenever someone helps you out and offer your support to your co-workers. If they’re working on a new project, ask if you there’s anyway that you can get involved. This will help to form a closer connection because you are working directly with them and helping them to achieve their goals.


As a manager it’s extremely important to be supportive of your employees. You need to let them know that you are there to help and offer them guidance along the way. Employees form stronger working relationships with managers that they know they can rely on.


Participate in activities with others that don’t involve work.

If you really want to get to know your colleagues on a more personal level, and build an even stronger relationship, you can socialize outside of the workplace. Once you’ve got to know each other at work, you are likely to discover that you have similar interests. This may lead to some outside work activities that will strengthen your relationship. Whether it’s going out for lunch or joining a paint class, this is a step towards a friendship outside of work, and will help to strengthen your work relationship too. As a manager, you could organize to go for lunch with your team occasionally or participate in an activity that interests the whole team.


At the end of the day, no matter if you’re a manager or employee, positive working relationships are essential for career and job success.

Posted by: Edit Ford

29 May 2019

The latest HR Trends

Thanks to the introduction of the gender pay gap reporting and the various other factors that affect individual organizations, 2018 was a busy year for HR teams everywhere. In fact, the HR industry has been undergoing a major innovative change over the last five years. With that said, 2019 is shaping up to be one of the most transformative years yet in the HR industry. The key is to understand and embrace these trends.


Here are the latest HR trends that you want to know about and get onboard with.


1. Increase in experimentation with artificial intelligence

An increasing number of companies are showing interest in experimenting with artificial intelligence (AI). Traditionally, the day-to-day activities of HR are highly resource-intensive, including various tasks, like payroll, benefits, hiring, offboarding and compliance management. But this is quickly changing as HR departments are starting to adopt automation and robotics to streamline these operations and enhance their contribution to overall business goals.


Research suggests that the HR domain has many transactional activities that are perfect for robotic process automation (RPA). The idea is that these processes will free up a lot of the HR employees time to focus on more strategic and innovative centric functions, like retention and policy implementation.


2. Workplace planning and optimization

There is an increased understanding of the concept that the “return on investment is much better if you grow your own talent.” This means that we should expect to see more organizations using their existing workforces in an agile way. In other words, a focus on hiring from within and thus growing retention rates.


There is an increased amount of effort being put in by companies to adequately plan their human resources as they recognize the effect this has on ensuring a quick response to company needs. By recruiting from within (bench utilization), companies can easily match existing skills with demands, and thereby eliminate the need for and long process involved in external recruitment.


3. Payroll management

Technology will continue to affect many areas of business, but one of the more significant is the impact it will have on payroll management. Basic calculations and processes like tax deduction and benefits will be fully automated, ensuring that there is no room for error.


As technology advances, payroll is set to become a more seamless process. Cloud computing, which allows users to access data on any device in any location with an internet connection, is also expected to become increasingly popular.


4. Learning and development

With an increased focus on creating a digital environment, there is expected to be a massive boost in learning and development. Training will be conducted digitally, and technology will transform the way that employees engage with learning and development using AI solutions and AR solutions.


Since businesses are becoming more and more technologically advanced, employees need to keep up with these digital changes. This is why learning and development is such an important factor. Companies need to train their employees on how to utilize new technology to their advantage.


5. Talent Management

While not a new trend, businesses are becoming increasingly aware of how important an employee-first approach is. Employees form the foundation of any business which is why an increased focus is being put on investing in quality talent, but more importantly, supporting the personal and professional development of employees.


But, the most significant change anticipated in this area is related to performance ratings. The traditional process is likely to be replaced by dynamic goal-setting, continuous performance check-ins, and crowdsourced feedback. You can check out Mark The Job for innovative and relevant performance review processes.


6. Recruitment experiences

Expect the whole recruitment process to be digitally altered. Everything from CV’s to interviews is set to become digital. The goal is for candidates to have a hassle-free candidate experience.


7. Insight into the post-digital era

As of 2019, digital technology is a strategic priority for every business. But, not too long ago, being ahead in the world of digital technology was a serious competitive advantage for any business. If your business was ahead in the digital world, you were just about guaranteed success. Now, we are too far from a time where digital-era technology will be expected from every company. Essentially, the digital playing field will eventually even out.


This means that companies need to start looking for new ways to stand out. They won’t be able to rely on their “digital advantage” any longer. We refer to this as the post-digital era. This will be a world in which each consumer, employee, and business partner will have their own reality, and each moment will represent an opportunity for companies to play a role in shaping it. The key to success will be to deliver not only personalized, but also individualized experiences that meet the digitally mature expectations.

Posted by: Edit Ford

23 April 2019

How to conduct a performance review on management

Managers are the revenue generators for just about any business, and whether you want to accept it or not, they are also subject to performance evaluations. We’ve written plenty of articles on the process of conducting an employee evaluation. But what about when the shoe is on the other foot? The fact is, the managers are usually the ones conducting the performance review process of employees, but at the end of the day, they also need to be evaluated.


Typically, the managers salary, benefits, and the opportunity for further promotion come down to how you rate their work performance. So by now you are probably wondering who would conduct the performance review on any particular manager? Well, a process known as the 360 degree review has become very popular within many companies to get a comprehensive view on how managers are performing.


What is a 360 degree review?

It may sound complex but it’s actually pretty straightforward. A 360 degree review is a professional feedback opportunity which allows coworkers to give feedback on fellow employees, including managers. The aim is to get a complete picture of the managers performance from each person who works with them.


While this process can be used for each and every employee within the company, we are discussing it in the context of management. As part of a 360 degree review, feedback is often collected from subordinates, colleagues, vendors, managers, and employees. Basically from anyone who works with the manager. The advantage is that you will gain insight into a managers performance from various different viewpoints.


How to administer a 360 degree review?

Organizations use various methods to conduct 360 degree reviews on managers. It ultimately all comes down to the culture and climate of the organization. But just about every 360 degree review will center around a survey that is distributed to multiple people within the organization.


Think of the manager receiving the performance evaluation as standing in the middle of a circle. The people around them within the office setting are the ones reviewing their work performance. Here are the most important things to think about when doing a 360 degree review on managers.


Identify the reviewers

First and foremost, you need to take a close look at the managers working relationships and identify who the reviewers will be based on that. Think about who in the company has insight into the managers performance. Put together a list of 8 to 10 reviewers (obviously dependant on company size) who have different viewpoints on the managers work to make sure that you get a broad overview.


Some of the individuals and groups that you may want to consider include; the managers superior (who does the manager report to), direct reports of the the manager, peers in the same department, cross-functional peers, key customers that they work with, and vendors that they work with.


What to ask in a 360 degree review

As with any performance review, there is no universal set of questions that will give you meaningful insight about every manager within the company. The type of questions that you ask should be directly linked to roles and responsibilities of the manager that is being reviewed, and what goals you’ve set with them in the past.


Important aspects to consider when designing these questions should typically revolve around leadership skills, planning skills, and communication skills. Other things to consider include  time management, project management, enthusiasm, empathy, and approachability. For instance, you could ask “How is the manager to work with on an interpersonal level” or “What do you like most about working with the manager?”


Choose a survey structure or performance review management tool

It’s essential that you maintain the anonymity of reviewers which is why we recommend using a tool like Mark the Job to put together your survey. Mark the Job will help you to create a rational and effective manager performance review that is straightforward and easy to follow.


As for the structure of the survey, if you choose to design one yourself, you will need to think about what style you want to use. Traditional rating scale or the starfish/wheel survey are two common options. For a rating style survey you would simply put together a list of between 10 to 15 questions and ask reviewers to rate the manager on a scale of 1 to 5 based on performance. The wheel style survey consists of five open-ended questions that revolve around five topics that can be summarized as; Start, Stop, Less of, More of, and Continue. Essentially the questions address what the manager should start doing, stop doing, do more of, do less of, and continue doing.


Whatever survey style you go for, the idea is to provide a clear structure for your reviewers. You want them to address specific topics which is why it’s important that you lay out a clear and straightforward survey that is easy to follow.


What to do with all this information 

Once all of this data has been collected, you will need to synthesize the feedback. You can do it manually using MS Excel or Google Sheets, or you could use Mark the Job to help you out. As you review and summarize the data, you will come across actionable trends. For instance, if 7 out of 11 reviewers said that the managers tends to get easily flustered, this is something that you want to address.


Remember that this feedback should be shared directly with the manager and in person. Be sure to share both negative and positive feedback to build the managers self-esteem and people-managing skills.

Posted by: Edit Ford

23 April 2019

5 Effective ways to improve employee performance

It’s no secret that the success of any company largely depends on how employees perform their various tasks. Employees form the heart and the soul of businesses all around the world and employee performance is what fuels most businesses. These days, employees are typically spending more and more time at the office - often exceeding the normal 40-hour work week. However, increased working hours doesn’t necessarily mean increased efficiency.


Good leaders want to ensure that their team is engaged in their work, performing at their best, and overall are feeling satisfied. But, in reality knowing how to maximize employee performance  is not always so straightforward. So, how can leaders improve employee performance? Here are the top five ways that you can increase employee efficiency at the office.


1. Quality leadership

Whether you want to hear it or not, employee performance is very much connected to quality of leadership. Remember this well-known and very true saying “People don’t leave organisations; they leave managers.” Research into workforce engagement suggests that some of the crucial aspects that improve employee performance are constructive communication, adequate working relationships, and the opportunity for personal development and growth.


None of these things have to cost a business any money, but the quality of these areas is within the quality of an organization's leadership. Ultimately, your leadership team plays a crucial role in ensuring that employee performance levels remain high. So first off you need to ensure that the company’s leadership style is adequate. Trust is one of the key factors to building a prosperous manager-employee relationship.


Also keep in mind that there’s no standardised leadership style that will work for everyone. You will need to individualize every approach. A good leader will understand the diverse styles of their team members and customize their coaching to each of the employees unique needs.


2. Communicate clear expectations

It’s important that you communicate with your employees on a continuous basis. Don’t leave them uninformed about organizational changes, work policies, and most importantly, job expectations. Employees need a clear understanding of what’s expected from them in terms of work assignments. If they know what the objective is, there’s an increased chance that they know what to do, how to do it, and will therefore get it done.


It’s also important that the leader communicates with them frequently to manage those expectations. Employees who are informed tend to be more driven, and are committed to their job role because they know what the end goal is.


3. Recognize employee contributions

Another way to improve employee performance is to ensure that you give both positive and negative feedback on a regular, individual, face-to-face basis. This not only ensures that employees know that their contributions are recognized and appreciated, but it also lets them know about areas that they can improve on. If you don’t let them know that there’s a problem, they will likely never even know about it, and thus it’s unlikely that it will be fixed. It’s important that they have a clear understanding about the area that needs improvement, and how they can go about fixing it.


On the contrary, you should always compliment and reward employees who are exceeding expectations. Employees want to be recognized for their efforts and are pushed to work even harder when they feel appreciated. If they feel as though they are putting in a lot of effort and are getting nothing in return for it, they may start to slack. So it’s important that you make a point of recognizing their efforts by making them feel appreciated.


4. Make employee development a priority

Training and development are key to improving employee performance. It’s important to understand the long-term career goals of your employees. You need to know what they’re striving for and what they are hoping to achieve within the organization. If they are looking to move up within the company, then it’s important to set goals and a plan that will help them to get there. Work closely with them to close any skill gaps that won’t only help them to achieve their long-term goals, but will also benefit the company when their skills help the business to fulfill objectives.


5. Make use of the right technologies

It’s important that the company uses technology platforms that are put in place to drive performance and engagement daily. Technology has become crucial in today’s business world and it’s an effective way to improve the communication channels between workforces and management. Innovative technology can help employees to speed up their productivity which is why it’s so important that your business is always at the forefront of the latest developments.


The success of a business thrives when the right processes and systems are in place. Employee considerations should always be taken into account which is why it’s important that you hold regular discussions and meetings to talk about where the business is going and what the overall goals are.

Posted by: Edit Ford

20 March 2019

Why should small companies start employee evaluation?

Many small businesses make the mistake of thinking that there is no need for them to implement the same kind of practices as large businesses. From team building to corporate functions and goal-setting meetings to employee evaluations, small businesses have the tendency to believe that since they don’t have a large workforce, these practices don’t fit in with their small business culture. 


Contrary to popular belief, regular employee review is a fantastic HR management tool for small business managers. As a small business, your goal should be to put together a team of employees who are dedicated and exceptional overachievers. If you think about it, every single staff members contributions are a lot more important at a small company in comparison to a large one. These are the people that are integral to the company’s success and growth.


What to know about employee evaluations

Employee evaluations are a great way to improve employee performance and efficiency while still keeping employee self-esteem intact and turnover low. Here’s the main things that an employee review should accomplish:

  • Offer praise and motivation where due
  • Address any shortcomings or areas that need improvement
  • Give employees the opportunity to address any problems or concerns
  • Serve as written proof for future goals that will be evaluated at the next meeting 


It’s important that you always be consistent with the evaluations. All employees should be treated the same in terms of leave, pay, sick days, discipline, and other employment issues despite any personal connection that you may have with one or few of them or what you know about their personal lives. All employee evaluations should be structured in the same manner and address the same issues - except, of course, they should be personalized for each employee. But no preferential treatment should be give to any employee. Check out Mark the Job if you want some guidance in setting up self-evaluations that can be used during the employee evaluation process.


Employee evaluations at a small company help to build a business that is destined for success when it grows and takes on new employees. If all these processes are already in place as a small business, it makes expanding a business that much easier. When you take on new employees important formalities and procedures are already there which makes expansion that much easier. 


How small companies benefit from employee evaluations

Employee evaluations are a great way to create a culture of open communication within a company. They have proven to be a major advantage for small businesses for multiple reasons. For starters, they can help to identify the strongest employees in the company - this can be very important for overall growth. They also help to develop a personal relationship between employees and their superiors. Another big benefit is that it’s a great way to create a successful business development plan that can help you to achieve long-term business objectives and goals.


Let’s look at a few other reasons why it’s beneficial for small businesses to conduct employee evaluations.


Good employees are hard to find and even harder to retain

Keeping people who are focused and motivated is key if you want to keep moving forward as a business. If you don’t give your employees regular feedback on their performance, they won’t know where they stand and you won’t know who is meeting and exceeding expectations. If you don’t give frequent feedback, there’s always the risk that your employees will be left feeling demotivated and unappreciated.


Avoiding the issue can become the issue

As a small business, you may be tempted to let performance problems slide. Nobody likes confrontation and having to address problems directly with an individual. However, it’s absolutely necessary, especially in small businesses, because you are trying to grow and succeed with your business. It’s no good having a casual conversation in the breakroom and leaving it at that. You need to set up a formal face-to-face meeting and discuss the issue thoroughly.


The thing with employee evaluations is that they give you the chance to do this. If an employee knows what their goals and objectives are and aren’t performing up to standard you need to address it in the review. If you don’t, the problem will only get worse and correction methods become more difficult, not to mention more awkward. At the end of the day, one of the advantages of working for a small company is the company culture - having a personal and open relationship between employees and managers. Be firm and understanding and always document the meetings in writing.


You can design a system that fits your needs and style

Formal employee evaluations have a bad undertone for being rigid, overly focused on rankings, and creating unnecessary paperwork. The great thing about the modern employee evaluations is that it can be designed to be anything that your business needs and wants it to be. If you want to reduce or eliminate paperwork, you can. If you want to have evaluations only once a year or at least three times a year, you can. If you want to set up one-on-one meetings monthly or quarterly, you can. In other words, you can make the process fit your business style.


Posted by: Edit Ford

10 March 2019

A first time manager’s guide to performance review

One of the toughest things about being a new manager is giving a performance review. After all, with great power comes great responsibility. In your first role as manager, you will be thankful for a few tried and tested tactics to set you on the path to a successful performance review with your employees.  


The role of manager implies managing people. In theory it sounds easy enough, but in reality “the managing people” part is what most new managers struggle with the most. The truth is, your team can make or break your success. One of the most essential tools for building a strong relationship with your team is a performance review meeting.


While you are likely to be tempted to prepare for the review no longer than a week before, you probably know that you shouldn’t. A performance review should be treated as a year-long process and involves continuous action and thought throughout the annum. Below we will give you a basic guide on the process to follow for a successful performance review.


We will be working on a 12 month basis and consider January to be the start of the year and December to be the end.


January - Set goals and expectations

First things first, it’s very important to have an initial meeting with your team and establish what the goals and expectations are for the year ahead. It’s also a good idea to meet with them on an individual basis to set personal goals. 


The recommended process of settings goals is by using the SMART method which you may already be a familiar with; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-orientated, Time-bound goals. These individual goals should be specific to each person but also align with the team and overall company goals.


March, June, September - Hold touch-base meetings

Every three months, or monthly if you prefer, you should hold meetings to discuss progress with your employees. It’s important to constantly track performance and provide feedback throughout the year. You don’t want to get to the final performance review at the end of the year and not have addressed certain issues. 


You should schedule these meetings at the start of the year to ensure that they do actually take place. Prepare a very brief agenda for each meeting where you can discuss goals, expectations and any issues or questions that the employee may have. This informal feedback should be given to each person. This is also a chance for you to give praise, or address issues, if there are any. It won’t be easy but it is absolutely necessary. Again, you can’t expect a successful final performance review if there are ongoing issues that have not yet been addressed.


Take notes from each meeting - what you discussed and what the outcome was. This will be very useful at the end of the year.


October - Ask your employees to prep

Two months before the final review, set the date for the official meeting with each of your employees. This is also your chance to ask them to put together a report on their yearly results. Think about any official forms to be completed, ask them to compile a summary of their job description, what projects they are currently working on, and to give a rundown of goals and achievements. 


Another effective tactic is to ask employees to complete a self-evaluation. This can make your employees feel like they have a say in the process, but it can also provoke them to take a hard and steady look at their work behavior. This can make a big difference when discussing their performance. Some of the best self-evaluations consist of a few open-ended questions, like what were your challenges throughout the year? What are your biggest achievements? Where could you show improvement? If you want some inspiration or assistance regarding be sure to check out Mark the Job. They offer some great tips and tactics when it comes to completing evaluation forms.


November - Prep yourself as a manager

It’s very important that you do your own preparation for the final performance review. You don’t want to go in there underprepared and not looking interested. Think about gathering both quantitative and qualitative forms of employee performance. Quantitative would include things like deadline reports and call records. Qualitative, on the other hand, includes gathering customer feedback or your personal evaluation. This is where those notes you took earlier on in the year will really come in handy. 


December - Prepare your documentation

A few weeks before the review you need to compile all the collected information together. This includes the employees’ self evaluation forms, outside feedback, and any other relevant information that you can think of. This is the data that you can use to compile evaluation sheets, make points for discussion, and give written explanations regarding your feedback. 


This is also the time to think about how you want to structure the review process. You need to figure it all out now so that you are absolutely ready when the day of review arrives. For example, a good idea is to structure the review around the goals that were set at the beginning of the year. But there are other directions that you could take as well. Just ensure that you use a process that is comprehensive and your employees will be able to easily follow along.


End of December - Final review

Now, for the most important and probably intimidating part. However, the good news is that if you have followed all of the above steps, you really shouldn’t struggle here. It’s essentially just a matter of compiling all of the above into one final meeting. Of course, it involves a lot of detail and effort, but it should all come together like a good book.

Posted by: Edit Ford

18 February 2019

How to differentiate performance management from performance appraisal

The terms performance appraisal and performance management are typically used interchangeably. In reality, however, while they do have some similarities, they certainly aren’t the same. Understanding how these two concepts are different, but also relate to each other is a key learning factor for the HR and talent management professionals of today.


Performance management consists of the following steps; identify, measure, manage and develop. This process is followed for the overall performance of the employees in a business. Performance appraisal, on other hand, is the ongoing process of evaluating the employees performance. Performance management is an ongoing process, while performance appraisals works on an annual system - taking place sadly just once or twice a year.


Key differences between performance appraisals and performance management




Performance management is a joint process by employees and their line managers, and sometimes other stakeholders also play a part. These stakeholders consist of any party who can be helpful in impacting the employee performance. The process is customized in line with each workers actual work.


Performance appraisals, on the other hand, are a top down assessment. They are usually standard procedure and done by the HR department together with direct managers. The appraisal is dependent on the employees job description, experience, and designation.


Performance management is a process while performance appraisal is a system


Performance appraisals are an organized approach to evaluating an employee's performance. Actual performance is measured against preset standards. Performance appraisals are documented, and thereafter employees will be provided with a review on their performance during the past year. The review will also indicate where improvement may be necessary.


Performance management, on the other hand, is an ongoing process with a goal of planning, monitoring, and evaluating a workers objectives and their total contribution to an organization. The end goal is to improve and encourage the effectiveness and efficiency of employees.


The structure


While a performance review has structure, it still allows for customization of the key performance areas, which will vary from person to person. But, when it comes to ratings, it’s a  rigid process since the ratings apply to each and every worker.


On the contrary, performance management is a fairly flexible process when it comes to performance evaluation. While there are guidelines in place that demonstrate optimal performance, they can differ from person to person depending on job description and capabilities.


If you want to know more specifics on performance appraisals and best practices, then is a great place to look. We offer you the tool to facilitate fair and efficient performance reviews, that are tangible and quantifiable too.


Appraisals combined with ongoing management is a winning formula


At the end of the day, it’s not performance management versus performance appraisals. It should ideally be a combination of the two. When leaders stay on top of employees’ performance by means of appraisals, regularly give feedback, and discuss issues with their team both formally and informally - that’s exceptional performance management. When combined with regular appraisals, these make for a management strategy that is beneficial to the business and its employees. If you are looking for help or general assistance with your appraisal and management system, go and check out !

Posted by: Edit Ford

04 February 2019

Do annual employee performance reviews impact on customer experience?

It’s no secret that most employees don’t look forward to their annual employee performance reviews. In the HR community, the topic of employee performance reviews and how effective they are is up for much discussion. Some claim that it’s an efficient and necessary process, but its methods need to be revamped, while others argue that its an out-of-date and counter-productive exercise that is essentially a waste of time.


So how effective is the review process and what impact does it have on customer experience? In an interesting twist, research suggests that there is a strong correlation between positive employee experience and exceptional customer experience. Ultimately, we are looking at whether the employee performance review has enough of an impact on the customer experience.


Employee experience indeed has a direct impact on customer experience


The best leaders in business put much time and energy into how customers experience their brand, and it’s for a good reason. It’s a well-known fact in the business world that it is significantly more expensive (not to talk about time-consuming too) to win over a new customer than it is to keep an existing customer. In today's media-hyped society, one negative review or social media post could create substantial damage to any business. However, on the other side of the coin, a few positive reviews could help companies to excel and to stand out.


Positive and negative brand experiences come from the interactions that customers have with employees. If employees are unhappy, they aren’t motivated to do a good job, and the customer experience will most likely be affected. While in the ideal world, creating a culture in which employees are committed to providing the best possible customer service is the ultimate goal, this will only work if the employees have a positive employee experience.


Ultimately, employee experience could make or break your business. In practice, the best way to increase brand loyalty and attract customers is by using the brand ambassadors that already work at your company.


What do regular employee performance reviews have to do with the employee experience?


The employees of today want frequent and meaningful feedback. Businesses are operating at a pace that requires employees to be aware of changes before, during and after they’ve taken place. It’s only through pertinent feedback that employees can modify their priority tasks, work processes, and skills to ensure that they are aligned with the business objectives and strategies.


This is where regular performance reviews come into play. The employees of today want to find meaning in their work, expect frequent feedback, and they want recognition for their excellent work. More and more business leaders start to realise this, and many of them report, that regular performance feedback performance sessions drive higher performance. Research has shown that employees who have managers that seem to care about them as a person are more engaged and committed to the business. By providing frequent feedback employees know where they stand, can discuss issues or concerns with their managers promptly, and they are always being inspired to do better work.


Frequent employee feedback sessions and customer experience


Ultimately what businesses want is employees who are motivated and inspired. This passion is what leads to exceptional customer experience. But, as we mentioned earlier, only those employees who have a positive experience within an organisation, are likely to care about the customers.


In line with the changing attitudes in the workplace, many agree that employees, especially millennials prefer frequent feedback rather than one, in-depth annual review. This change is linked to their growing preference of “people managers” who orchestrate catch-ups regularly and with empathy. They want managers who care about them and know how to show it. This demonstrates to them that they are of value to an organisation and that their work there is useful and appreciated.


Frequent conversations with employees can empower them to do their best work, and this leads to excellent customer experience. Think of it this way, rather than only addressing concerns and opportunities for growth once a year, conversations can be had monthly or quarterly. This ensures employees hit their goal more frequently, and more efficiently. Ultimately this results in better customer service.

Posted by: Edit Ford

25 January 2019

Performance review from the employee’s point of view

Performance reviews play a big role in the success of any business, whether big or small. They make up a crucial aspect of the employee experience. It’s a way for employers to evaluate how an employee is performing in their role and gives them the opportunity to give feedback. Performance reviews are also an excellent opportunity to nurture and develop the employee-employer relationship and improve communication levels.


However, for many employees performance reviews are a very much dreaded process. Nobody likes having their weaknesses pointed out and there’s often a negative stigma attached to performance reviews. But it doesn’t have to be this way. And ultimately it’s something that’s going to take place whether you like it or not, so you might as well embrace it. One of the most important things you can do to ensure success when it comes to your performance review is to actively prepare for it.


Let’s take a look at what you can do to prepare for your performance review.



First and foremost we need to mention self-evaluation because it’s quite possibly the most important aspect when it comes to performance reviews. You don’t need to play a passive role and simply sit back and listen to the feedback and direction given by your manager. If you properly prepare for your performance review with your manager, you can ensure that they have a broader picture of what your performance and career goals are, encourage communication, and take charge of your career progression.


Ideally you would use the same performance appraisal form that your manager will be using. Another good option for self-evaluation is to use They enable both managers and employees to create rational and effective performance reviews via their website. Go through each goal and competency that is listed and give yourself a rating. It’s important to be brutally honest with yourself. The goal is not to achieve good ratings but rather share your perception of your performance with your manager before the scheduled performance review meeting. This will help your manager to prepare for the review and flag any differences the two of you might have in terms of perception of performance prior to the meeting. Alternatively you can just bring your self-evaluation with your to the meeting and use it as reference.


As part of your self-evaluation you can list accomplishments and details from journal notes. If you’ve kept a journal of your performance over the year you can include things like; challenging people or situations, specific strengths, projects you really enjoyed, and skills that you may need to develop. If you didn’t keep a journal, you should start asap. Recording your activities, challenges, and achievements  will really help you in the long-run.


Put together a list of areas that need development

As an employee it’s important to think about ways that you can improve your work. In reviewing your job description, competencies, career goals, accomplishments, etc, you can identify the areas that you may have struggled in, or perhaps where others have pointed out you have struggled. But it’s not just about what you didn’t get right, it’s also about areas that you want to expand your knowledge or skills in so that you can progress in your career.


Be honest with your manager about what you struggle with and ask for training or mentoring in areas that you want to develop or improve on. If possible do a little research beforehand about training courses and activities available through your company. If you find something that looks promising and you feel would be beneficial to your performance, tell your manager that you would like to join a particular course. 


Set goals for the upcoming period

Every performance review gives you the opportunity to progress in your career. Setting goals gives you the opportunity to design your future. Don’t wait for your manager to tell you what your goals should be. Take a proactive approach and put together some goals based on your job description, your skills and experience, and, of course, your career aspirations.


Make sure to set well-defined goals that are realistic but would still be considered to be major accomplishments if you achieve them. A common acronym used by both managers and employees to set goals is S.M.A.R.T. This stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based. This process can help you to set goals that are both relevant and attainable.


Keep an open mind

Very often employees come to performance reviews feeling very defensive, expecting their managers to be critical, having only negative feedback to give. The problem is that when we defensive we don’t listen very well. It’s important that you prepare yourself for your performance review by trying to relax and letting go of any defensiveness you may have. You should always try to listen carefully to the feedback your manager provides, along with the goals and development plans that have been laid out for you.

Posted by: Edit Ford

21 January 2019

Positive effects of anonymous job applications

One of the major employment trends in the United States, Canada, and Europe is the practice of anonymous job applications. This process first began in many countries in the European Union and following its success has since expanded to other nations. The ultimate goal is to make way for bias-free hiring by means of anonymity.


While the actual impact of anonymous job applications is not yet known, the idea of this process has been supported both in theory and in practice. It’s a well-known fact that both gender and ethnicity have an influence on the hiring process all around the world. This is despite the fact that current legislation considers this to be discrimination. Anonymous job applications are seen as a way to combat this discrimination.


Employers and anonymous job applications

We all have subconscious biases whether we realize it or not. And it’s no different when it comes to employers and recruitment teams. Consequently anonymous job applications are a logical next step for employers. Research has shown that personal information like name, gender, and country of origin can prevent employers from looking at an application objectively and may even prevent them from going through the rest of the application.


The practice of anonymous job applications is not a risk for businesses. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. They still have the chance to meet the applicant in an interview and they are more likely to choose a qualified candidate by eliminating undue distractions through the screening process. 


Ratna Omidvar is the president of a Canadian nonprofit organization, Maytree Foundation, and he suggests the following practices during the screening process when searching for candidates:

  • Online applications: Employers who use online applications or their own platform could exclude certain information such as name, gender, and age
  • Traditional or email applications: Employers can request two versions of the application - conventional and anonymous. Alternatively personal information can be added on the last page of the application.


Obviously these practices are not perfect since applicants will eventually meet the employer either in person or via video. But the idea is that prejudice during the screening process will be eliminated which is a step in the right direction.


Employees and anonymous job applications

There are plenty of advantages when it comes to employees using the anonymous job application process. But perhaps the most significant is for those who are currently employed and searching for a new job. Loyalty and discretion would drive those who already have a job to apply anonymously. An anonymous job search is the safest way to change jobs without the current employer getting wind of what is going on. If you have justifiable reasons for concealing your identity it isn’t considered misleading.


If you want to apply for a job anonymously you can use a few sentences in your cover letter to explain that you are currently employed and wish to have your details concealed to avoid any conflict with your current employer. Alternatively you can provide your details but request that the recruiter to help maintain your anonymity.


Equal opportunities for women and minorities

Possibly the greatest positive effect of anonymous job applications is to give women and minorities equal opportunities to enter the workforce. It’s a way to help employers to overcome any subconscious bias and ultimately find the most qualified person for a specific position without any prejudice. Believe it or not, anonymous applications gives these groups a better chance at being selected for an interview.


Things to consider when applying for a job anonymously

If you are following the anonymous job application process then you need to keep a few things in mind. At the end of the day you want to ensure that you cover all the basis for remaining anonymous.


Work history

Your CV can give away more information than you intend if you aren’t cautious. Carefully go through your work history and eliminate any information about previous work experience or employers that could disclose who you are. When you are describing your work history and industry you can use “confidential.” Also remember to leave out the city and town of each employer if you want to remain completely anonymous.


Academic achievements

Again, be sure to use the “confidential” tag when you are describing the schools, colleges, or university that you attended. These can be a dead giveaway as to your identity, particularly if you are well-known in your professional network as having gone to certain schools. You can exclude graduation dates as well, but you will need to add certification dates so employers know how current they are. 


Personal details

An effective way to protect your identity is to limit the information that you provide on your cover letter header. This means leaving our your full name, email address, and mailing address if they contain your name or any other information that could identify who you are, like birth date. You can create an alternative email address that looks somewhat professional. For example; It’s not ideal, but it’s your best bet if you trying to remain completely anonymous.

Posted by: Edit Ford

27 December 2018

The growing pains of a small business

Growing a small business isn’t an easy task. But, learning how to grow your business isn’t just a notable goal, it’s often a necessity for your business’s survival and economic well-being. Almost all companies strive for growth, regardless of size. Small companies want to get big, and big companies want to get bigger. In reality, all companies have to grow at least a little every year to keep up with increased expenses that occur over time.


Growing from a start-up to a small company to a middle size organization requires businesses to adjust to growing needs and implement new strategies and tasks. Let’s look at the key factors of growing a business.


Understanding your customers


The customer is at the heart and soul of any successful organization. Understanding the customer needs and developing products and services that meet those needs is the key to success. As a start-up company, your focus should be on building good relationships with your customers and gaining insights by encouraging them to provide valuable feedback.


As your business grows, you should never lose sight of the customer. In modern business, customer success stories are gold. While traditional organizations are focused on sales, modern, SAAS-based businesses see the importance of shorter-term contracts and faster renewals. In other words, it’s more about keeping existing customers rather than finding new ones. 


Knowing what makes people renew is at the core of success. This is commonly known as the customer success story. When trying to grow from a small to medium-sized business, you shouldn’t just explore the factors that close a deal but focus on the areas that make your customers experience successful and keep them coming back for more.




When you start a business it’s likely just you and maybe one or two other founders. In the beginning, you should essentially just keep a good relationship with your customer, while doing a brilliant job at what you do. But, as your business grows, you will need to employ people to help you out. You might want to do everything yourself, but in reality, this can do more harm than good to your business. Building an adequate and capable team is essential to growing your organization.


Of course, hiring employees leads to a whole other set of tasks and responsibilities - you will need to manage these employees. One of the best ways to ensure motivated employees who work hard is to give them a sense of purpose. Often, finding intelligent and talented employees isn’t a problem but making them stay is a challenging task.


Implementing things such as a paid vacation policy, training and development programmes, as well as employee recognition and reward programmes can go a long way in retaining valuable employees.


Another important task that comes with hiring employees is implementing a performance review process. Performance reviews measure an employee's performance and ultimately the projected success of a company. When you first start out and have only one or two employees, the performance review will probably be very informal - a brief discussion over coffee or a pint. You are likely in constant contact with your employees and talk daily anyway. However, as you continue to grow and your team consists of five or more people, you will be preoccupied with other tasks, and communication tends to become less frequent and less personal. At this stage, you will need to implement a formal performance review process.


Creating an employee handbook


The majority of start-ups and small businesses don’t pay attention to HR, but the fact is, Human Resource Management can take your business to new heights. In a start-up business, as mentioned above, communication is flowing, and you should have a very personal relationship with those who work for you. However, as your business and team grow, it’s necessary to implement rules and regulations for employees. Employee handbooks serve as a blueprint for building an enduring workforce and is the best way to ensure that your employees are fully informed about what is expected from them.


Here are some of the important points to include in an employee handbook:


  • Code of conduct
  • Benefits; health insurance, paid vacation, worker’s compensation
  • The organization's policies and protocol
  • Termination and retirement policy
  • Policy regarding salary increases and disciplinary procedures


The lowdown on growing a business


Small business owners who are looking to grow their business - whether it’s dramatic or incremental growth - must be prepared to deal with the upside and downside of growth. When the business is small, you will find it easy to direct and monitor the various aspects of daily business. In these environments, as the business owner, you will have a good relationship and open communication with employees, customer, and suppliers. However, organizational growth means that you will be less “hands-on” and need to entrust various tasks in those who work for you. As small businesses grow, so do the complexities of managing the organization. But if handled correctly, these complexities can be reduced by delegating responsibility to your team.

Posted by: Edit Ford

20 December 2018

The ins and outs of employee performance evaluation

Have you ever thought about why organizations conduct employee performance evaluations? Perhaps you’ve wondered what the point is? Maybe you’ve even considered it to be a waste of time? But, the reality is quite the opposite. Employee performance evaluations are used as an evaluation process and a communication tool that is of utter importance to an organization's success.


At the core of an organization's success are its employees and their capability. Of course, you need to recruit adequate people and give them the training and tools that are necessary to do their job. To ensure that staff is performing and meeting expectations, managers and supervisors need to conduct regular performance evaluations; measuring efficiency, work production, and attitude of employees.


The general consensus on employee performance evaluation


Conventionally speaking, performance reviews are disliked by both managers and employees. Managers don’t like feeling as though they are judging their employees - especially if they have to address underperformance which they know could result in the risk of alienating the employee. On the other hand, employees don’t like the feeling of being judged. For the most part, they tend to take any kind of suggestion for improvement negatively and personally.


This is where employee performance evaluation of the 21st century comes in. If conducted with care and understanding, this process should help employees to see how their job and expected performance fit in with the bigger picture of the organization. Documenting performance evaluations ensures that both the manager and employee are clear about each employees job requirements; setting specific goals (we will discuss this a little later).


Training and developing needs


One of the key factors of an employee performance evaluation is to determine the training and development needs of staff. If an employee is struggling with a specific task or responsibility, they could benefit from a training programme. According to online employment resources, ignoring skill deficiencies can affect an organization's attainment of goals.


When an organization shows interest in helping employees to do their best and invests time and effort into their development, it doesn’t just contribute to the company morale; it also elevates the employee’s self-esteem. An employee that feels valued is more motivated and committed to an organization.


Career goals


Although the primary goal of an employee performance evaluation is to determine if an employee is a good fit for a company, it also serves the purpose of helping individuals to determine if they have chosen the right career path. Perhaps after the evaluation, you will realize that your employee will be better suited in a different role. You can then implement the necessary steps and processes to get them there. The feedback that an employee receives is invaluable in determining a future course in which the organization and employee can put their interests and talents to the best use.


Set SMART goals


Setting goals is an important part of any employee performance evaluation process. A general guideline used is the SMART goal concept. SMART goals stand for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely, and is a way for employees to effectively formulate and achieve set goals.


  • Specific: Goals must be clear and unambiguous.  Both the employee and supervisor must be clear on the goals, required outcomes and how success will be measured. Employees must know exactly what’s expected of them.
  • Measurable: The goals that are set need to be able to be measured. If the goals aren’t measurable, you won’t know if employees are making progress towards a successful end result. Measurable goals are also important to keep employees motivated - people want to know that they are on the right path to success.
  • Achievable: It’s important that goals are realistic and achievable by your average employee. After all, who is going to be motivated to work towards a goal that they know is impossible to achieve. The best goals require a little extra effort to achieve success, but they aren’t too extreme. In other words, they’re not out of reach, but also not below standard performance.
  • Relevant: For goals to be advantageous for both the employee and the business, they need to be relevant to the employee’s job responsibilities. Ultimately, the goals should lead to an employee's personal growth, and relevant to their overall goals at the organization.
  • Timely: The goals should have a starting point, ending point, and a fixed duration. Knowing when a goal needs to be achieved by helps employees to focus and stay motivated.


An example of a SMART goal


Learn five new social media strategies and implement them on Instagram and Pinterest (Specific) by the end of this quarter (Timely). Document the success of these strategies in terms of users reached, overall engagement, and new users obtained (measurable).


We can assume that the goal is achievable because the employee should have access to the resources required, such as relevant books and internet connection.

Posted by: Edit Ford

13 December 2018

How To Do Effective Performance Evaluation

Employee performance evaluations are one of the most crucial factors contributing to business success. However, it’s an often stressful situation for those in charge, who have to monitor and keep track of progress, and give accurate feedback without having a negative impact on employee morale. The truth is, both managers and employees often dread performance evaluations. Managers are reluctant to give critical feedback and find the preparation time-consuming, while employees might feel like they are back at school being graded.


But, this is not the way it should be. Properly handled performance evaluations are important for managing the performance of employees, as well as increasing their job satisfaction and commitment to the business. Companies should implement frequent performance evaluations to ensure that company morale is high and that employees are successfully doing their jobs; while also ensuring that employees are given space to grow and improve which will benefit themselves and the company.


Although the methods and approaches used for performance evaluations differ from organization to organization, there are some universal principles when it comes to talking to employees about their performance. Here are some of the top tips for those conducting performance evaluations.


The fairness factor


Fairness is at the heart of improving an employees work experience. When an employee believes that the outcome of their evaluation is connected to how well they performed, they are more likely to consider the evaluation to be fair. Research has suggested that one of the best ways to demonstrate fairness in an evaluation is by comparing an employee’s current performance to past performance; giving feedback on how much the employee has, or hasn’t, made progress over time. This is known as temporal comparison evaluations.


When employees are compared to colleagues (social comparison evaluations), their perception of fairness decreases. They believe that managers fail to account for specific details on their performance and thus deem the evaluation as less accurate. On the contrary; when they are compared only to themselves, employees feel that the evaluation is more individualized since the manager incorporates specific information about them. This makes them feel like they have been treated in a more respectful way.


Give constructive feedback throughout the year


It’s important that performance evaluations are periodic and structured. Have you heard of the saying; what is not asked, never gets done? Well, this couldn’t be truer when it comes to performance evaluations. If managers don’t give feedback, employees get the impression that they don’t care about the work.


Goals need to be set, and they need to be tracked. Tracking goals at all levels ensure that the businesses goals are achieved. This shows the employee that the organization has interest and is committed to achieving their goals. During the evaluation, the feedback should be objective and factual, and there should be dedicated time assigned for the discussion.


Share the performance review process


It’s important that the employee understands how the organization will assess their performance. This will give them insight into what’s expected of them and won’t leave them surprised at the end of the review. Some organizations use critical incident reports - document positive and negative occurrences over the performance review time - and ask the employee to do the same thing. Then at the time of review, you can take a comprehensive look at performance together with the employee and compare the incidents that they have documented.


If employees are well prepared for the evaluation, they are more likely to present data of value to the table. You should never go into a review without preparing for the discussion with the employee. If you aren’t prepared the performance evaluation will fail - you are likely to miss key opportunities for feedback and improvement, and this will leave the employee feeling demotivated about their success.


Conversation is key


Employees need to feel like they can have open and honest conversations with their managers. If you genuinely want to help your employees to improve, and the two of you have a positive relationship, the conversation will be a lot easier and more effective. It can’t just be you doing all the talking in the evaluation - then it becomes a lecture. Employees need to feel like their managers care and have an interest in their success. Ultimately, you want employees who are excited about their potential to grow, develop, and contribute to the organization.


Don’t only give negative feedback


There is always room for improvement, but if you only focus on the negative, your employees will be left feeling unappreciated. In fact, generally, you should spend more time discussing the positive aspects of performance. This will leave employees feeling motivated and appreciated. Having said that, don’t neglect to discuss the areas that need improvement. This is especially true for underperforming employees. The point is, you need to find a balance. When addressing negative feedback, also be sure to mention what the employee does well.


Performance evaluations are the key component to measuring an employee's performance in each and every organization and essentially reflect on the success of the organization. If done correctly, evaluations can boost employee engagement and productivity, which will work in favor of the organization.

Posted by: Edit Ford

09 December 2018

Six ways regular performance reviews will benefit your business


The performance review process is an essential part of every organization. It’s a useful management tool that helps to give feedback, review and estimate whether an employee's performance is effective, and to discuss areas of improvement going forward. Performance reviews benefit both managers and employees and provide useful information for the company and its people, that can’t be acquired from any other source.

A well-defined performance review process that is built on consistent, constructive feedback will help your company to retain and develop top-class employees. Here are six ways that performance reviews can have a positive impact on your business.


Make your people feel valued

Many employees like to know where they stand in terms of job performance and what else they can do to help the company move forward. Performance reviews clarify the employees’ role and status within a company. People typically need to feel valued and know that they are producing good work - this will motivate them to work smarter and harder.

Celebrating a job well done is the easiest part of a performance review. If your employees receive frequent praise and recognition, you are on the right track to retaining hard-working staff. Remember that amazing employees are hard to find which is why developing your people is so important - and that’s what performance reviews are all about. Even in the smallest start-ups, employees want to know how they are doing. It can be a challenge to give constant feedback, and a formal review can be exactly what employees need to stay on track and bring up questions that they might not be comfortable asking in casual chat.


To improve communication

The main purpose of a performance review is to open up the conversation between employees and their superiors. Some problems that arise from a lack of communication can often be solved by a performance review. If you use the review process as an opportunity to describe the criteria that are used to judge performance, the employee will gain a better understanding of the best way to perform their job.

Communication is something that is often lacking. Encouraging discussion can have a positive long-term impact on the manager-employee relationship. Your employees need to feel like they can come to you if they have any problems. If you don’t keep communication channels open, you will lose a lot of control. Therefore communication is key in running a successful business.


Set new goals

A performance review is a perfect opportunity to establish what your employees personal and career goals are, and to set a long-term plan to achieve them. Self-development is the most important benefit for the employee. Employees who are driven and unrelenting in achieving their goals are of greater value to an organization. Setting goals helps to motivate employees and lets them know that the company supports them.

Those employees who want to grow within an organization are invaluable, and measures should be taken to keep them motivated. Using the performance review to talk big-picture, set goals, and get your staff excited about their work, will have a long-term positive impact on the success of your business.


Training and development

A performance review is one of the best opportunities for an employee and their manager to identify and agree on areas of improvement. During the discussion of an employee's performance, the absence of specific work skills can be discussed, and arrangements can be made to work on developing these skills.

The performance review can be a way to make the need for training more apparent by connecting it to performance outcomes and future career aspirations. Training and development is a key element in building a successful business. You want employees that are continuously growing and developing their skills.

They keep rewards fair and transparent

Allocating pay increases, bonuses, and promotions can be a very challenging task, especially when trying to keep all employees happy. Naturally, they all want to be compensated for their “hard work,” and if one employee receives something that another doesn’t, they will want to know in extreme detail why.

Implementing bonuses and promotions into the performance review can make the whole process a lot easier. Many organizations have found that simply communicating and giving feedback to employees ensures that rewards remain objective.


Charting progress

Lastly, performance reviews are a great way to keep track of progress. Comparing an employee's performance from one period to another will provide the employee and company with measurable marks of improvement, as well as lack of improvement, or even regression in work performance. By charting progress, you can identify what’s working, what isn’t working, and what needs more work.

Remember that performance reviews are only as good as the management team that conducts them. Those companies that are only doing performance reviews for the sake of it are wasting their time. But those that use them to implement business goals are on the right path to accomplishing those goals and essentially their strategic plan.


Posted by: Edit Ford

21 March 2016

7 Online HR Tools to Improve Employee Management

Every business has its own specific set of problems when it comes to managing employees, but not all businesses are using the right tools to deal with these problems. There are so many great tools online that HR managers can use to increase productivity, keep employees happy, and more. The best part is that these tools are either completely free for you to use, or they offer free trial periods to see if these are the tools for you. Let’s take a look at seven of the best online HR tools that you can use to manage your employees better.



This is a great employee performance review tool for small and medium sized businesses, as well as for larger companies that have hundreds of employees. Managers are able to easily conduct an employee performance review without the challenges that have always seemed to go along with the process that get in the way of objectively reviewing your employees performance. This tool offers a set of performance rating scales that actually make sense, so managers can easily see where their employees are doing great and where they need improvement.


2. Zenefits

This is one of the most popular free, online HR tools available. When you use this tool, you will enjoy employee self-service, administration of benefits, on and off-boarding payroll, PTO, tracking vacation time, and so much more. There is also a paid version, but there are so many features in the free one that there really is no need to spend any money.


3. 15Five

This is a great online survey tool that cuts down on the time it takes employees to write reports, and the time it takes for managers to read the reports. They can be written within 15 minutes, and the manager can read them in five minutes or less. This is a great way to speed things up and increase productivity. Because they aren’t spending a lot of unnecessary time on paperwork and reports, employees are getting more done, and they are happier. Management is happy, because they see the positive effects on the bottom line.


4. Harvest

Here is a tool that lets you easily manage projects, as well as the employee hours that go into each project. This includes both regular staff and freelancer hours. You can use this tool on the go, because there is a mobile app, which also makes it easy for teams to be able to log time while they are working outside the office.


5. Smartsheet

This tool lets you document tasks, log employee hours each month, and prioritize projects. You will receive alerts when employees update anything, so you get to keep a close eye on the progression of each project. You can also reprioritize employee tasks at any time, without slowing down any of their hard work. You will be increasing productivity without having to dump more work on employees who already have enough on their plates.


6. Paychex

This is direct deposit for pay checks, and a whole lot more. This tool gives each employee a login identification. They are able to log in at any time to check their pay checks, commissions, taxes, how much vacation time they have, and more. They can even print off their W-2’s when it comes time to file their annual tax returns.


7. Apptivo

Up to three users can take advantage of this tool for free. The biggest drawback is that there is a data storage cap for free accounts (500 MB), whereas a paid account has 3.5GB of data storage space. Another drawback is that there is little in the way of phone support or mobile apps if you are using the free version. But, trying out the free version will give you a chance to see if this is the right tool for your business, and you won’t have to spend any money to do it.

Posted by: Jane Hurst

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