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Finding the Real Reason for Employee Turnover

If your IT team is experiencing high turnover, simply replacing your staff will not resolve the problem. You need to get to the root of the problem in order to create lasting change. This will reduce the amount of time and money needed to find and retain top talent.

Here are three ways to uncover why your IT staff are leaving so you can improve retention.

1. Ask Questions

Find out the specific reasons why your IT team members are leaving. For instance, ask what they like and dislike about their job, what your team and company are doing well, and concrete ways you can improve. Encourage your employees to be as honest and candid as possible. Also, go through your current and former employee files to determine whether there are known issues within the organization. Problems such as ineffective onboarding, policies inconsistently enforced, or tensions with coworkers may have been discussed during exit interviews. Talk with leadership about this information and take action to improve.

2. Conduct a Survey

Hire a third party to survey your current and former IT staff about their true impressions of your team and the company. Clarify that all answers will remain anonymous. Look for themes in engagement surveys, stay interviews, and exit surveys to uncover reasons why your employees remain or leave. Perhaps the staff who left after a short time felt that additional training was necessary to do their jobs. Or, they did not receive enough recognition or see enough career development opportunities. Talk with leadership about implementing specific improvements to increase employee satisfaction. Share a follow-up survey to see how the changes impacted your team. Continue the process on a regular basis.

3. Evaluate Company Culture  

Determine whether there are issues with carrying out your company mission, vision, and values. Perhaps your IT staff feel they do not have a say in leadership decisions. Or, they may not believe that equity is evident in the organization. Compare the demographic data of your departing team members to the data from your assessment. Then, talk with leadership about how to resolve the problems. This may include the formation of employee focus groups to focus on specific areas for improvement first, then move to other areas later.

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Considering Workplace Flexibility? What Employers Need to Know

The ongoing need for stronger work-life integration is one reason why flexibility in the workplace is so important. For instance, allowing your employees to work during the hours they are most productive helps them remain engaged and accomplish more. Also, encouraging independent work as much as possible shows you expect personal accountability for finishing tasks on time. Plus, letting your team fit in personal responsibilities around their work tasks reduces burnout.

Discover some ways to provide flexibility for your IT team and how your company can benefit.

Personalized Workspaces

Suggest that your IT staff decorate their work areas to make them feel more personal. This may include displaying pictures of loved ones, using adjustable furniture, or adding plants to a workspace. Creating a unique work area increases engagement and employee morale.

Flexible Schedule

Allow your IT team to set their own work hours. Although they may need to start or end by a certain time while collaborating on a project, provide as much flexibility as possible. Your employees may be able to avoid commuting during rush hour, which reduces stress. Being able to control their schedule also increases daily attendance and efficiency.

Autonomy

Encouraging your IT staff to work independently increases productivity. As long as the work is finished on time and according to expectations, let your staff decide how and when they handle their projects. Having the freedom to complete their tasks with little supervision promotes confidence and trust.

Quality of Life

Your IT professionals experience greater life satisfaction when they can fit in personal responsibilities with professional ones. This may include participation in a morning fitness class to reach a health and wellness goal, attending their child’s ballet recital in the afternoon, or leaving work early one evening per week for a professional development class. Being able to fulfill personal interests during typical work hours increases job satisfaction.

Employee Retention

The more flexibility your IT team has, the longer they remain with your organization. Because employees want more control over fitting both their personal and professional responsibilities each week, they look for companies that provide perks in this area. Longevity among your team members results in lower costs to replace them.

Hire Top IT Professionals

When you need to hire the best IT staff, turn to RightStone. Learn more today.


4 Tips for Difficult Employee Conversations

 

As an IT manager, there will be times when you need to address employees regarding performance issues, conflicts, or other difficult topics. Although this can be challenging, it needs to be done sooner rather than later. You need every employee functioning as a cohesive unit to keep the company moving forward.

Implement these four tips to effectively handle challenging employee discussions:

 

1. Include a Witness  

Ask a manager or HR professional to be present during your conversation. This is especially important when discussing policy violations, behavioral issues, or anything that involves disciplinary coaching. Brief your third party on the situation to make sure you understand each other’s roles and responsibilities before the talk.

2. Remain Positive

Maintain an open line of communication with a coaching style of dialogue. This helps the employee avoid becoming defensive and argumentative. Begin by asking simple questions such as “How’s everything going?” or “Can I have a few moments of your time to talk about some feedback about your behavior?” Clarify exactly what the issue is and specific examples of how the employee can improve. Include facts and data to support your statements. For instance, “I have some suggestions for what we can do. Can you share some ideas so we can reach this goal?” Provide the necessary tools, resources, and support to reach milestones for improvement and measure success. Finish the conversation on a positive note.

3. Tie the Issue to the Business

Point out how the issue creates a concern for the team or company. For instance, consistent absenteeism may mean that teammates have to add to their already full workload to ensure tasks get done on time. Or, a conflict with a coworker can make it more difficult for employees to collaborate on projects. This shows your main focus is on the company, not the employees’ personal lives. Work with the employee to create a plan to improve and a job-related consequence if they do not. Making the employee feel heard is empowering and encourages them to do better.

4. Maintain Confidentiality

When addressing a conflict between employees, keep the conversation limited to those involved. Make sure they understand that what they disclose may need to be shared with others. Meet individually with the employee you received feedback about and others who witnessed the incident to discuss their behavior. Use the information you gather to determine what happened. Work with the employees to find a fair resolution. Hold everyone accountable for keeping with the final agreement.

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Find the expertise required to make your next IT execution and implementation successful. Talk with RightStone today.


How to Create a Positive Team Culture

 

As an IT manager, you understand the importance of teamwork. When your team members communicate and collaborate well, they are better able to do their work. However, blending employees with different talents and personalities can result in challenges. This is one reason why having a strong team culture is necessary.

Follow these 6 guidelines to build a desirable team culture.

1. Define Your Team Culture

Talk with your team about what your culture should look like. This is important because your employees’ actions, interactions, and attitudes impact the effectiveness of your success. For instance, your team culture may be defined by having a positive mindset both inside and outside the office. This creates a strong team synergy that minimizes conflict and increases success. Everyone performs better when they work as a cohesive group. Different ideas lead to solutions for problems. Shared visions let your team see the future.

2. Learn from Other Successful Teams

Explore how teams with proven track records communicate, collaborate, and solve problems. For instance, incorporate ideas from companies like Google, Southwest Airlines, and Zappos to develop your teambuilding procedures. These companies are among the most successful in engagement, productivity, and goal attainment.

3. Encourage Collaboration

Instill in your team culture the importance of collaboration. Use your enthusiasm, self-discipline, and strengths to serve as a guide for teamwork. For instance, trust your team members to make hard decisions when you are away. Encourage them to discuss how you would handle a situation and carry out an appropriate plan of action.

4. Emphasize Your Company Mission and Core Values

Work with your team to create a list of team values based on your company’s mission and core values. Include in the discussion what everyone’s most important personal values are. Find out whether the same values impact their professional success and whether they would look for these values when hiring employees. Also, talk about what your team would not tolerate in the workplace. Use their answers to set team standards for job performance, customer service, and related issues.

5. Clarify Your Expectations

Explain to your team what you expect from them all of the time. Examples include honesty, accountability, commitment, conflict resolution, and pride in top performance. If your expectations are not being met, privately talk with the employee about the issue. Find out what it causing the problem and how you can help. If the employee does not want to set goals for improvement, assume responsibility, or respond to feedback, they may need to find another source of employment.

6. Continue to Build Your Team Culture

Use positive reinforcement to maintain your team culture. For instance, provide real-time feedback and coaching to help your employees maintain professional growth. Also, encourage your team to get involved in local charity events. Plus, organize employee family activities one weekend per month.

Hire Top-Notch IT Professionals

Add talent to your IT team with help from RightStone. Get in touch with us today.


3 Tips for Performing an Effective Employee Review

As a manager, one of your duties is to conduct monthly, quarterly, or annual employee reviews. These meetings let you talk with each employee about their accomplishments, challenges, and concrete ways to improve performance. Although these discussions can be difficult, they are necessary to ensure your employees align on shared goals and have a plan for future improvements.

Implement these three tips to conduct your next employee review.

1. Prepare Your Feedback in Advance

Gather your thoughts and data about the employee’s performance well before the review. Use the information to fill out the employee evaluation form. This can serve as the framework for your discussion. Make sure your remarks are direct, concise, and transparent. Include specific examples of what the employee has been doing well and how they can improve. This should clarify your goals and expectations and avoid confusion. Have a copy of the evaluation form ready to give the employee to reference and stay on track with the improvements you requested.

2. Maintain a Two-Way Conversation

Encourage an open discussion about the employee’s performance. You want to promote trust, clarity, and alignment with company goals. For instance, find out what they believe to be their greatest strengths, biggest challenges, and areas they can improve in within a month, quarter, or year. You may ask questions such as, “What is the accomplishment from the review period that you are most proud of?” “Which areas do you think you need to improve the most in?” Or, “How can I support you in reaching your goals?” Also, clarify your expectations and evaluation guidelines. In order to stay engaged, the employee should know the level they should be performing at and how their success will be measured. Additionally, actively listen to what the employee says. Repeat what you hear to make sure it is accurate. Ask follow-up questions to gather more information.

3. Focus on the Future

Share your goals and plans for the employee to improve their performance. For instance, involve them in creating an action plan to set milestones and reach objectives in line with company goals. Clarify that you want them to succeed and are available to discuss their concerns and challenges. End the discussion on a positive note with motivation and hope for the future.

Hire Top IT Professionals

When you need the best IT talent, turn to RightStone. Get more information today.


5 Tips for Interviewing a Candidate Older Than You

Sitting down to an interview with someone older than you is not as uncommon as it sounds.

Whether you need to hire for a very senior role or you have an applicant who took a detour on your career path, there are many ways you could find yourself interviewing someone who started their career while you were still in school.

Although the initial realization may feel awkward, interviewing an older candidate than you doesn’t need to be different from any other interview. Here are five things to remember when you find yourself in this scenario.

Don’t Bring Up Your Age or Theirs

Age is just a number. So, please don’t feel the need to make light of your age or ask questions about theirs.

What’s important is their experience and whether they fit the bill for the job. Bringing up the age gap will just increase the awkwardness. Make it a point to leave the conversation at the door and focus only on their qualifications.

Do More Research Beforehand

Research the candidate’s background to better understand what their experience and skills bring to the team. Doing so will give you a chance to ask more in-depth questions, which caters well to candidates who are more experienced than you are.

Rely Heavily on Emotional Intelligence

For some people, returning to an entry-level or mid-career job is part of a big life change, such as returning to the workforce after years or decades of raising a family, overcoming an obstacle like an illness, or finally getting the chance to pursue their dreams.

Empathy and emotional intelligence will help the candidate feel more comfortable. And they will remember how you made them feel above all else.

Go for Common Ground

What experiences do they have that you also have? Finding a point that you can both relate to, whether it’s a course or certification or project, will help the candidate open up and create a more conversational interview style.

Consider Outsourcing the Process

If you want to hire to bring on a more senior position than you currently have at the company, then you might consider outsourcing the recruitment process. Recruiters with expertise in your field will forgo the awkwardness associated with age or experience and have a better eye for the kind of candidate you need.

Are you looking for a new senior role in IT? Get in touch to learn about the RightStone 360 process and how we place the right consultant with the perfect employer. 


Keeping Talented Employees Can Be Difficult: 4 Tricks for Retaining Them

Everyone wants to attract the best talent. But what are you doing to retain the talent you already have? If you’re like many organizations, you’re not doing enough.

Employee retention needs to be a core part of any business strategy, but many organizations put it on the backburner in favor of more “tangible” value-adding processes. Yet, attracting your best employees not only stops employee churn but promotes a stronger culture through experience, loyalty, and leadership.

So how do you keep employees when your competitors are actively recruiting them? Here are four tricks for employee retention.

1. Keep Their Compensation Competitive

A well-known maxim in today’s market is this: if you want a raise, then you need to get a new job.

Financial stability won’t keep employees who want to leave, but it will stop otherwise committed workers from quitting. And it will make your team more difficult to poach.

Do some research and make sure you’re offering a competitive package. If you’re not, start talking to your team to learn more about what you can do to close the gap.

2. Hire the Right Employees

Hiring an employee who is the right fit for the role and the culture is the best thing you can do to retain talent. 

So rather than filling a gap now, wait for the right fit to come along, and make sure you use a comprehensive hiring process to filter candidates.

3. Create a Robust Professional Development Process

Regular reviews, investment in skills, and mentorship are the building blocks of employee retention, and they’re all simultaneously an investment into your company.

Employees who continue to grow their skills and take on new challenges in their jobs are more likely to stay. And it will build into the final piece of the employee retention puzzle: employee recognition.

4. Recognize Employees’ Contributions

All your employees are pulling for the same team: your company. But it’s important to recognize their individual efforts. Be sure to recognize their contributions both privately and publicly to remind them how much you value them and to inspire others.

Remember to keep the recognition specific. Let them (and others) know exactly what they did right and celebrate both personal and team achievements.

Employee Retention Benefits the Whole Organization

Employee retention tactics come in many different forms, and each one is worth the investment. When you work hard to retain your employees by ensuring they feel valued, providing opportunities for growth, and recognizing your efforts, you build stronger teams and a more stable organization.

At RightStone, our consultant retention rate is far above the industry average.Get in touch to learn how we build decades-long relationships between clients and consultants.


Setting 2021 Goals for Your Team

The year 2020 is almost over and few people aren’t glad to see the back of it. Next year could be equally challenging, but here are lessons you can carry from this year into 2021.

One of those lessons is the importance of setting goals for your team. Goals help focus and maintain momentum, even in the midst of chaos. However, you need to choose these goals carefully.

Are you putting together a vision for 2021? Use these tips to set goals that will inspire your team in 2021.

Prioritize Your Team’s Vision

You have an idea of goals to choose from, but do your team members agree?

It’s difficult to motivate teams to do something they have no interest in or don’t see its value. So your first task is to figure out what your group wants to achieve. Once you understand that, you may find it helpful to develop a vision statement that reflects your team’s position. You can use this to reflect on when you set goals and when you reevaluate throughout the year.

Defining goals based on the team’s vision is key. Once everyone is on the same page, it’s much easier to pull in the same direction as one team.

Connect Team Goals to the Organizational Strategy

More and more, employees derive satisfaction and motivation from knowing they’re contributing to something bigger than themselves. Most employees work at your company because they believe in what they do. It’s not the day-to-day operations that drive them but the bigger picture.

Lean into this motivating factor when developing your goals. Identify those instances that connect with the organizational strategy. In other words, ask, “What is everyone here to do, and how does our team take the organization one step closer to achieving it?”

Choose Measurable Goals

A goal you can’t measure isn’t a goal at all. Measurable goals are specific and include precise details: usually, you’ll focus on numbers. For example, “improve customer retention” is a good goal, but it’s hardly measurable unless you choose to “improve customer retention by 10% in one year.”

Keep in mind that your goals should be achievable with the resources available. They can require extra effort, but your projections should always be realistic.

Goal Setting Requires More Than Numbers

Setting and achieving goals in 2021 demands more than picking a KPI and throwing it against the wall. To motivate teams and keep them working together, you need goals that inspire teams to do their best work, even when they’re apart. These are aligned with your vision, connected to strategy, and inherently measurable.

Are you looking to add new team members in 2021? RightStone can help you find someone who fits into your team’s strategy. Get in touch to learn more about the RightStone 360 process.


Political Divisiveness in the Workplace – How to Set the Right Tone for Your Team

Politics is everywhere right now. It’s on yard signs, billboards, and it dominates every form of media. There’s no doubt that tensions are high and likely will remain so even after the election ends. Denying it is impossible. So, what do you do at work?

Talking politics at work is a bad idea. HR says, “Don’t do it.” Leadership says, “Steer clear.” But do the old rules still apply?

It’s impossible to avoid politics altogether. Rather than stamping it out, you need to learn how to manage it.

First, Set Ground Rules for Everyone

If you aren’t aware of your company’s rules around political statements, refer to the HR handbook. If you don’t have any rules, now is an excellent time to set them. The key is to make sure the restrictions apply to everyone equally.

An essential ground rule is to ban political paraphernalia in the workplace. That means no candidate or political party t-shirts or hats or even laptop stickers — not even the ‘funny’ or ‘jokey’ ones. Everyone can have their political views, but they can save their physical expression for nights and weekends.

Keeping these out of the workplace will help prevent colleagues from sitting across the office and seething, which will prevent feelings from bubbling over at the water cooler.

A second rule required for these divided times is the rules governing when to walk away. If a discussion or question becomes a debate or confrontation, then all employees must walk away — no exceptions.

Keep Protections for Labor Speech

Remember that while you can end political debates during work hours, there is legally protected speech as defined by the National Labor Relations Act.

Employees can discuss wages, working conditions, and unions. You can get in trouble for putting the kibosh on these discussions, so make sure everyone knows what’s appropriate and what isn’t.

Remind Everyone of the Policies on Harassment

You can create a culture that avoids confrontation and encourages respect. However, you should also make sure you share resources if some employees can’t meet those standards.

Remind everyone of the rules on harassment, intimidation, and bullying — both online and offline. Create an open-door policy for anyone experiencing any of the above and make it clear to the entire team. 

No one has the right to harass or bully anyone else due to their political beliefs, so it’s vital that everyone knows what your behavioral expectations are and that they have support if it does happen.

Political Speech Happens, But You Can Still Control It

The year 2020 is not a time when employers can ban political speech and call it a job well done. People will talk about politics at work. Your role is to ensure that you create an environment that avoids confrontations, sets behavioral expectations, and upholds the right to protected speech.

These may be unprecedented times, but life and business go on. If you’re looking to add quality IT professionals to your team, RightStone can help. Get in touch to learn about the RightStone 360 process.

 


Delivering a Negative Performance Review – 4 Ways to Turn It Around

No one wants to critique an employee’s negative performance. And no one wants to get a negative performance review. But if an employee is slipping and hasn’t self-corrected, there is no way around it. 

Performance reviews boost productivity and drive engagement. A negative performance review can do that, too, if you frame it correctly.

Here are four ways to deal with an employee who is missing the mark without sending them into a downward spiral.

Start with a Self-Assessment

The worst part of a negative performance review tends to be the surprise with which it is met. If the employee thinks things are still going okay or if they’re trying so hard to tread water that they don’t see their performance, then hitting them with criticism can do lasting damage.

One way to ease into the process is to give your employee a chance to take a lead. A self-assessment gives you both a clear, honest idea of where they think they are and how they perceive their work.

Then, you can find places to naturally start a conversation. Plus, it allows you to see if their performance has less to do with failure and more to do with a difference in expectations.

Identify and Develop Strengths

No one is good at everything. Everyone learns and grows differently. These two principles are important to keep in mind during your performance review.

So rather than focusing solely on what’s going wrong, look for the reasons why, and start asking whether it’s an issue of you prioritizing your employee’s strengths.

Remember: you can’t ask a marathoner to sprint or vice versa without seeing a drop in performance. It doesn’t mean their not a good employee. It just requires realigning roles and expectations.

Use Your Emotional Intelligence

Your ability to deliver bad news has less to do with the message and more to do with your delivery. You’ll rely heavily on your emotional intelligence as you navigate the review.

One of the most difficult things you’ll learn to do is manage your own expectations when your employee doesn’t just have bad habits — they’re also a problem employee.

It’s important to stay calm and collected regardless of what way the talk goes. You don’t want to inflame the situation because no one wins.

Frame It as a Chance to Succeed

The only thing worse than getting a poor performance review is knowing that you’ve been doing something wrong for weeks — or even months — and no one told you.

So rather than framing a negative performance review as something ‘bad,’ reframe the whole experience as a chance to succeed. If you can reframe it in your mind, you will not only be able to better deliver the news, but you’ll dread it less and won’t feel as drained afterward.

Negative Performance Reviews Can Be Positive Opportunites

No one becomes a leader so they can dole out criticism all day. Unfortunately, it’s part of the territory. However, you can deliver these reviews in a way that creates an opportunity for growth for both the employee and the whole team.

Are you looking for IT professionals to join your team and execution your vision? RightStone is placing quality IT consultants right now. Get in touch to learn more about the RightStone 360 process.


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