This is part 5 of the series Understanding the 21st Century Workforce. You can start with that one and read each one in order, jump around, or start with the previous post and go backwards.

Monday Keynote Bo Wang from Tencent
Creative Commons License Official GDC via Compfight

The last two articles will go in a much different style and direction and be easier. In essence, these are options for how to attain, first, better communications within your department and organization, and second ideas on how to help employees grow and help protect your company’s investment in them.

Internal PR – Communications

1 Planned and consistent meetings. You can’t ever achieve anything without a meeting here and there. It works better if there are pre-established times for meetings so employees know what to expect and, if you’ve learned how to have open meetings, can plan and prepare questions and comments for those meetings.

2 Company newsletter. This might not make sense in a small department or company but in any organization with at least 100 employees it makes a lot of sense. You can tell people anything and have them misinterpret it; won’t happen as easily if it’s written down.

3 Suggestion boxes. Yeah, I know, not many people will use suggestion boxes. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them available in some companies in case someone wishes to offer something anonymously. Of course if you’re having those meetings I mentioned and people are contributing regularly this won’t be an issue for you.

4 Bulletin board of all things good. Bad news permeates most things but we don’t hear enough about good news or accolades. Having a central place where people can read or see some of the positive things going on around them can have a great effect on morale.

Growth, Development & Succession Planning

1 Leadership training programs. The world is bereft of enough quality leaders; yeah, I said it. Most of the people put into leadership positions aren’t prepared for it, no matter how technically skilled they are. Leadership programs benefit everyone, even those who are already pretty good. They can be onsite or offsite.

2 More technical training programs. Almost every profession has technical training programs to either teach or reinforce skills. Books are easy to grab but everyone doesn’t respond as well to just reading about things. Spend the money; you’ll end up with more benefit in the long run.

3 Mentoring. I recently wrote on the topic of mentoring and how it can help anyone who could use someone to talk to about almost anything, whether it’s growth, business, or just to have someone to commiserate with.

4 Some cross training. When I was coming up in health care I had the opportunity to do a little bit of everything at some point. Thus I billed outpatients and inpatients, registered patients in the emergency room, learned how to code procedures and train others on how to capture them, on and on and on. It makes for an employee with great skills and a great value to the company.

5 Goal setting/motivation

6 Definable levels of promotion; how many can you afford or list?. In my opinion, one of the major failings of large companies is an undefined track of promotional opportunities or increase of income. A yearly raise isn’t all that much and it tends to reward a lot of people who really don’t deserve it except for their longevity. Give people something to work for and reward those who can reach it. At some point give people titles and more income and help them define their roles better. Is it easy? No, but it’ll be greatly beneficial if you’re allowed to do it.

Wasn’t that easy? Only one more to go; stay tuned…
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