Saturday, 24 April 2021

Getrtiong Engaged

Before the pandemic, evidence suggested that many employees were not really engaged with their work/workplace/employing organisation.  The results of a lack of engagement are absenteeism, poor quality of work and a lack of concern for customer service.

So, what has happened during the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, engagement has not increased. It is difficult to maintain  engagement over distance …. but too manny firms have ignored this problem and made no real attempts to engage their employees with positive action .

As employees drift back to their places of work, some of this lack of engagement may automatically disappear … but it is a dangerous strategy to simply make this assumption. 

Re-establishment of positive engagement should start with the communications about returning to the workplace.  These, themselves, should be positive, thanking employees for their contribution if they have been working from home, or for their patience if they have been furloughed.  Previous relationships should  be re-established so employees feel comfortable and careful re-training provided in ceased employees have lost skills or confidence.

This also applies to supervisors and managers who must be made aware of the importance of a ’smooth’ return to work and to established working practices.

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Join the Dots

Most small businesses fail before they grow into big businesses. One of the commonest reasons is that they run out of working capital. In turn this is because the business leaders often do not understand the relationships between different aspects of their business. They fail to fully connect sales, production and finance.  

At times they concentrate on sales, without bothering to ensure they have the capacity to meet enhanced sales contracts.  Or they concentrate on production without having those enhanced sales contracts - and end up with lots of unsold stock.

Even when they consider sales and production together, they might fail to fully understand the implications for financing - in both the short and long term.

Yet these leaders of small businesses are ‘smart’ businessmen - they have fought tenaciously to establish and grow their business.  They have probably hired someone with financial acumen and installed one of the standard accounting packages.  They have created the conditions for financial control - just forgotten to exercise it.

Their performance management is probably similar.  They might measure performance  - output, quality, etc but fail to make all the necessary linkages or take the hard decisions that sometime need to be taken. If, for example, they tolerate poor performance (or even fail to recognise it), their workers will recognise this and may act accordingly - becoming de-motivated or exploiting what they perceive as management weakness.

In both areas, managers need to ‘join the’ dots- to make the various links between measurement and control; to establish measures which uncover poor performance and highlight problems’; to establish  communication processes which ensure everyone knows what their role is and how their performance is perceived; to establish rewards for good performance and sanctions for poor performance.

Then they might actually create the environment in which they can prevent small problems becoming big problems and enhance the possibility that their small business might grow into a large business.

Saturday, 10 April 2021


Did you have any New Year resolutions?  If so, are they still intact?  Do you have ‘staying power?

If you do, it is perhaps because you build some kind of reminder into everyday events when your resolution is needed.  Perhaps a reminder note on the fridge or in the car. Perhaps you go further and build a ‘system’ to continually remind you’ve - like a daily/repeating  calendar entry.

Most of us need some kind of support system to keep us focused and make sure we don’t simply forget.  Any reminder should be at the right time and should be appropriate.  For example, any reminder about our diet might include our present weight or waistline measurement to more directly motivate us.

The same is true of such resolutions in a work environment.  If we want to establish a kaizen or continuous improvement regime, we need to know we can maintain effort and direction over the longer-term. We can use calendar entries, daily inspirational quotes from the web, make it a standing item on all meeting agendas or whatever.   We also need everyone to understand bits importance so our ‘reminder regime’  must include communication.

We must be resolute!

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Sleeping on the Jiob

March 15th was National Napping Day and March was National Sleep Awareness Month. 

A Pew Research Center survey found that 34% of Americans take daily naps.

Many peple find a midday snooze flips off their power switch and reboots their work engine for the rest of the day. Its certainly less harmful to your body than drinking several  cups of coffee to keep you alert and productive through the afternoon slump. 

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 30 minutes or less of catnapping can “restore alertness, enhance performance and reduce mistakes and accidents” in the workplace.

Some businesses have caught on, recognising the benefits of alertness, reduction in errors and increased productivity. In fact, more and more companies are encouraging employees to take power naps at work. Some such as Nike, Pizza Hut and Thrive Global Inc. even provides special rooms with specially designed chairs for snoozing.

So, if you see some of your employees taking a nap midday, congratulate them for their initiative.

Your productivity should benefit.