Why Surveys Are Beneficial for Businesses
There are a variety of actions a business can take to improve the overall performance standards of their employees, such as engaging in a business training program to encourage knowledge building and sharing. For employees and managers, it is crucial to have a transparent and organized working environment where everybody is on the same page in terms of the team’s larger goals. This way, the business can be as effective as possible to the satisfaction of all employees.
To capitalize on the organizational growth of a business, surveys are a fast way to gather needed information. Conducting regular surveys, either from within the company or from external sources, can provide businesses with data that can help all employees perform their jobs more efficiently. Though there are many types of surveys, businesses should conduct niche market surveys and employee surveys on a regular basis to enhance their success.
Niche Market Surveys
By utilizing niche market surveys, a business can get to know its target market. The survey can help a business gain insight that will help to improve the brand, products, and overall company message. A niche market survey will guarantee research results that come directly from clients or customers, who in turn can inspire new market ideas.
When administering a niche market survey, a business should try to see you the questions from the point of view of the customer. This will help in making sense of the responses and in understanding what the customer is thinking. The point of a niche market survey is ultimately to gain indispensable information from customers that can be used to expand or develop a product and a business’ strategies.
The second type of survey that businesses should use regularly is employee surveys. Because organization within a company is crucial to its success, it is important for each member of staff to be setting individual goals while working towards the business’ larger objectives. Employee surveys are the most direct way for an employer to find out if a staff member is satisfied with their position and is making the most of their role.
A good employee survey, which should be administered more than once per year, should address the following:
- Employee’s personal career goals
- Employee’s plans for the company
- Workplace satisfaction
By asking employees not only how they want to grow as an individual, but also how they believe the company can also improve, the employees will understand that they are a part of a larger team and that their opinion matters. Conducting employee surveys also allows each staff member to reflect on their short-term and long-term business plans, which may result in an enhanced employee work performance across the board. Managers should always be aware whether or not their employees are satisfied in order to avoid a buildup of negativity in the workplace.
Administering niche market surveys and employee surveys is helpful for a business looking to gather information that is essential to the company’s growth and organization, but may otherwise be difficult to determine.
Enhance Your Working Memory and Become More Efficient
It happens to all of us. We forget the phone number we just looked up, the name of the girl we just met, where we set the keys just a minute ago. While all of these can be frustrating moments, they’re signs of a much bigger underlying problem – a poor working memory.
We use our working memory every day as we read, write, plan, organize, follow a conversation, or follow directions. Furthermore, through various tricks and strategies, it’s possible to train your working memory over time to become more effective, especially in terms of professional efficacy.
Break information into manageable chunks
Your working memory has trouble handling large amounts of information at once, so it’s best to break thoughts up into manageable categories. If you have a lot of things to remember at once, try grouping everything into chunks that you can consider individually. For example, if you’re trying to remember a long shopping list, you may want to divide it into dairy, meat, and vegetable sections to make everything easier to call to mind later.
Make multi-step checklists
If you have a lot to do and are worried about forgetting or overlooking something important, it might help to write up a list. You can prioritize what you need to get done so that you are able to focus on just one thing at a time. This can make a hectic schedule much easier to handle, whether at home or in the office.
Practice consistent routines
Consistency makes it easier to remember things on a day to day basis. If you place your keys in a particular bowl each time you come home, then you’re likely to remember exactly where they are the next time you need to leave the house. Setting up and following a daily routine can help to take some of the stress out of busy days, as you’ll take care of the important things automatically.
Your working memory is what allows you to bring up relevant pieces of information or process ideas in the short-term. Not everyone has the same capabilities when it comes to working memory, however every does have the ability to improve it if they choose to. And needless to say, a better working memory equals a better working performance and overall success, so why not spend some time working on this skill.
A Better Manager is a Better Listener
HR professionals are in the unique position of being able to cover both the organization or company they are working for, and the employees it employs. This means HR Managers need to be able to speak well, to research, to understand both sides, but also, crucially, to be able to listen to others. Here’s how HR managers can improve their listening skills:
1. Engage in Active Listening
Understand the nonverbal communication of your employee when they are speaking. This means facial expressions, body language, intonation, pace etc… however, do remember that not all people communicate the same way nonverbally; for example those on the Autism spectrum offer suffer due to their body language being misinterpreted.
2. Get Off the Electronic Devices
Multitasking is not going to help a conversation. Neuro-wires will get crossed and not only that, if you are using other devices while someone speaks they will feel that they are not being listened to or taken seriously.
3. Steer Straight – No Tangent Highways or Scenic Routes
Even if the speaker goes off on small tangents, listen to the key message and don’t get distracted. If you express your own opinion on the side point, it could derail and distract the whole conversation. Let the speaker have ample room for self-expression without being pinned down on small points.
4. Avoid Misunderstandings
If you feel confused by what the other person is saying, do not make assumptions, but instead ask follow up questions to clarify their point of view and needs. Try to avoid selective hearing or misunderstanding on purpose – it helps no one.
5. Be Patient
Multiple studies prove that patience is the key virtue of effective listeners. By responding too soon to a statement or discussion, a listener can miss the key gist of what was being said. Step back, don’t jump into the conversation, so you can understand then repeat the key points back to the speaker.
The Best Advice I Ever Got
In the March 21, 2005 issue of Fortune Paul Vivek shared the “The Best Advice I Ever Got”
“The best advice I ever got was from an elephant trainer in the jungle outside Bangalore.
I was doing a hike through the jungle as a tourist. I saw these large elephants tethered to a small stake. I asked him, ‘How can you keep such a large elephant tied to such a small stake?’ He said, ‘When the elephants are small, they try to pull out the stake, and they fail. When they grow large, they never try to pull out the stake again.”
That parable reminds me that we have to go for what we think we’re fully capable of, not limit ourselves by what we’ve been in the past.”
Coaching and Mentoring
Stuck in a Hole
In an episode of The West Wing, the White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry tells Josh Lyman in the following story. In the story, Spencer is describing his character’s relationship with Josh Lyman as a mentoring one.
“A man was walking along a sidewalk when he fell into an unprotected hole. He could not get out. A doctor came along and he cried out for help. The doctor wrote him a prescription, threw it into the hole and continued walking. Then a priest came along and he cried out again. This time, the priest wrote down a prayer, threw it into the hole and continued walking.
Finally, a friend came along. His response was to jump down into the hole to comfort the man. The man said ‘What was the point of that? Now we are both stuck down the hole.’ ‘Ah’ replied his friend ‘but I have been here before, and I know how to get out.”
The Mexican Fisherman
The American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.
Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.”
The American then asked, “Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”
The Mexican said, “With this I have more than enough to support my family’s needs.”
The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life.”
The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat: With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the
processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you will run your ever-expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15 to 20 years.”
“But what then?” asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said that’s the best part. “When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “Isn’t that what I’m doing right now?”
There was once a village struck by famine and the people there were starving.
Children ran around on spindly legs, and as for animals, their ribs were sticking out so pathetically it was hard not to cry.
A kindly, old stranger was walking through the land when he came upon a village. As he entered, the villagers moved towards their homes locking doors and windows.
The stranger smiled and asked, “Why are you all so frightened? I am a simple traveller, looking for a soft place to stay for the night and a warm place for a meal.”
The villagers grew wary when they heard this because who could feed one more mouth when they did not have enough for their own stomachs?
“Please go away. We do not have food for you. There’s not a bite to eat in the whole province,” he was told. “We are weak and our children are starving. Better keep moving on.”
“Oh, I have everything I need,” he said. “In fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you.”
The villagers watched suspiciously as he built a fire and filled a cauldron with water. With great ceremony, he pulled a stone from a bag, dropping the stone into the pot of water. He sniffed the brew extravagantly and exclaimed how delicious the stone soup is.
“Ahh,” the stranger said to himself rather loudly, “I do like a tasty stone soup. Of course, stone soup with cabbage – that’s hard to beat.”
Soon a villager approached hesitantly, holding a small cabbage he’d retrieved from its hiding place, and added it to the pot.
“Wonderful!” cried the stranger. “You know, I once had stone soup with cabbage and a bit of salt beef as well, and it was fit for a king.”
The village butcher managed to find some salt beef. Then a villager remembered that he had some onions in the corner of his kitchen. A mother of three offered a few carrots she had hidden away against a crisis. Someone else poured in a handful of lentils.
Slowly, slowly, the soup grew thick, delicious and nourishing until there was a delicious meal for everyone in the village to share.
The villager elders offered the stranger a great deal of money for the magic stone, but he refused to sell it and travelled on the next day.
New Year’s Resolution Strategies
According to the University of Scranton: Journal of Clinical Psychology (Research Date: 1/1/2014), only eight (8%) percent of people are successful in achieving their New Year’s resolution. The study also found that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who do not explicitly make resolutions. To help you keep your resolution this year consider the following six suggestions.
1. Write it
2. List it
3. Plan it
4. Visualize it
5. Post it
6. Share it
Write it down
The first step to a successful New Year’s resolution is writing it down. Put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and state your resolution. By writing or typing your New Year’s resolution, you make a stronger commitment to it than just thinking or saying it. Written words are more powerful than thoughts which come and go, and often get interrupted. When it is written, you can see it and it becomes more tangible and real to you.
Also, when you write your resolution it will force you to clarify exactly what you want. If you do not write down your goal, it is only a wish.
List the benefits
After you write or type your New Year’s resolution, list the benefits of achieving it. List what you will get out of sticking to and achieving your resolution. Listing the benefits will help provide motivation. Knowing what you will get by achieving your resolution will provide inspiration throughout the months. For example, if you resolve to get into better shape, you may list being healthier, having more energy, or feeling good about yourself. If you plan on saving more money, you may list what you will be able to do with the savings (e.g. take a trip, down payment for a house, etc…).
Do not try to accomplish too much too quickly. It may become overwhelming and you may get discouraged. Often times, people create a lofty resolution, but it is so lofty they get frustrated and quit within a short period of time. Many New Year’s resolutions have ended by March 1.
If you do decide upon a challenging resolution, create a plan of how you will achieve your end goal. Break your resolution down into smaller segments. If you want to stop smoking, plan on gradually reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke per day. If you want to save $2000 by the end of the year, plan on setting aside $6 a day.
Your segmented plan will act like mile markers on a highway. You can focus on each mile marker as it comes up and not get discouraged by looking down the long road ahead. It will also enable you to see how far you have come and how far you need to go.
Visualize the Outcome
One of the best ways to develop a commitment to your resolution is to visualize the end result. By visualizing the end result, you get a mental picture of exactly what you want the results to look like. You see yourself successfully reaching your goal. If you want to get in better shape, create a mental picture of yourself wearing your favorite swimsuit in the summer. Knowing and seeing the outcome will also help motivate you during the course of the year.
“Out of sight, out of mind” is a saying that can apply to your resolution. You want to keep your resolution at the forefront of your thoughts. Therefore, after you write your resolution, post it where you will see it regularly. Regularly seeing and reading your resolution gives you a constant reminder of what you want to achieve. When you read it on a regular basis you begin to focus your attention on it.
Post it on your refrigerator, on your computer, at your desk at work, or anywhere it gives you a constant reminder of what you want to accomplish. If you post your resolution, you can read it and think about throughout the day. The more you see it, the more you think about it, and the more it will matter to you. You will give your subconscious a clearer image of what you want to accomplish. It will become something that you think about constantly. It will be kept at the forefront of your thoughts.
Share your resolution with others. Sharing your resolution with others, benefits you in several ways. First, you develop a deeper commitment to accomplishing it. If people know about it, they may ask you about it during the course of the year. If they do ask, you want to be able to tell them how successful you have been. It puts a little pressure on you to keep it up. Subconsciously you do not want to admit that you were not able to keep your resolution. On the other hand, if people did not know about it, it is easier to quit. No one would ever know you failed to keep your resolution. It is the easy way out, but it will not help you reach your goal.
Also, by letting others know about your resolution, they can cheer you on and support you if you find it challenging to keep it over the course of the year.
Also, share your progress. Let people know how you are doing with your resolution. Keep them apprised of your progress over the year. Social media is a great way to let people know how well you are doing. Another nice thing is that your success may encourage and inspire others to try or stick to a goal of their own.
There is a little pressure on you when you share your resolution, but a lot of benefits.
Performance Management System – Best Practices for Successfully Measuring Results
In every organization, a performance management system is critical to the success and effectiveness of the business. While many companies reference performance management as a key competency, few have robust approaches that enable both manager and employee success. In this article, we’ll discuss the key components or an effective performance management system so that you can better identify gaps in your own processes and implement best practices that will continually enable continuous performance improvements in your organization.
Components of a Performance Management System
The foundational aspects of a robust performance management system include:
- Clear Role Definitions and Performance Expectations
- Continual Performance Reporting
- Frequent Performance Coaching
- 360 Degree Feedback Approach to Performance Improvement
- Performance Appraisal or Performance Review process
- Performance Improvement Planning / Performance Development Planning
Read full article on Coach4growth.com
Lack of Ability, or Low Motivation?
Article from MindTools.com
For every hundred men hacking away at the branches of a diseased tree,
only one will stoop to inspect the roots.
– Chinese proverb
Are individual members of your team performing less well than you’d hoped? If so, this proverb can take on great significance. To figure out what’s causing the performance issue, you have to get to the root of the problem.
But because employee performance affects organizational performance, we tend to want to look for a quick fix. Would a training course help Ted? Or should you move him into a different role?
These types of solutions focus largely on the ability of the person performing the job. Performance, though, is a function of both ability and motivation.
Performance = Ability x Motivation
- Ability is the person’s aptitude, as well as the training and resources supplied by the organization
- Motivation is the product of desire and commitment
Someone with 100% motivation and 75% ability can often achieve above-average performance. But a worker with only 25% ability won’t be able to achieve the type of performance you expect, regardless of his or her level of motivation.
Diagnosing Poor Performance
So, before you can fix poor performance, you have to understand its cause. Does it come from lack of ability or low motivation?
Incorrect diagnoses can lead to lots of problems later on. If you believe an employee is not making enough of an effort, you’ll likely put increased pressure on him or her to perform. But if the real issue is ability, then increased pressure may only make the problem worse.
Low ability may be associated with the following:
- Over-difficult tasks.
- Low individual aptitude, skill, and knowledge.
- Evidence of strong effort, despite poor performance.
- Lack of improvement over time.
People with low ability may have been poorly matched with jobs in the first place. They may have been promoted to a position that’s too demanding for them. Or maybe they no longer have the support that previously helped them to perform well.
Read full article on MindTools.com
1. Setting of performance goals.
2. Provision of performance assistance.
3. Provision of performance feedback.