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The 360 Review Process – An Inside Look at an HR Company’s Implementation

The 360 Review Process - An Inside Look at an HR Company's Implementation

Deciding which performance review process to implement at your organization can often be a daunting task. There are so many elements to consider, and one assessment process will be perfect for one company and a complete disaster for another. At 4 Point Consulting, after careful consideration, we decided to implement the 360-degree review process for our team this year.

Which performance review process is best for your team?

As an HR consulting organization, we approached the process with what some might call extremely tedious rigor, or as we call it “due diligence.” With all the potential pitfalls of 360s in mind, our team knew that in order to successfully implement the process, careful steps must be taken to ensure our whole team was on board, educated in the process, and fully participating. First, each member of the team was assigned reading “homework” to learn about the 360 process from all angles — the good, the bad, and the complicated. We then split into groups and assigned each role’s core competencies on which they’d be measured by their peers (competencies are employee behaviors, skills or attributes that contribute to the success of an organization). With all this due diligence and team involvement, we still weren’t ready to jump into the actual review process quite yet. To truly ensure that the whole team was near expert-level on the process (which, to be clear, is a step that isn’t necessary for any other type of organization), our groups wrote presentations on different aspects of the 360 review process and delivered them to the rest of the team to ensure a truly well-rounded and fully-involved and knowledgeable process once we began. We also had a separate team that was tasked solely with researching the myriad of options for implementing the process (we ultimately decided on a simple document designed in Google Forms).

360 reviews can “change lives,” according to the Harvard Business Review

Was our process a success? Overwhelmingly, it seems most of us agree that indeed, it was. We were each reviewed by several of our peers and project managers — truly receiving the “sideways and upwards” feedback intended with this process, and each of us walked away from our reviews with a thoroughly holistic idea of our performance.

I sat down with a few 4 Point Consulting team members, CEO and Principal Consultant Christy Hopkins, Associate Principal and Project Manager Kathryn Gongaware, and Associate Consultant Steve Discont, to get a holistic view of our process.

“I thought that utilizing different groups to cross reference everyone’s work and build off the competency creation was great. It was a very hands on approach and I think from the start helped cultivate that feeling that every person’s contributions and feedback is valuable.”  – Heather Paterson, Talent Project Coordinator

In retrospect, is there something that was learned through the process that you think we should do differently next time?

CEO: I learned that I should’ve prepared the leadership/management team, who were all SUPER in support of implementing 360s, that they would be hardest hit by some of the feedback. I also learned that my entire team is BRILLIANT (I already knew this, but the presentations were AMAZING). I love the review process now and I’m genuinely excited for the next time we do this.

Project Manager: I think one missed opportunity was that we could’ve used the process as a chance to get feedback from the whole team on the company as a whole. In the future, we’ll have to make sure to include engagement or general company feedback questions to give employees the opportunity to share their thoughts on the company as a whole and embrace that opportunity for us as leaders to really learn what the whole team truly feels about the organization and how we can improve.

Associate Consultant: For us, I think extending the length of the time intended between inception, launch, and completion would have helped us, in hindsight. I think that the 360 feedback process is a very valuable tool for development and understanding an individual’s performance. Establishing a 360 process method, developing processes, training team members on the process, collecting feedback, and processing and disseminating results takes time, and I feel that although we did this about 1.5-2.0 months, I think we were extremely ambitious. I think this is especially true as I know that a number of us had challenges thinking about the areas of strength and the areas of development that our fellow peers might have, as we had not been proactively looking for them or keeping track of them over the previous 6 months. I think now as a team will be more prepared for the next set of performance evaluations now that we know the process and what is recommended for giving effective feedback.

What were some memorable moments from the 360 review process — either from creation, implementing, or writing your own reviews?

CEO: One thing that was really interesting to me was how challenging it was for me to stay hands off and just TRUST my team to get to where they needed to be. But as I mentioned, I learned that my team is brilliant and I can trust them to accomplish anything.

Project Manager: As someone who helped on the software research side of things, I will say — if an organization has the time and resources to conduct similar research, it’s worth it to figure out which software would work the best for your organization, based on company size and your budget. Another thing to note is that no one was shocked when they left their review. This is how it should be. Just because you’re implementing 360s, that doesn’t mean you should do away with giving your team regular, constructive feedback.  

Associate Consultant: A particularly memorable moment was the experience of sitting there and actively working to write constructive feedback for the development for my colleagues and of management. I think that it can be easy to point out the chinks in other people’s armor, and point at how they trip and fall. It’s much more challenging to actively consider how to phrase things so a person can see the areas they need to improve in a non-judgmental way, and provide suggestions on how they can continue to grow. I found myself having to take my time and restructure and re-frame my thoughts for the betterment of my fellow 4Pointers. Heck, I think this applies for me too, since I was put in a position where I had to critically evaluate my own performance on the competencies established for my role, and think about how I could improve in each of the respective competencies.

Any final thoughts or words of wisdom?

CEO: As a company leader, it’s so important to create an open dialogue with your employees and really build trust both ways. We decided to have a feedback forum before we started the 360 process, and it was really helpful to hear everyone’s thoughts, concerns, and suggestions before we began. I recommend doing this early and often when a new system or process is implemented in the workplace. This way you can really take in the feedback and respond to it, make any minor changes necessary, and truly show your team that their input is valued and appreciated.

Associate Consultant: I think the 360 Feedback process is an extremely valuable one, but can be a potentially expensive one. For companies the size of ours, and with roles with such complexities as ours, the 360 process is worthwhile. There are some roles in companies where it may not be nearly as beneficial to the employee (e.g., maintenance staff, tier 1 customer service staff). It can also be a time-consuming process, depending on the number of reviews a person is asked to perform. This, added up across all the people performing ratings, can account for a notable number of work hours. It’s important for a company and its leadership to actively consider the benefits that they are looking to gain from implementing a 360 feedback system versus the potential drawbacks of doing so.

Project Manager: Whatever review process you choose for your organization, make sure you’re still giving consistent recognition and feedback. We like to use our internal “Shoutouts” Slack channel for peer recognition of a teammate’s performance or a job well done. The more positive you can make that, the better. Encourage your team to shine light on their peers that are performing well or that have done something worth mentioning to the rest of the company.


Need some assistance with your organization’s performance review process? Send us a message for help choosing a method, process design or implementation, or for an hourly-rate consultation with one of our friendly and trusted HR gurus.

4 Point Consulting is a boutique HR Consulting and Talent Acquisition firm, specializing in small business and high-growth startups, as well as VC and PE firms. Our services range from full-time talent acquisition and complete benefits systems creation to employer brand enhancement and HRIS implementation — and everything in between.

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Letting Go – Employee Termination Letter Template and How-To Guide

Letting Go - Employee Termination Letter Template and How-To Guide

While terminations are unpleasant, they are sometimes inevitable or necessary for the betterment of the company. This article will walk you through how to know when termination is the right option, and how to then execute the  firing of an employee with the least amount of risk.

We’ll discuss:

  • How to Know If It’s Time to Fire Someone
  • The Laws Around Terminations
  • The 5 Steps of an Employee Termination

o   Step 1: Compiling Documentation

o   Step 2: Create a Termination Plan

o   Step 3: Prepare for the Termination Meeting

o   Step 4: Termination Meeting

o   Step 5: After the Meeting

Plus

  • The Top 10 Termination Tips
  • Free Downloadable Termination Letter Template

But first, let’s backtrack for a moment and decide if firing someone is what actually needs to be done.

How to Know If It’s Time to Fire Someone

Remember, firing or termination should be the last resort for any employee as it causes stress to a business and even risk, as well as of course the negative impacts on the team, the actual employee in question, and overall office morale. Techniques like progressive discipline, coaching, and a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) should be exhausted prior to termination, unless a particularly egregious offense has been committed (i.e. stealing, workplace violence or threats of it). These steps also can serve as documentation for the termination, which is crucial for mitigating risk and avoiding a lawsuit.

Prior to termination, ask yourself:

  • Have I exhausted all options for trying to get this employee to comply to policies, perform, behave better, etc…?
  • Have I tried coaching, feedback (both direct and indirect), and have I been absolutely clear that their behavior or performance is unacceptable?
  • Will this person be surprised at being terminated? (Hint: NO ONE should ever be surprised at being fired if you have exhausted all possible ways to keep them as an employee.)

Now, especially if you are moving forward with the termination of the employee, you need to make sure your actions are in compliance with your state’s laws.

The Laws Around Terminations

In the end, every state except Montana is subject to what’s calledat-will employment. In its most basic element, this means that an employer has the right to terminate someone with or without cause, as long as there is nothing else at play (i.e. discrimination, retaliation for a sexual harassment complaint). On the flip side, it does also mean that an employee can walk away from an employer without recourse. However, most people think of it for the employer’s right. Again, remember- it still does not make an illegal act like termination for discrimination, for whistle-blowing, or other retaliation legal.

We recommend you also look here for more detailed laws around termination in your state specifically.

The 5 Steps of an Employee Termination

Once you have made the decision that you will be moving forward with terminating an employee, here are the 5 steps you should take. If you find these steps hard to follow, there is a chance that you should consider a better documentation process of performance or behavior issues, or an implementation of a more formal feedback or performance system.

The 5 steps we will go through are:

o   Step 1: Compiling Documentation

o   Step 2: Create a Termination Plan

o   Step 3: Prepare for the Termination Meeting

o   Step 4: Termination Meeting

o   Step 5: After the Meeting

Need help creating a better performance management system? Send us a message.


Step 1: Before terminating, get your documents together.

First and foremost, compile documentation on performance and behavior for the employee. You may need to involve other team members in this process to collect information or documentation (i.e. an email exchange or something similar). Ensure that team members involved in this process understand the confidential nature of your request.

You’ll also want to compile any documentation you can regarding past actions your company has taken in an effort to rectify the employee’s performance or behavior issues, and consider writing out a timeline of events (especially if a number of verbal warnings or meetings were had). Include dates, times, and who was in attendance. Stick to the facts. 

Here’s a good vs. poor example of how to document employee issues:

GOOD:

“December 12th, 2018, 9 am- Sally was an hour late for her shift. Mark, the manager on shift at the time, had a meeting with her immediately about it in his office. He provided her with an additional copy of the employee time tracking policy, which includes tardiness procedures and outlining the policies of who and how to call in the event that you’re late.”

POOR:

“December 12th, 2018, 9 am- Sally was an hour late to her shift and showed up looking disheveled and looking like she was going to say that her kids made her late again. Mark, the manager, had a meeting with her and informed her that children are not a reason to be late to work.”

When you are creating your documentation, read it back to yourself as if you’re an outside 3rd party (like an attorney). Stick to the facts, and be straightforward with your language – eliminate opinions and hypotheticals.

Now that we have our documentation, let’s create a termination plan.

Noticing you don’t have very much to document the termination? Hint: you might want to wait until you do to avoid risk or other issues.

 

Step 2: Create a termination plan.

Your termination plan should read like a blueprint for the action:

Logistics: Who will be there? When? Where? You will want to answer all of these questions and write down the answers. Think about who else should be present — your attorney? Another of the employee’s supervisors? You should always have a 3rd person as a witness and for safety purposes (as silly as this may sound, it’s a good rule to follow). You may also need to have to provide them with their last paycheck at the end of the meeting. Make sure to check your local legal website to make sure you’re compliant. 

Who else needs to be involved? Make a plan for who needs to know about the termination prior to your meeting, how work will be covered (or shifts), and make sure that the management team is looped in. You will also need to loop in IT in order to cut off passwords, if relevant.

Meeting Agenda: You will need a termination letter, and potentially a separation agreement if you are using severance. which we’ll cover in the next section. 

Have a Termination Checklist: To make sure everything is covered, consider using a checklist.

 

Step 3: Consider all elements. 

Lastly, before the meeting  make should consider the “human” elements of termination. Is this a long-time employee who you might even consider a friend? Think of how you feel about this termination, and take time to consider how management, other team members, and, of course, the soon-to-be-terminated employee might feel about things.

Everyone’s adrenaline will be rushing, so you’ll want to be completely prepared and ready for anything.

To prepare for the termination meeting:

  • Check, and then double check, your termination checklist.
  • Make 2 copies of all documents. 1 for the employee, 1 for your company’s records.
  • Consider creating a script and practicing the meeting. If you have a trusted colleague who knows about the termination, consider some role play and test out three scenarios. The good (the person leaves peacefully), the bad (the person flies off the handle), and the ugly (the person resorts to violence or legal threats).
  • Create an exit plan. You or your witness will need to escort this person off premises for security reasons. Will the person first need to clear their desk, or could you box everything for them and ship it overnight to their home? Think of what’s best for everyone involved, even if it means a few hundred dollars in shipping charges.
  • Consider what else needs to occur, from IT password blocking to collection of company property like a cell phone, laptop, or door key/ FOB and company ID. Have your trusted colleague who is also going to be your witness go over items as well; s/he might think of something you haven’t.
  • You will want to make sure you get the employee’s personal email address and/or phone number if you don’t already have it in order to make sure you can reach them just in case (i.e. a returned W2).

Step 4: Termination Meeting

The time for the meeting is here. Take a deep breath, and gather your preparations and trusted colleague/ witness. Invite the employee to the location, and get to it- deliver the message, provide real reasons (if it’s well documented and not a risk), and then ask the employee if s/he has any questions. Provide them their paperwork, and escort them off the premises (don’t forget to gather that company property!).

In most cases, employees who are terminated actually behave in a way we’d not expect… think of the tough guy you thought would scream at you start to cry. Be sensitive, and allow a person a minute to gather themselves, but continue to iterate that it’s time for them to get going off premises.

If emotions start to run high, invite the employee to leave and that you can answer questions once emotions have died down. If someone has severance, it is advised that they process things for a time period anyway (and if they are over 40, they have 21 days by law). Setting up a follow up meeting or conference call in a secure space with witnesses can be best for everyone once emotions have mellowed.

Once the employee has been safely escorted off premises, you will need to deal with the aftermath.


Step 5: After the Meeting

After the termination meeting, ensure that you:

  • First, inform the team of your actions either via a meeting or an email to the company. Don’t over-dramatize things or go into reasons — and don’t make light of it; this is a big decision that deserves a direct message and then an action plan to how this employee’s work and/or shifts are being covered.

Good Example: “Today we had to let go of Darryl from working at our company. We appreciate his service while here and we will be covering his Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm shifts with a temp employee we hired from an agency. If you have any questions, please do ask your manager. We appreciate your support.”

Bad Example: “I am sure if comes to no surprise to anyone that we fired Darryl today. Hopefully, this will all help you guys to realize what we mean when we give warnings. We will have each of you pick up a shift of his this week to cover his time while we start to recruit for someone to replace him.”

  • Double check that you have suspended all IT access – email, office, passwords etc., as well as gathered all company property. If you forgot something, carefully consider if there is any risk (i.e. do you need to change a door lock?) or if it can be considered a loss.
  • Remember to terminate the employee on internal systems like payroll, benefits, etc.
  • Remove the employee from the website or marketing materials. You will also need to inform clients, if that’s a part of your business, and introduce them to their new account or company contact. We recommend doing this by email to keep things from being too over dramatic, but if you feel a call is warranted, go ahead and do so. Remember to stay succinct and direct about the events, just like in the company meeting/email.
  • Monitor review sites like Glassdoor or social media, just in case. It’s always good to keep an eye on your company reputation in any case.
  • Do the things you said you were going to do. Mail them their belongings and documents (if applicable) in a timely manner, clean up their desk or workspace so that it doesn’t feel like a “ghost” is around, and move forward with a new hire or temp.

Termination is an unpleasant, but sometimes necessary, experience/thing to do. With the steps above, hopefully you can come to a peaceful, albeit not easy, termination situation, and move everyone at the business forward.

Termination Letter Template

Company Header

Address

Full Date (Month/Day/Year)

[INSERT PREFIX] First and Last Name

Full Address

Dear Employee,

This letter confirms our discussion today that you are being terminated from your employment with Company effective immediately. [Optional: In thanks for your service, we are offering a severance of insert amount. Severance details are provided under separate cover in a longer severance agreement document.]

Your benefits packages will expire on full date.

You are required to return company property via source.

You will receive your final paycheck on date. This includes:

  • Bullet list items such as wages, PTO payout, etc..

You will need to keep the company informed of your contact information so that we are able to provide the information you may need in the future, such as your tax form.

Thank you for your service to the company.

Regards,

Name of Employee’s Superior or HR

Title


Top 10 Termination Tips

 

  1. Confirm and double check all documentation. Gather emails, dates of events and meetings, and physical documentation like paperwork should all be kept in 1 place (consider printing emails).
  2. Check your company policy and ensure everything is consistent and aligned with policy.
  3. Check your local and state laws, even if you are at-will. You will want to make sure you are completely prepared.
  4. Review if you have exhausted every option possible to prevent termination.
  5. Create and practice your termination script, especially if you have attachment to the employee or have not done many terminations before. You might be surprised that you have as much emotion as the person on the other side of the table.
  6. Consider a second opinion, be it another manager, a trusted colleague or fellow business owner, or even your attorney. It will help you to feel at ease with your decision and any risks that might be present.
  7. Always avoid a hasty termination; you never know how you might feel about things in 24 hours (especially if this is a performance termination). If policy is crystal clear (i.e. 5 tardies in 1 month = termination and you have documentation of the tardies), then you can move forward with less caution.
  8. Don’t be afraid to change your mind BEFORE the meeting. While you should never change your mind during the meeting or at the employee’s please (it creates risk and a potential legal situation), don’t be so bullish that you consider giving someone one more warning or coaching session to get them back on track.
  9. Trust your gut…within reason. If you’re gut instinct is sending you one way or the other, trust it… and then support it with documentation.
  10. Consider how to avoid this situation in the future. Is there something that could have been done with training? Management style? How you hired this person? Reflection is key to making your business better, and consider involving other people in this reflection process.
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4 Point Consulting invited to join Forbes Chicago Business Council

4 Point Consulting invited to join Forbes Chicago Business Council

We’re thrilled to announce that 4 Point Consulting’s CEO and Principal Consultant, Christy Hopkins, has been asked to join Forbes Chicago Business Council! 


Chicago (January 9, 2019) — Christy Hopkins, CEO and Principal Consultant of 4 Point Consulting, a quality-driven professional services, human resources, and talent acquisition firm that works with startups, SMBs, mid-market companies, VC firms & their portfolios, has been accepted into Forbes Chicago Business Council, an invitation-only community for successful business owners and leaders in Greater Chicago.

Hopkins was vetted and selected by a review committee based on the depth and diversity of her experience. Criteria for acceptance include a track record of successfully impacting business growth metrics, as well as personal and professional achievements and honors.

“We are honored to welcome Christy and 4 Point into the community,” said Scott Gerber, founder of Forbes Councils, the collective that includes Forbes Chicago Business Council. “Our mission with Forbes Councils is to bring together proven leaders from every industry, creating a curated, social capital-driven network that helps every member grow professionally and make an even greater impact on the business world.”

As an accepted member of the Council, Christy will connect and collaborate with other respected local leaders in a private forum and at member events. Hopkins will also be invited to work with a professional editorial team to share her expert insights in original business articles on Forbes.com, and to contribute to published Q&A panels alongside other experts.

“It’s an honor to have been selected to join this community of business professionals,” said Christy. “The professional services climate is rapidly changing, and we’re thrilled to be on the forefront as the industry evolves. I look forward to contributing with the best practices from 4 Point Consulting as well as learning from others on the council.”

ABOUT FORBES COUNCILS
Forbes Councils is a collective of invitation-only communities created in partnership with Forbes and the expert community builders who founded Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). In Forbes Councils, exceptional business owners and leaders come together with the people and resources that can help them thrive.

For more information about Forbes Chicago Business Council, visit forbeschicagocouncil.com. To learn more about Forbes Councils, visit forbescouncils.com.

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Christy Hopkins Featured in an Article on Ladders!

Man holding his hands up in a bully-free workplace

Ladders interviewed 4 Point Consulting’s CEO and founder, Christy Hopkins, about bullying in the workplace. Read the full article to find out how Christy recommends people address a bully in the workplace.

Click here to read the full article.

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How to Create a Bully-Free Workplace

Two men shaking hands in a bully-free workplace in a conference room

Though we tend to think of bullying as a problem that ends with high school, workplace bullying is an unfortunate day-to-day reality for millions of adults. According to a 2017 study by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), 19 percent of Americans are victims of bullying in the workplace. Bullies create a work environment that not only damages the health and well-being of its victims but also negatively affects a company’s bottom line.

Investopedia found that workplace bullying can negatively impact a company’s performance and reputation through reduced productivity, high employee turnover and increased legal costs. Fortunately, awareness of this issue has greatly increased in recent years, thanks to efforts such as National Bullying Prevention Month. Yet small- and medium-sized businesses still need to take steps to ensure they’re providing a safe and productive work environment for all employees.

Recognize Bullying in the Workplace

The signs of workplace bullying are often subtle and can easily be mistaken for normal work stress, allowing them to go unnoticed by many HR professionals. The WBI defines workplace bullying as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons by one or more perpetrators.” Bullies will often habitually take credit for another employees work or, conversely, shift blame to their target when things go wrong. More obvious signs of bullying include aggression, intrusion into a target’s personal space or belongings, or subjecting a target to public humiliation. Supervisors can bully subordinates by setting unrealistic expectations or purposefully pitting employees against one another. Excluding certain employees from important meetings and blocking them from opportunities for advancement are also telltale signs of office bullying.

Properly Handle Incidents of Bullying

Employees should always know they can safely report incidents of bullying to their supervisors or HR representatives. Since the federal government and many states do not have anti-bullying laws, it’s up to individual organizations to devise a strict no-bullying policy (include this information in the employee handbook). If you haven’t already, create an employee complaint form and implement a standardized practice for investigating claims. This practice should include interviewing the victim, bully and any bystanders. Ensure that the investigation process remains confidential. Once it comes time to confront the bully, you should outline the specific behaviors that the bully must change and refer back to the employee handbook to demonstrate the seriousness of the situation.

Create a Bully-Free Workplace

Rather than wait for an incident to occur, it’s best to take immediate steps to proactively foster a positive, bully-free work environment. Creating a company culture that prioritizes inclusion and celebrates diversity reduces the likelihood that a bully will be tolerated in your workplace. Implement a management training program that identifies the early signs of bullying, and include all staff on workplace civility workshops to forge respect and companionship among coworkers. For smaller organizations, dedicating time for team building exercises and social outings help to strengthen bonds and build trust. A recent study by Warwick University found that happiness makes people 12 percent more productive, proving that a happy work environment is not only better for employees, but for the organization as well.

All of this underscores the importance of creating and maintaining a bully-free workplace where all employees feel comfortable and accepted. Getting management on board with new procedures for identifying and handling workplace bullying may present its own challenges, but the long-term benefits always outweigh the potential costs.

4 Point Consulting can help you navigate these new procedures and policies. Contact us to learn more.

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How HR Saves a Company Money

An HR employee demonstrating to two people how to save money

Acquiring a human resources employee or contractor is an investment you make to improve the quality and value of your business. While adding this asset does cost money initially, the long-term payoff in adding these services will save the company untold amounts of money in the following ways:

  1. Ensuring diversification in the workforce
  2. Creating a supportive company culture
  3. Compliance of ever-changing workplace laws and regulations

Diversification in the Workforce

Today’s hiring landscape is more complicated than ever, making it more challenging to not only acquire the right talent, but to do so properly and reap its benefits.

Building a workforce that includes employees of all backgrounds has been proven to increase the all-around success of a business. To prevent improper hiring practices, assess the candidate pool to ensure the candidates are not all of the same background; examine the language and context of the listings to avoid alienating certain groups; and remove bias by implementing blind hiring or using software that hides personal information to prevent any unconscious bias.

Responsible Company Culture

One of the biggest draws in today’s recruiting practices is the overall company culture, which adds to your overall brand identity. Unfortunately, it’s often the culture that causes misconduct issues across the workplace.

Last year, a survey of 150 human resource representatives revealed that roughly one in 10 employers cancelled holiday parties, and only 47.8 percent surveyed said they would provide alcohol due to employee misconduct issues. However, according to the Society for Human Resources Management, no amount of training or post-problem investigations will help eliminate misconduct until a company chooses to invest in a “culture of civility.”

A dedicated HR professional has already acquired the proper training techniques needed to avoid a toxic culture that leads to costly lawsuits and executive firings. They can also determine how to best spend valuable company funds for proactive and preventative measures.

Maintaining Compliance

Federal, state and local employer/employee compliance laws are crucial when a company workforce is growing, but a company has to know these laws exist to comply. A high-level review of these topics is necessary for every business owner, but one must also dive into industry-specific regulations to avoid costly fines and legal actions.

One example is the Ban the Box movement, which is currently supported by 29 states. Ban the Box refers to the elimination of the box indicating criminal history, as checking this box almost always meant the individual was not going to be hired. Unfortunately, this practice too often condemns an otherwise qualified individual for a mistake they made years ago.

Additionally, accommodations for pregnant and nursing employees are gaining momentum after years of being overlooked. Legislation is working its way through government entities to protect pregnant workers on the job, similar to the Americans With Disabilities Act.

A company without an HR department is missing many opportunities and placing the business at risk. Working with a professional HR consultant will not only save a company money on employee turnover costs, but prevent potential lawsuits and increase employee satisfaction in the workplace, which in turn boosts productivity.

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The Top 5 Ways HR Can Help Scale Your Investment

Employees smiling in front of a computer

When investors inject funds into a company, they expect to see growth and returns. While these empire-building professionals know how to build a successful venture from the business side, it’s important for startups to consider the human aspect of their business, as a dedicated and productive workforce will be the driving force behind any and all success. Luckily, there are a number of effective strategies companies can use to invest in their employees.

1. Boost Company Culture to Spur Success

Company culture is a commonly heard in today’s modern work environment, and for good reason. It is an effective way to increase employee happiness and productivity, attract top-talent and identify a business in a crowded industry, among other benefits. However, newly founded companies can struggle to define their internal brand, and maintain it as the business grows. Investing in an HR solution can remedy this situation, allowing that all-important culture to flourish and motivate growth from the inside out. Company values, such as creating and practicing a strong mission and vision, can act as an anchor to guide a business towards success.

2. Proactively Prevent Legal Troubles

A young business with no onboarding process, employee handbook or system to keep track of workplace requests or complaints can quickly find itself in legal trouble. Commonly, companies will seek help reactively to untangle the legal mess they are in, which is expensive and rarely easy. Working with an outsourced HR company or bringing on an internal HR employee can help a business create proactive practices to avoid potential legal vulnerability. Additionally, defining what behavior is expected of employees can set clear expectations and prevent workplace conflicts, which often deteriorate productivity.

3. Create a Workforce Scalability Plan

Scaling a business in terms of financials and external resources is always part of the business plan, but unfortunately, many company leaders fail to plan for massive and sudden internal growth. In fact, a large number of startups fail, and one of the main reasons is due to improper internal growth. Budding startups are already at risk for growing pains — workforce expansion shouldn’t be one of them! Establishing recruiting strategies and scalable internal processes early on in the lifecycle can provide the confidence needed to continue growing, and layout a clear strategy for ongoing success.

4. Manage Employee Sentiment to Maintain Productivity

The most important facet of a business it its employees. It is a proven fact that happy employees are more productive, which directly feeds into a healthier bottom line. When transitions in management occur or a department shifts occur, it is extremely common for employees to experience higher levels of stress. Investing in a strong human resources solution will prevent unrest from spreading throughout the company, potentially damaging the value of the company.

5. Identify the Best, Most Qualified Candidates

New business ventures need a strong group of employees to shoulder the early workload as the company scales. However, as a new business, attracting quality talent will be challenging. An HR company can coach and guide a startup on how to find the best-fit candidates. They can also dramatically increase the business’ exposure to potential future employees. Once a strong team is in place, it will be essential to train, develop and maintain the staff. No one is better equipped to handle those tasks than an HR professional. They know the exact training and development services that will benefits each employee — from executive coaching for team leadership to closing gaps in training and coaching.

Guiding an investment business towards success is about uncovering potential problems and turning them into opportunities. Savvy investors will scour every corner of a company to discover new areas of improvement, and the the workforce carries a high potential for increasing the return on investment. Working with a professional human resources company can help maximize success.

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5 Continuing Education Opportunities to Attract and Retain Top Talent

Retaining employees through team work.

Top talent is difficult to acquire. Once you have high-performing employees, it is essential to implement initiatives to maintain retention. While some may not see it as a priority, statistics show that opportunities for career development and leadership are among the most desirable company offerings. Additionally a lack of employee investment is the reason 91% of workers seek new opportunities. Offering educational opportunities to employees shows them that you are interested in helping them grow and reach their career goals. As an employer, investing in and fulfilling the needs of your top employees will be an integral part to attracting and retaining top talent.

1. Implement Training and Development Programs

High-performing employees understand the value behind training and development programs. Offering these initiatives will attract employees who are looking to improve and want to succeed, which are key qualities of top talent. Training and development programs will not only increase the quality of work, but it will also foster loyalty.

2. Provide Mentorship Opportunities

A mentorship offers many benefits to the mentored employee and the business, as the mentor will impart their good habits and best practices onto the mentee, creating another high-performing employee. The mentor will guide the new employee and offer feedback as they progress in their role. It is also a great way for an incoming staff member to learn the office landscape and to become acquainted with other employees.

3. Send Employees on Conferences

Conferences are a great way to engage employees on topics related to their role. Additionally, it is a great opportunity for them to network with other like-minded professionals. One way to increase the value of the conference is to ask the employee to report back any new practices they learned to the team.

4. Enroll Staff in Professional Courses

Many training and development programs include coursework, as they are a more formal way of learning and can be done at their desk, remotely or in-person.

5. Promote Professional Associations

Presenting employees with access to professional associations is a great way for them to remain up-to-date in their profession. It also allows them to engage outside of work with other similar professionals, and creates the opportunity to expand their network.

6. Offer Job Expansion

After a significant amount of time on the job, the role may grow stale. One way to avoid this is to give employees additional responsibilities to keep them engaged and challenged. When considering expanding an employee’s job roles, work with the individual and their supervisor to find a comfortable balance of additional responsibility.

High-performing employees feel that continued education are critical to progressing their career. Providing these opportunities to staff will show them the company values their career development. Not only will these efforts increase employee loyalty, but it will directly improve the quality of work your employees output. Investing in your employees is an investment in the company.

4 Point Consulting offers Training & Development services to help you invest in your employees.

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6 Steps to Provide Effective Employee Coaching

6 Steps to Provide Effective Employee Coaching

Coaching is defined as an ongoing approach to managing people that creates a positive and motivating climate for performance, improves the match between an employee’s actual performance and an employee’s expected performance, and increases the probability of an employee’s success by providing timely feedback, recognition, clarity and support. Coaching is an alternative to discipline by passing the ownership of performance improvement to the employee rather than the manager. Coaching also works to frame the “issue” as an opportunity to grow and improve rather than the employee “getting in trouble” for something they did wrong.

In this article, we will be focusing on coaching, what effective coaching looks like, and the 6 steps to providing effective employee coaching:

  • What Is Effective Coaching?
  • Why/When Should Effective Coaching Be Used?
  • Step 1: Create Ownership In The Process
  • Step 2: Get On The Same Page
  • Step 3: Remove Barriers To Success
  • Step 4: Collaborate And Brainstorm Solutions
  • Step 5: Write It Out
  • Step 6: Make A Time To Follow Up

What Is Effective Coaching?

Effective coaching not only provides positive feedback about employee contributions but also lets employees know when they are effective contributors to the workforce. By providing this positive feedback, the employee’s actions and contributions are reinforced so that they continue to perform in this way.

Why/When Should Effective Coaching Be Used?

Effective coaching can also be utilized when there are performance issues with an  employee. Employee coaching feedback assists the employee to correct minor issues before they become significant detractions from their performance. The goal of coaching is to work in a collaborative way with the employee to solve performance problems and to improve the work of the employee, the team, and the department.

Coaching & Performance Management

The first step in any effort to improve employee performance is counseling or coaching. Counseling or coaching should be part of the day-to-day interaction between a supervisor and an employee who reports to him/her. Done well, coaching can help an employee continuously improve their skills, experience, and ability to contribute.

Here are some steps that management can take to provide effective employee coaching:

Step 1: Create Ownership In The Process

Show that you have confidence in the employee’s ability and willingness to solve the problem. Ask them for help in solving the problem or improving their performance. Create a common goal to increase the employees’ effectiveness as a contributor to your company.

Step 2: Get On The Same Page

Describe the performance problem to the employee. Be sure to focus on the problem or behavior that needs improvement and not on the employee themselves. Provide concrete examples of the behavior so that you and the employee share a common understanding and meaning. Ask for the employee’s view of the situation. Do they see the same problem or opportunity that you do?

Step 3: Remove Barriers To Success

Determine whether there are external issues that exist that may be limiting the employee’s ability to perform the task or accomplish the objectives. Four common barriers are time, training, tools, and temperament. Find out if these barriers exist and how to remove them. Does the employee needs your help to remove the barriers? Are they able to remove them by themselves?

Step 4: Collaborate And Brainstorm Solutions

Collaborate with the employee to brainstorm potential solutions to the problem and create action items to create improvement. Identify the core goals and achievement markers that the employee must achieve to reach the level of desired performance.

Step 5: Write It Out

Core goals and achievement markers can be put into a formal written document between the employee and manager so each party is held accountable to the process and the results.

Step 6: Make A Time To Follow Up

Set a date and time for follow up, whether this is internally made by the manager to check in with the employee at a later date or a mutually agreed upon time to revisit the employees progress. Following through to check on improvements and progress is an important part of coaching.

What Else Can A Great Manager Do?

As a supervisor, offer positive encouragement and express confidence in the employee’s ability to improve. Recognize, however, that the only person who is in charge of their performance improvement is the employee. They are ultimately the one in charge of their own progress.

Conclusion

This process allows your employee to take ownership of their own growth thereby creating an employee who is fully engaged in their own performance. Investing in your employees’ development and growth by communicating your commitment to their success through effective employee coaching will help you build an engaged, skilled team for your business. By following the steps above and maintaining positive reinforcement and follow up, your employees will be well on their way to owning their experience!

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Top 5 HR Trends for 2018

Top 5 HR Trends for 2018

The workplace is rapidly changing, more so now than ever with the continuous inclusion of cutting edge technologies. The past year HR departments all over the country were prioritizing the well-being of their employees in several different realms. Executives, in conjunction with HR departments, began to invest more time in their employees by creating a better workplace environment.  Company culture and employee engagement were huge in 2017. In 2018 we will see a continuation of these priorities (with some tweaks) as well as many others, most of which are technology centered.

Let’s talk about:

  • Move Over Employee Engagement, Employee Experience Is Here
  • Making Friends with AI
  • Microlearning For Employees
  • Gamification
  • The Shift from Wellness to Well-being

Read on for  more about HR in 2018!

1) Move Over Employee Engagement, Employee Experience Is Here

With millennials being such a large part of the workforce and the increased transparency brought about by the inclusion of cutting edge technology, employees are expecting a more engaging and life-affirming work experience. Gone are the days of head down, nose to the grindstone work ethics. Employees today are expecting a lot more from their employers.

Employee Experience” is defined as the sum of the various perceptions employees have about their interactions with the organization in which they work. It is the totality of an employee’s experiences, so it encompasses all of the narrower aspects of how an employee perceives his everyday life at the office, both good and bad.

The employee experience ecosystem combines three core aspects: engagement, culture, and performance management. The main idea behind employee experience is to optimize every touchpoint that an employee comes in contact with, to create a unified experience that feels holistic throughout every stage, both of which involve treating the employee with the same degree of care that you would treat your customers.

2) Making Friends With AI

Employees today want to develop their skill sets and fulfill personal value-based goals; they expect their employers to provide them with the opportunity to do so. The modern-day workforce will forego the highest possible salary to instead worth an organization whose culture matches with their fundamental values. The opportunity to learn and obtain regular feedback are things they crave.

Learning and Development (L&D) programs from employers are more important than ever to establish the new employee’s reality.  Employers are utilizing AI (Artificial Intelligence) to provide personalized programs for each employee that are tailored to their unique needs, career goals and learning styles.

AI is also increasingly being used to streamline HR practices such as recruiting, hiring, and training. AI in HR offers a great opportunity to automate many of the busy, repetitive tasks HR practitioners have to deal with HR professionals can spend that time on the core business of HR: people. Specifically, the recruitment and acquisition of great new people and the retention of current staff members. When it comes to finding those great new people, AI can help recruiters and hiring managers on another level by cutting human bias out of the process as well as predict a candidate’s suitability for the job.

3) Microlearning For Employees

Millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025 and the human attention span is getting smaller on average. Microlearning offers a chance to educate employees by providing learning content in very specific yet small bursts. The reason microlearning is becoming more popular is due to the increased flexibility it gives to the learners. The learners have control over time management while learning because the learning program is organized into a number of short courses. Employees can use this approach to learn a concept specific to a job and utilize their new found knowledge right away.

Microlearning helps employers save on both time and cost, especially on expensive training consultants if you contrast it with other traditional methods of training like day-long seminars. HR professionals leading or administering the more traditional employee trainings can be freed up to turn their attention to more pressing HR work.

4) Gamification

Gamification is the usage of game-thinking and game mechanics in non-game scenarios such as business environment and processes, specifically in recruitment, training and development, and motivation; in order to engage users and solve problems. Today you can see examples of it everywhere: receiving stamps for cups of coffee, gaining new features in running apps, even military training utilizes gaming features.

Gamification has been known to increase productivity by providing employees with independence and choice. Employees responded with higher job satisfaction, job performance, innovation, and workplace satisfaction than those who did not have any choice. Independence and personal preference within gamification can all help promote autonomy within roles. When we accomplish something or reach a goal, our brain releases dopamine, making us feel euphoric while reinforcing the behavior that released that dopamine. Gamification utilizes the chemical reward process in the brain.

Finally, gaining new features or reaching new levels in gamification provides measurable results, reinforcing the idea that the employee is learning and growing. Employee engagement is beneficial to productivity and profitability; the promise of individual growth will ensure that engagement.

5) The Shift from Wellness to Well-being

Well-being expands the view of wellness to cover more than the physical body. It encompassing an employee’s mental and emotional state as well as their productivity and ability to perform at the peak of their capabilities. Well-being initiatives are moving away from being centered primarily around getting in shape and eating healthily, increasingly mental and financial wellness are also earning attention from forward-thinking employers.

Some common ways HR departments and employers are increasing the focus on well-being are providing on-site yoga, fitness, and meditation classes by a certified instructor, providing gym discounts, allow for flexible working hours, promote the use of productivity boosting devices like the Headspace app, incorporating team activities, and financial advising.

In the End

While no one can know for sure what HR trends 2018 will deliver, it is evident that the increased use of technology in HR and the continued implementation of employee experience techniques will be hot topics in 2018.