Employee Appreciation

Showing appreciation to your employees doesn’t have to be a big ordeal or a huge production.  In fact, a little can go a long way.  People inherently want to know they’re doing a good job, so if one of your employees has done a great job – let them know.

Administrative Professionals’ Week is fast approaching (April 19th to 25th, 2015). This week, and specifically Administrative Professionals’ Day on Wednesday April 22nd, recognizes the work of administrative assistants, receptionists, secretaries and other administrative support professionals.  There are approximately 475, 000 administrative assistants in Canada, and this week is a great time to recognize their efforts.  In fact, not doing so would be a mistake.

Typically, administrative professionals are bestowed with cards, gift certificates, flowers, gift baskets or lunches.  It’s a tradition that goes back to 1952 and has been adopted worldwide.

Last month marked Employee Appreciation Day (March 6th). However, showing your employees appreciation shouldn’t be reserved for one day a year or over the course of a given week: it should be frequent.

In her article ‘10 Ways to Show Appreciation to Employees’, Susan M. Heathfield encourages telling colleagues, coworkers and employees that you value their contributions any day of the year.   Her suggestions include saying thank you and praising their achievement, bringing in treats to the office or, if your budget allows it, small gifts or monetary rewards.  Heathfield points out that employee appreciation, through recognition, increases motivation and creates a positive, more productive workplace.

The next time someone does a great job at work, don’t hesitate to send them a quick email saying “Thank you.  You did a fantastic job”.  I guarantee it will make them feel appreciated.

Are Your Employees Saving Enough for Retirement?

Ontario has a retirement savings problem. Approximately ¼ to 1/3 of Ontarians are not adequately saving for retirement and almost 1.3 million Ontarian workers do not have access to workplace pension plans. Businesses overwhelmingly agree that this problem needs to be addressed, with 72% of Ontario businesses indicating in a recent Ontario Chamber of Commerce survey that they believed pension reform should be a priority of government.

The Ontario government has introduced legislation for an Ontario Registered Pension Plan (ORPP) that will be modelled after the CPP, complete with mandatory employer contributions. The ORPP is scheduled to come into effect January 1, 2017. It has concurrently introduced legislation for a voluntary Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP).

If your eligible business does not already have a similar retirement savings vehicle in place, which has yet to be defined by the government, you will have an automatic increase of up to 1.9% on your payroll taxes starting in 2017. For more information, please see the following:

Many business owners, particularly owner/operators, will want to keep informed of the progress of this legislation.

6 Must Have Coaching Skills for the Successful Manager

Some managers may believe they are using an effective coaching approach when managing their team only to later realize that their employees are still asking the same questions and/or are not improving even after having provided them with feedback. A study conducted by Bersin & Associates showed that organizations with managers who coach effectively and frequently improve their business results by 21 percent as compared to those who never coach.

Many people, including those who are being coached, don’t understand what coaching involves so here are some key descriptors:

  • Coaches focus on the employee vs. the task – It’s about development.
  • Coaching is not about “fixing” someone – it’s about facilitating the learning process by understanding someone’s thinking.
  • Coaching is about Ask vs. Tell Approach – by asking open-ended and enlightening questions, it allows the employee to create their own solutions. They are much more engaged if it is their own idea.
  • Coaching is about setting clear accountability for actions and outcomes.
  • Coaching is something that can happen in-the-moment by capitalizing on those on-the-job learning experiences.
  • Coaching is Leading by Example – Modeling the right behaviours and being credible are key ingredients of successful coaching experiences.

So how can a Manager behave more like a Coach?

  • Ask questions to enable the coaching process. This helps you understand their point of view and encourages two-way dialogue. For example – “How do you feel the project is going?”
  • Ensure your questions are open-ended to allow the employee to think through their own problems without providing a yes or no answer.
  • Guide the conversation with the use of powerful questions Examples include:
  • “What does success look like?”
  • “What have you already tried?”
  • “How will this decision help you accomplish your goal?”
  • “What are some barriers you can think of to success? What are some of your ideas for overcoming those barriers?”
  • Avoid the trap of doing all the talking – spend more time on asking questions and listening. (You have two ears and one mouth; use them in proportion!)
  • Ensure your employee understands what is expected of them by asking clarifying questions.
  • Invest your time to support the employee by providing continuous feedback.

As you can see, the main premise in coaching is to Ask Questions to engage the employee in creative problem solving, versus telling them what to do. What questions will you ask your employees today?