The 7 Challenges of Flattened Management Hierarchies

The 7 Challenges of Flattened Management Hierarchies

In our last article, we discussed how organizations could use a collaboration skills checklist to profit in the modern workplace. The modern workplace is increasingly one where management and supervisory lines are blurred or removed. These flattened management hierarchies have been shown to produce many benefits, including:

However, flattened management hierarchies also provide a range of challenges to the organization, its leaders, and employees.

Focusing on the challenges of flattened management hierarchies

When developing a competitive organizational structure capable of challenging in the 21st century, change management must consider needs of the business and its people. Valve Software considered its flat structure to be integral to its business strategy. Company CEO Gabe Newell said:

“When we started Valve [in 1996], we thought about what the company needed to be good at. We realized that here, our job was to create things that hadn’t existed before. Managers are good at institutionalizing procedures, but in our line of work, that’s not always good. Sometimes the skills in one generation of product are irrelevant to the skills in another generation. Our industry is in such technological, design, and artistic flux that we need somebody who can recognize that. It’s pretty rare for someone to be in a lead role on two consecutive projects.”

Here are seven challenges that are commonly faced by organizations with a lack of hierarchical structure:

1. Lack of leadership leads to motivational issues

Not everyone is a self-starter, and flatter structures thrive when its people are good self-motivators. Flat organizations are short on the management numbers to offer individual guidance and instruction.

2. Decision making processes become blurred

A more collaborative approach may require big decisions to be made by voting or consensus. This can be complicated and slow down the decision making process.

3. A lack of understanding of spheres of responsibility

When people are challenged to work in cross functional teams and on multiple projects, spheres of responsibility can become confused. There must always be some degree of supervision and delegation, but teams will commonly be self-governing to minimize the supervision needed. The real challenge here is that important issues are communicated to each team.

4. Processes and procedures lack consistency

When teams are allowed to determine their own best practices, methods of working become disassociated. This produces inconsistences in approach and employees may find it difficult to transition from one team to another.

5. A lack of recognized career progression

With fewer supervisory and management positions, there will be less opportunity for traditional career progression. Not only this, but with fewer managers to oversee projects and the work environment, high-flying employees could be passed over for promotion or recognition. This could lead to higher staff turnover.

6. Keeping on top of capabilities and abilities

While the flattened management hierarchy and new way of working will produce opportunities for self-improvement of individuals, it will be more difficult to monitor these capabilities and utilize to enhance the organization.

7. Traditional lines of communication become defunct

Finally, when people work in smaller, autonomous teams, traditional communication techniques and tools fail to ‘spread the word’. New technologies and procedures will need to be used to ensure communication is efficient and effective.

Change is difficult. It needs a strategic vision, a committed leadership, and a set of common objectives that drive employees and teams to achieve. In flattened management hierarchies, organizational leadership will necessarily need to discover new ways to motivate and manage. Best practices will be continuously iterated and will need to be communicated via appropriate channels.

In our next article in this series, we’ll examine how to motivate a millennial generation workforce as you strategize to jumpstart change.

Contact Primeast today and discover how a Change Agent Bootcamp, and coaching in Consulting and Facilitating, will help your organization take advantage of the modern, collaborative workplace.

The 7 Challenges of Flattened Management Hierarchies

The 7 Challenges of Flattened Management Hierarchies

In our last article, we discussed how organisations could use a collaboration skills checklist to profit in the modern workplace. The modern workplace is increasingly one where management and supervisory lines are blurred or removed. These flattened management hierarchies have been shown to produce many benefits, including:

However, flattened management hierarchies also provide a range of challenges to the organisation, its leaders, and employees.

Focusing on the challenges of flattened management hierarchies

When developing a competitive organisational structure capable of challenging in the 21st century, change management must consider needs of the business and its people. Valve Software considered its flat structure to be integral to its business strategy. Company CEO Gabe Newell said:

“When we started Valve [in 1996], we thought about what the company needed to be good at. We realized that here, our job was to create things that hadn’t existed before. Managers are good at institutionalizing procedures, but in our line of work, that’s not always good. Sometimes the skills in one generation of product are irrelevant to the skills in another generation. Our industry is in such technological, design, and artistic flux that we need somebody who can recognise that. It’s pretty rare for someone to be in a lead role on two consecutive projects.”

Here are seven challenges that are commonly faced by organisations with a lack of hierarchical structure:

1. Lack of leadership leads to motivational issues

Not everyone is a self-starter, and flatter structures thrive when its people are good self-motivators. Flat organisations are short on the management numbers to offer individual guidance and instruction.

2. Decision making processes become blurred

A more collaborative approach may require big decisions to be made by voting or consensus. This can be complicated and slow down the decision making process.

3. A lack of understanding of spheres of responsibility

When people are challenged to work in cross functional teams and on multiple projects, spheres of responsibility can become confused. There must always be some degree of supervision and delegation, but teams will commonly be self-governing to minimise the supervision needed. The real challenge here is that important issues are communicated to each team.

4. Processes and procedures lack consistency

When teams are allowed to determine their own best practices, methods of working become disassociated. This produces inconsistences in approach and employees may find it difficult to transition from one team to another.

5. A lack of recognised career progression

With fewer supervisory and management positions, there will be less opportunity for traditional career progression. Not only this, but with fewer managers to oversee projects and the work environment, high-flying employees could be passed over for promotion or recognition. This could lead to higher staff turnover.

6. Keeping on top of capabilities and abilities

While the flattened management hierarchy and new way of working will produce opportunities for self-improvement of individuals, it will be more difficult to monitor these capabilities and utilize to enhance the organisation.

7. Traditional lines of communication become defunct

Finally, when people work in smaller, autonomous teams, traditional communication techniques and tools fail to ‘spread the word’. New technologies and procedures will need to be used to ensure communication is efficient and effective.

Change is difficult. It needs a strategic vision, a committed leadership, and a set of common objectives that drive employees and teams to achieve. In flattened management hierarchies, organisational leadership will necessarily need to discover new ways to motivate and manage. Best practices will be continuously iterated and will need to be communicated via appropriate channels.

In our next article in this series, we’ll examine how to motivate a millennial generation workforce as you strategize to jumpstart change.

Contact Primeast today and discover how a Change Agent Bootcamp, and coaching in Consulting and Facilitating, will help your organisation take advantage of the modern, collaborative workplace.

How to Improve Employee Experience Initiatives

Three Steps to Improve the Effectiveness of Employee Experience in Employee Retention Programmes

In our previous article in this four-part series, we discussed why employee experience matters. One of the major reasons is employee retention. With more than 4 in 10 employees considering leaving their job according to a Microsoft survey, it’s clearly crucial to prioritize employee experience programs in the employee retention strategy.

However, investment into employee retention programs will only pay dividends if organizations and their leaders help to fashion their employees’ perception of employee experience.

To do this, a three-part strategy should be followed.

Step #1: Set expectations

Employees have different expectations for their individual employee experiences. Each employee has a unique life, background, career goals, and personal values. People are motivated by factors that are personal to them, and influenced by their subjective experiences.

Therefore, it’s crucial that organizational leaders set realistic expectations on what is achievable within this context, and that these expectations align with business goals and the desire to retain employees more effectively to help achieve these goals.

At departmental and team level, managers should meet regularly with their employees to ensure that individual and team expectations align with those of the organization.

Step #2: Personalising the day-to-day workplace experience

Within the approach laid out by an organization’s employee experience program, managers must collaborate with their employees to deliver experiences that matter. To do so, managers will need to:

Share information that helps employees see places to make improvements

First, identifying the tasks to be accomplished is key. Breaking down work into small, manageable steps helps to clarify the scope. Second, having a process for managing and recording progress will allow employees to know where they stand and what is left to do. Lastly, allow employees autonomy to craft their work practices, enable risk-taking, and coach employees to learn from mistakes.

Provide employees with a safe environment for discussions

It’s important for employees to feel safe when discussing sensitive subjects with others. To ensure this, it’s necessary to establish clear guidelines, encourage openness, and be transparent and honest in all communication.

Provide a set of relevant choices to keep employees from being overwhelmed

One of the most crucial factors in retaining employees is to make sure they are happy and satisfied with their work. One way to do this is to provide them with a set of choices so that they are not overwhelmed by the experience ─ and to help them to tailor their employee experience so that it matches their needs and preferences.

Step #3: Shape memories ─ both good and bad

Not all experiences will turn out as planned. There will be both good and bad moments. Therefore, it’s crucial that managers focus on shaping memories ─ reframing the negative and reinforcing the positive.

Communication is the key that unlocks the potential of employee experience programs

Throughout each step, communication is crucial. It’s essential that leaders and managers understand teams and individuals to craft successful employee experiences. Therefore, employees must be given channels in which to express their opinions, perceptions, needs, and wants ─ and leaders must listen.

Managers must share information honestly, be courteous and attentive to feedback, provide support and guidance, and celebrate positive employee experiences.

When an organization develops employee experience programs that align with business goals and engage employees effectively, the benefits ripple throughout the organization ─ helping to gel teams, boost productivity, and improve employee retention.

Where do you start? Complete the Personal Values Assessment to get a comprehensive insight into your organizational culture – the insight that will help you make more effective decisions, and aid in alignment with team members and colleagues.

Why Employee Experience Matters More than Ever

Seize the Post-Pandemic Opportunity for Organisational Excellence

The experience that employees have at an organization has a significant impact on how they view their employer. Why is the employee experience so important? If the overall employee experience is good, then employees are likely to enjoy their job. Unhappy employees are likely to look for another job.

Employees who enjoy a great employee experience are more engaged at work. This translates into improved business outcomes: better innovation, customer satisfaction, and increased productivity ─ as well as an employer brand that attracts talent and produces higher profits.

The pandemic and the Great Resignation have accentuated the need for organizations to focus on crafting the employee experience and delivering moments that matter. It’s a wake-up call ─ an opportunity to deliver a renaissance that creates a more engaged, productive, cohesive, and loyal team.

Why focusing on employee experience is critical: Mindsets have shifted

The pandemic and the consequences of societal events during and since have been major contributors to a shift in people’s mindsets.

With the Global Covid-19 Culture Assessment research showing that cultural entropy has decreased from 20% to 17%, we also learn that potentially limiting values have changed from bureaucracy, control and hierarchy, to caution, confusion, and job security.

Further, employees are more inclined to be engaged in jobs where the culture, ethics, and values include:

Positive changes in how employees experience this culture include leadership that is more focused on their people and creating a healthy, collaborative working environment. However, differences still exist.

A divergence of priorities that must be reversed

As we are moving out of the pandemic-stricken economy, business leaders and their employees hold different views on what is needed to rebuild in the context of evolving ways of working.

Understandably, business and HR leaders believe that their people need direction. Employees crave more effective communication.

Organisations are focused on developing agility to survive the next crisis, while employees believe that innovation is needed.

We see similar differences between leaders who place trust high up their agenda, versus employees who want to be involved and engaged, and organizations that are focused on sustainability while their employees are focused on society.

Moving forward, it will be crucial for employers and their leadership teams to seek ways to measure these gaps and develop their company culture to align with their employees’ ways of thinking.

As organizations develop their post-pandemic culture, they must create ways to deliver: Greater employee engagement

Why does employee experience matter? How does all this impact your organization?

The challenge for organizations is to take the good from the pandemic (the collective response of their employees, achieving greatness from the impossible, and delivering positive change) and take action to accelerate toward a new way of working that embraces their employees with exceptional employee experiences.

There are five key factors to accomplish this:

Re-evaluating outdated people practices

With technology advancing at such a rapid pace, it is difficult to keep up with all the changes. Certain work practices, however, have not progressed as quickly and are not as efficient as they once were. Organisations should collaborate with their employees to create new practices and processes that improve efficiency and engagement.

Developing communication and collaboration skills to build cohesion

Communication and collaboration are two of the most important skills for a team to possess. More effective communication skills allow teams to excel in the collaborative workplace.

Investment in training for top-down leadership to engage the workforce

Employees have shown that they can rise to the toughest challenges. As roles expand, organizations must invest in training their people to apply their own initiative and take leadership of their tasks and duties, and empowering them in work about which they are passionate.

Implementing employee consultation in new policies

Implementing employee consultation in new policies is a terrific way of getting buy-in from the people who will be most affected by those policies. Consultation can be done at all levels, from the decision-making team to individual employees.

Creating a sense of belonging through employee onboarding

Employee onboarding is a critical step in establishing a connection with new hires. It is the first impression for new employees, and it sets the stage for success or failure. If an employee fails to feel connected to their co-workers and organization, they are less likely to stay long-term.

6 Factors that affect the employee experience

As an organization builds back better, in its culture and work practices, it must consider these six factors that affect the employee experience it delivers:

Don’t underestimate the need to deliver a good employee experience

As the Great Resignation continues to bite chunks out of workforces across all industry sectors, the labour market is becoming increasingly competitive.

There are more job options for employees. Hybrid and remote work has opened a world of opportunities for skilled and talented workers to pursue.

We will never go back to the pre-pandemic workplace. There is now a greater desire for flexibility and autonomy, and employees have greater expectations than before. Employees:

As your organization seeks to attract and retain the best talent, the employee experience that you deliver will be the key factor in your success and sustainability.

You can learn more about how your organization is performing by conducting an employee experience survey to learn how employees feel, and exit interviews to discover reasons for quitting.

However, the beating heart of delivering a positive employee experience is developing leadership and management skills to support more collaborative working, improved relationships, and increase engagement with your organization’s purpose.

Where do you start? Complete the Personal Values Assessment to get a comprehensive insight into your organizational culture – the insight that will help you make more effective decisions, and aid in alignment with team members and colleagues.

How Can Predictive HR Analytics Help Employee Retention?

Using Attrition and Retention Analytics to Create Proactive Retention Strategies

Businesses are using predictive HR analytics to identify the specific reasons why their employees might be considering leaving, which helps them to create more successful retention strategies.

Every staff member is different, but there are some common factors that might make them want to quit. Attrition and retention analytics can help pinpoint these factors and take a proactive approach to develop solutions to fix damaging employee turnover.

How can HR predictive analytics help companies increase employee retention

Predictive HR analytics helps HR professionals to identify at-risk employees, measure their flight risk, and predict their potential turnover. It also helps HR professionals to create more personalized retention strategies and improve the employee experience. Specifically, attrition and retention analytics helps to improve employee retention by:

Determining the causes of attrition before retention becomes a problem

One of the most common applications of HR predictive analytics is in determining the causes of employee turnover, which can be done by looking at distinct factors like compensation, work/life balance, or job satisfaction. This can help companies determine what they need to do to retain their employees before attrition becomes a problem.

Identifying what employees may be at risk of leaving

HR predictive analytics uses different methods to identify employees who are at risk of leaving, including analysing their engagement levels with the company and their performance. These methods help HR managers understand what factors have led an employee to become disengaged or dissatisfied with work, and then find ways to solve them.

Improving employee experience and engagement

By using predictive analytics, HR managers can improve engagement by determining what it is that people like and dislike about their jobs, and then using this knowledge to create specific interventions that will deliver more meaningful and engaging employee experiences, thus improving employee engagement.

Helping create better compensation and incentive programs

Focusing on predicting the future of an employee, predictive analytics in HR can help organizations understand if factors such as compensation and incentive programs, hours worked, and location are determinants of employees deciding to quit their jobs. This helps organizations create better incentives for their employees, thus reducing the likelihood that they will leave the company for other opportunities.

Using Machine Learning to spot patterns that you might miss

HR predictive analytics helps to improve employee retention by using machine learning to spot patterns that you might miss. It does this by applying machine learning algorithms to collected data and developing hypotheses on what may happen in the future based on identified patterns. This can help an organization understand their workforce, identify any issues, and make better decisions when it comes to recruitment, hiring, and retention.

How to use predictive HR analytics to reduce employee turnover

To achieve the most effective outcomes possible from HR analytics by predicting the probability of employees leaving their jobs in the future, an organization must take a strategic, step-by-step approach, collecting data to develop a predictive model that will help the organization to take pre-emptive actions and reduce employee turnover.

The five steps to using predictive HR analytics are as follows:

Step #1: Calculate the base metrics

HR must calculate current and previous base metrics across employee turnover and retention rates. The higher attrition rates rise, the fewer skilled workers an organization will have to do the work needed. Productivity and quality fall, and it is necessary to figure out how business outcomes are affected by resignation rates.

By collecting and analysing data, an organization can tweak its retention strategies according to data and not intuition.

Step #2: Collect data

Data must be collected that enables the organization to accurately calculate metrics that affect employee retention. This data will help you to identify correlations and determine personalized retention interventions for employees who are most at risk of leaving. Key factors to consider include:

For example, an organization may track and log employee interactions, conduct pulse surveys, compile performance review statistics, identify compensation schedules, and conduct exit interviews.

Step #3: Identify attrition trends (Who is leaving, when, and why)

When an organization has identified that it has an employee retention issue, it can utilise HR analytics to identify which employees are leaving, and why employees are leaving.

This may be achieved by performing an analysis of resignation data to determine which factors are increasing or decreasing resignations. Is it departmentally biased (perhaps there is an issue with a manager)? Are people leaving because of compensation (you may have failed to keep pace with market salaries)? Is there a pattern of employees leaving after a specific tenure in their jobs (perhaps you don’t provide sufficient learning, development, and career advancement opportunities)?

Step #4: Flag employees who are at risk of leaving

Not all employee resignations are bad, but it is better to reduce high employee turnover rates. Many resignations could be avoided by applying the knowledge you have gained from data collection and analysis to the development of retention strategies. You can focus on those groups of employees who are most at risk, as predicted by this analysis. Every resignation that can be avoided is money saved on hiring and training.

Step #5: Perform a focused intervention

Interventions must be focused on developing strategies that tackle the root causes of employee turnover, and on retaining key employees. By understanding the reasons why people are quitting ─ such as burnout, work relationships, the need for flexibility, compensation, lack of career advancement, etc. ─ an organization can personalize its retention policies and strategies to department, teams, and individual employees as warranted.

The bottom line

Your organization can use HR analytics to help identify employee retention issues and develop strategies to reduce employee turnover. The data you collect and analyze will help you focus on the underlying employee retention issues, and to find solutions before they cause real problems.

This data-driven approach removes bias and saves time and money in the HR function, enabling more precise retention strategies to be created and personalized ─ there is no one-size-fits-all solution to retention issues. It will also help to embed the C-suite support that is critical to the effectiveness of employee retention strategy.

To learn how our leadership coaching programs can help your leaders and managers lead more effectively as you combat the Great Resignation, contact Primeast today.

Line Managers as Champions of Learning

In the current unpredictable and disrupted business climate, line managers play a critical role in developing their team members to be able to deal successfully with their challenges. Line managers are the frontline connection between business strategy and operational execution and having well developed people is critical to effective implementation. Sadly, in our experience, for a range of reasons, they are not always set up for success or engaged enough to see learning as an organizational imperative.

Studies from a number of notable institutions and organizations have identified a couple of dominant reasons for this:

Leaving this situation unchallenged within any organization should not be an option. The consequence of leaving the issue unaddressed potentially affects the long-term organizational health, retention of talent and overall performance.

Primeast is a certified Kirkpatrick Partners consultancy and helps organizations develop a learning culture and derive better value from their investments in learning. Here are 10 practical tips to help start making progress:

Develop THEM as Champions of Learning

HR and senior leadership should commit some time and money to educating line managers as to why their role as Champions of Learning is vital to organizational growth. Also, you need to ensure line mangers themselves are well trained and have good personal experience of the benefits of learning.

Engage them to make learning the norm

The role of learning needs to become part of culture, not just another process. Once line managers feel the value of learning, they are much more likely to become Champions of Learning. Old school Scientific Management (Taylorism), where employees just learn to do one task and managers just mange the repeated execution of that task is no longer good enough.

Define the need and the measurement

HR and senior leadership need to help line managers by providing clear guidance on what the organization expects in terms of people development. Vague objectives and statements aren’t sufficient. Line managers need to understand what behaviors, mindset and practice will make a positive impact on Leading Business Indicators (micro-measures that show things are on track to hit bigger objectives). All this needs to feature in role definitions and personal objectives too.

Help line managers to understand team member development needs

Part of the journey of turning line managers into Champions is developing their ability to recognize development needs in their team members and colleagues. They need to be able to recognize patterns and trends in what they see going on around them. Then by using their coaching skills and Deconstructive Dialogue (Kegan and Lahey) they can work them to find the best way forward. Of course, training may not actually be the right solution.

Many line managers will say they are too busy with workload to be responsible for developing their people. HR and senior leaders need to consider how they re-engineer the way they work to create this capacity. Many of the world’s most cutting-edge businesses, such as Google and Apple have built time into workflows to allow for innovation and people development.

Options, options, options

Once line managers have capacity and personal skills, they will begin to know their people much better and what each person’s learning preferences are. It’s the role of HR to provide a range of options for development. This means creating a blended suite of learning solutions. Technology may provide rich and cost-effective ways of learning content, it’s not the panacea. Human evolution is slower than technological evolution, so if organizations want effective learning, they have to accommodate a variety of needs; then let their Champions be stewards of the best choices.

Make communication omnidirectional

Take steps to include the value of learning as a ‘golden thread’ in internal communications whether that’s strategic, operational or peer to peer.

Create a common language around learning

HR and learning have long been a haven of jargon. The best organizations use clear, understandable language surrounding learning that is meaningful for the whole organization top to bottom. The better people understand the more likely they are to act in a way that contributes to progress.

In the 70:20:10 learning process, the true value comes in the 70

As part of their development line managers need to understand what workplace-based options are available to them to recommend to their people. These may be used as experiences for people to practise and implement things they’e been taught in formal learning; they may just be a potentially meaningful experience, such as organising or facilitating a meeting or being part of high-profile project team.

Invite and encourage feedback

Alongside all of the above, meaningful feedback loops built in to the system will contribute to the development of the organizational learning mindset and processes. Feedback needs to be seen as an opportunity and if appropriate for making positive moves toward business objectives, acted upon as soon as is practical.

Creating a Cultural Action Plan to Improve the Employee Experience

Winning Hearts and Minds to Motivate Employee Engagement

Every company has a culture. It is the values, beliefs, and behaviors of employees and management. The culture sets the tone for how people work, interact with each other, and what they do on a day-to-day basis.

Organisations are beginning to realize that their culture is what drives their success.

A strong culture is crucial to the employee experience, improving motivation, happier employees who are more productive, and the delivery of superior customer experiences that drive revenues.

The question is, how do you create an organizational culture plan that will deliver all of this and more?

Create the conditions to attract and retain the best talent

It may be something of a cliche, but your people are the heart of your organization. Your success depends upon the talent you attract and retain. Therefore you must take steps to create exceptional employer branding that achieves the goal of increasing and improving your human talent. To do so, you must:

An inspiring purpose is a vision for your organization that helps you make decisions and inspires your people to achieve your goals. It can be anything from a simple statement about who you are or what your values are, to developing a complex plan of how to live out your values in the world.

Employees will be able to work with more passion and dedication if they understand why they are doing what they do. Organisations that do not have a clear and compelling vision for how to manifest their purpose will struggle to retain talent, grow revenue, or maintain profitability.

Leaders should focus on how to keep their employees engaged and happy. They need to make sure that they are not just focusing on their own personal agenda and instead have a servant-leader mindset towards their employees, and are adept at keeping everyone’s hearts and minds focused on how much they love your organization.

It is important to put structures in place that allow you to have a good understanding of what your team’s expectations are. This will help you understand where they are coming from and the best way to design employee experiences. As you do so, you should also measure their performance to monitor how well your strategies are working.

Create opportunities for employees to improve their knowledge and capabilities, inspiring them to develop a growth mindset that helps them achieve more than they think they could. This is a positive approach, focusing on new learning, innovative ideas, and the willingness to take on challenges.

When people feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to be motivated to do better work

Steps to Getting Your Game Plan Together

Let’s start creating a cultural plan by getting your game plan together with these six steps:

Step #1: Human capital culture creation

The importance of human capital culture creation is that it helps to shape an organization’s identity. It also helps to create a unified sense of purpose and direction within an organization. It can also help with recruitment and retention efforts. This process may also have some negative impacts on both employees and employers if not done properly.

Step #2: Strategic plan ─ goal and priority setting

Strategic planning is a process of defining the direction, scope, and objectives of an organization. It also sets out the strategies and actions to achieve these objectives. This process helps organizations in identifying their strengths and weaknesses, setting goals and priorities, and evaluating progress.

Step #3: Values and behaviors development work

Values and behaviors development work is one of the most important aspects of human development. It is necessary for the individual to have a healthy self-image, a sense of purpose, and an understanding of their own strengths. Focus on skills such as emotional intelligence, goal setting, time management, empathy, responsibility, and more. This type of work helps individuals develop the skills that are necessary for them to be successful in their personal lives as well as in their professional lives.

Step #4: Leadership engagement development work

The goal of leadership engagement development work is to develop leadership skills to have a positive impact on an organization. It helps leaders and managers to grow in their roles, develop new skills and take on new responsibilities. This can be done through coaching, mentoring, and other development processes.

Step #5: Socialising the work in the larger organization

An organization’s success depends on the cohesion of its employees and how well they collaborate. One way to achieve this is by socialising the work, helping people to understand each other’s roles, and fostering feelings of belonging to an organization which is more akin to being part of a family.

Step #6: Define and employ metrics to measure your culture

Employing metrics to measure culture is a crucial step toward creating a culture that will drive success. Some metrics that you may use include:

Benefits of having a new organizational culture plan

The new organizational culture plan should be a combination of company values and the employees’ needs. It is a way to get everyone on board, and it should be able to help you achieve your goals.

A new organizational culture plan will help you to understand what your values are and how they align with the business’s vision. It will also help you to understand how your organization is currently operating and what type of culture would be best for it.

The benefits of developing an organizational culture plan that is designed to enhance the employee experience include:

Takeaway ─ Take stock and ask the following questions

As you design and develop your culture plan, it’s crucial to ensure that it remains on track to deliver the envisaged benefits. As you take stock of your existing culture and design your new culture plan, ask yourself the following questions:

An organization’s culture will affect the way it does business. A good culture is one that is inclusive and encourages teamwork among employees. A bad culture will tear apart a company from the inside out, creating an environment where employees are not happy to be at work.

How is your current culture doing? When was the last time you measured your employee engagement, and discussed employee experience and its place in the equation?

Fast-forward five years. Where do you see yourself and your organization? Will you be able to look back and see your current challenges as the greatest gift?

Where do you start? Complete the Personal Values Assessment to get a comprehensive insight into your organizational culture – the insight that will help you make more effective decisions, and aid in alignment with team members and colleagues.

12 Strategies to Create a Great Remote Employee Experience

Evolving Employee Engagement Strategy for the Evolution of Work

As we enter the post-pandemic era of work, remote working is here to stay. It certainly has benefits for both employer and employee, but it can be challenging, too. This is especially true for keeping employees engaged in their work.

The real issue is that employers risk delivering a remote worker employee experience that leaves their remote employees feeling very much home alone — whether those employees are working from home, full time, or part of the time.

This underlines that the way to foster higher employee engagement (and the benefits of this that include higher productivity, increased employee loyalty, and higher profits) has shifted from traditional employee engagement strategies.

Today’s employees are more self-aware. A boost in paycheck may give them a warm feeling inside, but it’s a fleeting sense of satisfaction. Today, it’s crucial to envelop employees with meaningful employee experiences:

So why do so many employee engagement initiatives fail? Primarily because organizations view it as an HR practice. While HR may take a vital role in engagement initiatives, it is leaders, managers, and supervisors who deliver exceptional employee experiences that do so much to boost engagement.

How can organizations provide a great remote worker employee experience?

Here are 12 strategies that your organization should be helping its leaders and managers to deliver.

1. Optimise your onboarding process

The first impression is always the best impression. A good onboarding process can set your company apart from others and make your employees feel welcome and valued. HR can streamline the onboarding process in several ways, such as having paperwork completed prior to day one, and ensuring that desktops are set up to start immediately.

Managers can arrange for meaningful introductions to new colleagues, and provide the new employee with an overview of the company’s culture and values so they can feel more connected with the company.

All these things can be achieved in the office and remotely. It simply takes a little planning.

2. Connect employees to your mission

Connecting employees to the company’s mission is a wonderful way to motivate them. It helps them to feel they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. We can do this by sharing our organization’s vision and values with them in meetings, conferences, and other interactions. But we shouldn’t forget that it is not only about what we say, it is about what we do. Leaders and managers must lead by example.

3. Foster effective communication and listening

Effective communication is an important aspect of the workplace. It helps to build trust, respect, and understanding between colleagues. As managers, we must learn to listen more, understand our people, and use effective communication skills to solve problems.

Communication is the foundation of relationships and the key to good teamwork. When communicating virtually with remote employees, a different communication skill set is needed, and managers need to adapt skills such as active listening, reflective listening, paraphrasing, summarising, and clarifying for the virtual environment.

4. Regular check-ins: Go beyond work in conversations to build more meaningful relationships

Regular check-ins with employees are a terrific way to make sure that they feel appreciated, heard, and involved. It also helps with any problems that might be coming up. But these check-ins should not only be about work. Managers should take opportunities to learn more about their employees, and to check in on their well-being.

5. Provide a space for ideas to feel appreciated and acknowledged

It’s important that we show our appreciation for individuals by ensuring we provide the methods and space for them to share their ideas. This can be during team meetings, though technology also enables us to discuss ideas as teams even though we may be miles apart.

6. Keep open lines of communication

Being home alone removes us from a basic human instinct — socialising. There are no meetings at the water cooler. No after-work get-togethers. No opportunity to knock on the boss’s door for a quick chat.

We must find ways to make remote work more social. Keep our lines of communication open and deliver a ‘water cooler experience’ using technology. One company we know set up a separate slack channel for people to share recipes. This worked so well that they set up other channels, to enable people to join in social conversations as if they were at work. Crucially, the employees administer these channels themselves.

As we build out communication capabilities, we must take advantage of technology to:

7. Create a customised inclusion experience and promote relationship building

Inclusion is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process that starts with an inclusive culture and continues with customised inclusion experiences and relationship building. We must seek to optimise the experience to match our employees’ needs, preferences, and personalities.

There are many ways to create a customised inclusion experience for employees. We can have our employees share their own stories, which will help them feel more included in the company. Managers should share their stories, too, and not be afraid of showing they are also vulnerable. Such conversations can immediately spur a sense of togetherness that promotes deeper collaboration through the sense of connected company culture, enabled by virtual connection outside of regular meetings that are like an office environment.

8. Provide a mentally safe environment for employees

Employee experience may be defined as the sum of all emotions that a person feels when they are working for an organization. Positive work culture is key to improving employee experience. It is also crucial to provide an environment in which employees feel confident and secure to speak out about their mental health issues.

Employers that provide mental health support for their employees, deliver better work-life balance and make their employees feel more valued in the workplace.

9. Support work/life balance

The correlation between work-life balance and employee experience is undeniable.

Organisations that support work-life balance have employees who are more satisfied with their jobs and are more likely to be engaged in their work. To deliver meaningful work/life balance, we must know our employees as individuals — while we may all be rowing in the same direction, each of us is unique.

10. Provide professional development opportunities

Providing professional development opportunities is one of the best ways to improve the employee experience. These may be in the form of workshops, conferences, seminars, online courses, and more. As managers and leaders, we should be proactive in helping our employees to design their career paths, especially in today’s flatter organizations, in which career crafting rather than traditional lines of promotion will provide the most rewarding development potential.

In our white paper, we highlight how the development of employees should be a top priority for every organization in order for them to engage their workforce and plan for the future.

11. Recognise and reward your remote employees’ effort

The importance of recognising employees’ efforts is not just limited to managers. We should develop a culture in which employees themselves should also take the time to appreciate the work of their colleagues. This will help remote employees feel connected to the organization and its culture.

12. Instruct your leaders to rethink leadership and apply it to the remote environment

The Covid pandemic and the response to it did not alter the course of evolution in how we work, but it has accelerated the evolution of remote work. In a world in which businesses operate in flatter hierarchies, leaders and managers are faced with the challenge of shifting how they lead in new organizational structures and how they lead dispersed and remote teams.

Still, one thing certainly remains constant. It is leaders and managers, supported by HR, who set the tone for the organization and its employees. Leaders need to be mindful of how they are treating their employees and how they are making them feel, and individualise employee experiences within the context of the team.

While organizations are more dependent upon technology than ever, it is evident that leadership must become more people-centric than ever — and apply strategies that deliver the highest-quality employee experiences to teams and individuals. If we can do this, we will all be winners from the shift to remote work.

Where do you start? Complete the Personal Values Assessment to get a comprehensive insight into your organizational culture.

Are you a Snowplough Employer?

Many of us will have heard of the millennial generation referred to as ‘Snowflakes’ and the ‘Snowflake Generation’. In this context the suggestion is that they are in some ways less resilient and more prone to taking offence than previous generations. The other, more relevant suggestion is that they swan around under the naive impression that they’re special, beautiful and unique with a strong sense of entitlement. But isn’t that what older generations always say about the following generations?

There are other possible ways of looking at this perceived ‘Snowflakery’.

Perhaps being “prone to take offence” is perceived from their strong personal belief in fair play and their commitment to creating a better community for all. This may lead to an unwillingness to tip their cap to the status quo and to challenge even the smallest negative behaviors in our society. In a VUCA world being turned upside-down by global political and environmental challenges, is it any wonder that this generation is seriously concerned about the world they have inherited from their parents? Maybe they are justifiably keen to do a better job for future generations and to do it in their own way.

On the flip side of this discussion is the question How did we create a Snowflake Generation?

Well yes of course they have ‘Snowplough Parents’ who spend all their time smoothing out life for their precious offspring. In doing so they rob them of the opportunities to grow and learn from the ups and downs of life. Equally it could be said they ploughed a clear furrow of values and a willingness to challenge that status quo for their offspring. This is the generation of CND, Green Peace, Civil Rights Movement, “second-wave” feminist cause, and much more.

Snowflakes at work

If we translate this into the world of work, do we try to steer our employees’careers for them? In effect, are we ‘snowplough’ employers? Or do we encourage them to own their own careers and support them to navigate the world of work, learning from its many ups and downs. The millennial generation generally choose the latter. They change jobs frequently and move quickly when they get disillusioned. For them, the size of the paycheque is somewhat less important than the perceived value of the work to improve themselves and contribute to the broader community.

The snowflake generation and snow plough employers were discussed at length at a recent Primeast Talent Forum in Dublin. We were exploring the challenge, brought by our hosts ESB: ‘How to source, grow and retain technical talent – who can develop the future skills that currently don’t exist but will be critical to our future as a business’. Denis Kelly was in the forum ‘hotseat’ feeling the melting snow and Clive Wilson was facilitating. In relation to the challenge, Denis suggested that the days of the snowplough employer were numbered. This was a new term for many in the room, including Clive, but it was a very helpful metaphor.

Snowplough employer?

The snowplough employer is the one that takes control, smooths out the bumps they see ahead because they believe they know future roles that are needed to build new capabilities and the ‘right’career path for each of their employees. This paternalistic approach may have worked in the past but in a world enveloped in a ‘VUCA fog’, such certainty is more likely to steer careers onto the rocks. All our business environments are changing at an increasing pace, technology is allowing new players to enter previously protected markets rapidly and, whilst there is much data on key trends, there is also far more uncertainty. The key to success going forward will be agility and adaptability and they will not come from ‘one size fits all’ traditional development approaches. But, rather than feeling downbeat about the challenges we face, our All Ireland Talent Forum of some twenty professionals from a wide range of industries agreed that the role of the employer is to present the challenge as exciting and meaningful. This a world where people can bring their unique skill-sets, talents and curiosity into play for the benefit of all stakeholders. The contribution of the employer being to help people unlock their full potential and take personal ownership of their career journeys.

Instead of designing career paths for employees, leaders and managers need to inspire people with the excitement of the challenge and support them to recognize, develop and use their talents to grasp emerging future opportunities. Instead of being snow plough managers or even career-controllers, they need to move into the role of the career coach, facilitator and ‘leaders by example’.

Of course, managers don’t change overnight. The journey from ‘reactive manager’ to ‘creative leader’ is beautifully described in Scaling Leadership by Bob Anderson and Bill Adams. Their statement (on page 169) says it all:

“It is hard to change deeply grooved patterns in how we show up every day in our lives, and our leadership.”

‘Scaling Leadership’ also introduces powerful diagnostics based on thorough research to help leaders navigate the journey. Clive Wilson is one of an increasing number of Primeast Leadership Circle Profile Certified Practitioners.Click here to read more about the power of the Leadership Circle Profile.

To push the metaphor just one stage further, we need to be ready for quite a snowstorm in the years to come. Remember, each snowflake is totally unique but when they come together in numbers they can totally transform our landscape if you get our drift!

For fun, here are a few interesting quotes going back to 1700: proof that people have always complained about young adults

Co-written by Denis Kelly, Manager Engineering Capability Development at ESB and Clive Wilson, writer, keynote speaker, facilitator and coach at Primeast.

To start a conversation about building the capability of your leaders speak to a member of our team on +44 (0) 1423 531083 or email [email protected].

What is Facilitation & How to Excel at it

There are many business leaders who may feel they have a good handle on what it means to be a skilled facilitator, having the experience of leading meetings, engaging with staff and generally being key decision-makers that like to get things done.

However, when it comes to appreciating the nuanced role of the facilitator, and what these individuals can bring to their business, some may be lacking the in-depth understanding that is required to truly have an impact.

What is a facilitator and why are they important?

Many people might think that the facilitator is simply the leader of a meeting; the person who choreographs the discussion and ensures each topic up for debate is successfully covered…a true facilitator can do so much more than this.

What many people fail to understand is that the role of the facilitator is not to be a decision-maker (indeed, having to be actively involved in making decisions within a session can diminish their effectiveness), but instead it is to encourage all other participants to share their knowledge, thoughts and insight to further a specific goal.

Developing the right skills is therefore essential to success in the art of facilitation, and these include the ability to think on your feet, engage with others on their terms, adapt quickly to new situations and understand the path to progress lies in collaboration.

Ultimately, the facilitator should be viewed as a conduit for knowledge rather than a bringer of knowledge themselves, while also acting as guardian of the process that will drive business forward.

Becoming an excellent facilitator requires skill…

The key to becoming an excellent facilitator rests in understanding how to get the most out of people and to ensure everyone is encouraged to have their say in a fair and constructive manner. This can be easier said than done, however, and key to this is the ability to productively manage the overall dynamic of any meeting of minds.

Some of the most important elements in this process are the ability to:

…and a clear understanding of the process is essential, here it is:

Prepare like a master

The facilitator must adequately prepare to be a leader in any meeting or session they chair, and this requires the development of a number of key attributes. These include in-depth design and planning of the itinerary of any meeting, as well understanding the key goals that this session is hoping to achieve.

A skilled facilitator will be able to set a clear agenda and relay this information to all involved. In addition, they must develop strong presentation skills and an air of authority that ensures all participants will willingly follow their lead. Setting out clear ground rules at the outset of any meeting is equally important and these should be prepared in advance.

Appropriate participation

During the meeting itself, the role of the facilitator becomes one of overseer and organiser. They should be able to direct the flow of a meeting, but not necessarily have a direct impact on what is being said or discussed. As previously mentioned, it is not the role of the facilitator to have all the answers; instead, they act as an adjudicator and director to get the best out of others.

This attention to service to the group rather than having all attention directed to themselves manifests in a number of ways. These include the ability to focus the group on the important questions and ideas up for debate (avoiding detours of thought); providing the tools to help participants process the topics up for discussion; providing questions and interventions to ensure fuller answers, and; capturing and recording the moment to enable all those in attendance to focus solely on the agenda at hand.

Closing the session with clear actions

Perhaps the most important stage in any meeting or discussion, the end of the session is the time when the facilitator can ensure they are adding the greatest value. Individuals taking part in a meeting must be aware of not only what has been talked about during their time together, but also what is now expected to happen next. This is where the facilitator comes into their own.

A skilled facilitator will ensure that no-one leaves their time together without having a clear understanding of their responsibilities moving forward. This can be as simple as providing a summary of what was discussed and setting out a future plan of action that people clearly understand. Overall, it is essential to remember that time spent in any meeting is ultimately fruitless if it does not lead to action. This is where the facilitator should take charge.

Effective facilitation keeps focus and forward momentum to achieve lasting change

In the end, those businesses that understand the impact that skilled facilitation can bring are the ones that are most likely to achieve forward momentum when seeking to achieve their goals.

By providing a focus on the bigger picture and ensuring this is kept in sight at all times, during meetings, seminars, work groups and conferences, the facilitator is the individual businesses should entrust to keep projects, plans and ambitious goals on track if they hope to achieve lasting organizational change.

Find out more about the impact of skilled facilitation and the important skill of listening in this article blog, ‘The power of generative listening’.

Warwick Abbott is a founding director of Primeast and his passion is supporting change management through relationship building and expert facilitation.

We invite you to start a conversation about your leadership development or the development challenges and opportunities for your organization, you can email him directly here. Or call Primeast on +44 (0)1423 531083.

Why Employee Experience Matters More than Ever

Seize the Post-Pandemic Opportunity for Organisational Excellence

The experience that employees have at an organisation has a significant impact on how they view their employer. Why is the employee experience so important? If the overall employee experience is good, then employees are likely to enjoy their job. Unhappy employees are likely to look for another job.

Employees who enjoy a great employee experience are more engaged at work. This translates into improved business outcomes: better innovation, customer satisfaction, and increased productivity ─ as well as an employer brand that attracts talent and produces higher profits.

The pandemic and the Great Resignation have accentuated the need for organisations to focus on crafting the employee experience and delivering moments that matter. It’s a wake-up call ─ an opportunity to deliver a renaissance that creates a more engaged, productive, cohesive, and loyal team.

Why focusing on employee experience is critical: Mindsets have shifted

The pandemic and the consequences of societal events during and since have been major contributors to a shift in people’s mindsets.

With the Global Covid-19 Culture Assessment research showing that cultural entropy has decreased from 20% to 17%, we also learn that potentially limiting values have changed from bureaucracy, control and hierarchy, to caution, confusion, and job security.

Further, employees are more inclined to be engaged in jobs where the culture, ethics, and values include:

Positive changes in how employees experience this culture include leadership that is more focused on their people and creating a healthy, collaborative working environment. However, differences still exist.

A divergence of priorities that must be reversed

As we are moving out of the pandemic-stricken economy, business leaders and their employees hold different views on what is needed to rebuild in the context of evolving ways of working.

Understandably, business and HR leaders believe that their people need direction. Employees crave more effective communication.

Organisations are focused on developing agility to survive the next crisis, while employees believe that innovation is needed.

We see similar differences between leaders who place trust high up their agenda, versus employees who want to be involved and engaged, and organizations that are focused on sustainability while their employees are focused on society.

Moving forward, it will be crucial for employers and their leadership teams to seek ways to measure these gaps and develop their company culture to align with their employees’ ways of thinking.

As organisations develop their post-pandemic culture, they must create ways to deliver: Greater employee engagement

Why does employee experience matter? How does all this impact your organisation?

The challenge for organisations is to take the good from the pandemic (the collective response of their employees, achieving greatness from the impossible, and delivering positive change) and take action to accelerate toward a new way of working that embraces their employees with exceptional employee experiences.

There are five key factors to accomplish this:

Re-evaluating outdated people practices

With technology advancing at such a rapid pace, it is difficult to keep up with all the changes. Certain work practices, however, have not progressed as quickly and are not as efficient as they once were. Organisations should collaborate with their employees to create new practices and processes that improve efficiency and engagement.

Developing communication and collaboration skills to build cohesion

Communication and collaboration are two of the most important skills for a team to possess. More effective communication skills allow teams to excel in the collaborative workplace.

Investment in training for top-down leadership to engage the workforce

Employees have shown that they can rise to the toughest challenges. As roles expand, organisations must invest in training their people to apply their own initiative and take leadership of their tasks and duties, and empowering them in work about which they are passionate.

Implementing employee consultation in new policies

Implementing employee consultation in new policies is a terrific way of getting buy-in from the people who will be most affected by those policies. Consultation can be done at all levels, from the decision-making team to individual employees.

Creating a sense of belonging through employee onboarding

Employee onboarding is a critical step in establishing a connection with new hires. It is the first impression for new employees, and it sets the stage for success or failure. If an employee fails to feel connected to their co-workers and organisation, they are less likely to stay long-term.

6 Factors that affect the employee experience

As an organisation builds back better, in its culture and work practices, it must consider these six factors that affect the employee experience it delivers:

Don’t underestimate the need to deliver a good employee experience

As the Great Resignation continues to bite chunks out of workforces across all industry sectors, the labour market is becoming increasingly competitive.

There are more job options for employees. Hybrid and remote work has opened a world of opportunities for skilled and talented workers to pursue.

We will never go back to the pre-pandemic workplace. There is now a greater desire for flexibility and autonomy, and employees have greater expectations than before. Employees:

As your organisation seeks to attract and retain the best talent, the employee experience that you deliver will be the key factor in your success and sustainability.

You can learn more about how your organisation is performing by conducting an employee experience survey to learn how employees feel, and exit interviews to discover reasons for quitting.

However, the beating heart of delivering a positive employee experience is developing leadership and management skills to support more collaborative working, improved relationships, and increase engagement with your organisation’s purpose.

Where do you start? Complete the Personal Values Assessment to get a comprehensive insight into your organisational culture – the insight that will help you make more effective decisions, and aid in alignment with team members and colleagues.

How to Improve Employee Experience Initiatives

Three Steps to Improve the Effectiveness of Employee Experience in Employee Retention Programmes

In our previous article in this four-part series, we discussed why employee experience matters. One of the major reasons is employee retention. With more than 4 in 10 employees considering leaving their job according to a Microsoft survey, it’s clearly crucial to prioritise employee experience programmes in the employee retention strategy.

However, investment into employee retention programmes will only pay dividends if organisations and their leaders help to fashion their employees’ perception of employee experience.

To do this, a three-part strategy should be followed.

Step #1: Set expectations

Employees have different expectations for their individual employee experiences. Each employee has a unique life, background, career goals, and personal values. People are motivated by factors that are personal to them, and influenced by their subjective experiences.

Therefore, it’s crucial that organisational leaders set realistic expectations on what is achievable within this context, and that these expectations align with business goals and the desire to retain employees more effectively to help achieve these goals.

At departmental and team level, managers should meet regularly with their employees to ensure that individual and team expectations align with those of the organisation.

Step #2: Personalising the day-to-day workplace experience

Within the approach laid out by an organisation’s employee experience programme, managers must collaborate with their employees to deliver experiences that matter. To do so, managers will need to:

Share information that helps employees see places to make improvements

First, identifying the tasks to be accomplished is key. Breaking down work into small, manageable steps helps to clarify the scope. Second, having a process for managing and recording progress will allow employees to know where they stand and what is left to do. Lastly, allow employees autonomy to craft their work practices, enable risk-taking, and coach employees to learn from mistakes.

Provide employees with a safe environment for discussions

It’s important for employees to feel safe when discussing sensitive subjects with others. To ensure this, it’s necessary to establish clear guidelines, encourage openness, and be transparent and honest in all communication.

Provide a set of relevant choices to keep employees from being overwhelmed

One of the most crucial factors in retaining employees is to make sure they are happy and satisfied with their work. One way to do this is to provide them with a set of choices so that they are not overwhelmed by the experience ─ and to help them to tailor their employee experience so that it matches their needs and preferences.

Step #3: Shape memories ─ both good and bad

Not all experiences will turn out as planned. There will be both good and bad moments. Therefore, it’s crucial that managers focus on shaping memories ─ reframing the negative and reinforcing the positive.

Communication is the key that unlocks the potential of employee experience programmes

Throughout each step, communication is crucial. It’s essential that leaders and managers understand teams and individuals to craft successful employee experiences. Therefore, employees must be given channels in which to express their opinions, perceptions, needs, and wants ─ and leaders must listen.

Managers must share information honestly, be courteous and attentive to feedback, provide support and guidance, and celebrate positive employee experiences.

When an organisation develops employee experience programmes that align with business goals and engage employees effectively, the benefits ripple throughout the organization ─ helping to gel teams, boost productivity, and improve employee retention.

Where do you start? Complete the Personal Values Assessment to get a comprehensive insight into your organisational culture – the insight that will help you make more effective decisions, and aid in alignment with team members and colleagues.

How Can Predictive HR Analytics Help Employee Retention?

Using Attrition and Retention Analytics to Create Proactive Retention Strategies

Businesses are using predictive HR analytics to identify the specific reasons why their employees might be considering leaving, which helps them to create more successful retention strategies.

Every staff member is different, but there are some common factors that might make them want to quit. Attrition and retention analytics can help pinpoint these factors and take a proactive approach to develop solutions to fix damaging employee turnover.

How can HR predictive analytics help companies increase employee retention

Predictive HR analytics helps HR professionals to identify at-risk employees, measure their flight risk, and predict their potential turnover. It also helps HR professionals to create more personalised retention strategies and improve the employee experience. Specifically, attrition and retention analytics helps to improve employee retention by:

Determining the causes of attrition before retention becomes a problem

One of the most common applications of HR predictive analytics is in determining the causes of employee turnover, which can be done by looking at distinct factors like compensation, work/life balance, or job satisfaction. This can help companies determine what they need to do to retain their employees before attrition becomes a problem.

Identifying what employees may be at risk of leaving

HR predictive analytics uses different methods to identify employees who are at risk of leaving, including analysing their engagement levels with the company and their performance. These methods help HR managers understand what factors have led an employee to become disengaged or dissatisfied with work, and then find ways to solve them.

Improving employee experience and engagement

By using predictive analytics, HR managers can improve engagement by determining what it is that people like and dislike about their jobs, and then using this knowledge to create specific interventions that will deliver more meaningful and engaging employee experiences, thus improving employee engagement.

Helping create better compensation and incentive programs

Focusing on predicting the future of an employee, predictive analytics in HR can help organisations understand if factors such as compensation and incentive programs, hours worked, and location are determinants of employees deciding to quit their jobs. This helps organisations create better incentives for their employees, thus reducing the likelihood that they will leave the company for other opportunities.

Using Machine Learning to spot patterns that you might miss

HR predictive analytics helps to improve employee retention by using machine learning to spot patterns that you might miss. It does this by applying machine learning algorithms to collected data and developing hypotheses on what may happen in the future based on identified patterns. This can help an organisation understand their workforce, identify any issues, and make better decisions when it comes to recruitment, hiring, and retention.

How to use predictive HR analytics to reduce employee turnover

To achieve the most effective outcomes possible from HR analytics by predicting the probability of employees leaving their jobs in the future, an organisation must take a strategic, step-by-step approach, collecting data to develop a predictive model that will help the organisation to take pre-emptive actions and reduce employee turnover.

The five steps to using predictive HR analytics are as follows:

Step #1: Calculate the base metrics

HR must calculate current and previous base metrics across employee turnover and retention rates. The higher attrition rates rise, the fewer skilled workers an organisation will have to do the work needed. Productivity and quality fall, and it is necessary to figure out how business outcomes are affected by resignation rates.

By collecting and analysing data, an organisation can tweak its retention strategies according to data and not intuition.

Step #2: Collect data

Data must be collected that enables the organisation to accurately calculate metrics that affect employee retention. This data will help you to identify correlations and determine personalised retention interventions for employees who are most at risk of leaving. Key factors to consider include:

For example, an organisation may track and log employee interactions, conduct pulse surveys, compile performance review statistics, identify compensation schedules, and conduct exit interviews.

Step #3: Identify attrition trends (Who is leaving, when, and why)

When an organisation has identified that it has an employee retention issue, it can utilise HR analytics to identify which employees are leaving, and why employees are leaving.

This may be achieved by performing an analysis of resignation data to determine which factors are increasing or decreasing resignations. Is it departmentally biased (perhaps there is an issue with a manager)? Are people leaving because of compensation (you may have failed to keep pace with market salaries)? Is there a pattern of employees leaving after a specific tenure in their jobs (perhaps you don’t provide sufficient learning, development, and career advancement opportunities)?

Step #4: Flag employees who are at risk of leaving

Not all employee resignations are bad, but it is better to reduce high employee turnover rates. Many resignations could be avoided by applying the knowledge you have gained from data collection and analysis to the development of retention strategies. You can focus on those groups of employees who are most at risk, as predicted by this analysis. Every resignation that can be avoided is money saved on hiring and training.

Step #5: Perform a focused intervention

Interventions must be focused on developing strategies that tackle the root causes of employee turnover, and on retaining key employees. By understanding the reasons why people are quitting ─ such as burnout, work relationships, the need for flexibility, compensation, lack of career advancement, etc. ─ an organisation can personalise its retention policies and strategies to department, teams, and individual employees as warranted.

The bottom line

Your organisation can use HR analytics to help identify employee retention issues and develop strategies to reduce employee turnover. The data you collect and analyse will help you focus on the underlying employee retention issues, and to find solutions before they cause real problems.

This data-driven approach removes bias and saves time and money in the HR function, enabling more precise retention strategies to be created and personalised ─ there is no one-size-fits-all solution to retention issues. It will also help to embed the C-suite support that is critical to the effectiveness of employee retention strategy.

To learn how our leadership coaching programs can help your leaders and managers lead more effectively as you combat the Great Resignation, contact Primeast today.

Creating a Cultural Action Plan to Improve the Employee Experience

Winning Hearts and Minds to Motivate Employee Engagement

Every company has a culture. It is the values, beliefs, and behaviours of employees and management. The culture sets the tone for how people work, interact with each other, and what they do on a day-to-day basis.

Organisations are beginning to realize that their culture is what drives their success.

A strong culture is crucial to the employee experience, improving motivation, happier employees who are more productive, and the delivery of superior customer experiences that drive revenues.

The question is, how do you create an organisational culture plan that will deliver all of this and more?

Create the conditions to attract and retain the best talent

It may be something of a cliche, but your people are the heart of your organisation. Your success depends upon the talent you attract and retain. Therefore you must take steps to create exceptional employer branding that achieves the goal of increasing and improving your human talent. To do so, you must:

An inspiring purpose is a vision for your organisation that helps you make decisions and inspires your people to achieve your goals. It can be anything from a simple statement about who you are or what your values are, to developing a complex plan of how to live out your values in the world.

Employees will be able to work with more passion and dedication if they understand why they are doing what they do. Organisations that do not have a clear and compelling vision for how to manifest their purpose will struggle to retain talent, grow revenue, or maintain profitability.

Leaders should focus on how to keep their employees engaged and happy. They need to make sure that they are not just focusing on their own personal agenda and instead have a servant-leader mindset towards their employees, and are adept at keeping everyone’s hearts and minds focused on how much they love your organisation.

It is important to put structures in place that allow you to have a good understanding of what your team’s expectations are. This will help you understand where they are coming from and the best way to design employee experiences. As you do so, you should also measure their performance to monitor how well your strategies are working.

Create opportunities for employees to improve their knowledge and capabilities, inspiring them to develop a growth mindset that helps them achieve more than they think they could. This is a positive approach, focusing on new learning, innovative ideas, and the willingness to take on challenges.

When people feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to be motivated to do better work

Steps to Getting Your Game Plan Together

Let’s start creating a cultural plan by getting your game plan together with these six steps:

Step #1: Human capital culture creation

The importance of human capital culture creation is that it helps to shape an organisation’s identity. It also helps to create a unified sense of purpose and direction within an organisation. It can also help with recruitment and retention efforts. This process may also have some negative impacts on both employees and employers if not done properly.

Step #2: Strategic plan ─ goal and priority setting

Strategic planning is a process of defining the direction, scope, and objectives of an organisation. It also sets out the strategies and actions to achieve these objectives. This process helps organisations in identifying their strengths and weaknesses, setting goals and priorities, and evaluating progress.

Step #3: Values and behaviours development work

Values and behaviours development work is one of the most important aspects of human development. It is necessary for the individual to have a healthy self-image, a sense of purpose, and an understanding of their own strengths. Focus on skills such as emotional intelligence, goal setting, time management, empathy, responsibility, and more. This type of work helps individuals develop the skills that are necessary for them to be successful in their personal lives as well as in their professional lives.

Step #4: Leadership engagement development work

The goal of leadership engagement development work is to develop leadership skills to have a positive impact on an organisation. It helps leaders and managers to grow in their roles, develop new skills and take on new responsibilities. This can be done through coaching, mentoring, and other development processes.

Step #5: Socialising the work in the larger organisation

An organisation’s success depends on the cohesion of its employees and how well they collaborate. One way to achieve this is by socialising the work, helping people to understand each other’s roles, and fostering feelings of belonging to an organisation which is more akin to being part of a family.

Step #6: Define and employ metrics to measure your culture

Employing metrics to measure culture is a crucial step toward creating a culture that will drive success. Some metrics that you may use include:

Benefits of having a new organisational culture plan

The new organisational culture plan should be a combination of company values and the employees’ needs. It is a way to get everyone on board, and it should be able to help you achieve your goals.

A new organisational culture plan will help you to understand what your values are and how they align with the business’s vision. It will also help you to understand how your organisation is currently operating and what type of culture would be best for it.

The benefits of developing an organisational culture plan that is designed to enhance the employee experience include:

Takeaway ─ Take stock and ask the following questions

As you design and develop your culture plan, it’s crucial to ensure that it remains on track to deliver the envisaged benefits. As you take stock of your existing culture and design your new culture plan, ask yourself the following questions:

An organisation’s culture will affect the way it does business. A good culture is one that is inclusive and encourages teamwork among employees. A bad culture will tear apart a company from the inside out, creating an environment where employees are not happy to be at work.

How is your current culture doing? When was the last time you measured your employee engagement, and discussed employee experience and its place in the equation?

Fast-forward five years. Where do you see yourself and your organisation? Will you be able to look back and see your current challenges as the greatest gift?

Where do you start? Complete the Personal Values Assessment to get a comprehensive insight into your organisational culture – the insight that will help you make more effective decisions, and aid in alignment with team members and colleagues.

Line Managers as Champions of Learning

In the current unpredictable and disrupted business climate, line managers play a critical role in developing their team members to be able to deal successfully with their challenges. Line managers are the frontline connection between business strategy and operational execution and having well developed people is critical to effective implementation. Sadly, in our experience, for a range of reasons, they are not always set up for success or engaged enough to see learning as an organisational imperative.

Studies from a number of notable institutions and organisations have identified a couple of dominant reasons for this:

Leaving this situation unchallenged within any organisation should not be an option. The consequence of leaving the issue unaddressed potentially affects the long-term organisational health, retention of talent and overall performance.

Primeast is a certified Kirkpatrick Partners consultancy and helps organisations develop a learning culture and derive better value from their investments in learning. Here are 10 practical tips to help start making progress:

Develop THEM as Champions of Learning

HR and senior leadership should commit some time and money to educating line managers as to why their role as Champions of Learning is vital to organisational growth. Also, you need to ensure line mangers themselves are well trained and have good personal experience of the benefits of learning.

Engage them to make learning the norm

The role of learning needs to become part of culture, not just another process. Once line managers feel the value of learning, they are much more likely to become Champions of Learning. Old school Scientific Management (Taylorism), where employees just learn to do one task and managers just mange the repeated execution of that task is no longer good enough.

Define the need and the measurement

HR and senior leadership need to help line managers by providing clear guidance on what the organisation expects in terms of people development. Vague objectives and statements aren’t sufficient. Line managers need to understand what behaviours, mindset and practice will make a positive impact on Leading Business Indicators (micro-measures that show things are on track to hit bigger objectives). All this needs to feature in role definitions and personal objectives too.

Help line managers to understand team member development needs

Part of the journey of turning line managers into Champions is developing their ability to recognise development needs in their team members and colleagues. They need to be able to recognise patterns and trends in what they see going on around them. Then by using their coaching skills and Deconstructive Dialogue (Kegan and Lahey) they can work them to find the best way forward. Of course, training may not actually be the right solution.

Many line managers will say they are too busy with workload to be responsible for developing their people. HR and senior leaders need to consider how they re-engineer the way they work to create this capacity. Many of the world’s most cutting-edge businesses, such as Google and Apple have built time into workflows to allow for innovation and people development.

Options, options, options

Once line managers have capacity and personal skills, they will begin to know their people much better and what each person’s learning preferences are. It’s the role of HR to provide a range of options for development. This means creating a blended suite of learning solutions. Technology may provide rich and cost-effective ways of learning content, it’s not the panacea. Human evolution is slower than technological evolution, so if organisations want effective learning, they have to accommodate a variety of needs; then let their Champions be stewards of the best choices.

Make communication omnidirectional

Take steps to include the value of learning as a ‘golden thread’ in internal communications whether that’s strategic, operational or peer to peer.

Create a common language around learning

HR and learning have long been a haven of jargon. The best organisations use clear, understandable language surrounding learning that is meaningful for the whole organisation top to bottom. The better people understand the more likely they are to act in a way that contributes to progress.

In the 70:20:10 learning process, the true value comes in the 70

As part of their development line managers need to understand what workplace-based options are available to them to recommend to their people. These may be used as experiences for people to practise and implement things they’e been taught in formal learning; they may just be a potentially meaningful experience, such as organising or facilitating a meeting or being part of high-profile project team.

Invite and encourage feedback

Alongside all of the above, meaningful feedback loops built in to the system will contribute to the development of the organisational learning mindset and processes. Feedback needs to be seen as an opportunity and if appropriate for making positive moves toward business objectives, acted upon as soon as is practical.

12 Strategies to Create a Great Remote Employee Experience

Evolving Employee Engagement Strategy for the Evolution of Work

As we enter the post-pandemic era of work, remote working is here to stay. It certainly has benefits for both employer and employee, but it can be challenging, too. This is especially true for keeping employees engaged in their work.

The real issue is that employers risk delivering a remote worker employee experience that leaves their remote employees feeling very much home alone — whether those employees are working from home, full time, or part of the time.

This underlines that the way to foster higher employee engagement (and the benefits of this that include higher productivity, increased employee loyalty, and higher profits) has shifted from traditional employee engagement strategies.

Today’s employees are more self-aware. A boost in paycheck may give them a warm feeling inside, but it’s a fleeting sense of satisfaction. Today, it’s crucial to envelop employees with meaningful employee experiences:

So why do so many employee engagement initiatives fail? Primarily because organisations view it as an HR practice. While HR may take a vital role in engagement initiatives, it is leaders, managers, and supervisors who deliver exceptional employee experiences that do so much to boost engagement.

How can organisations provide a great remote worker employee experience?

Here are 12 strategies that your organisation should be helping its leaders and managers to deliver.

1. Optimise your onboarding process

The first impression is always the best impression. A good onboarding process can set your company apart from others and make your employees feel welcome and valued. HR can streamline the onboarding process in several ways, such as having paperwork completed prior to day one, and ensuring that desktops are set up to start immediately.

Managers can arrange for meaningful introductions to new colleagues, and provide the new employee with an overview of the company’s culture and values so they can feel more connected with the company.

All these things can be achieved in the office and remotely. It simply takes a little planning.

2. Connect employees to your mission

Connecting employees to the company’s mission is a wonderful way to motivate them. It helps them to feel they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. We can do this by sharing our organisation’s vision and values with them in meetings, conferences, and other interactions. But we shouldn’t forget that it is not only about what we say, it is about what we do. Leaders and managers must lead by example.

3. Foster effective communication and listening

Effective communication is an important aspect of the workplace. It helps to build trust, respect, and understanding between colleagues. As managers, we must learn to listen more, understand our people, and use effective communication skills to solve problems.

Communication is the foundation of relationships and the key to good teamwork. When communicating virtually with remote employees, a different communication skill set is needed, and managers need to adapt skills such as active listening, reflective listening, paraphrasing, summarising, and clarifying for the virtual environment.

4. Regular check-ins: Go beyond work in conversations to build more meaningful relationships

Regular check-ins with employees are a terrific way to make sure that they feel appreciated, heard, and involved. It also helps with any problems that might be coming up. But these check-ins should not only be about work. Managers should take opportunities to learn more about their employees, and to check in on their well-being.

5. Provide a space for ideas to feel appreciated and acknowledged

It’s important that we show our appreciation for individuals by ensuring we provide the methods and space for them to share their ideas. This can be during team meetings, though technology also enables us to discuss ideas as teams even though we may be miles apart.

6. Keep open lines of communication

Being home alone removes us from a basic human instinct — socialising. There are no meetings at the water cooler. No after-work get-togethers. No opportunity to knock on the boss’s door for a quick chat.

We must find ways to make remote work more social. Keep our lines of communication open and deliver a ‘water cooler experience’ using technology. One company we know set up a separate slack channel for people to share recipes. This worked so well that they set up other channels, to enable people to join in social conversations as if they were at work. Crucially, the employees administer these channels themselves.

As we build out communication capabilities, we must take advantage of technology to:

7. Create a customised inclusion experience and promote relationship building

Inclusion is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process that starts with an inclusive culture and continues with customised inclusion experiences and relationship building. We must seek to optimise the experience to match our employees’ needs, preferences, and personalities.

There are many ways to create a customised inclusion experience for employees. We can have our employees share their own stories, which will help them feel more included in the company. Managers should share their stories, too, and not be afraid of showing they are also vulnerable. Such conversations can immediately spur a sense of togetherness that promotes deeper collaboration through the sense of connected company culture, enabled by virtual connection outside of regular meetings that are like an office environment.

8. Provide a mentally safe environment for employees

Employee experience may be defined as the sum of all emotions that a person feels when they are working for an organisation. Positive work culture is key to improving employee experience. It is also crucial to provide an environment in which employees feel confident and secure to speak out about their mental health issues.

Employers that provide mental health support for their employees, deliver better work-life balance and make their employees feel more valued in the workplace.

9. Support work/life balance

The correlation between work-life balance and employee experience is undeniable.

Organisations that support work-life balance have employees who are more satisfied with their jobs and are more likely to be engaged in their work. To deliver meaningful work/life balance, we must know our employees as individuals — while we may all be rowing in the same direction, each of us is unique.

10. Provide professional development opportunities

Providing professional development opportunities is one of the best ways to improve the employee experience. These may be in the form of workshops, conferences, seminars, online courses, and more. As managers and leaders, we should be proactive in helping our employees to design their career paths, especially in today’s flatter organisations, in which career crafting rather than traditional lines of promotion will provide the most rewarding development potential.

In our white paper, we highlight how the development of employees should be a top priority for every organisation in order for them to engage their workforce and plan for the future.

11. Recognise and reward your remote employees’ effort

The importance of recognising employees’ efforts is not just limited to managers. We should develop a culture in which employees themselves should also take the time to appreciate the work of their colleagues. This will help remote employees feel connected to the organisation and its culture.

12. Instruct your leaders to rethink leadership and apply it to the remote environment

The Covid pandemic and the response to it did not alter the course of evolution in how we work, but it has accelerated the evolution of remote work. In a world in which businesses operate in flatter hierarchies, leaders and managers are faced with the challenge of shifting how they lead in new organisational structures and how they lead dispersed and remote teams.

Still, one thing certainly remains constant. It is leaders and managers, supported by HR, who set the tone for the organisation and its employees. Leaders need to be mindful of how they are treating their employees and how they are making them feel, and individualise employee experiences within the context of the team.

While organisations are more dependent upon technology than ever, it is evident that leadership must become more people-centric than ever — and apply strategies that deliver the highest-quality employee experiences to teams and individuals. If we can do this, we will all be winners from the shift to remote work.

Where do you start? Complete the Personal Values Assessment to get a comprehensive insight into your organisational culture.

Are you a Snowplough Employer?

Many of us will have heard of the millennial generation referred to as ‘Snowflakes’ and the ‘Snowflake Generation’. In this context the suggestion is that they are in some ways less resilient and more prone to taking offence than previous generations. The other, more relevant suggestion is that they swan around under the naive impression that they’re special, beautiful and unique with a strong sense of entitlement. But isn’t that what older generations always say about the following generations?

There are other possible ways of looking at this perceived ‘Snowflakery’.

Perhaps being “prone to take offence” is perceived from their strong personal belief in fair play and their commitment to creating a better community for all. This may lead to an unwillingness to tip their cap to the status quo and to challenge even the smallest negative behaviours in our society. In a VUCA world being turned upside-down by global political and environmental challenges, is it any wonder that this generation is seriously concerned about the world they have inherited from their parents? Maybe they are justifiably keen to do a better job for future generations and to do it in their own way.

On the flip side of this discussion is the question How did we create a Snowflake Generation?

Well yes of course they have ‘Snowplough Parents’ who spend all their time smoothing out life for their precious offspring. In doing so they rob them of the opportunities to grow and learn from the ups and downs of life. Equally it could be said they ploughed a clear furrow of values and a willingness to challenge that status quo for their offspring. This is the generation of CND, Green Peace, Civil Rights Movement, “second-wave” feminist cause, and much more.

Snowflakes at work

If we translate this into the world of work, do we try to steer our employees’careers for them? In effect, are we ‘snowplough’ employers? Or do we encourage them to own their own careers and support them to navigate the world of work, learning from its many ups and downs. The millennial generation generally choose the latter. They change jobs frequently and move quickly when they get disillusioned. For them, the size of the paycheque is somewhat less important than the perceived value of the work to improve themselves and contribute to the broader community.

The snowflake generation and snow plough employers were discussed at length at a recent Primeast Talent Forum in Dublin. We were exploring the challenge, brought by our hosts ESB: ‘How to source, grow and retain technical talent – who can develop the future skills that currently don’t exist but will be critical to our future as a business’. Denis Kelly was in the forum ‘hotseat’ feeling the melting snow and Clive Wilson was facilitating. In relation to the challenge, Denis suggested that the days of the snowplough employer were numbered. This was a new term for many in the room, including Clive, but it was a very helpful metaphor.

Snowplough employer?

The snowplough employer is the one that takes control, smooths out the bumps they see ahead because they believe they know future roles that are needed to build new capabilities and the ‘right’career path for each of their employees. This paternalistic approach may have worked in the past but in a world enveloped in a ‘VUCA fog’, such certainty is more likely to steer careers onto the rocks. All our business environments are changing at an increasing pace, technology is allowing new players to enter previously protected markets rapidly and, whilst there is much data on key trends, there is also far more uncertainty. The key to success going forward will be agility and adaptability and they will not come from ‘one size fits all’ traditional development approaches. But, rather than feeling downbeat about the challenges we face, our All Ireland Talent Forum of some twenty professionals from a wide range of industries agreed that the role of the employer is to present the challenge as exciting and meaningful. This a world where people can bring their unique skill-sets, talents and curiosity into play for the benefit of all stakeholders. The contribution of the employer being to help people unlock their full potential and take personal ownership of their career journeys.

Instead of designing career paths for employees, leaders and managers need to inspire people with the excitement of the challenge and support them to recognise, develop and use their talents to grasp emerging future opportunities. Instead of being snow plough managers or even career-controllers, they need to move into the role of the career coach, facilitator and ‘leaders by example’.

Of course, managers don’t change overnight. The journey from ‘reactive manager’ to ‘creative leader’ is beautifully described in Scaling Leadership by Bob Anderson and Bill Adams. Their statement (on page 169) says it all:

“It is hard to change deeply grooved patterns in how we show up every day in our lives, and our leadership.”

‘Scaling Leadership’ also introduces powerful diagnostics based on thorough research to help leaders navigate the journey. Clive Wilson is one of an increasing number of Primeast Leadership Circle Profile Certified Practitioners.Click here to read more about the power of the Leadership Circle Profile.

To push the metaphor just one stage further, we need to be ready for quite a snowstorm in the years to come. Remember, each snowflake is totally unique but when they come together in numbers they can totally transform our landscape if you get our drift!

For fun, here are a few interesting quotes going back to 1700: proof that people have always complained about young adults

Co-written by Denis Kelly, Manager Engineering Capability Development at ESB and Clive Wilson, writer, keynote speaker, facilitator and coach at Primeast.

To start a conversation about building the capability of your leaders speak to a member of our team on +44 (0) 1423 531083 or email [email protected].

What is Facilitation & How to Excel at it

There are many business leaders who may feel they have a good handle on what it means to be a skilled facilitator, having the experience of leading meetings, engaging with staff and generally being key decision-makers that like to get things done.

However, when it comes to appreciating the nuanced role of the facilitator, and what these individuals can bring to their business, some may be lacking the in-depth understanding that is required to truly have an impact.

What is a facilitator and why are they important?

Many people might think that the facilitator is simply the leader of a meeting; the person who choreographs the discussion and ensures each topic up for debate is successfully covered…a true facilitator can do so much more than this.

What many people fail to understand is that the role of the facilitator is not to be a decision-maker (indeed, having to be actively involved in making decisions within a session can diminish their effectiveness), but instead it is to encourage all other participants to share their knowledge, thoughts and insight to further a specific goal.

Developing the right skills is therefore essential to success in the art of facilitation, and these include the ability to think on your feet, engage with others on their terms, adapt quickly to new situations and understand the path to progress lies in collaboration.

Ultimately, the facilitator should be viewed as a conduit for knowledge rather than a bringer of knowledge themselves, while also acting as guardian of the process that will drive business forward.

Becoming an excellent facilitator requires skill…

The key to becoming an excellent facilitator rests in understanding how to get the most out of people and to ensure everyone is encouraged to have their say in a fair and constructive manner. This can be easier said than done, however, and key to this is the ability to productively manage the overall dynamic of any meeting of minds.

Some of the most important elements in this process are the ability to:

…and a clear understanding of the process is essential, here it is:

Prepare like a master

The facilitator must adequately prepare to be a leader in any meeting or session they chair, and this requires the development of a number of key attributes. These include in-depth design and planning of the itinerary of any meeting, as well understanding the key goals that this session is hoping to achieve.

A skilled facilitator will be able to set a clear agenda and relay this information to all involved. In addition, they must develop strong presentation skills and an air of authority that ensures all participants will willingly follow their lead. Setting out clear ground rules at the outset of any meeting is equally important and these should be prepared in advance.

Appropriate participation

During the meeting itself, the role of the facilitator becomes one of overseer and organiser. They should be able to direct the flow of a meeting, but not necessarily have a direct impact on what is being said or discussed. As previously mentioned, it is not the role of the facilitator to have all the answers; instead, they act as an adjudicator and director to get the best out of others.

This attention to service to the group rather than having all attention directed to themselves manifests in a number of ways. These include the ability to focus the group on the important questions and ideas up for debate (avoiding detours of thought); providing the tools to help participants process the topics up for discussion; providing questions and interventions to ensure fuller answers, and; capturing and recording the moment to enable all those in attendance to focus solely on the agenda at hand.

Closing the session with clear actions

Perhaps the most important stage in any meeting or discussion, the end of the session is the time when the facilitator can ensure they are adding the greatest value. Individuals taking part in a meeting must be aware of not only what has been talked about during their time together, but also what is now expected to happen next. This is where the facilitator comes into their own.

A skilled facilitator will ensure that no-one leaves their time together without having a clear understanding of their responsibilities moving forward. This can be as simple as providing a summary of what was discussed and setting out a future plan of action that people clearly understand. Overall, it is essential to remember that time spent in any meeting is ultimately fruitless if it does not lead to action. This is where the facilitator should take charge.

Effective facilitation keeps focus and forward momentum to achieve lasting change

In the end, those businesses that understand the impact that skilled facilitation can bring are the ones that are most likely to achieve forward momentum when seeking to achieve their goals.

By providing a focus on the bigger picture and ensuring this is kept in sight at all times, during meetings, seminars, work groups and conferences, the facilitator is the individual businesses should entrust to keep projects, plans and ambitious goals on track if they hope to achieve lasting organisational change.

Find out more about the impact of skilled facilitation and the important skill of listening in this article blog, ‘The power of generative listening’.

Warwick Abbott is a founding director of Primeast and his passion is supporting change management through relationship building and expert facilitation.

We invite you to start a conversation about your leadership development or the development challenges and opportunities for your organisation, you can email him directly here. Or call Primeast on +44 (0)1423 531083.