Reinforcing the value of benefits
"With health care costs increasing, most employees don’t think about or even know the monetary benefit they receive from the company regarding their health care coverage. One way to remind employees is to include on their payroll stub the health care cost you pay per payroll period plus their salary for the total compensation package. This helps to retain employees, squelch some asking for raises, as well as remind them of the dollar value of benefits."
— Steve Williams, Capital Mortgage Finance Corp., Columbia, Md.
New twist on
"Schedule employee reviews at the beginning of the year—not at the end. This creates a focus on achieving goals and moving forward with opportunities for change and improvement."
— Phil Delgiudice, Aztec Industries, Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
Do they really want a promotion?
"How many times have you promoted an employee to a position of greater responsibility, only to watch him fail miserably? We tend to superimpose our own value systems on others, especially those we like. When we see employees striving to do a good job, we naturally assume they want to 'get ahead.' The definition of success isn’t the same for everybody. Just because an employee strives to be the best at what he does, doesn’t mean he wants increased responsibility and duties. Sometimes, he just wants to be good at what he does."
— John Dini, The Alternative Board, San Antonio
Tracking employee growth
"Every year during reviews, I pull out the job description and ask the employee to write down on the job description what they started doing that is not on the job description. I then ask them what they stopped doing.
"This helps us update expectations and job descriptions as we grow and need employees’ jobs to adjust to the changing needs of the company. Not only does this set the tone with employees that their job responsibilities may be altered, but it alerts us to what changes may be happening in the company we’re not aware of."
— Lu Cotta, Annapolis Accommodations, Annapolis, Md.
Carefully word employee handbooks
"Don’t include 'probation periods' in your employee handbook or job offer letters. Offering a 60- to 90-day probation period might imply that the employee will have some degree of job security when the job is over, and this could cause confusion with 'at-will' termination status.
"If you feel that you must include something like a 'probation' period, refer to it as an 'introductory' or 'training' period. Both expressions are less likely to imply a contract than if you use the 'probation' period. At the same time, check to make sure that your manual and offer letters clearly provide that employees can be terminated at any time and for any reason."
— Wayne Berry, The Alternative Board, St. Louis
Use customer survey to train
“I recently hired a new person who will be calling prospects and making appointments for sales calls. I had an idea for quickly giving her confidence in our company and for testing her phone skills. I had her call old customers, asking them to rate our past service, give a one-sentence testimonial and let us know if we could do anything for them. Not only did the new employee find out how good we are, we also got new business from several of our old customers.”
— Ken Doerbecker, AdvantEDGE Works Inc., Pittsburgh
Excerpted from Tips from the Top®, a publication written by business-owner members of The Alternative Board®. To learn how TAB can make a bottom-line difference in your company, visit www.TheAlternativeBoard.com/executiveleadership.
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