Part 2: How has Motivii helped me with my manager?

Often relationships between employees and managers can be pretty 2-D. Conversations that ever get past work related things happen in the pub after work.

At times the pub, is not the best place to talk about things when you are struggling with something outside of work or a relationship within work.

When you do have a problem that you can’t ignore, the only avenue of discussion is to book a private meeting with your manager or with HR,  which can feel overtly formal as well as intimidating.

I choose to express any problems or struggles that I am having in and outside of work in my Top3 challenges for the week. These get sent to my line-manager (who happens to also be my boss), Eamon can take note of it and schedule the meeting with me.

This takes the pressure off both him ( because he doesn’t have to use guesswork to know f something is wrong/ going well) and me because I have a clear way of expressing that something isn’t right bypassing coarse formalities.

As an apparent “Millennial”  I feel I can relate to Gallup’s How Millennials Want to Live and Work report which found that performance management and a constant focus on regular feedback is a huge contributor and pays large dividends in engagement and performance.

I think that at times managers don’t know the questions to ask if there aren’t avenues for employees to express what’s going well or what is going wrong as well. Likewise frequent form of feedback not only benefits my company because they know what is going on but also it helps me to feel  engaged with my work and allows me to feedback how I am doing and what I have been up to…

 

Why are 1-2-1s  important?

While engagement is the buzzword at the moment. There are few grassroots examples of how managers can directly improve engagement.

But,

Engagement isn’t going anywhere and there is a reason why…

Employees who are less engaged, are less productive. But not only is it bad for relations in the office it’s also bad for business. Disengaged employees may not only sleepwalk through work but they also might cost your company millions in lost revenue and as an organisation you have to absorb the costs of not only their recruitment but also their training and later resignation.

Feedback and recognition for good work is the bread and butter of employee engagement.

69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognised

Often managers become managers because they are the top of the table when it comes to skills. But they are not given any advice on how to get feedback and what to do with the feedback when they get it. This can be a struggle for a manager who manages a team from three people to three hundred.

How can managers better connect with the individuals in their team, to keep them engaged with the work that they are doing? And to create a culture in which they feel valued as a member of a team as well as the company.

“For example, employees whose managers hold regular meetings with them are almost three times as likely to be engaged as employees whose managers do not hold regular meetings with them”

1-2-1s can be a great way to create that connection and improve the relationship. It also gives a channel through which positive and negative feedback can be passed from manager to employee end employee to manager.

While setting aside time for each individual, in a no doubt a busy week, seems like an arduous task for a manager, the long term investment in a productive employee not only creates a stronger relationship but also shows them that you value them beyond a resource.

This relationship not only helps to keep them engaged with what they are doing each week, but with their own performance and career development.

With frequent 1:1s we can ask the question are performance reviews necessary?

They are time consuming and subjective, but if you are up to date with each individual, what is the necessity for a performance review every year, where you are forced to remember what you have been doing for the 3 months, 6 months and year previously. Checking frequently removes that pressure on one review and keeps employees connected to what they are doing on a weekly basis. 

Similarly, a mere quarterly check up is not substantial enough to really gage how people are doing.

So if you haven’t already, try a 1-2-1 with your direct reports today.

Want to find out more?

Follow us on @gemotivii

How classic marketing helped us change our navigation

I find it interesting that some of the old classic marketing concepts still hold true today in this modern digital age, just as when they were first created.

One of those is Marketing Myopia which I learned back at Uni (a long time ago!). Marketing Myopia was a term coined by Theodore Levitt for Harvard Business Review in the 1960’s. Essentially it was around how marketing fails when businesses focus on the features of the product opposed to promoting the benefits.

Some companies excel at getting across the benifit message (hello Apple), others don’t!  Having learned about it, progressed in my career, even lectured clients about it, I was shocked when I caught myself being myopic with my own product.

It’s all about the benefits and how it makes you feel, not the features!

Motivii has progressed from a simple mobile app, to a comprehensive platform that allows individuals to better connect at work, manage their objectives, have better reviews and much, much more. However, by the start of this year we realised that we had a problem. The mistake we made was to structure the product linked to the features, and your role in an organisation, opposed to the benefits for you as a manager or an employee.  For example, to access some of our features you had to click into Me or My Team in the Motivii navigation, before being given access to tools that were repeated in both areas… everything felt a bit buried.  

At the start of the year we were running lots of internal brainstorming and talking to clients about how they benefited from using Motivii. This was when we realised, in what only can be described as a lightbulb moment, that we essentially helped employees record how they feel at work, connect and have better meetings and one-to-one conversations or learn overtime how they, their team or organisation feel, giving them perspective on what to improve and change.  We kept going back to how we could get these three elements and their connected tools clearly into the product. Then the light bulb moment hit… why don’t we just make this our navigation!

This week I’m very excited to announce that after a huge effort by the team (thank you) we are ready to launch our brand new navigation. Record, Connect and Learn on Motivii.com.

Already from getting feedback from clients we can see this this makes a tangible difference. Our next plan is to update our native mobile apps with the same navigation structure and then expand this new approach.  

This whole experience reminds me to always put the customer at the heart of what you do and describe the product in a way that makes sense to them, not to yourself. Plus some of the old classic marketing principles still hold true and you should always practice what you preach 😊.

 

3 ways companies can turn disasters into success

 

When the world gives you oranges make orange juice… 3 ways leaders and companies can turn disasters into success….

In a world where the Lehman brothers can go bankrupt overnight, The UK can leave the EU and Trump goes from reality TV star to president, it is easy to fall foul to a cloud of uncertainty and despair.

While these things were seemingly beyond prediction, big economic and political change is a predictable and fixed part of our society and we have to accept this and move forward. But how do companies and leaders deal with the changes that happen suddenly and how can you ride the wave towards opportunity?

  1. Communication.

Change can trigger anxiety, decrease levels of emotional well-being and ultimately plague productivity. From communicating with your employees you can gage how they are feeling and react to big societal or company changes. Moving away from the “Remote” manager to the “Involved” manager you can show them that you care. You can use online feedback tools to get immediate realisations on how your team is feeling and use that feedback to implement certainty, and guide them through the highs and lows.

By watching and listening to your team you can see if behaviour changes or performance dips; with an insight of feedback you can create the mechanisms to dispel anxiety and create cohesion.

2. Preparation.

Sometimes you can’t prepare for big changes but in the aftermath, preparation is key.

You need to tell your employees what change means for them. Jeanie Daniel Duck reasoned in his book The Change Monster: The Human Forces That Fuel or Foil Corporate Transformation and Change, managers need to “interpret what’s going on for people and explain what it means for them in specific, concrete terms”. Providing your employees with information and creates a calming culture of shared knowledge and transparency. Preparation for the future might also mean training your team in some key areas so they are prepared for uncertain economic times and potential re-shuffles within your organisation.

Using the feedback from your team you can cement a roadmap for change and plan for how you will take the future on. Allowing everyone to be part of this new pathway, and creating a forum for suggestions and expression, emphasises a connectedness and creates a joint legacy for each member of the team.  

4. Interpret change as opportunity.

In the face of immense challenge and economic turbulence, all companies have the chance to prosper and expand. It’s about being positive and innovative and seeing the possibilities for continual improvement in each economic climate.

While it may be easy to fixate on the negatives, often the results of world events are out of our immediate control. By engaging your employees and creating a realm of job security, your employees can focus on the work ahead rather than sinking into inefficiency.

In summary, confidence and communicating with your employees will be more likely to breed success than indecision and silence.

6 ways to become a Time Wizard

 

screen-shot-2014-12-14-at-11-40-48-pm

Don’t worry, it won’t take long to read this!

 

Michelangelo and Steve Jobs were given the same amount of minutes as us in the day, but it all depends on how you use them.

Here are some tips to help you become a time wizard and manage your team more efficiently:

  1. Make time strategic

In the workplace some issues are of more strategic value than others. It is up to the time- canny wizards to decide what is the most important to be dealt with first. Michael Mankins found that 80 per cent of a manager’s time is devoted to less than 20 per cent of a company’s long term value. Thus a manager needs to be focused on decisions, not always non-strategic discussion.

A good way to address decision making is through…

  1. Structured team meetings

Online engagement tools can help structure and inform team meetings. Employees can reflect on the past week by looking at what they have achieved, and similarly what they have found difficult. By doing this they can consolidate their focus, and self-manage what their goals are for the next week. As a manager you can use this information to amplify discussion and create a structured pathway for team meetings.

Online engagement tools also allow employees to express how they feel right away, preventing issues within the organisation being dragged out from quarter to quarter. Similarly engaged and structured team meetings can show managers that teams are acting on what’s been agreed to in meetings.

  1. Keep meetings short and punchy

Planning meetings beforehand, and keeping a time limit on them, allows people to be focused and stay attentive. Be firm and address the key issues at the beginning of the meeting. Be engaged and don’t allow yourself, or your employees, to be distracted from work by other work.

  1. Keeping focus

Many employees and managers admit to doing emails or other work during meetings which can cause them to drag on and lose focus.  As the common saying goes: better to do something well or not at all.

Often we attempt to do 1000x tasks at once but at times the quality of our work is not always tiptop, meaning that more time has to be spent later correcting the work we do. In light of this we should prioritise what is most important and do it first.

  1. Make little changes to make your life easier

A common myth is that in order to manage time more efficiently you need to change yourself drastically. Little steps towards better time management can help in exponential ways. For example, you can use online personal assistant tools to go through emails; highlighting the most important ones and push the less important ones to the back. Use mechanisms to track emails sent by you, schedule emails for particular times and then follow those emails with automated canned responses to save your time and much needed brain power.

  1. Be kind to yourself

Sometimes you just can’t do everything. With an increasing workload, taking more breaks can help with efficiency. Exercise and practicing mindfulness can help you step away from work and re-calibrate. Learn how to say no and to delegate. Often we take on too much because we want to do the best job, but as a manager or an employee there are people in our team who can help us.

In summary, we can’t do it all, but as William Penn said

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst”

So take a minute to think how you can make use of your valuable time better.  

 

Motivii at Employee Benefits Live

         

eamon-about-to-go-live-with-rbsMotivii’s first event and what an outing it was.

With our grey personalised t-shirts we gave Zuckerberg a run for his money.

EBL is one of the largest rewards and benefits events in Europe and it brought together a number of interesting companies and ideals.

What did we learn from the event?

“Employee” and “manager” engagement were the buzz phrases over the two days and we had a lot to talk about on the matter.
http://www.employeebenefitslive.co.uk/