How To Boost Workplace Wellness This Winter

Winter wellness – it’s all about rugging up warm, getting that flu jab and staying home from work if you’re unwell, right? Well, that’s part of it.

But have you thought about how you’ll care for the mental wellness of your team this winter – particularly at work?

Deadlines, demanding customers, COVID-19 worries, long hours, remote working – the list of things that can knock our wellbeing at work is endless. And the long, grey winter months can make it all feel so much worse. But improving our mental wellbeing is priceless.

So, how can you ensure you are being an ethical leader and creating an environment of winter workplace wellness? Read on to find out.

How To Boost Workplace Wellness This Winter

Why Workplace Wellness?

Good mental health at work and good management go hand in hand. There’s evidence that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive. According to WorkSafe NZ, focusing on mental health in the workplace is essential because:

  1. It’s good for business. When people are happy in their environment, they are more productive, take less sick leave, and are more likely to remain in their jobs for longer.
  2. It’s a legal obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act (which is as much about mental health as physical health!)
  3. It’s a moral and ethical obligation for all of us to do the right thing by one another.

Workplace wellness creates a better working environment for everyone, so it becomes a pleasure to be at work despite the dreary weather outside!

Navigating The Winter Blues

The winter blues are a well-known phenomenon. They are most heavily felt throughout the workplace. As the temperature drops and the weather worsens, it is harder to get those sunlight hours that our bodies desperately crave.

As a manager, it is your responsibility to acknowledge that your team may be feeling those winter blues and have a plan to combat their impact as much as possible. One of the easiest ways to do that is to regularly check in with your team – individually and in a group setting.

Encourage open lines of communication so that your team can discuss issues or problems they are facing, have constructive conversations so that they can build resilience, and develop perseverance.

A Guide To Improving Mental Wellbeing In The Workplace

Here at Spice HR, we believe that good mental wellbeing at work is crucial, which is why we support the Five Ways to Wellbeing developed by New Zealand’s Mental Health Foundation.

Whilst these are general principles, they can be practically applied in the workplace. Here are the five areas your team should focus on for great workplace wellness this winter:

  1. Connect

Listen and talk, be present, feel connected. Speak up when you need to, and listen to others. Keep the communication lines open by encouraging discussion

2. Give

Give your time, knowledge, and presence – an essential part of connecting!

3. Take notice

Recognise the good things that your team are doing and the things that spark their creativity and joy. Even the little things count. Appreciate them!

4. Keep Learning

Embrace new experiences, see development opportunities, and provide ongoing learning experiences for your team members.

5. Be Active

Encourage your team to keep active throughout the day even if their role requires them to be at a desk. Do what you can, help them enjoy what they do, and don’t forget to move your mood and your body! Just move – no matter how you do it!

Here at Spice HR, we think that number 1 is particularly crucial: Connect. Many struggling with mental wellbeing try to hide their feelings, afraid of other people’s responses. If you create workplace cultures where people can be themselves, they will speak more freely about mental health concerns and reach out for help when needed. It all comes down to open lines of communication.

Are You An Ethical Leader?

Part of supporting good mental health in the winter workplace is ensuring you behave like an ethical leader. That means taking the time to build a healthy workplace environment for all of your team members.

Ethical leaders tend to choose people over financial reward. While economic growth is essential for many businesses, you will struggle to achieve your goals if you don’t have the buy-in of your people. That means balancing your decision-making to ensure you are doing the right thing by your employees and doing what is best for the business.

There are plenty of ways you can do this. But ultimately, it comes down to creating an environment in which people want to work. An environment that embraces excellent communication. One where people’s opinions and ideas are respected, management show transparency and shares information, and staff feel heard.

Ensuring your team leaders and management have a sense of empathy is vital to supporting their staff appropriately.

Ready To Spice Up Your Workplace Wellness?

Achieving great workplace wellness can be challenging at any time of the year, yet that challenge increases significantly during the winter months.

Need more guidance to improve mental wellbeing in your workplace? Reach out to the Spice Gals!

Spice HR support small and medium businesses who need help getting HR frameworks in place – and we love helping businesses boost staff wellbeing.

So: stop right now, thank you very much – and drop us a line!

Why It’s Vital To Understand Your Team And How To Do It

Can a computer programme really help you understand your team? When it’s based on proven behavioural psychology concepts, utilises complex algorithms, and is successfully used by tens of thousands of organisations worldwide – yes, it can!

The key to building a successful team is understanding your people.

There are several ways you can do this, but Stay Interviews and Extended DISC© assessment tools help you do just that.

These assessments help leaders intentionally and intelligently understand employees while empowering workers to communicate with one another effectively.

Let’s take a closer look at what stay interviews and Extended DISC© are and and how they can help you understand your team.

Why It’s Vital To Understand Your Team And How To Do It

What Is A Stay Interview?

You’ve heard of an Exit Interview, right? Well, a Stay Interview can be even more valuable than the exit variety! At a Stay Interview, you sit down with each team member to gather information about what they value about their job and what can be improved.

By understanding what your team values, you can work to improve things in your workplace. This is going to raise employee retention rates in the long term. You may also discover some helpful tips from your team members that you can easily implement to improve culture, processes and more.

Not only that, but you are creating open lines of communication with your team, building their trust and engagement. Conducting a Stay Interview can be more effective than an employee survey as you are creating a two-way conversation situation where you can both bounce ideas and create opportunities for clarification or to answer follow up questions.

Stay Interviews are the in-person way to help you understand your team better. But, what about technology solutions?

What Is Extended DISC©?

Extended DISC© is a psychology-based assessment tool that helps organisations understand – and therefore better manage – their staff.

Based on the theory developed by psychologist Carl Jung, the Extended DISC© system is one of the most popular behavioural assessment tools in the corporate world. Extended DISC© provides insight into how individuals think, communicate, and interact using a series of questions and algorithms.

According to the science behind the Extended DISC© system, people can be divided into four central behavioural styles, indicated by the following letters:

  • D-style (Dominance)
  • I-Style (Influence)
  • S-Style (Steadiness)
  • C-style (Correctness)

The results of these assessments help shape an understanding of each individual’s strengths, challenges, and communication styles.

How Extended DISC© Assessments Can Help Your Team

Great teamwork doesn’t happen by accident. It takes patience, intention, insight, strong leadership, and the right mix of personalities to build a cohesive team.

In people management, everything boils down to personality and behaviour. Communication issues, conflict, poor performance and low productivity can often be traced back to personality clashes, misunderstandings, or incorrect role fit.

Extended DISC© offers a way for individuals not only to understand themselves better but also understand others more deeply. With these insights, leaders are better able to place employees in the right roles within their teams and manage them in the ways that mesh best with their Extended DISC© profiles.

Extended DISC© assessments help you to empower your team members to better understand their own conscious and sub-conscious behavioural styles. Discovering Extended DISC© as a team is even more valuable. Each staff member can identify and empathise with other behavioural styles, which improves communication and minimises the chance of conflicts.

Overall, job satisfaction increases, and increased performance and productivity comes with a more positive workplace culture.

Get The Best Out Of Your Team

One of the most valuable leadership qualities is the ability to get the best out of your team.

Everyone responds differently to different situations: some of your employees might do their best work under pressure, while others may perform poorly. One person may appreciate a heated debate with a colleague, while another individual could find the exchange stressful and negative. Some people are natural leaders who crave the opportunity to grow, yet others are happy to take a back seat and perform the job they’re comfortable with.

There is a place in your team for all these personality types, but you must be able to recognise each one to create a team environment that meets everyone’s needs.

Extended DISC© is a fantastic team-building tool as it can help you understand the dynamics of your team, identify where the key strengths lie and determine what gaps need to be filled.

A Valuable Workplace Asset

Alongside the in-depth Personal Analysis for each staff member, the Extended DISC© Team Analysis is invaluable.

Here’s how Extended DISC© describe it:

“The Team Analysis gives you an easy to use framework to understand complex issues quickly, solve problems and improve performance. It helps you align your business or team strategy with the behavioural characteristics of your team members.

The Team Analysis combines the results of the Personal Analysis results of your team into one report. It shows the team dynamics, the strengths and development areas of the team, and how the team members are adjusting their behaviours in the existing work environment.

Some popular applications of this tool include team development, strategic decision making, leadership development, organisational development, turnover reduction, conflict resolution and succession planning.”

 

What Does Team Building Look Like In 2022?

In the past, managers have made educated guesses while hiring and building teams and hoped that their people gelled well. But in 2022, team building doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Tools like Extended DISC© provide concrete, usable data to support leaders in building and managing highly effective teams.

DISC© provides a reliable framework to help make decisions and adjustments around people management while empowering staff to take responsibility for their interactions with each other.

Team building aims to create stronger bonds between team members and help them respect their differences while working towards common goals. There is no singular “right” way to achieve this – every team is different, and what works for one may cause havoc for another.

Post pandemic, managers face additional challenges when creating a strong team, such as hybrid work arrangements and remote workers. Team building may not happen as organically as it does in an office environment.

Today’s leaders need to be more intentional about providing opportunities for workers to interact – through structured exercises as well as more informal activities.

Want to know how to best manage the different personality types within your team?

Spice HR are Extended DISC© Accredited Practitioners and can help you with personal growth, team building, leadership, and recruitment. We are also masters at helping you maintain an excellent team culture with tools like the Stay Interview.

Contact us today to find out more.

How To Tackle Hiring and Onboarding New Staff Remotely

Many things became redundant during a pandemic – travel, music festivals, alarm clock sales (yes, really!) and for many, the good old office work environment.

But businesses still need to keep moving forward. They still have to serve their customers, source their supplies, and recruit and train new staff – only, all these “business as usual” processes look a lot different now than they did pre-COVID.

At Spice HR HQ, we’ve experienced changes too: our dynamic duo has become a beautifully rounded team of five.

We personally experienced what it’s like recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new staff remotely – a process that may be daunting for those new to the world of managing remote employees.

In this blog, we’ll explore how recruiting and onboarding are done differently over lockdowns and post-COVID and offer some insight on how to approach it with your business.

But first, we’d love to introduce you to the newest Spice Gals on our team.

How To Tackle Hiring and Onboarding New Staff Remotely

Let’s Talk About Spice

2021 was a year of growth for Spice HR, which meant we were able to bring a few fresh faces onto our team.

Pre expansion, you would be communicating with the original Spicey duo, Nicole and Nichola – but now, your documents and emails may be crafted by Justine, Bianca or Nina.

Let’s do a brief intro so that you can put a face to each new name:

Justine

Justine has more than 20 years of management experience, bringing a wealth of knowledge to the team. She has a passion for helping others thrive and for encouraging equity and inclusion. She believes there are always opportunities for improvement, continued personal growth, and doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.

Nina

Nina has a new HR degree under her belt, along with a past life as a manager. She has a passion for all things HR and has come on board to help our clients with their HR projects. When she’s not neck-deep in HR, Nina is running around after her toddler or out and about exploring the best places to grab a bite to eat.

Bianca

Bianca is our Spicey queen of all things admin. With 20 years in the workforce to back her up, she’s the one taking care of all the details and making sure everything runs smoothly. Like any good Spice Gal, Bianca is always up for a challenge and will often dive into the world of HR to lend the rest of us a hand. Like most Aucklanders, Bianca is looking forward to jumping on a plane and travelling again when the opportunity arises.

There you have it – with five members, we’re now officially as big as the actual Spice Girls and well on our way to Spice Gal World Domination!

Our newest team members have been onboarded and enveloped in the warm glow of our spicey culture. If you’re wondering how that works in times of lockdown and remote work, keep reading for some insight.

Things To Consider When Hiring and Onboarding New Staff Remotely

While the fundamentals of recruiting and onboarding remain the same, the process may look a little different. Due to lockdowns or location, some managers may not meet their employees in person before hiring, but that doesn’t need to be an issue.

In fact, thanks to digital advances driven by the pandemic, it’s now easier than ever to take care of hiring and onboarding new staff remotely. Let’s take a closer look at each part of the process.

Recruiting Remotely

The right fit remains one of the most important aspects of recruitment. And getting the right fit means effectively marketing your employee value proposition. To attract an employee who embraces and enhances your culture, you must be able to describe and demonstrate that culture.

This goes further than just your job advertisement or position description. Put some thought into how your brand appears from the outside looking in, via social media, your website, and word of mouth from previous and current staff.

Share pictures and videos online of how your team collaborates, even in a remote work environment. Talk about your camaraderie in an authentic way, and work on building genuine connections between your existing employees to organically build a great culture that’s visible to all.

Virtual interviews are often more efficient than in-person interviews and can be less daunting for candidates. Zoom or Teams are usually the go-to methods here, and most people are more than familiar with how they work by now!

When it comes to paperwork, it’s now possible to do it all digitally. Even contracts can be signed virtually using a tool like DocuSign or HelloSign. That means a faster, more efficient hiring process. And if you’re lucky enough to have an HRIS, then it’s all automated for you!

Onboarding New Staff Remotely

How does onboarding new staff remotely work? You can’t give them an office tour and introduce them to your team during a morning coffee break, so what’s the procedure?

Well, setting expectations is still crucial, so it’s important for managers to communicate with a new hire before their first day on the job. This is an opportunity to provide any documents or materials that they need to understand how your business works.

Share your values and culture in ways that feel appropriate; written documents followed up with a Zoom call for a more in-depth chat is a good start.

You’ll also need to share copies of your code of conduct, employee handbook and any other documents that can help your new hire integrate into the business smoothly.

How Do You Onboard Remotely?

One on one and group video calls will be needed to introduce the team, and these should continue regularly to ensure that camaraderie and connection develops between your employees.

You may even want to set up a mentor or “buddy system” so your new hire has a closer relationship with a specific person (whether that’s their direct manager or a colleague) – someone who’s on-call to help them navigate their new role.

Bear in mind that it can take a little longer for someone to integrate into a new work environment remotely. They don’t have the opportunity to interact with managers and colleagues as organically as they would in an office environment.

Give them the time and resources they need, and don’t assume that if they’re quiet, they’re doing just fine. Managers must be proactive and check-in, ask for feedback, and be ready to provide more support if needed.

Spicing Up Your Hiring and Onboarding

It can be tricky to navigate the process of hiring and onboarding new staff remotely in this world of post-pandemic business.

If your business needs some support to recruit and onboard new team members – remotely or otherwise – the Spice HR team are here to help.

Contact us to find out what we can do for you.

Beginning A Different Kind of New Year

New years roll around at an alarming pace.

The year only just seems to start and then before you know it, you are singing Auld Lang Syne, raising a glass, reviewing the year that has been and preparing your business for another trip around the sun.  

But this new year feels unlike the others we have experienced before. 

2021 was meant to be our fresh start after a rather trying 2020. Then, it pulled a total fast one on us and turned out to be worse!  

So, as we cautiously begin 2022, we have none of the lofty ambitions of last year. This will not be our year to return to life as it was before COVID. 

This will be a different kind of new year. But, we are no less optimistic about it! 

Let’s explore how you can make the most of another uncertain new year and prepare your team for the next 12 months. 

 

Beginning A Different Kind Of New Year 

Acknowledge The Year That Was 

It is pretty tempting to sweep the events of 2021 under the rug and pretend that they didn’t happen. Not only were we dealing with potential threats to our health, but we all had an additional layer of stress created by working from home. Juggling home schooling, the endless quest for uninterrupted work time, worries about job security and toilet paper shortages were no joke! 

So, now is the time to congratulate your whole team for making it out the other side. 

Look back on the year and celebrate the things that went well. Thank your team for their dedication in tough times and congratulate yourselves for making it work. While the year was hard, it taught many businesses that work conditions could be flexible. Now, we can continue that flexibility and use it to our advantage. Allowing your team to continue embracing flexible hours and working locations where practical, will be a great morale booster. 

 

Maintaining Mindset 

All the stresses of the last two years might have had a negative impact on your staff morale. And when morale is low, so too is productivity and output.  

Helping your team maintain a positive mindset despite everything that has happened is an essential new year task. The right mindset will boost productivity, increase employee engagement, and help to retain valuable team members. 

With a new protection framework now in place, we should hopefully see fewer disruptions to life and business operations. So, capitalise on that positivity by allowing your team to work when they are most productive.  

Physical safety has been a huge focus in the last two years and we have the masks and hand sanitiser to prove it. But, mental wellbeing and safety are just as important. Help your team manage their schedules to prevent burnout, connect with each individual to check how they are coping, and encourage the whole team to take their breaks and holidays. 

 

Keep The Comms Flowing 

Your team have dealt with a lot of uncertainty lately and we are not out of the woods yet. It would appear COVID is here to stay, so make sure you are communicating well and often with your team. 

Give them as much information as you possibly can as this will reduce some stress and build an important level of trust. While targets might move, dates might change and the goalposts might shift, your team will appreciate the transparency of regular updates and receiving up to date information. 

By establishing open lines of communication from your side, your team will also feel as though they can share concerns or suggestions they might have. This allows them to feel as if they have some control over an uncertain situation. Of course, that will only mean good things for their overall morale! 

 

Unifying Under A Collective Vision 

No one can possibly predict what will happen this year, the last two years have certainly proven that! Yet, you can establish a vision for how you want your business to operate, the characteristics you value and the impact you want to make. 

By creating this vision, you are providing your whole team with a roadmap for the year. While there might be some unexpected potholes to navigate or bridges to build, the end destination remains the same. 

By unifying your team under a collective vision they will feel valued, important and part of something bigger than just themselves. It will help you all to move forward and stay optimistic, regardless of what the year might bring. 

 

Make Time for Fun 

In the midst of a global pandemic, it is easy for work and home life to feel very serious. With restrictions to adhere to, daily news reports to read, mandates to follow and ever-increasing stress levels, things can get negative quickly. 

But, they really don’t have to. Just because there is some serious stuff going on in the outside world, it doesn’t mean your team can’t make time for fun.  

Connecting with each other in a social way can lighten the mood and build a great team culture. Whether you choose to have a monthly quiz night over Zoom or Microsoft Teams, a picnic in the park with the cricket bat and beverages, or a family friendly game of Never Have I Ever, your team will be able to blow off steam and connect. 

Laughter is the best medicine, so keep things fun and lighthearted where appropriate. 

 

Looking Ahead 

Rather than looking back on everything you have been through, look forward towards the amazing things you could achieve this year. That will keep your whole team focused on the future and optimistic about what the year will bring. 

While things might remain uncertain, you can keep your team moving forward and unified under a clear vision and collective goals. This will ensure they maintain a positive mindset and together you can overcome any future challenges. 

Want some more practical ways to maintain great staff morale during a very different kind of new year? Then we can help you do it. Full of Spice and practical, actionable strategies, our team will help your team remain strong in the year ahead. Contact us today 

The Importance of Job Descriptions for Staff Retention and Performance

The Importance of Job Descriptions for Staff Retention and Performance

When was the last time you reviewed the job descriptions for your team? If it’s been a while, then you’re probably underestimating the importance of these often overlooked documents.

Every New Zealand business uses job descriptions (we hope!), as it’s a legal requirement to provide one for each employee. But many businesses fail to leverage them to their full potential.

Often, they end up tucked away in a virtual file, only to be dusted off and reviewed next time a position needs to be filled.

If this sounds familiar, it’s time to change the way you approach your job descriptions.

By keeping them up to date and using them as a management tool beyond the recruitment process, you can help shape your company culture, increase staff retention and performance, and future proof your business.

Here are some of the ways the not-so-humble job description can help level up your business.

Effective Recruitment

Job descriptions are most often put under the spotlight when it’s time to recruit for a role. So, this is the ideal time to ensure they are accurate and up to date.

This is your opportunity to attract someone who not only has the right skills for the job but is also the right fit for your company culture.

The more accurate the job description is, the better it will be at attracting high-quality candidates. This streamlines the entire recruitment process and makes it easier to select someone who will add value to your business.

Remember, cultural fit is just as important (if not more so) than skills fit. Skills can be taught or improved, but personal attributes are way less pliable!

Job descriptions are also important from a legal perspective. They can be used to demonstrate that there are legitimate, non-discriminatory considerations used in the hiring process.

 

Improved Staff Performance and Productivity

The recruitment process may be over, but the position description’s job is far from done! In fact, this is where the real spicy work begins.

We know that effective communication is vital to the success of any organisation. Well, your job descriptions are excellent communication tools. They clarify the expectations for employer and employee, leaving no room for ambiguity or confusion – if they’re honest and up to date!

Job descriptions help your team understand exactly what they should be doing, providing direction and meaning to their roles which help promote job satisfaction and increase engagement and productivity.

Beyond the day-to-day tasks, well-written job descriptions communicate how each team member contributes to the success of the organisation and outlines how they can continue to grow within their role.

They establish a set of expectations that assist with performance development and help prevent or resolve any grievances that arise.

Increased Retention

What happens when employees are confused about their responsibilities, mismanaged, or faced with tasks that lie outside of their skillset?

Frustration, decreased productivity, lack of engagement, conflict, and potentially, lost employees.

All this can result from outdated, inaccurate, or poorly written job descriptions.

However, nailing the job description ensures you attract candidates who are an excellent fit for the role. When your team are aligned with the culture and values of your business, they’re far more likely to enjoy and value their work and stick around for longer.

That means increased retention and reduced costs associated with recruitment.

Future-Proofing Your Business

Do your job descriptions reflect what is actually happening in your business as well as address the future needs of the business?

Is there a skill shortage now, or will there likely be one in the future? Are your employees already stretching beyond their job descriptions? Is there a mismatch between the needs of your business and the abilities of your team?

Job description reviews are a great way to answer the big questions that help you future-proof your business. They allow you to effectively structure and align roles within the business and pinpoint gaps that need attention, whether via training and development or specialist recruitment.

Is It Time to Review Your Job Descriptions?

If your job descriptions have been a little starved for attention of late, now is the perfect time to assess your team and identify any gaps. This leaves you plenty of time to come up with a plan of action for the new year.

Great job performance starts with recruiting the right talent. Alongside a well-defined job description, an Extended DISC report on potential candidates can help you identify new hires that are going to be a great fit for your role and culture.

Spice HR offer DISC Recruitment Reports that can assess how well candidates align with the role.

Contact us today to find out more.

How To Be An Ethical Leader During A Crisis

How To Be An Ethical Leader During A Crisis

 During times of crisis, it’s natural for our focus to become very singular. We go into survival mode, prioritising the things that will help us endure until life returns to normal.

While this is understandable, it’s often not the best course of action when it comes to people management.

Leaders who focus on saving the company at all costs may ensure it stays afloat during the storm, but end up paying the price when the dust settles and the bigger picture comes back into focus.

Ethical leadership is about balancing the needs of the business with those of your employees. It’s never an easy task, even at the best of times. But if you succeed, your team – and your business as a whole – will be stronger.

So, what does it look like to be an ethical leader? And how can you get the balance right amidst uncertainty?

Read on for our Spicey insight.

How To Be An Ethical Leader During A Crisis

Why Ethical Leadership Is Vital To Success

Can a business succeed if the leaders are unethical?

A recent study published in the Journal of Business Ethics reveals that it is possible, but only for a brief period. For long-term success, ethical leadership is vital. And this is even more important during times of crisis.

Ethical leaders are better at engaging and retaining staff, and a culture of ethical leadership ensures your business becomes an employer of choice.

People vs Profits

During the early days of the pandemic, things changed so rapidly that businesses were at risk of getting whiplash trying to keep up. And while we’re a way down the road from that now, an element of uncertainty is still present.

Decisions often need to be made rapidly, putting the pressure on managers. Amidst the unpredictability of life, employees look to leaders to provide clarity, honesty, and a sense of stability. Managers must rely on empathy to communicate with their teams, but need to retain a fact-based approach to assess business decisions.

And there are tough decisions to be made. Do you choose your employees over financial rewards? Profit over people? And where do you draw the line? How do you do the right thing when everything feels wrong?

Ethical leadership isn’t about perfection. Sometimes, the right decision isn’t necessarily the easiest or most comfortable one. But as long as managers are guided by ethics, their choices will be the right ones.

When your employees can see that you are doing your best by them, they tend to rally. There’s a bond created by feeling as if “we’re all in this together.” Instead of jumping ship during tough times due to a lack of faith in management, staff are more willing to make sacrifices to help the business survive.

Qualities Of An Ethical Leader

There’s no flowchart for ethical decision-making: every business and situation is unique. However, there are specific guidelines to help managers find their way to ethical leadership.

We love the V.I.T.A.L method referenced in an article by the Human Resources Director.

This method of crisis communication provides a roadmap to help business’s work through difficult times using five key concepts:

  • Visibility – don’t hide behind others by delegating the uncomfortable discussions. Communicate with your people rapidly and often, even if it’s to let them know you are still waiting for more information.
  • In It Together – always refer back to your business’ mission, vision and values. Create a culture of inclusion and empowerment.
  • Transparency – share what you know, don’t hide bad news, address rumours, and keep your employees as informed as possible.
  • Accessibility – be available for your people, and let them know where to turn when they have concerns or need support.
  • Listening – really hear your people when they talk to you. Understand where they are coming from, and give them an outlet to speak up.

Remember, your customers and future potential employees are far more likely to remember how your business behaved during a crisis than how high your profits were during that year.

Ethical leaders must strive to model the values of their business when making difficult decisions. This means embracing integrity, authenticity, and compassion. It’s about being real with your team, especially during hard times.

Ethical leadership is as important to us as it is to you. Which is why we want to help you embody it within your HR policies. Reach out to us today to chat about how we can Spice you up as an ethical leader!

What The “New Normal” Means For The Wellbeing Of Your Team

Wellbeing in New Normal

With everything that’s happened in the last year, it’s safe to say that wellbeing, life – and work – as we know it has changed. Every month that passes shows us how unlikely it is that things will return to exactly the way they were.

Business looks different, work-life looks different, and these changes aren’t so temporary anymore. That means it’s time to progress out of survival mode and into thrive mode.

Organisations need to look at workplace trends and think seriously about where they should be investing their time and energy. We need to think about staff wellbeing in the context of the “new normal”, how we can retain a cohesive team environment in these times of change and uncertainty, and how to prepare for the “next normal”, whatever that may be.

We know it can be overwhelming, but keep reading for some guidance on where and how you might want to start focusing your attention.

Workplace Trends Post-COVID-19

We know the pandemic is still here, but the immediate shock of it is passing. Businesses and individuals have begun to accept how things have changed, and we have all had some time to sit down, breathe, and take stock of how much has happened in the past year.

So, what’s next?

Time to review how well your team and organisation have adapted to physical distancing/remote working, and look at the trends for 2021 and beyond. Here’s an overview.

Remote working has increased

Well, duh! Yes, clearly, any organisation with the capability to implement remote work has done so.

But what’s interesting to note is that many will continue to explore and experiment with hybrid work/remote work even once the pandemic is under control. The “office” as we knew it will probably never be quite the same again.

Increased data collection

More employers are making use of technology to monitor their employees. Everything from productivity and engagement to wellbeing and employee experience is being tracked and analysed to create safe, productive, and innovative workplaces.

Increase of contingent workers

Many organisations are reducing the number of full-time employees and hiring contingent (freelance/gig) workers instead. This allows them flexibility and helps save costs but may lead to confusion around performance management as well as a loss of team cohesion.

Emphasis on the employer’s role in wellbeing

The pandemic has seen employers playing a vital role in the health and wellbeing of their employees. The emphasis has been on the ability of businesses to provide sick leave, financial assistance, flexible hours, and support for the wider community.

A move from efficiency to resilience

Pre-pandemic, the big focus was on efficiency. Now, the emphasis is more on building resilience in processes and organisations. Systems must be responsive and flexible to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. Employees must be adaptable and have diverse, cross-functional roles that can navigate change.

What Thinking Do We Need To Alter?

The trends reflect the changes that most organisations have experienced. That is a move away from traditional workspaces and systems, and an increasing emphasis on strong, resilient, flexible teams and processes.

This is a defining time for all of us: how we respond to the trials of the last year will impact the future. And while things have been challenging, this moment in time presents a range of opportunities for businesses.

  • Choose to be innovative. Strive for more resilient teams instead of trying to recreate what no longer works.
  • Embrace the possibilities provided by hybrid and remote work.
  • Introduce initiatives that bolster the wellbeing of your people.
  • Find new ways to create and control your corporate identity and employer brand post COVID-19.

 What Does Team Building Look Like Now?

When it comes to HR, one of your biggest challenges will be rethinking team building. With social distancing and hybrid work now par for the course, team bonding and culture development won’t happen quite so organically.

So, how can you provide spaces and opportunities for your team to bond away from the lunchroom and water cooler?

By behaving with intention and thinking outside the traditional office box.

Here are a few examples:

Host team huddles

Connect your entire team by having a regular online “huddle”. This could be for 15 minutes every morning to check-in and connect, or twice a week – whatever works for your organisation. This is not a formal meeting, but a time to chat, catch-up and check-in with one another.

Schedule virtual meet-ups

People need one-on-one time as well as group-bonding. One to one personal meetings are perfect for that. Facilitate online meet-ups for two people to chat and get to know each other better, or build on an existing established relationship.

Keep the game time going!

When our levels dictate that laser-tag or mini golf are a no-go, there are still plenty of games that can be played virtually by your team. Schedule some fun virtual activities that everyone can attend during a lockdown. Things like quizzes or online escape rooms are perfect.

Learn together

Successful teams learn new things together. Set up virtual workshops and webinars to promote professional development and facilitate online group learning.

Using Extended DISC To Get A More Informed Plan

A remote or hybrid team isn’t doomed when it comes to bonding or performance. In fact, research shows that remote teams can perform better than in-house teams if they are managed in the right way.

Extended DISC profiles can help managers understand the work style and personal preferences of their team members. They provide you with valuable insights into the best ways to manage individuals and bring them together.

You will learn how much support and contact each team member requires from you and what kind of work they respond well to.

If we have learned one thing from COVID-19, it’s the importance of a bonded, resilient team in navigating change. Challenges can bring people together or push them apart. The stronger your team is, the stronger your business is.

Regardless of what comes next, Spice HR is here to help you and your team navigate the new normal and prepare for what’s next. If you’d like advice or support about how to move forward, contact us for a chat today.

Managing Performance and Expectations In Your Team

Are you confident that your employees understand the performance expectations of their current roles? Is your feedback timely and relevant? Are you helping your team stay engaged and motivated?

That is a lot of questions to answer!

But, in the current fast-changing landscape of business, they are important questions to consider.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now. People are developing a different set of needs based on recent events and the way the world is behaving.

With many businesses evolving and adapting thanks to COVID-19, it is the ideal time to review the way you communicate expectations and manage performance with your employees.

Let’s do a quick check-in to see if everyone is on the same page.

The Importance of Managing Expectations

Imagine you are training to be a pro athlete – let’s say a high jumper for the sake of this example.

At the beginning of your training, your coach tells you to practice jumping to be ready to qualify for nationals in six months. They hand you some running shoes, point you in the direction of the track, book you in for a review in five and a half months, and leave you to it.

What are your chances of successfully qualifying without any other assistance?

Pretty slim, right? You don’t know the height to aim for to qualify, get no feedback on your technique to improve, and have very little motivation or accountability to get you even close.

No coach worth their money would train someone without laying out expectations, giving continual feedback, and reviewing performance. But unfortunately, many employers and managers do just that to their employees.

We would go so far as to say that without clear expectations for your team members, it’s impossible to hold people accountable. And you can forget about managing performance altogether! Honestly, how can you expect people to meet your expectations if you don’t clarify what you expect of them!?

Setting Clear Expectations

Much like managing performance, setting expectations should be an ongoing conversation rather than an infrequent event. People develop their skills, clients adjust their needs, and even routine jobs and tasks can change, particularly as businesses adjust to life post-lockdown.

Ensure you stay up to date and redefine expectations as necessary. Don’t just assume that everyone is on the same page about any changes that have been made. It’s time to hone those communication skills and ensure everyone knows exactly what needs to be accomplished (and by whom and when!).

Where possible, capture the expectations as part of a written performance development plan, as key performance indicators or milestones.

Development vs Reviews

If someone is falling short of your expectations, try asking yourself if those expectations are clear. Of course they are to you, but are they crystal clear to your employee? As in the high-jumper example, it’s hard to be motivated if you don’t really understand what you should be doing or why.

Once the expectations are laid out clearly, your employees are far more likely to be engaged and motivated.

Keep your team on track with effective performance management that is relevant, timely, positive, and forward-focused. To get you into the right mindset, it can be helpful to reframe “performance reviews” as “development reviews.”

This approach focuses on helping employees develop their skills and grow with the business, rather than focusing too heavily on the things that went wrong.

If you have regular catch-ups designed to lead your people and your business forward with a growth mindset, they will feel as if they are on a journey with you, and life will be that much easier for everyone!

The word ‘uncertain’ keeps cropping up in conversation lately. And rightly so, these are uncertain times in many regards. Which is why managing performance and setting expectations is so important for your team.

If you are unsure how to tackle that in the current circumstances, then get in touch with us here at Spice HR. Together, we can help you navigate through the uncertainty. Drop us a line today!

The Importance of Communicating With Your Team

Communicating with your team is the grease that keeps the wheels of your organisation moving. It’s the fuel that powers forward momentum. Heck, it’s even the essential spice that transforms a boring curry into a mouthwatering masterpiece.

Long story short – communication can make or break your team.

Get it right and you will have a fantastic workplace culture, vibing together like the Spice Girls at their peak. But get it wrong, and you’ll have… well, Spice Girls: The Later Years.  No one wants that kind of drama in their life!

But when the world throws you a spanner in the form of a crisis, the potential for drama increases.

Fortunately, effective communication and empathy can help you navigate the choppy waters of a crisis. Here are some pointers to help you in these uncertain times.

The Importance of Communicating With Your Team

Why Good Communication Is Important

Communication is the glue that holds many aspects of your team together when it is business as usual. But it becomes ten times more important when your company is dealing with a crisis.

A crisis often means elevated levels of stress and anxiety that can be felt throughout the entire business. People will generally have an intense focus on the here and now, rather than looking towards the future.

Because no one knows what is around the corner, employees will be looking for clarity and transparency from their manager. Clear and effective communication can help them to feel more at ease and allow them to make sense of the situation and feel more comfortable with how they fit into the workplace.

Your words and actions have the power to put your team at ease, rather than throwing them into a panic. Good, clear communication is especially important in these unsettling times.

Delivery Makes the Difference

No one saw a global pandemic coming. And just a few short months ago, it seemed like a distant issue confined to foreign shores. But, we are now living the situation ourselves. Your communication skills are firmly in the spotlight!

Your team may be fearful for their health, but also for their jobs. The way you are communicating can help calm the situation, even if you don’t have all of the answers yourself.

The key is transparency and empathy. Be upfront with the information that you do have (within confidentiality parameters of course) and deliver it with empathy. Be mindful that every decision that your business makes will impact your people in some way.

In an already stressful time, you need to gauge how things are delivered. Sometimes it will need to be in a formal and professional sense, but at other times, your style can be more friendly and open.

Don’t fall into the trap of discussing rumours and hearsay. Stick to the facts.

The Impact on Staff Morale

In many cases, a crisis situation can build a stronger leader. It can help you to gain even more support and respect from your team. Unfortunately, there is not a definitive handbook on how to handle a period of uncertainty.

But, what you can do is pause, take a deep breath and remain calm. Your energy can impact your staff members, so always keep that in mind. If you generate negative energy, then that will ripple throughout the team. Instead of panicking, try these things:

  • Give people up to date info as often as you have it available
  • Use simple, clear communication
  • Be honest and don’t be afraid to show your own vulnerability – everyone is human!
  • Encourage good team bonds for a greater support network
  • Establish a clear collective vision for the future and share it – after all, every crisis will end

How To Be A Good Communicator

Good communication is not just about talking a lot. One of the biggest parts of communication is being able to listen. If you take the time to listen to what your team are saying, and more importantly what they are not saying, then you can learn a lot.

It is also important to read the non-verbal cues that people are giving. Body language, eye contact, hand gestures and tone of voice can provide an insight into how people are really feeling.

When you are communicating with your team, you want to be clear, concise and have a list of points to cover off so that there is no misunderstanding. Remember, that doesn’t mean you have to be super formal all the time. Be kind, speak with confidence and don’t be afraid to be human too!

Empathy and open-mindedness go a long way when communicating information. If you can model them in the workplace, then your team will have a great example to follow.

Communication can be tricky when there is a lot of uncertainty throughout the country. That is where having an independent HR support partner comes in handy. We have plenty of techniques and skills that you can use to encourage good communication at your place.

Get in touch with us today to get the communication flowing in the right way between your team members.

Tackling The Beginning Of An HR Decade In Your Business

Tackling The Beginning Of An HR Decade In Your Business

Well, a new decade is underway, and you know what that means, right?

Yep; it’s now been nearly 30 years since the Spice Girls hit it big!

How time flies, it feels like just yesterday that we were listening to them (maybe that’s because it was!)

Our favourite 90s girl power band were together for less than half a decade. Poor planning, perhaps? Don’t let their tragic end be the fate of your business.

The dawning of a new decade is the perfect time to start with a clean slate, plan some long-term HR objectives, and get to work on powering towards your goals. 

Begin With The End In Mind

Someone once said that every minute spent organising is an hour earned, and we couldn’t agree more. Every successful business works from a plan, and yours should be no exception.

When you and your team are clear about the priorities for the months and years ahead, you have structure, direction, and a shared vision that just makes everything flow.

Review your company’s vision, mission, and strategy, come up with SMART objectives, review past successes and failures, and you can start charting your course to success.

Ten-Year Planning

Granted, it can be daunting for any business to try and come up with a ten-year plan. In most industries, it is impossible to predict global trends or events that might impact how things go.

Staying on top of the latest research helps, but a ten-year plan will need to be flexible and adaptable.

However, when it comes to HR, it is a little more manageable to come up with a plan for the next decade. You may already have a general idea of which key employees may retire or move on. That means you can develop a succession plan complete with training and incentives to retain and attract high-performers to keep things running smoothly.

Snack-Size Your HR Objectives

“Plan in decades. Think in years. Work in months. Live in days.” We love this quote from Nic Haralambous. It perfectly sums up how you should approach your long-term business goals.

While it’s hard to imagine what the world will look like in ten years (let alone your life), it is relatively simple to predict the next 12-24 months.

After all, it’s what you do in the next year or two that will impact that ten-year plan. Take those ten-year goals and chop them up into annual objectives.

From there, divvy those goals up into bite-sized monthly and weekly plans. This is your best way to make 2020 a stepping stone for a successful decade.

Communicate Your Mission, Values, And Objectives

Great, so you’ve done the hard work and know where your ship is sailing to for the next decade. Now it’s time to let the crew in on the plan. After all, your map is nothing if you don’t give it to the people helping you navigate.

Here’s how to effectively communicate your strategy to all employees, both existing and incoming:

  • Summarise it into easy to digest, bite-sized, consumable snippets of information
  • Tell a story to create purpose and vision
  • Make the strategy part of everyday company culture
  • Clarify every individual’s role in achieving objectives to ensure buy-in
  • Check-in regularly with your employees to review the mission
  • Engage employees in the strategic process
  • Align individual goals with broader business goals
  • Acknowledge and reward progress
  • Keep everyone updated on where you stand in relation to your objectives
  • Walk the walk at all levels

The beginning of a decade is an exciting time. The years stretch out ahead of you and you can take steps to control the outcome of those years now.

Any good business is only as strong as its team members. Ensure the success of your business with the right people culture. Get in touch with the Spice Gals today to help ensure your HR practices are on the right path for future success.