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.

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.

Individual Employment Agreements: Are Yours What They Should Be?

Times they are a-changing – and quite rapidly, thanks to advances in technology and the impacts of COVID-19.

In spite of that, some things will always remain the same when it comes to people management. One of those is the legal need for individual employment agreements for each of your staff members.

But even these standard documents need to evolve with the times. With flexible work arrangements and lockdown restrictions becoming the norm, it’s essential to modify your individual employment agreements (IEAs) to reflect any changes to salary, hours, location or job description.

So, let’s look at why IEAs are so vital, what changes you may need to make to them due to the evolving workplace climate, and how to modify them.

Individual Employment Agreements: Are Yours What They Should Be?

The Value of Individual Employment Agreements

Employment agreements can be collective or individual, but the bottom line is that they are a legal requirement under the Employment Relations Act. If you employ someone without a signed agreement, you could face fines of up to $20,000.

Beyond legal compliance, employment agreements provide enormous value for both employer and employee. The same can be said about job descriptions (JDs) and employee handbooks. Although a handbook isn’t a legal requirement, all these documents help outline the expectations for both parties.

Clear communication is vital in any working relationship, and these documents set the scene for effective communication from the beginning. They outline exactly what is expected for the employer and the employee, including the rights, obligations and responsibilities of each.

New employees know exactly what’s expected of them, and there’s no confusion. This enables them to perform to expected standards, and simplifies the performance management process for managers.

The Benefits to Both Parties

The IEA and accompanying documents cover things like job performance and indicate what actions could result in a termination, guiding employees on how to act appropriately to align with your organisation’s workplace culture.

When these conditions are clearly stated, employers have recourse to take disciplinary actions if they are breached.

With salary, benefits, time off, work hours, and general expectations clearly outlined, everyone is on the same page, reducing the chance of conflict and miscommunication. These documents really do form the backbone of a positive work relationship and workplace culture.

Modifying Employment Agreements

In today’s working climate, it’s quite likely that an employee’s role or working conditions will change at some point during their time with your organisation.

More people are already working from home or considering flexible working arrangements thanks to COVID-19.

As such, it’s vital to modify individual employment agreements to reflect these changes. But as with the initial agreement you made when hiring, these changes can’t just be decided by the employer and forced upon an employee.

They must be mutually agreed upon, and there is a process to follow, even amidst the uncertainty of COVID-19.

Any modifications should be preceded by a consultation period, where managers clearly explain the changes and why they are being proposed. Employees must then be allowed time to consider the proposal and given an opportunity to provide feedback or offer alternative suggestions.

Any adjustments to the IEA must be made in good faith, agreed to in writing, and signed by both parties, regardless of whether it’s a temporary or permanent change to the agreement.

The key words here are “good faith”. We understand that everyone is under increased pressure during lockdowns, and many are facing hard times, but none of this removes the need to treat each other fairly and kindly.

Accommodating Different Ways of Working

Of course, it’s not just employers who can instigate a change to IEAs. Employees also have the right to ask for flexible work options, including changes to their hours, days, and place of work.

If employees are shifting to remote work or working from home, even temporarily, it’s still the employer’s responsibility to protect them from workplace health and safety risks – both physical and mental.

Due to restrictions around COVID-19, businesses may have to find different ways to operate to keep everyone safe and comply with regulations, such as staggering start times or offering work from home opportunities. These changes may be permanent or temporary, but the length of time should be outlined in the IEA.

Any change in hours – whether a reduction or a return to normal hours – must be stated in writing in the employment agreement or variation to agreement and signed by both parties, after the employee has had time to consider the changes.

In some cases, an employee might agree to a change in job description where necessary. As with any other modifications to the IEA, the employer has to follow the correct processes for these changes.

An individual employment agreement is a vital document that protects you and your employees, provides clarity, and ensures everybody is treated fairly. Right now, and perhaps for years to come, the workplace is rapidly evolving, so your employment agreements must evolve too.

If you need support or advice about how to handle your IEAs, contact Spice HR today.