How Employee Engagement Surveys Help You Listen To Your Team

To say that it has been an interesting couple of years in business is somewhat of an understatement!

Since 2020, we have had to transform the way we work.

The global workforce has had to adapt to a unique set of circumstances and working conditions.

And as we settle into a new kind of normal here in NZ, we realise how far we have managed to come in flexibility, adaptability and agile business practices.

So, how do your team feel about it all?

Are they coping with the working conditions, has their behaviour changed and how are their interactions?

A great way to discover the answers to these questions is via employee engagement surveys. Now, you may have been conducting these before the world descended into madness. And if you were, it’s time to check if your survey questions are still relevant.

Let’s explore the benefits of employee engagement surveys and how you can conduct valuable ones at your workplace.

How Employee Engagement Surveys Help You Listen To Your Team

What Are Employee Engagement Surveys?

Employee engagement surveys are essential to the health of any organisation. They allow your team to deliver anonymous input on how they’re feeling and get any frustrations out. Team members who are struggling with something can express their real opinions.

This channel allows for honest communication, providing a true measure of team engagement.

Engaged employees are your top performers. They set the tone for everyone else, work hard, and positively portray your brand and values to customers. Other employees gravitate towards them. On the flipside, team members who may be disengaged or dissatisfied can also affect your organisation – negatively. And the longer you let their dissatisfaction simmer, the worse things can get.

Conducting regular employee engagement surveys can help you keep your finger on the pulse of your team and gives you the opportunity to make timely changes as issues are identified.

Talking And Listening: Step It Up!

Surveys are one of the best ways for you to discover how your employees are feeling.

Most businesses perform annual surveys, often alongside performance reviews. This is a good start, but annual surveys alone may not be enough to measure employee engagement. Why hold out until your scheduled annual survey, when it may be too late to change by then?

Employees change roles frequently these days, and you can’t wait months to find out you have a team-wide problem or someone who’s deeply dissatisfied at work. It’s also valuable to know what is working well in your team and how you can develop that further.

Using short surveys to take the pulse of your team members on a more frequent basis reminds them regularly that their concerns matter and keeps you up to date on how engaged they are.

The Survey – And Beyond

So, how do you get your employee engagement surveys underway and ensure they are valuable?

Firstly, you need to get your team’s buy-in about how valuable this exercise can be. You want them to see this as a way to positively contribute to their work environment rather than a time-consuming exercise! Part of that is making sure you follow through on the feedback they provide by taking action and changing things that aren’t working as they should.

Secondly, you need to include pointed questions that will give you actionable responses. Asking something vague like, “how is your work environment” could draw any number of responses. But a more specific question like, “are you feeling supported in your work environment” will provide actual data you can work with.

Think about key questions that will help your employees give you the responses you need to develop a productive and positive workplace.

Reading The Responses

There are plenty of resources available that can guide you on what to ask your team – that’s the simple part. But it’s also worth thinking about how you’ll productively use the answers they come back with.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you review the survey responses that can help channel your survey into productive change where that’s needed.

As you’re considering your team’s feedback, ask yourself:

  • How has staff behaviour and interaction changed since the last survey?
  • What is your team’s wellbeing like?
  • Are they feeling supported, and do they have the right processes and tools in place to be successful?
  • Are we still communicating in the same ways?
  • Are there more people working remotely and how can we overcome disengagement in screen-based relationships?
  • Do we need more person-to-person time?
  • Do we have the right support, systems, processes, tools, and communication channels in place?

Adapting To A New Climate

Chances are the recent switch to more remote work and time off for isolation or illness may have had an impact on in-person time with your team and how you communicate. Review how this is working. Your staff may need more frequent face-to-face check ins. If that’s not possible, consider how you can step up your screen-based communications to avoid any disengagement.

Consider how to handle disputes or dissatisfactions that may have come to light via the survey. The most difficult conversations are much better done in person, so ensure you find a way to make that happen. If you need to give feedback on a negative survey response, get face to face with that employee.

Keep Talking – In The Way That Suits Your Employees Best

Open channels of communication and having opportunities to speak and be heard are essential to employee satisfaction. But everyone is different. Surveying your team can also help you to understand their different styles of communication and allow you to adapt this on an individual basis to get the best results.

Want some advice on conducting employee surveys – how, when and what to ask?

Ask the Spice Gals! We support small and medium businesses with friendly, helpful support on all things employment related. Give us a call today!

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 Find The Elusive Work Life Balance

How To Find The Elusive Work Life Balance

 Rollercoasters can be a lot of fun, but imagine if you were forced to ride one when you weren’t really in the mood for excitement.

You’d probably be more stressed than excited, but you’d tolerate it, dust yourself off and move on.

But what if someone forced you onto that rollercoaster again and again, never giving you time to prepare and never telling you how many times you’d have to go around the loop-de-loop before you were allowed to disembark.

Even a resilient lover of thrill rides would tire of that vicious cycle, becoming worn out, anxious, and just plain over it.

That’s where we’re at, folks. We’ve been riding the COVID rollercoaster for nearly two years. And even though New Zealand had a pretty decent break, we find ourselves thrust back onto the ride, whether we like it or not.

So, what can we do?

How To Find The Elusive Work Life Balance

Prioritising What’s Important

Uncertainty takes a toll on our ability to work, parent or even just do what needs to be done around the home. That’s why mental wellbeing is more essential now than ever – and finding work life balance plays a significant role in our mental health.

Let’s talk about why it’s so important to switch off from work and how to separate home and work life.

We’ll also share some valuable mental wellbeing resources to help you and your team survive the COVID rollercoaster together.

Climb aboard and buckle up!

Why Finding The Work Life Balance Is More Important Than Ever

If your resilience and tolerance are wearing thin (or long gone), it’s understandable. The uncertainty of being in and out of lockdown, working from home, parenting from home, and living under social restrictions is stressful for everyone.

Work life balance has been a hot topic for years, but in the current pandemic climate, it’s a lot more complicated than it once was.

The lines between work and home are becoming increasingly blurred. While that’s particularly true for those working from home, it’s still relevant for essential workers who need to leave the house.

Partners or flatmates may be working from home, changing the home environment completely, and if you have kids, the juggle struggle is real, regardless of whether you work from home or not.

On top of all this, we’re trying to cope with worries and fears about illness, sick friends and family, and an uncertain future – both personally and professionally.

That’s an awful lot to deal with.

The Mental Wellness Discussion

With everything that is currently going on, mental wellness has become a crucial conversation.

If we don’t prioritise work life balance and take care of our mental health, we’ll find it hard to cope with any aspect of life.

The ongoing stress can result in unproductivity, loss of motivation, depression, and anxiety. And if we don’t find ways to mitigate the demands of work and home, we’re likely to experience that stress physically, too, with fatigue, headaches, digestive issues, and long-term health issues.

Not only do we need to take responsibility for our own mental health, but we need to support those around us too – our friends, family, colleagues and employees.

It may have been said so much that it’s become something of a cheesy cliché, but we are all in this together!

How To Separate Home And Work When Working From Home

How’s the productivity going now that you’ve been working from home for a while? Should be a piece of cake, right? Do you have your routine sorted? Do you knock off on time every day? Are you more productive than ever?

If the answer is yes, then virtual high five for you – you’ve nailed the demands of WFH.

But for so many workers, the struggle continues. Working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and it can be hard to separate home and work.

If that’s you, here are some tips to help you regain that work life balance.

Stick to a morning routine

Resist the temptation to get straight on the laptop to start work the minute you wake up. Try to stick to the same kind of routine you had before COVID. Maybe you’re a morning person and used to exercise and shower before heading to work. Or perhaps you grabbed a coffee at the gas station and sat in traffic every day.

Either way, create some kind of routine to separate your home life from your work life. Get up, get ready, walk around the block, then arrive in the “office” and get to work.

Create a dedicated workspace

If possible, devote an area of your home to your workspace. Resist working from the bed or couch – it’s too distracting (and horrendous for your back!). If you have a separate room to work in, fantastic! Set that area aside and only use it for work.

If not, make do with what you have, but make it your designated work area. You may have to work at the dining room table, but choose a special chair or cushion, and only use that for work and nothing else.

Leave the Office at the End of the Day

Create an end of work routine to separate your workday from home. Don’t sit and browse your laptop once you are finished. Instead, get up and leave – even if it’s just to walk around the garden!

Establish boundaries – and stick to them

Make sure you, your manager, your colleagues (or clients) are clear on your work hours. Agree that work emails or phone calls only happen between those times, and resist the temptation to fire off a “quick” email outside of those hours.

Don’t forget to set boundaries with your family or housemates too. Let them know that when you’re working, that’s work time, and you’re not available for chores or chats. The best way to get the time you need is to communicate that you need it.

Take breaks

Schedule a lunch break and stick to it. Don’t spend that lunch break on your computer – step away! Go outside and take some deep breaths, grab a book to read while you eat, or chat with the family. Take regular breaks away from your workspace during the day, too.

Ask your employer for support

If you’re struggling to cope, be open with your employer. The best organisations will have strategies to address health and wellness. Ask for resources to help you manage overwhelm.

Go easy on yourself

You know those people you see on social media who are nailing their careers, baking delicious meals, home schooling their kids and doing yoga every day? Forget about them.

Even if their posts accurately reflect their lives (and chances are, they don’t), you are not them. You don’t have to do everything perfectly. It’s ok just to cope. It’s ok if you’re not coping. Give yourself a break and focus on what you are achieving instead of what you’re not.

Take care of your physical health

Your physical health directly impacts your mental health, and vice versa. It’s important to prioritise habits and activities that improve both. That means finding time to exercise (even if it’s dancing around the house) and eat well.

Oh, and don’t forget to laugh! Find things that make you smile and forget about the rollercoaster for a while.

Health And Wellbeing Resources

Rather than you having to trawl the internet for resources that might be helpful, we have compiled a handy list:

Mentemia

App and Website – Tried and tested tools to help promote and manage well being. Free for general use, but with tailored options available to businesses.

Mental Health Foundation

Practical wellbeing tips and advice based on the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

Working Well Guide

Resources for workplace wellbeing.

Getting Through Together

A pool of resources, tips and inspirational stories focused on health and wellbeing during COVID-19.

Working Well

A guide to mental health in the workplace.

Staying on Track

A free e-therapy course teaching you practical coping strategies for the COVID rollercoaster.

Small Steps

Digitally-based tools to help you maintain mental wellness.

Whakatui Mai – The Wellbeing Sessions

Free virtual community events aimed at supporting well being in real-time.

A Mental Health Guide for New Zealand Leaders

Comprehensive document aimed at leaders and managers to help them support the mental wellbeing of their teams.

And, of course, if you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed or unsure of how you can support your team with creating a good work life balance, then get in touch with the Spice Gals today. We can help you create a plan that supports your team remotely or in-person.

Let’s Talk! Who Is Spice HR?

Who Is Spice HR?

Let’s Talk! Who Is Spice HR?

In the vast, wonderful, and limitless world of the internet, it’s easy to forget that there are living, breathing, real people behind the blogs you read, the photos you double-tap, and the posts you like – and yes, even the dreaded comment section! As much as technology seems to dominate the world, humans are still the ones behind it all, and connecting human to human is the core of what Spice HR is all about.

So, what better way to start connecting than by having a chat and giving you a behind the veil glimpse of who we are and what we do!

So come on in, put your feet up, and get to know us – the Spice Gals.

Meet The Spice Gals

No, not the Spice Girls – we are the kiwi-based, business-focused HR version of the famous girl band. And while we might not be able to sing or dance quite as well as the famous five, we do know our stuff when it comes to managing people.

Our duo (featuring Nicole Griffiths and Nichola Gold) started with a power walk, believe it or not! On that fateful day, we talked about our talents and values and realised we both had very complementary skills in the HR world. We ducked into a coffee shop, and by the end of our first latte, we had crafted a plan for Spice HR.

A Facebook page was born, bookings began to come in, and our business began!

The Spice Philosophy

HR has a reputation for being dull and dreary – a tick the boxes, soulless kind of activity.

However, we are pretty much the opposite of what you think you know about HR! Yes, we are HR professionals with vast skillsets, but we are also authentic, spicy, and full of energy and enthusiasm for what we do.

We work closely with businesses to help them do the right thing for staff and improve staff performance. Of course, every organisation – and every individual – is unique, so we tailor our approach to partner with you on your specifics.

We go into a business, get to know the culture and the people, and make decisions around the things that work for them. We are there to back you up, to partner with you, and add the right blend of spice to your business.

Every successful business should be clear on their values, and Spice HR is no different. Our philosophy is literally in our name:

Service – tailored to your business needs.

People – the essential business ingredient

Ideas – we don’t do bland

Culture – no two spices are the same

Engagement – spice it up!

 

Our Passions

Human resources is a fascinating area to work in. It’s not just about forms, handbooks, and employment agreements (although paperwork is certainly a large part of what we do).

It’s about people.

How they work, how they think, and what they value. Nobody starts a new job with a bad attitude and zero engagement. Most of us are excited, eager to learn, and fully engaged. It’s what happens later that changes things!

Our passions revolve around the following areas:

Engagement And Retention

Staff engagement is one of the most undervalued areas of managing people. Engaged staff allow you to work on your business, not in your business. If your staff are ambivalent – or worse, disengaged – you are too busy putting out fires and doing the work they are not. It’s a huge time waster and not good for anyone!

There are so many ways to increase engagement, and they don’t have to cost money. Nothing is ever broken, and often, only a simple fix is needed. Nine times out of ten, it’s about communication, and ten times out of ten, we can help!

Training And Development

People love to feel as if they are progressing, upskilling, and growing in their jobs. Training and development is an enormous part of that, and an area that we love to explore.

For training to be effective, it must involve a behavioural change. We use professional tools and platforms that can transform your team.

Wellbeing

Remember, people want to go to work and be happy! If they are not, their wellbeing suffers, right along with your workplace culture and business overall. The health and wellbeing of your team is vital, and we have loads of ways for you to improve workplace wellbeing effectively and simply.

Providing Feedback

Giving timely, relevant and useful feedback is the key to all the above areas, but it doesn’t come easily for many managers. We can help you figure out the right way to provide feedback for your business and integrate it into your workplace culture.

Once you’ve got that part down, the engagement, development and wellbeing of your people will flow.

How Are You Doing?

So, that’s us, but no conversation is complete unless both parties have had a chance to speak.

So how are you doing?

How have you and your business navigated the COVID climate? Have you evolved and adapted and learned new skills, or are you still struggling to find your way through? Are your people engaged – are you engaged? What’s missing in your business?

As always, we’d love to hear how you are doing out there, and always welcome the chance for a chat to see if we can help you fine-tune, problem solve, or brainstorm a solution for what ails you.

Thanks for the talk, let’s do it again soon,

Nicole and Nichola – the Spice Gals.

Why Good Communication Is So Important

Communication begins the second we’re born.

We soon discover that making loud noises usually gets us what we want! Hopefully for most of us, our communication skills become much more advanced from then on. Though, you may meet the odd person who seems to still operate on this premise.

In business, as in life, communication is essential for survival. Done effectively, it helps your team be happy, creative, and productive.

Think about all the positive attributes you want your team to possess – trust, loyalty, efficiency, passion for the job (and the business as a whole), and commitment. Good communication is essential in creating each of these factors.

Let’s dive a little deeper into why good communication is essential to your business.

Why Good Communication Is So Important

Creating Buy-In

If an employee doesn’t understand or buy-in to the values and purpose of your organisation, they are unlikely to go the extra mile in any aspect of their role. So basically, you end up with someone who clocks in and out and does the bare minimum.

However, when you are able to effectively communicate your company’s “why,” you start to build a sense of belonging.

When employees understand how their role contributes to the bigger picture, they will take more pride in their work and serve as powerful advocates for your business. The side effects of buy-in include engagement and loyalty.

Increasing Productivity

Productivity is a key component of a successful business. Without being productive, you and your team are just wasting your own time… and company time.

One sure-fire way to increase productivity is to work on communication within your organisation. To do their job well, employees need to understand what is required of them. With the right information, they can do that job faster and more effectively.

Foster A Positive, Happy Workplace Culture

Nothing builds resentment faster than not listening to your employees – which equates to not valuing or respecting them. Communication is not a one-way street that only goes from the top-down. You must allow two-way communication. That means giving employees an avenue to voice their ideas and opinions without fear of being shut down.

It’s incredibly empowering for people to trust that if they bring a concern or idea to a manager, they will be heard. And who better to know how to improve the way things are done within your organisation than the people doing them!?

Building Cohesive Teams

Small issues can quickly develop into major HR issues in a workplace environment. Good communicators know how to listen without overreacting, which is essential in preventing misunderstandings and conflict.

Teams that work well together naturally create good morale, which, of course, is great for productivity!

Inspire Innovation and Creativity

When you encourage everyone in your organisation to openly share ideas, you foster an environment of innovation and creativity. Your employees are your biggest asset. They know the business inside out and potentially have so much to offer.

But if you make them feel as if their voices aren’t important, they’re not going to share these insights with others. Instead, foster an environment of open sharing. You never know what your team might come up with!

Building Trust

Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. Trust affects engagement, culture, and ultimately, productivity, so you don’t want to lose it. Communicating clearly helps managers to be transparent, which in turn builds trust throughout the entire organisation. Down the line, this translates to transparency and trust among your customers and clients.

Encouraging multi-directional, good communication within your teams shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be one of the foundations of your business strategy. If this is an area you think needs some work, trust us –it’s well worth the time and effort to improve.

Luckily, the Spice Gals are here to help you develop great communication within your business. Get in touch with us today if you want to discuss the power of communication further.