By WENDY SELLERS
Q: As a small practice owner, I am constantly dealing with conflict between my staff members. The conflict is never about anything major but takes up so much of my time. Why can't everyone just get along?
A: The age-old question of 'why can't we all just get along?' When dealing with human beings, differences are abundant yet necessary. While it would be ideal to never have any type of conflict - conflict creates change, and change creates innovation and growth - including growth of your revenue and profit. Having everyone be complacent without any conflict is actually not good for business. In order to determine the root cause of the conflict, ask yourself a few questions (1) Is there a common denominator; such as one specific person always involved in the conflict or perhaps a lack of clear communication coming from you? (2) Is there an easy manner to resolve this conflict; such as weekly office meetings to discuss deadlines and tasks, or even daily coffee sessions to check in on fast moving project deadlines (hint: this is very important if you have a lot of change occurring) and (3) Are you part of the problem? Should someone else in the office be responsible for assigning tasks and their deadlines and holding people accountable? Truly reflect on this. No one is an expert at everything. It may be time to delegate administrative responsibility to someone else and focus on what you do well. Attend a BlackRain Partners complimentary Leadership Incite Series event for more free advice.
Q: I can't afford a consultant, but I need HR assistance to be in legal compliance. What are my options?
A: You are in luck. HR and business resources are abundant in Central Florida. Check out the Society of Human Resources Management (www.shrm.org) for free advice and articles as an online guest - you will need a membership for certain areas of the website; SHRM has local chapter meetings such as www.GOSHRM.org that you can visit as a non-member and learn more about HR. There are plenty of resources in the Small Business Resource Network www.sbrn.org as well as SCORE Orlando and the SBA. Also ask your payroll and business insurance providers for assistance. They often have access to large databases for HR, employment law and other type of advice, case studies and reports.
Q: How do I measure employee engagement with a small team and limited resources?
A: I am glad you asked about employee engagement and not just satisfaction. According to a Forbes article employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. Think of ways for you to engage your employees by providing information to them that will make them emotionally commit to the company as if they were the owner. Answer these questions and then discuss them with your employees often: Why does your business exist? What is your mission? Why do each employees' tasks matter to achieving that mission? Then consider the honest answers to these questions: What do you do on an ongoing basis that keep employees emotionally committed to going above and beyond every day? Do you sincerely say thank you? Do you lay out your expectations and hold everyone accountable in the same manner or do you let certain people get away with missing deadlines or slacking on their job duties? Do you reward people for great actions and behaviors? Employee engagement starts with you. Employee satisfaction is part of engagement, but it is so much more. The war for talent is here - do what you can to keep great employees before someone else comes looking for them.
Leadership Advice: excerpt from The HR Lady's new book
Even if you are a natural-born leader, it doesn't mean you're leading anyone to greatness. It just means you are really good at getting people to follow you and sometimes that is over a cliff rather than down the path to safety. Effective, positive leadership skills can be learned with discipline and dedication. There are negative leaders and positive leaders. This book is about helping you become an effective, positive leader who inspires and motivates others to do what you want them to do out of satisfaction, not fear.
Fear is a short-term motivator, and yes, sometimes it is necessary, especially in an emergency situation. Satisfaction is a long-term motivator and a heck of a lot easier on both your blood pressure levels and theirs. Authentic leadership requires one to be self-accountable while holding others accountable, to take the blame, not point fingers, and to bring out the best in people in a genuine and trusting manner. Leadership is not about control and power.
"The HR Lady," is Wendy Sellers, leadership coach, author, speaker and COO of BlackRain Partners www.blackrainpartners.com, a business consulting company focused on coaching, training, development and HR. She has a Master of Healthcare Administration, a masters in human resources, SHRM-SCP and SPHR certifications. Wendy's leadership book, "Suck It Up, Buttercup" is on www.Amazon.com