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Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Lean Tips Edition #183 (#2956-#2970)

For my Facebook fans you already know about this great feature. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I post daily a feature I call Lean Tips.  It is meant to be advice, things I learned from experience, and some knowledge tidbits about Lean to help you along your journey.  Another great reason to like A Lean Journey on Facebook.

Here is the next addition of tips from the Facebook page:

Lean Tip #2956 – Establish a Regular Training Schedule

Make it easy for employees to set aside time in their schedules for professional development by establishing a regular time for training sessions. For example, make “Training on Tuesdays” a regular thing, with different types of training happening each week of the month. Skill training could be slated for the first week, leadership development could happen in the second week, with other types of development activities scheduled for the other weeks. This way, employees can easily plan ahead for development opportunities.

Lean Tip #2957 – Source Training Topics from Employees

Try asking employees to suggest learning and development topics that they feel would be beneficial. Team members are much more likely to participate in development opportunities if they’re invested and have some input around what is offered. Plus, you’ll likely get some creative ideas that you might not have thought of on your own. Your development program is only posed to grow stronger when employees are invited to share their suggestions.

Lean Tip #2958 – Support Knowledge Sharing

To encourage even deeper involvement, invite employees who have specialized expertise to teach workshops or lead other types of development opportunities. By encouraging knowledge sharing in this way, you’ll help create a culture of peer-to-peer learning while meaningfully recognizing employees who are willing to share their expertise with others. These extra development efforts made outside of employees’ specific role requirements can also be taken into consideration when the time for performance reviews comes around.

Lean Tip #2959 – Endorse Joining Professional Organizations

Employee development isn’t limited to just courses and classes. Joining professional organizations specific to your company’s industry or employees’ occupations can be a great way for employees to grow and develop as professionals. Not only will they have an opportunity to meet and develop relationships with like-minded professionals, but they’ll also learn new skills while staying on top of new developments in their field. This can serve as a clever way for your employees to network and help your company’s outreach efforts.

Lean Tip #2960 – Be a Role Model via Active Participation

If you're engaging in professional development yourself, your employees will be more likely to do so as well. Be a role model for your team by actively participating in learning opportunities yourself — this could allow employee development to become the norm at your company. By modeling this behavior, you’ll positively impact the perception of your company as a learning organization in which professional development is valued at all levels.

Lean Tip #2961 – Lead With Positivity

Too often workplaces devolve into competitive, toxic environments. Remember, people are more likely to complain about something than they are to praise. Putting positivity and gratitude first is not a natural thing for most people to do, but it can radically transform company culture. A compliment goes a long way in building relationships, motivation, confidence and buy-in. This improves workplace dynamics and staff retention.

Lean Tip #2962 – Focus on the Individual

There’s nothing worse than feeling like a cog in a machine. With increasingly diverse workplace cultures, employees have varied needs, priorities and motivations. Leaders need to identify large scale tactics that don’t seem too generic or “catch all”. But before we can practice inclusion, we must first understand what really matters. Run surveys, diverse focus groups, and find out what’s important to your employees across various career stages, generations, genders, backgrounds, ethnicities, and functions. Enabling your employees to simply feel seen and heard is a crucial part of successfully managing cultural change.

Lean Tip #2963 – Celebrate Small Wins

No doubt you already have a structured schedule of employee 1:1s, annual reviews and formalized feedback loops. These are effective processes to provide a big-picture view of an individual employee’s progress. However, they can also be too infrequent, top down and not transparent enough to impact on company culture. You can make more significant change on a daily bases by creating opportunities to share praise that is not called upon. This makes it more authentic, organic, and appreciation-driven.

Lean Tip #2964 – Define - What’s Your Ideal Culture?

You want a better workplace culture, but what does that mean? To create measurable results and give direction to your teams, you have to define your ideal culture. Put those fantastic ideas for your organizational purpose, core values, and more on paper! Just start defining and then you’ll be able to narrow it down naturally. This is your opportunity to put the flavor of your unique culture out there, so have fun with it and involve your leadership and culture-building teams. If you have core values already, we can revisit them with you in a workshop and help you define what behaviors might support them [bringing us into the next step]. 

Lean Tip #2965 – Reinforce the Desired Culture in All Organizational Systems.

A strong focus on changing behaviors is a necessary condition for success. It is not enough to try to shape attitudes or develop and communicate a set of values; leaders must ensure that incentives reinforce desired behaviors. To support the desired culture, therefore, all key systems must be revised to reinforce the behaviors. All of the important people processes — recruiting, assessment, performance management, and development — must be carefully assessed and consistently modified to drive the desired culture.

Lean Tip #2966 – Make Listening a Priority

It is not enough to simply say that you're going to start listening to your workers, you must make listening to them a priority. It's important to develop active listening skills, so your team knows that you are really listening to what they have to say. Improving your listening skills will make you a better leader and enable you to better manage your team.

Look for and create opportunities to listen to your team. For example, set time aside when conducting both individual and group meetings for your employees to discuss their work experience and provide constructive feedback. Once your team discovers that they are able to provide honest feedback without negative results from management, they will start to look forward to these opportunities to share their ideas with you.

Lean Tip #2967 – Make Engagement Part of Listening

Listening is the starting point for boosting employee engagement in the workplace. When your employees express an opinion, it is important to actively listen to what they have to say by taking the time to ask questions, gather feedback and encourage them to elaborate more on their input so you have a rich understanding of what they’re trying to communicate.

Ensure that you’ve heard them fully by repeating back what you’ve heard, giving them an opportunity to clarify their points if necessary. Engaging with your people in this way will let them know that you are listening to them and it will reduce potential miscommunication between you and your team.

Lean Tip #2968 – After Listening Take Action

Listening is only the first step. You must also take action. This doesn't mean that you have to act on every suggestion or concern that your team has, but you should always closely evaluate what they have to say. Then, when you come across employee suggestions or concerns that call for more attention, don't stop at just listening - take action.

Develop a plan that will put your employee's idea into action. Technology can help with this by delivering bite-sized, personalized actions to employees and managers so that everyone is empowered to impact engagement right away. When your employees know that you are willing to make changes based on ideas or issues they have shared, they will know that you not only want to listen to them - but that you truly care about what they have to say.

Lean Tip #2969 - Follow-Up Is Vital

Listening is not a point-in-time activity, it is ongoing. If you fail to follow up on the input you’ve received, your efforts to show your employees that you are really listening to them will be for naught. For example, take the time to thank your employees for providing honest feedback, let your employees know what actions, if any, are being taken, and use communication tools (i.e., the company newsletter) to share survey results and follow on action. It’s critical that your employees know you’ve heard them, even if immediate change is not possible.

Lean Tip #2970 – Show Employees That You Care

When you listen to their issues and solve it, they believe that you care for them as an employer. When they know you care, then they work harder and aim higher than expected results.

Employees love to work under leaders who care for them, they do not want to be looked as tools or resources utilized for the success of the organization. Employees always want to have a good relationship where employers listen to their concerns at times of professional hardships.

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