Posts Tagged HR

Assessing Employees

Performance reviews are not new, and at the end of a probation period employees are often given vague reasons as to why they are kept on by the company or ditched… Sometimes non management staff have been perplexed by these moves and the reasons given can be as vague as the decision itself.


Steve Gray's assessment tool


To ensure an effective decision is made effort needs to be put into assessing the person and their efforts in the role. So I scoured the web for ideas, and coupled that with my own thoughts and came up with this checklist to assist in making decisions as well s being able to pinpoint areas for development which might go under the radar.

A contemporary business might give the list to the employee early in the probation period (probably not on day one…) and let them know what sorts of things you are looking for at the end of the process. Of course  you would do your own research and fact gathering from their peers and supervisors to ensure an effective mix of facts can be utilised.


Check it out it’s three pages I feel sure  you will want to use often to ensure your staff are doing more of the right things by your organisation.



Steve Gray

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New recruit blues

Recruit circleThe good people on the twentieth floor in the HR Dept decided to place a new recruit in your department. Sweet! you need an extra hand, you know the person has been through the induction program on the fifth floor and is “ready to make a solid impression”.

After a short while you find things ending up in the wrong place, time is lost searching for those ‘things’ and training the ‘newbie’ in the job specific details they need to get going, is taking its toll on the work you need to get done.

You knew it might happen, the new person has to find their feet,and in time you get the impression they will be a solid contributor to your team. So what to do to make their start positive, get to a productive point fast and not lose the ‘things’ that everyone needs?

Firstly, know as much about the person as possible in advance… Hopefully you don’t find out about the new person at 5pm Friday with them starting at 9am Monday! If you have been part of the hiring process you might know them very well, if not chat with HR about what’s in their resume, how they handled the interview etc, then check out social media for more details on likes and dislikes.

Secondly, be nice… If  you are a grumpy pain the the butt type of person and are not willing to change long term, see what you can do in the short term. Make the person feel at home, be polite, show them around, introduce them to the other team members. Show them their workspace and where the important things are… toilets, lunch room etc.

Thirdly, give them a buddy… A person who can relate to the ‘newbie’ pass on all sorts of vital information, how things work and has a good grasp of “who’s who in the zoo” this person can do most of the training part with you as a go to sidekick.

Finally, meet chat and listen… The new person can settle in fast, so find time to sit with them and have a chat about how things are going, any specific challenges they might face and ways they might overcome them.

Oh sure there are about a hundred other things you can do to add to this list, like checking their productivity at relevant stages every so oftem against Key Performance Criteria, and even asking them for suggestions on ways to improve things (remember to listen…) and the list goes on.

Make the person feel part of the team fast, then you can sense the notion of having set someone on the right path with the right support.


Steve Gray Free Business Tips

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Are you scaring employess away?

Image courtesy of Stock Images from

Image courtesy of Stock Images from

You hire people, you want the best, you are given guidelines to follow, some formal and some informal (e.g pick a woman)…

You find the job description template, write a description and send it off for approval.

The supervisor reads it, sees that it’s comprehensive and approves it, based more on the key selection criteria and the basic job description.

The process continues and you get what you get, a new employee. Hopefully they are a fantastic fit to the team and in a short space of time become a profitable addition to the organisation, however reality tells an all to common different story, at the end of the probation period, the person is ousted and the process begins again. Or worse, the person makes it through the probation period and becomes an anchor weighing things down often for a variety of reasons.

But I have an issue or three with the approach that causes this drama to happen.

Most job descriptions I have seen are too wordy and can actually scare people away from applying, and sometimes those that do apply find the job is not what they thought it would be, or they have the wrong ‘disposition’ (attitude, personality etc) for the job.

I have applied for enough positions to see this first hand and I now believe there should be a more relaxed approach, at least in the first instance.

Okay so there are those who say the idea is to attract more of the right people so you don’t end up getting too many applicants for the role, fair enough, but find another way of doing it rather than trying to bury people in detail and scaring them off.

The ideal employee is probably a fun team player, a person who is interested in more than just the role (it might be seen as an entry role to the organisation). Of course they will have the qualification to do the job, but the right attitude and personality will make them a better fit to the whole system, not just the technical aspects of the role.

Start thinking about how you can get a simpler approach started, then add the details in at another layer if need be.

Simply put, your current processes might just be causing long term headaches for the organisation.


Steve Gray

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Let’s build a crumbling mess

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from

You actually wanted to create a solid business but what happened next didn’t turn out that way. In the beginning you will take care to make it look good and it will hold together for a few years, but most assuredly it will crumble. The ‘business’ fulfills a need, a void, and as such it has merit in the marketplace so let’s build it, time is of the essence!

It will provide shelter, seem warm and inviting, but then some cracks will appear, soon we will then fill these gaping holes with false hope, ask for some asisstance from the cavalry… But alas none will come. Soothsayers, mystics and others with potions and wisdom seemingly produced by ‘slight of hand’, will offer ways forward, but no such road will be travelled.

There, as the last vestige of hope is held aloft I will concede, that the real hope, the real failure, the real demise was visible, right there in the beginning, the mystics and others were right.

If only we knew then what we know now… We would not have dragged so many others into this screaming heap of maudlin mayhem, mind you we did a great job of ‘dressing it  up’. At its peak it looked like a princesses castle, bright and shining in any light. The challenge was what to do when the lights went out…

Alas no, there was no escaping the ego driven, maniacal ‘team’ building a tempestuous empire, despite protests from more knowing folks. No, it was all our doing, we created it, we ordered it to be fashioned into the shape it was… Underneath we fuly knew it’s demise was certain.

Sure we could have stopped, but the time seemed right. Sure we could have done things differently, but it weemed as if we had little in the way of suitable resources. Sure we blamed others, but ultimately it was us who selected them on their merits, qualifications and that all so imporant rapport we had with them, they were so like us it wasn’t funny.

Now as we look back and consider what could have been, indeed what should have been, some of us are filled with a sense of dread, a sense of “what if we had just done things differently…” No, there was no way to change the past, it is what it is, a crumbling mess, a shadow of its percieved former glory.

We now understand what numerous wise people had said about having a good foundation to build on. We also understand that in one persons life things will change, and if luck is on the side of the person with a solid vision then an amazing legacy can be left. A legacy that provides the guidelines on which people can chisel away at the notion and vision of utopia, a legacy where people of strong means can guide those not so fortunate. A legacy where financial profits are not the only hallmark of a growing organisation.

Perhaps we am now reflecting on those around us who built stone houses while others made theirs from straw, or are we simply sensing that what we did build, although we used stone, had mud instead of mortar to join it and therin lies the problem.

One thing is for sure there are many things that made the crumbling mess, it started with a smallgroup of us and then became an extension of us, the team were a bunch of people who knew when to say yes and although they could have said no for all the right reasons, they failed to do so.

More things come to mind about how this disintegrating behemoth so stunningly limped, then stumbled into ruinous oblivion. Seeminingly the more that was added on, the more the rot set in, in the foundations and framework. like termites so busily doing what they do so well, so efficiently, but over time the hollow remains can no longer support the once ‘glorious facade’.

It’s simple to say it should have been an easy ride, serve the customers, make a profit to sustain us in quiet times and build from. Work with more of the ‘right people’, plan well and above all listen to your heart and temper it with reasoned debate… but no, that didn’t happen.

What did happen causes heartache and pain. So many gave so much for so little, clearly the crumbling mess was more than just physical materials, it in fact ended up creating huge emotional burdens far more invasive than we can imagine. This can not be apologised for, we can not know how deep the viens of pain run, nor how much can be attributed to the physical ‘crumbling mess’, or the lack of human compassion the driven team possessed.

It’s all over now, the sordid details and their oh so high level of importance at the time, the losses, the pain and anguish. Finished, complete, time to move on. Time to learn and start a fresh, time to let others explore, build and ‘run riot’ in the marketplace. It’s also time to believe that others will learn from the details of this crumbling mess. A time to hope that they have the desire to create a positive legacy rather than the afore mentioned disasterous, deluded crumbling mess.



Steve Gray


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Learning The Hard Way


Image courtesy of Kromkrathog

If you learned well from a mistake you made, you will find a better way to do that task for the ‘next time’ when the same sort of challenge arises.

If you have been given information on a task by a person in charge, chances are you will learn but it might take a bit longer. You will probably follow the commands given, go and try out what was mentioned and learn some more by actually doing it.

If you read instructions or do a course on how to do a task you will probably pick up a few things, but it not the same way as the other two methods.

There is something about the way that doing a task involves the senses and get’s your brain immersed in the process. This is why a good trainer will suggest ‘you try it this time’ and get you involved. A good boss or supervisor will recognise you may only be ‘half’ listening when they give you a task to do, knowing you will pick up the finer details when you do it and if you have any questions about it you will come back and ask.

A good leader knows their team can benefit from all three methods, and will work to provide their team with an open approach to learning so they can get results to happen faster, because at least one of the ways or at perhaps a slight combination of them will fit to that person’s learning style.

Understanding a little of how people learn is vital to understanding how to get better results in your business. How will you use this information to make a positive difference with your team? Let’s hope you learn to know the difference and can implement the learning well with your people, perhaps you will share this with them and have a team based discussion about the differences, similarities and how you can use these to advantage. After all you want your people and the outcomes they create for your organisation to be excellent don’t you?

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Did You ‘Value’ Your Business?

In the past set of nine articles I have outlined some ways to look at the values your business operates with. Now it’s up to you to take each and develop some guidelines around each for how you want your team to operate. May I suggest you hand the list to your top people, give them a head start, tell them to develop some ideas and options and email them to you (compile the details in a  group meeting). Then develop an organisation wide set of values, possible scenarios and situations around them.

Compile the guidelines into your master operating procedural documents, begin to live it, refer to it and explore all it has to offer.

Any future steps the organisation takes should be done in light of these core values, then over time these can be ‘tweaked’ to suit.

Now you are fired up to tackle this as a project (even you small business operator…) then here is a link you can email to your team to work with.










And another article on values to tie it all together


Now look at how you bring the various aspects of this together to create great results for your business by taking positive action.

Oh and while you are at it, get your team to explore any other values they think would be useful for your business, drop me a line to let me know via the comments for this post and I will take a look and consider adding them in.

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What staff want

As a follow on from the series dealing with staffing issues  this article explores what staff want, when you know that and provide it, then you will find it easier to keep them happy. Believe me it’s important.

Keeping people happy is one part of the whole business matrix… customers or staff, the common denominator is that they are all people.

To keep one person happy you might find their definition is built on getting a reasonable amount of work done in a standard working day, churning through mountains of meaningless paperwork. Meanwhile the next person is kept happy by having variety and not just being stuck in an office.

So what are the core things they want and how can you provide these for them?

Here’s my list.

  • A sense of belonging – Being valued by others, even in minor ways can help to build and maintain their workplace sense of esteem
  • A sense of achievement – Some will want to work their way up the corporate ladder, set goals and achieve them
  • A sense of contributing and adding value – Beyond their basic agreement, work targets etc, they feel as though they have contributed to the whole business machine. At the ‘drop of a hat’ they they willingly chat about how things can be ‘tweaked’, why? They love what they do and love the company and as such know that good input can mean a greater sense of security, one idea may mean the difference between greater success or failure.
  • A sense of purpose – It’s not a meaningless job, it has a role to play and they can clearly sense that
  • A sense of pride – The like doing what they do, so much so they are proud of the end result – They provide service and products which are high quality and they are pleased about doing just that.
  • Organisational integrity – It’s about security, if they know the organisation has integrity they then have a foundation they can believe in and stand by. No integrity, the foundation can give way at anytime this leads to insecurity and can be a reason for staff turnover
  • Control – For some this can mean the security that comes from having some measure of control over their situation, it might be minor. For others they want the chance to take control of a department, or a division depending on their level of drive or motivation
  • They like be challenged – In ways which suit them, not you. For some it will be big challenges for others it will be meeting a small quota. It comes down to brain stimulus
  • They have a suitable work environment – Where it can be controlled, think about it you spend 8 or so hours a day in the business, do you want to spend 8 hours in a hovel or 8 hours in paradise… The choice is a no brainer right? So what’s your environment like? Sure paradise is a BIG step but making it better might only take a few tweaks and a small amount of cash. For those out on the road for instance in a company vehicle, is it clean neat and tidy, new, old, in good repair or a rust bucket. Oh and the Lunch room, a place to relax and unwind, or a stinking cesspool of yuck… (broken chairs etc.)
  • They have the right tools – Newish computer – Quiet keyboard – Suitable work chair – Effective other tools

Are there others? Probably, it’s up to you to find out. But armed with this as your starting point you can soon see the sorts of core things staff want. Go and chat with your staff and find out what their wants are.

Now you know what staff what, here’s an article on how you might explore this further.

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