Honored to be mentioned by Amish blogger Dave Miller in his blog on business topics to the Amish and Mennonite communities.
Enjoying reading Dave’s thoughts here: RealStreet Blog
Good News for Tumultuous Business Times- Radio Series Launched to Inspire Christian Business Owners
Contact: Keith Wilson, Praise His Name, 740.264.4604; Mark A.Griffin, In HIS Name HR LLC, 717.572.2183.
Wintersville, OH – FEB 14,2012 /Christian Newswire/ “Praise HIS Name” in partnership with “In HIS Name HR LLC” announce the launch of a twelve week radio series highlighting faith in the Christian owned workplace. Tune in and enjoy listening to Mark A. Griffin, Chief Consultant, inspire you as he dialogues with host Dee Kovach, exploring twelve inspiring weeks of Christian Business topics.
Week 1-Why do you need to build a “Kingdom Minded” company?
Week 2-What is a “Kingdom Minded” company?
Week 3- What is an Organizational Mission?
Week 4- What is an Organizational Vision?
Week 5- What are Organizational Core Values?
Week 6- HR Practices, what are they?
Week 7-How to integrate Your Mission, Vision and Core Values into your HR Practices
Week 8-How to hire the best candidates for your company
Week 9- How to manage employees to their potential within your company
Week 10- How to get your non-performers off the bus
Week 11- Ways to effectively introduce Christ into your workplace
Week 12- How best to develop and manage your Company Culture
Tune in by visiting Praise His Name at www.PraiseHISName.net, starting February 15, 2012.
In HIS Name HR LLC specializes in Christian business consulting for Christian owned companies who want to integrate Christ into their workplaces through the implementation of High Performance Organization HR practices.
In HIS Name HR LLC’s mission is to provide world class business consulting by assisting our clients in their quest to be prosperous and “Kingdom Minded.” We provide progressive Human Resources programs that will increase profitability, eliminate non-value added practices, increase productivity, improve quality and, most importantly, enhance employee well being.
“Praise His Name” is the place where listeners can tune in and hear interviews, music from today’s best Christian artists, inspirational messages, sermons from area pastors, talk shows with a Christian-based theme and yes, even comedy. Praise his Name is an Internet based radio station that allows on demand listening to what you want to hear, when you want to hear it. Best of all, the station is available 24-hours a day.
Praise His Name’sMission is to be the Voice calling out on the Internet! An oasis of Peace, Truth, Grace and Love in a world looking for real answers.
Learn more about Mark A. Griffin and his quest to help the Christian owned company live their faith by visiting him at www.InHISNameHR.com, or call him 717.572.2183 or contact him on www.Twitter.com/InHISNameHR.
What to Do Next
So there you have it. The past few blog postings have given you plenty of ideas on how to integrate your MVV into the culture of your organization through your HR practices. There is a lot to digest, especially if you are not an HR practitioner. Don’t be overwhelmed by the possibilities before you. Simply work out a plan with your Team.
The first step is to create your Mission Vision and Values. Always include your employees in the process. Hire a good facilitator if necessary, but get this done for the sake of your organization.
The second step is to document what HR practices you currently have in place and what practices you still need. This may be a good time to bring in an HR expert to, at minimum, consult with you to help you understand what practices would serve your organization best.
My firm specializes in conducting a thorough examination through a rigorous HR assessment. Contact us today if you are interested in powering your organization to the next levels of performance through the development of HR practices that drive yourMissionand support your Vision in a way that personifies your wonderful Christian values.
Wrapping It All Up
Family-owned companies, as well as non-profits, have a distinct advantage over their secular counterparts. This advantage is the flexibility to state where they are coming from and how and why they are founded, without being accused of proselytizing in the workplace. Simply stating that your organization is “founded on Christian principles” is enough to let the public know where you are coming from and clear the air that you are not requiring your employees to commit to a certain faith’s principles.
We all have choices to make as leaders. We can choose to leave behind a legacy that our families, employees and communities can remember, or we can take an easier route, put our heads down, and reflect the politically correct agenda to which we have all been assimilated. The decision is yours and yours alone. Of course, the Holy Spirit has a lot to do with it, and I am confident that, when you consult with Him, you will choose the right path — the right path to avoid worrying about sharing your faith through your MVV with your employees, community, customers and vendors.
Having met with hundreds of people regarding the process of building Kingdom-Minded organizations, one thing is for certain: many recipients of this are frightened by the thought of sharing the message of Jesus with their employees. They are even frightened at the thought of insinuating that they are believers. I try to comfort them; I try to console them; I pray with them and I pray for them. But, at the end of the day, they need to make the decision for their organizations. They need to decide that the message of Jesus Christ is and will always be first and foremost, ahead of their companies and their own uncertainties.
When I started my HR consulting firm in April of 2011, I, too, had a decision to make. I could take the easy route and mask my purpose under a secular type of business model, content to secretly connect with Christian leaders to help them develop their companies to be Kingdom-Minded, or I could step out in faith and “out” myself as a Christ follower to my world of secular business associates. Having friends and contacts in senior level positions at some of the most politically correct organizations in the world made me understandably somewhat nervous as to how they would perceive the path I had chosen to take. Some of these executives are at such companies as Pepsi, Merck, Kodak, Armstrong, PayChex — the list goes on. Although most of what I do does not fit within these organizations, most of these specific executives have helped by connecting me to Christian-minded business people who could help prosper my business.
Ultimately, I decided to “out” myself, and, since then, I have received incredible, gratifying, heartfelt compliments spanning across my secular business network. What made me decide to go outward and name my firm “In HIS Name HR, Christian Business Consulting” was my reflection upon the passage of Matthew 25:14–30 NIV Edition
His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
So, let me ask: if this was your last day and you were to meet God tomorrow, would you feel as if you had shared the message of Jesus with all whom you knew? Are you truly a good and faithful servant? I know that, when that day comes, I want to be able to look in God’s eyes and ask, “Father, was I pleasing? Was I a good and faithful servant?” I want to hear that, yes, I was.
What are you going to hear when you ask?
Integrate — Creating Successful Training and Development
In our final example of integration of MVVs into HR practices, we will explore Training and Development (T&D). In the past 25 years, I have watched T&D dwindle to an almost nonexistent state in most companies. I could write a book on the impact of not investing in the development of your people, but you might find it boring. It is what it is, and it won’t change all that soon, unfortunately. But, as leaders of organizations, we must decide how we are going to right ourselves and guide our employees to work in alignment with our Missions, strive for our Visions and operate within our organizational Values.
Here are a few steps you can take to ensure you are addressing the T&D needs of your organization without going overboard:
Discover what is needed
Do some basic fact-finding and discover the gaps within your organization. Simply going through a job description review project can help you discover what skills and abilities are lacking in your team. Summarize these by category and you will start to discover trends across your organization. Take it even further and include a development aspect to your performance review process, and document what development is needed by each of your employees. When you couple this with rewriting your company’s job descriptions, you will take it to a greater, more desirable level of detail.
Define what needs to be addressed
Without a good outline of what gap(s) needs to be closed, you have the potential to be scattered all over the place. Take the list of items that you captured during your assessment stage and better define what is needed. Employees stating they need ‘communication training” is, frankly, too broad. Do they need public speaking classes? Would they benefit from e-mail etiquette guidelines? Or is it interpersonal conflict resolution training that is needed? Just saying we need “communication training” paints in overly broad strokes.
Seek the resources to accomplish the T&D
I am not generally an advocate of online training. While it may be good for some, I do not believe it is effective for the majority of employees. My experiences have demonstrated that people learn when there is real interaction. There is more than one way to develop and train an employee. For years, it has been customary to send people to seminars. That just does not happen much anymore.
Think outside the box.
A few years back, I was supporting a company that tragically allowed many immigrants to work without the benefit of English as a Second Language training for several years. When I discovered this, I was frankly outraged that these folks were never given the resources to better themselves. When the gap was discovered, I identified a resource, hiring a gentleman who had recently returned fromAsiaand who had been immersed in this same immigrant culture. He developed a curriculum to deliver and help these folks speak English for less than $1,500. Now, that is what building a ‘Kingdom Minded” organization is about. Ignoring the needs of your employees is not.
Follow up to ensure it was worth the investment
Another creative solution to a problem such as this is tasking an employee to become a trainer within an organization to deliver a topic that is relevant to the need that was discovered. One organization was lacking financial management skills within the company’s leadership. The American Management Association’s program, Finance for Non-Financial Managers, was delivered by an HR leader. Doing it in this fashion saved the company tens of thousands of dollars by avoiding sending managers out to seminars and also allowing the customization of the materials.
Was it worth the investment? The CEO said it was.
The CEO in this case witnessed an increase in the attention to detail of certain executives, an embrace of principles not so easily understood before, but it also gave him insight as to who were the “A” players versus who were the “C” players.
You’re probably wondering by now how this all fits into the integration of your organization’s Training and Development and its relation to the MVVs of the organization. I believe it dovetails, such as in the example of the Asian immigrant employees.
When you honor your employees by developing them, they will honor you.
When you honor your employees by training them, they will honor you. And when God is reflected in your heart and the way you respect your employees by not only paying them correctly and protecting them with benefits, but truly caring about their development, your employees will see Christ in you.
So don’t look the other way when it comes to T&D. Your employees will see you in a whole different way.
We value your contribution. What training and development programs have you worked with that were successful? Why were they successful?
Integrate — Creating Meaningful Communication Processes
The first question most management teams have after creating a new Mission, Vision and Values statement (MVV) for an organization is: What do we do with it? Integrating into all aspects of your HR processes is paramount to the success of your MVV. The heart of these processes typically lies within the communication processes and employee relations materials of the organization. Since HR typically controls this function, it becomes that much easier for them to communicate the MVV statement effectively.
There are countless avenues to share and ingrain your MVVs within your organization, as well as clients and customers. These can include but are not limited to:
If it is important enough for the company to include in the employee handbook, the recruitment process, the performance review process and the employee job descriptions, then it is certainly important enough to include in the above areas as well.
Several years ago, I worked with a company where more than a few of the employees were nervous about sharing the company MVVs with people outside of the organization. Their fear was that the Christian overtones in the MVV statement might offend customers in the Middle East. Others were nervous that prospective employees might be offended or misinterpret our intent.
When the smoke cleared and time went by, employees started to realize that the advantages far outweighed the disadvantages; it did much more good than bad.
Ultimately, the majority of employees supported it, and, as a result, customers displayed a newfound confidence in us, and our integrity. The customers from the Middle East never complained, and we received more compliments than complaints from applicants. I believe that is how God works. When we stand for Him, unashamed, anything is possible. When we don’t, we are subject to a not so nice outcome.
What will you do? I say, be a difference maker, and be bold in your faith. At the end of your life, what will you tell God? I will say, “Father, I hope You can see I was not afraid and tried to be Your good and faithful servant.
How have you chosen to share your MVV with your employees? How about the community and your customers/clients? Let us know by sharing your comments below. Thank you.
Integrate — Job Descriptions Make a Difference
For many years I have witnessed leadership at a variety of levels at several companies struggle to see the value of certain HR practices. One practice of uncertain value from them within HR that always seems to pop up is Job Descriptions.
Why do you need job descriptions? Do companies really use them? We created some 5 years ago, will they work? Are they just an old school personnel requirement? Well, you actually need them for a variety of reasons, such as to:
Reiteration of your Mission Vision and Values
Job descriptions should remind employees what the overall objective is for their position. Why? Because that objective should tie in to whatever the Mission and Vision of the company are. Absent a clear objective statement, both new and current employees won’t understand why it is they do what they are asked to do. That might sound a little crazy, but I have met hundreds of employees over the years who, when asked why they do what they do at work, they had no answer. I do know that when employees know the objective and why they exist in their roles, they are self-driven to exceed that objective.
We are not becoming lazy as a nation; we are coming unguided!
It is the greatest fallacy of the workplace that we have become merely lazy, when, in fact, it all stems from lack of leadership and experience in guiding employees to excellence.
Employees should be involved in the development of their job descriptions. They should gain ownership in the process and fully understand how their position relates to others within the company, and how each position depends on the other for performance. Of course, HR can champion the process, providing the process and keeping track of the descriptions themselves.
The creation of the description should be done by the employee and employee’s manager.
One of the best-run companies I have had the pleasure to work with linked all the descriptions for each of their positions on a shared Local Area Network while also visually linking all employees together via an electronic organizational chart. It left no one wondering who was responsible for doing what, while reporting to whom, and why?
A hiring tool
A candidate should never be interviewed without a formal job description in hand. There is no way to assess a candidate fairly without this basic tool. High-performing companies have recruitment processes that included the revision of the job description while, at the same time, the development of relevant questions for the interview process itself. Want to inspire interest in a candidate? Give them the job description, because almost no organizations do this. When people know what it is they are required to do, it creates interest and potential ownership once they are hired.
Reinforcement of what is required and why
Repetition is a good thing. When job descriptions repeat important information that is reflected in other areas of the company, it reinforces the importance of that information.
When employees see the same messages over and over from a variety of sources, and tied to several processes, it means something to them. It leaves an imprint.
This is why building in language that reiterates the commitment to living up to your Company’s Mission and striving for your Vision will help get your employees going in the right direction collectively. It is also important to capture in the job description the behaviors that are required and that relate to the Values of your organization.
Essential to all job descriptions are the Purpose of the Position, Position Requirements (Education and or Experience), and Physical Requirements/Environmental Conditions. Of course you should always include the statement: “This description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities required of an incumbent. An incumbent may be asked to perform other duties as required.” This statement ensures that you don’t have folks walking around saying, “That’s not in my job description!”
What good and bad experiences have you had in dealing with job descriptions? Are they a waste of time from your perspective or have you witnessed employees flourish when using them? Please leave us your comments below. Thank you.
Integrate — Performance Reviews for Success
Probably one of the least liked HR processes of all organizations is the dreaded performance review. However, it does not have to be that way. Performance reviews should be beneficial not only to the organization but to the employee.
Key components to a successful process include:
Commitment to your MVV
If you want your Team to fulfill your Company’s Mission reach your Vision and operate within your Values, you must build these into the Performance Review process. When you do, it shows the organization that leadership believes in the MVV so much that they have included it in the measurement of employment performance. Ensure your goals and objectives are aligned with your Missionand Vision; if they are not, you must question why they are in place. Most organizations that we support appreciate us walking them through a simple Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis to help develop goals for the organization. In the area of Values, always build your values and other important values into the behavior section of the Performance review form; we will discuss behaviors in more detail later in this chapter.
Shared goals and objectives
In high performing organizations, including those that I have worked for, have all had Performance Review processes that were aligned to shared goals and objectives through the organization. Typically the scenario worked like this: The CEO would develop four to six goals and objectives that would then be approved or renegotiated by the board of directors. Those goals would then cascade through the organization all the way down to, for example, the third-shift sanitation employee at the plant in Arkansas. The employees would then align what they needed to accomplish within their scope of authority against the goals of the person(s) above them.
The review process primarily focuses on annual goals, and very little on the mundane aspects of day to day work that is reflective of what the job description dictates. The daily work should be accomplished, and, if not, the employee should be managed through disciplinary procedures.
I have had the experience of employees approaching me earlier in my career at the end of the performance review cycle. Oftentimes, their approach was because they never had met with their managers even one time during the course of the performance cycle.
Make no mistake: they are at fault as much as their inept management.
Employees must take ownership of their careers, their development and their performance. Those who do not simply will not survive in this economy. Part of ensuring that they take ownership, and helping them to understand it, is ensuring that the process is clearly defined, i.e., that the employee is obliged to prepare performance form materials, and be proactive in scheduling a performance review meeting with their manager if the manager is not. If the manager still fails to meet with them, the employee has an obligation to go to HR or, absent HR, the manager’s superior. Doing nothing should never be an option.
Simplistic but meaningful processes
Twelve-page forms and manuals that exceed sixty pages will just not work. Ensure your process includes easily understood documentation, and a review form that does not exceed a good resume length, that is, two pages. Keep the form limited to four to six operational goals and three to five behavior-based goals.
Never have a process that is void of behavioral objectives.
I have had the misfortune to work with several teams that insisted upon only production-related goals. They killed each other in the process to achieve them, and, when challenged, they would always say that they were not being measured on niceness, but solely on how many widgets they made! Balance your performance scorecard, and you will have better results.
Solid guidelines and commitment from senior leadership
When we describe “solid” guidelines, we mean guidelines that are not created in a vacuum, by one person high on a mountaintop. Guidelines should be developed by a cross-functional group of employees from a variety of areas within the company. This brings a rich blend of thoughts and experiences to the table.
Regrettably, most of the HR people that I have worked with during my career are just not capable of coming up with such solid guidelines without assistance.
It is a sad statement to make regarding my profession, but I gave up defending much of the deficiencies I discovered years ago.
Senior Leadership must buy into the process and support it. If they don’t, it is doomed to certain failure.
Years ago, I worked for a company in which, no matter how hard the CEO worked on convincing the president of a particular division to manage the performance review process, this president would balk. The division president’s lack of commitment transcended the organization. The process became a joke, and no one nurtured it. I look back at the company now and wonder if things could have turned out differently. They have closed half of their plants, and shed several thousand employees. It might be a stretch to link this to lack of leadership in embracing a performance review process, but I do believe that, if Innovation was a top goal for the years heading into the downturn, that company could conceivably have created new products to sustain employment for those who were laid off. Sad, but this is often the case. Managers: stay committed!
What has been your experience with performance review systems? Do you like them? Hate them? We would like to know. Please leave us a few comments to broaden our knowledge. Thank you.
Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of managing organizations is the act of recruitment. It is not necessarily difficult only on the candidates; it’s also difficult on organizations as well. Even though we are living in tumultuous business times, with real unemployment exceeding 10 percent in almost every city in our nation, recruitment is still a challenge for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:
These are all hurdles to climb over but organizations that have a well thought out process and strategy will prevail in hiring the best candidates to accelerate the performance of the organization. The entire process of building a “Kingdom Minded” company revolves around including your Mission Vision and Values into every HR practice as practicable. The recruitment process is not excluded.
In developing your strategy, you should weave into the process several concepts that will help recruit the best candidates to help you manage within your Mission, reach your Vision, and operate within your Values. Your process should include:
Networking. Most companies, because of turnover within their HR department, or a lack of HR professionals within the company, do not have a formalized network to which they can announce vacancies. This is a concerning drawback to the process. Organizations should consistently mine for talent and the community should be aware of the organization and have a general idea of what they do and what their hiring patterns are. Organizations should spend time marketing themselves as a great place to work; this is also and effective form of marketing to potential customers. People want to buy products and services from organizations that treat their employees well. Start networking with churches, Christian colleges, LinkedIn groups, alumni associations, nonprofit executives, mission organizations, seminaries — the list could go on forever! The problem is that many organizations do not create such a network list. Network today; it will pay dividends in years to come.
Employee Referral Systems Nine out of ten companies I meet with do not have either a formal or informal employee referral systems for candidates. If they do have one, it is stale and not yielding any results. This is unfortunate, because people want to work with people who match the company culture, and know how and want to get the job done. Reinvent this program or develop it if you don’t have one. The easiest way to do so is to bring together a cross section of employees for half an hour and ask them straight out: would you refer your friends to work here? If not, why not? And what do we need to do to make this an environment that you would want to refer them to? Delve into what the referral reward should be in the program. Some miserly HR folks suggest one to two hundred-dollar bonuses. Considering a Monster board ad is three hundred dollars, not to mention the hassle of screening 10 to 20 candidates to get to one good candidate, don’t you think this is a bit stingy? Reward your people!
Consistent Hiring Methodology Lack of a consistent hiring methodology will get you burned. Getting an EEOC or Human Relations commission charge becomes not an “if” proposition but a “when.” But, stepping outside of the legal concerns, why not take the high road right off, and ensure your practice is beyond reproach? When recruiting, always have a job description, always have interview evaluation sheets, and always have decent but not copious notes of the candidate selection meeting when all interviewers give input. I have experienced some embarrassing situations at all levels of the organization where a document to support hiring or not hiring candidates didn’t even exist. If you don’t have this in place, make sure you keep your checkbook handy. You will need it.
And, finally, include your MVV in your process. You see, when candidates see this, they are intrigued, especially when the presenter presents it in a way that is exciting.
Candidates love to see people with passion and energy around their Mission.
Organizations have lost their mojo. Show candidates your passion! Most people want to work for a company that has direction. They are tired of the lack of leadership in government, in corporate America, and their local schools. The last thing they want to do is join a company that is weak and non-directional. Show them your passion through your MVV!
Explain to each candidate your Values, where they came from and why you have them. Let them know that you are a company founded on Christian principles. Most often the reaction I get from candidates when they hear this is, “Wow! Finally a place that might treat me with dignity and respect.”
Don’t worry about offending anyone. You are not pushing your values onto them; you are simply demonstrating what they are. I have had candidates say that they are not Christians, but that working for a company like ours would help them understand Christianity better. Exposing people to Christ — that is what we all desire.. That is the work God really wants us to focus on.
What have been your experiences in recruitment? Are there any best practices you would like to share? Be a difference maker today. Please contribute to the community and help others learn from your experiences. Thank you.
Employees complain when you don’t have a handbook, but, when you have one, they don’t want it! An employee handbook is very easy to create, but probably the most overlooked aspect of employment documentation. One thing is for sure: if a company has multiple shifts or multiple locations or just multiple employees, an employee handbook can certainly help keep all employees on the same page. Handbooks are always a delicate subject.
But when done right, and with employee input, this tool can make a difference.
Reflect your MVV. Your handbook should be an absolute reflection of your MVV, which essentially amplifies your culture. Someone who is unfamiliar with your organization should be able to pick up your handbook and see your heart within its reflection simply by the tone and the guiding principles you lay out for your employees. The front of the handbook should contain your MVV, followed by the President’s message as to why the MVV is important to the company and how it was created.
Make it relevant. Having reviewed hundreds of handbooks over the years, one thing is certain and that is that most are horrible. They are irrelevant, often don’t convey the culture of the organization and are more about preaching or dictating than guiding.
Keep it simple. A handbook should not contain every scrap of information about the company. Worse yet, it should not contain every possible scenario in which an employee violation could occur. Keep it simple and you will have a greater impact than if you over-complicate or over-stimulate the reader. Many employees I’ve spoken with over the years tell me that, if a handbook is interesting, they will read it to learn more about the company, but, if it just rambles on over policy and procedures, most will put it down after two pages. The ideal handbook will inspire the reader to learn — learn more about the company.
Keep it legal and legit. Always ensure you include the appropriate legal clauses. There are far too many to list here but a few that come to mind speak toADA, FMLA, Employment at Will, EEOC etc. You want to make sure you cover your bases.
In closing it is important to note that having a handbook is oftentimes the only opportunity for employers to memorialize what is expected of employees. But always include what employees can expect of you! A handbook should never be a one way street of core policies of the organization; if it is, you will chill the warmth right out of the organization, a chill you will live to regret.
We Value Your Comments. Thank you for taking the time to read our post in this series on how to build “Kingdom Minded” Companies. Please share your thoughts and experiences on employee handbooks. How did the ones that you have used fit your organization? Did they match your culture? Did they drive the behaviors the company and employees desire? Thank you for contributing to our community, and thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Integrate-After the Mission Vision and Values …
Most leaders, after they finalize the recreation of their Mission Vision and Values (MVV) for their organizations, do what comes naturally — they share it with everyone. If that sounds like you, then it goes out on your website, and it gets printed poster-sized and hung on the walls of your conference rooms and lobby. You mention it consistently for about three months … and then it dies.
It dies because it is not an intrinsic part of the way you do business.
It is not ingrained into the soul of your company.
How do you make your Mission Vision and Values a part of the way in which you do business? You integrate it into the practices that are always connected to the people that make it happen — you integrate it into the people who are applying your HR practices. HR practices are practices that touch all employees.
What are some examples of HR practices?
You could probably laundry-list 40-plus practices, but, for the sake of explanation, we are going to provide guidance on six key practices that you can integrate with your MVV quite easily. These six are your:
Over the next few weeks, I will walk us through the integration of the MVV into each one of these practices. What has your experience been when integrating these concepts into your company’s practices? Share with us below. We would appreciate hearing your thoughts and stories.