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
- Define what needs to be addressed
- Seek the resources to accomplish the T&D
- Initiate the T&D
- Follow up to ensure it was worth the investment
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 from Asia and 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:
- Your organization’s newsletter
- Your organization’s website
- Brochures in the front lobby as a takeaway for visitors
- Postings in employee break and meeting rooms
- Hand copies to applicants during employment interviews
- Your organization’s marketing materials
- The reverse side of your organization’s business cards
- Inclusion in the packaging of all shipments
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:
- Reiterate your Mission, Vision and Values (MVVs)
- Align employees to shared goals
- Use as an effective hiring tool
- Reinforce what is required from your employees and why
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.
High-performing organizations have a clearly defined Vision. This Vision helps guide all its employees and supervision to their desired destination and explains why. Companies who have a Vision have a workplace of direction, purpose and achievement. These companies have a Vision of where they want to be, and do the appropriate things to get there. All along the way, they have employees who are enthusiastically a part of it, eagerly supporting the Vision.
What Is an Organizational Vision?
A Vision that is optimal is one that has been created, or at least contributed to, by all employees of the organization. Like the Mission, the more buy-in the organization has, the greater the effectiveness of the Vision. The Vision should be inspiring! It is where you want to be! The Vision is what you seeing occurring as you deliver on your Mission. It is where you want your organization to be in five years. We define it as five years but you may prefer to extend that, or, if you are a start-up, you may want to start with a three-year Vision. We prefer five years, because that is a reasonable amount of time for most companies to get to the next step. The Vision must be realistically achievable. If you own a pizza shop, it would not be wise to say your Vision is to grow to a $2 billion-dollar market value. But, an achievable Vision might look like: “We will grow to be a regional choice by consumers by expanding to 10 locations.”
Reflect on the following questions as considerations for building your Vision:
1. How are the market and customer base changing in the next three to seven years?
2. How will that create opportunities for the organization?
3. How can we meet the gap between now and our Vision?
4. How will we surpass our competitors and seek greater market share?
5. What are we doing collectively to capitalize on the changes in business conditions and needs of the business?
Amazon “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Nike “To be the number one athletic company in the world.”
What is the difference between Mission and Vision?
The most asked question to us surrounding Mission, Vision and Core Values is: what is the difference between a Mission and a Vision? Your Mission is what you do best every day. Your Vision is what the future looks like when you deliver on your Mission so exceedingly well.
There is, unquestionably, a key to high-performing organizations. That key is Vision — a Vision that ignites the employees of these organizations to achieve great things!
When I worked with the Gatorade Division of Quaker Oats, we smoked the competition. Why? We had Vision. And every employee who worked there bought into that Vision. Powerade and All Sport didn’t have a chance. In fact, where is All Sport today? If Gatorade did not take them out completely, they certainly limited their capabilities!
The problem is not with workers in the U.S. What we have today is a problem with leadership — leadership that lacks the ability to create buy-in for excellence in Vision achievement.
If you are a leader, you must develop a Vision, and develop it with employee input. If you are an employee, make sure you buy into your organization’s Vision. If it needs tweaking, ask to do so with respect. Your leadership will appreciate your interest!
Let’s all work together with our organizations to create Vision, to create a hope and future for everyone.
We Value your Comments. Please share your thoughts on having an Organizational Vision. How do they fit into your workplace? Do you have a Vision where you work right now? Have you worked at a high-performing organization that did?
Oftentimes as I meet with people to talk about bettering their HR practices, I use the term “Kingdom Minded” company.” More often than not, they are intrigued by the terminology I use in reference to helping them build their companies. Many Christian business people, pastors and Christian business consultants may have their own opinions or definitions of what a “Kingdom Minded” company is.
I have developed what I believe to be a fairly clear, actionable and measurable way to articulate what a “Kingdom Minded” company is, thus exciting business owners to invest their time, dollars and energy into making their company prosperous and reflective of Christ. So, let me begin by outlining what comprises the framework when building a “Kingdom Minded” company.
Over the next few weeks, I will walk us through a more in-depth look at each piece of the framework. I will ask you to look internally at what you believeyour “Kingdom Minded Purpose” is for your company. In building a “Kingdom Minded” company, the model I have developed contains the following ingredients, listed in order of importance.
These same principles that apply to marketplace businesses do apply to non profit organizations as well.
A “Kingdom Minded” company:
- Puts Christ First
- Has a Clear Mission
- Has a Clear Vision
- Has Core Values
Has agreed upon Goals and Objectives, especially in:
- Customer Service
And finally, Strives for Prosperity jointly for the good of its owners, employees and company’s community.
If you want to enjoy prosperity, you must look inward and address these critical aspects of running your organization.
Having spent over 20 years in HR I can tell you companies that have a well developed and bought-in Mission, Vision and Values will far exceed those who do not. Take a look inside your own organization. Do you have a Mission? A Vision? Core Values? How are you with setting or receiving expectations through organization goals and objectives? Do you collectively work together as a Team for success and prosperity?
Jeremiah 29:11(NIV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I believe that, in today’s tumultuous business times, we must remain diligent in our obligations as Christian business leaders. Now, more than ever, Christian Business leaders must acknowledge that employees want, need and crave an environment in which they can be not only productive but trust that their leadership is attempting to provide them and their family stability, a “hope and a future.”
We must remain diligent in our obligations as Christian business leaders.
So what about you business leaders? What are you doing to demonstrate to your employees that you are setting the foundation for tomorrow’s growth? Are you giving them hope and a future? If you do this, if you honor your employees by properly managing your businesses and lighting a path to their future, you will be creating a “Kingdom Minded” company.”
What have you witnessed in your workplace that has created a culture of creativity, inclusiveness and productivity? Please share your thoughts and help our community learn from your experiences.
Enjoy listening to this recent interview with Glenn Mertz on WHKW-AM Cleveland Ohio
Mark will discuss how Christian business owners can prosper their businesses using sound HR Practices while being outward in their faith.
A Little bit about Glenn:
Glenn Mertz hosts Living the Word, a program with a purpose. Glenn talks with people both nationally and locally who are Living the Word. Be encouraged and challenged as you discover how others are living out their Christian faith.
Glenn Mertz guides you through an incredible line-up of Bible teachers each weekday morning on WHKW. Glenn started in radio at Baldwin Wallace College and has worked at stations including WMJI, WWWE and WEOL. He’s now at Salem Communications at AM 1220 ‘The Word’ (WHKW), and hosts the daily Christian talk show ‘Living the Word’ (weekdays 10:30am). Glenn lives in Elyria with his wife, Jackie and his children Rachel and Evan.
A Little bit about Mark:
Mark has a Bachelors degree in Human Resources from Saint Leo College and an MBA from Bloomsburg University. Mark Lives in Manheim Township Pennsylvania with his wife, Gail, and daughter, Emily. Mark attends LCBCChurch and also leads a Career Ministry in which he helped start 6 years ago. Mark is really passionate about the workplace, and especially Christian business owners’ opportunity to reach their employees. He believes employees and companies should work closely together to prosper the company for mutual purposes.
Mark is Chief Consultant, In HIS Name HR LLC, a Christian Business Consulting firm that he created to help Christian business owners prosper their business and engage their employees. Join Mark on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Available on iTunes here. Click