Thursday, July 5, 2012

How to Inspire and Motivate High Performance Employees

To become an HPO (a High Performance Organization) it is a precondition to hire and retain the right employees. ]
These are people who have an incurable curiosity, want to be challenged, need to have responsibility and at the same time ask to be held accountable, and want to perform better — everywhere and anytime. These high performance employees perform better than the average employee, and because of that, contribute more to the effectiveness of the organization.
With this type of employees, an organization can transform into a true High Performance Organization.
But, you need to inspire them.

Higher performance through stretch goals

HPO employees want to be inspired by their managers to continuously perform better and achieve extraordinary results. They want to be kept on their toes and be challenged. They continuously want to develop themselves, to achieve the best they can, and because of this, contribute to the success of the organization.
Employees of an HPO are quite extraordinary, and it requires focused attention of managers to keep these people interested in working at the organization.
HPO managers, therefore, consciously inspire their employees by giving them interesting work, challenging tasks and increased responsibilities; and stressing that they should be proud of their own achievements and those of the organization. They stimulate self-confidence, an entrepreneurial attitude, firmness, a can-do attitude, and a winning mindset in employees.
HPO managers raise the performance of their people and themselves by setting high standards and stretch goals. They let people feel they are part of a bigger picture and inspire them to achieve greatness as part of the organization. They possess a crusading enthusiasm and take time to win people over.
Recently I did an interview with Mikael Sørensen, general manager at Svenska Handelsbanken NL. Something he said about inspiration intrigued me:
I walk the talk because that talk is what attracted new employees to the bank. When I had job interviews with people before they started at the bank and I told them how we work, then that was what interested them in the bank. So it is important that when they come in, it actually works this way. And this congruency inspires them.”

How to get started inspiring employees

There are two main ways how you can inspire your employees: by changing your own behavior to be more inspirational, and by creating conditions for your employees that increase their motivation. Below are some ideas for both techniques.
Become an inspiring person yourself by doing the following:
  • Be passionate about the goals of the organization, show emotion, and generate enthusiasm for these in your employees.
  • Connect with your employees by showing real interest in them and finding out what motivates and inspires them, and actively looking for their ideas and opinions.
  • Be somewhat unconventional and take personal risks, by doing things differently and operating outside ‘normal’ organizational boundaries and outside your comfort zone, and letting your employees do the same.
  • Make sure inspirational moments are succeeded by follow on actions, so your employees see that you act upon your inspiration.
  • Be engaging and a team person, and regularly express to your employees it is all about “we” and not about “I”
  • Become a “storyteller” who is able to package messages in an appealing form that captivates employees.

How to motivate employees, too

Create motivational conditions for your employees, by doing the following:
  • Paint your employees an attractive picture of the future of the organization and their place in it and provide the rationale why certain goals have to be pursued.
  • Give your employees interesting and meaningful work that challenges and vitalizes them. This work should require them to do things differently, with more risk and uncertainty, which gets them out of their comfort zone.
  • Set stretch goals for your employees and give them more responsibilities and freedom to schedule their own work, while including the possibility of setbacks that they will have to overcome.
  • Provide your employees with the possibility to get into contact with the beneficiaries of their work, i.e. the customers, so they can see the results of their work.
By André de Waal, PhD, MBA, MSc, is Academic Director of theHPO Center

The six competencies to inspire HR professionals for 2012

Modern HR must take on many roles to demonstrate competence and effectiveness, say DAVE ULRICH, JON YOUNGER, WAYNE BROCKBANK and MIKE ULRICH, who celebrate 25 years of research. Can HR turn base metal into gold? A first cut of the results... Additional interviews by DAVID WOODS
Any good HR professional wants to be better. This begins with a desire to improve, followed by a clear understanding of what it requires to improve.
As the number of global HR professionals climbs close to one million, so it becomes important for this relatively new profession to define what it means to be effective. HR effectiveness matters more than ever, because leaders of businesses and not-for-profit organisations increasingly recognise the importance of individual abilities (talent), organisation capabilities (culture) and leadership as key to their success. HR professionals should become insightful advisers and architects on these matters. In a constantly changing world, there has never been a greater need to identify what HR professionals must be, know, do and deliver to contribute more fully to their organisations.
Since 1987 - 25 years and still counting - we've chronicled what it means to be an effective HR professional. Our 2012 data set marks six waves of data collection that trace the evolution of the HR profession(see methodology).
This research is important because it defines what it means to be an effective HR professional: not just knowing the body of knowledge that defines the profession, but being able to apply that knowledge to business challenges.
In this round of research, we have identified six domains of competencies HR professionals must demonstrate to be personally effective and to have an impact on business performance. These competencies respond to a number of themes facing global business today:
  • outside/in: HR must turn outside business trends and stakeholder expectations into internal actions
  • business/people: HR should focus on both business results and human capital improvement
  • individual/organisational: HR should target both individual ability and organisation capabilities
  • event/sustainability: HR is not about an isolated activity (a training, communication, staffing, or compensation programme) but sustainable and integrated solutions
  • past/future: respect HR's heritage, but shape a future
  • administrative/strategic: HR must attend to both day-to-day administrative processes and long-term strategic practices.
Our research found that by upgrading their competencies in six domains, HR professionals can respond to these business themes and create sustainable value. These six HR competence domains come from assessment by HR professionals and line associates (more than 20,000 global respondents) of 139 specific competency-stated survey items.
Strategic positioner. High-performing HR professionals think and act from the outside/in. They are deeply knowledgeable about external business trends and able to translate them into internal decisions and actions. They understand the general business conditions (eg social, technological, economic, political, environmental and demographic trends) that affect their industry and geography. They target and serve key customers of their organisation by identifying customer segments, knowing customer expectations and aligning organisation actions to meet customer needs. They also co-create their organisations' strategic responses to business conditions and customer expectations by helping frame and make strategic and organisation choices.
Credible activist. Effective HR professionals are 'credible activists' because they build their personal trust through business acumen. Credibility comes when HR professionals do what they promise, build personal relationships of trust and can be relied on. It helps HR professionals have positive personal relationships. It means to communicate clear and consistent messages with integrity.
As an activist, HR professionals have a point of view, not only about HR activities, but about business demands. As activists, HR professionals learn how to influence others in a positive way through clear, consistent and high-impact communications. Some have called this 'HR with an attitude'. HR professionals who are credible but not activists are admired, but do not have much impact. Those who are activists but not credible may have good ideas, but not much attention will be given to them. To be credible activists, HR professionals need to be self-aware and committed to building their profession.
Capability builder. An effective HR professional melds individual abilities into an effective and strong organisation by helping to define and build its organisation capabilities. Organisation is not structure or process: it is a distinct set of capabilities. Capability represents what the organisation is good at and known for. HR professionals should be able to audit and invest in the creation of organisational capabilities. These capabilities outlast the behaviour or performance of any individual manager or system. Capabilities have been referred to as a company's culture, process, or identity.
HR professionals should facilitate capability audits to determine the identity of their organisations. Capabilities include: customer service, speed, quality, efficiency, innovation and collaboration. One such capability is to create an organisation where employees find meaning and purpose at work. HR professionals can help line managers create meaning, so that the capability of the organisation reflects the deeper values of the employees.
Change champion. As change champions, HR professionals make sure that isolated and independent organisational actions are integrated and sustained through disciplined change processes. HR professionals make an organisation's internal capacity for change match or lead the external pace of change. As change champions, HR professionals help change happen at institutional (changing patterns), initiative (making things happen) and individual (enabling personal change) levels. To make change happen at these three levels, HR professionals play two critical roles in the change process. First, they initiate change, which means they build a case for why change matters, overcome resistance to change, engage key stakeholders in the process of change and articulate the decisions to start change.
Second, they sustain change by institutionalising change through organisational resources, organisation structure, communication and continual learning. As change champions, HR professionals partner to create organisations that are agile, flexible, responsive and able to make transformation happen in ways that create sustainable value.
Human resource innovator and integrator. Effective HR professionals know the historical research on HR, so they can innovative and integrate HR practices into unified solutions to solve future business problems. They must know the latest insights on key HR practice areas related to human capital (talent sourcing, talent development), to performance accountability (appraisal, rewards), organisation design (teamwork, organisation development) and communication. They must also be able to turn these unique HR practice areas into integrated solutions, generally around an organisation's leadership brand. These innovative and integrated HR practices then result in a high impact on business results by ensuring that HR practices maintain their focus over the long run and do not become seduced by HR 'flavour of the month' or by another firm's 'best practices'.
Technology proponent. In recent years, technology has changed the ways in which HR people think and do their administrative and strategic work. At a basic level, HR professionals need to use technology more efficiently to deliver HR administrative systems such as benefits, payroll processing, healthcare costs and other administrative services. HR professionals also need to use technology to help people stay connected with each other. Technology plays an increasingly important role in improving communications, organising administrative work more efficiently and connecting inside employees to outside customers. An emerging technology trend is using technology as a relationship-building tool through social media. Leveraging social media enables the business to position itself for future growth. Those who understand technology will create improved organisational identity outside the company and improve social relationships inside the company. As technology exponents, HR professionals have to access, advocate, analyse and align technology for information, efficiency and relationships.
Because these six domains of HR competence respond to the external trends we identified, they have an impact on both the perception of the effectiveness of the HR professional and on business performance where the HR professional works (see Table 1 on p23).
This data shows that to be seen as personally effective, HR professionals need to be credible activists who build relationships of trust and have a strong business and HR point of view. They also have to have a mix of competencies in positioning the firm to its external environment (strategic positioner), doing organisation capability and culture audits (capability builder), making change happen (change champion), aligning and innovating HR practices (HR integrator) and understanding and using technology (technology proponent). These competencies explain 42.5% of the effectiveness of an HR professional.
We found that this same pattern of HR competencies holds true across regions of the world, across levels of HR careers, in different HR roles and in organisations of all sizes.
HR competencies also explain 8.4% of an organisation's success. But it is interesting that the competencies that predict personal effectiveness are slightly different to those that predict business success, with insights on technology, HR integration and capability building having more impact on business results. The key issue is for HR professionals and departments to work together and to mutually reinforce their efforts so they collectively achieve high performance.
These findings begin to capture what HR professionals need to know and do to be effective. Some implications of the data for HR professionals include:
  • Learn to do HR from the outside/in, understand social, technological, economic, political, environmental and demographic trends facing your industry and knowing specific expectations of customers, investors, regulators and communities - then building internal HR responses that align with these external requirements
  • Build a relationship of trust with your business leaders by knowing enough about business contexts and key stakeholders to fully engage in business discussions, by offering innovative, integrated HR solutions to business problems and by being able to audit and improve talent, culture and leadership. Earn trust by delivering what you promise
  • Understand the key organisational capabilities required for your organisation to achieve its strategic goals and meet the expectations of customers, investors and communities. Do an organisation audit that focuses on assessing key capabilities your company requires for success and their implications for staffing, training, compensation, communication and other HR practices
  • Make change happen at individual, initiative and institutional level. Help individuals learn and sustain new behaviours. Enable organisation change by applying a disciplined change process to each organisational initiative. Encourage institutional change by monitoring and adapting the culture to fit external conditions. Be able to turn isolated events into integrated and sustainable solutions.
  • Innovate and integrate your HR practices. Innovation means looking forward with fresh and creative ways to design and deliver HR practices. Integrate these practices around talent, leadership and culture within your organisation, so HR offers sustainable solutions to business problems. Evolve your organisation's HR investments to solve future problems.
  • Master technology, both to deliver the administrative work of HR and to connect people inside and outside to each other. Make social media a reality by using technology to share information and connect people both inside and outside your organisation.
We also found that an effective HR department has more impact on a business's performance (31%) than the skills of individual HR professionals (8%). HR professionals need to work together as a unified team to fully create business value..
We are optimistic about the present and future of the HR profession and we have empirical reasons for our optimism. We now have specific insights on what HR professionals need to know and do to become better and more effective at delivering value to employees, organisations, customers, investors and communities. We know the HR department should excel at helping businesses be successful.

Walk Toward Wisdom With Mentoring

If you aspire to be a great leader, you need to develop wisdom.

Wisdom is the application of accumulated knowledge and experience. Contrary to what you might think, wisdom has little to do with age. We have all known younger people described as wise beyond their years, and many of us know a few old fools. The truth is, wisdom is attained bit by bit throughout our lifetime, but it must be pursued.

The following practices will accelerate your walk toward wisdom:

1. Do a self evaluation:

Look in the mirror and be truthful to yourself. Think about what's really working - and not working - in your life and career. Consider your strengths: How can you leverage them? Reflect on your weaknesses: How can you minimize them? Are you adding value to your life, your organization and the world? Self evaluation isn't easy, but it is a necessary starting point to pursue wisdom. As Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living."

2. Get honest feedback:

No matter how insightful we try to be during self evaluation, we all have a limited view of ourselves. To gain proper perspective, we must ask others for feedback. This can be done formally or informally. My associate Rick Tate always used to say, "Feedback is the breakfast of champions." I love that! Ask friends and colleagues at every level for their honest feedback on how you have been doing. Encourage them to be frank. Ask them what you should start doing, what you should keep doing and what you should stop doing.

Keep in mind even the most straightforward people will divulge only about 90 percent of what they are thinking. Fortunately or unfortunately, I've always had several people in my life who care enough to tell me the whole truth by giving me that last 10 percent. It's important to have a handful of these truth tellers around to really keep yourself in check.

If you don't think there are many folks around you who will be completely honest, maybe you should think about how you react when you receive feedback. One of the differences between great and self-serving leaders is the way they respond to feedback. Self-serving people get defensive and will often blame the messenger. Those earnestly pursuing wisdom will simply say, "Thank you. That's really helpful. Is there anything else I should know?" or, "Tell me more."

Great leaders will encourage the other person to give that extra 10 percent of feedback. They want to be sure they get the full truth so they can learn from the experience.

3. Seek counsel from others:

Besides doing a thorough self evaluation and being open to honest feedback, seek out the counsel of those with more wisdom and experience than you. Remember: feedback is about the past and counsel is about the future. My friend Marshall Goldsmith has a great seminar exercise where he has people stand up, walk around the room and talk to each other about something they would like to accomplish that year. He has participants ask others, "Do you have any advice for me?" Everyone gets advice and counsel from 10 to 12 people.

No matter what level of leader you may be, you will benefit from working with a mentor - particularly someone who is further down the road than you are. Borrow that person's wisdom and experience. Ask profound, open-ended questions such as, "What decisions in your life have made the greatest contribution to your success?" "What books have had the greatest impact on you?" "What are the biggest lessons you've learned so far in your career?" Ask your mentors these kinds of questions and really listen to their answers. You'll be surprised what you'll learn.

4. Give it time:

Keep in mind that you won't become wise overnight. Walking toward wisdom is a lifelong journey. With every step you take, you're that much closer to leading in a way that will make a positive and profound impact on the world.

By Ken Blanchard - Chief Learning Officer of The Ken Blanchard Cos.