How organizations approach training and certification has a direct effect on development and retention.
In the property restoration industry we all have heard multiple employers complain that they sent their employees off to a water damage certification class only to lose them in a short period of time to their competitors. These same persons in positions of leadership believe that the issue is 100% on the employee side. If we take a step back to dig beneath the surface are we able to determine whether the symptoms give us more insight on the potential cause(s)?
Organizational approach to training
How does your organization approach training within your team? Is training a priority in the sense that those responsible come prepared to meetings with relevant information? Often designated training time approaches with no preparation and is utilized by leadership to air out opinions on how the team is coming up short on execution. When a team has experienced water, fire and hazardous restoration employees, there are plenty of resources to facilitate sharing of knowledge from within.
Questions leaders should ask about training
Organizational approach to certification
How does your organization approach certification with your team? Is certification something that is earned and celebrated? Most organizations are one of two extremes - A) certify everyone from day one or B) certify as few persons as possible.
Certification extreme A often puts the cart before the horse and produces employees who have the book smarts without any field experience which creates some tension with their trainers. Being able to quote the IICRC S500 standard reference guide for professional water damage restoration is only one of many steps to being able to successfully perform mitigation.
Certification extreme B creates an environment without opportunity to expand knowledge or promotion within the team. While those in leadership would say they value industry certification, they either value it too much or do not practice what they preach. The end result is that only a few designated representatives become the information silos in the workplace.
Organizational application of certification
Whether you certify everyone or only a select few, what do you do with certification on your team? If your competitors are lining up to pay your employees who have become more valuable by completing benchmarks such as IICRC S500 or EPA RRP, why are you not competing for your own internally developed resources?
Common organizational responses to certification
Optimizing training and certification
Lead by example. As a person in a position of leadership, are you still actively learning new things about your industry? While the leader should not be the only one acquiring certification, they should lead by example that on going education and personal development are important. When was the last time you learned and/or shared something?
Invest in your greatest assets. Do you invest in regular training to develop your teams abilities and opportunities? Employee retention in the current economy is more difficult and costly than customer acquisition. Certification alone is not the cure all to employee development but it should be viewed as a valuable tool for the team as well as the team members.
Celebrate achievement. Who doesn’t like to celebrate? What does your team celebrate? Do you celebrate certification both leading up to and following completion of the course? Do you make an effort to notice and share the day-to-day wins of your team?
Don’t allow negativity to steer the organization
Perhaps many organizations are speaking their future into reality when they view their team members in a negative light. If you are fearful or suspicious of your people leaving the organization rather than blame them for being unreliable, make an effort to create an organization that they wouldn’t want to leave. Easier said than done, but clearly focusing on blaming others and complaining to your friends with similar negative views isn’t fixing the problem.
Why don’t business leaders, entrepreneurs and employees ask for help?
No one wants to appear weak
“I don’t need help.”
People in a position of leadership have to take a hard look at whether the culture they are building is conducive to facilitating team members feeling comfortable asking for help. Does the leadership team at the corporate office lead by example in asking for help? Do local managers ask their teams for help? When was the last time someone on the team asked for help?
If our organization's culture has the bravado where if you can’t hack it then don’t let the door hit you on the backside, we will not hear anyone asking for help. This environment is expressed in much more subtle ways as well, wherein the organization does not exemplify how to ask for help or create avenues for team members to reach out without repercussions (real or perceived).
Five questions that can help us build a culture that is conducive to collaboration:
No one wants to be overrun
“I need help, but…”
Perhaps people are asking for help but they are not getting a positive response. We have to be mindful as well as intentional to create a culture where asking for help does not lead to exclusion or imperialism. Being mindful and intentional with how we address a request for help starts something as simple as paying attention, management expert Tom Peters reminds us to ask the question, “Do I make eye contact 100 percent of the time?” Being positive and approachable, as mentioned above, could start with the act of putting our phones down, making eye contact and giving 100 percent of our attention to whomever we are interacting with.
Imperialism is the expansion of power through brute force or diplomacy. In the work place there are hostile takeovers of another’s position, the scenario where someone is asked for help or told that they need help and then they are steamrolled by the one providing assistance. “I was just trying to help,” the imperialist will say, and they may believe they have the best intentions but their process does not lead to independence for the workmate that they are “helping”.
Exclusion is much more subtle as is imperialism by diplomacy. On paper or to the outside world, exclusion may appear like assistance but it nets the same result as a takeover it is just done with a bit more savvy. When the person asking for help is subtly pushed out of their role or responsibility then the process of exclusion has begun. Many well-intentioned leaders are guilty of taking over the kitchen rather than teaching their employees how to bake bread.
Assistance should lead to independence rather than dependence or takeover. Many organizations create internal competitiveness which may build towards growth goals but if not managed with the correct environment could suffer greatly in lack of internal collaboration. Working together to make the whole team stronger allows us to compete and collaborate.
We should remember to listen before we speak and listen longer than we think we should. Listening unlocks doors and removes bricks in those walls that have created barriers to interaction. If employees perceive leadership and the culture as one that is not open to being helpful then they will not engage in seeking assistance.
No one ever taught us how to ask for help
“I don’t know who or how to ask for help.”
We cannot take it for granted that everyone knows how to ask for help or to whom they would go for help. This could be a significant gap both in the onboarding process as well as the ongoing development of the team – who can help you when you need it. There may be people asking for help they just may not be clear about communicating what their needs are. If people approach the boss but they are always busy or appear too busy, opportunities may be missed.
If people have reached out but they were shot down, ignored or even scorned, opportunities are definitely being missed. Raising our emotional intelligence (EQ) allows us to understand that perception is a tricky thing and it often overrules reality so it is important that those in a position of leadership are intentional about interacting with their teams in positive ways to open up channels of communication. In a training outline from McKinsey & Company on how to take charge without taking over, they recommend that new leaders or teams in a process of change should, “Keep all messages explicitly positive and defer all penalties until it is clear that positive behavior will not emerge without them.”
If you are trying to create a culture of collaboration - start with listening. Start listening with purpose with a little help from Lola.
If you are in need of some help and mentorship - own your mistakes and consult with a trusted source.
IZ Ventures - more than business coaching and consulting, we help you connect, collaborate and conquer.
Six keys to leveraging positive conflict applied to team building.
Whether you are a person in a position of leadership (PIAOPL) in an industry like property restoration, or any other business where people are involved, you are no stranger to conflict. The key in conflict is to embrace it and utilize it for something positive in the development of the culture of the organization.
Our article published with Restoration and Remediation Magazine (R&R) will help you identify 6 Keys to Positive Organizational Conflict. Whenever you are dealing with people there will always be issues. Even good people have disagreements. The issue with disagreements is not in having them but in how we conduct ourselves. Leadership requires constant effort to improve one's will, skill and chill to rise to the ever evolving demands of the marketplace.
There will be conflict. Will there be solutions? The key perspectives include distinguishing between constructive and destructive conflict. The questions those in a position of leadership must ask are, “Does the situation of resistance show someone who has made a mistake, someone who is processing the changes or someone who has decided to be an obstacle to progress?”
See other articles included in publications such as Facility Management (FM) World, The Daily Positive, Young, Fabulous and Self-Employed (YFS), Project Management Times, Insurance (Ins) Nerds, Facility Executive, Business Analyst Times and more.
Jon Isaacson is a freelance author helping organizations clarify their vision and get their message out, contact for inquiries.
IZ Ventures - more than business coaching and consulting, we help you connect, collaborate and conquer.
If an organization wants to be able to expect consistent results their managing must be consistent with their messaging.
In a recent research project reviewing organization psychology studies as they specifically applied to criminal justice, I was pleasantly surprised to find applications to my work experience. These multi discipline studies held many important observations relevant to any organization with regards to the impacts of supervisory interactions. Managerial input, supervisory qualities and team performance are key components impacting the health of the organization. What can we learn from these studies that helps our efforts as supervisors?
In a study published with the Journal of Organizational Behavior, the authors observe how managers can have a positive impact on employees working in what are considered dirty work industries. For those, like myself, working in water damage mitigation, carpet cleaning and property restoration, dirty work is an understatement. A key finding of the report was that the recruitment should be geared towards finding those employees that would be a good fit for the organization as much as they would be a fit for the duties they will be performing. Managers provide a critical communication of, “You can fit, you are fitting and you still fit,” as it related to motivating team members to engage in their responsibilities and develop a strong organization.
Incivility in the workplace, according to Harold and Holtz, is experienced both as behavioral as well as perceived. It is known that incivility in the workplace impacts employee-supervisor as well as employee-coworker interactions. The question posed by this study was how much of an impact that passive leadership has in mitigating the effects of incivility. From the research it has been determined that employees who work under a passive manager are more likely to experience incivility in the workplace and reciprocate by acting out in an uncivil manner towards others. Across both studies, only passive leadership yielded significant effects on experienced and behavioral incivility as well as intent and intensity of the incivility. The findings involving passive leadership are consistent with previous research that suggests negative social interactions are more harmful than the helpfulness of socially supportive interactions. It’s not enough to simply be nice or supportive, those in management and supervisory roles need to be active in creating an environment that reduces incivility.
A study published with Crime & Delinquency sought to answer where supervisor feedback and perceived organizational support had a relationship with organizational commitment. For those slow on the draw, this is another means to discuss cultural buy-in. Johnson identified that supervisor feedback, perceived organizational support, peer cohesion, organizational size, job variety, and job autonomy each had positive correlations with organizational commitment. Persons in a position of leadership (PIAPOL) understand that these things are important but often organizations don’t know how to implement them consistently. Previous studies had led to conclusions that officer demographics and job characteristics were related to attitudes leading to commitment, but this study has revealed that the overall environment has a much greater impact. These findings indicate that the culture or environment have a much broader collective impact than any specific feature.
Equality is an issue that affects our nation but it also affects our organizations. Results of a study published in Sage Journals share lessons being learned by law enforcement as a public service entity that are directly applicable to many industries. When officers act in an inequitable fashion it creates questions whether their organization is promoting, passively or actively, these attitudes. Turnover, buy in, compliance and job satisfaction can be improved with an emphasis on organizational procedural justice. The inner workings of justice impact the external workings of justice, “Justice received and given.” Officers who have good relationships with their supervisors will have a direct relationship with increased job satisfaction, organizational commitment and in turn affect their interaction with the public. Supervisory behavior has an impact on officer behavior on the streets, an indirect effect on officer compliance. Police departments, and by extension all organizations, that place an emphasis on procedural justice with training for supervisors will see a positive impact in the extension of that justice to employee and customer interactions.
Organizations that are able to create a positive environment have accomplished this by investing in recruiting people that embrace and enhance their values. The key to consistency in performance in these character areas is that the messaging is consistent with the managing. Organizations who set an example from top down, show by their actions that they are serious about their values and thereby reap the benefits of accountability to those values from the bottom up.
1. Ashforth, B.E., Kreiner, G.E., Clark, M.A., Fugate, M. (16 April 2017) Congruence work in stigmatized occupations: A managerial lens on employee fit with dirty work. Journal of Organizational Behavior. Retrieved from https://d2l.pdx.edu/d2l/le/content/677304/viewContent/3259165/View 2. Harold, C.M., Holtz, B.C. (24 March 2014) The effects of passive leadership on workplace incivility. Journal of Organizational Behavior. 36, 16-38. Retrieved from https://d2l.pdx.edu/d2l/le/content/677304/viewContent/3259156/View 3. Johnson, R.R. (2015) Police organizational commitment: The influence of supervisor feedback and support. Crime & Delinquency. Vol. 61 (9), 1155-1180. Retrieved from https://d2l.pdx.edu/d2l/le/content/677304/viewContent/3259159/View 4. Wu, Y., Sun, I.Y., Chang, C.K. & Hsu, K.K. (2017) Procedural justice received and given: Supervisory treatment, emotional states, and behavioral compliance among Taiwanese police officers. Sage Journals, Vol 44, Issue 7. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/doi/abs/10.1177/0093854817702407
IZ Ventures more than business coaching & consulting - we help you Connect, Collaborate & Conquer.
Another key area that managers have direct impact upon is the annual review, which is traditionally terrible and irrelevant, let our video on this topic help you optimize this tool for your team.
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