Articles by: Anthony Davis

The Manager Skills You Need To Succeed

Managers and supervisors are the backbone of any organization. The quality of the mangers strongly correlates to employee productivity and work ethic. Poor management can be detrimental in the workplace, creating problems such as high turnover rates and low employee satisfaction and engagement.

According to the 2017 Workforce Management Trends Report, talent management is a top priority for executives this year. With talent management being a top priority this year, it’s surprising that only 19% of respondents “strongly agreed” that their organizations had a supportive management system currently in place. Although there is no formula for quality supportive management, there are factors that can increase opportunities for success.

A few key factors in determining good management include:

Emotional Intelligence 
It’s a known fact that not all successful employees make for good managers. An individual performing well at one position will not necessarily perform as effectively when promoted. Managing and leading people calls for a different skill set than just accomplishing simple tactical duties. Emotional intelligence is a trait possessed by all successful managers. The ability to understand the emotions of employees and connect with them on multiple levels goes a long way. Managers should be chosen based on their overall efforts, personality, and skills, not simply seniority and experience.

Goal-Oriented and Good Decision Making Skills
Good managers are goal-oriented, which correlates to their effective decision-making ability. The strategic goals developed are incorporated into the decision-making process and help formulate their tactical, day-to-day duties. Managers must also be able to make urgent decisions with short notice without showing signs of hesitation or doubt. Successful managers have foresight and motivate their employees towards their individual and organizational goals.

Developed Communication Skills
Proper communication skills should be a top priority for all supervisors, not only between one another but with their subordinates as well. There are two aspects to communication: the ability to communicate and communication transparency. Managers should have the ability to clearly get their message across without confusion or ambiguity for the receiver. On the other hand, management should be as transparent as possible. Employees who are well-informed will normally be more engaged and have a better work ethic. 

Positive Attitude
Building an enjoyable office culture and arriving to work with a positive attitude is often overlooked when considering good manager skills. Now more than ever, an organization’s work environment is playing a major role in employee satisfaction. Managers who spread positivity within the workplace will see the same contribution from their employees. It is management’s job to set the atmosphere for the office, as employees look at managers for guidance and proper workplace etiquette. Small instances such as smiling, acknowledging good work, and allowing small talk and laughs in the office can go a long way.

Organizational steps towards success starts at the top and flows down to the front line. Management should be considering what measures are being taken to develop and produce successful managers and continually improve and expand upon them. As new generations continue to enter the workforce, it’s important that we have the right people in place to properly lead these young minds and continue the growth of the organization as a whole. Take your organization further this year with the manager skills you need to help your organization succeed.

This DATIS Blog was written by Anthony Davis, DATIS, on April 6th, 2017 and may not be re-posted without permission.

Engaging Millennials in The Workplace

In the modern workplace, there are a multitude of stigmas that stereotype millennials; self-absorbed, lazy, job hoppers, and the list goes on. However, these are exactly just that, stigmas. These assumptions are based on the fact that the new generation prefers to work in a different type of organizational culture than previous generations.

Based on the aforementioned assumptions, millennials are often looked down upon and are not entrusted with full responsibility. However, this new generation will inevitably become our future managers and C-Suite executives. Now is the time to be investing in these employees and preparing them for the future. Pushing millennials to their potential today can help them develop critical skills needed for the future.

Here are a few key strategies management can employ to engage millennials in the workforce:

Almost every employee in the workforce has experienced some form of micromanagement. The constant peering over employees’ shoulders as they work and managing their every move does not suit the millennial generation. Millennials thrive off of trial and error and prefer flexibility in the workforce. Enabling millennial employees to work in a manner that suits them best and allows for creative freedom on tasks can go a long way. To begin, start with small assignments as a way to monitor their competence and progress to larger initiatives when they are ready.

As Millennials craving for trust increases, so does their need for feedback and evaluation. It is often assumed that millennials are stubborn and dislike receiving other’s opinions, but this does not appear to be true. In fact, millennials want to be held accountable and be evaluated on their progress. They want to know when they’re doing something wrong and or how they can improve for the future. Millennials aspire for greater autonomy but want to be sure they are driving in the right direction. Congratulate millennials when they’re performing well but don’t hesitate to acknowledge their faults. Millennials value the recognition, both good or bad.

Innovation and Growth
Millennials are strongly committed to their career growth and are not afraid to change jobs or move states for a new opportunity. They tend to seek out organizations with a sense of innovation and growth potential. According to a recent Deloitte study, 78% of millennials are strongly influenced by how innovative a company is and how fast they can progress. If they feel stifled or stagnant within a position, they are more likely to move on. While organization’s can’t be expected to throw out managerial positions just to deter turnover, even something as simple as offering on-the-job training or management training classes can demonstrate an organization’s commitment to employee growth and development.

Company Culture
With more millennials joining the workforce every year, office cultures have begun to shift. Closed off cubicles and strict hierarchal-based environments are becoming more relaxed and laid back to fit new employee preferences. It was recently uncovered that roughly 79% of millennials found "team" or "culture" building activities significantly helpful for retaining talent. Millennials prefer collaborative work in a social atmosphere as many view their job as an extension of their social life and who they are. Management should consider opportunities to strengthen relationships between employees by implementing more open floor plans and, breaking down physical and figurative barriers.

The saying goes, “People leave managers, not jobs.” This is why it is so pertinent that management has a strong understanding of their employees and their preferences. As the modern workforce progresses, the mentality of “this is the way we have always done it” will no longer be an acceptable answer. Management must ultimately keep an open mind and communicate with employees to engage millennials in the workplace.

This DATIS Blog was written by Anthony Davis, DATIS, on May 15th, 2017 and may not be re-posted without permission.

Managing Summer Paid Time Off

As summer approaches, managers can expect an influx of paid time off requests. Kids are out of school, the weather is warming up, and vacations sound better than ever. In order to prepare for the overload of requests, consider the steps outlined below.

Policy Reminder
Many organizations already have a paid time off policy in place. It’s important to remind employees of the policy around this time of year. If your company sends out a quarterly newsletter, it would be a good idea to include a brief description or reminder to refer to the policy.

On the other hand, if there is no policy currently in place, it’s important to set up a system for busy vacation seasons. This ensures that employees understand how much time they can take off and managers can maintain sufficient staffing levels. Most policies are first come first serve or based on seniority. Make sure to determine the best fit for your team and make it known to everyone in the office.

Summer is a hectic time of year for employees with children. The kids are out of school and their days are often spent with babysitters, neighbors, family members, and summer camps. With that said, unexpected problems can arise, such as babysitters canceling, camps being closed due to weather conditions, emergency doctor’s appointments, and more.

Emergency time off can be hard to manage when workloads are high and deadlines need to be met. At times like this, it’s understandable that not all requests can be approved. However, if an employee can be spared for the day, approve their request. If not, carefully explain why the request could not be approved. In doing so, employees will have more respect for your decisions.

Monitoring Request
In the end, the most important aspect of managing employees’ PTO is to keep a record of their requests. Managers need visibility into leave balances, the order that requests come in, and all pending and approved requests. Tracking and monitoring this information can be time consuming, but with a robust Time and Attendance Management system, this can be an easy task for even the busiest manager.

Implementing an automated system with tools like electronic leave requests, work flow approvals, and full visibility into leave balances can improve organizational productivity. Managers will not only have the ability to view all leave request at once to be certain that there are no conflicting request, but a “Who is Going to Be Out” page to maintain a consistent record of pending and approved request. An automated time and attendance system would also increase employee self-service, by allowing them to make online request and to track their personal vacation balance.

Employees work hard all year long and deserve some time off to treat themselves and focus on their personal wellness. Time away from the office has proven to reduce work stress and ultimately boost employee morale and productivity. So with summer just around corner, don’t get overwhelmed with the piling list of paid time off requests. Take action now and prepare to effectively approve requests in order to maintain organizational productivity and efficiency.

This DATIS Blog was written by Anthony Davis, DATIS, on June 15th, 2017 and may not be re-posted without permission.

Solving the Employee Engagement Mystery

Now more than ever, organizations are realizing the importance of an effective employee engagement strategy. According to the 2017 State of Workforce Management Trends Report, 88% of respondents stated employee engagement was either “Extremely” or “Very Important.” However, just over 50% of executives admitted that they did not have a strategy for engagement, or that their strategy was outdated. Achieving the optimal level of employee engagement is no overnight task, but there are a few areas for organizations to consider while evaluating or implementing an effective strategy:

Structured Onboarding
Ensuring that employees stay engaged and motivated starts with the new hire onboarding process. A recent report from Glint stated that 40% of new hires who experienced poor onboarding were more likely to be disengaged within their first three months of employment. The sad truth at many organizations is that a typical onboarding is often manual, paper intensive, rushed, or uninformative.

Efficient onboarding should reduce manual paperwork by digitizing the process, provide a clear understanding of the organization’s mission and goals, and facilitate a simple introduction between the new hire and their coworkers. This will not only allow the new employee to smoothly transition into their new role, but also create a good first impression of the organization.

Regular Feedback
Employees who receive regular, informative feedback are more likely to be engaged at work. Creating an honest and open work environment results in better transparency throughout the organization and will help employees and managers become more aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

This information provides guidance for the employee to be recognized for their strengths and pushed to improve upon their weaknesses. Feedback can be provided as often as needed, whether that is weekly, monthly, quarterly and so forth, but keep in mind that the more consistent and informative the feedback is, the more it can directly improve their level of engagement. Additionally, when feedback and appraisals are kept on record, managers can use this information to assign future goals and tasks.

Employer Brand
One of the top priorities for many organizations recently is becoming an "employer of choice." When employees feel a sense of fulfillment and enjoyment while at work, their connection and sense of unity with their coworkers strengthens. Building upon this unity, organizations can retain employees who care just as much about achieving their personal goals as they do goals of the organization as a whole.

Getting to Know Your Employees
One of the easiest ways an employer can increase employee engagement is simply by getting to know their employees. A study performed by IBM found that 83% of employees feel more positive in the workplace when they feel trusted by their managers. If managers took time out of their daily routine to have a conversation with their employees, work related or not, they may learn more about their employees’ personal and professional aspirations. If an employee sees first-hand that their organization is making an investment in them, they will be more likely to engage at work and even invest more time and effort.

With 51% of the workforce reporting that they are not engaged and costing employers between $450-$550 billion annually, employee engagement strategies should be a top priority for organizations if they plan to remain productive and profitable. Organizations within the Health and Human Services industry typically have tight budgets and can’t afford the additional expense stemming from lack of employee motivation. Fortunately, implementing strategies like the ones mentioned above can help avoid these costs.

This DATIS Blog was written by Anthony Davis, DATIS, on July 21st, 2017 and may not be re-posted without permission.

Millennial Managers: Is Your Workforce Ready?

You’re probably thinking, “Here we go again with another millennial article,” but we are not here to discuss the negative and frequently criticized reputation of this demographic. The time has finally come for millennials to denounce their stereotype as they begin to shake up the status quo in the workplace and embrace their place as the next corporate leaders.

As first millennials have begun taking leadership positions, the amount of millennial managers will continue to increase at a rapid pace. As they edge out Generation X for these coveted promotions, it is expected that by 2024 millennials will hold two-thirds of workplace leadership roles, but are they prepared? Ask any millennial and they’ll give you a hard “yes,” but there are a few initiatives organizations should implement to ensure a smooth transition and set these new managers up for success.

Professional Development
In the year 2016 alone, US corporations spent just over $70 billion on workforce trainings. The issue may not be organizations failing to provide professional development, but instead with how it is provided. As we know, millennials are keen on open spaces and flexibility, so a rigid PowerPoint corporate training in a classroom may not suffice.

Millennials want the freedom to choose, and with today’s modern workforce, it is not unusual to offer that. Many organizations are beginning to allow employees to choose their opportunity, whether it be an online certificate, registering for a class at a local college, or attending networking events. Allowing employees to personalize and manage their own employee development can increase their engagement and motivation while benefiting the organization as a whole. Professional development is key in preparing millennials managers to become the leaders our organization’s need.

Regular Performance Reviews
In a recent report from Gallup, “Regular meetings more than double the likelihood of engagement,” yet many organizations still rely on annual appraisals. Millennials prefer relevant and timely feedback, which requires more consistent and personalized interactions with management, but there is no need to go into “meeting overload." Scheduling a 30-minute meeting is not necessary. Simply stopping in for a 10-minute conversation works, or grabbing a coffee together, will work just as well.

And yes, providing more frequent feedback is a topic discussed in countless millennial articles. However, the key here is not to only provide regular feedback but to teach millennial managers how to provide it in return. This type of communicative skill can be taught by encouraging employees to speak up during team meetings, promoting constructive criticism to co-workers, and other activities that allow millennials voice their opinions. Practice makes perfect, so when the time comes for millennial to take on a higher role, they should be capable and comfortable with providing reliable feedback and check-ins.

Overcoming Office Obstacles
Not many were hopeful when Millennials entered the workforce. We’ve all seen the lists of the negative stereotypes that characterize millennials as being lazy, self-entitled, and disloyal. This type of impression can impact millennial managers by making it difficult to gain respect, as many believe they lack the real world skills and business experience needed to make strategic decisions. A lack of respect for this demographic can cause older employees to become discouraged about reporting to someone younger than them.

If millennials managers expect to receive the respect they need to be an effective leader, it is essential for current leaders to assist in shaking these stereotypes before. It is important to stress that promotions are not based solely on seniority and experience anymore. Millennials are known to be tech savvy, accepting of change and new ideas, and goal-driven, all of which are beneficial in a leadership role and achieving organizational success. Corporate leaders not only need to address the millennial reputation in the workplace but also teach millennials how to interact and work well with the older generation, as the perspectives and values from multi-generational workforce can cultivate success.

Whether your workforce is ready or not, millennials will be the next group of corporate leaders. Maintaining a smooth transition between the generational leaders is more important now than ever before. Remembering to foster employee training through professional development, encouraging peer-to-peer and employee-to-manager feedback, and managing office perception can enable organizations to sustain success with millennials leading the way.

This DATIS Blog was written by Anthony Davis, DATIS, on August 17th, 2017 and may not be re-posted without permission.

The Importance of Culture for Nonprofits

Year after year, organizations in the Health and Human Services Industry continue to struggle with recruiting and retaining top talent. Earlier this year we released our 2017 State of Workforce Management report where 84.2% of respondents agreed that Recruiting and Retention would be “Extremely Important” or “Very Important” to their organization for the upcoming year.

In the past, strategies for improvement have included the common tactics of offering completive salaries and benefits, incentivizing with rewards and bonuses, and even offering training and development courses. An area that is often forgotten is the company culture. Having a defined and enjoyable workplace can do wonders for improving an organization’s recruiting and retention rate. This is not a change that can happen overnight but with the right leaders and strategy in place, creating a fulfilling work culture is possible. Below we will analyze the importance of culture for nonprofit organizations.

Leadership Defines Culture
It should not come as a surprise that organizational culture is cultivated from the top down. The way employees interact and engage at work is a depiction of how senior management leads their teams, as they are looked to for guidance on how to act in a professional setting. Executives must keep in mind the amount of control they have, considering they are the ultimate decision makers on the level of transparency and communication, the amount of social interaction in the office, as well as the overall work-life balance amongst the office.  It is vital that when leaders take on their role as executives, they understand the power they have over the established culture. Claiming this awesome responsibility will help executives to lead a productive organization and encourage new hires to meet the set company standards as well.

Culture Enforces Mission
Most employees working for nonprofit organizations are usually in the profession because they love what they do, not for how much they are going to be compensated. Executives should take this into consideration when establishing a company culture. It would be in their benefit to embed the organizations mission statement into the culture and practice what they preach. Employees who are connected by the same mission will have a united drive to achieve the end goal and feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment in their work. Mangers will also be able to instill more trust into their employees because they feel a sense of alignment with company-wide goals, values, and purpose. Ultimately, employees who are connected to their organization’s mission are said to be more productive and engaged at work.

Increase Employee Retention
The nonprofit industry has historically been plagued with a reputation of stressful and taxing work environments. Organizations are now realizing the need to go beyond increasing pay and rewards in order to recruit and retain top talent, which is where corporate culture comes into play. Regardless of position or pay level, employees may not look forward to work every day because of their specific job duties, but for the interactions with their coworkers and the atmosphere within the office.  Employees who come into an engaging workplace every day and enjoy their work experience are willing to overlook the cons and focus on the pros.

As the race to become an employer of choice becomes more competitive, a good place to start is to encourage a company culture that employees want to work for. Nonprofits can’t always offer the flashiest office spaces or the most expensive salaries but with the right leaders and a meaningful mission in place, you won’t need the aforementioned to recruit and retain top talent. Executives that take the necessary steps to instill an engaging company culture at their organization will be on the road to visible employee satisfaction and success.

This DATIS Blog was written by Anthony Davis, DATIS, on September 21st, 2017 and may not be re-posted without permission.

Workforce Management of the Future

The future of workforce management is constantly evolving. Just when you think you’ve implemented the most modern software, a new digital tool disrupts the industry. It is becoming harder and harder to predict the next big thing to change the way we work. With 2018 not too far away, many organizations have begun, or are beginning, to draft strategic marketing plans for the upcoming year. Here are a few things executives can take into consideration when planning their workforce management strategy for 2018 and more.

Who We Work With:

The second half of 2017 marked a big change for the generational makeup of the workforce. The recent graduation of generation Z from college marked the first time executive leaders would have to manage 5 generations within one environment. This generation’s entrance is also a sign of the door closing on the Silent Generation, about 3% of the global workforce. It is still too soon to determine Gen Z’s preferences, but we can expect them to have their own likes and dislikes, forcing leaders to change the way they approach workforce management.

Encouraging interdepartmental collaboration will open up opportunities for the multiple generations to work together. Inexperienced employees can learn a lot from the older generations experience. Employees consistently collaborating with one another begin to share similar values and work ethic, making it easier for managers to lead several generations. The next wave of leaders, millennials, should find success as they have worked alongside elder generations previously and are similar in age and mindset to Gen Z.

What We Work With:

According to analyst Josh Bersin, “HR tech trends and disruptions in 2018 will converge around productivity, design and intelligence in HR tech applications”. Organizations are always looking for new ways to increase workforce productivity while also saving time and resources; working smarter instead of harder. There are software options in the market designed to help improve workforce management, but when you solve one problem, another arises.

Once upon a time, a manager invented the annual performance appraisal to inform employees of their work performance. The appraisals were paper-based and hard to track over time, thus, the digital performance appraisal was created. Now in 2017, annual appraisals are considered to be “not enough”. Employers want to provide feedback to employees at a moment’s notice and track performance continually from project to project. 2018 will see an increase in the number of organizations implementing “Continuous Performance Management” software along with additional solutions to improve outdated talent management strategies.

How We Work:

Transformations in workforce management not only affect the technology that organizations use but also the day-to-day tasks and expectations of employees as well. New skills and best practices must be learned in order to to stay competitive and keep up with. 74% of the workforce believe that they must learn a new skill or refresh an old skill in order to remain employable for the future, based on a recent report from PWC. Employee mobility and performance appraisals are becoming less task-oriented and are starting to place a greater emphasis on skills and learning. Millennials joining the workforce sparked this change as they entered the workforce seeking innovation and growth potential rather than company loyalty.

Executives can expect learning management and team-oriented communication solutions to reach new heights in 2018. Encouraging your employee’s professional development keeps them engaged at work, introduces them to a new skill, and allows your organization to nurture its top talent instead of wasting countless dollars on recruiting. In the future, we can expect leadership to start noticing their “people” not simply their job or task.

With 2018 coming up fast, organizations can certainly fall behind the competition without a solid workforce management strategy in place. Leaders are realizing that in order to be successful, their strategies must be dynamic and flexible for the future rather than static. Who, What, and How we work are always changing, so we shouldn’t expect anything less for our methods of workforce management.

This DATIS Blog was written by Anthony Davis, DATIS, on October 19th, 2017 and may not be re-posted without permission.

Work-Life Balance: The Power of Employee Benefits

One of the biggest priorities in today’s workforce is maintaining a successful work-life balance. Employees are trading in their overtime and overworked 50-60 hour weeks by prioritizing their life outside of the office. Many organizations have noticed this shift and have altered their employee benefits packages as a recruiting tactic to attract new talent. Below are just a few new employee benefits to consider adding to your offerings.

Today’s employees are willing to accept a lower salary in return for increased flexibility within the workplace. Flexibility can include anything from unlimited PTO, allowing employees to periodically work from home, or even working outside the usual 9-5 shift. Some organizations, such as Salesforce, have even taken advantage of the millennials’ drive for social causes and incorporated it into their benefits package by offering paid volunteer time off. Understanding that your employees have a real life outside of work and providing them the chance to enjoy it will demonstrate your organizations value for their hard work.

Loan Repayment
2016 marked the entrance of Generation Z into the workforce, and the first time that generation will begin making student loan repayments. Recent college grads are said to have the highest amount of student loan debts than ever before, which explains why 46% of Generation Z are stressed and overwhelmed by their student loans. Fresh college grads in the job hunt are going to be more attracted to organizations who offer Student Loan Assistance in their benefits package. These types of employee benefits allow employees to maintain the level of work-life balance they strive for. Organizations should take into consideration that employees stressing over bills and money has a strong correlation to their workplace engagement and morale.

Paid Maternal and Paternal Leave
“How will I afford childcare after I return back to work?” is a common concern amongst expecting parents, both male and female. Employers are required to provide their employees with 12 weeks of unpaid leave according to FMLA, yet 1 in 4 mothers are back to work after just 10 days. When we consider the fact that “47% [of Americans] don’t have $400 in the bank for an emergency, much less $1,000…” it is understandable why so many mothers and fathers feel the need to return back to work so soon. Paid maternity and paternity leave is a hot HR topic right now and slowly growing in popularity. As more organizations improve their policies it will no longer provide organizations the competitive edge in their fringe benefits packages.

Employees are no longer company loyal. Just because they’ve worked at the organization for years doesn’t mean they feel inclined to stay regardless of other oppurtunities. If organizations want to recruit and retain their top talent they must offer competitive benefits packages and perks like flexible schedules, student loan assistance or paid maternity and paternity leave. Employees ultimately want employee benefits that make their life easier and enjoyable when they’re outside of the office.

This DATIS Blog was written by Anthony Davis, DATIS, on November 16th, 2017 and may not be re-posted without permission.