Corporate BuzzSunday, September 05, 2021
Let's talk talent
Have you hosted an online training session with your staff?
The remote training of employees is now more prevalent than ever as organisations worldwide have embraced this modality to keep learning and development consistent while functioning in post-pandemic work environments.
HR Tips for Remote Training
●Make attending the live training mandatory. Some employees may try to skip out on the live training sessions because they are being recorded and can be viewed at a later time. Everyone should attend the live sessions where they can voice questions or concerns and get relevant feedback in real time. Participants should keep their cameras on which will help ensure attention and engagement.
●Provide sufficient instructions for logging on to the online session. Not all employees have the same level of Internet savvy and so it is best to provide detailed login instructions for each online training session to make the process as easy and user friendly as possible for everyone.
●Test all systems before the actual training session begins to ensure that the Internet, all software and hardware are functioning correctly. Running tests beforehand will decrease the occurrence of issues and/or delays during your session.
CORPORATE SPOTLIGHT: Tamara Thompson, General Manager, Grace Foods & Services (GFS)
Under this week's corporate spotlight we feature Tamara Thompson, general manager of Grace Foods and Services. Thompson is also the director of the board of Grace & Staff Community Development Foundation.
Q. Who do you look up to for inspiration or mentorship?
A. There were two persons that, over the years, I would say have been my mentors. One was my first boss when I started at GraceKennedy as a management trainee, Michael Raglin. He truly embodied the role of being a leader who also cared, who empowered me, who showed me that there is nothing I cannot do with discipline, scheduling my time, and by being diligent. To this day he is still a father figure to me in the corporate world and even though he has retired, we are still in touch. I truly look up to him and admire him. He is a person who cares, not just about the results but about the person and how he can foster and empower their talents.
The other person who I look to for mentorship is Bishop Courtney McLean. I consider him to be my master coach and spiritual leader. I met him about three years ago when I did a mentorship session with him and out of that my spiritual walk changed. I was always a Christian but since meeting him I have made a full commitment to the Lord. He is my spiritual mentor but also a mentor in general, one which pushes me to come out of my comfort zone. My capacity has truly been enlarged because of my connection with him and he continues to push not just in the spiritual, but it is about the 360 — the family, the educational growth and development, your wellness and the spiritual growth and also business and work goals. I've learned quite a bit from him and the whole attitude of being diligent, writing your vision and making it plain and truly embodying who you say you are.
Q. How do you keep your team motivated despite conflicts and obstacles?
A. It's really about communication and effective communication. In the corporate world there are many tough decisions that have to be made. I strongly believe that when you communicate effectively, lead by example and have a level of transparency and trust with your team, it makes a huge difference. Integrity, trust and honesty all foster a level of oneness and persons will go with you on the journey because they trust you. The obstacles and the challenges will come but at the end of the day it is how you communicate and the frequency with which you communicate that really makes a difference. In every organisation people like to understand, what is in it for me? How is it going to impact my job, my life? Is it going to have a negative or positive impact? As a result, even if there is a negative impact, there's a lot of trust and buy in that you get because the leader communicates from a place of honesty and integrity and also from a place of empathy. Empathy is important; it is not just about what you are going to get done, but it's also about how you are going to make the best decision for all.
Q. What are the most important attributes of successful leaders today?
A.The most important attribute of a leader is to be a visionary. They should have the aspirations to take the team on a journey, sell said vision to their team. One who cares and is able to say “good job” and knows that it's not just about the ultimate goals being achieved, but being able to connect with their employees, knowing what makes them tick, what they're going through, what are the things that really can propel them to the next level. Leaders should lead from the heart. Leading from the heart doesn't necessarily mean they are soft. It means they are passionate about other people and they should want to know their vision. It's important as a leader for you to spend time to coach, teach and mentor individuals with whom you relate on a daily basis. Lead by example — CARE. Know that the well-being of the staff is important — care about ensuring that the staff are truly taken care of. A leader should also care about engagement — do they have the right tools? Do they have the right resources? Are they empowered enough? Financially are they okay? Ensuring all these things while pushing towards the ultimate goal of their organisation.
Q. What qualities are lacking among today's leaders?
A.Saying that you care and actually mean it. It also goes back to truly knowing your employees. It comes from the conversations had with them. Knowing how they are feeling. Is this the path they wish to be on? Are they on the right path and how can you help to get them on the right path? I think that with some leaders the care is lacking and some leaders are not spending enough time mentoring staff to help them to get to the next level. Leaders are not spending enough time on their workers. They lack what it takes to empower their staff. The focus is mainly on the dollars and cents rather than the people. The truth is, people are our greatest assets. Without the people we can do nothing. When leaders take the time to care about the people they lead, develop and uplift them, it will show in the end result.
Q. What is the most humbling experience for you?
A. In 2012 I was given the task of turning around a company that was at loss. I found myself spending hours a day trying to find solutions to turn the company around. I remember having to do a lot of soul searching. I recall reading a book Lead for God's Sake and it spoke about the will to win, passion for the job and love for people. And so we embarked on a full culture change throughout the entire organisation. In one of our meetings we had all team members speaking about the will to win, how they show the passion for the job and how they will treat their teammates. It was no longer just my vision — it was now the entire team's mission. It was about the love for TEAM. This lead to a greater cohesiveness, greater unity, transparency, greater passion and determination to win. The company started blossoming on so many levels. And this is because people bought into that cultural transformation. This was humbling for me because God showed up and was in the midst of it all.
HR THINK TANK
How Continuous Staff Development Can Leverage Your Business for Success
In these tumultuous times and with technology advancing in the 21st century faster than we can keep pace with, it is more important than ever to invest in continuous employee development which can be leveraged for greater competitive advantage for your business. Most large companies set aside a healthy budget for employee training because they realize the generous kickbacks that result from their team developing new skills that can enhance employee motivation and productivity and improve customer satisfaction. In this article we will look at some of the main advantages to be gained from the continuous training of employees in virtually any organization.
Stay On the Cutting Edge
One of the most evident benefits that can be leveraged from continuous training is that it will help your staff to stay abreast of new business trends. No matter which industry you may fall under, from food service to computer technology, keeping up with changes in your industry will prove to be an asset in the long run. Failure to train and educate employees about new developments concerning your products and/or services can have a significant negative impact on your bottom line.
Companies that prioritize continuous training understandably develop a reputation for being on the 'Cutting Edge' of their industry, they are always 'in the know'. Customers, and potential customers alike, are motivated to respond to this type of reputation in a positive manner - the end result being an increase in customer satisfaction and retention and, ultimately, higher revenues.
Attract & Keep Better Talent
Implementing a continuous training strategy in your organization says a lot about your company culture. High quality international companies such as Estee Lauder, Tom Tom Logistics and our local Digicel, have committed to staff development for decades in their organizations and reaped the rewards of the results. The most qualified talent will look for employment with companies who value their staff enough to train them continuously. The best employees are typically those who are willing to learn more and grow. Failing to provide on-going training opportunities may also result in existing employees leaving your company to seek employment where such training opportunities are provided. Computer programmers, for example, are known to prefer working for companies that use the latest programming technologies, even if the pay is less, than to stay with companies who use archaic technologies. Keep your employees well trained and knowledgeable, and you improve their self-confidence as well as their confidence in their employer - why would they ever want to leave?
Increased Job Satisfaction & Productivity
It is no secret that happy employees are good for business. A corporate culture that includes continuous training is able to keep their employees abreast of the newest, most efficient ways to do things required for the business to operate. This type of training makes employees feel valued and helps them to be better at their jobs. When employees feel valued they tend to produce better results in their work and when they are taught how to do things more efficiently, they will produce more in less time. Providing training in new skills has the added benefit of preparing employees to potentially take on additional responsibilities and give the business a pool of talent for succession planning.
When stacking up the benefits of continuous staff development against the bill, it may add to your company's budget, but the benefits far outweigh the payout for training. Not only do you demonstrate to competitors and customers alike that you are focused on advancement, but you create a continuous learning culture in your enterprise. You become known for being on the right side of business development.
The main point is that training is NOT an expense, it is an investment in your business that can bring your real ROI when correctly implemented. In our next article, we will address the strategies that will help ensure you reap those rewards.
The Benefits of Meeting and Training Remotely
The Global COVID pandemic made it necessary for many businesses around the world to embrace remote training and meeting as an ongoing part of their corporate culture. In the last year and a half more businesses than ever before have learned how these modalities can be of benefit. From boosting employee productivity to providing some sense of stability in periods of disruption, the benefits of online meeting and training are many and can deeply impact the bottom line of any business.
On-site physical training facilities can be a hefty expense for any business when all the associated fees like electricity, staffing and rental are calculated. Hosting meetings off-site at a physical location can also be very expensive with additional costs such as transportation and even meals if they are provided. Training online will be a more affordable option as many of the costs that are incurred for physical meetings will be non-existent or significantly less. Many companies have embraced the online meeting modality out of necessity and they quickly learn to appreciate the cost saving benefits as well.
Continuity of Learning and Development
In times of disruption, having the ability to meet with staff online for training or otherwise, ensures that Learning and Development will continue. Organizations that limit themselves to physical face to face training will most likely suffer setbacks in this department.
The COVID pandemic is a pristine example of this. When many people were forced to work from home, companies that quickly made the transition to online meetings and training, using applications like ZOOM, ensured that their employees were still able to learn new skills (such as how to survive and thrive in a global pandemic) and improve upon existing ones. Often the impact of maintaining the connection with staff in this way, accomplishes more than the acquisition of new competences, but also helps to support staff through difficult times and raise morale.
The majority of platforms used for online training allow for sessions to be easily recorded. This means that the information and materials covered can be made available to all participants after the event occurs. With this type of accessibility to training sessions, employees who were unable to attend the live event can easily catch up and those who attended can access the recordings and files as often as they wish to ensure that they fully grasp the concepts covered. Improved learning and knowledge retention is a natural side effect of this. Employees have the potential to learn and retain more of what they learn because the information is so easily accessible for on-going review.
Using online platforms for training sessions allows for bite-sized or micro learning. Instead of sitting through lengthy (and oftentimes boring) sessions, the information can be broken-down into smaller bite-sized chunks that are easier to 'digest' for most people. These smaller chunks of information will also make it easier for employees to retain the knowledge learned. Additionally, when programmes are designed in this way, it facilitates 'just-in-time' learning to meet very specific training needs. To be most effective, bite-sized modules should cover specific topics, be simple, clear and focused.
There are also some drawbacks to online training. In the next Corporate Buzz we will cover what these are and how you can minimize the effects.
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