TIPS AND IDEAS These tips and ideas will provide you with some suggestions on how to ensure your employees are connected to and involved with their work and the organization. As you read through these engagement tips and ideas, keep in mind that developing a positive working relationship with your employee is a key element. It provides an opportunity to enhance each component of the employee experience and the quality work environment for both the employee and yourself as the supervisor. Consult with your supervisor and Human Resource office to determine which tips and ideas are most effective for your specific situation. Use orientation to provide employees with a foundational understanding of the organization and their roles. View orientation as an opportunity to position new employees for success and to provide a positive impression of the organization. Be prepared for the commencement of a new employee. Book time into your calendar on the first day and throughout the first couple of weeks to ensure that a thorough orientation is completed. Prepare for a new employee’s arrival by ensuring their work space is ready and all necessary access (computer and security) has been set up. Ensure the new employee is registered for a Corporate Orientation session. Follow up after the session to see if there was anything the employee wanted clarification on or wanted to know more about. If your ministry has one, ensure the new employee attends a ministry orientation. Familiarize yourself with what information is included in your ministry’s orientation and the Corporate Orientation. Reinforce this information during your area orientation rather than repeating it. For the area orientation, focus on processes, people and resources the employee needs to know specific to the work in their position. -2- Brainstorm with current employees all of the important things a new employee needs to know about the area. Keep the list in a central location and use it every time a new employee starts. You can use this orientation checklist as a starting point. Build your working relationship with your new employee. Set up an opportunity for the new employee to meet the rest of the group and get to know them. Set up mini meetings with key people the new employee will be working with, both in the organization or outside of the organization. This will give the new employee a chance to meet the people they will be working with face-to-face and understand those peoples’ roles. Avoid excessive use of acronyms or department specific language. If you are using acronyms, check that the new employee understands what they stand for. Arrange an informal mentorship for new employees, with another employee, shortly after they begin employment. This informal arrangement provides the new employee with a point person for questions and can help them to understand the processes and culture of the area. Provide an up-to-date job description and go through it with the employee. Start the performance management process by taking time to outline and discuss key deliverables, what is expected of the role and how it connects to the broader business plan, a new employee is able to develop a clear picture of their role and start contributing right from the start. If the new employee has relocated for the position, assist with the integration of the new employee and their family into the broader community by providing information about where they are working. The Welcome to Alberta Information for Immigrants publication is a valuable resource if you have a new employee who is also new to Canada. Don’t overlook existing employees who change positions within the same area. Orientate them by focusing on how their role has changed, what their new responsibilities are and what new resources they may need to become familiar with. -3- Provide an orientation to existing employees who move into supervisory positions or take on a supervisory role. Focus on identifying expectations of supervisors in the APS and the resources available to them as a supervisor. Use the performance management process to engage employees and create success. Encourage employees to take an active role in the performance management process. Get them thinking about their role with the Performance Management Quiz for Employees. Create a positive work environment. This allows employees to focus their energy on their job and achieve the goals set out in the performance agreement. It also creates the trust which facilitates giving and receiving feedback. Make the performance contract a living document. If things change, reassess priorities and goals and change them as necessary. Approach performance conversations as a joint benefit/two-way open conversation. Actively listen with an open mind and coach rather than judge. Use the APS values to guide your performance conversations. Be a champion for your employees. Believing your employees will be successful and sending them that message is a very strong piece of feedback. Address performance issues. Part of development is not just learning new skills but also knowing what existing skills need to be enhanced. Addressing performance problems in a constructive manner demonstrates your support for the employee in improving their performance. Provide clear expectations, regular feedback and a line of sight between individual work and organizational goals. View the performance management process as a tool for helping employees understand what is expected of them and how their work fits into the big picture. Employees who have a clear understanding of what is expected of them are more likely to successfully deliver on those expectations. Having written documentation of these expectations provides a reference point for employees throughout the year. -4- Use the performance management process to help draw the connection between the work the employee is doing and the broader direction of the ministry and the government. Explain how their work contributes to specific GOA goals and priorities. Share information on the goals and priorities of the department and area. Walk through the department operational plan and the business plan and help employees understand the linkages to their individual performance contract. Show the impact of the employee’s accomplishments at the departmental and organizational level. When going through the performance management process clearly communicate expectations about what needs to be accomplished as well as how it needs to be accomplished. Link performance to APS vision and values. Use plain language. Be straightforward, clear and upfront about your expectations for performance and your feedback. Check for understanding of expectations throughout the performance management process. For common activities create common performance standards that can be used by all employees. This can create consistency and a common level of excellence. Include the people affected by the performance standard in establishing what the standard will be. Provide specific and constructive feedback on a regular basis. Recognize that individuals differ in the amount of feedback they require. Be timely. Provide feedback as soon as possible after the situation that is being described. Solicit feedback rather than impose it. Ask the employee if you can give them feedback. If they say no, respect that this may not be a good time. Work together to determine a better time. Acknowledge positive accomplishments through recognition. Provide feedback that is focused on moving the employee ahead. -5- When providing feedback on areas of growth, work with the employee to develop a plan of action for improving the skill or competency that they are capable of implementing. Be straightforward, clear and upfront when providing feedback to employees. Provide specific examples when giving constructive feedback. Provide feedback that: o is descriptive rather than evaluative, o is specific rather than general, o focuses on the behavior rather than the person, o maintains the relationship. Do not provide feedback when you are frustrated, upset or angry. This seldom leads to the development of a constructive plan of action for addressing a performance problem. Provide timely and meaningful recognition for a job well done. Spend time identifying how your employees prefer to be recognized. Match the recognition to the person according to individual preferences. For example, some people enjoy public recognition while others prefer more subtle recognition. Understand generational and cultural differences that impact the amount and style of feedback people feel comfortable with. Being aware of diversity will help ensure you have an inclusive and respectful workplace where all employees feel valued for their contributions (GOA Learning Centre courses: AC0638 Diversity in the Workplace; AC0639 Generations in the Workplace). Use recognition to build a positive work environment by recognizing employees who demonstrate the vision and values of the APS. Use corporate and ministry recognition programs to recognize and profile the achievements of employees. Make an effort to see people doing something right and recognize them for it. Ensure that recognition is aligned with the APS vision and values. Directly link recognition to performance and goal achievement. -6- Always communicate why recognition is given to ensure clarity and repeat behaviour. Use a variety of methods to recognize employees' accomplishments. Involve your team in determining what recognition they value. Give ongoing words of praise according to accomplishment. Ensure employees have the skills, resources and supports to be successful. Assess workloads to ensure that employees have the time to perform well. This may include looking at process improvements, streamlining or reallocating workloads. Assess whether there are any barriers to performance. This may include things such as insufficient resources, inadequate decision making authority or a lack of required skills. Wherever possible, ensure that employees have the resources they need to be successful. Check in with people periodically to see if they need more support or if they are encountering any unforeseen barriers to performance. When there are changes to employee’s jobs or work environment identify if there is training required to assist them to adapt to these changes and be successful. Replace the “sink or swim” approach with strategies for success. Deliberately put supports in place to ensure that employees are successful in their development opportunities. Provide back-up for employees participating in learning and development. Assess workloads and if required, remove some duties while the employee is participating in learning and development.
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