HR Tip of the Week: Specialized Project Management Approaches
Alternative project management approaches have evolved from the needs and conditions of different industries. HR professionals should be aware of these approaches and the extent to which they are used in their organizations. There is overlap in these methods, but distinctive characteristics of each include the following:
•Lean Project Management focuses on eliminating waste by:
⁃Maintaining a tight focus on the intended value of the project.
⁃Empowering the team to make decisions.
⁃Analyzing and solving problems rather than working around them.
⁃Emphasizing continuous learning.
•Six Sigma project management derives from quality principles. “Six sigma” refers to a level of quality so high that very few errors occur. It emphasizes focusing on projects with a quantifiable return of value, encouraging team commitment to quality and involvement in problem solving, measuring results in a manner that allows empirical analysis, and fact-based decision making.
•Agile project management is used when the assumptions on which a project is based are unclear or may evolve as project work proceeds. The project focuses on iterations of the deliverables- completing one iteration and then using customer input to plan the next iteration.
•Critical chain project management is used when resources can’t be increased to meet deadlines. For example, an HR department may be able to allocate no more than 10 hours per week of staff time to do project work. Project activities are scheduled both to account for dependencies and to allow some room for variance for the estimated task requirement. Once the buffers are set, however, they are strictly enforced.
1. Show That You Care
When you care about your employees, they tend to work harder and aim to exceed your expectations. Employees want to be led by those who genuinely care about who they are and what they represent to the team and organization at-large. Don’t just view your employees as tools and resources for your own success – but as people and valuable assets who bring unique capabilities and aptitudes not necessarily limited to their job functions.
2. Engage Yourself
Beyond caring, engage yourself in matters important to your employees. When they share their opinions, ask questions and encourage them to elaborate and expand upon their perspectives. When you engage yourself more actively, hold yourself accountable and follow-up with your employees, they will know that you are listening, paying attention and attempting to understand what matters most to them.
3. Be Empathetic
The workplace is fueled with the stress and pressure of each day. Because every employee manages stress and pressure differently, it is important that you are empathetic to how these distractors impact employee performance.
Express your concern and show your employees that you feel their frustrations. If you are an old-school leader, don’t be afraid to express sentiment or feel that it will weaken your stature or authority as a leader.
Empathy is a powerful display of listening. I realize that many leaders avoid emotional interactions, but the best leaders know how to empathize and make themselves approachable to those who need attention.
Great leaders know how to balance the head and the heart.
4. Don’t Judge Others
Leaders that judge others are not listening. Too many times leaders make harsh criticisms about those with a different style or approach. Instead of judging someone, they could be learning from them (like my boss did early on in my career).
When leaders judge, they expose their immaturity and inability to embrace differences. These leaders may enjoy a long track record of success in one company, but often find it difficult to make the successful transition into a new company.
Leaders must not grow complacent. The 21st century leader must embrace new ideas and ideals. They must be more active listeners, constantly learning and adapting to change.
5. Be Expansively Mindful
Great leaders are extremely mindful of their surroundings. They know how to actively listen beyond the obvious via both verbal and non-verbal communication. They acknowledge others via body language, facial expressions and nods. These types of leaders possess a tremendous degree of executive presence and are tuned in to the dynamics that are taking place around them, at all times.
Leaders that are mindful are not just hearing conversations; they are listening to them and engaging in the dialogue. They don’t fake it, they are taking note of what is being said and how people are saying it and are making continuous eye-contact and gestures.
As the leader, everyone is watching your every move and action. If you appear disconnected, you are perceived as disinterested and not listening. Never stop being expansively mindful.
6. Don’t Interrupt
How many times has your leader rudely interrupted your train of thought? It’s fair to say this is a common occurrence. Compassionate leaders listen and don’t interrupt the flow of the dialogue. They embrace two-way communication and are aware that with every interruption comes disengagement. They earn respect from their peers by being a patient listener.
Stay focused on what your employees are saying. Stay in the moment and be respectful of others. Listen and become a more compassionate leader.
Employees respect those leaders that listen, because they know how difficult listening can be. Here are a few statistics that will really make you think about the importance of effective listening.
HR Tip of the Week: 5 Ways to Empower a Struggling Employee
•Get the Employee Perspective.
The first thing you need to do is ensure your employee understands something has gone wrong. Sometimes an issue that’s obvious from a managerial perspective is subtle – or even invisible – to employees. Schedule a conversation with your worker and ask for his or her perspective on recent performance. If your employee notices the same issues you do, great! If not, that lets you know you may need to project clearer expectations to your team.
Even when you’re talking about problems, you need to think about the situation in terms of strengths. According to CIO, this type of thinking allows you to have a more productive conversation – after all, you want to leverage your worker’s greatest abilities when solving the issue. Use your employee’s personal assessment of strengths alongside your performance management data to determine his or her best qualities. Then, evaluate how those can be used to improve the situation.
•Share the Big Picture
Sometimes employees don’t have a full understanding of exactly how their work impacts the company overall. If you suspect this is the case, try to give your workers some insight. One approach is a candid conversation where employees are encouraged to ask questions about anything they’re unsure of. Be sure to describe how their work empowers other departments and the company overall, so they have a vested interest in a job well done.
•Set Goals and Milestones
Use objectives and key results to build a game plan for improvement. Start by coming up with a wider goal that reflects both the expectations you have for the employee and how the work that results from those expectations will benefit the company. Next, figure out clear and concrete milestones the employee must reach along the way. This method empowers the struggling worker to move in the right direction going forward.
Finally, find a way to recognize when your employee improves. The recognition should match the scale of achievement – it could be anything from a quick shout out in a team conversation to discussing advancement opportunities. When you do this, you let the employee know you appreciate his or her hard work, and you illustrate the impact he or she has had on the company overall.
HR Tip of the Week: 4 Tips to Nail a Virtual Job Interview!
•Set up your space.
Yes, you can do your interview wearing formal clothes on top and PJs on bottom. But you still need to control how the illusion of you is coming across on a 9×16 screen. Virtually, there will be fewer opportunities to infuse the conversation with your uniqueness and emotions. You will need to use your space, and your environment, to create a strong and lasting impression.
•Prepare for the unexpected.
Unlike traditional face-to-face interviews, virtual interviews can be conducted from the comfort of your home. Despite the familiar setting, you may still encounter some unexpected situations.
It’s easier to pick up important cues from facial expressions, gestures, body language, or tone when you meet someone face-to-face. However, these are often lost or more difficult to pick up remotely.
•Don’t perform a monologue; spark conversations.
Zoom calls are more monotonous than their in-person alternatives. Your main challenge during the interview itself will be keeping the conversation lively.
HR Tip of the Week: 7 Tips to survive the busy season at work!
Everyone can relate to the month of the year when it seems like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. No coming up for air. No chance to take a breather for a minute. Here’s 7 tips to help survive this difficult time!
Use this opportunity to include others. It’s a relief for you and a development opportunity for them. And be sure to cut them some slack. They may not do it just like you, but at least progress is made, and some of them may surprise you.
•Change Your Perspective
Typically, we tend to get more and more stressed because we have our focus on our own situations. You can change your energy and stress by changing your perspective. Shift your day-to-day away from stress and direct it toward how you can help team members achieve what’s meaningful to them. The word passion is not about enthusiasm, it’s about what we do or sacrifice for another. Be passionate about helping your people succeed, and they will help your company succeed.
•Schedule A Break
Walk around the building, find a quiet spot to listen to calming music or do some deep breathing. Leave at 5 p.m. and hit the gym. Working without breaks and for long hours will make it difficult for you to focus and be as sharp. It will end up being counterproductive.
•Set Proper Expectations
When your busy season hits, it’s essential that expectations are set properly with your customers and employees. If production delays are likely, be sure you inform anyone who is expecting your products or services is aware of the new timetable. It may mean that something you can usually do in a few hours may take a few days to complete. Missed deadlines are often one of the most common ways to create customer dissatisfaction. But with proper communication, it’s also avoidable.
•Reserve Work Time
Reserve a minimum of one full day in the office to work on projects and catch up on items. During the busy time, try to minimize how many meetings you’re scheduling or attending each day. This way, you have more time to complete projects or assist your employees. Plan ahead and prioritize work with clients as much as possible to avoid last minute demands and rushed projects.
•It’s Not You, It’s Me…
Don’t be the person who adds more stress to the season. Don’t let anyone else’s temperament or negativity drag you down. Try to keep your thoughts and conversations positive and calm.
•Don’t Over Commit & Under Deliver
Don’t overfill your schedule. It is okay to move or remove items/objectives based upon urgency and timeline for completion.
HR Tip of the week: Summer attire in the workplace!
Summer dress code policies should encourage workers to wear comfortable clothing, which will boost morale, but should also include specific examples of what’s inappropriate to make sure employees don’t offend others or lose clients.
A summer dress code policy should strive to strike a balance between employee comfort, health and safety, and business needs. People use clothing as a means of personal expression or self-identity.. So, it is not enough to require that employees use good judgment or state that they may dress in business casual attire. Rather, any policy should clearly define key terms using gender-neutral language and specific examples.
Examples of appropriate summer attire:
T-shirts (solid color only).
Jeans (clean and not torn).
Examples of inappropriate attire:
Tank top shirts.
T-shirts with logos.
Cutoff or ripped shorts.
Flip-flops or open-toed sandals or shoes.
For more information, visit the website HERE for the full article on Summer attire in the workplace!