4 Questions That Will Tell You Where Your Team Stands

Earlier this year, our CEO David Ossip wrote an article for CEO Magazine about how Ceridian was able to improve engagement during a transformation that required a careful and tremendous focus on change management. 

David wrote:

Just as triggers of disengagement can damage culture, it’s possible to cultivate triggers of engagement. Take action to instill a sense of purpose; provide meaningful rewards and recognition; align management actions with company values. By building triggers of engagement into the fabric of your company, you can create a virtuous cycle that constantly reinforces the best in your culture. Being open and honest in communication with your employees will give you all the information you need to identify these opportunities.

As a manager of people here at Ceridian, the last part of this statement stood out for me: “Being open and honest in communication with your employees will give you all the information you need to identify these opportunities.”

Transparent communication

Open and honest communication is critical when dealing with people. At the people strategy level, there are a few avenues that companies can use to understand employees and determine how the organization can improve their experience and engage them in their careers. At Ceridian, we rely on our own HCM products, regular engagement surveys, pulse surveys/daily check-ins, online presence – social media and sites like Glassdoor – and employee town hall meetings. More importantly, we communicate findings and actions to the employees and show them how we track against them.

From instituting new policies to enhancing the work-life balance and ensuring that employees are recognized, we strive to be transparent and open.

While a lot can be driven at the highest levels of HR, in this case our Chief People Officer and her team, an important piece to remember is that people managers play an integral role in understanding where their team members stand. A company can have the best engagement strategy and the most progressive programs in place – from career development opportunities and recognition to an awesome mission and great community contributions – as a vehicle to drive engagement and improve the employee experience, but the people managers are the tires, the rubber that meets the road.

I am sure some of you reading this have worked for a ‘great’ employer as evidenced by awards and other recognition by third party entities, but have worked in challenging teams or had a difficult time with a manager, and vice-versa. Some of us have worked and stayed a long while for less-than-ideal companies because we love our boss and we really enjoy working with our colleagues.

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Managers drive engagement

Plenty of research has been done and many findings published about employee engagement, but when we try to boil it down, much of employee engagement is driven by bosses, people we work with, the work we do, and whether we are recognized. The sooner we, as people managers, recognize this, the easier it becomes to have open and honest conversations with our team members. I challenge my teammates when they wake up every morning to ask themselves these four questions:

  1. Am I happy with my manager and being on this team?
  2. Am I happy with the work I am doing?
  3. Am I proud of our company?
  4. Am I rewarded for my output and do I see a career path?

If the answer to ALL FOUR of these questions is not a YES, then we need to have a longer conversation. A NO to any of the above is a trigger of disengagement. The conversation that ensues from asking these questions help us understand if we as managers are providing our colleagues the best experience we can. As managers, there will be things we can work on with our team members right away, but sometimes, we will need to ask our HR partners for help. And again, that conversation with HR not only helps our own teams, but could also add insight to the greater people strategy.

When we have one-on-one meetings with our reports or during development conversations, which should be frequent, we should be asking these questions. And even as managers, we need to be honest and ask ourselves these questions.

We need to constantly work to ensure we identify the triggers of disengagement early before they become a problem. As a colleague used to say, “An engagement problem can quickly turn into a performance and a retention problem.”  Let’s have honest, open and meaningful conversations before it’s too late.

This article was originally published on the Ceridian blog.

Jayson Saba is Ceridian’s Vice President of Market Research & Industry Relations. He leads Ceridian’s market research, competitive intelligence and industry analyst relations. Prior to joining Ceridian, Jayson was the lead analyst covering core HR, Workforce Management and Outsourcing at the HCM practice of Boston-based Aberdeen Group. During his tenure, he wrote and published over 100 research papers and benchmark reports.


1 Comment on “4 Questions That Will Tell You Where Your Team Stands

  1. How to Choose the Right Time Tracker for Your Business

    Tracking billable work time is about as engrossing, as scheduling a root canal.

    Time tracking is a necessary job in order to document work and defend payment, but it’s also labour-consuming and, when done by hand, prone to errors.

    Whether you’re a freelancer, a small business owner or a global company, time tracking software can rationalize hour tracking, improve accuracy and take the hindrances out of managing billable work time.

    The benefits of the automatic time tracker are huge.

    An information from a cloud-based software can be included into your timesheet solution, increasing billing efficiency and minimizing the risk for human error associated with manual timesheeting. Time trackers can lower payroll processing costs, speedup billing and accounting, and automate voyage expenses.

    In one word, the right time tracker app can help you to understand exactly how profitable is your company, projects, as well as your business.

    But with so many different time tracker apps in the market, how do you choose which is right for your team? Keep these four simple requirements in mind:
    1. Ease-of-Use
    Beware of “demo deception.” The simplest interface does not always mean this time tracker is convenient to use or that it’s the best for your business’ needs. Every time tracker software will come with an initial learning curve.

    The larger your company is and the more teams and projects are there, the more initial effort you’ll need to invest in a company-wide launch. Compatibility with your company’s existing billing software, like QuickBooks or Oracle, is important.

    Every time tracking software will take some time to implement it across various departments. So don’t be bamboozled by the simplest first screen. Look for the time tracker that is representative and has all the functionality you call for.
    2. Versatility
    A good time tracker app will be elastic enough to meet your needs. For example, your designer may want to see which of the tasks appointed to his co-workers are “done”. Visual signals, like bars that turn to red from green, as well as deadline dates for various tasks that make up a total project can drastically speed up your employee.

    Most of people process visual information faster than text. Consider a timesheet that displays the progress of several tasks. This will allow you to track and control all company’s working time from a single desktop or mobile device, without the need to be skipping around.

    As a project manager, you can also edit timesheets daily or weekly depending on a project’s duration. There are other time trackers tools like CrocoTime that go with similar features, including seamless integration with billing and invoicing software.
    3. Full Customization
    When flexibility is important, full customization capabilities are arguably even more important. Your time tracker needs to work with the software, processes, and systems you already have in office. For example, if things need to be tweaked can these changes be made more conveniently from the app itself?

    When looking at customization options, it’s especially substantial to check out third-party integrations. Be sure your time tracker supports the apps your business already uses, like turngate and POS terminal, business calendars, IP telephony, SAP, Google Apps, Basecamp, etc.

    That way your new app will easily get into your current app ecosystem. If you choose the time tracker correctly, all of your apps will function seamlessly and simultaneously, exchanging the data without the need for double entry.

    4. Intuitive Design
    The best time tracker has both a visually catching interface and powerful backend functionality. We’ve talked about why powerful backend functionality (including the ability to fully customize the app for your actual business cases) is so important.

    But why is design so critically important?

    Design can significantly affect employees emotions. And our emotions, specifically whether or not your employees “like” the feel of your time tracker, will define whether or not they de facto use it.

    Smashing Magazine lately probed this deep connection in the article “Think Your App Is Beautiful? Not Without User Experience Design”. Esthetics doesn’t have to be incompatible with usability.
    Given the choice between a usable monstrous-looking product and a usable attractive app, why not the latter? In other words, great design is not really about good looks itself.

    It’s all about whether your employees find your time tracker clean to operate and would of course then use it for their daily work.

    Taking Your Time Tracker for a Test Drive

    Keep in mind that unless you’re a lonely freelancer, choosing a time tracker is as much about your own experience as your employees’ experience. When selecting the best solution, consider having a small group of your employees test out one or two time trackers for a week. How easy is the acceptance period? Were they able to navigate the app and integrate it into their workflow? Final question would be: has using the time tracker become a bigger hassle than tracking hours manually?


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