Benchmarking is a common practice and sensible exercise to establish baselines, define best practices, identify improvement opportunities and create a competitive environment within the organization. Integrating benchmarking into your organization will result in valuable data that encourages discussion and sparks new ideas and practices. At its best, it can be used as a tool to help companies evaluate and prioritize improvement opportunities.
Benchmarking can allow you to:
Gain an independent perspective about how well you perform compared to other companies
Drill down into performance gaps to identify areas for improvement
Develop a standardized set of processes and metrics
Enable a mindset and culture of continuous improvement
Set performance expectations
Monitor company performance and manage change
Sound complex? It doesn’t have to be.
Looking for ways to improve communication, focus and business accountability in your organization? Join us for a Leadership Seminar in Atlanta on October 4th with Shane Yount. More details can be found here.
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Rockline Industries recently announced that the Arkansas Department of Labor has recognized its Springdale, Ark. manufacturing facility with an award for exceptional safety, achieving eight million safe work hours without a lost time accident. This impressive milestone puts Rockline Industries in elite company as this has only been achieved 10 other times since Arkansas began recognizing workplace safety in 1976.
“I am very proud of the teamwork that all of our associates display each day when it comes to the safety of themselves and others. Excellence is often pursued but rarely captured, and our team’s unwavering dedication to a higher level of safety and commitment to do the right thing 24/7 has led to this remarkable achievement,” said Mark Fougerousse, EHS manager of Rockline Industries NW Arkansas.
“We’re incredibly proud of our associates. Working together, over an extended period of time, we have created and supported a culture that puts people and product safety before any other manufacturing metrics. We use a tool called PBL Scorecard to bring clarity to our employees of how key strategies, like Safety, are supported and accountable to very specific and achievable metric targets. Our associates’ ability to see and support this each and every day made this milestone possible,” said Joel Slank, general manager of the Rockline Industries Springdale location. Associates are constantly encouraged to look for and provide documented opportunities to improve their work areas and practices to make their work environment even safer.
About Rockline Industries
Rockline Industries was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. It is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of coffee filters and consumer, health care, industrial and institutional wet wipes. A family-owned company, Rockline has repeatedly created first-to-market product design solutions for the wet wipe consumer, and continues to provide innovative products to the nonwovens industry. Rockline employs approximately 2,200 people worldwide and has manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin, Arkansas, New Jersey, England and South China. For more information on Rockline Industries, visit www.RocklineInd.com.
17 of the Biggest Differences Between Managers and Leaders
The words “leader” and “manager” are often used interchangeably, but they mean two completely different things.
For instance, a manager tells their employees what to do, while a leader encourages them. A manager accepts the status quo, while a leader challenges it.
Resourceful Manager, a website that offers information, training, and tools to supervisors trying to solve management and business problems, put together the following infographic that outlines 17 of the biggest differences between managers and leaders:
Generation Z wants more than just a job, they seek a job with purpose, a sense of fulfillment that helps to move the world forward. As leader’s in organizations, how might we better convey organizational purpose to our employees and encourage them to explore and nurture meaning and fulfillment within their roles?
Start with a clear vision. Revisit the history and vision of your organization and department. Most organizations are not start-ups and their founding stories have been lost in mergers, acquisitions and growth. Recount why your organization exists and share it with your employees. Then emphasize why their individual roles are important and add value. In addition, encourage employees to develop a vision (purpose) statement for themselves. What do they see their purpose in life to be? Does this align with their career path and goals?
Utilize recognition techniques to convey the link between individual contributions and reaching departmental and company goals. Create an atmosphere of appreciation and positivity where one might find meaning in being part of a team; part of something larger than themselves.
Actively engage in one-on-one’s look for opportunities to help your employees align their overarching purpose with their role. Encourage them to also look for opportunities that might provide a sense of purpose while fostering an entrepreneurial mindset.
An entrepreneurial mindset is not synonymous with becoming an entrepreneur. Generation Z tends to gravitate toward an Entrepreneurial Mindset; a mindset that has been described by The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship as the skills and behaviors that include initiative and self-direction, risk-taking, flexibility and adaptability, creativity and innovation, and critical thinking and problem-solving. Others have described an Entrepreneurial Mindset as the ability to see opportunities, organize resources and create value. Many of these attributes fall into the category of what many leaders feel are missing today in their workforce and would welcome experienced employees who display these skills and behaviors. Therein lies the question around how to foster and encourage the use of these attributes in someone who is new to the industry. What are the boundaries for creativity? How much risk should someone new to the workforce take prior to consulting someone? And how can we help the entering workforce gain visibly and opportunity in putting their critical thinking and problem-solving skills to work?
Do you know someone who has an entrepreneurial mindset within your organization today? How might you coach, teach and mentor them to ensure that these attributes are appreciated and not stifled?
51% of workers are looking to leave their current jobs
Can you imagine that more than half the people at work don’t actually want to be there? That’s very scary, and it indicates that something is wrong with the system.
Not only is the cost of turnover extremely high (upwards of 20% of an employee’s salary), but having disengaged employees within the workplace is also quite costly, and not only on a financial level.
Yes, there is the cost of lost productivity and absenteeism, but think of the moral as well.
Disengaged employees lack enthusiasm, act as company detractors instead of ambassadors and can be a drain on other employee’s moods – a sort of domino effect of negativity.
Employee Engagement Is A Global Issue
Only 13% of employees are engaged worldwide
This number is just too low, and a big part of the reason for it is that people are not always put first. There is a human element lacking in the workforce, this understanding that people are at the center. Employees are the pulse of every business and as a means in themselves, not as a means to an end.
The best way for companies to improve this is by creating a culture of recognition. This does not mean “good work” at an annual review, it means weaving the notion of appreciation into the tapestry of the culture.
Employee Experience Dictates Customer Experience
Highly engaged businesses see a 10% increase in customer ratings
We don’t think enough about the connection between employees and customers, but the correlation between one’s happiness and the other’s is so high. You know that expression “made with love”.
It shows when jobs are done with passion, and it also shows when jobs are done with disdain.
When you have happy employees serving customers (whether or not they actually interact) customers statistically have a better experience. Companies need to know that investing in their employees is an investment in their customer loyalty as well.
Empathy Is At The Core Of Employee Engagement
80% of employees would work more hours to work for a more empathetic employer
There are all sorts of intelligent leaders out there, but those with emotional intelligence take the cake. There are 12 elements of emotional intelligence that all leaders need to focus on, divided into four categories. Empathy falls under the category of social awareness.
This means having compassion for others and their stressors (in and out of work) and acting on it.
This will help managers build relationships founded on trust and respect, which will inspire employees to work hard, innovate and be committed to your company, because they feel seen, heard and appreciated.
Engaged Employees Help Drive Sales
Highly engaged businesses see a 20% increase in sales
When employees are engaged, they have more pride in their work and therefore put in a more valiant effort. Of course, higher efforts result in a greater quality output. This helps increase sales. It’s common sense, but many companies still don’t see the correlation between happy employees and happy customers.
It’s a misconception that working more means working smarter. We think that working happy is the more important factor.
There Is Not Enough Recognition
60% of workers would like work praised more frequently
Praise doesn’t need to be massive every time, it just needs to be frequent and genuine. A simple thank you can go a really long way when you take a minute out of your day to sincerely express gratitude.
And just as the form of praise doesn’t need to be huge, nor does the reason for giving it. If you want to motivate your employees, recognize their feats – big, and small.
Growth and Continuous Learning Are Essential
59% of employees say they can “grow and develop” at their organization
When we surveyed our app users to find out what was the most important to them, we found that 41% of employees care most about having the opportunity to learn and grow within their organization.
Repeating the same task every day without the stimulation of new initiatives or the encouragement to be curious and take risks will serve to disengage your employees.
Managers Must Remove Fear
42% of employees feel that their leadership does not contribute to a positive company culture
Having a positive company culture means one that is free from fear. However, managers are often the main contributors to this fear that exists within the organization.
Whether or not it is intended, more often than not it is due to a lack of communication. Constant communication is key to developing a workplace founded on psychological safety, which contributes to an overall positive company culture.
Employees Want To Get To Know Their Manager
70% of employees would like to spend more time with their manager
There shouldn’t be such a divide between employees and managers, especially considering both are working towards the same ultimate goal. In the spirit of teamwork and friendship, managers and employees need to connect often and more importantly, on a human level, not only business.
Whether it be grabbing lunch as a team outside of the office or team building activities, employees want to spend time with their manager and get to know them as more than a “boss” but as a person. This helps remove fear, and also helps to cultivate a safe environment for employees to share ideas and feelings.
Employees Need To Connect With Their Peers
60% of employees eat alone at their desk, working This is a problem twofold. First, it means that your employees are overworked, and second, it means that your employees are not connecting.
34% of employees don’t think they have enough interaction with their colleagues, despite the fact that having a friend at work is one of the most important elements in keeping employees satisfied and engaged.
Managers should encourage employees to step away from their work and decompress. It’s entirely unproductive to overwork, and it will only make for unhappy, cranky team members
Eight Foundational Leadership Attributes of Engagement
The Engagement Attributes of (3) Understanding and Utilization of Continuous Improvement (CI) and (4) Accountability through Action
With an enhanced sense of business acumen, it is only natural for individuals, teams, and organizations to begin to focus their energy and efforts around Continuous Improvement. Waste elimination is all around us and it can show up in our processes, as well as how we manage our time.
While understanding how to utilize the right tool at the right time is an important component of engagement, our ability to follow-through upon improvement efforts by completing commitments, modeling and reinforcing new behaviors, and measuring impact is just as important for sustainable success.
Showing up and giving our best each and every day requires a level of energy, organization, and engagement that raises the bar for making and transitioning through change. As a leader, how deliberate are you at driving collective accountability? How would you rate your ability to follow-up on and owning your commitments?
Join us for our 4 part series as we unveil and unpack each of the 8 leadership attributes.
PART 1: The Intrapersonal and Independent Learners
Research described in the book, Generation Z Goes to College by Corey Seemiller portrays Generation Z as having a preference for intrapersonal and independent learning over group work, yet they like to do their work alongside others in a social manner when studying. Translate that from entering college to entering the workforce, and what does that mean for organizations in how they develop and deliver training, build and modify physical workspace, and collaborate across teams?
Develop and Deliver Training:Growing up in a time where computer technology has influenced individual on-line learning. Generation Z is no stranger to independent learning platforms that foster intrapersonal learning; learning that is described as introspective and independent where learners are aware of their own thinking and have the ability to analyze the way in which they think and feel. Translate this into the formal and informal training environment and organization’s will need to incorporate independent thinking activities and self-reflection activities into training curriculum while providing support and training for working and contributing in group settings.
Build and Modify Physical Workspace: In an effort to manage costs and increase collaboration, many organizations have already shifted to an open work space environment. Changes in the physical workspace range from no doors and shorter walls to much larger changes such as assigned work areas where you pick your seat based on availability when you arrive at work. While these changes are met with mixed feelings from the other 3 generations, to Generation Z, this type of office environment is a natural extension of the educational environment that they have been a part of all of their lives.
Collaboration Across Teams:Delivering timely and quality products and services to customers requires collaboration across teams. As on a sports team, work environments require cooperation and a group effort to achieve goals. Generation Z thrives in social settings that are ripe environments for spontaneous cross collaboration and creativity to generate ideas, while independently working on assigned actions. Through boundary management and expectation setting, both collaboration and independence can both occur.
We would love to hear from you. In what ways does your organization already support these preferences of Generation Z?
“There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we erect ourselves.” Ronald Reagan
When developing and maintaining a Continuous Improvement culture in organizations today, it is critical that leaders provide employees with a process for overcoming obstacles. Whether anticipated or unforeseen, barriers can easily derail employees’ efforts and cause a decline in performance outcomes. To keep performance improvements on track, leaders can follow a practical, five-step process.
Five Steps to Minimizing Performance Barriers:
Agree that a barrier exists.
Discuss alternatives to minimizing the barrier.
Agree on actions to be taken to implement an alternative course of action.
Follow up to confirm follow through on the actions taken.
Adjust operational processes to ensure the barrier remains minimized moving forward.
By helping employees face barriers head on, a leader will build trust and reinforce a Continuous Improvement culture. Over time, employees will become more adept at recognizing barriers, providing alternative opens and following through with corrective actions on their own.