There are no magic bullets to solve daily problems and the road to reform will be rough, however the solution could be easy when any organization (or even an individual) decide to take advantage of some best practices. “Supervisors form the backbone of a strong organization because supervisors are the front-line leaders who ensure that the strategy is being achieved on a daily basis. (United Services, Inc. , p. 7)”. Also, according to Hays, S. W. (2004), “a significant investment in front-line supervisory development is a key aspect of a successful program” (p. 271).
Because, “time and research has shown that poor supervision is a primary source of worker dissatisfaction, attrition, and failure of merit pay plans. ” (Hays, S. W, 2004, p. 272) Also, “a reform’s success depends on leadership” (Hays, S. W, 2004, p. 274). After realizing the importance of the supervisors’ role and how crucial could knowledge and training be for them, the aim of this manual is to provide our supervisors with the necessary knowledge that enables them to succeed in their job. In another word, this manual is considered to be a guide for supervisors to ease their responsibilities. II. Best Practices
This section of the manual presents some of the best practices that could help our supervisors in their different responsibilities such as: demonstrating communication skills, determining effective orientation and training methods, improving productivity for teams, conducting performance appraisals, resolving conflict, and improving employee relations. 1. Demonstrating Communication Skills Communication with employees will guarantee alignment with the organization’s overall strategy (mission- vision- goals). Supervisors could use internal communication to provide a supportive working environment with a clear set of expectations for all staff.
As a result employees will have a better understanding of the decisions made by the organizations, so supervisors could avoid miss expectations by developing and maintaining communication channels with employees. Figure (1) shows some channels to communicate strategic information 1. 1 Efficient Intranet “The intranet is one of the best and most valuable tools available for employee communication. A company intranet can help employees and HR save time by giving employees instant access to contact lists, company policies, announcements, training opportunities, and benefits information.
” (Business & Legal Reports, 2007a1, p. 1). However, “the company should take some steps to achieve this communication channel such as: update frequently, make it simple and easy, provide a search feature, track the usage, organize locally according to departments ad teams, provide a starting page for each department, include files, documents, policies, and procedures, list phone extensions and contact lists, allow for feedback forms, use a content management. ” (Business & Legal Reports, 2007a1, p. 1-2) 1. 2 Open Book Management Style or Dissemination of strategic information Rubin, L. and Merripen, C.
(2003) presented this practice which includes sharing information with employees for better understanding of management decisions. Employees became better informed about the business and feel more inclusive and entrepreneurial about their contribution and impact. Then employees moved their focus from just their job to looking at the company as a whole. ” (p. 4) Collins, R. and Druten, K. V. (2003) “found a strong link between organizational performance over the past three years and the emphasis placed on communicating information to all members about the organization’s purpose, aspirations, strategy and performance.
” Figure (1) shows some communication channels that managers and supervisors could use to communicate strategic information with employees. Figure (1): Channels to communicate strategic information Source: Collins, R. and Druten, K. V. (2003). Human Resources Management Practices 2. Determining Effective Orientation and Training Methods 2. 1 Best practices for effective orientation New employees orientation is important to facilitate the integration of new employees in the organization with understanding the organization’s culture, mission, vision and values.
Orsini, B. (2000) presented some best practices for new employees orientation such as: “sessions for new employees to introduce them to the organization and provide them with an overview of the organizational mandate and structure, mentoring new employees by a staff member, profile of employee new to group by within a local newsletter or e-mail, and office tours as an opportunity to meet staff face-to-face and get a sense of what they do”. 2. 2 Best practices for effective training methods Training nowadays is not a luxury anymore.
Due to the competitive marketplace and the complexity of jobs, training became a necessity for surviving and competing for both organizations and employees. Recently. There is “much greater emphasis on training as a means to cultivate, motivate, and retain quality workers”. (Hays, S. W. , 2004, p. 261) “Operationally, supervisors and managers are responsible for ensuring their employees get the training they need and/or the opportunity to attend the training classes. ” (Bjomberg, L. , 2002) 2. 2. 1 Learning for life Program
To show how could such practice help the organization, it’s useful to mention a real case study. For example, “Honeywell Limited’s Scarborough factory developed a learning for life program to improve productivity and quality and reduce costs in an effort to remain competitive in the global economy. Eighty percent of the factory participated in this program and Honeywell has increased its factory throughput by 180% and improved the quality of its products by 92%”. (The Conference Board of Canada, 1998, p. 5)
This innovative program “developed more productive employees, increased productivity, improved quality, effective collaborative decision-making, improved communication skills. ” (The Conference Board of Canada, 1998, p. 5) 2. 2. 2 Other best practices The Conference Board of Canada (1998) presented many other best practices in training or workplace literacy such as: ? Empowering adult learners ? Excellence in workplace literacy ? Skills for a stable workplace ? Literacy through e-learning ? Establishing a baseline for training
? Peer tutoring: employee helping employees Such practices has resulted in increased productivity, reduced staff turnover, enhanced performance, improved quality, effective collaborative decision-making, improved communication skills, in another word, it helped in creating a positive environment for both the employer and employees because benefits was achieved for both of them. 3. Improving Productivity for Teams Improving productivity for teams and for employees in general is the ultimate goal for all organizations to maximize the overall performance.
And because we are talking about humans or employees, improving productivity should include creating a convenient environment that could help them to work productively. 3. 1 Work life balance (developing a family-friendly work environment) “Don’t be fired by your family” Best practice has shown that “both employees and employers can benefit when staff are able to adapt flexible work practices thereby enabling them to better manage their work and family responsibilities” (UQ, 2007, p. 1). In the end result this could increase employees productivity.
“Supervisors have an important role in developing and maintaining a family-friendly work environment” (UQ, 2007, p. 1). “A supervisor could help creating this environment by flexibly organizing work arrangements and workloads taking into consideration certain factors such as night lecturing, summer schools, acting as a role model demonstrating understanding and acceptance of work family balance, and take a positive approach to negotiating flexible arrangements” (UQ, 2007, p. 1-2). 3. 2 Teleworking is good for business and employees Teleworking is another practice resulted in improving productivity.
According to Business & Legal Reports (2006), ”teleworking has some benefits such as: relocation cost savings, increased productivity by reducing employees absentee, reduced costs for office space, and employee satisfaction” (p. 7). So, when supervisors consider benefiting from telework, they won’t only provide an improved work-life balance for the employee, but also they will get improved business performance for the employer. 3. 3 Other best practices 3. 3. 1 Concern for employee community (Employee Care Program and Employee Relations Program)
This practice proved that it could reduce employees’ turnover. This kind of program “monitors how people are doing in their jobs and in their lives, offers rewards, gifts, annual picnic and holiday, flexible scheduling and telecommuting, and medical coverage. ” 3. 3. 2 Encourage employees to take their vacations This practice is important to enable employees to relax enough to avoid stress, anxiety, emotional problems, job burnout in order to let employees perform at their optimum level. 3. 3. 3 Consumer-driven health care Textron, Inc is an example company that adopted this practice.
The company “consolidated employee healthcare options and shifted to consumer-driven healthcare. This resulted in increased productivity, a significant decline in healthcare costs, and decrease in the casual absentee rates and the incidence of disability leave. ” (Business & Legal Reports, 2007b, p. 3) 4. Conducting Performance appraisals “Monitoring staff performance is a key for any supervisor. It should be part of on-going discussions with staff and volunteers about their work and the results obtained. ” (Mathew, M. , 2007) According to Hays, S. W.
(2004), “an immense amount of energy has recently been devoted to upgrading the quality of performance appraisals by tying them to organizational missions and goals. ” (p. 262) 4. 1 Best practices for evaluation? According to Hays, S. W. (2004), best practices concerning evaluation showed that “HR experts agree that evaluations ought to (a) be based on objective and observable criteria, (b) involve mutual goal setting, (c) avoid the tendency to assess irrelevant worker traits, and (d) be tailored to each individual job and worker (rather than using one form for every employee).
” 4. 2 360-Degree performance management feedback system According to Business & Legal Reports (2006), “this system, which solicits feedback from boss, peers and direct reports if there are any, has been increasingly embraced as the best of all available methods for collecting performance feedback. ” (p. 4) “The 360 process allows for multiple points of view to be given on any given individual. It neutralizes what might otherwise be one rater’s bias (either positive or negative) and helps to paint a more comprehensive picture of that individual’s performance. ” (p. 4) 4.
3 Other best practices Hays, S. W. (2004) also mentioned other best practices in conducting performance appraisals such as: “Employee Performance Management System (EPMS), 360-degree evaluation, Team-based evaluations, and Gainsharing. ” (p. 262) 5 Resolving Conflict According to Vogel, A. (2007), “unproductive workplace conflict arises when appropriate communication breaks down. The result is wasted work time; a drop in motivation, productivity and quality of service; employee attrition; loss of authority; a stressful work environment; and even direct damage to the company.
” 5. 1 The best approach to avoid “The best approach to workplace conflict is to avoid unproductive quarreling altogether. And suggested four strategies –mentioned by Daniel Dana- for eliminating strife: (1) address conflict early, (2) avoid a one-sided solution, (3) take risks such as apologizing, (4) respect others’ peace-making gestures. ” (Vogel, A. , 2007) 5. 2 Guidelines for managing the situation
Vogel, A, (2007) mentioned some guidelines to help managing scuffles before they escalate into real crisis such as: mediating conflict between two employees, decide to mediate, hold preliminary meetings, conduct a three-way meeting, work out a deal, self-mediation, step outside your office, listen first, and finally manage diverging viewpoints. ” 6 Improving Employee Relations 6. 1 Create a newsletter One practice to improve employee relations is to create a newsletter that works for employee communications either a printed one or an electronic one (by e-mail or on the website).
6. 2 Build a forum on your website or intranet This forum will provide an informal communication channel for employees to share their ideas, events or even their problems 6. 3 Create shared events Being a supervisor you could make some events shared even if you turn the routine group tasks into fun shared events. For example CMP Technology made the spring-cleaning records become an event. “Employees worked together in teams and competed to win a dinner for the team and discarded 12 tons of unnecessary paper in the process.
” (Business & Legal Reports, 2007a2) III. Conclusion The main conclusion is that best practices can -for sure- help supervisors and enhance the way they deal with their responsibilities with employees by adopting approaches, techniques, and policies to create a positive, creative, and supportive work environment. Another conclusion is that information technology has an important role in providing effective HR practices. Finally, supervisors should be a model themselves for their employees in order to make a real change. References Bjomberg, L. (2002).
Training and development: Best practices. Public Personnel Management. Winter 2002. International Public Management Association for Human Resources Survey. Retrieved April 16, 2008 from http://www. entrepreneur. com/tradejournals/article/160542388_1. html Business & Legal Reports, Inc. (2006). Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2008. United States of America: Business & Legal Reports, Inc. Business & Legal Reports (2007a1). 10 Tips for HR to Boost Intranet Efficiency. Best Practices in HR. (838), pp. 1-2 Business & Legal Reports (2007a2).
‘Bin There, Dump That’-Spring Cleaning Recors Becomes Event at CMP Technology. Best Practices in HR. (838), pp. 3 Business & Legal Reports (2007b). Case study: Move to consumer-driven healthcare decreases costs, improves employee health. Best Practices in Compensation & Benefits. (734), pp. 3 Collins, R. & Druten, K. V. (2003). Survey of Australian and New Zealand Human Resource Practices, CCH and AGSM. Retrieved April 16, 2008 from http://www2. agsm. edu. au/agsm/web. nsf/AttachmentsByTitle/CCHREPORT2003/$FILE/CCH+Final+2003. pdf
Hays, S. W. (2004). Trends and Best Practices in State and Local Human Resource Management: Lessons to be learned? Review of Public Administration, 24(3), pp. 256-275, SAGE Publications. Retrieved April 16, 2008 from http://rop. sagepub. com/cgi/content/abstract/24/3/256 Mathew, M. (2007). Best Practices Module: Human resources management. British Columbia Museum Association. Retrieved April 16, 2008 from http://www. museumsassn. bc. ca/Images/Best%20Practices%20Modules%202/Human%20Resource%20Management%20FINAL. pdf Orsini, B. (2000).
Improving Internal Communications. Internal Auditor. December 2000. Retrieved April 16, 2008 from http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m4153/is_6_57/ai_69759744/pg_1 Rubin, L. & Merripen, C. (2003). IGDA Business Committee: Best practices in Human Resources. IGDA. Retrieved April 16, 2008 from http://www. igda. org/hr/IGDA_Best_Practices_HR. pdf The Conference Board of Canada (1998). Workplace Literacy Best Practices Reader. The Conference Board of Canada . Retrieved April 16, 2008 from http://www. conferenceboard. ca/education/pdf/Awards/litread.
pdf United Services, Inc.. Best Practices for Supervisor Training. Retrieved April 16, 2008 from http://www. mhrrg. com/images/UnitedServices02. PDF UQ: University of Queensland (2007). Balancing Work and Family/Life Responsibilities: Guidelines for supervisors. April 2007. Retrieved April 16, 2008 from http://www. uq. edu. au/equity/docs/bwfl_super_guide. pdf Vogel, A, (2007). Resolving Workplace Conflict. Body-Mind-Spirit Review. June 2007 Retrieved April 16, 2008 from http://www. inneridea. com/library/balanced-business-resolving-workplace-conflict