10 Tips for Succession Planning

 Succession planning is essential to the long term success of any organization.  Here’s 10 of our favourite things to keep in mind when designing your process to identify, develop and select the next leaders in your organization:

1. Keep the process simple, transparent and flexible.

2. Ensure program goals align with long term strategy of organization including any consideration of new senior roles to be created

3. Involvement and support of management essential to process! in fact co-ownership of process and results by HR and line is ideal

4. Add an evaluation of each candidate’s level of engagement as well as his or her developmental readiness.

5. Look at all components of performance and potential:

  • Knowing – technical job knowledge
  • Being – how does candidate act/what kind of style 
  • Doing – activities they perform (tasks, team leadership, coaching)

6. Weigh potential more than performance; although both are important

7. Be sure to create sufficient bench strength to account for retirements, departures and to allow for a true assessment of how candidates grow when challenged with direct feedback.

8. Work to have the identification of high potential leaders for all key roles (some will be listed multiple times), include expected readiness and what support/development is being given to close gaps.

9. Create a peer mentoring program whereby people are matched based on their strength and someone else’s area of development 

10. Remember that just like in pro sports, some get drafted early, some play longer in the minors, some get called up and then sent back to the minors – last season doesn’t matter but this one does!

8 Leadership Rules from a Dog

Leadership From a Dog’s Perspective

To enable the team at HR Blueprints to enjoy a long weekend this Family Day Diesel, the office Great Dane, offered to be the guest blogger and share his leadership advice with the pack. Here are his top 8 rules:

 (Editor’s note – we recommend Diesel’s rules be read allegorically not literally for humans.)

1. Wag your tail. Show others you love life and that you are happy to see them. Others will like being around you too and be more likely to follow you.

2. Sniff before you judge. Just because you think you know the other perspective and viewpoint doesn’t mean you do. Take time to sniff out where others are coming from.

3. Play. Every good pack leader knows the importance of being able to play with the team as well as lead it. A pack needs to have fun to be cohesive. Go chase a ball with the pack!

4. Become an expert at body language. Know how to use and read body language to convey and understand emotion. Leaders need to demonstrate both high IQ and EQ.

5. Accept hierarchy. The only way to grow in a pack is to learn to keep the Alphas content. Unnecessarily challenging of authority will get you kicked out of the pack. Instead work with the Alphas to create lasting change for the pack.

6. Curl your lip and show your teeth as a warning before you bite. Sometimes leaders have to fight to protect the pack. Before you take aggressive action make sure you have first given fair warning and provided a chance for the other side to retreat.

7. Move on after a scuffle. Everyone has a bad day. If someone snaps, it’s ok to tell them you don’t appreciate their behaviour but don’t hold a grudge. Leaders forgive and give trust to get trust.

8. Take a walk outside every day. We all need to smell the flowers, feel the sunshine and run on the grass daily. Take a walk to clear your head and think about all of the great things in your life. Best of all, be sure to always take a friend on your walk!

Happy Family Day!!

Strong Leadership DEFEATS All

dscn0760Overcome any obstacle or challenge by growing your leadership skills on a daily basis. Here’s a quick refresher on how to increase your impact at the office, at home and in the community because strong leadership DFEATS all.

Dedication – you can’t ask others to commit if you haven’t done so yourself

Exemplify – walk the talk; demonstrate the behaviours and standards you expect of others

Focus – remember what it is you are trying to achieve and use this goal to prioritize tasks and as the basis for decisions

Emotion – leaders are human; showing your emotions reminds others we all have good days and bad days

Achievements – recognize and celebrate every success, it is the many small wins that lead to victory

Togetherness – value those around you for which each brings to the group and encourage others to do the same

Selflessness – leadership is not about privilege; great leaders put the needs and best interests of their team ahead of their own

We’d love to hear about your leadership success!  Please post a comment to share your story.

10 Tips for Engaging your Staff Without a Cash Investment

The economy can understandably make companies focus more on cash flow than people.  We believe that the two concepts should not be distinct.  Mishandling employee engagement in times of financial restraint can actually cost a company more money through attrition, lost productivity and presenteeism.  Instead organizations need to be creative on how they focus on employee engagement when discretionary spending is not available.

Here are our top 10 ways to engage your staff without a cash investment.

  1. Be transparent with employees.  Talk about your financial restrictions.  Be sure to highlight why these steps have been taken and what the company to limit the impact of a bear economy.  Ask for ideas on how to cut costs.   Employees will appreciate your honesty as they will have heard rumblings of financial concerns and it is human nature to assume things are even worse when no one informs you of the details.  Plus you’ll be amazed by the ideas employees have to share when asked!
  2. Honour existing promises related to compensation and reimbursement.  If changes to these programs need to be made do them on a future forward basis.  Make sure your word remains trusted.
  3. Create a formal mentoring program to replace some or all of your professional development budget.  Match mentors and protégés based on learning interest not level of employment.  We can all learn from one another!
  4. Encourage employees to subscribe to free online libraries and blogs.  Also encourage employees who have access to an information resource through a previously paid professional membership to utilize those and share with their peers.
  5. Start a leadership book club.  Source biographies and leadership texts and audiobooks from your local library.  Ask readers to identify the one thing your organization should embrace from the reading.  Share these ideas with the Executive.
  6. Reward employees with a one on one coffee with the CEO, a Board Member or Executive with whom they do not normally interact.  Getting to know that there is a human in the C Suite and sharing an informal dialogue will be motivating for both parties.
  7. Hold a fundraising event.  It’s simple but true; helping others makes us feel good!  Fundraising together as a work team builds cohesion, increases morale and reminds people to have fun.  Events should be goofy and the charity selected should have a strong local presence for an even more positive impact on employee engagement.
  8. Say thank you.  Most people aren’t told often enough how much they are appreciated.  Make a point of doing this yourself and encourage others to do the same.  Challenge yourself to recognize 3 people every day by thanking them for a job well done.
  9. Look for ways to make the organization more flexible relating to hours of work.  We humans are simple creatures, if you ask us to work 9 to 5, most of us do just that.  However if you task us with deliverables and deadlines we focus on work and not the clock.  If you are able to allow employees the ability to flex their hours to work late some days and work less other days your organization will see an increase in productivity.
  10. Have leaders spend time every week walking around and talking to staff.  Ask employees how they are feeling, what concerns they have, what support they need for their jobs, etc.  It should be a relaxed dialogue with the leader focussed on listening to the employee not on delivering a predetermined message.  Make sure leaders follow up on any questions or actions they committed to address. The best way to show employees you care is by taking an interest in their wellbeing and concerns.

We’re Back!

HR Blueprints

Happy 2016!!  We are back!! Thank you to all of you who supported us while we took a breakto complete an exciting labout relations initiative where work with other cients would have been considered a conflict of interest.  We value your support!!

We are looking forward to bringing you an exciting year of content in 2016.  We have our ideas and would love to hear yours.  If you have a request for blog topics, are interested in being featured as a guest blogger, or simply have an HR question, please contact us at info@hrblueprints.com

Look for our latest article later this week.

For more details about our services and expertise visit our Website


Gen Y and Your Workplace (from our ‘Ask the Expert’ column in The Voice)

Q:  I have hired a younger employee and they do not get the way the world works.  When I was their age I worked long hours and was willing to do every task given to me.  What is wrong with this generation?

A: The presence of the youngest generation currently in the workforce, Generation Y, has caused many employers to scratch their heads.  There is nothing ‘wrong’ with this generation, it is just that they refuse to accept the current workplace norms just because they are the workplace norms.

The situation is not unlike when women started entering the workforce in large numbers.  Suddenly there was a rash of ‘women’s issues’ like parental leave and caregiver leave.  At the time it seemed like an impossible change to many employers but in reality it was a simple adjustment that benefited male and female employees alike.  Adapting to the needs of Generation Y is no different; the changes they are demanding will in fact positively impact everyone in the workplace.  Examples of these changes are:

•    A shift from managing by hours to deliverables – why do office organizations still have a punch clock mentality when the work performed is nothing like a factory environment?  Focus on what needs to be accomplished and manage by deliverables.  A work day should be about what you achieved not whether you worked 8 consecutive hours.

•    Add Flexibility – similar to the point above, don’t force someone to work a firm schedule unless it is a requirement of the job (e.g. receptionist, security guard).  Allowing employees to complete assigned tasks on their schedule within required deadlines can dramatically increase both productivity and engagement.

Most important are changes regarding communications.   Ask your employees what they want from their work environment.  This is a win-win proposition.  Remember happy employees work harder!