Saturday, March 29, 2014


1. 15Five Measures Performance
15Five is an online survey tool that gets your employees to spend fifteen minutes writing a report, that their manager/CEO can spend five minutes reading. Surface problems, celebrate wins, and keep a pulse on morale and impending problems.”
2. Asana Manages Tasks
“I use Asana with my team every day to track tasks, hours and deliverables, and plan meetings. By creating systems in Asana projects for the tasks my team manages, I can review their output and compare it to the detailed process I gave them. It resolves so many questions about what I, as a business owner, actually wanted to see!”
3. Basecamp by 37signals
Basecamp is a great tool to manage ongoing or time-specific projects that a business may have. Basecamp is great because I can assign individuals on my team tasks and know exactly when they complete them. Also, I can give immediate feedback on their work as soon as they post it within the system. You can track time with Basecamp, or you can connect to one of their many third party apps to do this.”
4. Stick With Smartsheet
“We use Smartsheet to document tasks, prioritize projects and log employee hours every month. I receive alerts when employees update a sheet so I can passively keep an eye on projects. Plus, I can also reprioritize tasks at any time when we need to switch gears.”
5. Silk Road Suite Is Complete
“I like the entire suite of Silk Road cloud-based products. Point especially is a great employee-centric social talent management and collaboration solution. Wingspan also makes the performance review process painless!”
6. WorkSimple Works Well
WorkSimple helps workers and teams share their goals socially with one another and get feedback from managers and co-workers. It also allows you to set a focus and align goals with that focus. This allows for collaboration in real time, and helps supervisors recognize achievements and give feedback as results happen.”
7. Try Out Trello
“I highly recommend Trello as a tool to manage subgroups within your organization. It is a project management tool that is simple enough so everyone can catch on quickly, and you can see the status of each task as it moves through stages. On WSO and, we also use Trello every day.”
8. Harvest for Hourly Tracking
Harvest is an extremely intuitive and useful tool makes it super easy to manage projects and hours with staff and freelancers. Its mobile app also makes it simple for our distributed teams to log time accurately while working from remote locations.”
9. ezTimeSheet for Payroll
“I recommend using ezTimeSheet. It costs only $39 and can really cut down on the time you spend on payroll. It tracks regular work hours, vacation time, PTO and sick days. It’s also very easy to use!”

10. Freckle Time Tracking
Freckle is a great online tool to track employee hours. Your team can log in from anywhere, so if they want to put in a few hours work from Topeka during a layover or log some time while at the beach, it’s just a click away. It allows the project manager to keep an eye on how many hours people are spending on what projects, and generates comprehensive payroll reports.”
11. Go With Google Calendar
Google Calendar is one tool everyone should use. Leaders should schedule one-on-one meetings every week with their direct reports to understand their concerns and frustrations, as well as guide them and provide positive and constructive criticism. There’s no substitute for face time, but you need to make sure you schedule it and religiously adhere to that schedule.”
12. TribeHR for Team Management
“TribeHR is a breath of fresh air in the world of human resources. The software is beautiful and focuses on building an amazing team of people who are empowered, engaged, and inspired, which will ultimately allow you to build the best company you can. It covers everything from recruiting to performance and employee recognition to payroll.”
13. Pick Up Paychex
Paychex save our company a lot of time and money. All of our employees have direct deposit, so I never have to hear, “I lost my paycheck, may I please have another one?” Paychex provides logins for each employee so they can view their paychecks, commissions, taxes and vacation days. When W-2s are released, employees are able to log in and print those off too. Our rep also rocks!”
14. Replicon Removes Stress
Replicon is a great way to track employee hours in the cloud and avoid tedious offline tracking.”


Keep your best: The care and feeding of top performers

We have all seen the surveys and studies that tell us why employees leave. What those studies don’t tell us is that sometimes, turnover can be a positive thing.  
A certain amount of turnover is good for any organization, Peggy Pedwano, human capital strategist at Halogen Software, told us in a recent interview. “It’s important to continually be bringing in new staff with fresh ideas and perspective,” she said.  ”And turnover is great when the employees who leave are low performing, or aren’t a good cultural fit.”
The challenge, she said, is to stop employee turnover among high-performing and high-potential employees and to keep turnover rates of other employees at a healthy level.
How to do that? Pedwano offered some ideas:
Know who your best people are
Before you can determine if employee turnover’s a problem, you’ve got to identify the people you want to hang on to:  high performers.
Not as simple as it sounds, Pedwano says.
Are managers fairly and consistently rating employee performance? It’s not uncommon to have managers inflate performance ratings. And managers with reputations as “hard markers” aren’t hard to find.
Thus, companies may need to do some rating calibration to ensure the rating scale is being consistently applied.
Pedwano’s sugestions: Ask managers to think about each employee’s potential for promotion. You may also want to gather 360-degree feedback on candidates, conduct interviews, or ask employees to evaluate their peers in order to put managers’ assessments in perspective.
Know what’s important to each individual
Once the “keepers” are identified, employers need to determine what’s important to them as individuals.
The list often includes such things as salary levels, opportunities for development and career advancement, and flextime/telecommuting opportunities. But those things can also change over an individual’s career.
So it’s important to stay current with high performers on what motivates and engages them, and what demotivates and disengages them.
“Then you can work to satisfy their needs — ensuring, of course, that the actions you take are good for the business overall,” Pedwano says.
Continually train managers and leaders
An employee’s relationship with his/her manager is a key contributor to employee engagement, satisfaction and retention – that’s a given in today’s workplace.
The problem, Pedwano says, is that “Being a manager requires a whole host of skills that just aren’t innate to most people. Everyone has areas of strength and weakness.”
So ongoing, progressive training for all managers and leaders is key to continual improvement in management/leadership knowledge, skills and experience.
Hold regular stay interviews
One practice that’s been shown to help stop employee turnover is holding regular stay interviews – not just with high performers, but even with those who regularly meet expectations.
“Stay interviews help you uncover what makes your top performers ‘tick and stick,’” says Pedwano. “They’re the opposite of an exit interview.”
In a stay interview, managers find out what motivates employees to work and put their best foot forward every day. And once managers have that knowledge, they have the tools to retain their best and brightest.
Stay interviews can be done on a formal basis, or the information can be gathered informally through regular manager-employee interactions or one-on-one meetings, according to Pedwano.

The only hard-and-fast rule is that they be held regularly.

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