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Secrets of a Brighter Workplace


Tips on how to understand, recruit and keep the best people for your business


How the Work Brighter blog answered your burning HR questions in 2017

Questions, questions

top ten hr questions

2017 has been a puzzling year. A year full of baffling decisions, strange phenomena and bizarre behaviour. Leaving us with lots of questions. Questions like:

  • Did he really just tweet that?
  • Did she really think that was a good idea?
  • Why did the sky turn red in October?
  • Will all the complex issues surrounding Brexit ever be resolved?
  • Why on earth did Liam/Aston get kicked off Bake Off/Strictly?

For these questions there are no satisfactory answers. Just opinions, arguments and fake news.

Fortunately though, for some questions and concerns, sage advice, expert guidance and simple solutions are at your fingertips. That’s right, for some questions there is the Work Brighter blog!

Here’s how I answered some of your most burning HR questions in my rundown of the top ten most read blogs in 2017.

Question 10: How do I recruit people who are really motivated to work for me? 

Answer: By understanding not what they do well but why they do what they do well.

In this, the 10th most popular blog, I revealed how by using a strengths-based approach to recruitment you could start to get to grips with what your candidates are interested in and what the impact of their interest is. In other words, understand what motivates them.

Question 9: Why is work I delegate never done to my standards – and what can I do about it?

Answer: Possibly because you haven’t been clear enough about how you want things done.

This can be such a frustrating issue for managers and business owners but the solution is simple – it’s time for a process map, a clear guide to what needs doing and how. Think of it as passing on the recipe for your secret sauce!

Question 8: How do I get rid of a poorly performing employee? 

Answer: By helping them understand it’s time for them to go.

A question I’m regularly asked but the answer is not necessarily to take a formal disciplinary route to exiting your employee. In this, my 8th most popular blog, I share tips on an alternative approach – one that can have a much more positive outcome for you and your (soon-to-be ex) employee.

Question 7: What do I do about an employee whose negativity is infecting everyone else? 

Answer: Get to the root of the problem before your whole team goes down with it.

Negativity is catching because we’re social creatures. Here, I explore what might be behind your employee’s misery and how to tackle a negativity epidemic.

Question 6: What are killer questions – and how should I use them when shortlisting candidates? 

Answer: Killer questions are those you ask right at the beginning of your recruitment process to sift out anyone who doesn’t meet your basic criteria.

Sifting out unsuitable candidates as early as possible in your process saves time, money and resources. In this blog, I set out six things you need to consider when designing your shortlisting process.

Question 5: How can I get my longer-serving employees back on side? 

Answer: Tap into what motivates them individually – whether that’s recognition, autonomy, connection or challenge.

When your enthusiastic newbie turns into a seen-it-all-before cynic, you need to find ways to put the sparkle back. In the 5th most read blog, I explore how to re-engage your old-timers.

Question 4: How do I get the best from a new starter? 

Answer: Ensure they know what’s expected and what to expect.

It seems it’s not just long-serving employees that are an issue, new starters can be too. In this blog, I share the four must-dos of any induction process to get them up to speed and on board.

Question 3: How can I boost my team’s morale?

Answer: When team morale is low, simply telling people what to do won’t work. They need to get there themselves.

In this, the 3rd most read blog of 2017, I describe the techniques I used in a workshop that really helped boost team spirits and inspired people to action.

Question 2: How do I tackle a line manager with poor management skills?

Answer: Spotting that there is a problem is the first challenge but once you have, an open and honest conversation about acceptable behaviour is the next urgent item on the agenda.

A manager with poor management skills can have a disproportionately negative effect on the bottom line and staff turnover – so it’s no wonder that this blog was so popular. In it, I talk through some of the challenges a poor manager poses as well as some tips to tackling the problem.

Question 1: Why aren’t employees taking ownership of their work – and what can I do about it?

Answer: Do they know what they should be taking ownership of? Being clear about what you expect and supporting your team to deliver it is the way to address this perennial problem.

This was by far the most popular blog in 2017. It would appear that tackling the jobsworths is the burning issue that’s keeping you awake at night. Well hopefully, this blog enabled you to get some well-earned rest – by explaining how good leadership, effective communication, trust and support are the key tenets of a productive, motivated workforce.

It is perhaps unsurprising that my most popular blogs in 2017 were those that answered your most pressing HR questions – according to your response to my 2016 survey.

To make sure the Work Brighter blog continues to help you solve your head-scratching conundrums, I’m conducting another survey this year. I’ll be back in the New Year to share the results and outline how future blogs will respond to the issues raised.

In the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas and thank you for all your support this year.

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