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Are Loose Cannons Driving Down Your Employee Engagement Scores?

Have you ever worked with a “loose cannon”? This high-energy person moves ahead too quickly without checking facts. Loose cannons mean well, but their unpredictability causes collateral damage.  Typically, loose cannon employees are seen as a liability—and management is often looking for ways to help them “find new employment opportunities.” Frankly, I’ve not had a lot of patience with loose cannons in the past; I appreciate people with self-control. Recently I discovered a turn of phrase that prompted me to reconsider my viewpoint on loose cannons.

The folks at Newsweaver sent me this infographic about employee engagement. About midway through the infographic they highlight four employee archetypes and how each archetype contributes to employee engagement. As you can see from the infographic excerpt below, Newsweaver’s research indicates that employees can be engaged not at all (no surprise there), intellectually (as indicated by the shaded blue brain) and/or emotionally (the red heart).

The loose cannon archetype is an employee who is emotionally connected to the organization’s vision, as evidenced by their high energy and passionate commitment. What this type of employee lacks, according to Newsweaver, is the clarity on “where to apply their enthusiasm effectively.” Interesting ...

Five Tips for Hosting a Successful Twitter Chat

Twitter chats can be incredibly powerful tools to communicate directly with your audience. They can also be absolutely terrifying if you’ve never hosted one before. When hosting a Twitter chat use these five tips to keep from falling flat on your (digital) face:

1. Invite Partners to the Conversation
When it comes to Twitter chats, remember—the more the merrier. The whole point of a chat is to engage people in a conversation, so make sure to get your partners—who are often your top advocates—to join in. You’re likely to widen your typical audience and expand your reach by including your partners who may have a completely different base of Twitter followers. In addition, you can bounce off each other’s comments to make the chat more dynamic. Non-partners will benefit as a result.

2. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
I can’t emphasize this enough. If you’re not the expert in the room, take the time to meet with them in advance and talk about key topic points they want to discuss during the chat. Don’t be afraid to ask them the hard questions—it’s better for your team to think through controversial topics ...

Infographic: 5 Types of Toxic Employees (and How You Should Deal with Them)

Gossip, low productivity and burnout can ruin a team. Often, these problems are introduced via one or a few bad employees, derailing moving toward a goal. All it takes is is one toxic employee to completely ruin a project.

Reuben Yonatan of GetVoip.com put together an infographic -- with information from Business Insiders, Forbes and other business publications -- that can help any team leader deal with bad staff members. He identifies five typical toxic employee archetypes and gives suggestions on how to deal with them in the graphic below or on GetVoip.com's site.

(Top via solarseven/Shutterstock.com)

The Risk of Letting Employees Know Where They Rank Versus Their Peers

It’s possible to rank employees in entirely new ways in the age of big data. People in sales are used to seeing their numbers compared. But now everything from how well truck drivers drive, to individual author web traffic and how quickly engineers write code can be quantified in great detail.

Companies need to be careful about how they use that information. Ranking people publicly, even if it’s done with the intention of creating friendly competition or transparency, can backfire depending on a company’s culture.

In a new study of a trucking company in the midst of adopting Toyota’s famous lean principles (which emphasize respect, humility, and collective outcomes over individual ones) researchers from NYU and Columbia found that putting up a leaderboard comparing individual performance had vastly different effects, depending on whether or not an individual site had undergone the new cultural training.

The leaderboard is populated through an on-board recorder that transmits detailed driving behavior. In the sites that maintained the original, more individualistic culture, comparative rankings boosted performance substantially.

It had the exact opposite effect in the places that had started the transition to the Toyota-inspired system. And this was before any major ...

What Women Want: A Fair Shot at Defense Careers

Discrimination is still an issue in the defense industry and the government isn’t doing enough to attract women to defense and government careers, according to a recent ClearanceJobs survey of cleared professionals.

ClearanceJobs surveyed more than 1,200 men and women, asking for their thoughts and experiences with discrimination in the defense industry. In almost every area, men and women were in near agreement. The defense industry is a “boys’ club,” and until more women pursue defense careers, it’s likely to stay that way.

Eighty-three percent of female respondents said they had witnessed discrimination or experienced it firsthand. When asked to provide examples, women cited being treated differently than men, being talked down to, receiving inappropriate comments about attire or pregnancy, and more.

“It happens frequently in meetings where a woman gets interrupted or talked over,” said a female respondent in the ClearanceJobs survey. “I myself have been yelled at in the past, working as a government contractor on a government site. It was a fellow contractor who was my boss. I can’t fathom he would speak to or confront a male peer that way–ever.”

In a survey where women and men were largely in agreement ...