Accountability – Work Place Support for Staff – How to Deal with Domestic Violence

When Domestic Issues Affect Work

No matter how well a business operates there are circumstances that can occur beyond the control of an organization. It is important to have resources available to assist. One issue that is extremely difficult to address is domestic violence. Kiffy Werkheiser, of the James House, provides this information to help create a policy and establish resources to best assist any staff in need of help for intimate partner violence.

 

Red Flags of Possible Abuse

  • Receipt of harassing phone calls or disruptive visits
  • Excessive absences, tardiness, and sick days
  • Decreased productivity or lower work quality
  • Isolation from co-workers
  • Mentioning of “family problems”
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Presence of legal or financial problems
  • Changes in personality or demeanor

Broaching the Subject: Ask. Refer. Support.

  • Ask the employee if he or she is okay. Let the employee know that you’ve noticed physical injuries, or changes in his or her work or personality. Let the employee know that any information that is discussed will be kept confidential.
  • Refer the employee to the The James House 804.458.2840
  • Support the employee. Offer temporary changes in schedule or location if possible.
  • If the employee is a perpetrator of violence, inform the employee of the company policy against violence and refer to the Employee Assistance Program or a certified batterer intervention program. A list of certified batterer intervention programs is available at www.vaag.com.

Creating a work environment that supports survivors:

Please reach out to The James House via

24 HR: 804.458.2840

www.thejameshouse.org

www.facebook.com/thejameshousehelps

www.youtube.com/thejameshousehelps

 

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Accountability – Consequence versus Punishment

The hard part

The toughest part about accountability is applying consequences when performance is not as desired. There comes a point when there has to be a negative consequence. If done correctly, such a point only comes when shared expectations were not met and the responsible party had sufficient time, skills and resources. When it arrives, a consequence must be applied in a fair and consistent manner. There should be no surprise.

The common mistake

Often a punishment is confused with a consequence. When a negative consequence is merited, there has been a shortcoming that likely has created a bad situation. Such situations create extra work, customer dissatisfaction, monetary loss or other effects that can create stress or emotional reactions. A punishment may be given that includes berating a person, speaking rudely or complaining. Often, a person that has not performed is blamed. Making someone feel bad, while understandable, is not likely to correct the situation. In fact, such punishment may reinforce the behavior.

Consider the example by John Shindler, when discussing student behavior in Transformative Classroom Management. If a student has an 8:00 bus pickup and arrives at 8:05, the on-time bus may have waited.  A punishment would be an angry bus driver and other passengers lecturing the student on his tardiness and lack of consideration for others. A consequence occurs if the bus leaves on-time and the student must find an alternative way to school.

Doing It Right

Consequences are best applied when accountability has been well established. Before a consequence is necessary, there must be a clear set of expectations. Having established both positive and negative consequences in advance help to avoid the reactive nature that can so easily occur when deadlines are missed or work is not done correctly. The purpose of a consequence is to teach a lesson so as to avoid the behavior in the future. When applied correctly, they can even be a welcome act. Of course, it may take a little time along with some positive results before the consequential action is fully appreciated.

Consequences are not

  • Angry or reactive
  • Surprises
  • Unreasonable or out of proportion

Consequences are

  • Determined in advance (or established after a failure and used for any re-occurrence)
  • Mutually understood
  • Timely
  • Consistent

When using accountability to drive performance to achieve your goals, there are times that consequences are necessary. Work to build a system of accountability and apply it consistently. While there will be times that consequences are necessary, it will occur less and be easier to implement when done well.

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Convenience Store Performance Dashboards – KPI’s with Drilldowns

A good graph is worth hours of analysis and a focused drill-down saves hours more. Graphs and drilldowns are favorite tools of analysts. Quickly assessing key performance trends and then being able to see the data that makes the trend is a great tool for maintaining accountability towards a goal. The ability to see a positive or negative trend quickly and then drill down to specific details gives an experienced manager a tool to assess performance and objectively ask questions that improve performance. One way to spot these trends is to group sales into categories that have specific meaning. The C-Store Performance Dashboard uses categories like fuel sales, prepared food and packaged items to summarize results. For example, the dashboard allows comparison of outside sales to inside sales.

Most C-Stores already have the basic information in electronic form. It is a straight forward process to extract and transform data from the mainstream C-Store systems such as ADD Systems, PDI/Enterprise, DataMax Envoy, Factor Store Trak or most other commercials systems. Adding an analysis component is the natural progression of an operations-focused IT system. The addition of business analytics provides maximum value from operational systems already in place.

By grouping data and providing filters for these sales categories, different combinations compared. A simple drop menu allows the non-technical user an intuitive mechanism for checking for relationships and monitoring trends.

Image of Convenience Store Performance filter options Gas, Food and other categories

Once a significant trend or interesting relationship is discovered, a drilldown on those trends allows detailed information that is tied directly to the point of interest to be delivered quickly and sorted according to significance. In the example below, the details for breakfast sales for the week selected are presented and delivered as a percentage of the breakfast category.

Image of Convenience Store Performance Dashboard drilldown options showing details of foods sales

Starting with a robust template, a C-Store can quickly organize their data for performance tracking and accountability. It is valuable to be able to spot trends and gather the details to understand exactly how performance changes are occurring.

Our tool of choice is the Pentaho CTools to make our dashboards. It is an open source product that allows you the power of Data Analytics from one of the leading Big Data tool.

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Convenience Store Accountability Rules – Oh Yeah!

Entering the store for coffee and a snack, a warm ‘hello’ springs from behind the counter while several clients form short lines at 3 registers. The busy store is clean and well organized. Such management does not happen by accident.

Accountability is a key component to running a C-Store well. Leading companies and managers use a mixture of high technology and artful leadership to make it happen. While approaches vary, good accountability always has a few key rules. As Randy Robinson, a 30 year veteran of C-Store and truck stop leadership states ‘The work day flows better when people know what to expect.’ These rules set expectations that makes for smooth days.

End results depend on upfront work

Implementing a system and having consistent behavior is essential. Changing behavior requires clear explanations, understanding, agreement and discipline. It takes time and participation from the staff to achieve.

Fairness must be established or hope is lost

The purpose of any accountability system is to attain best efforts for specific goals or practices.  In order for staff to act differently, they must believe their actions can result is desired outcomes. Multi-location comparisons must address market size and production capacity or hope will be lost. Three pumps cannot produce the same capacity as twenty. Likewise, customer flow potential must be considered. A rural area may not be able to compete on total transactions, but may be able to manage costs and profits to achieve top performance and ROI. Ensuring that the staff can reasonably influence the attainment of a goal is essential for creating the hoping of attaining the goal.

Minimize firing staff through hiring and training

Teams do not all progress equally and consistently, that is the very reason accountability is needed. With good hiring and good execution the team will thrive using a fair approach that they helped to build and/or implement. Even great buy-in, there will be mistakes,  loss of commitment and occasional bad behavior. Accountability means that management (and other team members) will address short comings. Acceptance of deviations allows bad behavior to become normal. To maintain commitment, the team must see that corrections when needed. Seasoned managers know that the first place to look when bad things happens is to themselves. It is essential to ensure the correct way is understood, the team is able to execute and willing to do so. Only after adequate instructions and warning does termination make for a fair resolution.

Teams must want to use systems

Most staff feels they have more work to do than time to do it. They expect a system to save them time and reduce errors. Just like the accountability practices systems work best when there is proper buy-in, training and resources to make it work well. While not everyone can be involved to build or buy systems, there must be adequate training, proper equipment, efficient work flow and fast responsiveness for a system to be useful.

Walk into new accountability not run

The goal is to influence the behavior of your teams in a way that improves performance. Long-term commitment is much easier to attain if the ones being held accountable agree with the rules and the want to succeed. It takes time to have the team understand the goals, agree that they are fair, implement any systems that are required and see that management will follow-through. It takes time to implement. Steady progress towards the goal allows for understanding and buy-in.

As the coffee and granola bar were purchased, the cashier, Shannon McAllister, was asked if the manager’s practices made a difference in how the days went. Without any hesitation she smiled brightly ‘Oh yeah, definitely!’ Most of us like working in a great environment with strong accountability in place.

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How Big is Big in Big Data?

As Big Data becomes more popular, the question often asked is ‘What is Big Data?’ While there are lots of ways to answer, one part of the answer inevitably includes quantity. While there is no precise definition of how much is necessary to be considered Big, most accept that amount of data keeps getting bigger. In order to understand the Big Data discussion, it is useful to understand the units of measures. Each unit is 1000 times the previous major unit. That is a Terabyte is 1000 Gigabytes – three orders of magnitude greater than the previous unit of measure.

In the 1980’s Gigabyte databases were considered huge and database analysts theorized about managing Terabytes of data. Perhaps the original Greek translation of tera – monster, reflects the early Big Data experts fear of the growing amounts of data. Today, many users have a Terabyte of storage on their personal devices. Internet monthly traffic is currently measured in Exabytes (about 21 exabytes/month). According to International Data Corporation, the total amount of global data grew to 2.7 Zettabytes during 2012. As this amount is in use, the greater units have been defined. The next level inspired thoughts of universal force. Yottabytes are named affectionally after the Star Wars master. While not infinite in size, 1000 Zettabytes is huge.

Data units of measure*

  1. Kilobyte
  2. Megabyte
  3. Gigabyte
  4. Terabyte
  5. Petabyte
  6. Exabyte
  7. Zettabyte
  8. Yottabyte

*each incremental measure is 1000 times the previous unit

 No matter exactly where one declares Big Data to occur, there is a lot of data to process and new techniques and technologies will come into play to best utilize the data. As the amount of data gets bigger, the dashboards, analytics and data transformation require special tools and techniques. Having the right tools and processes are necessary. Our toolset is Pentaho Data Integration and CTools.

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Agile Dashboards with Pentaho CTools

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KPI Sharing- How does your company compare?

As part of our tracking and accountability work, we study best practices. We want to see how companies are using KPI’s in their drive for higher sales and better operational results. The May Poll is complete and the results are in.  Please check our Survey page for a more detailed survey regarding how companies are publishing their Key Performance Indicators. Our favorite choice is Pentaho CTools and Pentaho Data Integration.  Thank you for participating.

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