Monthly Archives: April 2013

Is Your Organization Running Smoothly?

In order for a company to function at optimum standards, all departments and employees must be on the same page. In other words, there has to be synergy in the organization. The saying “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” is extremely applicable to both small businesses and large corporations. Synergy can greatly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire organization.

However, organizations do not come together automatically or through some stroke of luck. Harmonious effort must be put into action in order to achieve optimal levels of work performance and for the organization to flow smoothly. The effort must be made at all levels of the organization from top level management to lower level employees. Without this cohesiveness, the chances of a company succeeding in the long term are lowered.

Setting S.M.A.R.T Goals

The foundation of any organization is goal setting. Without setting goals, employees will have no idea about what they’re working towards and will have no motivation to increase productivity. Goal setting is a broad and in-depth topic, but there is a basic management strategy that helps organizations set goals effectively. The principal is that companies should set S.M.A.R.T goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Monitoring the progress of these S.M.A.R.T goals will help companies get an idea of how well different departments are working together and coordinating with each other.

Establish Strong Leadership

Without effective and strong leadership, a company cannot function smoothly. A good leader is one that has excellent management skills, complete knowledge of the company, and can create and execute plans. Most importantly, the leader has to be respected and trusted by employees.

If there is a poor leader or no leader in place, employees will have no sense of direction. When issues arise, a leader has to know exactly how to solve it in a manner the best benefits the company.


Monitoring progress is another key element of smooth running organization. It is much easier and cost effective to perform routine maintenance on a vehicle rather than waiting until something breaks to address it. The same concept applies to organizations.

Self-assessments allow for routine monitoring of:

  • Individual performance
  • Departmental performance
  • Company performance

Self-assessments involve evaluating the individual, department, and the company on certain criteria that is decided based upon the company’s goals and objectives. The S.M.A.R.T goals mentioned earlier will come in handy when self-assessing. Goals should be set for individual employees, each department, and the company as a whole. Then progress towards these goals is analyzed in the self-assessment.

The frequency in which self-assessments are performed will vary with different companies. Some prefer to analyze quarterly, yearly, or even monthly. On an individual basis, each employee should constantly be working to assess themselves. For departmental and company performance, it’s typically best to self-assess quarterly so that comparisons can be made and trends can be established.

Set up the proper environment

Organizations have to create the type of working environment that encourages team work and interrelated activities. This allows different departments to see what other departments do and how they are related. The better understanding each employee has of what another employee does, the smoother the company will function.

Make it easy for employees to work together by setting up an intranet or using project management software that allows for collaborations. A smooth running organization is all about teamwork and coordination. When all the pieces come together and create synergy, the results can be amazing.


Author Byline

Karen Burke is the President and Founder of Kare Products. Karen has over 30 years of expertise creating ergonomic furniture that helps avoid injury and promotes health for all types of discomfort and body sizes.

ISOES Conference 2013

The 25th Annual International Occupational Ergonomics and Safety Conference is right around the corner, and it is shaping up to be an informative and eventful couple of days. The International Society hosts the conference for Occupational Ergonomics & Safety. The ISOES’s goal is to help make working environments across the globe safer, healthier, and subsequently more productive through ergonomics.

The ISOES conference is designed to shed light on the advancements that have been made in occupational ergonomics and to promote the message of ISOES. Many of the world’s leaders in workplace safety, ergonomics, and technology will be attending. The conference will take place June 6th – 7th, and will be jam packed with presentations and demonstrations on both days.

Several topics and issues will be presented such as workplace safety/health, technological advancements in ergonomics, ergonomic construction, cognitive ergonomics, biomechanics, and much more. The ISOES will be distributing CD’s loaded with papers and abstracts on these topics as well.

The conference will start off on Thursday with a speech from the president of ISOES, Dr. Paul Ray. Following his welcoming session, Dr. Hongwei Hsiao will give a Plenary Speech on some of the challenges and opportunities in occupational ergonomics and safety. Dr. Hsiao is known for his work in the Safety and health technology field. Ms. Diane S. DeGaetano of Merial US Region will be giving a Banquet Speech to round out the first day of the conference.

Several educational sessions are scheduled and other presenters include:

  • Ashish Nimbarte
  • Richard Wyatt
  • Roger C. Jensen
  • Naira Campbell-Kyureghyan
  • James L. Smith
  • Lawrence J.H. Schulze
  • Dennis Brickman
  • Brian C. Grieser
  • Gabriel Ibarra-Mejia


The ISOES is also opening their doors to students who wish to attend the conference. This gives aspiring engineers or students interested in ergonomics a chance to learn and see real world applications of ergonomic design in the workplace. The cost to attend the event is $349 for members and $429 for non-members. Students receive a discounted rate of $100. Get your tickets and visit the conference on June 6th and 7th in Atlanta Georgia. You can visit the ISOES website for more information.

Author Byline

Karen Burke is the President and Founder of Kare Products. Karen has over 30 years of expertise creating ergonomic furniture that helps avoid injury and promotes health for all types of discomfort and body sizes.

Employee Performance Appraisal Techniques

To improve employee performance and achieve corporate excellence, best practices include the conduction of regular employee performance appraisals. Whether done annually, quarterly, or every six months, performance appraisals indicate the job performance level of each employee, help improve organizational performance, and determine the overall capabilities of an organization in meeting their goals. From the employee’s perspective, performance appraisals provide vital feedback in a clear and formal manner, determining his/her strengths, weaknesses and accomplishments.

The Importance of Proper Performance Appraisal Tools

Employee performance appraisals should be clearly documented using a set of appropriate appraisal tools which record objectives, accomplishments, scores or ratings, comments and recommendations for the future. In some companies, these same tools serve as incentives or form the basis for promotions, special rewards, and recognition.

To determine if your employees are successfully fulfilling their duties or whether they need to be terminated or reassigned, it’s important to have good measurement techniques in a process which is carried out in a fair and unbiased manner. Common appraisal tools and techniques include:

  • A scoring system based on preset descriptions of performance expectations in specific jobs
  • Internal audits and quality control indicators
  • Production unit accounting
  • Ratings of ‘satisfactory,’ ‘not satisfactory,’ or ‘needs improvement’
  • Company specific performance appraisal ratings

Employee Appraisals Improve Business Profitability

The bottom line is that more effective employee appraisals lead to increased business profitability. To ensure your organizational success and to empower your employees with the information they need to perform their jobs, follow these expert tips on employee appraisal techniques and strategies:

  • Clearly communicate goals and performance expectations
  • Keep employees updated regarding company policies and procedures, projects on the horizon, and long-term forecasts
  • Empower your employees to suggest ideas and offer their insights without the fear of criticism (i.e. directly or via a suggestion box)
  • Encourage open communication in team meetings
  • Build employee confidence and empower a feeling of self-worth by practicing effective listening and learning what’s important to your employees to help them do their job
  • Provide employee training and development, ensuring that your employees have access to the most updated information on best practices and cutting-edge technologies in your industry
  • Provide incentives for employees to push themselves to even better performances
  • Take advantage of online learning and digital communication systems to allow for the sharing of materials and trackable learning at any time and from anywhere

Giving Employees a Voice

Tweak your employee management strategies and performance appraisal techniques by giving your employees a voice regarding how they are evaluated, trained, and coached. Not only will this increase individual motivation and morale, but it will prove profitable for your company in the long run. In fact, combining top-down employee assessments with input from those being evaluated is a sure-fire method for organizational and business success.

Here are some ways to allow your employees to weigh in:

  • Use a 360° review process wherein both managers and employees have a voice in the appraisal process
  • Allow or require employees to fill out self-assessment and self-evaluation forms which are seriously considered in the review process
  • Have employees keep a personal performance diary where they can record accomplishments, special achievements, feedback given, and challenges they need to overcome; these journals can then be used as additional tool during employee evaluation meetings
  • Replace once-a-year, disconnected employee reviews with a collaborative system that takes place year-round and that includes goal management, feedback, and coaching

Improve your employee management and appraisal strategies and enjoy watching your company become a strong competitor and formidable force in your industry.


Author Byline

Karen Burke is the President and Founder of Kare Products. Karen has over 30 years of expertise creating ergonomic furniture that helps avoid injury and promotes health for all types of discomfort and body sizes.