Pi Wen Looi, Author at Novacrea Research - Page 6 of 7
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Author: Pi Wen Looi

Happy New Year! I’ve been working hard in the past few months with my designer, Acacia Carr, to redesign our website. And now it’s here! Anyone who’s undertaken a website redesign knows how much energy and time it takes. So it feels right to celebrate this milestone in Novacrea’s history and make a proper announcement of it to all. This new website is designed with a more focused message of who we are and of the services we offer–customized employee surveys, employee engagement consulting, and action planning facilitation. It highlights our goal to embrace new tools in social media. It shows our vision of integrating research in positive psychology, talent management, and design thinking to bring you customized solutions that keep up with the rapid changes in the world of work.

Effective meeting facilitation is a process of guiding participants through a meeting to achieve stated objectives. An effective facilitator:
  • Thinks through and manages the meeting objectives, processes, and group dynamics of participants
  • Creates buy-ins from the group
  • Encourages all members of a group to participate, draws out ideas and knowledge from different members
  • Enables participants to offer their best ideas and make decisions with commitment and enthusiasm
Here are 10 keys to successful facilitation and competencies you should look for when you hire a professional facilitator: 1. Understand your audience. Find out more about your audience before facilitating a meeting or workshop. Try to understand their concerns and interests in the topic by sending them a proposed agenda or a short pre-meeting questionnaire. Doing so will help participants feel more included and create a more positive atmosphere for the meeting. In addition, a benefit to understanding your audience will enable you to discover more useful discussions than the one you had planned.

Image by Fellowship of the Rich via FlickrThis is an article I wrote two years ago, it’s still relevant today! Times are tough these days. But there are a few things you can do to engage your employees and prepare your company for future growth when the economy recovers. A key factor in maintaining or improving your employee engagement is through effective employee communication. Our employee research shows that employees want to feel valued by their company. Employees want to be involved in their work and want to understand their company's direction, mission, and vision. In addition, employees want to have the necessary information to do their work, such as operational processes and product information, in a timely manner. For example, customer care employees need to know the launch of a new product before their customers learn about it from promotion materials. You can increase employee engagement at your organization through these action steps:

Image by atconc via Flickr A recent "Technisource survey" found that IT Employee Confidence Index has dropped from 56.2 to 47.3 in the third quarter of 2011. Only 13% of IT workers believe the economy is getting stronger. But, 32% of IT employees are still likely to look for a new job while in their current position, and their confidence in their ability to find a new job has not declined. What does this mean to your company? Are you seeing disengaged IT workers in your organization?

Image by _Hdock_via Flickr I am in the process of revamping my website, so I’m transferring some of the articles I wrote to this blog. These are oldies but goodies! I wrote this one three years ago when many companies were laying off workers. It is as applicable then as it is now, with updated data from the Conference Board. The latest Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) for August 2011 is 100.8, down from July's revised figure of 101. The August figure is up 4.1 percent from a year ago,but still lags behind the August 2008 index of 109.3. Recent news such as that of Bank of America and BAE Systems indicate that many companies may plan to layoff workers in this weak economy.

Last week, Celeste Villalobos Tahamont, Senior Program Manager at Google, presented at the ASTD Golden Gate Chapter. She gave us a behind-the-scene view of the redesign of EDGE, a leadership training program at Google that serves over 600 levels 3-5 engineers annually. Here are highlights from Celeste’s presentation: Before the redesign
  • EDGE was an off-site, vendor led leadership training program
  • 2,000 engineers have gone through the program since its launch in 2006 through 2009
  • Program contents remained the same from 2006 – 2009 although the business world had changed significantly during that time
  • Used some Googlers facilitators to facilitate the training

Image of a Chicago high riseI just moved and have been spending some time getting my office organized. While the new place is quieter than my old location, it lacks direct sunlight. Bummer! But my new office has floor- length windows and it looks out to the woods. It’s quite tranquil except for some unsightly scenes at the bottom of the floor-length windows. I’ll admit that I’m super sensitive to views and want my work environment to look beautiful so that when I’m in my office, I feel GREAT and HAPPY! Thus the beginning of small projects to beautify my office and block out unsightly views.

One of the characteristics of a best employer is to listen to employee input regularly and to solicit employee feedback before making any major changes. Likewise, before implementing major rezoning changes to a community, you want to get input from your community stakeholders such as the residents and businesses. San Francisco’s Japantown did just that before implementing a rezoning strategic plan. A team of ASTD Golden Gate Chapter's Community Outreach Program (COP) volunteers designed and facilitated the first of three large-scale community meetings in Japantown last Wednesday. The City's Planning Department and the Japantown Organizing Committee had developed a set of recommendations for revitalizing Japantown. This meeting was aimed at getting the community’s feedback and input to these recommendations.