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work life balance

12 Ways to Improve Your Workforce’s Work-Life Balance

You want your employees to be engaged in what they’re doing, so the first step is making sure they’re not overwhelmed with outside commitments. Silicon Valley CEO Raj Narajanaswamy makes a strong case for how fostering a healthy work-life balance throughout your company will contribute to better financial outcomes. He points out that work-related stress routinely costs American businesses $200 to $300 billion annually — and that doesn’t even begin to address the less quantifiable ways in which anxious workers erode your company culture. To foster mental and physical health, here are twelve ways to improve your workforce’s work-life balance.

1. Help with Childcare

Problems with childcare are often the biggest factor in throwing your employees’ work-life balance off-kilter. A few companies such as Patagonia find it cost-effective to provide on-site childcare for employees. If that’s not feasible, you may be able to join the 58 percent of smaller firms (and 83 percent of larger ones) who offer a dependent care flexible spending account.

2. Make Sure Employees Take All Their Paid Leave

Whether it’s sick days or vacation time, American workers are neglecting their paid time off. A study by TSheets found that 65 percent didn’t use all of their PTO in one year — five days, on average, were left unused. Employees need time to recalibrate and take care of their personal life outside of work. Furthermore, nearly half of the employees who participated in the TSheets survey answered that they’d like to get more time off.

3. Flex the Time and Location of Work

Flexibility is an obvious solution to work-life scheduling conflicts. It allows people to handle urgent commitments that exist outside of work, enabling them to be focused and productive while they’re working. Research conducted by MIT and University of Minnesota adds new evidence to the consensus that flexible working arrangements improve employee happiness.

4. Connect Employees with Volunteer Opportunities

That may just sound like more work to your employees — but in fact, donating time to others makes people feel more “time affluent.” One of the needs we have as human beings is making a meaningful contribution to society. Science backs this up: Researchers have found that people who volunteer report feeling a better work-life balance.

5. Offer Financial Education for Employees

With the average college loan debt now at around $23,000, and 17 percent of those borrowers now behind in their payments, it can be tough for millennials to make ends meet. The average household has about $10,000 in credit card debt as well. Providing financial management tools to your employees – or helping with loan payments – can help ease a major source of distraction.

6. Explore the 30-hour Workweek Option

This is an organizational transformation, not simply an individual option, because to be successful it has to be implemented throughout a whole team. Otherwise, an individual worker choosing shorter hours will simply feel increased pressure to keep up with everyone else. Harvard Business Review relates Amazon’s experimental switch to three-quarters time for some of its teams, combined with ongoing full benefits and perks. The arrangement is expected to increase employee motivation and boost recruitment and hiring.

7. Provide Ongoing Leadership Training for Managers

A poor relationship with the boss is one of the three top reasons for people quitting their jobs. If you provide ongoing leadership development for your managers, they’ll be far more skilled at helping individual employees balance outside stresses with job demands.

8. Counsel Employees to Avoid Becoming the Office Confidante

This suggestion may surprise you since you probably make efforts to foster teamwork among your staff. However, Harvard Business Review highlights research showing that the person to whom everyone brings their problems often ends up overworked and chronically short of time. If you (or your managers) notice an employee falling into this trap, provide the person with encouragement for setting boundaries.

9. Promote Your Employee Assistance Program

Is your EAP going largely unused, month after month? Access to counseling is a valuable perk, and emotional support can be vital in helping people strike a healthy balance in their lives. Launch a company-wide campaign to highlight the value of your EAP and ask company managers to present the use of behavioral health services as a sign of personal strength.

10. Promote Wellness Through Better Sleep Habits

For people already feeling short on time, devoting extra hours to sleep may not seem like a helpful plan. Getting less sleep than you need, however, causes physiological impairments can interfere with effectiveness at work. Work-life balance researcher Russell Clayton points out that more sleep helps employees “find an effective rhythm between work and life.”

11. Encourage Physical Fitness

There are numerous ways for organizations of all sizes to support their staff in becoming more physically fit. A stronger, healthier body will reduce overall life stress for your workers and decrease work-related burnout by boosting productivity. Offer recognition and rewards to employees who reach certain fitness goals. This can easily be done with an integrated wellness and recognition and rewards program, such as one offered by Achievers and Limeade. You can also sponsor special events, subsidize gym memberships or even add a fitness room to your work location.

12. Invite Pets to the Office

Of course, this won’t work if every employee does it, or if someone’s favorite pet has to be fed live mice on a daily basis. However, many companies are finding that a pet-friendly company culture increases employee happiness and improves employees’ reported work-life balance.

Creating a work culture that nurtures employee motivation is a complex art, and each organization has its own unique formula for achieving it. Putting any of these twelve tips into action will give you a great return on your investment, however — brightening your own professional life and boosting employee happiness. To learn more, download our e-book, “How to Incentivize Your Workforce.”

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employee recognition

How to Integrate Recognition Into Your Everyday Work Life

What are you doing to integrate recognition into your everyday work life? According to a 2018 report by Achievers and Aptitude Research Partners, companies identified recognition as having the greatest impact on employee engagement. This isn’t surprising considering 60% of companies plan to increase their investment in social recognition technology this year. With social recognition comes positive business results:

  • 4X more likely to improve stock prices
  • 2X more likely to improve NPS scores
  • 2X more likely to improve individual performances

Recognition should not be limited to a one-time occurrence. To maximize its impact, recognition needs to be frequent and shown on a daily basis. If you already made an investment in an employee recognition program or are planning to, let’s make sure your initiative gets the light of day. It’s important to make sure employees are frequently recognized and rewarded in the workplace. Below are top tips on how to integrate recognition into your everyday work life.

Take Advantage of Integrations

We recognize not all employees are able to be on your recognition platform 24/7. This is where integrations come into play. Through an Open API, it is now easy and seamless for employees to send and receive recognitions in the everyday flow of work. You now have the ability to integrate recognition into your company’s everyday platforms, whether it’s an intranet portal, instant messaging tool or learning management system. Don’t limit where employees can participate in recognition activities – look beyond just one platform and integrate recognition throughout multiple employee touchpoints.

Deliver a Fun User Experience

No one wants a boring user experience. Make sure your recognition platform has an engaging and easy-to-use interface. Daily active usage of any program depends on the quality of the user experience. Have fun with your recognition platform and see what is possible. Consider branding your recognition program to reflect your company’s style and design. Make sure your employees have options to play with – whether it’s monetary or social recognition, peer-to-peer or manager-to-employee recognition, or one-click recognitions. Let employees easily tie recognitions to company values. By incorporating values to recognition activities, you’re instilling your company’s mission and values on a regular basis.

Provide Unbeatable Rewards

Recognition is one thing, but what about the rewards that can come with it? Let recognition extend beyond the workplace and into your employees’ lives outside of the office with unbeatable rewards. Provide monetary recognition so that employees can accrue points, which they can later redeem for rewards. Offer an extensive rewards catalog that gets employees excited. Let employees pick the rewards that mean the most to them. So the next time your employees are looking at their new reward, such as an Apple TV, they will think about the constant recognition they received to redeem it. With the right rewards, employees will be motivated to recognize more often.

Brainstorm Campaign Ideas

Don’t wait for employees to come to your employee recognition platform, go to them! Push out fun campaigns throughout the year that will make employees want to get involved. Major companies, such as Scotiabank and Cox Automotive, are already executing successful campaigns for their recognition program. Scotiabank executed its “Pay It Forwardcampaign, which resulted in 86% activation globally, while Cox Automotive had its “Spark Week” celebration, which resulted in 25,522 “Thank You” recognition cards being sent across the platform. Don’t know when you should kick off your first or next campaign? Consider Employee Appreciation Week (EAW). EAW is the perfect opportunity to execute a creative campaign surrounding your employee recognition program and boost activity. Find inspiration from a list of Achievers clients who celebrated awesomeness during EAW.

So what are you waiting for? Start integrating recognition into your everyday work life. In a Gallup survey, two-thirds of employees stated they didn’t receive any recognition for their work over the last seven days. Let’s break the pattern and make recognition a frequent, everyday event in the workplace.

If you’re ready to increase recognition, download Achievers e-book covering three ways to make recognition and everyday event.

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About the Author
Kellie WongKellie Wong is a Content Marketing Manager for Achievers. She manages The Engage Blog and produces a range of marketing content. In addition to being the final editor of all blog content for The Engage Blog, she also manages and maintains relationships with 45+ writing contributors. Connect with Kellie on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

employees walking

Who’s the Real Flight Risk? Why Employees Leave (And Stay)

An excerpt from Staying Power Staying Power Book 2018

Who’s the Real Flight Risk?

Why do people stay at your organization? Is it because they’re passionate about the work they do? Do they enjoy working with their colleagues and/or those you serve? Do they feel well-compensated and appreciated? Or is it for another reason?

While I would like to think these positive reasons are the primary basis for why staff stay, that’s not always the case. Here are a few reasons why some staff stick around, even when they are unhappy in their current role or situation:

  1. True loyalty
    Some employees feel a sense of obligation to the owners, business, clients, or even a single manager who gave them the job and have invested in their career over time.
  2. Skills gap
    If workers have not kept up with continuing education or evolving skills needed in their industries, their current skills may no longer hold value in today’s employment market.
  3. Golden handcuffs
    When employees build up a cushion of paid time off (PTO) and are given several more weeks each year, it’s very difficult to start over elsewhere.
  4. VIP status
    When someone has worked at the same place for a long time, they have tremendous institutional knowledge and know how to pull strings to accomplish what they want. Even if seasoned workers are not in an official position of authority, they often carry weight among their peers, which they don’t want to give up by leaving.
  5. Lack of self-esteem
    Some workers don’t have enough confidence in their skills or value to look for another job, and those individuals often loathe the thought of interviewing due to the potential rejection.
  6. Creatures of habit
    Some people just do not like change. They prefer to stay in their comfort zones doing their current jobs, and they don’t want to transition over to a new company, new role, new colleagues, new boss, new systems and new processes.

Any chance you have a few employees on your team who appear to be more loyal than they truly are? It’s not a bad thing. They are dependable workers who get their jobs done with little supervision needed. But managers need to keep in mind that not everyone who stays is loyal to the organization or their managers.

Unfortunately, today’s younger workers have garnered a negative reputation for being job hoppers when, in fact, all new hires are a flight risk, regardless of their age.

New hires don’t have the “golden handcuffs” seasoned employees do, and most new hires have the confidence and courage to change jobs, or they would have stayed put.

Think of it this way. If someone was willing to leave their last company to come work for you, they are likely to leave you for the next opportunity that appeals to them.

Trees vs. Revolving Doors

The veteran group of dependable workers described earlier is what I refer to as the “trees” in our workforce today. They are deep-rooted in the organization and are not likely to go elsewhere anytime soon.

Now, the other part of the workforce is a completely different story. These less stable positions in the company are the “revolving door” roles, which rotate through new hires faster than managers would like, and that cost companies dearly in losses of productivity and profitability as they repeatedly rehire and retrain for these jobs.

At most organizations, I find the majority of positions fall into one of these two categories: trees or revolving doors. If you had to separate your entire workforce into only these two buckets, what percent of your staff falls into each? (There is no right answer. This is just to help you reflect on your current staffing situation.) Is it 70/30, 60/40, 50/50?

Now, project out five to 10 years and envision what percentage of your staff will fall into each category then. Scary, right? It doesn’t have to be!

The impending transition from a long-term workforce to a shorter-term workforce should not blindside any manager or company. We can see it coming, and can prepare for it now.

As more trees retire, they are not likely to be replaced by newer trees who will stay long term but, instead, those roles will become more revolving-door positions. This is already occurring in several industries and the trend will continue. I bring this projection to light as a way to jump-start your leadership team into discussions about the importance of understanding today’s new workforce and making retention efforts a priority. The costs associated with a lack of preparation will be detrimental to some organizations.

And keep in mind, the goal is not to stop the revolving door. The goal is to slow it down to a manageable pace that is sustainable.

Do you have a plan for the workforce transition? And do you know the parties involved?

To learn more about the current state of employee engagement, check out this white paper: “2018 Employee Engagement Survey: HR Professionals Share Their Advice for a More Engaged Workforce.

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About the Author
Cara SillettoWorkforce thought leader, speaker and author Cara Silletto, MBA, is the president and chief retention officer of Crescendo Strategies, a firm committed to reducing unnecessary employee turnover. Her 2018 book, Staying Power: Why Your Employees Leave & How to Keep Them Longer, helps employers better understand today’s new workforce and improve employee retention.

Want to read more and learn how to keep your staff longer? Get your copy of Staying Power now – available on Amazon here

 

 

 

engaged employees

How to Convert a Disengaged Employee Into An Engaged One

Disengagement is contagious and costly, and it’s your responsibility as a manager or HR professional to deal with this contagion before it spreads throughout your workplace. Overall, 16 percent of employees are actively disengaged, according to Gallup, but even one disengaged employee is one too many.

You can spot an actively disengaged worker as someone who disrupts projects by dropping the ball, overburdens co-workers who have to complete undone tasks, and ruins team cohesiveness by undercutting the mission and goals that motivate their colleagues. Disengaged workers may also work at odds with company norms – consistently breaking rules, like coming in late or leaving early, and generally being uninvolved in the office culture.

When you have actively disengaged employees in your fold, your other team members, who may have their own outside stresses and yet work hard to play by the rules, may feel resentful. And — watch out for this — the person they might end up resenting could be you.

Handling Disengaged Workers Is a Key Part of HR’s Job

If you are an HR professional, then you are the one responsible for ensuring that everyone contributes to shared company success, and your staff relies on you to be paying attention. Here’s how to approach a disengaged worker and prevent the contagion of disengagement from spreading throughout your company.

Step One: Get Employee Feedback and Listen

You may be feeling disappointed and frustrated with an employee who’s not pulling their weight, but it’s important to keep those emotions in check. It’s rare that an employee shows up at work with a desire to be engaged – or to disengage others. It’s quite likely that there are factors you don’t know about that are at play in the situation, so spend some time together and consider your meeting a fact-finding mission.

When you meet with employees, it is essential that you take a supportive tone to encourage them to talk openly about their feelings. Ask them to share their concerns and priorities as well as any ideas they have about how their job could be improved. Gathering regular, more frequent employee feedback through anonymous engagement surveying is another very effective way to stay informed. Such technology allows employees to feel safe in being candid about their experience and needs.

Just be sure you are gathering feedback and measuring often – as engagement is exceptionally fluid and shifts frequently. Keeping your finger on the pulse of employee engagement requires a rich toolbox of strategies so use them all to gather this critical information that will inform your engagement action.

Step Two: Address Immediate Issues

Regardless of how you gather your engagement data, be sure to respond to actionable engagement issues right away. This is the equivalent of stopping the spread of harmful contagion before it gets out of hand. There are feedback tools out there to help make this task easier, such as advanced technology that can deliver bite-sized, personalized actions for both employees and managers.

Author and engagement specialist Tim Eisenhauer states, “When an employee begins to experience problems with engagement, it’s essential to step in as quickly as possible so that things don’t progress further.”

The action you take will depend on the feedback you receive but here are some examples of ways you might tackle engagement challenges:

  • Frequently Monitor Engagement
    How often do you monitor employee engagement? If your answer is once to twice per year, that is simply not enough. Engagement levels are always changing and you must track it frequently in order to make a true impact. How can you accomplish this? Try pulse surveys. Pulse surveys are meant to be short and include a list of key questions that can be sent out regularly on a quarterly or even monthly basis. By frequently monitoring engagement, you can be immediately alerted of any dips in engagement and take action right away.
  • Personalize Your Actions
    As soon as you detect any sign of disengagement, make sure to address employee needs (whether it be recognition, rewards, feedback, ) with personalized action. For example, if an employee reports a dip on engagement around recognition, consider spotlighting the person in the next team meeting, recognizing them on your company-wide recognition platform, or having a personal one-on-one meeting to go over their accomplishments. Every employee is unique, with a different set of needs at different moments of time, so avoid using a one-size-fits-all model – you have to make your action personal.
  • Focus on Management Development
    The number one reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss or immediate supervisor. It is vital for management to develop trusting relationships with their employees. Research shows that when employees trust their managers, it affects engagement. Make sure managers are providing ongoing support and communication to their employees. By improving the way managers interact and work with their team, you are one step closer to improving engagement.
  • Use a Strength-Based Approach
    Take a strength-based management approach and start leveraging your employees’ strengths. Offering learning and development opportunities to help employees build upon their unique strengths is a great way to help them develop as professionals. After all, 87 percent of millennials said development is important in a job and 40 percent of employees who receive poor training and limited opportunities for development leave their job within five years.
  • Identify Core Values
    Have you ever measured the core values of your employees? Use a strength-based approach to identify which values matter most to each employee, as individuals. Once you determine which values are most core and remain constant to your employees, you can incorporate those values into your engagement Through a strength-based approach that leverages core values, you can better drive desired behavior and engage employees.
  • Be Attentive
    Make sure your employees feel heard and give them the attention and support they deserve. Encourage employees to participate in meetings and share their opinions. Always be receptive to their input and try to see their point of view. For example, if an employee needs more role definition and clarity, take the time to help them review their work priorities. Giving this type of undivided attention allows for engagement to occur on a very personal level.
  • Encourage Time Off
    Did you know 65 percent of employees didn’t use all of their Paid Time Off (PTO) last year? Research has shown that disconnecting from work affects performance . When employees get a break from work, they are more productive and engaged the following Avoid employee burnout by encouraging employees to take time off so they can recharge their batteries.

Once you have addressed the immediate needs of your actively disengaged employees, it’s important to help establish or reinforce a strong and healthy company culture that supports and encourages your staff to feel engaged in their work. There are many avenues to creating a culture that drives engagement , but here are two powerful steps to get you started on the right path:

  • Institute employee recognition and rewards

When you let employees know that you notice and appreciate their efforts, they become even more engaged in what they’re doing; it’s just a fact of human nature. Remember: “Employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year,” according to Gallup. Your staff’s teamwork will also improve when co-workers are encouraged to recognize and compliment each other’s efforts. Recognition is an engagement win-win.

  • Align employees with your company’s vision

HR expert Andre Lavoie writes in Entrepreneur that employee alignment with the company goals and vision is one of the most basic elements of engagement. He cites a 2016 Gallup poll that found “only 40 percent of millennial employees surveyed felt strongly connected to their company’s mission.” Lavoie goes on to comment that “this disconnect is sure to cause a lack of direction and create listless employees disengaged from their work.” Evaluating the extent to which your people feel aligned with, and empowered around, your company’s vision will guide you towards actions you can take to enhance that experience of impact – a key engagement driver.

Strengthening employee engagement in your company is a high-value investment in your organization’s performance and you can take concrete steps to achieve success. If you’re interested in learning more about the relationship between disengagement and business performance, take a look at our white paper, “Is HR a Cost Center? The True Cost of Employee Disengagement” and to see how one company went from below its benchmark to Best-in-Class in employee engagement related to recognition, download Achievers’ case study on Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.

Disengagement is a risk factor that threatens organizational health and performance but can be addressed through feedback, insight and a commitment to prioritizing employee engagement on your company’s strategic agenda.

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About Dr. Natalie Baumgartner

Natalie Baumgartner is the Chief Workforce Scientist at Achievers. She has spent her career advising companies of all sizes, from entrepreneurial startups to Fortune 500 firms, on issues related to company culture. Specifically tackling key hire assessment and portfolio due diligence issues, she’s found success analyzing what most overlook – the human element. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a specific focus on assessment and additional training in strength-based psychology. Natalie serves on the board of the Consulting Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association. She is a popular speaker on culture and recently did a TEDx talk on the importance of culture fit. Natalie is a culture evangelist and is passionate about the power that culture fit has to revolutionize how we work. As an avid Boot Camp aficionado, if you can’t find Natalie in the office odds are good you’ll bump into her sprinting up mountains in her hometown of Denver, CO.

 

 

employee and city view

7 Ways to Fast-Forward Your Career

In a survey of millennial employees, 32 percent stated they were actively seeking a promotion. Are you among those ambitious workers already laying the groundwork for advancing your career? If so, it’s never too soon to put an effective step-by-step strategy to work. Here are seven ways to fast-forward your career.

1. Refer to a Recent Accomplishment

While conscientiousness and competence are baseline requirements for moving up in the corporate world, they aren’t sufficient in themselves. The days when simply putting in your time would guarantee a promotion are long gone, and you need to be able to articulate your value to the company. Dr. Randall Hansen, founder of Quintessential Careers, advises keeping a record of what you’ve accomplished and turning those accomplishments into specific numbers. Have you sped up an operation by a certain percentage or increased sales by a measurable dollar amount? Statements like these are the kind of persuasion that managers naturally respect.

2. Stay on the Sunny Side

You’d never expect to be considered seriously for promotion if you chronically showed up late to work, left early or used vulgar language in the office. These behaviors, however, are seen as less problematic by supervisors than having a negative attitude. Fully 62 percent of managers say they’d be reluctant to promote a worker who makes a habit of complaining or spreading negativity. If you have to point out flaws in the system in order to highlight a better approach, it’s crucial to frame your statements in a positive tone. Spreading optimism and good spirits is an important element of expressing your alignment with company culture. Look at the situation through your manager’s eyes: He or she wants to improve productivity, and if you’re in the habit of pointing out all the ways in which things aren’t working, you’ll be identified with that negative stance.

3. Weave Your Social Web

There’s an old saying: “It’s not who you know; it’s who knows you.” This is a key maxim to keep in mind as you aspire to be noticed as a good candidate for promotion. John Corcoran, creator of “Smart Business Revolution” and former White House staff writer, identifies four specific targets for your networking efforts: your boss, your future boss (after the hoped-for promotion), your future peers and an influential peer of your future boss. Building your social network also gives you the foundation for career security because you’ll be positioned to hear about good opportunities wherever they happen to arise.

4. Look the Part

If this tip sounds like it belongs in the Mad Men era, that’s probably an indication that you should rethink your appearance. While office dress standards have relaxed, especially in the software world, where bringing dogs to work and kicking back over ping pong are the new normal, they have definitely not been abandoned. In a CareerBuilder survey, 43 percent of employers state that “shabby” or wrinkled clothing would make them less likely to promote someone, and 27 percent would find it harder to promote someone who dresses “too casually.” Other style disasters noted by managers include “unprofessional or ostentatious facial hair” (24 percent), heavy perfume or cologne (21 percent), and tattoos (27 percent). Your appearance is a visible metric that shows how aware you are of social signals, and that sensitivity is a key quality for leadership positions.

5. Always Be Learning

Whether you enroll in webinars, sign up for outside coursework or seek out mentors within your organization, you should constantly find ways to expand your knowledge. Your career won’t move forward unless you’re actively driving it, and increasing your skill set is how you fuel that advancement. Take action and find ways to engage in the workplace. Provide honest employee feedback to leadership, embrace new conversations with coworkers and share top accomplishments and goals. Furthermore, establishing a mentor relationship within your own company can put you in the sights of people who may have a say in promoting you.

6. Be Active in Recognition

Employees who got promoted received 83 percent more recognition from colleagues and supervisors than employees who continued in their current positions. Furthermore, an Achievers study found that the people chosen for promotion were those with the strongest track records of supporting and appreciating their coworkers. These successfully promoted workers turned out to have offered 3.8 times more recognition to colleagues than had their peers who were passed over for promotions. The ability to make people around you look good is an important leadership quality. This may seem counterintuitive since you want to stand out in your boss’s awareness, but you won’t win any points by running down your teammates. The hallmark of true excellence is the ability to lift up everyone on your team and promote the well-being of the organization as a whole.

7. Promote Your Boss’s Interests

In addition to helping your co-workers shine, it’s also important to figure out what matters most to your boss. Is she anxious about expanding the market? Does he have a big investment in developing a new product line? Listen to what your boss has to say about goals, and then put those goals at the top of your own priority list. Business strategist Larry Myler recommends, “Find out how your boss is judged and how he gets a bonus,” and then help him meet those goals.

Following these promotion tips is a win-win proposition. Even if you don’t get the promotion you first envisioned, you’ll become a prize catch for any manager. In the long run, your career is in your own hands, and you’re the one who moves yourself forward.

To learn more about how to be active in recognition, check out our e-book on how to make recognition an everyday event.

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retail employees

7 Fun Ways to Engage and Motivate Retail Employees

When it comes to the retail industry, your frontline workers literally can make or break the business. These workers are the ones that have the most direct contact with the customers, and they have the best chance of converting a prospective customer into a paying customer.

It makes perfect sense for retail managers to work hard to build an engaged and motivated front-line team. Both motivation and engagement have been linked to higher productivity rates, lower turnover, and improves customer services.

Unfortunately, a recent study reveals that more than one in three retail workers claim to feel disengaged in the workplace. To make matters worse, many in the retail industry work in busy, stressful, and high-demand workplaces. This type of chaotic workplace can make it difficult for managers to find time to foster engagement and build motivation with their workforce.

There are, however, several things retail managers can do that are fun, easy, and very effective at engaging and motivating retail employees.

1. Invest in Your Workers

Every good business leader knows that their employees are their most valuable asset. This fact is especially true in the retail industry. It’s vital that you make investing in your workers a top priority. Start by making sure that your employees have the right training, technology, and support they need to perform well on the job.

Don’t assume what your company offers now is sufficient. In fact, according to the latest State of the American Workplace Report, only 30 percent of workers state that they have the right tools to perform their job. Take the time to reach out and make sure your workers have the tools and equipment they need.

2. Develop Open Communication

One of the best ways to improve engagement in the workplace is to develop an open line of communication with your workers. Be sure that every employee knows exactly what is expected of them and what their sales and other goals, such as credit card applications, are and how these goals are measured.

Don’t stop at just relaying individual goals to your team. You also want to share the company’s goals, mission, and overall vision. Being open with your employees will make them feel like they are part of the team and motivate them to meet both individual and company goals.

3. Create a Culture of Recognition

Retail stores can be very busy, especially during the holidays and special events, which can make it challenging to make recognition a priority. The problem is that it’s during these times that your workers need recognition the most. Otherwise, your workers can feel undervalued, which can lead to frustration among your workers and lower workplace morale, reduce productivity, and lead to poor customer services.

This point makes it extremely important to create a culture of recognition, so whether it is during the busy period or not, your team is getting the recognition they deserve. Consider using digital employee recognition software that makes it easy for managers to recognize employees for a job well done and even gives employees a medium to offer peer recognition. This software allows for frequent, social, and engaging recognition.

4. Reward Employees for a Job Well Done

Don’t just stop at recognizing your employees for a job well done. Take the next step and reward them when you can. There are many types of rewards you can offer, such as monetary rewards, paid time off rewards, gifts redemptions, social recognition, employee-of-the-month, and many more. The dollar value of the reward is not as important as the process of rewarding your team for going above and beyond expectations.

5. Maintain a Nice Break Room

Maintaining a nice break room can be difficult for many retail stores, who are already short on storage space. Nonetheless, it’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked. On the surface, a break room may not seem like a major priority, but when you’ve been on your feet for hours, dealing with long lines and cranky customers, the opportunity to sit and relax during your break can play a major role in one’s workplace attitude.

If you want your employees to stay happy and motivated, making sure they have a, not just adequate, but a nice break room to relax for a few minutes is a must.

6. Encourage Honest Feedback

Remember that your frontline employees have direct contact with your customers. They hear the complaints, compliments, and concerns of all your customers. These workers know what’s working in the stores and what isn’t. They know what the customers like and what they don’t.

The good news is that you can know too, just by regularly asking your employees for honest feedback. It’s important to encourage your employees to provide regular feedback and to provide them with an always-on employee feedback tool, that is engaging and easy to use. Not only can you gather their feedback on the customer experience, but equally important, the employee experience. Make it a priority to listen to your employees frustrations and address any signs of disengagement right away.

7. Take Appropriate Action

That last thing you want to do is to ask for honest employee feedback and then sit on the data. Failing to take action on employee feedback will not only encourage your workers to stop offering any feedback, but it will create frustration throughout the workplace.

Yes, retail stores are busy, chaotic, and stressful, but that is no excuse for ignoring employee feedback. Thankfully, today’s technology makes taking action easier than ever. The right software can guide both managers and employees through the action plan process, by delivering bite-sized, personalized actions. Following feedback through with action can help to boost employee engagement and motivate your team.

Motivating and engaging retail workers does not have to be complicated or time-consuming, but it does require a commitment from the management team. Download the Shop Direct Customer Success Story to find out how Shop Direct, a multi-brand online retailer serving the United Kingdom and Ireland, was able to boost employee engagement by 17 percent with Achievers‘ award-winning employee engagement and recognition platform.

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employee feedback

Millennials and Their Desire for Always-On Feedback

The millennial generation is changing the nature of the American workplace, and as a manager you need to be tuned in. Millennials make up more than half the workforce as of 2015, and by 2025 they will account for 75 percent of it. Every workforce brings unique attributes to the business arena and this is the first that grew up in a technological world that has virtually always provided opportunities for real-time feedback. That reality has had a fundamental impact on the ways in which millennials work today. If you yourself belong to this generation, the information below may feel familiar to you. But regardless of your own experience, as a leader it is critically important to ensure that you are transforming your approach to feedback in order to meet the needs of your millennial employee base.  Let’s take a look at “why” and “how”:

This Generation Is Different

One big change, brought about by the digital revolution, is that millennials do not tend to separate work from the rest of their lives in the same manner as previous generations. The omnipresence of technology means that they are rarely disconnected from work or home, regardless of location or time of day. In fact, this segment of employees is accustomed to an “always-on” connection to every part of their lives. So, just as they stay in regular contact with friends and family around the globe through messaging and their social media network, this generation also feels most at ease when they are directly connected with their manager. It’s no surprise that the Millenial experience of being able to check in, ask questions, and get feedback in real-time in their personal life would be mirrored in their desire to have similar access and input in their professional lives. The question facing people leaders then is, how best to meet those feedback needs? Especially when no one is actively asking.

They Don’t Necessarily Ask for the Feedback They Need

It’s true. Even though thousands of words are spread all over the internet about how much millennials want regular feedback, a curious fact is that they themselves don’t tend to ask for it. Gallup research reports that only 15 percent of millennial workers “strongly agree” that they ask for routine feedback. This tendency to keep their requests muted is pervasive: Gallup found that only one-third of millennial employees state they’ve even told their manager “the one thing they need most to get their work done and why.” In light of this absence of active solicitation for feedback, the Gallup researchers offer the following advice: “Managers also need to take initiative and increase the amount of feedback they provide — regardless of what their millennial workers may or may not request.” Ok, but how?

Feedback Is a Social Act

For a generation raised on social media, using the same type of interactive, social tool for employee feedback makes sense. Some may not at first see the point of a social feedback platform, but once it’s instituted, they will likely appreciate the sense of connectedness it offers. An always-on, intelligent channel is also a great way for managers to stay in touch with their whole department and gather feedback.

Two-Way Feedback Is Vital for Engagement

That open channel between you and your team should allow information to flow in both directions. Providing the ability to ask questions and offer opinions is one of the key drivers of employee engagement. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) highlights “constant feedback from employees” as one of the ways in which managers and HR departments can build a culture of engaged workers. SHRM particularly notes that employee feedback and recognition technology can help to facilitate essential two-way communication – but it must be integrated into how you do business.

Active Listening As Part of Your Workflow

Today’s workflow often relies on technological platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, and so forth. These platforms have the opportunity to integrate an active interface for listening alongside those task-related communications. The two types of conversation that exist in work — supportive and logistical — no longer need to be tackled separately. Through active listening technology, questions and ideas can flow freely between employees and managers as part of the collaboration process. Furthermore, keeping an open listening channel is a reliable way for you to stay checked-in with how each of your team members is feeling on a day-to-day basis. You no longer have to leave yourself sticky notes or alerts reminding you to ask one person if they need time off for their son’s surgery and to check in with someone else about whether their new project idea is working out. With an active listening interface, like Achievers Listen, you stay directly connected with employees by using an always-on, open channel to hear and understand what matters to each individual.

The New Era of Feedback

Comprehensive feedback practices translate directly into employee engagement and companies with highly engaged workers outperform other companies by as much as 202 percent. Gallup researchers have dug even deeper into employees’ need for feedback and have confirmed the relationship between feedback and engagement. Millennials who have regular meetings with their manager are twice as likely to be engaged at work, while engagement is at its highest among those who meet with their manager at least once a week. Unfortunately, though, fewer than half of the Gallup survey respondents reported being able to get feedback from their managers even as often as once a month, leaving those employees at risk for becoming disengaged.

The good news is that making a few simple changes to the way your company gives and receives employee feedback can ensure that your millennial employees – and all of your people – will get the input they need, placing your employer brand ahead of the competition. To learn more about engaging your workforce through active listening, download our Achievers Listen brochure and white paper: “The New Engagement Conversation: Workplace Chatbots and the Science Behind Achievers’ Allie.”

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About Dr. Natalie Baumgartner

Natalie Baumgartner is the Chief Workforce Scientist at Achievers. She has spent her career advising companies of all sizes, from entrepreneurial startups to Fortune 500 firms, on issues related to company culture. Specifically tackling key hire assessment and portfolio due diligence issues, she’s found success analyzing what most overlook – the human element. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a specific focus on assessment and additional training in strength-based psychology. Natalie serves on the board of the Consulting Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association. She is a popular speaker on culture and recently did a TEDx talk on the importance of culture fit. Natalie is a culture evangelist and is passionate about the power that culture fit has to revolutionize how we work. As an avid Boot Camp aficionado, if you can’t find Natalie in the office odds are good you’ll bump into her sprinting up mountains in her hometown of Denver, CO.

 

 

employee workplace

A Recognition Moment: An Interview with Lauren Brittingham of Bayhealth Medical Center

Lauren BrittinghamMeet Lauren Brittingham
Director of Organizational Development, Bayhealth Medical Center

Lauren Brittingham is the Director of Organizational Development at Bayhealth Medical Center, a not-for-profit healthcare system with more than 3,700 employees. Seven years ago, Lauren was hired by Bayhealth Medical Center to focus on “special projects” for the Human Resources (HR) department. She has grown a successful career in HR ever since, climbing up the ranks to director-level at Bayhealth Medical Center. With a Master’s Degree in Public Administration (with a concentration in Health Policy) and seven years of HR experience in her back pocket from Bayhealth Medical Center, she is well equipped to make a powerful impact on Bayhealth Medical Center’s culture and employee experience.

When it comes to the employee experience, Lauren’s biggest focus is making employees feel valued, respected, and appreciated. She truly believes that no matter how small a job is or how junior an employee might be, every job is important in helping an organization run effectively and efficiently. Creating a positive employee experience isn’t always easy and doesn’t always come with immediate support from frontline employees or leaders, but Lauren makes it her priority to ensure every employee is working towards creating a positive experience. After all, an unbeatable employee experience is what keeps employees wanting to come back to work and put their best foot forward.

Let’s Take a Moment to Recognize Lauren

We want to take a moment to recognize Lauren for her accomplishments in employee engagement. Below, she answers a series of questions, providing advice for fellow HR professionals and sharing her personal story.

  1. What interested you in a career in HR?

I initially took a job offer to work on “special projects” on the Human Resources team at Bayhealth Medical Center as my foot in the door to the healthcare industry. While I thought my placement in HR would be temporary and I would find a different role elsewhere in the organization, I found myself gaining more and more responsibility. Within my first year at Bayhealth Medical Center, I updated close to fifty HR policies, managed the employee engagement survey, and was promoted to a manager role which required me to oversee the front-of-house operations and workers’ compensation program. I found my work interesting; instead of focusing on creating policies and programs to help patients, I was creating policies and programs to support healthcare workers, who in turn care for patients – a spin on my initial career goal of wanting to work in Health Policy, but a very important one at that. Each year I gained more responsibility in the HR department, including recognition and rewards, employee relations, and organizational development. I felt very connected to my work in HR and gladly took on new projects. In February 2018, I was promoted to Director of Organizational Development at Bayhealth Medical Center.

  1. What is your biggest culture challenge and how do you overcome it?

At our organization, we have a lot of employees and leaders who have worked at Bayhealth Medical Center for a long time (20+ years) and many employees whose only work experience is at Bayhealth Medical Center. These long-term employees are very in tuned with the organization’s history and often compare previous work experiences or benefits to new initiatives. While working to overcome this challenge requires constant focus, we try our best to explain the “why” behind new initiatives by incorporating facts about industry standards, economic trends, and the changing workforce. We also tailor our communication style to speak specifically to certain generations. Overcoming this challenge isn’t easy, but providing the “why” behind the “what” provides transparency to help earn trust from our employees and shows that there is a strong business reason as to why we may be changing some things in our organization. 

  1. What is the key to boosting employee engagement across your organization?

The main key to boosting employee engagement across Bayhealth Medical Center is having every leader aligned and making sure they each own their engagement strategy. If leaders don’t own their engagement strategy, they won’t support the need for change. When employees don’t see or feel change in the workplace, they will continue to be disengaged and feel like their voice isn’t being heard. And it doesn’t just stop there, clients and patients will feel the disengagement from your employees as well. This reminds me of a Harvard Business Review article titled, “Reminder: Customers Care How You Treat Your Employee.”

  1. What is your favorite employee recognition moment at Bayhealth Medical Center?

My favorite moment was when we implemented Driven, our recognition and rewards program powered by Achievers. We put a lot of effort into the program’s rollout, including going to hospitals during night shifts to encourage employees to sign up and start participating in the program. We even passed out stickers of the program’s logo for employees to wear. It was fun seeing employees walk around our hospitals wearing Driven stickers and scrolling through tons of recognitions on Driven’s newsfeed as soon as the program launched.

You could feel the excitement from the employees for our new recognition and rewards program.

This excitement continues to live on today, with Driven remaining a very active platform and recognition being spread across the organization on a regular basis.

  1. Where do you see the future of employee engagement heading?

As we know, millennials are taking over the workforce (yes, yes we are!). Millennials are coached, as I even remember being coached in college, to not settle for the first offer of employment, negotiate salary, and look for benefits that support work-life balance. Gone are the days of employees being loyal to one organization from teenage years all the way to retirement. The future of engagement depends on recognizing these changes in the workforce (like it or not) and embracing them. What worked for one generation won’t work for another. Employees may be asking for more, but it doesn’t mean you have to give more – you just need to be more flexible. If you don’t recognize the changing workforce and apply necessary changes, your business will fail to keep up with competitors as a result.

  1. What would be your top three pieces of advice for an HR professional who is looking to implement an employee engagement strategy at their organization?

#1: Understand who you are addressing in your employee population as well as the clients you serve. What job roles are represented? What is the generational breakdown? What is the range of tenure with the organization? How will engagement strategies affect clients and employees, positively or negatively? Knowing these details are important when it comes to tailoring your message and strategic plan.

#2: Sometimes implementing engagement strategies elicit strong emotions and pushback from others in the organization; this includes everyone from frontline employees to leadership.  Remember to focus on what the overall goal is and remind yourself that changes are not personal. Just because one thing has worked in an organization for 40 years does not mean it will work forever. Coaching leaders to embrace change is important in continuing your journey to further enhance engagement.

#3: Focus on what keeps your employees engaged AND your customers engaged. Focusing too heavily on one end of the spectrum instead of looking at both can leave your organization feeling like a) the employee doesn’t matter, or b) the customer doesn’t matter. Understanding the needs from both groups can help you determine how to approach engagement initiatives with employees while still delivering the best experience to your customers and vice versa.

Looking Ahead

What’s next for Lauren? She and the Bayhealth Medical Center team are continuing to look at what they can do within the organization to further enhance and increase employee engagement. They are continuously improving everything from benefits and work-life balance to recognition and rewards. Lauren is also involving leaders more than ever before in engagement programs. By involving leadership more in engagement initiatives, leaders have higher accountability to connect with their staff and promote a work culture that truly engages employees.

About Bayhealth Medical Center’s Recognition Program

Bayhealth Medical Center’s employee recognition program, powered by Achievers, caters to 3,700 employees across central and southern Delaware. Since launch in 2015, the program has seen a 95% activation rate, 75% monthly active usage, and 19,500 leader-sent recognitions in 2018.

To learn more about the award-winning platform that powers Bayhealth Medical Center’s recognition program, sign up for a demo of Achievers today.

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Do you have any thoughts on this article? Share your comments below.

About the Author
Kellie WongKellie Wong is a Content Marketing Manager for Achievers. She manages The Engage Blog and produces a range of marketing content. In addition to being the final editor of all blog content for The Engage Blog, she also manages and maintains relationships with 45+ writing contributors. Connect with Kellie on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

employee productivity

3 Ways to Increase Productivity Using Workers’ Personality Types

In office environments, balancing work and small talk, focus, and idle chit-chat can sometimes feel like an uphill battle in a desk chair. Maybe that’s why the web is stuffed with productivity articles outlining how to be more deliberate, engaged, and focused at work. Going down that rabbit hole — and we share your enjoyment of the irony here — could lose you a few productive hours all on its own.

But at the end of the day, what do we really know about productivity? And more importantly, what do we know about unproductivity? What distracts employees the most? Beyond what you already know about everyday distractions like text messages, online shopping, news alerts, social media, and everything else our smart devices are begging us to pay attention to, the real office productivity killer might be much more personal. In a recent survey by TSheets, respondents ranked talkative co-workers and co-workers who interrupt as the top distractions at work.

But despite what you may have heard, politeness still matters. So this new revelation of unproductivity and chatty co-workers could make addressing distractions a little … awkward. HR managers and people leaders should be deliberate when embarking on productivity quests, considering different personalities and how they can work better together, ultimately, to produce more.

Personality Types and Productivity in Noisy Environments

Perhaps you’ve administered or taken some version of a personality test for work, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a well-known assessment that assigns respondents to one of 16 personality types. Contrary to popular opinion, the MBTI doesn’t simply determine who is shy and who is outgoing. The test assesses how individuals get their energy (whether they are energized by groups or by being alone).

Now, we don’t need to go into detail about the test itself but, rather, discuss the ways people who are inherently introverted or extroverted might react to noise in their environment. In this case, we’re talking about noise created by co-workers such as background chatter, side conversations, and small talk. You know, typical office banter about Mondays, coffee, and what’s for lunch.

In the Journal of Environmental Psychology’s “Mental Performance in Noise: The Role of Introversion,” researchers tested the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire on medical students to determine their levels of introversion and extroversion before asking them to perform mathematical tasks in noisy and quiet conditions. In conclusion, the extroverted students were more productive in the noisy environment compared to the quiet, whereas more introverted people experienced concentration problems and fatigue in noise. “Correlation analysis,” the researchers explain, “revealed a highly significant negative relation of extroversion and noise annoyance during mental processing.”

While it’s unfair to categorize employees based on their introverted or extroverted tendencies, the information on how different personalities work can help managers ensure the highest productivity levels for their teams. Even small changes to the office environment and workweek can improve focus for a range of personalities working under one roof.

  1. Restructure Breaks

The TSheets unproductivity survey also showed that while productivity experts encourage people to take seven breaks per day for maximum output, 3 out of 5 workers said it’s unlikely they would be able to take seven breaks per day. Meanwhile, 60 percent of respondents said they feel taking a daily lunch break helps boost their productivity. That said, 1 in 5 workers admits to powering through the day without taking a lunch — and they find themselves more productive for it.

Whether employees are eating lunch at their desks or getting away for an hour, one thing is for sure: Breaks should be for re-energizing. And depending on where workers get their energy, whether it’s from socializing or having alone time, not taking proper breaks can really drain a person.

HR managers should encourage leaders and employees to see the value of social breaks and quiet, solo breaks. And employees should feel empowered to take the solo breaks they need or to organize activities and lunches with others during breaks, so they’re re-energized before returning to their work. To emphasize the importance of knowing how workers re-energize, HR managers can have employees take a personality test (like the Myers-Briggs assessment) upon hiring or ask questions about the types of downtime workers find most refreshing.

  1. Offer Flexibility and Remote Working Options

TSheets respondents said the flexibility to work remotely is the No. 1 factor that would make them more productive. Whether introverted or extroverted, sometimes being in a comfortable, familiar environment can help foster creative thinking. This option was second only to more flexible hours, which 61 percent said would be the biggest productivity booster. So flexible hours and the ability to work remotely when possible or appropriate could be a game-changer for productivity.

HR managers who don’t have a remote workforce can first look into the feasibility of employees working remotely. If it seems possible, send out a companywide survey to gauge how much employees might value the option. With enough interest, consider a policy wherein employees can work remotely a specific number of days per week, month, or quarter, or allow them to pick the days they work from home so long as they notify their manager and aren’t needed on site. This flexibility will show trust, and managers can monitor productivity should the privilege need reversing. Since the survey respondents marked remote work as something that would make them the most productive, it could be worth a shot.

  1. Reduce Noise Pollution

If remote work and flexibility or lenient breaks aren’t possible for your specific office environment, there are things you can do to encourage a quiet workspace for those who are distracted by their co-workers. For more introverted employees, noise-canceling headphones are a good investment. It’s also helpful to have areas around the office where employees can work quietly, without interruption. That way, when the volume turns up and people need to focus, they can politely excuse themselves and go to a room with less noise. Offices with an open-office plan can use partitions to block out both noise and visual distractions, so employees can get in the zone.

Do different personality types respond to noise distractions differently? Almost certainly. Will the office environment ever be completely distraction-free? Doubtful! But employers and HR managers can take the time to configure the environment for flexibility and more energizing breaks and give workers a choice between noise and quiet.

To learn more about how to engage the modern workforce, check out Achievers e-book: “How to Incentivize the Modern Workforce.

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About the Author
Kim Harris headshotKim Harris is a copywriter and blogger based in Boise, Idaho, who has been putting her journalism background to good use telling true stories and helping businesses grow since 2008. When she’s not writing for TSheets by QuickBooks, you’ll find her queuing up entertainment and plotting her next escape.

 

 

 

 

employee experience

7 Ways to Create an Unbeatable Employee Experience

What do your employees say about their experience with your company? Have you asked them lately? When you have a job opening, do you have top candidates reaching out to you for consideration? A Bersin survey finds that “Nearly 80 percent of executives rated employee experience very important (42 percent) or important (38 percent), but only 22 percent reported that their companies were excellent at building a differentiated employee experience.” Furthermore, 59 percent of these respondents reported that they are not fully ready to address the challenge of creating a great employee experience. The key goal in today’s accelerating digital landscape is not merely to fill jobs, but to fill them with top talent and then retain that talent. You’ll only achieve this goal if you know how to create an unbeatable employee experience. Here are seven ways to make your employer brand compelling to future and current workers:

1. Think in Design Terms

Design thinking informs some of today’s most important innovations, and its principles are now being applied to the employee experience. A Bersin research report states, “Using the new idea of design thinking, I believe most HR teams will stop designing ‘programs’ and start designing ‘experiences.'” Design professionals have various tools for approaching the concept. Some of these tools, such as experience mapping, originated for the purpose of understanding customers better, but they are adaptable for gaining insight into what employees need.

2. Improve the Onboarding Process

Even when you manage to snag one of those elite job candidates, their good skills will inevitably need some fine-tuning in order to settle into their new role. Each workplace has its own style and demands, and effective training is one of the key factors in successful onboarding. A report by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) notes that 11 percent of HR professionals say their training budget has decreased within the past year, while another 31 percent state that their organization has no training budget whatsoever. If your company falls into one of these bleak statistics, this means you have a big opportunity for improvement.

3. Adopt a Coaching Stance

Today’s workplace approach is changing from performance management to “performance development,” according to a Gallup report. The report states, “To master this new approach, managers must take ownership of their employees’ development and think of themselves in a new way: as a coach, not a boss.” This management style includes frequent check-ins with direct reports and a strengths-based approach to guiding their development.

4. Check the Outside Perspective

While employer reviews on Glassdoor or LinkedIn are not always easy to read, Deloitte’s report on employee experience reminds HR professionals that these critiques provide a valuable perspective. Anonymous posting by current and former employees means that nothing is censored, and the unvarnished commentary can be invaluable in pointing out gaps and opportunities in your company culture. Along similar lines, Deloitte recommends exploring how your competitors handle the employee experience. Benchmarking such as this yields an actionable appraisal of where you stand in a competitive field.

5. Ask for Feedback

This suggestion sounds pretty obvious, right? If you want to know how anyone feels, the first step is just to ask them. Yet Deloitte reports that 79 percent of companies survey their employees only annually or less, while 14 percent never survey them at all. An always-on, intelligent, open channel and pulse surveys are excellent for providing insights on your staff’s overall wellbeing. And making change requires action, not just insights. With the right employee feedback platform, you can deliver bite-sized, personalized actions for both employees and managers so everyone is empowered to impact engagement right away. If employees feel empowered, and they see that their feedback is taken seriously, they will develop a better employee experience and feel more aligned with your company’s culture.

6. Offer Frequent Recognition

Frequent employee recognition is valuable in maintaining morale and engagement. Best practices in providing employee recognition include being prompt and specific when you deliver praise and recognition. Even though engaged employees will have their own internal reasons for putting in maximum effort, it’s human nature to feel good about being recognized for hard work. Similarly, providing opportunities for co-workers to recognize and reward each other will facilitate a greater sense of social belonging for everyone at the workplace.

7. Allow Autonomy

Recent research published in Science Daily draws a direct line from the amount of employee autonomy to the degree of satisfaction those individuals feel. This autonomy can include the nature and prioritizing of job tasks, or it can cover the location and timing of work. Either way, the researchers add this sobering note: “Despite the reported increased levels of well-being, in many cases managers remain unwilling to offer employees greater levels of autonomy and the associated benefits, because their primary role remains one of ‘control and effort extraction’.”

Just as consumers are becoming more empowered to demand a positive experience, employee expectations are also undergoing change. Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends study, which reports on a survey of 10,400 global business and HR leaders, has this takeaway comment for you: “Accelerating change creates the need for new rules for business and HR.” To learn more about how you can stay competitive by rewriting your own rules, download our white paper: “Personalization: The Missing Link in Employee Experience.”

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Do you have any thoughts on this article? Share your comments below.

About the Author

Diane Scheidler is a business focused Human Resources executive with significant functional experience in all areas of HR. She has worked in both early start-up and established high growth, Software and SaaS organizations supporting North American, LATAM, and European business units.

Diane is currently the Head of HR for Achievers, where she continually focuses on the employee experience, ensuring a culturally rich and engaging work environment.

Prior to Achievers, Diane has acted in a Sr. Leadership capacity to lead functionally diverse areas of Human Resources for employee populations ranging from 200 to well over 100,000 employees for Samsung Canada, Amazon Canada, Blackberry and Altana Pharma.

Diane currently holds a Master of Human Resources and Organizational Development degree from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor degree from the University of Western Ontario. Diane is also a Certified Compensation Professional.

 

leadership and colorful cups

Leaders Who Drink Their Own Koolaid

“Leaders are surrounded by liars.” Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries

 It really doesn’t amaze me how some leaders come to feel they are a cut above. After all, who can blame them? As they climb the organizational ladder, the probability that they’re getting honest feedback rapidly diminishes. Certainly, those above them may still be candid, but those on the lower rungs, not so much. Few employees will risk calling out their bosses on their bad behavior or inadequate efforts…and this is not good for the leader or the company’s bottom- line.

The Slippery Slope

The usual case is that remarks from those working beneath a leader tend towards the positive. Flattery, ego stroking or careful wording – whatever an employee feels is necessary to keep their job – is the route most take. Whether it be due to a socially ingrained deference to authority or out of fear of risking one’s job, most leaders simply do not get the feedback they need to become great at enlisting the best from their people. It’s easy to understand how, over time, a leader can completely lose touch with what people are really thinking.

Know Anyone Like This?

Senior leaders who have evolved double standards abound. For example, they might expect their team to return their phone calls or emails promptly, while they themselves no longer feel compelled to do the same. They may also come to expect much from others in the way of effort but they themselves don’t feel the need to break much of a sweat.

Due to the lack of honest upward-focused feedback, a leader may also have expectations disconnected from the reality of available resources. I’ve observed many situations where overworked, but committed employees, give it their all but still fall short of their boss’s requests. All this because no one wants to appear a ‘complainer’ or of somehow ‘not being up to the task’ by pointing out resource shortcomings.

All this is both de-motivating and de-moralizing for employees. If people don’t feel that their boss is behaving with mutual respect and accountability, they’ll eventually head for the hills.

The Elephant in the Room

Of all the reasons people leave companies, having a leader who they have a poor relationship with them tops the list. According to Gallup, 50% of employees who quit cite their immediate manager as the reason.

While someone may initially be drawn towards a particular company because of the compensation, mission or growth opportunities, they most often leave because they don’t have a good relationship with their boss and not because of the pull of better offers elsewhere.

It soon becomes very clear why leaders need to get honest feedback along the way. Not only is it necessary to retain their top talent, but to do otherwise is to throw money out the door.

Losing good employees costs time, talent and money. The stakes are fairly high when replacing a team member. The total cost of replacing an employee can be anywhere from thousands of dollars to 1.5 – 2x their annual salary. It involves much more than placing a new ad.

The real cost of losing an employee includes these impacts:

  • The cost of recruiting including the advertising, interviewing, screening and hiring.
  • The cost of onboarding a new hire including training and time from their new manager can be Over the course of 2-3 years a business may have to invest 10-20 percent of a new hire’s salary, or more, for training.
  • Lost productivity – it may take a new hire 1 – 2 years to get up to the speed and efficiency of an existing employee.
  • Lost engagement and cultural impact – other team members who see high turnover tend to disengage and lose their will to give their all. Both productivity and customer service can take a dive. Morale can also easily slide downwards…quickly.

The elephant in the room is the fact that many companies simply do not have programs in place to train their leaders in the primary foundation of leadership: knowing how to get the best from others.

Give Leaders Support…The Kind They Really Need

All too often leaders are thrust into their new positions with minimal support. They are not given the training or feedback that it takes to engage and get the best thinking from their team…and this is bad for business. This baptism by fire scenario pushes new leaders to fall back on what they’ve seen modeled or may understand as ‘leadership’.

One need only cast a brief glance towards the uncivil discourse within our political realm to see extraordinarily harmful examples of bullying and coercive leadership. But bad examples are everywhere. There are many examples of ‘command and control’ leadership styles throughout industry. This is why all leaders, both new and experienced, deserve and require training in how to do it differently.

Companies need to teach and coach their leaders to take an active role in building engagement plans with their employees. They should hold leaders accountable, track their progress, and ensure they continuously focus on engaging their teams. A leader’s ability to engage their teams should be part of their formal performance review process.

Research also makes clear that direct supervisors are the main components underlying how much discretionary effort employees deliver to their jobs. An engaged employee puts their heart and shoulders into their work because they want to. This is where all of the magic happens. It is this extra effort that makes the difference between acceptable productivity and stellar productivity, a mediocre product and a superb one, adequate customer service and outstanding customer service.

Where does it start?

Perhaps the most important piece in all of this is to realize that it may start with you. Take time to reflect on your own behaviors. Are you part of the problem or the solution?

If you are a leader that has elevated yourself above your team, it may mean that you are drunk on your own kool-aid. This behavior is not helping to engage your team, produce the results you want, or work through the issues that you need to face.

Being a cut above is not helping anyone. Plus, kool-aid really is for kids.

Do you want to learn more about employee engagement? Check out this recent analyst insights paper: “2018 Employee Engagement Survey: HR Professionals Share Their Advice for a More Engaged Workforce.”

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Do you have any thoughts on this article? Share your comments below.

About the Author
Doug BrockwayDoug never colored within the lines as a child and believes in the healing power of dark chocolate. Despite being allergic to neck ties, he’s passionate about business. A Certified Executive Coach with global experience, he teaches leading edge approaches that help organizations create cultures that drive engagement, productivity and innovation, giving leaders and teams the skills and experience to contribute to the business in high impact ways. More information about his firm can be found at www.brockwayservices.com.

 

 

employee engagement

6 Mind-Blowing Stats on Employee Engagement

If you’ve been casual about the topic of employee engagement or figured that your employees are probably doing fine (because you’d know if something wasn’t working, right?), it’s time to take a second look. Employee engagement can seem like a vague topic since it doesn’t show up as a line item on your end-of-quarter financials, but it actually has a significant impact on how nicely those numbers stack up. Here’s a handful of employee engagement stats we’ve gathered to capture your attention:

1. Over Half the Workforce is Actively Job-Hunting

Gallup published their State of the American Workforce report, which reflects the responses of over 195,000 American employees across every industry. This important study – the largest of its kind – found that 16 percent of American workers are actively disengaged while another 51 percent are “just there.” What’s more, 51 percent of those lackadaisical or disengaged workers are busily checking their inboxes and social media networks for better opportunities. And given today’s improved employment climate, the more talented among them are aware that they’re in high demand. 63 percent – almost two-thirds – of Gallup’s respondents expressed some confidence that they’d be able to find a job as good as or better than their current one.

2. 72 Percent Ranked Employee Recognition as Having the Greatest Impact on Engagement

A recent Achievers report revealed companies identified recognition as having the greatest impact on employee engagement. Furthermore, companies that invest in social recognition see an improvement in stock prices and NPS scores, as well as individual performance of employees. With 60% of companies planning to increase their investment in social recognition technology, don’t lose sight of the power behind employee recognition and its positive impact on employee engagement.

3. Businesses with Engaged Workers Have Double the Odds of Success

When Gallup researchers compared overall metrics of businesses in the top quartile of employee engagement with those unfortunate companies in the bottom quartile, the contrast was stark. The high-performing companies simply shone, with 28 percent less shrinkage, 41 percent lower absentee rates, 40 percent fewer quality defects and between 25 and 59 percent less turnover. When all these factors are merged into one unified picture, the result is a doubling of financial success for companies who know how to build a positive work culture.

4. Highly Engaged Businesses Are 70 Percent Safer

As Gallup examined the characteristics of the best-performing workplaces, its researchers noticed a big difference in safety statistics. Workplaces with the highest levels of employee engagement were much safer: They experienced 70 percent fewer employee safety incidents and (for healthcare providers) 58 percent fewer patient safety mishaps. The study concluded that these healthier environments result from the simple fact that engaged workers pay more attention to what’s happening around them. They’re not busy wishing they were somewhere else, checking their phones or nursing grudges. Instead, they’re watching what happens and communicating with co-workers about safety issues.

5. Disengaged Workers Have a 60 Percent Higher Rate of General Errors

In Achievers’ white paper, we learn a lot about the high cost of employee disengagement. Did you know disengaged workers have a 60% higher rate of general errors? And disengagement costs the U.S. economy $550 billion per year? It’s important to address any signs of disengagement before it becomes a larger issue. A great way to address disengagement right away is with an always-on, active listening interface that gathers feedback, asks questions, and gives updates, next actions, and ideas to both employees and managers to impact engagement right away.

6. Companies with Engaged Employees Have Five Times Higher Shareholder Returns

Research published in Business2Community shows the very material effect that your employee engagement has on that all-important bottom line. While you probably care about employee happiness for its own sake, you have to be able to present some clear figures and stats when you’re explaining the value of investing in HR technology to folks in the C-suite. They’ll be impressed to hear that shareholder returns measured over a five-year period were five times higher at companies whose workers reported being engaged. Also, it’s valuable to note that organizations with engaged employees outperform those with low employee engagement by 202%.

The key to keeping workers engaged isn’t a deep secret. Proven pathways exist to increasing your employees’ sense of personal well-being and dedication to their jobs. To learn more, access Achievers white paper: “2018 Employee Engagement Survey: HR Professionals Share Their Advice For a More Engaged Workforce.

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What do you think about these 6 mind-blowing employee engagement stats? Share your comments below.

 

holidays in the office

5 Fun Holiday Traditions to Start in Your Office This Year

The holidays are a perfect time to have fun with employees and show them a good time. If you’re throwing a holiday party, don’t stop there—54 percent of employees want to feel more “holiday spirit in the workplace,” according to a recent Randstad survey—so start some fun new traditions this year.

If you’re not sure what to do, consider these fun ideas. They’ll keep employees excited all season long, while connecting co-workers and getting everyone into the holiday spirit.

  1. Cook-Off Competition

Who’s the best cook in the office? Find out by pitting your foodie coworkers against each other in a holiday cook-off competition. The first step in organizing your first-annual cook-off is to decide what employees will cook. Choose something fun, like:

  • The best cup of hot chocolate
  • The best holiday cookie
  • The best holiday side dish
  • The best cup of egg nog

The prize? A year’s worth of bragging rights. Perhaps the winner walks away with the “World’s Best Office Chef” trophy, a recognition spotlight, or mug to keep at his or her desk until next year.

  1. White Elephant Gift Exchange

A white elephant gift exchange is similar to a Yankee Swap, but in this case, the focus is on “stealing” gifts rather than swapping them—making it a lot more fun. The good news is: this old holiday tradition is still very relevant. After all, 56 percent of holiday shoppers report buying gag gifts for family or office exchanges, according to the Holidaze 2018 poll.

Host the gift exchange on an afternoon in the office, allowing employees to have some fun on the company clock. Plus, if spouses are at the holiday party, it may be difficult to do the exchange. Not to mention, some employees may not be able to make the party, so this ensures everyone can participate.

  1. Charity Outing

Did you know that 75 percent of employees want to see their company give back this time of year by donating to food drives or charities?

A fun way to celebrate the holidays with your office is by doing exactly that, giving back to the local community. Not only does this bode well for your brand, but your employees get more than just a fun party—giving back increases feelings of purpose, which leads to better sleep and a longer life, as reported by Forbes.

You can host a food drive in the office, or turn it into a group event, volunteering at a local non-profit. cCook a meal for a homeless shelter or host a holiday party at the local Boys and Girls Club. If you’re looking for more options, consider these non-profits:

  • Meals on Wheels
  • Feeding America
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Local Children’s Hospitals
  • Local Senior Citizens Homes
  1. Gingerbread House Contest

There’s nothing that screams holiday more than a gingerbread house contest. Gingerbread house kits can be costly, so spilt your office or department into teams.

Each team will be responsible for making a gingerbread house within a certain period of time, say 30 minutes. To make it even more fun, set out bowls of extra fixings, like hard candy, sprinkles, and even non-edible elements like mini Santas, reindeer, menorahs, etc. for team members to spruce up their gingerbread houses.

In addition to being fun, this kind of holiday tradition is great for building teamwork and communication skills—while no one’s even thinking about it.

  1. Ugly Sweater Day

The same Holidaze 2018 poll found that 92 percent of shoppers spend between $25 and $50 on an ugly holiday sweater—so give them a reason to wear it with an official Ugly Sweater Day in the office.

To make your Ugly Sweater Day tradition more fun, give away a variety of awards. For example, you may give awards for:

  • Ugliest Sweater
  • Most Creative Sweater
  • Least Ugly Sweater
  • Classiest Ugly Sweater

The prize for these could be the same as the others: a trophy for bragging rights all year long. You could also buy inexpensive stocking stuffers to give as prizes or reward winners with monetary points in a recognition program.

Your Office Holiday Traditions

Have fun with the holidays this year. Don’t just throw a party—celebrate for the entire season with fun contests, gift giving and an official Ugly Sweater Day. Your employees will enjoy having some holiday fun after a long year of hard work and dedication.

To learn more ways to engage your employees during the holidays, check out this blog post.

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About the Author
Jessica ThiefelsJessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a professional blogger and freelance writer. She spent the last two years working tirelessly for a small startup, where she learned a lot about running business and being resourceful. She now owns her own business and has been featured on Forbes. She’s also written for StartupNation, Manta, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 or connect on LinkedIn.

 

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How to Plan Employee Engagement Contests That All Your Teams Will Love

Thirty-three percent. It’s a fairly low number. We wouldn’t want to see that number for our customer satisfaction or client retention rates. But that’s the number of American workers who report being engaged at work. And if a figure that low isn’t acceptable when it comes to our clients, it shouldn’t be acceptable when it comes to employees either. Low engagement leads to poor performance, dissatisfaction, and higher turnover. But there are ways to combat this disengagement. Employment engagement contests help keep people motivated and gives everyone a common goal beyond just doing well at work. You want to make sure your contests are inclusive of everyone within your organization, regardless of department or job title.

Here are a few tips for building employee engagement contests that everyone will love.

Get Out of the Office

When you have different departments with different goals and responsibilities, it can be hard to manage an in-office contest. You can’t pit them against each other to see who can close the most sales or enter the most data, because there will be very clear winners before they even begin. Instead, focus on contests that everyone can reasonably participate in, regardless of their job title or skills.

This often means getting out of the office. Though you might have the time, budget, and resources to execute numerous company outings, planning even a single event a year where employees can get together outside of work for a little friendly competition can help make everyone feel a little more engaged within the company. Do trivia at a bar, play a few rounds of mini-golf, or even see which department can collect the most cans for a community food drive.

Ask Employees What They Want

Employment engagement contests are only effective if they are actually engaging. While no one idea will likely ever satisfy every single employee, it is still a good idea to at least try and get a good idea of what your employees might like to do. After all, this about them.

An employee-led committee to plan contests can incorporate employees from various departments to make sure everyone is represented.  Or you can even use surveys to help you figure out what kinds of contests everyone might be interested in. Most enterprise chat systems have polling features built in. And many HR suites offer employee feedback tools like surveying as well.

Not everyone will excel in every single contest. But you should have a pretty decent understanding of your employees that allows you to tailor your contests for a high chance of success. Contests are a lot less motivating when few participants can succeed. Make sure everyone is gaining something.

Make it Regular

Of course, you can’t host one contest and expect everyone to remain engaged long term.

To keep employees engaged, contests should become regular events.  As is the case with anything good, you don’t want to overdo it. But you also don’t want to introduce your employees to something they enjoy only to never bring it back. Then they’ll just be demoralized on top of being disengaged.

Establish what “regular” means for you and what works for your organization, then stick with.

Whether it’s once a year or twice a week, having something consistent to look forward to always makes work a little more enjoyable. Plus, the more regular these inter-departmental contests are, the most opportunities employees have to mingle and get to know each other.

Reward Teams for Little Tasks

Rewards can go a long way and the be the incentive your employees need to go the extra mile. Come up with contests that involve everyone doing their job but aren’t dependent on specific positions. For example, everyone, regardless of position, should be showing up to work on time. So consider building a contest around perfect attendance and punctuality. Even something as simple as free lunch for the entire floor if the dishwasher gets loaded and unloaded for 30 days in a row can engage employees around a common cause.

Show Off the Results

There’s nothing more frustrating than doing something well and getting no recognition. No matter what kind of contest you decide on, consider displaying the results somewhere or sending them out to the whole team. It’s important to recognize and reward employees for their participation.

You can keep a leaderboard in the break room or leverage a recognition platform to showcase results so that those who didn’t win will be encouraged to work harder next time, and those who did win can appreciate their own victory.

Implement Initiatives to Help With Goals

Have departments in the office compete and see who can hit the gym after work the most days per week or eat the most fruits and veggies for lunch? Is a group of employees working together to raise the most money for a local charity? Help these freelance efforts out! Initiatives like a company-sponsored gym membership, catered lunches, or charitable giving matching can all help employees reach their own goal. Even simple acts like these can increase employee engagement.

Hold Managers Accountable

Getting different departments on board for a contest can be tough. Making sure everyone is involved can make it a little easier. Managers need to set the example for other employees by participating in contests, and by giving it their all.

Seeing managers compete can be good motivation for employees to step up their own game, and the idea of winning a competition against their boss might make people work even harder!

Finally, Be Proactive

The best way to maintain employee engagement is to never lose it in the first place. This is easier said than done, of course, but you should be taking steps to ensure that every employee is engaged from day one, and that they all stay that way.

No matter the age, everyone likes the chance to have some fun at work. Incorporating simple contests into the daily routine can be incredibly effective in helping your teams bond and work better together.

Learn more about what incentives to offer in your next employee engagement contest by accessing Achievers’ e-book: “How to Incentivize the Modern Workforce.

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About the Author
Laura HudgensLaura Hudgens is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com. She is a communications instructor and freelance writer who studies and writes about technology, media, science, and health.

 

 

 

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learning and development L&D

5 Ways to Engage Employees Through Learning and Development (L&D)

Keeping employees engaged is a serious business! Did you know 87 percent of millennials said development is important in a job and 40 percent of employees who receive poor training and limited opportunities for development will leave their job within five years? Any Learning and Development (L&D) strategy that fails to capture the hearts and minds of its participants represents a missed opportunity to nurture talent and build for the future.

Research findings from Find Courses’ 2018 Report sheds new insight into the current state of L&D. The report revealed that top performing companies were five times more likely to implement engaging L&D programs, and almost half (42%) of L&D professionals who indicated their employees were highly engaged in learning were also highly engaged overall at the organization.

Find Courses' 2018 Report Satisfaction

Given these new findings, we’ve compiled our list of top five ways to engage employees through L&D.

  1. Recognize the Importance of L&D

Employment is evolving! It’s no secret that innovative technology and generational expectations are redefining the relationship between work and learning. With a dynamic and ambitious millennial generation set to make up half of the U.S workforce by 2020, the demand for ‘flexible, open career models’ is on the rise, and two trends are beginning to emerge:

  • The modern career has become a continuous learning journey rather than the product of one.
  • There is a growing need for workplaces to become hubs of personal development.

Despite the inevitable impact of these trends, many companies still overlook L&D’s ability as a booster of employee engagement. Now is the perfect time to meet new demands and begin embracing L&D as a future-proof model for company growth, employee retention and maybe most importantly, keeping a new cohort of young, ambitious personnel engaged!

  1. Generate Company-Wide Influence

Unite and engage your workforce by making L&D a shared endeavour. It is apparent that across-the-board engagement in learning leads to higher levels of employee engagement overall, with research revealing that 90% of companies with strong learning cultures have senior executives actively engaged in L&D initiatives.

Find Courses' 2018 Report Management

When team leaders, managers and senior executives champion employee learning, a ripple effect is generated that helps those on the frontline feel value in their personal development and more engaged in their wider company role. Promoting inclusive workplace learning through skill-sharing initiatives like a ‘learning at work’ week, for example, will help to bridge gaps between departments and reinforce an engaging, company-wide culture of learning.

  1. Avoid the ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Solution

No single employee is the same, and your L&D strategy should strive to reflect this. Everybody has their own unique set of career expectations and goals, and when it comes to workplace learning, certain individuals will respond best to a structured, theoretical approach, while others may achieve better results from a more interactive format. To maximize engagement, implement a balanced blend of training options to appeal to the diverse needs of your staff.

Offering personalized training and the freedom to choose between different learning formats (e-learning, in-house, simulation learning to name a few), puts power in the hands of the learner and allows them to play to their own strengths. Keeping all bases covered can be a time-consuming and potentially more costly approach, but you and your employees will reap the benefits of doing so!

  1. Embrace Technology

While professional training may typically conjure up images of bored employees listening to lectures from uninspiring tutors, it doesn’t have to be this way. Learning technology can help make training an accessible and enjoyable experience.

We now live in an age where the Internet, social media, smartphones and tablets are intrinsically linked to both our working and daily lives. It therefore comes as no surprise that many employees can feel disenchanted by their company’s L&D strategy when it fails to mirror the tech-savvy environment they are accustomed to.

Today we have a broad range of options at our disposal. Social media, e-learning, gamification techniques, and even virtual reality can be utilized in a way that makes professional training fun and engaging.

Find Courses' 2018 Report Culture of Learning

With research from Find Courses’ Report indicating that companies with strong learning cultures are also avid users of learning technology, it is apparent that engaging staff through L&D also requires companies to utilize a blend of technology that is well suited to each employee’s skillset and ambitions.

  1. Track Progress

Although a simple concept in theory, the tracking of progress during training is a highly valuable and often ignored tool for optimizing productivity and keeping employees engaged in both their learning and wider career roles.

Once again, turning to tech can smoothen out the process, and incorporating a LMS (Learning Management System) grants all relevant parties a higher level of authority over learning objectives and progress. Employees have the freedom to take breaks when needed, they can oversee how much of a task they have left to complete, and most importantly, they are able to analyze results to identify strengths and areas for improvement in the future.

The increased transparency offered by an LMS also enables HR to monitor progress in a non-invasive manner, and senior staff can be kept in the loop with the benefit of knowing that their teams can receive regular contact and support. The outcomes of training programs can also be extrapolated in aid of improving future L&D strategy and rewarding top performers.

Make Learning Count

Incentivizing achievement by rewarding top performers is a great way of increasing  employee motivation and encouraging career progression. A reward trip, gift, or a simple show of recognition in the presence of colleagues helps boost an employee’s self-worth and reinforce the feeling that they are valued by their company.

According to Kim Edwards, Talent and Leadership Development Manager at Getty Images, an engaging company is “one which puts the employee at the center of everything”. Companies must begin finding new ways of making staff feel they are central pillars of company success, and L&D offers the model for growth and recognition that makes this possible. Engage your workforce through L&D and begin reaching company goals in synchrony with the development of your employees today!

Learn about the current state of the professional training industry and get more useful advice on engaging your workforce with Find Courses’ 2018 Report.

Don’t suffer the price of neglecting your workforce. Discover the true cost of disengagement by accessing Achievers’ white paper.

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About the Author
Oli GarnerOli Garner is a writer and digital content editor at findcourses.com, North America’s most popular search engine for professional training. He aims to create and share engaging content for individuals and organizations across a variety of industries, with an end goal of guiding them towards the best professional training option for their needs. Now located in Stockholm, Oli was born and raised in the UK and graduated from the University of Kent in 2015.

 

 

 

call center employee

7 Ways to Keep Call Center Employees Engaged

Your call center employees are very often the first employees your customers interact with. They are problem solvers, and they are the keys to driving innovation, knowledge, and revenue throughout your organization.

Call center employees also spend a lot of time talking to customers who are less than happy. The rigors of this work can lead to increased employee frustration and disengagement. A disengaged workforce can cripple your contact center’s ability to provide quality customer service and will ultimately raise recruiting and staffing costs which will impact your bottom line.

According to Gallup, only 30% of the current American workforce say they’re engaged and inspired at work. The other 70% of workers identify as “disengaged” and fall into two categories:

  • Those who do the bare minimum: show up, do their work, then go home (50%)
  • Those who are actively seeding discontent (20%)

The employees who fall into the disengaged category are at risk of fleeing your contact center and bringing others with them. Both disengagement and turnover have been historically difficult issues to tackle within contact centers.

Contact Babel’s 2017 study on U.S. contact centers Source: ContactBabel

According to Contact Babel’s 2017 study on U.S. contact centers, employee turnover at call centers is the highest it’s been since the recession — currently at 30%. Rates can reach as high as 70% at contact centers who outsource call center employees. Remember, a healthy turnover rate is about 10%.

How can you inspire engagement at your organization? Check out seven ways to keep call center employees engaged.

1. Recognize Employees

Appreciation is a fundamental human need, but it’s one largely ignored in the workplace. According to Gallup polls, only one in three workers in the U.S. strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days. The same study shows that employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.

Recognition in the workplace confirms your employee’s presence —and work —is valued by others. As a result, recognition keeps your employees motivated and engaged, which elevates productivity.

2. Listen to Your Team

A great way to gather employee feedback is through pulse surveys. Surveys drill down on how your employees feel about their working situation and your organization. For example, pulse survey allow you to ask more granular questions about what you could be doing better, or how you can support your team more.

With surveys, you’re able to analyze employee feedback and then implement changes that show your team you are listening to them. Change connected to feedback is a great way to keep valuable call center employees engaged and happy in the workplace. It’s never too late to start leveraging employee surveys and feedback tools to gauge employee engagement levels, and take immediate action to address any disengagement right away.

3. Shorten ASA times

One of the major themes at the 2018 Contact Center Week (CCW) Executive Exchange was the importance of decreasing the average speed of answer (ASA) times at contact centers. Shortening ASA improves both the quality of customer service as well as your call center employees’ overall perception of their job.

Callers stuck in waiting queues for long periods of time may be irritated, annoyed, or emotional when their call is finally answered. These emotions are naturally pushed to the agent who answers the call. The more stress your employees absorb, the more likely they are to become disengaged from work— a high volume of stressful calls is taxing on your staff. Further, Michael Tremblay of Air Canada claims 85% of contact at call centers is considered “bad contact,” according to his discourse at CCW.

Taking steps to decrease ASA times can help soften the tone of a call, which ultimately protects your employees from excessive stress, and improves the atmosphere of their job.

4. Focus on Long-Term Hires

Employees who churn after 90 days or less from their hire date are a common problem in the contact center industry. When a contact center is plagued by 90-day turnover issues, it automatically decreases the average agent competency in an organization. With so many ‘learners’ on staff, it is difficult to provide quality customer service. Agents who have more on-the-job experience have more skills to complete their jobs better.

Specifically, tenured employees are more likely to have higher first call resolution rates (FCR). Favorable FCRs create a better experience for the customer and decrease the volume of follow-up calls that burden your workforce.

A staff with more positive than negative experiences is a happy staff. And, happy employees will stay with your organization longer.

5. Zero in on Staffing Balance

If attrition is high at your organization, you may be placing massive stress on call center employees who remain loyal to your team. These staffing gaps can quickly run down employees who are weighed down by additional responsibilities.

Understaffed contact centers also run the risk of inflating their ASAs and FCRs. At CCW, one contact center executive was asked, “What can you do to bring your ASA down to one minute?”  The response was simple enough, “Get five more people on board.”

Overbooking or spreading your employees too thin leads to resentment, increasing both attrition and absence rates, which is often a telltale sign of disengagement. The average absence rate at contact centers is currently 9.1%. If you notice an uptick in absenteeism, it’s time to act quickly to re-engage your staff.

6. Address Financial Wellness

The financial wellness hierarchy of needs suggests all humans need the following to be true to feel financially secure:

  • Control over finances
  • Capacity to absorb an unexpected shock
  • Savings and planning for the future
  • Ability to make a discretionary purchase

Personal finance issues can cause distractions that create disengagement from the workplace. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, one-third of all employees are distracted by personal financial issues while at work. Nearly 50% of employees with financial stress spend three hours or more each week handling personal finances at work. From a revenue standpoint, this distraction can cost employers $7,000 per employee, per year or about 20 hours of lost productivity each month, per employee.

Many organizations recognize the issues financial stress can cause, and have begun to unroll wellness programs which provide multiple benefits to workers and the corporation alike.

7. Offer Unique Advantages

The current job market is the employee’s market. Thanks to a record low unemployment rate and a plethora of job openings, your employees are always looking for the next best thing. And while monthly bonuses and incentives are a useful strategy for attracting talent, they aren’t always the key to continuous engagement. Find unique benefits that your staff will continue to find useful over their time with your company — something that differentiates you from the crowd.

A growing trend, perpetuated by major contact centers like DialAmerica and CaLLogix is on-demand pay. Offering on-demand payments means your employees have access to their earned but unpaid wages at the click of a button; no more waiting for their next paycheck. It is a great way to reward your employees for the work they’ve already done, and provide them with something valuable as a perk— their money, faster. Daily pay benefits are proven to reduce turnover and absenteeism while simultaneously boosting engagement.

By focusing on employee engagement, you can keep your employees from burning out and turning over. After all, the highest level of growth in an organization occurs when companies have highly engaged staff.

To learn more about how to engage your employees, check out Achievers’ e-book, “Engage or Die: How Companies that Act Fast on Engagement Outpace the Competition.”

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About the Author
Megan Wells HeadshotMegan Wells is a writer for DailyPay, a data journalist, and content strategist based in San Francisco, California. Wells’ work has appeared on Fox, Nasdaq, MSN, Motley Fool, and more. Wells also spoke at the 2015 Exceptional Women In Publishing conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

employee feedback

5 Startling Facts: Why Employee Feedback is Essential

If you were on a quiz show for managers, you could easily recite a list of critical elements of business success: strong financial management, a solid customer service strategy, and so on. But would employee feedback be on your list? If not, you are missing a key business driver. Below are five reasons why listening to your employees is central to your company’s success:

  1. Failure to Listen is Expensive

As a matter of fact, “Millions of dollars are lost every day in organizations simply because of poor listening,” according to leadership training expert Dan Bobinski. He explains that these lost dollars trickle away due to errors, ineffective decisions, and eroded teamwork.

Interestingly, the chief obstacle to obtaining employee feedback is fear, in Bobinski’s analysis. He notes that managers are often afraid to listen because they worry they might give the impression of agreeing with something they don’t actually support. Other reasons that leaders may not listen well is that they don’t want to hear feedback that may force them to reconsider their own perspective or they may simply fear that they won’t have a chance to convey their own viewpoint during the discussion.

Do any of these reasons sound uncomfortably familiar? If so, you’re not alone. However, it is critical that you don’t allow these fears to wall you off from employee input. Feedback you miss out on due to any or all of these fears could be feedback that has the power to positively impact the performance of your organization.

Fear of listening can be overcome. To that end, Bobinski offers a bit of reassurance: “Truly understanding someone else’s point of view does not come naturally. It’s a learned skill that always requires effort.”

  1. Employees Value a Listening Culture Higher Than Compensation

According to Deloitte research, employees value “culture” and “career growth” almost twice as much as they value “compensation and benefits,” when selecting an employer. Deloitte’s research notes that ideal work cultures focus on an environment of listening. They point out, “The world of employee engagement and feedback is exploding. Annual engagement surveys are being replaced by “employee listening” tools such as pulse surveys, anonymous social tools, and regular feedback check-ins by managers. All these new approaches have given rise to the “employee listening” officer, an important new role for HR.”

Encouraging employee feedback is a way of granting your workers power that doesn’t require adding to their salary or granting promotions. Research published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) notes that 70% of employees rank being empowered to take action at work when a problem or opportunity arises as having a critical impact on their engagement.

  1. Supervisors Listen More to Employees with Higher Status or Longer Tenure

Even with the best of intentions, “supervisors develop selective hearing when it comes to feedback,” according to research published by the University of Texas at Austin. The study goes on to explain that managers tend to listen to employees with whom they are more personally comfortable or who have been on the job longer. Perhaps not surprisingly, the outcome from this bias is that the less-listened-to workers end up with lower performance reviews and ultimately diversity of team composition is eroded.

The solution to this, according to the researchers, is for managers to become aware of their unconscious biases and to intentionally connect with their team members in a systematic way. Another method for reducing unconscious bias is to include anonymized employee feedback through surveys, so that a person’s status doesn’t give their words extra weight.

  1. Employee Listening is Essential to Strong Leadership

An interesting analysis published in the Harvard Business Review describes an all-too-common mindset among leaders and managers that equates listening with weakness. The article noted that some leaders think of themselves as leaders in a dogmatic sense, a person who tells their subordinates what’s what. However, the article counters this by saying, “…it’s equally important for managers to stand down and listen up. Yet many leaders struggle to do this, in part because they’ve become more accustomed to speaking than listening.”

The key to translating listening skills to effective management lies in taking what you learn from your employees’ feedback and translating it into direct action. Everything your employees report can lead to an active response and it is essential that it does – particularly if the feedback reflects existing issues. Taking action to remedy a problematic situation becomes a win-win feedback cycle, because it allows you to build trust with your team that will likely result in greater transparency on their part, moving forward. Over time, your employees will have confidence in the fact that bringing an issue up with you is the first step to solving it.

  1. Being Unheard Will Damage Your Employees’ Motivation

If you’re focused on building a strong sense of employee engagement, listening is one of your most important tools. Put all the perks like catered snacks and bring-your-dog-to-work policies on the back burner. None of those are as vital as simply reaching out for employee feedback. Leadership expert Brian Tracy puts it bluntly: “Every time you fail to use listening skills and withhold your close attention from another person when they are talking, you make them feel valueless and unimportant. You start to create a negative downward spiral that can lead to unhappiness and disaffection in a workplace.”

Establish a direct line to hearing your employees by initiating a policy of employee check-ins. Using this systematic approach will help to ensure that you don’t lose track of any employee. Engagement must be nurtured proactively across all employees, even those who appear to be doing well on their own. Those individuals who are quietly productive can just as quietly fall into a pit of despair and start searching for a job where their diligence is recognized.

Always-on employee feedback empowers employees and managers – and has an immediate impact on employee engagement. For more information on staying tuned in to your workforce, download our white paper on “Taking the Pulse of Employee Engagement”. You can also visit Achievers Listen, and learn how your company can benefit from a new climate of transparency.

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About the Author

Natalie Baumgartner is the Chief Workforce Scientist at Achievers. She has spent her career advising companies of all sizes, from entrepreneurial startups to Fortune 500 firms, on issues related to company culture. Specifically tackling key hire assessment and portfolio due diligence issues, she’s found success analyzing what most overlook – the human element. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a specific focus on assessment and additional training in strength-based psychology. Natalie serves on the board of the Consulting Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association. She is a popular speaker on culture and recently did a TEDx talk on the importance of culture fit. Natalie is a culture evangelist and is passionate about the power that culture fit has to revolutionize how we work. As an avid Boot Camp aficionado, if you can’t find Natalie in the office odds are good you’ll bump into her sprinting up mountains in her hometown of Denver, CO.

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Employee Listening and Feedback

How to Show Your Workforce That You’re Really Listening

It’s no secret that the majority (87 percent) of today’s workers feel disengaged in the workplace. While there are many reasons for this high level of disengagement, employee complaints about employers not listening to them certainly ranks high on the list. In fact, a recent study revealed that more than one-third of the workforce believes that their employers do not listen to their ideas.

This is a staggering number and one that employers should not overlook. Not only can showing your workforce that you are really listening to them improve employee engagement levels, but it also can boost workplace morale, job satisfaction rates and overall retention. The good news is that listening to your employees is not as difficult as you might think. Here are some tips to get you started.

Let Employees Speak

The first step to really listening to your employees is to pave the way for them to speak. If your employees already feel like you’re not listening, you cannot expect them to spontaneously come to you with ideas or concerns. According to a recent study, more than 40 percent of junior-level workers state that they are afraid to bring ideas or concerns to upper management. Your employees will never feel heard if they don’t feel comfortable speaking up in the first place.

You can overcome this barrier by developing a platform for them to speak. Pulse surveys can be an extremely effective platform, especially when using an anonymous and easy-to-use interface, such as single-click surveys. Offering a fast and secure way for employees to voice their opinion can improve day-to-day engagement with your team and provide you with candid feedback.

Make Listening a Priority

It is not enough to simply say that you’re going to start listening to your workers, you must make listening to them a priority. It’s important to develop active listening skills, so your team knows that you are really listening to what they have to say. Improving your listening skills will make you a better leader and enable you to better manage your team.

Look for and create opportunities to listen to your team. For example, set time aside when conducting both individual and group meetings for your employees to discuss their work experience and provide constructive feedback. Once your team discovers that they are able to provide honest feedback without negative results from management, they will start to look forward to these opportunities to share their ideas with you.

Prepare to Hear the Good and the Bad

Don’t make a commitment to listen to your employees if you’re not ready to hear what they have to say. You must prepare yourself to hear both positive and negative feedback. How you respond to your employees, regardless of how you feel about the input, will have a direct impact on their willingness to give their opinions in the future. Remember that the goal is to show your employees that you are really listening to them, whether you like what they have to say or not.

Make Engagement Part of the Process

Listening is the starting point for boosting employee engagement in the workplace. When your employees express an opinion, it is important to actively listen to what they have to say by taking the time to ask questions, gather feedback and encourage them to elaborate more on their input so you have a rich understanding of what they’re trying to communicate.

Ensure that you’ve heard them fully by repeating back what you’ve heard, giving them an opportunity to clarify their points if necessary. Engaging with your people in this way will let them know that you are listening to them and it will reduce potential miscommunication between you and your team.

Take Action

Listening is only the first step. You must also take action. This doesn’t mean that you have to act on every suggestion or concern that your team has, but you should always closely evaluate what they have to say. Then, when you come across employee suggestions or concerns that call for more attention, don’t stop at just listening – take action.

Develop a plan that will put your employee’s idea into action. Technology can help with this by delivering bite-sized, personalized actions to employees and managers so that everyone is empowered to impact engagement right away. When your employees know that you are willing to make changes based on ideas or issues they have shared, they will know that you not only want to listen to them – but that you truly care about what they have to say.

Follow-Up Is Vital

Listening is not a point-in-time activity, it is ongoing. If you fail to follow up on the input you’ve received, your efforts to show your employees that you are really listening to them will be for naught. For example, take the time to thank your employees for providing honest feedback, let your employees know what actions, if any, are being taken, and use communication tools (i.e., the company newsletter) to share survey results and follow on action. It’s critical that your employees know you’ve heard them, even if immediate change is not possible.

Listening to your employees boosts employee engagement and job satisfaction. It inspires positive change in the workplace and has an equally positive impact on the performance of your business. Take the first step in really listening to your employees by downloading Achievers’ white paper, “Taking the Pulse of Employee Engagement.”

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About the Author
Natalie Baumgartner is the Chief Workforce Scientist at Achievers. She has spent her career advising companies of all sizes, from entrepreneurial startups to Fortune 500 firms, on issues related to company culture. Specifically tackling key hire assessment and portfolio due diligence issues, she’s found success analyzing what most overlook – the human element. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a specific focus on assessment and additional training in strength-based psychology. Natalie serves on the board of the Consulting Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association. She is a popular speaker on culture and recently did a TEDx talk on the importance of culture fit. Natalie is a culture evangelist and is passionate about the power that culture fit has to revolutionize how we work. As an avid Boot Camp aficionado, if you can’t find Natalie in the office odds are good you’ll bump into her sprinting up mountains in her hometown of Denver, CO.

 

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13 HR Stats That Will Make You Lose Sleep This Halloween

Halloween goblins might be scary, but it’s flesh-and-blood people that can really keep you up at night. People are the engine that drives your company’s profits, and if you’re not recognizing employees effectively, the financial fallout can be a real-life nightmare. Look through the unsettling stats below and take them to heart, if you want to keep the horror tales at the haunted house and not in your HR office.

  1. Just Being a Good Manager Isn’t Enough

To retain your most talented workers, the stats say you have to do more than just be considerate and reasonable. When Facebook’s top HR leaders surveyed employees who stayed with their company, those workers had certain things in common: “They found their work enjoyable 31 percent more often, used their strengths 33 percent more often, and expressed 37 percent more confidence that they were gaining the skills and experiences they need to develop their careers.” The takeaway? To keep your best people, shape their jobs based around their strengths and passion.

  1. Employee Engagement Decreases With Age

A survey by HR firm Robert Half UK found that more than twice as many employees over the age of 35 state that they are unhappy in their jobs, compared with younger workers. This is vital information, since the proportion of 55-and-older workers in the labor force is rising, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that age group to represent 25 percent of the working population (40.6 million people) by 2024. Frequently recognizing employees of all generation types is vital if you want to maintain the benefit of their skills and experience.

  1. Only Half of Millennials Plan to Stay with Their Jobs

Statistics can be tricky. After reading about how older workers are less satisfied, we now find stats saying that it’s the younger people you have to worry about losing. Gallup research reveals that “21 percent of millennials say they’ve changed jobs within the past year, which is more than three times the number of non-millennials who report the same.” Whether you’re dealing with older workers who are unhappily stuck in a job they don’t like, or younger ones with one foot out the door, your best defense is a strong employee feedback program.

  1. Employees Who Feel Dead-Ended Will Leave

No path for advancement is the issue “that bums working Americans out the most,” according to CNN Money. If you want to retain your best talent, you’ll want to structure your organization so that they can move their career forward right from their current position. By practicing careful employee listening, you’ll be the first to know if there’s any brewing dissatisfaction, and then strategize on how to offer a solution.

  1. Ignoring Employee Engagement Hurts You Financially

Listening to your employees and offering recognition can boost engagement levels and are central to your organization’s long-term financial viability. New research published by Gallup News reports that “A highly engaged organization can see 18 percent higher revenue per employee compared with the average.” Stats like these are vital to bring to the C-suite, especially when you need to explain the benefits of a recognition program.

  1. Employees Skip Work More If They’re Not Learning

Do you make the mistake of assuming that your team is happiest when they know everything there is to know about their job tasks? In fact, the Gallup News article cited above notes that organizations could experience 44 percent less absenteeism and 16 percent higher productivity if they give their workers a chance to learn and grow on the job.

  1. Most Workers Don’t Feel They Can be Honest With Their Boss

Don’t assume that a silent employee is a happy one. A recent study shows that only 43 percent of employees “strongly agree” that they “can express thoughts, feelings and disagreements with [their] supervisor.” You need to create a safe environment, so that every one of your employees will feel comfortable telling you what they really think.

  1. Many Employees Don’t Think Their Company Serves Customers Well

It’s all too common for HR professionals to completely separate the metrics of employee well-being from customer experience. A 2018 report by Gallup on workplace culture shows that “only 26 percent of U.S. workers believe their organization always delivers on the promises they make to customers.” Fewer than half (41 percent) of employees even agree that they know what differentiates their company’s brand from its competitors. This sense of disconnection quickly becomes a terrible feedback cycle, because discouraged employees provide poor customer service.

  1. Lack of Inclusiveness Equals Lower Employee Engagement

There is good reason why 69 percent of executives surveyed by Deloitte cited diversity and inclusion as a top priority. Deloitte’s stats show that 39 percent of employees would leave their current company for one that had a more inclusive culture, and over half (53 percent) of millennials would do so. A diverse workplace environment brings fresh perspective, and facilitates the broadest possible range of useful employee feedback.

  1. If You’re Not Listening, You Can’t Retain Ambitious Employees

In today’s tight labor market, you’re competing for top talent. In a survey of employees who quit their jobs to pursue career development, 33 percent said the job they left had not matched their expectations in this respect. When you engage your team with frequent employee check-ins and pulse surveys, nobody’s hopes and expectations will go unnoticed.

  1. It’s Really Expensive to Replace Your Employees

On average, it costs $4129 for each hire, according to SHRM’s Human Capital Benchmarking Report. Moreover, the average annual employee turnover rate is 19 percent, or almost one out of five. You can’t prevent a few workers quitting for personal and family reasons. However, it’s definitely in your best interests to avoid losing any additional people as a result of them feeling unappreciated.

  1. Employees Shame Each Other About Taking Vacation Time

Even if you’re not the one doing the shaming, 59 percent of millennials report feeling ashamed to take the vacation days that they’re entitled to. Not only that, 42 percent of them even confessed to shaming their coworkers for that reason. Your encouragement to take time off will benefit your team: Statistics from Project Time Off note that 78 percent of managers say that managers feel vacations improve employee focus, and 70 percent say that workers are more committed to the company following paid time off.

  1. Your Workers Expect You to Support Their Work-Life Balance

A Glassdoor survey found that 85 percent of employees “expect their employer to support them in balancing their life between work and personal commitments.” These type of stats speak volumes about how the workplace environment is transforming in the 21st century. Are you keeping up with these evolving expectations?

To avoid HR nightmares this Halloween, learn more about how to effectively engage your workforce. Download our e-book, “Engage or Die: How Companies that Act Fast on Engagement Outpace the Competition.”

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Achievers CARES: How We Engage Employees Through Giving Back

Modern workplaces struggle to attract and retain top talent. We all know this, and if you look around today it’s easy to see that workers are demanding more alignment of values in their workplace. The competition for the best-of-the-best, coupled with a growing pool of opportunities, has companies spinning to look for new and exciting ways to connect with their workers. Globally, engagement rates amongst employees is an average 15%, and it will come as no surprise that people look for more than just a ‘job’ in their employer.

I’ve worked in the non-profit sector for the bulk of my career, and when transitioning into the tech sector, it was incredibly important for me to preserve the values associated with giving back. An important deciding factor for me in selecting Achievers as my next employer was primarily based on the organization’s culture. At Achievers, employees are provided an amazing opportunity to engage with organizations meaningful to them. We are provided four volunteer days per year to help an organization of our choice. 

The importance of giving back might not be specifically measurable, but the tangible nature of enabling employees to help their community is something that no doubt impacts staff retention.

Many modern workplaces have evolved to include Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts, but not all are effectively executed. Companies need to do more than convince their workforce that what they are doing is sufficient. CSR is often employer-mandated ‘giving back’, but there are a few things that businesses can consider to ensure employees feel empowered to give back to their communities.

At Achievers, we have Achievers CARES, a staff-led initiative that is run by volunteers who help employees identify engagement opportunities and raise necessary funds for local charities. Every year, we raise thousands of dollars for local and international development initiatives that help communities impacted by poverty, mental health and other areas close to our employee’s hearts. When I joined Achievers, I was fortunate to join Achievers CARES early on – it has been a great way to jump in and get involved. The level of planning and organization that goes into this well-oiled committee has been inspiring. We make it easy for newcomers to pick up and start rolling. Not only is the plan easy to execute, but the events we plan for our employees are fun and engaging. Here are three of our most successful and enjoyable annual initiatives:

  1. Top Chef

Achievers Top ChefThis event has run for four consecutive years and encourages employees to prepare a dish or purchase a ticket to taste staff-prepared dishes; staff is selected by employees through a voting process. We also invite local chefs to help judge employee dishes (past judges include: Rosa from Caffino in Liberty Village and Markus), in the categories of appetizer, main and dessert. The chef who is crowned winner for the event selects the local charity they would like to donate all event proceeds to. This is a fun way for employees to showcase their culinary skills and taste delicious selections from the diverse backgrounds of our team members. Each June we host this event, which is an Achievers favorite and one that encourages everyone to get involved – and it just happens to have a tasty meal! Top Chef’s goal is to raise funds for local charity and showcase the culinary skills of our employees.

  1. We Care Week

We Care WeekEach fall, we launch our Achievers We Care Week. During Achievers Care Week, we have an array of activities for employees to get involved with local charities. We make things fun, keep it relevant and end off the week with a fun social event for all staff – to thank them for their participation. This year, from September 24-28, we are volunteering at CAMH, Parkdale Foodbank, Scott Mission and raising some needed funds for Save Our Scruff. Together, we are making an impact on our community, and we are proud of the initiatives we are lucky to support.

 

  1. March Madness

March Madness Charity BracketMarch Madness is a popular time for sport enthusiasts, so we decided to capitalize on this and offer an opportunity for our employees (local and remote) to compete with one another. Using the existing NCAA college basketball pool, employees who want to participate are required to purchase a ticket and select the teams they think will be victorious. At the end of the tournament, the individual who has selected the most correct winners, will be awarded the opportunity to choose a local charitable beneficiary for half of the funds pooled, and the other half goes to the employee! Coupled with a March Food drive, this initiative ran for the first time in 2018 and was a huge hit amongst our staff. This is a great addition to our initiatives because it includes remote employees, which is a typical struggle companies face.

By ensuring we are thoughtful with our approach, we have successfully raised thousands of dollars and volunteered hundreds of hours as an organization. The best part about Achievers CARES’ initiatives is that employees genuinely want to participate – and it’s mainly because the opportunities are meaningful to them. Knowing that we’ve aligned our business and employee values gives our committee a sense of pride, and further motivates us to continue to innovate for everyone at Achievers. The planning that goes into our events and initiatives is easy to replicate for any organization. Check out our 2018 calendar of events below:

Achievers CARESIf you are reading this and don’t currently have a clearly defined CSR plan, don’t wait and get started today! It’s never too late to show your employees that you care about what they care about and are willing to invest in your community.

Thank you to our amazing group of Achievers CARES volunteers who make our events a hit:

  • Kelly Lawrence, Customer Success Manager II
  • Breanne Woodrow, Sr. Manager, Professional Services
  • Megan Sylvester, Supervisor, Client Services
  • Dave Cabral, Customer Success Manager
  • Yola Lis, Implementation Manager
  • Samira Hafezi, Staff Software Engineer
  • Kaitlyn Laframboise, Sales Development Representative
  • Celeste Van Vroenhoven, Sr. Sales Development Representative
  • Monika Shtun, Customer Success Associate
  • Darren Savage, Customer Success Manager
  • Justin Rutherford, Enterprise Account Executive
  • Phoebe Licata, Customer Success Associate
  • Sheila Yue, Sales Development Representative
  • Chris McTague, Sr. Software Engineer

Achievers CARES Team

Thank you for all that you do and thank you to Achievers’ employees for caring so deeply about our communities and bettering the world around us.

Learn more by viewing the Achievers CARES photo album.

Do you want to join the A-Team and be a part of Achievers CARES? Apply for one of our open positions here.

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About the Author
Meaghen Frame
Meaghen Frame is an Operations Manager (Professional Services) at Achievers. You can find her on Twitter @meaghenframe.

 

 

 

 

 

Manager

Listen Up Managers: Here’s What You Need to Do to Enhance Your Company Culture

Welcome back. We’ve been discussing how company culture is everyone’s responsibility—from leaders at the top of the organization, to HR who facilitates the employee experience, to all managers and employees. In this blog, I want to speak directly to the managers because every manager has a responsibility to create and sustain a positive company culture. Listen, I get that you are busy juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities at once, but the truth is, we need to do a better job at cultivating a culture that inspires performance, and that means ensuring you are balancing all those management responsibilities with your leadership ones. So here are my top 6 areas of focus on how to deliver the right employee experience and culture:

Lead by Example With Company Values: Company values define how everyone within the organization should act and interact with their internal or external customers. As managers, it is very important that you are living the company’s values and setting a good example for your team. Managers account for 70% of the variance in engagement. Yet, we see many managers who are overworked, burned out or have become complacent in their roles, which means leadership responsibilities are often forgotten. If you are not loving what you do, putting in the effort and showing your passion and caring for your team, then how can you expect them to be inspired to perform at their best? Leadership is about inspiring others to want to do their best, so commit to showing your team what it means to live the values. Use every opportunity to reinforce the values; incorporating them into meetings, informal and formal feedback, recognition, decision-making and most noticeably who you select to join the team. The more you reference values and set the example with them, the more likely your employees are to live the values.

Select the Right Person Over a Warm Body: Don’t fall into the trap of hiring just anybody because you need to fill the job. Proper selection affects the team’s morale, as well as performance and productivity. Yet, I still see managers eager to fill the job–relying too much on experience and not considering whether the person is a good cultural fit. This is not a place where you can take shortcuts, so spend the time and put in the effort to finding the best person for the job. Select the right person by focusing on character rather than skills, asking the right behavioral questions and involving other employees in the interview process. By selecting candidates with the right cultural fit, you are reinforcing with current team members the type of heart and mind that is important to your culture and business.

Onboard and Welcome New Employees Correctly: It’s important to managers to set new employees up for success. Orientation should be an exciting and informative first day or two on the job. Partner with HR to ensure your new hires are scheduled to attend orientation. If you are responsible for conducting orientation, make sure it is interesting and engaging, focused around the brand, the culture and the customers. Onboarding, or training and immersion, should be a well thought out plan for the first 30-60 days that consists of different types of training as well as numerous opportunities for feedback and coaching. Don’t throw your employees into the deep end hoping they figure it out. This doesn’t benefit the new hire, other employees or your customers. In fact, you will likely lose the new employee because no one likes feeling like they are failing.

Recognize Those That Perform, Not Just Those That Show Up: We know recognition is important, especially when it comes to increasing engagement. But you need to get recognition right—and that means tying recognition to performance. While it is fine to acknowledge an employee’s tenure on the job, it should not be the basis for recognition. Whether your company has a formal recognition program or not, you need to be recognizing your staff (both individuals and teams) that perform well on a regular basis. Recognition should be personalized and customized. To make it personal, ensure you are providing a thank you in person that is sincere or on a hand-written note. To be customizable, you need to know what your employees like and how they like to be rewarded. This allows you to give recognition that is meaningful and inspiring. Also, provide an opportunity for employees to recognize each other, whether in person or via technology, as peer-to-peer recognition is a great way to boost engagement.

Have Tough Conversations and Make Tough Decisions: Recognizing performance is one side of the coin—the other side is ensuring poor performers are held accountable. Nothing is more demoralizing for a star employee than giving their best every day, just to see another employee completely not care, yet still allowed to be a part of the team. This is one of the quickest way to destroy a culture and ensure your best people leave. So, stop avoiding these tough conversations with low performers. During your conversation, explain the performance issues based on what you’ve observed. Offer an opportunity to help the employee improve by creating a clear, agreed-upon plan where the consequences of not improving are clear. Always be respectful by keeping your feedback about the performance, not the person. If there have been many conversations had, and there is still no improvement, it is your responsibility to let that poor performer go. It isn’t always easy, but it is what is best for the team.

Communicate so You Are Understood, Not Just Heard: We all know that communication is important, in fact, it is your most important leadership tool. But we need to do better at communicating in a way that is understood. More communication is not necessarily better so stop burying your team with endless emails and memos. Keep communication short, simple, direct and relevant. Remember if communication is important, then it should be done in person. Repeat important points often to emphasize priorities. Just because you say something once does not mean that your employees understand what you want them to do, so check for understanding. Instead of asking, “Do you understand?”, ask, “What are your next steps going to be?” or “What did this message mean to you?” Encourage your employees to ask questions or be available and accessible to them so they can come to get clarification away from the group. Communication includes listening so ensure that when you create opportunities for them to speak with you that you give them your full attention, which means no multi-tasking on phones or computers.

By following these key points, you will be on your way to creating a healthy culture that inspires performance. It isn’t always easy, but it is worth it. Thanks for reading.

Come see me at ACE 2018 to learn more about how you can reprogram your employee experience to improve customer service, retention and performance.

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About the Author
Shane GreenA world-renowned keynote speaker, author of Culture Hacker, and television personality, Shane Green is a business magnate who consults global Fortune 500 leaders on customer experience and organizational culture. Shane draws upon his foundation at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and work in multiple industries to transform employee mindsets, habits, and skills to improve customer experiences and interactions. As the President & Founder of SGEi, Shane leads a team of professionals who inspire brands like the NBA, Westfield, Foot Locker, NetJets, Cisco Systems, and BMW to reprogram their employee experiences to create loyal customers and raving fans. Visit www.ShaneGreen.com to learn more.

About SGEi
At SGEi, we help executive teams develop a cultural transformation strategy and plan. We enable and coach your management team to own the continuous development of your company and people. And we design and deliver the training and communications necessary to shift mindsets and habits to meet the objectives of the company. Please connect@sgeinternational.com to learn more about how we can assist you with your transformation needs.

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Attention HR: What You Need to Focus on to Facilitate a Healthy Company Culture

In my last blog, I talked about how culture is no longer an HR thing, it is a business thing. This means that every owner, executive, and manager needs to make culture a priority and make decisions that support the desired culture. But this is not to say that HR doesn’t play a critical role in culture. HR owns many of the mechanisms that influence the employee experience, and is an important part of facilitating the company culture. So, what does HR need to do to ensure a healthy company culture? Here are my top suggestions:

Reinforce Your Message: Employees are barraged with mounds of information each day, causing them to lose focus on what’s important. HR is responsible for socializing employees to the company’s purpose and values so they understand how to act and interact within the organization. I recommend using a variety of mediums to achieve this—paintings or posters in the employee areas, screen savers, desk decorations, daily pre-shift cards–you get the picture. Younger employees, having grown up in the YouTube era, are more likely to respond to a short video so consider how to bring your purpose and values to life in a fun and entertaining way. When you put this information front and center, it becomes prominent in the minds of your employees. Capitalize on every opportunity to reinforce your company’s philosophy.

Support Managers in Delivering a Great Employee Experience: Whatever process you are currently using to recruit, select, train, communicate and manage performance, stop and consider how this can be made simpler and more efficient. Managers are often so bogged down running the operation that the thought of engaging in an extensive HR task makes them shudder. In turn, they usually end up avoiding the task or taking short cuts. These shortcuts often lead to long-term issues–bad hires, untrained employees, lack of communication, zero performance management. So instead of beating the current process into the managers, consider how this can be re-worked so you get to the desired result in a more efficient way. Use technology to streamline processes, reduce paperwork, and support collaboration with your managers.

Implement a Useful Performance Management Tool: Managing performance is undoubtedly important, but the traditional performance review is no longer effective. In fact, less than half of employees feel that performance reviews help their performance, and organizations feel the same. Clearly, something needs to change. Create a feedback process that is frequent, meaningful, and focused on the right things (i.e., company values). Provide a tool, whether digital or traditional, that forces managers to look at performance and have regular coaching conversations with their employees.  Then, provide training and coaching to managers on how to have informal and formal coaching conversations. When done right, consistent feedback delivered the right way is a manager’s most important leadership tool.

Ensure New Employees Start Out Right: Despite the evidence that orientation is a critical part of a new employee’s experience, many companies still have a boring, lifeless orientation that focuses on rules and regulations and neglects to excite and inspire. HR owns orientation, which means you set the tone for the new employee’s experience. So, stop with the drudgery of endless policies and generic videos—employees can read the handbook later. Deliver an experience that your new employees will remember. Focus on making orientation interesting and engaging around the brand, culture, and customers. Give employees the information that is most important to their success with the company and in such a way that will get them excited about being a part of the company. Remember that your work is not done with orientation. Work with managers to ensure they have a well thought out onboarding plan following orientation. Nothing is worse than handing over an employee who is pumped up about the company, only for that employee to get thrown into the deep end with no training or guidance.

Develop Leaders at All Levels: Leadership development is a crucial focus for the HR team and that focus should begin a lot sooner than most companies are prepared to do. Employees want and need to be developed, yet companies still neglect to provide informative and inspiring training and development programs at all levels of the organization. This is especially true of supervisors, who are often thrown into their new role without much coaching or training on how to lead employees. Invest in a comprehensive training program that starts developing leaders well before they have their first title.

Get Connected With the Operation: I see too many HR departments that are completely disconnected from the departments they serve. Get connected with the operation by having regular conversations with managers about their challenges and needs. Immerse yourself into the operation so you can provide feedback to managers and help coach performance at all levels. HR should be a partner and a coach for the Operations team, rather than an inconvenience. HR must provide value through keeping departments well informed about important changes that affect their employees, as well as providing guidance for managers on how to lead their teams. HR must also learn to analyze and present data around the company culture and employee engagement in such a way that it can be easily understood and then worked on by the front-line leaders.

Culture is created in all areas of an organization, from line level employees to the C-suite, however HR plays a fundamental role in making employee experience exceptional. Implement the type of employee experience that drives results and emotionally connects your people to your brand and business.

Come see me at ACE 2018 to learn more about how you can reprogram your employee experience to improve customer service, retention, and performance.

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About the Author
Shane GreenA world-renowned keynote speaker, author of Culture Hacker, and television personality, Shane Green is a business magnate who consults global Fortune 500 leaders on customer experience and organizational culture. Shane draws upon his foundation at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and work in multiple industries to transform employee mindsets, habits, and skills to improve customer experiences and interactions. As the President & Founder of SGEi, Shane leads a team of professionals who inspire brands like the NBA, Westfield, Foot Locker, NetJets, Cisco Systems, and BMW to reprogram their employee experiences to create loyal customers and raving fans. Visit www.ShaneGreen.com to learn more.

About SGEi
At SGEi, we help executive teams develop a cultural transformation strategy and plan. We enable and coach your management team to own the continuous development of your company and people. And we design and deliver the training and communications necessary to shift mindsets and habits to meet the objectives of the company. Please connect@sgeinternational.com to learn more about how we can assist you with your transformation needs.

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5 Business Impacts of Social Recognition

Are you an HR professional who’s eager to give your company the advantages of a technology-based social recognition program? When you make your pitch to key executives, you need a way to define and quantify the benefits of such a program. Below, we line up five positive impacts of recognizing and rewarding your employees; present these to anyone who cares about your organization, and you can’t help but win them over!

Impact on Individual Workers

Worldwide, only 15 percent of workers feel engaged at their workplaces, according to Gallup research , and even in the U.S. “the majority of the workforce (51 percent) is not engaged.” Hopefully, your numbers are better than this, but there’s probably still room for improvement. And what are those not-very-engaged workers up to all day? A lot of their time is spent browsing the web, looking for other jobs. One Achievers study found that 44 percent of employees who switched jobs cited lack of recognition and reward as the reason. Furthermore, Harvard Business Review points out that “40 percent of employed Americans say they’d put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often.”

Impact on Managers

While social recognition programs are usually evaluated in terms of improving worker competence and attitude, it turns out that instituting a culture of recognition also has an impact on manager behavior.  Managers who learn to provide their employees with well-targeted positive feedback on a frequent basis actually become better leaders. This increase in management skill will have a powerful impact throughout your organization. Additionally, when workers are more engaged, their managers feel better about being able to deliver on productivity goals. Gallup  notes, “Highly engaged organizations also hold their managers accountable — not just for their team’s measured engagement level, but also for how it relates to their team’s overall performance. They ensure that managers are engaging employees from the first minute of their first day at work.”

Impact on Financial Success

The people in your company who work on nailing down the bottom line are used to looking at hard figures: They can tell you exactly how much effect your cloud server cost or shipping rates have on this quarter’s profits. They may not realize that it’s equally possible to attach numbers to the benefits of improved worker wellbeing. A Harvard Business Review study shows that when a program was implemented in which workers’ strengths are recognized by managers, it resulted in happier workers (of course) and also in a 14 to 29 percent increase  in profit.  Other studies echo the point: Gallup research shows a 21 percent increase in profitability in companies with highly engaged workforces, and in our report, we present additional research that shows how social recognition affects company valuation.

Impact on Employer Brand

Working in HR, you know that a big part of organizational success depends on attracting top talent to your company. In today’s competitive marketplace, you have to be able to do something that makes your brand stand out from the crowd. Gallup puts the spotlight on 39 companies, as they hand out their “Gallup Great Workplace” awards. These companies “create a culture of engagement in which employees can continuously develop and thrive,” and on average, they have 14 engaged employees for every one who’s disengaged. Aon Hewitt annually measures worldwide employee engagement, including quantifying employee advocacy and interest in staying with the current employer. In their latest report, they note that “recognition for contributions (beyond pay and benefits)” is the top driver for these metrics. Social recognition programs that enable employees to express their appreciation for each other play a major role in creating a company culture that feels welcoming and positive.

Impact on Customers

Customer loyalty is an easily-measured metric, and it will reflect the increased levels of employee engagement that result from workers feeling appreciated. The Institute of Customer Service asserts this point clearly: “It is now widely accepted that employee engagement is a critical source of competitive advantage.” The customer loyalty specialists at Smile.io note, “Studies have found that companies with high employee engagement scores had twice the customer loyalty (repeat purchases, recommendations to friends) than companies with average employee engagement levels.” The great thing about having happy customers is that it sets up a positive feedback loop. Social recognition can come from satisfied customers as well as from co-workers and managers, and it will add to an employee’s overall sense that they’re engaged in meaningful activity. Finding ones’s work meaningful creates a sense of alignment with the company’s mission.

The research adds up in a nice logical progression: A social recognition program is the most powerful driver for employee engagement, and engaged employees have a substantial impact on the company’s operation and financial success. Itemizing the impacts of rewards and appreciation will help you build a water-tight  case for investing in HR tech innovations. To learn more, download our report, “The Business Case for Social Recognition.”

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When Will Companies Realize That Culture is Not Just an HR Thing?

When I talk to business owners and executives about wanting to improve their culture, their typical response is that culture is something that HR is responsible for. This response is a clear indication that those at the top are still disconnected from what truly matters. When will business owners, executives, and managers realize that each of them is responsible for shaping and managing company culture each day? Maybe this lack of ownership is because the idea of culture is vague to them, so instead of trying to understand their role in it, they simply pass the responsibility over to HR. But this strategy will only take you so far. It’s time for leaders to get serious about improving their company culture.

Let’s clarify what culture is. Culture is the collective mindset and attitudes of your employees about what they do, which manifests itself in how they do things (i.e. their actions and behaviors). These behaviors manifest themselves in their interactions with your company, your customers, and other employees.

This mindset – the one your staff brings to work every day – determines how they will take care of your customers, how much effort they will put into their work (i.e. employee engagement), and whether or not they will stay with you long term. In fact, 76% of employees in North America listed having a positive company culture as a main factor for staying with a company. Considering that 55% of employees will look for new jobs this year, retention is one key outcome where culture can make all the difference.

The mindset and attitude of your employees play a significant role in how they perform at work. How someone feels about coming to work affects his or her energy levels and cognitive abilities. This is often referred to as employee engagement, which is tightly connected to company culture. The impact of a negative, disengaged culture is tremendous. It can lead to poor customer interactions, decreased brand reputation, high turnover, underperforming staff, and in turn, reduced profits. Depending on the size of your company, the cost could be thousands, millions, or even billions of dollars.

In case that was not convincing enough, consider the effects of a positive and engaged culture:

  • 26% less employee turnover
  • 20% less absenteeism
  • 15% increased productivity
  • 30% better customer satisfaction
  • 65% increase in share-prices

If these numbers don’t mean much to you, consider that each one represents an opportunity to significantly lower costs or improve revenues. Simply put, a positive and engaged culture equals a better bottom line. This is why everyone involved in a company must put the mindset of their employees at the forefront of everything that they do. Culture can’t be just an HR issue because, honestly, it’s just too important.

While HR clearly plays a key role in defining company culture, by being the conductor and owner of many of the mechanisms that affect the employee experience, HR cannot be the only ones providing leadership around culture. All leaders throughout the company must take responsibility for culture and make decisions that support the desired culture each day. Culture has responsibilities at every level of an organization, and those at the top have the most influence on the mindset of the company. Research from Gallup suggests that managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement levels and that employees who have engaged leaders are 60% more likely to be engaged themselves. Yet, we still see so many companies with completely complacent managers that don’t care about what they do and no one does anything about it.

I often hear owners, executives, and managers argue against investing their time and efforts into fostering a positive and engaged culture. Here are a few of the arguments I most frequently hear:

  • We have to remain focused on our customers and their experience –after all we are in the customer experience economy. Of course customers are important, but I argue that we are in the employee experience economy. The talent war is over, talent won, and as a result if we do not take care of our best and brightest people another company will. If you take care of your employees and they feel good about whom they work for and what they do, they will naturally take care of your customers.
  • Employees (especially young ones) don’t work hard anyway so why give them more? The reality is, Millennials and Generation Z, just as previous generations, have the capacity to work very hard; it’s just that the new generation of workers do not see the value in investing in a business that doesn’t invest in them. Rather than sitting back and accepting outdated thinking, unsafe (physically and emotionally) work environments, and managers that do not give a damn about them, younger generations are willing to speak up or walk out.
  • The employees will just leave, anyway. Maybe they will, but if you want any chance to keep your best and brightest, then you have to provide them a better employee experience than they received in the past. Companies must create a reputation for themselves as a place where people want to work and want to be their best. This is where the best employees will be found now and more so in the future.

If you are focused on profits and productivity (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) then you must be willing to deliver a better employee experience to positively impact the mindset and attitude of your people coming to work. Culture is the most important thing in business today, so every owner, executive, and manager must keep it at the forefront of everything they do. We often ask ourselves what is the most important consideration in business today. The answer is clear: Company culture and the type of experience you create for your employees.

Come see me at ACE 2018 to learn more about how you can reprogram your employee experience to improve customer service, retention and performance.

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About the Author
Shane GreenA world-renowned keynote speaker, author of Culture Hacker, and television personality, Shane Green is a business magnate who consults global Fortune 500 leaders on customer experience and organizational culture. Shane draws upon his foundation at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and work in multiple industries to transform employee mindsets, habits, and skills to improve customer experiences and interactions. As the President & Founder of SGEi, Shane leads a team of professionals who inspire brands like the NBA, Westfield, Foot Locker, NetJets, Cisco Systems, and BMW to reprogram their employee experiences to create loyal customers and raving fans. Visit www.ShaneGreen.com to learn more.

About SGEi
At SGEi, we help executive teams develop a cultural transformation strategy and plan. We enable and coach your management team to own the continuous development of your company and people. And we design and deliver the training and communications necessary to shift mindsets and habits to meet the objectives of the company. Please connect@sgeinternational.com to learn more about how we can assist you with your transformation needs.

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Are You Personalizing the Employee Experience?

Have you ever been in a restaurant when one of the regular customers walks in? Not only does the waitress know his name, but she knows his order too, personalizing the customer experience. Is there any doubt in your mind that this is a loyal customer, that he will eat at the restaurant again or that he’s highly likely to recommend the restaurant to others?

This scenario isn’t exclusive to the restaurant industry. Businesses in all industries have always known the importance of providing high-quality customer service. Companies have now come to realize what waitresses have known for decades – that personalized services build loyal customers. In fact, in a recent survey, 77 percent of companies surveyed believe that providing real-time personalization is crucial to business success.

Lack of Employee Engagement

Unfortunately, many of the same businesses that have found success investing in personalized services for their customers have failed to apply these same principles to their employer-employee relationships – and it shows. According to Gallup, the rate of employee engagement has steadied around 32 percent for more than a decade, despite the fact that employers together are investing more than $720 million a year on employee engagement.

While it seems clear that employers understand that there’s a disconnect between them and their employees, their investments to date have done little to improve employee engagement. Perhaps, the piece missing in the employee experience is the same factor that drives customer loyalty – personalization.

How to Personalize the Employee Experience

Unfortunately, personal relationships aren’t built overnight – just ask the waitress. Instead, it takes time, a commitment, and ability to connect with the other person. There are steps, however, that employers can take right now to add personalization to the employee experience.

Listening Opportunities

Building a relationship is a two-way street. You cannot expect your employees to take a vested interested in what you have to say if you don’t listen to what they have to say. Take time to really listen to your employees and value their input.

Your employee’s first-hand knowledge of working with customers, working with the machinery or working with third-party vendors can provide you with a different perspective that may influence positive change within the workplace.

Regular listening sessions, reverse performance reviews and pulse surveys are great ways to show your employees that you’re willing to listen.

Career Advancement

Employees want career advancement. In fact, a recent study ranked lack of career growth as the number two driver of voluntary turnover. The facts show that employees will leave a company if they see no advancement opportunities. While many companies understand this demand and offer career growth opportunities from within, very few are personalizing this process.

Rather than send out internal memos related to job opportunities within the workplace, what if your company took the personalized approach instead? What if rather than wait for employees to come to you, you proactively take steps to grow and develop your staff based on their skills, performance and experience.

Employee Recognition

When done correctly, employee recognition can be one of the most effective ways to personalize the employee experience. The big question is – “Are you recognizing employees the right way?” First and foremost, employees want fairness and transparency. If both of these components are not at the core of your employee recognition program, it could have the reverse effect.

Your company’s employee reward and recognition program should recognize the personal accomplishments of your employees and, in turn, boost employee engagement. It’s important to develop a well-defined recognition program that is understood and followed by all levels of management.

Real-Time Feedback

For decades, employers have relied on annual performance reviews to provide feedback to their employees. While individuals names may be on each performance review, in most cases, this type of feedback is far from personalized.

In many cases, these annual reviews are little more than a supervisor trying to complete a stack of performance reviews before the deadline and then spending a few minutes, if that, while each employee reads over the review. Rarely, do these reviews give the employee an accurate look at their performance, either good or bad, on a daily basis.

Real-time employee feedback can solve this problem, and guess what – employees want this type of feedback. Real-time feedback gives supervisors and management the ability to immediately compliment an employee for a job well done or immediately point out underperformance when necessary. What’s most important is that immediate feedback personalizes the experience by providing specific feedback in reference to specific actions.

The process of personalizing the employee experience must start from the top down and include all layers within the company. This will help to personalize the employee experience and boost overall employee engagement rates within the workplace. Much like the customer at the restaurant, personalization has the power to build loyalty among your workers. Loyalty, in turn, can spur higher retention rates, improved productivity, increased employee referrals and better employee morale and job satisfaction.

If you want to learn more about the value of personalizing the employee experience, download our white paper covering Personalization: The Missing Link in the Employee Experience.

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Recognize Your Employees and Strengthen Your Bottom Line

If you’re a supervisor or manager, you probably know how much more productive your team is when you make the effort to recognize each person’s contribution. In order to take employee recognition to the next level, however, and establish a company-wide system of rewards, you’ll need to be able to present the investment to your CEO or CFO in terms of the financial bottom line.

Fortunately, a growing body of research makes this easy. A Workplace Trends Report finds that recognition programs yield 50 percent higher sales, 27 percent higher profits and 21 percent better retention. With a solid positive ROI to back it up, an employee recognition program can be treated as part of your company’s overall strategy. A Cornell University paper on recognition in the workplace points out, “While recognition is not new, it is finally becoming more strategic as programs align recognition with business objectives and desired behavior.” Here’s some of the research that describes the nuts and bolts of why rewarding employees ends up boosting the company’s bottom line:

Rewards and Recognition Strengthen Employee Engagement

The benefits of expressing your appreciation of employees begin with engagement. Unengaged employees can cost your business thousands of dollars, because they’re not concerned about being efficient during their work hours. Instead, they tend to waste time and engage in countless distractions, just trying to get through the day in whatever way they can. If you have an employee who wastes just 15 minutes a day, that’s an hour and a quarter per week, or 3.125 percent of a work week. Looking at a sample service business with $3 million in revenue, this lost productivity from just one worker can add up to $93,750 in a year.

To avoid the lost revenue of alienated workers, you might be tempted to block social media sites from company computers, or institute various rules about not coming back late from breaks. However, the fact is that what really motivates people is positive reinforcement. Recognition is the number one driver of employee engagement, according to our Achievers’ video, and every 1 percent increase in engagement results in an additional .6 percent growth in your company’s sales. The Cornell research paper mentioned above notes that when employee engagement varies, 41 percent of that variation is directly due to the amount and quality of recognition that the employee receives.

 
The Value of Recognition and Engagement 

Engaged Employees Show Up and Pay Attention

Balancing work and outside life is tricky for everyone as our lives become more complex, but when employees are highly engaged in their jobs, they manage to show up to work despite the outside commitments that compete for their time. A Gallup research study states that engaged employees take fewer than three sick days each year, on average, while disengaged ones take more than six sick days. Your HR department is probably all too well-acquainted with the high cost of accidents and absences, and anything you can do to reduce these figures will contribute to the long-term sustainability of your organization.

There’s Space for Your Company at the Front of the Pack

Despite the proven fact that dedicating resources to employee recognition is financially prudent, many organizations still hesitate to follow through with this strategy. In a Forbes article, Ryan Scott, founder and CEO of Causecast, points out that “One of the top concerns for HR executives in 2017 is how to raise employee engagement, and for good reason. Engagement is on the decline across the world, and that spells trouble for business leaders everywhere.”

Gallup adds to this picture: Fewer than one-third of employees would strongly agree with the statement that they have received recognition or praise for doing good work within the last seven days. The authors of this Gallup study state that the role of recognition in producing engagement “might be one of the greatest missed opportunities for leaders and managers… in their search for new ideas and approaches, organizations could be overlooking one of the most easily executed strategies: employee recognition.” The fact that many companies are still missing out on the benefits of having a strong employee rewards program means that you can gain extra ground on your competitors by putting the power of recognition to work in your organization.

Employee Recognition Is Key to Staying Competitive

It’s beautifully logical, when you put it all together: Embracing a system to optimize employee appreciation and recognize others within your company will yield an abundance of benefits. According to the Cornell research, “Recognition programs, on their own, can help instill and reinforce corporate values, help with retention, and positively impact financial results. They also boost productivity, engagement, profit margins, customer retention, employee retention, ROE and ROA.” Taken together, these advantages will provide a robust return on your investment to recognize employees. Furthermore, they will add luster to your employer brand and help you compete for the top talent in your industry.

To learn more about how to recognize employees and build a strong business in a time of declining employee engagement, download our ebook Employee Recognition: More Than Just a Day.

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Do You Have Staying Power? What it Takes to Keep Staff Longer

My grandparents lived and worked in a different world than we do today. And as a 36-year-old, my Millennial friends (now 20-37) and I cannot even fathom what the workplace and the employer/employee relationship used to look like – before smartphones and leggings, and when “because I said so” was an acceptable answer to a staff member’s question.

A Shift in the Workforce

As we look at today’s new workforce, a major difference is that many Gen X workers (now 38-53) who entered the workplace 15-25 years ago were good at working independently, figuring out how to get things done by themselves, and meeting their Baby Boomer bosses’ (now 54-72) expectations. That’s because many Gen Xers were latchkey kids at age 8, 10, or 12, so they had a unique learning opportunity as children to figure out their own homework (before Google) and take care of themselves (without burning the house down). They also were a much smaller generational group than the Boomers, so when they entered the workforce, they did what they were told – without pushing back or asking their supervisors “why?”. They had little power to push back because of their size, so most Gen Xers fell in line and did exactly what the Boomers requested of them in order to advance their careers. Most decided to play the “Boomer Game” and just did their job.

But things in our world – personally and professionally – have changed drastically in the last 20 years, and today, the employer/employee relationship is very different than it used to be. By 2020, Millennials will outnumber the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers in the workplace – meaning more pushback by the younger cohort is expected – and since everyone is hiring, new hires today have much more power moving forward than employers may like.

While it can be frustrating to managers who worked their way up the ladder after painstakingly waiting their turn and paying their dues, Millennials who push back on old ways of doing things should be viewed as helpful, not as a hindrance. After all, what they’re asking for – flexibility, a voice, more appreciation, etc. – is what ALL employees want. And we all know how valuable negative client feedback is, so we treat it as a “gift” that allows us to see the evolving needs of our customers and make adjustments over time for them. Why not see employee pushback and recommendations for change in the same light? Let’s consider employees our internal customers, with whom we must evolve with to retain, and make an effort to change the way we see their pushback.

How to Retain Your Staff

We need to retain our new hires longer, so we must ensure managers and supervisors at all levels are effective communicators. Their staff probably were not raised like they were, so it is critical that leaders communicate their expectations more clearly to staff. It’s not enough to say, “the dress code is business casual” to a new hire. “Business casual” is a relative standard that each employee will view differently, and it’s sure to lead to a missed expectation when that new hire does not realize that her “dressy” flip flops or her “nice” leggings are not considered appropriate for the workplace. Expectations and requests must be more clearly defined than ever before, because staff can’t read managers’ minds. And it’s not “common sense” to know “how it’s always been done” when someone is new – they do not know what you want.

To improve employee retention, work to shift the mindset of your managers to understand today’s new workforce, and ensure they have the right training to effectively communicate with their employees. Building strong, positive, genuine relationships with staff is the best way to extend the tenure of new hires, which will reduce employee turnover over time.

Remember, the one-size-fits-all model for staffing and leadership no longer works, so organizations must encourage their managers to understand what their ever-changing internal customers are looking for in an employer and continue evolving to become a place where people want to work.

Did you know managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement? Make sure your management staff makes employee engagement a top priority with Achievers’ ebook Engage or Die: How Companies That Act Fast on Engagement Outpace the Competition.

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About the Author
Cara Silletto
Workforce thought leader, keynote speaker and trainer Cara Silletto, MBA, works with organizations to reduce unnecessary employee turnover by bridging generational gaps and making managers more effective in their roles. She is the President and Chief Retention Officer of Crescendo Strategies (www.crescendostrategies.com) as well as the author of the 2018 book, Staying Power: Why Your Employees Leave & How to Keep Them Longer, available on Amazon. Want to have Cara speak for your organization or upcoming event? Request booking info at solutions@crescendostrategies.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Employees Really Want from Their PTO Package

Paid Time Off (PTO) Is More Than a Privilege

Hard work and determination are as American as Jersey Shore reunions and bacon-topped desserts. And to make ends meet in our highly competitive, ultra-consumerist society, U.S. employees often find themselves putting in long hours, taking fewer lunch breaks, and even getting side-gigs to keep pace. Well, worth it or not, thou who burneth the candle at both ends burneth out entirely. That begs the question, is all the tenacity balanced with sufficient PTO and the ability to stay home when you’re sick? And what’s more, do workplaces feel the need to encourage those hours with cold, hard compensation?

Are 11 Days of PTO Too Many or Not Enough?

A new study by TSheets found employees are, for the most part, getting their hard-earned PTO, as 84 percent of employees said they receive PTO. On average, American workers receive 11 days of PTO per year, which includes both sick and vacation pay. That said, around 16 percent of the employees surveyed said they aren’t receiving any PTO this year, and 21 percent said they get somewhere between six and 10 days.

Be it work reflecting life or life reflecting work, employees who do have time off with compensation are still leaving precious PTO hours unused at the end of the year. In fact, the survey found that 65 percent didn’t use all of their PTO last year — five days, on average, were left unused.

There are reasons for the leftover PTO hours, of course. Some employees have hours that roll over into the next year, and some felt the pressure to work. Others simply didn’t take the time. When you look at respondents in certain age groups, those reasons became more varied.

Although younger people were more likely to have leftover PTO (61 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds versus 39 percent of the 45-and-up crowd), the reasons didn’t quite match up. Less than half (42 percent) of employees aged 55 and over said they didn’t take their PTO in full because of their workload, whereas only 18 percent of the younger employees gave the same reason.

Employees Under Pressure

As much as we’d like to believe our work-life balance is, well … balanced, most employees want to do a good job and put in a hard day’s work. That could be why the majority of the people surveyed (60 percent) gave work-related reasons for not using their PTO, and nearly a third of the respondents said they felt pressured to work instead. To make matters even more confusing for those of us who love a good vacation, almost half of employees admitted to working during vacation or on sick leave.

And what does pressure add to the mix? Well, stress, for one. Without that PTO, employees feel more stressed. Over half (58 percent) of employees who said they didn’t use all of their PTO said they’d describe their stress levels as “unhealthy.”

The PTO Employees Really Want

Since people occasionally need time to recalibrate and take care of personal items without thinking about work, time off isn’t just about vacation days. Nearly half of the employees who participated in the TSheets survey answered that they’d like to get more time off.

But when they were asked to choose between more PTO or a raise, 74 percent said they would take the money. Despite historically high levels of employment, more than 1 in 3 workers (39 percent) said they would accept a job without PTO.

In terms of the type of time off benefits employees desire, paid holidays tops this list, with 91 percent of employees ranking it as the No. 1 benefit. A close second (88 percent) value sick leave, and paid vacation came in third with 87 percent. Interestingly, fewer people said maternity and paternity leave are the most important benefits.

One in 5 said employers shouldn’t provide maternity leave, and 28 percent said employers shouldn’t provide paid paternity leave. With all that said, almost half of the respondents replied they’d take a lower paying job if it meant having more flexible working arrangements.

Choosing the Right Benefits of Employee Health and Well-Being

From what we’ve seen, it’s obvious that PTO is incredibly important for employees. And whether providing the 11-day average is a possibility, employers are responsible for determining whether PTO is a privilege or an integral piece of a compensation package that values an employee’s well-being, rest, and personal time.

So what’s in it for the employer? Happy employees, of course! Use holiday leave, sick leave, and vacation time as a recruiting tool and as a way to retain the best employees. As hardworking as our nation may be, technology has indeed made it easier to do our jobs and has given us the potential to arrange, plan, and track PTO when we need it.

Are you looking for new ways to incentivize the modern workforce? Get started with Achievers’ Incentives eBook.

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About the Author
Kim HarrisKim Harris is a copywriter and blogger based in Boise, Idaho, who has been putting her journalism background to good use telling true stories and helping businesses grow since 2008. When she’s not writing for TSheets by QuickBooks, you’ll find her queuing up entertainment and plotting her next escape.

 

 

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4 Ways to Prevent Your Employees From Quitting

When you hire a new employee, that person is already looking for a new job and at risk of quitting. That rather dire warning is offered by Dan Schawbel, research director at Future Workplace and one of Forbes’ “30 under 30” list. Schawbel cites a study by his company showing that one-third of American workers are at the risk of quitting and looking to change their jobs within the next six months. Employee turnover, he points out, “costs companies a fortune,” and the numbers agree: Losing an employee in the first year of their tenure can cost your company up to three times the person’s annual salary. Clearly, employee retention is a top priority for every organization and it’s HR’s duty to build a strategy that can prevent employees from quitting. Here are four HR best practices to strengthen work culture and protect your company from the high cost of worker churn.

1. Provide Relevant Training Opportunities

As Schawbel investigated the underlying causes for employee attrition, he found a major perception gap between management and workers when it came to a training and development. Sixty percent of managers reported that they provide their employees with a clear path for advancing their careers, while only 36 percent of workers felt that this was true. This discrepancy needs your attention, because you ignore it at your peril: Employees (especially the highly talented ones you’d most like to retain) have more power than they once did, because their skills are in demand. Schawbel’s study found that 41 percent of employees say that they would leave their present companies if they found a position that offered better career advancement.

These numbers suggest that there is more to this equation than simply providing opportunities for training and development. That’s the first step, of course: A study of 4,300 workers found that 74 percent don’t feel that they’re achieving their full potential in their current position, and only 12 percent feel that the training they did receive is actually applicable to their job duties. Along with offering appropriate pathways for your workers to develop their skills, you should ask for frequent feedback to make sure that these opportunities are perceived as being relevant and useful.

2. Encourage Healthy Work-Life Balance

Thirty-nine percent of employees state that a negative balance between work obligations and the rest of their lives constituted a “major pain point” in their careers. These statistics are highlighted by Rich Hein, senior managing editor of CIO Magazine. He points out that the average tenure for an IT worker these days is less than four years, and an unmanageable set of work demands is one of the main culprits for this high turnover rate.

While you can’t necessarily relieve each employee’s outside personal challenges, Hein points out that your organization will benefit by offering flexible hours or telecommuting options. Multiple studies reflect the fact that providing flexibility to employees results in fewer sick hours, greater employee happiness, higher productivity and less stress.

3. Keep Your Managers in the Spotlight

It’s an old truism that people don’t quit jobs — they quit bosses. Even if you’re well aware of this basic human resources principle, it never hurts to be reminded that your management-level staff are key to retaining your workforce. “One manager with poor people skills can do damage to the culture and effectiveness of a company in a short period of time,” points out Maricopa County CIO David Stevens. Too often, people with outstanding technical know-how are promoted to leadership positions, where an entirely different skillset is needed. Fortunately, management training and coaching can be highly effective, and can enable your middle management staff to perform at their full potential.

Productivity consultant Laura Vanderkam adds an interesting twist to this standard advice. She points out that a manager may feel attached to keeping a “rockstar employee” in his or her department, and may be reluctant to provide development training that would advance the person’s career. For this reason, Vanderkam encourages executives and HR specialists to specifically reward managers who successfully move their outstanding employees forward into different departments. The manager’s individual loss will be the organization’s gain, as employee alignment will be strengthened by new career opportunities.

4. Show Your Employees That You Appreciate Them

Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah identifies employee rewards and recognition as one of his three key ways for retaining employees. He acknowledges how easy it is for busy managers to put employee retention “on the back burner,” and he finds that continuous positive feedback is his go-to method of letting employees know how valuable they are to the company.

There’s an art to employee recognition best practices, however: It’s important to provide feedback on an ongoing basis, but workplace expert Lynn Taylor points out that it can’t be “robotic.” Your appreciation needs to be authentic and varied, delivered in a variety of forms. To keep a sense of freshness present in your appreciation, you can change up the channels: Providing your workers with a chance to recognize and praise each other’s contributions will nurture teamwork. Similarly, you may sometimes recognize the unified efforts of a whole team or department, so that it’s clear that everyone benefits from strong employee alignment.

You invest significant resources into recruiting and hiring. Once you’ve onboarded those top-notch employees, however, your HR challenge is only beginning. Lynn Taylor reminds managers, “Retaining the best and brightest is what ultimately matters. The most innovative and successful companies today [have] taken retention efforts to an advanced level.” To learn more about the current retention epidemic and how to prevent your employees from quitting, check out our latest report highlighting key findings from a survey taken by 1,724 employees across the U.S., Canada, UK, and Australia.

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Open Office

Thinking of an Open Office? Read This First

Companies are trying to find a workspace setup that increases employee productivity. Meanwhile, the employees are hoping that they will be allowed to concentrate or collaborate as needed and still escape unnecessary distractions. Getting the design of an office right can be hard – it is clearly a moving target. Let’s take a look back at the history of office design. In 1964, a Herman Miller executive, Robert Propst, came up with the idea of the office cubicle. It was a reaction to the open office setups of the 1950s which were felt to be too noisy and lacking in privacy.

1960 officeA 1960s escape from the vast open office layout.

The office cubicle found huge adoption in the following decades, giving workers an office layout that was often an immense field of cubicles as far as the eye could see – as was so effectively lampooned in both the movie Office Space and the comic strip Dilbert.

office spaceRon Livingston, David Herman And Ajay Naidu take their revenge on their nemesis, the office  fax machine in a scene from “Office Space”. Source: Getty Images.

To break away from the office cubicle layout, companies started moving back toward a variation on of open-plan offices taken from the 1950s. Open-plan offices have become increasingly popular and make up approximately 70 percent of all offices. Understanding the history behind these changes to office design can help businesses make informed choices about what to implement in their own setup, and how the physical space of the office affects employee happiness and engagement.

open officeFed up with working in an open-plan office? You’re probably not alone. Source: Photofusion/Rex Features.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Open Office Layouts

The Good:

An open office layout can help increase the amount of day-to-day communication. Instead of having a meeting or walking to another cube, one desk occupant can simply talk across to the next. Beyond being able to hear the neighbor, one can also see if they are (1) at the desk and (2) if they are likely to be available – not on the phone or in a conference.

The flexibility of an open office helps to break down the barriers between departments and hierarchies. With more chances to interact, teams can grow closer organically. Spontaneous lunch outings become more common, which can increase employee engagement and overall happiness. Familiarity in a non-work setting helps to build trust in coworkers and communication across departments. In an extreme example from my personal experience, a software company I worked at would stop work Friday afternoons to allow the entire staff to play games or just hang out. The open office and companion culture at this company helped developers, marketers, and even C-levels communicate better as a team.

The Bad:

On the flip side, what if an important report has to be done by 5pm on a Friday while the other 20 people in the office are laughing and carrying on? The noise becomes a problem without sound barriers provided by cubicles and closed doors.

In an open office, sometimes every phone call becomes anathema and the guy who used to be the water cooler pundit is always too loud and too close. A survey by Oxford Economics on open office plans said that 53% of those surveyed were less productive when they could hear ambient noise. Another study took this further and found that noisy offices can impair your ability to recall information or do basic math.

The Ugly:

The look of an office separated into cubicles is great if you love that grey and drab with bad lighting aesthetic. However, you have that physical and sound barrier between you and your coworkers. The open office layout removed those barriers allowing you to see and collaborate with your coworkers. This is its main selling point, well, that–and it often gives the office clean, trendy lines. The introverted and those sensitive to sound will quickly notice the drawbacks to all this openness.

There Are Always Trade-Offs

Pro: You Can See the Colleague You Want to Engage With

In one open office layout I sat directly across from the COO and very close to a Director in another. It’s nice to be able to see them and talk to them quickly without having to find their office and knock or wait for the door to be open, which makes you feel like another task in their project management software. The playing field does seem a bit more level without closed doors and formal meetings.

Con: You Might Hear or See Something You’d Rather Not

However, there are some times when privacy is necessary. In a phone-free workplace, I would need to take my cell phone call somewhere else. Also those managers would need to find a location for their reviews and interviews to maintain the privacy of their meeting and save the other workers from that extra noise. “And for introverts, an open office can be an especially dark place. Constantly interacting with other humans can be exhausting.” In her popular TED talk on how our workplaces are designed for extroverts, Susan Cain, author of Quiet, explains this powerfully. She notes that “modern offices have the collaboration element well taken care of, but they’re neglecting the concentration and the contemplation.”

Office Layouts Depend on Your Culture

“People feel more connected to a workplace where they have the ability to shape their work environment and decide when and where they’re going to work. This freedom increased the likelihood that workers were happy with their jobs by 12 percent and increased overall job performance.” – Nicole Coughlin of Knoll Activity Spaces 

The real key to designing the right office layout is understanding that all your employees are different. Each will have slightly different needs and work styles. If you decide to move forward with an open office you should try to make it balanced with a number of offerings for privacy and quiet. Here are some office suggestions:

  • Work-a-Day Normal Desks: Give employees the option to move around the office if need be, whether it’s a sitting, standing or adjustable desks.
  • Large Tables: Let employees gather together and work at one large table together. This can encourage collaboration and team building.
  • Conference Rooms: Sometimes all it takes is a closed door to give some much needed privacy.
  • Phone Booths: Private booths are a great alternative for conference calls or recorded trainings.
  • Couches: Who doesn’t like a comfortable couch to change things up? Let employees kick their feet back while they get work done.
  • Multiple Lighting Options: Some employees don’t like overhead lights and some do. Have the option of lighting up one zone with and another without.

Choosing between an open office or a layout that provides a little more privacy doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Remember to think about what works for your company, its culture, and the amount and types of engagement you want among your employees. Defining these pieces before redesigning your office setup will ensure you choose the office space that works for your team.

Are you delivering an unbeatable employee experience? Discover how to engage your employees with personalization, the missing link in employee experience. Access Achievers’ white paper to learn more.

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Steve Medeiros Steve Medeiros is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com. He has an extensive background in technology, software, and customer support. Find him on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

 

employee disengagement

How to Address Early Signs of Employee Disengagement

According to the Work Institute’s 2017 Retention Report, 75% of the causes of employee turnover are preventable. That’s excellent news for your HR budget, as the cost of replacing entry-level employees alone hovers near $4,000 per position. A small change in human behavior can be enough to indicate damage in employee motivation. Yet, detecting early signs of employee disengagement is never an easy task. It requires excellent observation skills and strong empathy to respond in a way that restores engagement across your organization.

At a time where barriers between leaders and employees are at an all-time low and with 70% of employees wanting to spend more time with their manager, simple actions stemming from emotional intelligence and intuitive leadership are powerful enough to correct a subtle motivation drop. Here’s engagement clinics to discover how you can address early signs of employee disengagement.

Note: All names have been changed for privacy considerations.

High Performers: Empowerment is Not Anarchy

Efficient, committed, and highly engaged, Jane was the next talent to accelerate.

Jane’s manager assumed that since she was a high performer, she didn’t need much handholding to sustain her performance. But Jane’s sense of achievement dropped in the course of a few months, an early sign of employee disengagement.

The challenge for any leader is to adjust space for employees to be empowered. For a high performer, too much attention to what she does is micro management. But attention to how she does it and why she does do it can give off the wrong message.

Early Signs of Disengagement - High Performers

Treatment

As any other employee, high performers need frequent recognition to protect their sense of belonging. They want strong feedback to reach excellence in their work. And they crave coaching and mentoring to level up their “soft” skills. After all, 68% of millennials who intend to stay in their company for the next 5 years are involved in mentoring programs.

Discovery of Potential: Stories and Limiting Beliefs

I remember very well Simon. Simon was the go-to expert in his area. Considering his immense knowledge and potential for relationship-building, I assumed his next step was to develop his leadership skills.

What I underestimated at the time is that Simon had little appetite for stepping out of his comfort zone. Early signs of employee disengagement showed up as plain resistance, from “I’m not sure I can do it” to “this is completely useless!”.

Each leader should pay extra attention to words of resistance. Resistance is the seed for limiting beliefs that can become given realities for the employee, and get in the way of performance.

Early Signs of Disengagement - Resistance

Treatment

80% of employees would work longer hours for a more empathetic employer. An emotionally intelligent leader knows that a huge part of the job is to attend to team members and support them towards having a delicate balance of confidence and performance. Performance starts with clear goals. Confidence grows when you support your employees as they achieve those goals, and show them where their true potential is.

In Tune with Culture: The “Selective Memory” Syndrome

How often do you try to communicate a message to your team and some still don’t get it? Frustrating, right? It’s nothing else than human nature.

Driven by fight or flight responses, humans are not wired to navigate change easily. If you try to suggest change towards the way your team behaves, you can might be criticized or worse, ignored. It could be tempting to take criticism as “venting moments”. But if left unaddressed, those early signs of employee disengagement can lead team members to question if their values are still aligned to the company’s mission and values.

Early Signs of Disengagement - Aversion

Treatment

According to Deloitte’s Talent 2020 series, “performing meaningful work” is one of the top three motivational drivers for employees. For team leaders, it could be as simple as making top level communications relatable for everyone and taking the time understand what type of work each of your team members enjoys doing.

In addition, listening to your employees on a daily basis fosters a safe space for them to express their opinion. With the availability of advanced HR technology listening to your employees on a daily basis is now easier than ever. Check out intelligent active listening interfaces such as Achievers’ Allie™. With Allie, you can get clear insights on your employees’ pulse and receive honest feedback.

Final Thoughts

 Deloitte just released its 2018 Human Capital Trends report, where it stated the following:

“Most companies are struggling to recruit and develop these human skills of the future. Despite having an increasingly clear understanding of the skills needed in a world where humans work side by side with machines, 49% of respondents do not have a plan to cultivate them.”

One of those “human skills of the future” is to ensure your leadership includes the best employee engagement and retention tactic: fostering human connections so that you can spot (and address) early signs of employee disengagement.

Do you want to learn more about employee disengagement? Check out Achievers’ white paper, The True Cost of Employee Disengagement.
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Are you free in October? Discover where the future of HR technology and employee engagement is heading by attending Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2018 in Toronto, October 23-24. Get the early bird rate and save $200 off the regular rate today. Buy now here.

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About the Author
Coralie Sawruk
Coralie Sawruk helps global organizations create efficient team dynamics. A people-person at heart, she believes the ultimate competitive advantage is created by the right talents working hand-in-hand, cheerfully. Coralie shares her insights on human-centric leadership and leading happy teams on her website. Get in touch on LinkedIn

 

 

 

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Culture Change During Mergers and Acquisitions

How to Navigate Culture Change During Mergers and Acquisitions

News of one company buying another one makes for splashy headlines, broadcasting rising stock prices and the overall cost of the deal. Just look at the headlines Disney garnered for its recent $52 billion bid to acquire most of 21st Century Fox, as well as all of Sky News. However, what really counts after the dust settles is how you help your employees adjust to the cultural shift. Author and management consultant Mark E. Mendenhall writes that “cultural and psychological sides of M&A are often overshadowed by the financial side,” and SHRM notes “studies consistently show that most mergers and acquisitions fail, mainly because of people and culture issues.” As an HR professional, your participation is crucial during each step of the transition, but the most significant contribution you can make is probably in the area of employee engagement. During this high-stakes period, you have the chance to prove your value to the company if you keep the following factors in mind:

Expect Employees to Feel Stressed

Before you can help employees adjust to upcoming changes, you have to be aware of what they are feeling. From the moment the merger is first announced, your entire workforce is likely to be distracted by uncertainty. It’s disturbing to imagine one’s livelihood simply disappearing, especially for those workers who are older or who doubt their ability to land an equivalent job. Employees may even wonder if financial pressures or job-hunting may force them to move out of their home. Relationships inside and outside the workplace may suffer, and engagement in job tasks often plummets.

Even though mergers aren’t exactly a cakewalk for your HR department, you must find time to alleviate your workforce’s stress and provide each person with the support and empathy they need to stay engaged. Glassdoor advises, “Even if an employee is losing their job, studies have shown that the worker will be more productive and more valuable in his final days if he or she is notified well in advance and provided with adequate support and guidance.”

Learn From Your HR Counterparts

Whether you are part of the target company or the acquiring company, you have a lot to learn from the other HR department. Mary Cianni, Ph.D., global leader of M&A Services at Willis Towers Watson, suggests that regardless of who will continue on as CHRO, you need to learn about the other company’s people. She notes that key questions to ask include the following: “What are the key drivers to employee engagement? What motivates them? What are they accustomed to with regard to rewards and recognition?”

Practice Transparency From the Beginning

The more your workers understand about what to expect, the better equipped they’ll be to meet the challenges of change. Cianni advises management to use accurate language right from the beginning: “If [the transaction] is an acquisition, call it that, versus using terms like merger or combination. The less ambiguity about the integration approach, the clearer the messaging to employees.” You build trust by being direct and truthful.

Provide Accurate Information

HR departments are under considerable pressure during mergers, and you may find yourself called upon for answers at precisely the moment when you have least control over your workers’ situation. Be careful not to release any specifics about dates, roles, retention and so on until all those plans are definitely in place. Telling even one manager about something that “might” happen is a way to create disruption and rumor. Cianni recommends that HR staff provide regular updates, even if all you have to say is “there’s nothing new to report.”

Listen to Employees

Most of the information flow during mergers move in only one direction, because workers are anxious to know what to expect. Nonetheless, this is a time when you should make a special effort to empathize with your employees. Let managers know that it’s helpful for them to meet one-on-one with direct reports so they can find out what’s on everyone’s minds. Glassdoor recommends that companies seek input from old and new employees alike regarding how the transition is going. They may have valuable suggestions and feedback that can help everything move along more smoothly.

Similarly, when you hold HR meetings to orient staff to new benefits or policies going forward, it’s important to allow time to listen to and address employees’ concerns. Sending out anonymous surveys ahead of time is another useful way to find out what’s keeping your workers up at night. Employees need to know that the company takes their questions seriously and value their input.

Institute an Employee Recognition and Rewards Program

There may never be another time when it’s as crucial to express your company’s appreciation to employees. Connect with your managers and discuss how they can use recognition to unify their teams. RecruitLoop points out that after a merger, “Setting a proper incentive or rewards program is essential to boost the morale of your new employees and make them feel part of your organization.” If the merger results in the integration of new employees, a peer-to-peer recognition platform is an excellent way to begin the process of bringing everyone together.

When handled effectively, mergers represent a surge of fresh energy and inspiration for the entire organization. HR professionals have a major part to play in the success of this transition. To learn more about how employee engagement and the right strategy can positively impact your workplace culture during times of change, download our ebook: Engage or Die: How Companies that Act Fast on Engagement Outpace the Competition.

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Which company has already reaped the benefits of instituting a recognition culture? Availity, the nation’s largest real-time health information network, has maintained a fun and engaging work culture with its employee recognition and rewards program, LOVE (Living Our Values Everyday). Availity employees continue to embrace the Achievers platform as a method for celebrating accomplishments large and small, with nearly 70% sending recognitions and 98% receiving recognitions in the first year of the program. To learn more about Availity’s success, access their case study here.

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Utilize Pulse Surveys

4 Ways to Make Pulse Surveys Work for Real Engagement

Companies have come a long way in terms of the investments they’re making to ensure they stay innovative, profitable, and protected. They’re also investing in ways to better communicate with their clients and with one another. However, perhaps one of the most largely overlooked, arguably most important, yet simplest areas still lacking in gaining the attention it needs is the most valuable asset every organization has: their people.

Retaining talent is key when it comes to running a successful business, and in order to keep top talent from walking out the door and never coming back, we need to understand where they’re at in terms of their employment satisfaction. Currently, only 11% of employers are surveying their employees more than once year. This is a startling statistic considering that more than half of employees are unsatisfied enough that they will actively be looking for a new job this year.

Keeping employees engaged is critical, yet keeping a pulse on how they’re doing can be overwhelming and confusing. Additionally, conducting long-form surveys regularly runs the risk of losing efficacy. One way to gain the same benefits of a traditional employee survey without inundating employees is through the use of pulse surveys conducted through human resources (HR) technology.

Pulse surveys are short surveys that ask questions related to your company’s engagement goals. Utilizing these surveys quickly assesses where your employees have concerns, and how those concerns can help your organization understand where there are opportunities to make changes. The key to success is to make sure they drive real engagement. Here are four ways to make pulse surveys do just that:

  1. Include Core Engagement Questions

In order to keep your surveys focused in the right place, be sure that your questions are written to reflect the core engagement areas you’re looking to improve or change. Gear your questions to show that your intention is to not only listen, but to act. Solicit feedback on whether or not they’ve noticed changes since the last survey and ask how they feel about those changes.

  1. Don’t Survey Too Often

Survey fatigue is a real thing, and if you conduct pulse surveys too often, regardless of their short length, people may eventually stop taking them if they don’t see results. In order to make pulse surveys truly help drive real engagement, only conduct them as often as you are prepared to make the changes necessary as a result of the survey. Because of this, the timing of how often to conduct surveys will be different for every organization. Some organizations will choose to survey as much as daily or once a week, while others will find monthly or quarterly surveys will suffice.

  1. Communicate Your Why

It’s okay to be transparent when it comes to communicating with your organization the “why” behind pulse surveys. Explain that you care about their responses because you genuinely want to make changes that will enhance and improve their experience. Make sure employees understand your intent to act upon the results of the things that they share, the time frame you expect to begin implementing changes, and that their participation is important.

  1. Share Survey Results

Regardless of survey results, even if they’re unfavorable, be sure that they are shared with everyone in the company. It’s important for employees to know that they’re being heard, that their opinions truly matter, and to feel a sense of connection with their colleagues. Sharing survey results is just one more way to communicate with employees and strong communication builds morale. An easy way to anonymize the data is to aggregate it and display key HR metrics in a public dashboard built with business intelligence (BI) software that automatically aggregates and displays survey results.

The advantages of pulse surveys are many, not the least of which being real-time insight and more engaged employees. The key is remembering that they should include questions that get at your core engagement goals, only to conduct them as often as you can act on their results, to be transparent about your reasons for asking your employees to participate in taking them, and to always share your results.

Utilizing pulse surveys begins to create a culture of continuous improvement. When employees see action being taken as a result of their feedback and suggestions, they’re more likely to trust you as an employer, and feel happier about being a part of your organization.

Are you ready to listen to your employees? Get started with Achievers Listen, the future of employee engagement. Achievers Listen allows employees to provide feedback to management on day-to-day issues via check-ins and pulse surveys, and lets front-line supervisors track trends through manager alerts. Also included with Achievers Listen is Allie, an intelligent, digital “coach” that interacts with employees in a familiar conversational way, while guiding employees with effective feedback and providing recommendations back to managers.

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About the Author
Jessica Barrett Halcom
Jessica Barrett Halcom is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com, with specializations in human resources, healthcare, and transportation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay and currently lives in Nashville, TN.

 

 

 

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Future of HR Tech

Where HR Tech Is Headed

Are you ready for the future of human resources? HR tech is “on the precipice of a total reinvention,” according to Josh Bersin, author of a pivotal Bersin by Deloitte report. The amount of resources being poured into that market bears out his statement: He notes that in 2015 alone, investors sank $2.4 billion into HR tech vendors, a figure that represents a 60 percent increase over the previous year. What kinds of changes will you see from this reinvention, and what kinds of new opportunities will come your way? Here’s a quick preview of the most relevant trends in digital management of the human beings that work for you:

It’s All About Employee Engagement

At first glance, it might appear that the increasing digital direction in HR might lead to a less humanistic, holistic approach. As a matter of fact, though, it has done the opposite: Where talent management was once automated and characterized by practice-driven solutions, the whole focus has now shifted in the direction of employees’ human needs. Data-driven solutions reveal that employee engagement and cultural fit lead to the best HR outcomes, and the new digital ecosystem now encourages a more organic human approach.

Managing People Requires Feedback

It would be handy if human employees could project virtual meters of how engaged they are, just as some online game avatars always indicate their levels of strength and well-being. Until that time arrives, however, employee engagement is something that has to be understood through specific types of measurement. HR tech provides excellent tools for ongoing feedback, including pulse surveys and structured opportunities, as well as various ad hoc channels. Bersin notes that companies find the new flock of feedback tools to be “transformational,” bringing hidden management defects into the light of day and allowing employee engagement problems to be addressed before they reach crisis levels.

Real-Time Feedback Is Becoming More Accessible

Bersin’s report notes that over 120 vendors are currently providing tools for continuous real-time evaluation of overall employee well-being. These include assessments of company culture, employee recognition platforms, and a growing array of text-based feedback channels where confidential and anonymous comments can be given. Some of these channels are as impromptu as single words that workers offer for a word-cloud, while others may be associated with a particular company event or scheduled brainstorming sessions.

Once you have all this incoming data, new analytics are able to crunch it into beautifully charted trend lines. You’ll be able to see how your workers’ level of engagement is doing now as opposed to last week or how one team’s enthusiasm compares with that of another team. This unprecedented ability to slice and dice your employee alignment is incomparably valuable for measuring the effectiveness of different rewards and recognition initiatives.

Analytics Help You Predict Behavior Trends

While analytics can be used for noting employee engagement levels, this is really only the beginning of the extensive new possibilities offered by the emerging technology. As a manager or HR professional, you probably wish that some software platform could give you a crystal ball that let you view the future: Which new hire will end up staying with the company for 10 years, and which one will flame out in six weeks? Which front-line employee is on the verge of rage-quitting, and which one is angling to take on new job responsibilities? It’s now common for companies to use predictive modeling to figure out how to keep their high-performing workers, and Bersin notes that “the percentage of companies doing predictive modeling has almost doubled over the past three years.” In addition to employee retention probability, predictive modeling is also valuable in gauging future sales productivity, service quality and fraud activity.

One utility that all predictive analytics have in common, however, is that they give managers solid evidence for making beneficial changes. For example, Facebook recently offered its employees at least $10,000 if they would relocate their homes to within 10 miles of the company’s Silicon Valley campus. According to Bersin, this offer was the direct outcome of Facebook’s predictive analytics: Their HR tools found that the longer a worker’s commute, the lower their productivity and the likelier they were to quit.

Tech for Employee Learning

HR tech has wide applications beyond directly keeping track of how employees are faring. Millennial workers rate the opportunity to learn while on the job as their highest priority when seeking a new position. Naturally, if companies want to hold onto this valuable young demographic, they will respond by re-examining their way of offering training and development. The arrival of new HR tech options has transformed the nature of corporate training. Whether the new training opportunities are termed “mobile learning,” “blended learning” or some other freshly minted term, they are all increasingly self-directed. Bersin cites an interesting statistic to illustrate this trend: Seven years ago, 77 percent of corporate training used to be instructor-led, while now that percentage is only 32 percent. He states, “People at work simply don’t have the time, budget, or patience to sit in classes the way they did a few years ago.”

Managing your employees is a very human art, and new technology will not take away the psychological insights and instincts that you’ve developed over the years. Instead, the new technology provides solid data to back up what you already know about keeping your employees engaged, as well as streamlined new tools to increase your effectiveness. To learn more about how data can help you achieve greater levels of employee happiness, download our e-book, “Four Places to Start Measuring What Matters.”

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Start using HR tech to engage your workforce. Get started with our white paper, “Engage or Die: How that Act Fast on Engagement Outpace the Competition.

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Are you free in October? Discover where the future of HR technology and employee engagement is heading by attending Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2018 in Toronto, October 23-24. Get the early bird rate and save $200 off the regular rate today. Buy now here.

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Engage Remote Employees

5 Ways to Keep Remote Employees Motivated and Engaged

What types of commuting issues do your workers have? All possible perks and benefits that address those problems (such as public transit vouchers, parking permits, vanpool arrangements, and bike storage) add extra costs to your bottom line – except for one: telecommuting.

On average, businesses save about $11,000 per year for every employee they shift to remote work status for half the week, according to Global Workplace Analytics. At the same time, individual workers save between $2,000 and $7,000 annually. Many companies already realize the cost effectiveness of remote work options, since 37 percent of American workers report telecommuting at least some of the time.

However, as an HR professional you manage people, not budgets. You may wonder what happens to team morale and employee engagement if your workers don’t even have to get out of their pajamas. There is hope on the horizon, because Gallup research finds that employees who spend at least some time working remotely are “more likely to feel engaged in their jobs than those who never work remotely.” Here are 5 management tips for keeping your remote workers aligned and motivated, so you can all benefit from the terrific cost savings offered by telecommuting.

1. Let Workers Control Their Schedules

Once you’ve taken the leap of letting people work remotely, it’s not that big a step to allow them to set their own schedules. Does one employee prefer to work from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m? Except for certain deadlines or teleconferences, that schedule most likely isn’t a problem. You won’t maximize your employees’ well-being from telecommuting if you still require them to clock in every day at 8 a.m.

It’s important to keep in mind that the worker’s home environment is less controlled than an office, and the person may have to break away to deal with a sick child, a runaway pet, someone at the door or a kitchen emergency. The whole attraction of remote work is that it helps people balance the demands on their time.

Dustin Grosse, COO of ClearSlide, offers this advice to managers of remote workers: “Rather than micromanaging when they’re getting the work done, focus on what they’re consistently achieving.” Grosse points out that giving people more control over their time will result in happier and more engaged workers.

2. Work on Building an Active Employee Community

The biggest problem that remote workers encounter is a sense of isolation from the larger group. Your management efforts should be directed toward bringing people together and nurturing employee happiness. One way to do this is to make sure team-members have a chance to talk together. IPEC’s Coaching Excellence emphasizes that emails are not the same thing as talking, and they won’t contribute to a unified work culture.

Today’s remote communications platforms offer sophisticated collaboration tools and vibrant opportunities for conversations that feel like everyone’s in the same room together. Creating an opportunity for peer reward and recognition programs is also a valuable way to build a sense of teamwork. Receiving praise from co-workers is enormously valuable in strengthening employee motivation and building a productive team.

3. Facilitate Whole-Company Meetings

Company culture is key to the identity of your brand, and it suffers when team members are geographically separated. Writing in Entrepreneur, leadership coach Beth Miller notes that “as a company grows it gets harder to keep everyone aligned to the vision while maintaining your culture.” She notes that regular quarterly meetings of the entire organization are beneficial to employee retention and overall productivity. It’s also important to sponsor occasional full-staff retreats or recreational occasions, to make sure all workers identify with their organization as a whole.

While workers may be teleconferencing with their own team-members on a frequent basis, they probably have minimal face time with people in other departments. Employee alignment is encouraged by bringing workers together in person and giving them a say in the direction of the company. An organization’s mission and values only stay alive to the extent that people internalize them.

4. Invest in Professional Development

Offering professional training and development to your remote workers is a substantive way to recognize the value of their contributions, and to keep them engaged and enthusiastic about working for you. Whether through individual mentorships, the chance to attend remote webinars, or tuition assistance for in-depth education, you can keep your telecommuting staff on a solid path to career advancement.

Did you know 40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year? Avoid high turnover from remote and non-remote employees by offering valuable professional development and training programs. Also, with a company culture of promotion from within adds power to your employer brand.

5. Recognize Hard Work

While employees may relish the freedom of working late into the night while their favorite pet sleeps on their lap, said pet isn’t going to praise them when they turn in an outstanding report ahead of deadline. Employee rewards and recognition take on a greater sense of importance when workers are geographically distant, since it shows employees their extra effort truly makes a difference. Recent Gallup research shows that employees working remotely are actually more likely to put in extra time on their jobs – probably because they get on a roll and really care about getting the project done well.

Providing your staff an opportunity to work remotely can be a powerful tool to build employee success. Fifty-one percent of workers say they would actually change jobs if they could get one that gave them the option of working from home. It’s clear that companies can gain a competitive edge by offering employees the ability to work remote. The only thing to remember is to practice techniques that will consistently engage remote workers. Start engaging every employee with frequent recognition and rewards. To learn more, access our eBook on How to Make Employee Recognition an Everday Event.

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Discover how Shop Direct is engaging 4,700 on and offline employees with their Shine employee recognition program. Thank to Shine and its associated initiatives, Shop Direct’s engagement survey has seen a 17% increase – from 67% in 2010 to world class 84% in 2017. Learn more by downloading Shop Direct’s Case Study.

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Create a Mission-Based Culture

4 Ways to Create a Mission-Based Culture Where Employees Will Thrive

A company’s mission statement is the driving force behind its company culture. It’s what ignites passion and motivation in employees.

At Achievers, our mission is simple: to change the way the world works. We aspire to do that by aligning everyone with business goals and company values, driven by recognizing shared victories every day. In short, we aim to make success a way of life.

Creating a mission-based culture is crucial for employee — and ultimately, company — success. In fact, according to our latest report, 76 percent of North American employees cited a positive corporate culture as the single most important quality in an employer.

By focusing on your mission company-wide, you open the door for more meaningful employee experiences and a more motivated team.

Here are four steps you can take to instill a mission-based culture at your company:

  1. Start with the employee

Empowering employees to adopt the company’s mission and values as their own is the first step in creating a mission-based culture.

Help your team take this step by encouraging employees to approach their work with an entrepreneurial mindset. Challenge your team to proactively and creatively find solutions to issues the company is facing.

Software companies, for instance, use hackathons to discover new solutions in programming. Leverage this idea to bring people together to accomplish challenges that can have impact throughout the company.

Jumpstart the event by asking employees to note the biggest challenges they or your customers are facing. Next, have them form teams and begin collaborating. Give employees a designated amount of time (traditional hackathons are about 48 hours) to design a program, role, or even software to solve the issues they presented.

The last step is to have employees present their solution and successfully explain how it reinforces the company’s mission. The winning team can then move forward with implementing their solution.

  1. Celebrate your mission

 Recognition isn’t just about celebrating your employees. It’s also about celebrating your company’s mission and recognizing those who exemplify it. In doing so, employees are able to see a direct connection between their efforts, the mission statement, and the company culture.

Unfortunately, it seems many companies are missing the recognition mark. In fact, our report also found that 55 percent of North American employees noted a lack of recognition and engagement as the main reasons behind wanting to change jobs.

At Achievers, we maintain a strong, positive culture by tying our communication and employee recognition efforts to employees’ work. For example, on a quarterly basis, our company comes together for a rewards and recognition (R&R) celebrations.

We place a lot of importance on giving our employees a voice and making it known throughout the company. We are not only proud of our employees, but also we value them and want to demonstrate that during the R&R celebration.

Recognitions are shared company-wide, highlighting examples of how our employees make a difference both internally and with our customers. No accomplishment is too small. They are meaningful, impactful, and push the company’s mission forward.

  1. Be transparent during the good and the bad

 Transparency allows employees to clearly see how their efforts impact overall organizational goals. To give employees a greater sense of transparency, let your company’s mission and values shine through in every situation — both good and bad.

When something great happens, like the promotion of a team member, celebrate it publicly. Explain what this employee did to earn a promotion and how their actions and attitude positively reflect the company’s mission. This way, employees can see the company mission in action and learn and grow from it.

While not as easy to do, it’s equally important to share the downsides of the job with employees. If you lose a client, for instance, be open and honest with your team about why this happened. Most importantly, use this time to inspire employees and unite them behind your mission. By discussing the issue as a team, you and the company can learn from this experience and help prevent similar issues in the future.

  1. Stay connected

 Your company and employees are constantly evolving. Even if your mission stays the same, the connections and values employees have will change. Because each employee is unique, you need to stay connected to their emotions and relationship with the company.

To accomplish this, arm your managers with the tools they need to listen to their employees, as well as offer recognition, on a consistent basis.

Technology that allows your managers to get a pulse on their direct reports on a daily basis will provide more insight into accomplishments and challenges than an annual or quarterly survey. More importantly, the data managers receive is in real-time, which allows them to take immediate action.

Giving your managers the tools they need to listen and respond to their direct reports in a personalized way brings it full-circle and back to the company mission. These practices will give leaders the opportunity to understand what matters to their employees, react in the moment, and redirect employees to a more engaged, mission-based culture.

Find out more about your employees’ needs and expectations by downloading our report here.

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Are you free in October? Come see me and discover how to increase employee engagement by attending Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2018 in Toronto, October 23-24. Get the early bird rate and save $200 off the regular rate today. Buy now here.

Do you have any thoughts on this article? Share your comments below.

About the Author
Diane ScheidlerDiane Scheidler is the Head of HR at Achievers, an employee engagement platform specifically designed to align everyone with business objectives and company values, driven by recognizing shared victories every day.

 

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fundamentals of employee engagement

The Fundamentals of Employee Engagement

There is an international employee engagement crisis. According to a Gallup survey, 85% of the worldwide workforce feels disengaged. On the bright side, this issue can be prevented with the use of initiatives that recognize employees the right way. This finding offers an opportunity for employers to address the need to add value to their employee’s work experience. After all, employees spend over 40 hours per week in the workplace making it practically a second home. You want to make sure they look forward to coming to work every day.

The good news is we have the power to change the culture of an organization from the executive team to frontline employees. Focusing on employee engagement and delivering a strong company culture ultimately impacts customer happiness, employee productivity and your bottom line.

Start with the 20:60:20 Model

What is the 20-60-20 model and how does it apply to HR? The 20-60-20 model should be applied when a company reviews its current human resources strategy. Overall, it means 20% of employees will accept new changes, 60% of employees will be neutral about change, and 20% will be resistant to accepting change in the organization. The good news is 60% of employees will be open to providing feedback and participate in employee engagement initiatives. As a result, the remaining will follow if the new programs are receptive and relatable to employees.

Focus on Career Development Programs

A reason why employees feel disengaged at work is that there is no effort on developing the skills of workers. Employees want career development opportunities to get that next promotion, potentially transfer to a new department where their talents can be fully utilized or receive in-depth feedback on their performance. I appreciate how my manager one time went out of the way to teach me about (ATS) Applicant Tracking Systems used by human resources to track words in a resume to select candidates for an interview. I once worked at an organization with a career development program that I found extremely impactful. Some of my favorite aspects of the career development program were the following:

  • Career Plan: Include realistic action steps to complete employee goals, education or activities.
  • Career Tools: Offer the right tools for employees, whether it be full access to online educational videos or other niche services that can help them succeed.
  • Department Cross-Over Opportunities: Open up the opportunity for employees to assist other departments outside of their own; encourage their curiosity and interest.

Provide a Successful Onboarding Experience

The Society for Human Resource Management stated, “new employees who attended a structured orientation program were 69 percent more likely to remain at the company for up to three years.”

Most companies have a dull onboarding program with a new hire filling out forms on the first day. As the month’s pass, the employee must figure out the company culture on their often. It can be an isolating experience which increases turnover rates of new hires in the first 90 days of employment. Here is a list of onboarding tips I recently discovered:

  • Share the history of the company
  • Send employment forms electronically before the employees first day
  • Introduce the new hire to executives and management
  • Sit the employee near the desk of a potential mentor

When a new employee goes home, the conversation about your company to family and friends should be positive because it will be beneficial for your community to think highly of the company from an employment perspective.

Get Executives Involved

The Muse stated, “90% of leaders think an engagement strategy have an impact on business success but barely 25% of them have a strategy.” Human resources and management can be excited about employee engagement, but if executives are disinterested or not visible, it will not help a company long term. Executive involvement means the CEO attending a work event, and introducing themselves to every employee. It includes executives attending team meetings to introduce themselves to frontline staff. If there is an extracurricular activity being offered to employees outside of work, it might be a good idea to encourage your executives to participate; this increases trust in leadership and enhances the employee experience.

When it comes to the employee experience, don’t let your employees simply receive documentation, sign forms and receive employee benefits. Instead, be an organization that embraces work culture from the top down.

Ask for Feedback from Employees

As an employer, think of employees as a customer; create engagement programs that support their career goals with options to improve their health. Most onboarding strategies include providing a survey asking new hires what they want and how their onboarding experience was. Make sure to ask for feedback from employees – they provide the answer on how to effectively boost employee engagement at your organization. Here are a few questions to ask them:

  • What do you want to see more at the workplace?
  • Do you feel valued at work and how can we improve?
  • How do you want to be recognized and rewarded?
  • Does your manager support your career goals?
  • What events or employee programs do you recommend?
  • How can we be better?

The questions should be open-ended to receive clear responses and encourage honest feedback without limitations.

Recognize Your Employees

Never forget to make your employees a top priority. One way to show your appreciation for employees is through frequent recognition and rewards. When you recognize your employees more, you will reap in the benefits of employee engagement. After all, 69% of employees cited Recognition and Rewards as a motivation to stay at their current job in 2018. Appreciate your employees on a daily basis and watch employee engagement rise.

To learn more about how to increase employee engagement through recognition, check out this eBook: Employee Recognition: More Than Just a Day. 3 Ways to Make Recognition an Everyday Event.

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About the Author
Makeda Waterman is an online media journalist of 4 years with blog features on CNBC Make It., Huffington Post, Glassdoor.com, Elite Daily, Fast Company, among others. She is passionate about helping people improve the quality of their career.

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Important HR Strategies

3 HR Strategies You May Have Overlooked

Create employee handbooks

Track employee hours

Draft contracts for new employees

Manage company benefits

Handle employee complaints

The list goes on and on. Across many industries, the role of HR has traditionally focused on endless paperwork and organizational policy development.

However, in today’s technologically-enhanced workforce, the traditional role of HR is swiftly shifting. Many organizations have undergone significant changes in light of new employment regulations and more diverse, younger employees who demand modern HR departments. Above all, experts agree that the role of the HR team is now genuinely impacted by the rapidly expanding availability of technology and digital tools.

So the role of today’s HR director, manager or executive must parallel the needs of their ever-changing organization. Successful companies also realize they must become more adaptive, resilient and customer-centered.

Taking a More Strategic Approach to HR Management

The evolution of technology allows HR professionals to take on more strategic roles in today’s HR landscape. Organizations must shift towards strategic human resource management or use the HR department to formulate HR strategies based on the company’s short- and long-term goals.

As a result, the decisions that departments make must reflect goals that the company has set. For example, if the organization plans to expand, HR’s recruitment strategy should focus on creating systems that will allow the company to recruit and hire top talent. Within this new type of environment, the HR team acts as a strategic business partner as well as a change mentor.

Here are three additional HR strategies your organization may be overlooking:

Create a Retention Strategy

Did you know that the costs of employee turnover can range from 30 percent to 150 percent of the employee’s salary? Retaining talented team members can distinguish truly successful companies from not so successful ones. Many employees leave their jobs when they are disengaged. So today’s HR professional must identify what could make people in their company disengaged and figure out ways to remedy these issues.

A strong work-life balance helps create a solid retention strategy. Organizations that promote a positive work-life balance report lower turnover and recruiting costs and increased productivity from satisfied, engaged employees.

Additional successful retention tactics might include giving employees additional time off, supporting working parents via on-site day care or job sharing, and offering flexible schedules to accommodate busy families or supporting continuing education. Employees who have time to spend on maintaining their home life look at work less like just another chore to finish.

Encourage a C-Level HR Support Strategy

If you read anything about organizational change, it typically begins with the need for executive buy-in and support. Changing HR’s role is no different. While many of today’s leaders and CEOs do understand the need for HR’s role stand on equal footing as any other business function, others tend to get stuck in a different mindset that is focused on keeping HR behind the scenes.

To shift management’s support of HR from providing transactional processing to offering valuable business insight, experts suggest first creating a business case for change. This method can compel HR to specify why their HR strategies need a more forward-thinking model, and clearly and effectively spell out the major advantages to the company.

Develop an HR Analytics Strategy

If you want to make your HR processes as efficient as possible, implement the right tech tools for your company, especially those tools that focus on analytics like business intelligence, employee feedback or employee recognition and engagement data. The power of analytics allows HR departments to use employee data to help management make more informed decisions about their team members and improve overall performance. Additionally, analytics can provide insight for effectively managing employees to reach company-wide goals more efficiently. With an analytics strategy firmly in place, executives can also better forecast a company’s future staffing needs.

One of the most critical advantages of incorporating an HR analytics strategy is having information ready and available for future leadership needs. Companies can develop everything from recruiting and development plans to succession tactics with data they’ve collected. Often an overlooked area, a succession plan can help minimize disruption by identifying vital roles in a company and employees who possess the skills to assume these positions immediately should someone leave.

HR teams can also track and measure data to continually improve organizational processes with an analytics strategy in place. For example, much of the HR technology available on the market today can help businesses make more informed decisions about what metrics are most critical to the company culture and overall business goals, as well as track them to drive employee engagement.

The Bottom Line

It is important to understand that implementing the latest HR strategies is an ongoing process. HR should plan to regularly review its approach and adjust various elements as the company changes.

Ultimately, to remain competitive, HR professionals today must clearly articulate their key role regarding the actual value they create for their organization. Equally important, senior executives must support and invest in HR as if it were its own business, surpassing the stereotype of HR professionals as simply support staff and unleashing their full potential as company-wide strategic partners.

How strong are your HR strategies? Do you have a retention strategy in place? Get started with Achievers’ infographic on 6 Stats That Speak to Employee Retention.

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Are you having trouble engaging your employees? Learn how to address employee disengagement with Achievers’ white paper on The True Cost of Employee Disengagement.

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About the Author
Lisa Dunn
Lisa C. Dunn a freelance writer, copywriter and ghostwriter who develops high-quality content for businesses and non-profit organizations. For over 20 years, she has worked with numerous PR and digital marketing agencies, and her work has been featured in well-known publications including Forbes, VentureBeat, Mashable, Huffington Post, Wired, B2C, USA Today, among many others.

 

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Shift to Recognition

The Shift from Years of Service Awards to a Culture of Recognition

We’ve all been there. Your coworker Sam is moving on to a new opportunity. Goodbyes are being said. Personal email addresses are being exchanged so everyone can “stay in touch”. Sam’s cardboard box is filled with the usual suspects: family photos, a mousepad with the Dallas Cowboys logo, the chrome stapler he secretly lifted from the supply closet and a Ziplock bag full of client business cards he has gathered over the years.

employee turnover

Now, here is where the real fun begins. Sam’s footsteps can still be heard in the hallway when the vultures swoop in at his desk. The Pilot 2.0 pens, the ones that draw the super clean lines without smearing, go first. The post it notes and desk calculator go next. Bill from accounting grabs the XXL Chili Cookoff sweatshirt for his 6’4” nephew who plays nose tackle in Idaho. By the time the dust settles, inventory has grown scarce. However, a few items have remained unclaimed despite numerous scavengers passing by. Sam’s three “Account Executive of the Half” awards have zero bids. What is Sam supposed to do with these? Set them up on his desk at his new gig? Another drawer holds the faux leather briefcase with the company logo stitched on it that he received for his five-year work anniversary. Sam only had three options for his award and he selected the briefcase over the whiskey decanter (he already has one) and the cherry wood desk clock (his watch works fine). Sam won’t need it in the future as this company is now firmly in his past.

Why would Sam leave his years of service award behind? These type of awards are meant to be a reward for the culmination of five years of hard work! Does an unused briefcase truly represent the appreciation his previous company had for him? Sam has worked his tail off for 260 weeks and his big thank you comes in the form of a pleather bag to carry to work – the same bag that has been gathering dust in his desk drawer since the day he received it. To make matters worse, every employee next to Sam receives the same type of awards at their five-year work anniversary which makes the gesture less personalized. Whether your work performance is the strongest or the weakest in the company, everyone gets the same reward. Logic would assume that a costly rewards program would focus on performance yet 87 percent of recognition programs focus on tenure.

This brings up a legitimate question –  is a tenure of 5 years the benchmark to define loyalty? Do employees not take actions on a monthly, weekly or daily basis to benefit their company and confirm their commitment? For Sam, there were dozens of moments during that time span that were worthy of recognition. Like the time he renewed his biggest client despite them having given a verbal commitment to his competition. What about the time Sam worked 10 hours on Thanksgiving Day to finalize the forecast projections the CFO dropped on everyone at the last minute? Or maybe the 11 folks he acted as a mentor to when they were new hires. If you demand Sam’s loyalty, you must recognize him in the moments he displays it. After all, 59 percent of employees are not recognized at their preferred frequency. Nobody is sticking around for half of a decade just to get a lapel pin, gold watch or acrylic awards. In fact, the high majority of employees will never make it to a 5-year anniversary at a company. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average job tenure in the US is just 4.2 years. And the millennial workforce, who is expected to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, will switch jobs four times in their first decade out of college!

What’s the solution? How do you build loyalty in the modern job-hopping workforce? The secret lies in building a true culture of recognition. Employee recognition should be given frequently and in the moment. This can include performance achievements, learning and development accomplishments and even celebrations such as birthdays and work anniversaries. Below are six keys to a successful recognition strategy.

  1. Speak to employees in their preferred language
    The modern employee wants convenience and information delivered in a manner that is easy to use, available via mobile and in the flow of work.
  1. Increase the frequency in which you recognize to drive behavior
    Letting employees know that their positive contributions are noticed drives discretionary effort because what gets recognized gets repeated.
  1. Celebrate milestones in the moment
    Find reasons to show employee appreciation such as finishing an onboarding checklist, completion of modules in a learning management system, birthdays, service anniversaries, etc.
  1. Integrate multiple programs into your recognition and engagement platform
    Make your recognition and engagement platform into a one-stop shop. Integrate other company programs such as HRIS, LMS, Wellness, Charity, Innovation and Referrals.
  1. Incorporate a non-monetary recognition strategy
    Not all recognitions have to include a monetary reward. Allowing for social recognitions increases frequency and drives incremental effort.
  1. Research successful employee recognition programs
    You’re not alone when it comes to building an impactful recognition strategy. Take a look at how other companies are successfully engaging their workforces through employee recognition. For example, you can gather inspiration from Horizon BCBSNJ’s and Smart & Final’s success stories. Access more HR success stories from leading companies here.

As the modern workforce shifts from year of service awards to sophisticated recognition and engagement platforms, it’s important to keep in my mind my six keys to a successful recognition strategy. From now on, avoid having the next Sam walk out your door by showing him appreciation from the start and on a regular basis.

To learn more, download Achievers eBook Recognition Culture: The MVP of Employee Experience.

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We’re excited to share that Achievers has been nominated for the Canadian HR Reporter’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards in two categories: Employee Engagement Programs and Recognition Programs & Awards. Share your love for Achievers and vote for us today before the March 19, 2018 deadline. Vote here.

Do you have any thoughts on this article? Share your comments below.

About the Author
Clinton Bean Headshot
Clint Bean is an Enterprise Account Executive at Achievers dedicated to helping large corporations better understand the evolution of engagement. He resides in Texas with his wife and 3 sons and can often be found on the sidelines coaching basketball and soccer or enjoying a round of golf. Connect with Clint on LinkedIn.

 

 

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Spread Employee Appreciation

20 Fresh Ideas for the Best Employee Appreciation Week

At Achievers, we couldn’t quite wrap our minds around designating just one day a year for employee appreciation. One special employee appreciation week, though — that can be a great opportunity to renew your commitment to showing your employees how much you value them.

Below are a few fun ideas you can use to really show your employees what they mean to you.

Optimize the Workplace

1. Create a Mentoring Program

Mentoring shows each worker that they matter, and creates new bonds of connection within the company.

2. Non-Work Lunch With the Boss

Take your team members out to lunch, either individually or in small groups. Keep the conversation away from work topics; instead, spend the time getting to know each person better.

3. Team Games

Make a list of fun activities (like bowling or laser tag) and ask your team to vote on their favorite. Be sure to offer appealing alternatives for anyone with physical limitations.

4. Do Your Employee’s Job for a Day

Draw names from a hat to choose one worker whose job you will do for a day. The chosen person will supervise you and make sure you do it right. You may just get a bird’s eye view of problems you weren’t aware of.

5. Crowdsource Innovation

Send out an employee survey asking for suggestions on ways to make the workplace run more smoothly, then hold a vote and promptly implement the winning idea. Your team will feel valued and you may well see an uptick in productivity.

6. Add Fun to the Break-Room

Sometimes, having a puzzle to work on is a great form of mental relaxation. Toy stores feature an incredible selection of cute, wacky, challenging and compelling amusements for all ages, and just seeing them will lighten up everyone’s mood.

7. Upgrade Office Furniture

Do people’s chairs need replacing? Providing your staff with ergonomic office furniture is a great way to ward off possible back problems and improve productivity. Your team will appreciate the fact that you care about their health.

Tip the Work-Life Balance

8. Massage or Manicure

Bring in two specialists and let each team member choose which luxury they prefer. Whether they end up with fancy fingernails or more relaxed shoulder muscles, it’ll brighten their day.

9. Housecleaning or Window Washing Coupons

Arrange for a bulk discount at a local housecleaning agency, and give all employees coupons for a single session at their homes. Even the tidiest housekeepers will welcome a helping hand.

10. Free Pass for Time Off or Late Arrival

These passes are sure to be coveted, and they’ll demonstrate that you respect your workers’ outside commitments. The flexibility of being able to pick a day to come in late, leave early or stay home will reduce the stress of conflicting demands, and will increase employee engagement.

11. Add a Fountain for Mental Refreshment

The sound of water is proven to bring a sense of calm and well being. Add a small water feature to your office, with a fern or two, and green up the atmosphere of your workplace.

12. Gift Certificates for Childcare and Dinner

It’s great to offer workers the chance to go out on a real date, but this can create extra expenses for those with young children. Professional child-care agencies offer gift certificates, allowing your employee to enjoy the luxury of a real evening out.

Offer Rewards and Recognition

13. Handwritten Notes

Yes, we mean just sit down with a pen and a stack of paper. Think about what each person has accomplished this year, and thank them for their specific efforts and achievements. It’s simple and straightforward, and will put a lasting form of validation into your employees’ hands.

14. Flowers

Natural beauty isn’t just for women; dramatic and colorful floral arrangements can be created to appeal to all tastes, and show that you care about aspects of life deeper than just the bottom line. For large teams, a major assemblage can be placed where everyone can see it.

15. Gift Cards

Everyone loves the luxury of getting to shop for free. Choose gift cards according to each workers’ preferences, or pick a type that covers so many different items that it’s guaranteed to delight every recipient.

16. Free Gym Memberships

This will add to your productivity by upping your workers’ fitness levels, and the extra exercise will improve their emotional health as well. Pair the memberships with some schedule flexing so employees can find time to actually get to the gym.

17. Artisan Food Delivery

Does your city have a gourmet cookie or cupcake delivery service? Handmade artisan food treats are becoming more common, and nothing says quality and caring like treating your workers to the best edibles out there.

18. Serve Breakfast to Your Team

Reserve the first hour of one day for a truly great catered breakfast. Once the food has been brought, grab a coffee pot and start pouring the coffee and serving the waffles. It will show that you’re willing to go the extra mile for your people!

19. Create a Team Scrapbook

Ask everyone to contribute a few photos, and take some of your own as well. Use photo-editing software to create a printable book, add some personal compliments and then print one copy for each person on your team.

20. Broadcast Your Appreciation

Take to your company’s employee recognition platform and give a shout out to everyone on your hardworking team. Recognition, whether monetary or social, is always welcome, and it takes on extra power when it’s offered publicly.

Employee appreciation is most effective when it’s given out on a consistent basis and is an integral part of your daily routine. For more in-depth discussion on building up your employee morale, download our report on The Art of Appreciation. And make sure to check out our infographic highlighting results from our 2018 survey on “New Year, New Job?”.  You’ll be surprised to see how many people are planning to look for a new job this year and what it takes to retain them.

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Are you looking for a great eBook? Check out our newest eBook highlighting 3 ways to make recognition an everyday event.

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The Power Behind Engagement

Top Four Benefits of Employee Engagement

People are always complaining about their jobs; whether it’s a boss who drives you up the wall, work that bores you to tears or even the nagging suspicion that you’re being underpaid, each unhappy employee has their own reasons for dreading a Monday morning. But when all this unhappiness and discontent gets added up, it turns out it’s having a profound impact on economies everywhere: we’re in the midst of a global employee engagement crisis, with just 13% of employees worldwide engaged with their jobs.

So what exactly does this mean? An easy way to think about employee engagement is to look at your existing staff. Engaged staff are often your best performing employees – they’re efficient, motivated, understand their role and tackle it to the best of their ability. Naturally, we think all employees will be like that when we hire them – otherwise, why bother?

During job interviews, most candidates are very enthusiastic about the job on offer and if you hire them, it’s normally this enthused and engaged person that you actually want working for you. Yet if you find yourself looking at that same excited candidate a year into the job and seeing that they’re unmotivated, checked out and unhappy, it’s clear that they’ve become disengaged. If that’s the case with many of your employees, you might have a problem brewing.

employee engagement table

It doesn’t matter if your business is a tiny start-up or huge multinational corporation – disengaged staff can run it to the ground. As employee engagement drops off, business owners find that deadlines start getting missed, staff are constantly off sick and employees start leaving the business in droves. Work slows down to a crawl, leaving engaged staff to pick up the slack and heightening their stress levels (possibly leading to them hating their jobs too!)

Luckily, by focusing on employee engagement and happiness, you can revive even the most lifeless of workforces. Read on to find out about the top benefits of employee engagement, along with some tips on how to improve it throughout your business.

1. Cost-Savings

Disengaged staff are slowly draining the life out of your business. In the UK, employee disengagement is costing businesses around £340 billion every single year in lost productivity, while in the USA Gallup estimates this figure rises as high as $550 billion.

It’s easy to see how – if you’re paying someone to do a job and they’ve only put in half the effort necessary, they’ll still get paid even if you don’t get the results you need. As for very disengaged employees (often easily identified by their miserable and disruptive attitudes), you may as well be giving money away. Employee disengagement can easily decimate the return on investment on salaries.

On the other hand, engaged employees will improve your profitability and drive revenue. In fact, workforce opinion surveys show that highly engaged employees can boost business performance by 30%. This is because engaged employees are emotionally committed to their company, its values and its goals. They want the business to do well and will do their best to help it succeed. The hard numbers prove this too – companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%.

Luckily, there are ways you can help to foster this sort of commitment. For instance, people who are bored to death at their jobs are unlikely to care about it much, whereas 78% of employees who say their companies encourage creativity and innovation are committed to their employer. It’s easy for businesses to get into a “this is how we’ve always done it” rut and resist change, but data like this shows that this attitude is detrimental to employee engagement. Instead, actively encourage employees to innovate and explore new ways to do things. They’ll enjoy their jobs more, be more committed and help to power your business forwards.

2. Lower Turnover

Did you know that whenever a staff member leaves, it can cost 33% of their salary to replace them? Hiring recruiters is expensive, but even if you look for someone independently you’re going to need to spend valuable time and money on advertising the position, and screening and interviewing candidates. And that’s not the end of the problem – it’s unlikely a new person will be as comfortable in the role as their predecessor – they’ll require training and time to acclimatize to their new job. In fact, a new employee can take up to 2 full years to reach the same level of productivity as an existing staff member. In the vast majority of circumstances, that’s going to mean some degree of lost productivity.

It’s clearly in a business’ best interests to retain as many of their staff as possible, but with widespread disengagement becoming more and more of a problem, employees are more likely to leave their jobs than ever before. A job for life has become a thing of the past. Estimates vary, but research suggests that as many as 51% of employees were looking to leave their jobs in 2017. And for those who are worried about employees being poached by recruiters and competitors, you might have reason to be paranoid – 81% of employees would consider leaving their current role for the right offer.

On the other hand, a marker of engaged staff is company loyalty. Highly engaged staff are 87% less likely to leave an organisation than less engaged staff. So if you want to reduce staff turnover, it’s worthwhile to take a look at exactly what’s ruining engagement and driving people to leave:

With this in mind, who you hire as a manager and the way you train them is absolutely vital for employee engagement. Audit your existing managers to ensure that they’re fit to lead, and be selective when hiring new ones. An effective manager prioritizes supporting their staff, leaving employees feeling far less disenchanted with their jobs. Furthermore, by implementing company-wide recognition programs, staff will feel more appreciated and motivated to work (rather than just motivated to find a new job).

3. More Productive Employees

As Albert Einstein once said, “The best creative work is never done when one is unhappy.” This remains true in the modern workplace, with overall productivity increasing by 20-25% when employees are engaged.

A big factor in reducing productivity and engagement is work overload and excessive stress. Some managers think that by setting more work and piling the pressure on, they’ll get better results. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed at work, you probably know that the opposite is true:

It’s clear that stress is not an effective motivator. Instead, take a positive and constructive approach to each employee’s work to ensure that workloads are manageable. Implement effective and personalized feedback and communication structures that allow employees to raise any problems they’re having in a non-judgmental setting.

4. Happier Customers

Happy employees create happy and satisfied customers, and the numbers prove it: companies with a formalized employee engagement program enjoy 233% greater customer loyalty. It makes sense, really – if you’re unhappy at work, the last thing you want to do is have a chirpy, helpful conversation with a customer.

It’s worth noting that part of the reason for this is that engaged employees are often well-trained employees. Far too often, companies neglect thorough training programs in favor of ad-hoc and informal “on-the-job” style training.  This sort of training often delivers inconsistent results, with employees feeling they lack the skills and knowledge to perform their role properly: 28% of employees feel they’d be more productive with better training.

Meanwhile, employees who have received comprehensive training deliver superior customer service and achieve better results for their company. For salespeople, formal and dynamic coaching can improve their win rates by 28%. Furthermore, a lack of training frustrates employees and gives the impression there’s little room for development in their current role. Indeed, ongoing employee development programs beyond initial training periods are absolutely crucial; in a survey by CV Library, 31% of respondents cited a lack of development opportunities as the top reason for wanting to quit their job. If you want engaged employees, you need to invest in their future. After all, you stand to benefit too!

The Bottom Line: Employee Engagement is Worth the Investment

At the end of the day, your employees are more valuable and important to your business than any other asset. People spend a third of their lives at work, and it’s in your best interests to make sure they’re not miserable that entire time.

Management shouldn’t be about forcing as much work as possible out of employees at any cost. You want employees that are happy at work & want their company to succeed, rather than someone who’s looking for a quick exit because they’re unhappy.  By prioritizing employee engagement, you can enjoy all the above benefits: greater profits, lower turnover, more productive employees & happier customers…It really is a win-win situation!

To learn more about the importance of employee engagement, take a look at Achievers white paper The True Cost of Employee Disengagement.

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About the Author
Becca Armstrong Becca Armstrong is a content writer for MadMax Adventures, a purpose build outdoor activity center near Edinburgh, Scotland. They run corporate away-days for businesses that want to improve organisational performance by developing more cohesive teams, rewarding high performance or building relationships with valued customers.

 

 

Celebrate Your Employees

10 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Your Employees

Are you celebrating your employees on a regular basis? The people who work for your organization perform essential functions for you, and in return you should respect them, appreciate them, and be supportive of them. It’s time to celebrate your employees with thoughtful gestures that can take their employee experience to the next level. Here are 10 meaningful ways to show your employees how much you appreciate everything they do:

1. Eliminate the Bullies

Even careful hiring and screening procedures can fail occasionally, accidentally adding a bully or troublemaker into the employee mix. This can demoralize the rest of your staff, and you may lose some of your more dedicated workers. A 2017 nationwide survey of workplace bullying found that 60 million people are affected by bullying on the job, and 29 percent of the victims remain silent about it. Basic concern for your staff begins with making sure they feel safe at work.

2. Get to Know Your Employees Better

Communication works more effectively when people know each other better. Zappos, famed for its employer brand, has an “80-20 rule,” which mandates that managers spend at least 20 percent of their time with their team members. Zappo’s Insights trainer Kelly Wolske says, “When you get to know each other on a personal level, mutual respect grows. Knowing someone’s triggers as well as their strengths can also improve communication.”

3. Offer Employee Recognition

Levi King, CEO of Nav and founder of Lendio and other businesses, emphasizes the importance of acknowledging everyone’s contributions as a way of showing appreciation in the workplace. He writes, “Go out of your way to acknowledge unique efforts and success. Recognition is the icing on the cake of achievement, and it tastes delicious.”

4. Design Workspaces That Encourage Movement

Innovative companies are taking a second look at the layout of workspaces and increasing their employees’ productivity by encouraging them to move around during the day. A recent paper by design company Teknion notes that most office jobs keep workers tethered to a chair, while “alert, engaged, and healthy workers are most often those who are afforded a stimulating and inspiring work environment that encourages movement — to sit, stand and walk around.”

5. Define a Career Path for Each Employee

A major factor that leads workers to seek new employers is stagnation at their current jobs. “Workers who stay longer in the same job without a title change are significantly more likely to leave for another company for the next step in their career,” according to Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor. Neglecting employee development can also have a measurable negative effect on your company’s bottom line.

6. Set an Example of Positive Energy

If you don’t seem glad to see your employees each day, those workers aren’t going to feel that they matter to you. Show that you care about them as people by putting out vibes that are encouraging and upbeat. Leadership trainer Shari Bench tells managers, “Do not wait for others to create the positive, rewarding, motivating environment that you have had the power to create all along.”

7. Ask for Employee Opinions

When you care about people, their opinions are important to you. The reverse of this statement is just as true: If you ask people about their thoughts, preferences and creative ideas, they will feel that you value them as individuals. Entrepreneur recommends that managers “ditch the suggestion box” and instead create a culture of transparency and fearlessness, in which everyone feels encouraged to speak up.

8. Reward Good Efforts

According to a study published in Business News Daily, “85 percent of workers surveyed felt more motivated to do their best when an incentive was offered, and 73 percent described the office atmosphere as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ during an incentive period.” The article notes that reliably offering employee rewards and incentives elevates levels of employee engagement, an essential element for building a sustainable business.

9. Encourage Employees to Take a Break

We don’t just mean coffee breaks here. Your workers need to have your permission — and in some cases, your friendly insistence — that when they leave work at night, they can ignore work emails and focus completely on the rest of their lives. To maintain good health and avoid burnout, they need to take all their vacations days as well; American workers left 658 million vacation days unused in 2015, lowering their productivity and depressing their attitude about their jobs.

10. Don’t Forget Free Food

No discussion of valuing your workers would be complete if we didn’t mention snacks. Food is one of those perennial forms of caring guaranteed to delight almost everyone. In a recent survey of millennials, 48 percent said that if they were looking for a new job, the availability of snacks would be a factor in their decision, and in one company, workers said the introduction of a seltzer machine was “life-changing.”

The common thread among all the measures listed above is that employees feel valued when their needs and efforts are individually recognized. To optimize your company’s productivity and attract the best talent in a competitive market, you must create a culture of recognition. To learn more about how to establish best-practice methods for giving employee recognition and rewards, download our e-book, “Recognition Culture: The MVP of Employee Experience.”

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A Culture of Learning

5 Reasons to Create a Culture of Learning in Your Organization

Traditionally, a six-figure salary and 401k options were enough to attract and retain top talent. We no longer live in a traditional world—and the modern workplace has come a long way from what it used to be. While these benefits are still important to employees, they’re not prioritized like they once were. Today, employees are more focused on finding a company that has a positive, strong company culture revolved around learning and growth.

To cater to the “modern” employee and remain competitive in your respective industry, you have to focus on the development of a strong company culture that supports learning and employee growth.

Here are five more great reasons to bring this culture of learning to your organization.

  1. Employees Want to Learn

Today’s employees are eager to develop their skills. According to DevelopIntelligence’s 2017 DI Developer Survey, 55 percent of those surveyed said they seek out training in order to meet current or upcoming needs or to advance their careers. Organization’s that embrace a culture of learning not only encourage learning, but have an opportunity to provide their employees with these opportunities and experiences.

Try it: Start by asking each team what they want to learn about. Perhaps they’ll be interested in attending one big conference, rather than having a series of smaller in-office seminars. The more interested your employees, the more effective the opportunity will be.

  1. Employees Want to Grow

Not only do employees want to learn, they also want a chance to grow professionally and advance their careers. In a recent Gallup poll, 87 percent of millennials said development is important in a job. Learning and development go hand in hand, help employees become the successful employees they want to be.

Try it: Tie learning and promotion opportunities together. Give employees a chance to show they can take on a new position, empowering them to advance themselves both professionally and personally within the workplace.

  1. Learning Reduces Turnover

Did you know that 40 percent of employees who receive poor training and limited opportunities for development will leave their job within five years? On the other hand, a Columbia University study found that that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with rich company culture is a mere 13.9 percent. Make learning a part of that culture and you may see your turnover rate plummet to zero.

Try it: Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk by providing training that’s actually valuable, actionable and useful for every employee. Liz Alton, contributor to ADP’s Spark blog suggests implementing a Learning Management System (LMS), developing paths for every employee, and creating learning processes, like mentorship, which is found to be more effective than seminar-style opportunities.

  1. Engaged Employees Are Productive

Giving employees the opportunity to learn, develop, and grow will increase employee engagement—and engaged employees produce better results. According to Gallup’s 2017 Employee Engagement report, those companies in the highest quartile experience 17 percent higher productivity, 20 percent higher sales, and 21 percent higher profitability among many other positive metrics resulting from higher engagement levels.

Try it: Pair learning opportunities with an HR technology platform like Achievers, which allows you to keep employees engaged with recognition, milestones, and rewards. With an effective employee recognition program, you can ensure employees are being frequently recognized and rewarded by both peers and management for their achievements in learning and development.

  1. Learning Fosters Innovation

Companies that emphasize continuous education and development are able to develop the talents of their employees on a regular basis. This focus on talent development is a top priority for 80 percent of top executives, according to the 2017 Workplace Learning Report.

Try it: Use Intrapreneur programs to empower employees to use their new skills to innovate within the organization. As you build your program, keep these four building blocks in mind.

Create a Culture of Learning This Year

Employees want to learn. Learning keeps employees engaged. Engaged employees are productive and happy. Creating a culture of learning benefits everyone involved, and can be brought into any business, big or small. Use these simple reasons as inspiration to help your employees become the people they want to be, while taking your business to the next level.

Take the first step towards improving your culture by accessing the eBook Recognition Culture: The MVP of Employee Experience.
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About the Author
Jessica ThiefelsJessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a professional blogger and freelance writer. She spent the last two years working tirelessly for a small startup, where she learned a lot about running business and being resourceful. She now owns her own business and has been featured on Forbes. She’s also written for StartupNation, Manta, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 or connect on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

why employees quit

Understanding Why Employees Quit

Knowing what makes employees quit — and then heading off those problems — is the goal of every HR department. While you’ll never be able to avoid individual events that disrupt the lives of workers and their families, it’s helpful to have an overview of preventable causes for employee churn. People leave jobs for several classic reasons, according to Harvard Business Review, all of which are somewhat predictable. The key is to understand each reason well enough to defuse it with a proactive intervention. Here are the main reasons workers cite for leaving their positions, and how you can slow this expensive leakage and build your employee retention:

They Don’t Get Along with Their Boss

This reason is the elephant in the room, and we can’t discuss employee retention without starting here. Gallup CEO Jim Clifton points out the primacy of management know-how: “When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits — nothing.”

When an exit interview or other feedback shows that you have a problem manager, you need to rectify the situation as soon as possible. If the person seems open to developing new skills, it’s often worthwhile to provide them with intensive management training. However, if real change doesn’t seem possible, you’ll ultimately save money by replacing them with someone who simply has better management skills.

Their Lives Take a New Direction

This may be unexpected, but research cited in Harvard Business Review notes that job-hunting rates jump by 12 percent right before a worker’s birthday. Researchers speculate that a person is often stimulated by the arrival of their birthday or another milestone to take stock of their life and see if their career is going in the direction they want. While you have limited input into this private self-examination, it’s helpful to incorporate a personal check-in along with celebrating your employees’ birthdays. Are they happy with their job? What are their current thoughts and ambitions?

Their Careers Aren’t Moving Forward

In today’s networked marketplace, your most talented employees are going to keep an eye on opportunities in their field, and Gallup’s 2017 report on the State of the American Workforce finds that 51 percent of them are ready to jump ship at any given moment by actively looking for a new job or watching for openings. Harvard Business Review notes that Credit Suisse responded to this tendency by having their internal recruiters cold-call employees to let them know about new openings arising within the company that they might be qualified to fill. This program ended up moving 300 employees into more challenging positions and saved the company $75 to $100 million in employee turnover costs.

They Don’t Feel Challenged

Human resources expert Susan Heathfield warns employers that they have to make sure their workers are actually using their skills and abilities, and Gallup’s report found that 68 percent of today’s workers feel they’re over-educated for their current positions. While this is related to building a career path, it’s not the same. A position may have a title that looks great on a resume, but if the day-to-day operations don’t actually feel interesting and engaging, the worker is going to be looking for the exit door. Heathfield notes, “Work closely with employees who report to you to ensure that each employee is engaged, excited, and challenged to contribute, create, and perform. Otherwise, you will lose them to an employer who will.”

The Company Lacks Vision

To keep great workers, you have to make it possible for them to feel aligned with a company vision that’s both meaningful and tangible. Gallup CEO Jim Clifton, in his foreword to the 2017 report, puts it succinctly: “Change from a culture of “paycheck” to a culture of “purpose.” Your very best employees are the ones with a powerful sense of internal motivation, and you nurture that motivation by showing them how their efforts contribute to the overall goals of the company. CNBC notes, “Some of the most successful companies are able to attract and retain great employees because they are great at communicating their vision all the way from the top down to the front-line workers.”

Their Efforts Aren’t Recognized

While it’s essential to give your employees the sense of purpose mentioned above, that alone is not sufficient. Even your top workers, who care passionately about doing a good job, still have a psychological need to be recognized for the effort they expend. Emotional intelligence leader Travis Bradberry comments that a failure to recognize good work is one of the biggest mistakes a manager can make. He writes, “It’s easy to underestimate the power of a pat on the back, especially with top performers who are intrinsically motivated. Everyone likes kudos, none more so than those who work hard and give their all.” Establishing a system for employee rewards and recognition is fundamental to nurturing those human resources that your company is lucky enough to have.

In today’s tight labor market, it’s more expensive than ever to lose a good worker. Josh Bersin of Deloitte points out that employees are “appreciating assets,” while the cost of losing one is generally about 1.5 to 2 times the person’s annual salary. Furthermore, the increasing team emphasis of many workplaces makes it harder than ever to integrate a new hire. Keeping your workers engaged is essential to running a successful business, and every manager needs to stay focused on this goal. To learn more about employee turnover, check out our infographic 6 Stats That Speak to Employee Retention.

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Employee Happiness

Understanding the Power Behind Employee Happiness

You likely know that people don’t perform as well when they’re feeling disengaged or distracted, but you may not realize how pervasive a problem this is in today’s workplace. How happy are your employees? Is employee happiness at a low or a high? The latest Gallup poll (collected from over 80,000 workers) on employee engagement tells a dismal story. In 2015, only 32 percent of workers say they’re “engaged” at their jobs. Over 50 percent say they’re “not engaged,” while another 17 percent state that they are “actively disengaged.” Furthermore, this data has shown no significant change since Gallup first started this annual poll in 2000, so the problem is persistent.

Why Employee Engagement Matters

When you go to the office each morning, of course you hope that your workers are feeling energized because it makes the office environment a better place for everyone. But how does employee happiness translate into actual performance and productivity? The numbers are clear; companies with engaged workers outperform other companies by 202 percent. Research published by the Academy of Management Perspectives finds that “stronger emotional ties to the organization serve to significantly lessen the likelihood that employees would leave.” Furthermore, the cost of replacing an entry-level worker is 30 to 50 percent of their salary. This expense increases as the position being filled becomes more specialized. Replacing top workers can cost a staggering 400 percent of their annual salary. And these statistics don’t even begin to address the burnout felt by the coworkers shouldering the extra burden after a colleague leaves the company.

Employee Happiness Begins With You

As a manager, you’re not responsible for every emotion your employees feel but your actions have a profound effect on your team. Research by Gallup notes that managers account for 70 percent of the variance in employee motivation levels. Furthermore, a survey of over 7,000 workers found that one in two had left a job to get away from a specific manager. Given the power you have in improving employee happiness, what can you do to make your company a great place to work?

Be Engaged Yourself

For starters, evaluate your own personal engagement. Gallup’s State of the American Manager report determined that only about 35 percent of supervisors and HR managers are themselves engaged, and this disaffection has expensive outcomes. The cost of managers who report that they’re “not engaged” is estimated to be $77 billion to $96 billion annually, while the cost of the additional 14 percent who are “actively disengaged” is more than $300 billion per year. On a positive note, the fact that you’re reading and thinking about employee recognition suggests that you’re in the minority of managers attempting to make improvements.

Empower Employees

People feel a deeper commitment to their work when they have some power over how things are done. You can affect your workers’ sense of empowerment in a wide variety of ways:

  • Give them control over their schedules, allowing them to shift their start times or work remotely from home for part of the week. If workers have the chance to fulfill their outside obligations, they’ll feel less stressed and distracted  when they’re on the job.
  • Communicate the ways in which each person’s work matters to the company. Employees will make a greater effort if they understand how their daily contribution furthers the ultimate company goals.
  • Offer the opportunity for professional development, including coaching/mentorship programs. Your workers will feel a greater commitment to your organization if they know you have their long-term well-being in mind.
  • Seek suggestions and feedback. Let every worker, regardless of salary level, have a say in how things are done.

Offer Rewards and Recognition

Everyone should have their efforts recognized, regardless of age or the type of work they’re undertaking. Being recognized leads to a greater commitment to the work itself, as well as a deeper sense of personal identification within an organization. Employee rewards and recognition can be expressed in a variety of forms, and often the non-monetary forms can be the most meaningful. A few words of gratitude or appreciation from co-workers can do wonders for the sense of teamwork, and a supervisor’s acknowledgment can help a worker feel that their effort was worthwhile. 48% of employees stated that management’s recognition of employee job performance, whether through feedback, incentives, or rewards, was “very important.” For these reasons, a system used to facilitate employee appreciation is required for any company striving to be successful in today’s marketplace. Besides, giving employee rewards will make your job more enjoyable as well.

How Happy are Your Employees?

As you take steps to foster employee happiness, it’s necessary to be able to measure success. You may be able to sense the overall mood of your workers, but you need something more than your own intuition — something tangible This is where the HR technology known as pulse surveys come in handy. A pulse survey is a one-click response ( using a scale of images that represent sadness to happiness) that employees can submit anonymously each day, giving a quick indicator of how they’re feeling. This daily information provides an immediate snapshot of both your company’s and immediate team’s well-being as well as displaying the trend of happiness levels over time. The anonymity of the survey facilitates honesty, and when a company shares the results of the pulse survey, it creates an environment of transparency and gives rise to important conversations.

The Technology of Happiness

As HR tech becomes more sophisticated, it integrates with some of our basic social needs. Employee recognition best practices and pulse surveys are effective methods for strengthening organizations and building employee success.

For a deeper dive into this topic, download our eBook The Case for Employee Recognition.

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Improve Your Onboarding

How to Effectively Get New Hires Up to Speed

Employees are the moving gears behind a business. For this reason, employers must be sensitive on how they treat and engage their workforce. And it starts from the very beginning, an employee’s first day at work. A new hire’s first day is important because it is the day that they get a real first impression of what your company is like and is critical to setting them up for future success. Why is proper onboarding so important? Because a new employee can take up to two full years to reach the same level of productivity as an existing staff member. Avoid waiting two years for a new hire to reach the same level of productivity as an existing staff member by getting them up to speed faster. Below are a few tips to effectively onboard new hires:

Clearly Define Your Onboarding Goals

It is vital that new employees have a clear understanding of their specific goals and objectives at your company. Recruiting new employees without clearly spelling to them what is required will only lead to confusion and lower productivity. When onboarding new hires, be very clear about your onboarding goals and expectations. Strategize on how you can build transparency in your workplace and onboarding programs.

A fun and easy way to get a new employee up to speed and on target with their onboarding goals is by pairing him or her with a mentor within the organization. This will help them stay engaged in all activities that take place and have someone to turn to when they have questions. It not only helps both parties build a work relationship with another, but adds to a more engaging work culture. Choosing a mentor who is well versed in the same career path or team projects would be an effective way for employees to collaborate closer together early on. New employees and their mentor may meet once or twice a week to discuss the new hire’s progress and how they are adjusting to the new job.

Foster Strong Employee Relationships

How an employee engages and interacts with rest of the team is very crucial. As part of the Human Resources department, you have a role to play in helping to foster strong relationships amongst coworkers. Interworking relationships is a huge part of work culture and leadership’s relationship with employees in particular has a strong impact. Leaders need to lead by example and have the responsibility to live out the company’s values daily and communicate with those around them. When employees and leadership develop a strong relationship, new hires gain an instant new sense of teamwork and employee alignment.

When new employees feel free and comfortable to reach out to co-workers because of the healthy professional relationships presented, especially for the first few weeks, the learning process becomes easier for them to adapt to their new surroundings and team members.

Promote Your HR Programs

New employees should be quickly introduced to your HR programs and HR tech platforms. For example, if your company has an employee recognition and rewards program, make sure new hires are aware of it and know how to use it as soon as they start. Employee recognition programs connects employees and allows them to recognize each other for hard work. Programs like this not only provide something fun for new hires to become accustomed to but also instantly immerses them into the company culture and fosters a positive work environment. Receiving public recognition on a digital, easy-to-access HR tech platform boosts employee happiness and gives employees insight on what others are working on and accomplishing.

It’s HR’s job to not only implement HR tech platforms and programs correctly but also keep promoting them to new hires and existing employees so there is optimal use and employee engagement.

Ask for Feedback

Employees want to feel like they can be honest and heard at their company. Asking for continuous feedback and reviews are a great way to have healthy and honest conversations on how to improve the employee experience, especially the onboarding process. What better way to discover how to improve the onboarding process than by asking new hires about their experience?

Employees must be given the opportunity to participate in well-constructed outcome based reviews. This can be achieved by developing structured reviews that may include specific ratings, rankings, and written reviews on a mandated frequency. Employee surveys are also a great way to give new employees the opportunity to provide honest feedback about their overall experience and onboarding process. Through real-time feedback and pulse surveys, management is able to make the necessary adjustments and assessments for company initiatives. Getting employee feedback provides HR the insight they need to improve the onboarding process.

Provide the Right Material

New hires should not be left on their own. They should be supported from day one to ensure they feel comfortable in their work environment. Be prepared and stock their working stations with easy-to-digest guideline materials and resources so that they know where to go when they have questions. This includes contact sheets, company guidelines, access information, portal details, time-saving tools, and other onboarding material. New hires should be provided with public administration forms regarding their benefits, taxes, and direct deposits as early as day one. The more useful information, the better. And don’t limit yourself to sharing just health benefits and 401k details, add some fun collateral that represents your company culture and engages employees to want to learn more.

Companies need to invest wisely when it comes to their employees and it starts with putting attention on the onboarding process. The onboarding process is critical when it comes to setting employee up for success. When employees are set up for success, they become more engaged, satisfied, and productive. Don’t fall short with your onboarding initiatives and make sure you get your new hires up to speed quick.

To learn more about how you can enhance the employee experience through a culture of recognition, download this eBook.

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About the Author

Addison Jenning

Addison Jenning is an HR manager and a passionate writer who recruits, motivates and contributes to the development of employees. She oversees the effective and successful execution of the company’s internal strategy. Addison runs Job Descriptions Wiki and she can also be found on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

appreciate employees during the holidays

7 Holiday Ways to Spread Employee Appreciation

While you may do your best to spread seasonal cheer and appreciation, it’s important to keep in mind that this time of year is not all sparkles and snowflakes for your staff. Many of them will be trying to balance holiday schedules and family complications while feeling added stress due to end-of-year work tasks. Furthermore, absences and vacations often leave big holes in staffing right when the duties are most intense. With only 34.1 percent of employees engaged at work without the distractions associated with the holidays, don’t be surprised if the holidays bring a decline in productivity and a decrease in employee engagement.

There is a fix for this. Expressing employee appreciation during the holiday season is a powerful way to build good will that will last long after the candy canes have been composted. Here are seven tips for sharing true merriment (or at least momentary comfort) with your workers over the holidays.

1. Deliver Individual, Handwritten Notes

Almost all our written communications now take place online, so the simple act of putting ink on paper adds a real sense of importance to whatever is being said. Concentrate on each employee’s specific strengths, challenges, and achievements, when acknowledging their contributions on a nice sheet of paper. Avoid using holiday cards for this purpose, because you don’t want it to seem like an obligatory act. Research at Wharton School of Business found that when managers take time to express gratitude to workers, productivity increases by 50 percent.

2. Facilitate Relaxation

Weathering the winter holidays is hard work; a survey conducted by Healthline shows that between 61 to 65 percent of workers feel elevated stress during the holidays due to factors including money, family expectations, heavier work duties, and scheduling and travel demands,. You can brighten everyone’s day by bringing in a massage therapist to offer free shoulder massages or in-chair back rubs. Another inexpensive option that can be helpful is a wrap station. Encourage workers to bring in their stacks of unwrapped family gifts and provide a space with free wrapping paper and various tools and supplies. Employees can socialize during breaks while they get a personal chore accomplished.

3. Be Flexible

Winter weather complicates commuting, and if children’s schools close, you may end up with frustrated employees who are torn between commitments. Letting your people work remotely or adjust their schedules can go a long way toward relieving family stress, and employees will be able to concentrate on job duties if they aren’t having to text a stranded family member. With half of the modern workforce holding a job with some workplace flexibility, this initiative might be one to keep year-round.

If your company’s tasks cannot be handled remotely, you can win huge points by encouraging employees to bring their children to work. Buy a few games or hire a temporary childcare worker; for a small investment, you can earn months of heartfelt gratitude from busy parents. Besides, you’ll be helping your company save money. One snow day in Massachusetts costs the state around $265 million, most of it in lost wages.

4. Provide Free Food

While employees welcome edible contributions any time of year, food is one of the strongest ways to put something tangible behind your holiday employee appreciation campaign. In a workplace survey, 51 percent of respondents said that perks involving food made them feel valued and appreciated by their employers, and the holidays give you a ton of options for fun food treats. Keep some of the offerings vegetarian and gluten free, and include more than sugary desserts if you want to help people concentrate on work. If end-of-year tasks are causing your staff to burn the midnight oil, ordering in some pizzas can make all the difference in people’s commitment to stay until the job is done.

5. Host a Volunteer Day

Building a company culture of volunteerism pays valuable dividends in the form of employee morale and brand perception, according to a Deloitte study. This is especially helpful during the holiday season, because many people get depressed when they feel that celebrations have lost a central purpose of generosity and caring. You can divide staff up into different teams, depending on the volunteer setting, and help with a toy drive, holiday meal program or other community cause.

6. Encourage Employee Recognition

Employees need to feel appreciated by co-workers as well as by supervisors. In a “recognition-rich environment,” according to Gallup, employees who feel adequately recognized (including by their peers) are only half as likely to quit during the following year as those who don’t feel appreciated. The holiday season offers fresh new approaches for co-workers to gift each other, including “Secret Santa” programs and cookie or gift exchanges. Provide the initiative to get the ball rolling, and offer logistical support to any employee who wants to spearhead a recognition program of seasonal fun.

7. Leave the Holiday Party Early

This last tip might sound confusing, but it’s good to start the new year without taking yourself too seriously. Regardless of how cool you are, you’re in a position of authority, and your employees will inevitably feel somewhat self-conscious in your presence. Leadership consultant Tine Thygesen reminds managers that “while bosses are (mostly) nice people, it’s a well-known fact that no one wants to sit next to them at the Christmas party, because then they have to behave.” She urges bosses to show up during the first part of the event, circulate in a friendly way, and then leave while everything is still underway, so that employees can relax and really bond with one another.

Rewards and recognition are an important part of your company culture all year round, however the holiday season provides you with unique opportunities to show your employees that you care. For more handy tips, check out this report: The Art of Appreciation

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Employee Recognition Spotlights

Spreading Employee Recognition and Appreciation Across Achievers

It’s that time of year again, time to give thanks! And what better way to give thanks than to thank our very own employees here at Achievers. A business is nothing without its employees, which is why we encourage frequent employee recognition and appreciation. Today, we’d like to highlight some of the top employee recognitions sent across our ASPIRE platform, powered by Achievers’ HR technology. We’re proud of our employees and everything they accomplish day-to-day. Check out some of our favorite recent employee recognitions and get inspired to thank someone in your organization for a job well-done!

Achievers ASPIRE Employee Recognition Card

Achievers ASPIRE Employee Recognition Card

Achievers ASPIRE Employee Recognition Card

Achievers ASPIRE Employee Recognition Card

Achievers ASPIRE Employee Recognition Card

Achievers ASPIRE Employee Recognition Card

Achievers ASPIRE Employee Recognition Card

Achievers ASPIRE Employee Recognition Card

Huge shout-out to Achievers’ employees for everything that they do. If you want to know what it’s like to work at Achievers, check out our fun Achievers Facebook Photo Album. And discover how other companies are spreading employee recognition and appreciation with Achievers by checking out their customer stories here. Did I also mention that we’re hiring? Apply now.

Don’t let employee appreciation be limited to the holiday season. Start encouraging employee appreciation throughout the entire year with an unbeatable employee recognition and rewards program! Take the first step by downloading The Case for Employee Recognition.

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About the Author
Kellie Wong
Kellie Wong is the Senior Social Media and Editorial Manager for Achievers. She manages Achievers’ social media presence and The Engage Blog, including the editorial calendars for both. In addition to writing blog content for The Engage Blog, she also manages and maintains relationships with 35+ guest blog contributors and edits every piece of content that gets published. Connect with Kellie on LinkedIn.