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Employee Perks for the Summer

3 cool employee perks for the hot summer months

Are you and your employees ready for summer? Maintaining employee engagement during summertime can be challenging. But you don’t need to resign yourself to a period of low productivity and motivation just because temperatures are rising. Try these employee perks to keep your team members in the game while also giving them a chance to enjoy the season.

Flexible Work Schedules

Flex schedules are the norm in an increasing number of workplaces, and summer may be when your employees need them the most. Kids are out of school, there may be gaps in childcare coverage, and it’s a prime time for much-needed vacations.

These easy perks don’t cost you anything, but they can help your employees manage this busy, transitional season:

  • Half-Day Fridays: Let your employees go home early either every week or every other week.
  • Revolving Home Days: If employees can complete work from home, set aside certain days and times for it. This lets employees work during “off” hours so they can be with kids or attend functions during normal work hours.
  • Schedule Swapping or Earned-Time Allowance: Planning vacations can be like composing a symphony—lots of moving parts need to come together to create an enjoyable time away. If employees have less vacation time than they need, let them earn more days off by working extra hours before a vacation to create an earned-time allowance. Similarly, make it easier for employees to switch shifts with coworkers to accommodate everyone’s time away.

Relaxed Dress Code

While you want your employees to maintain an appropriate appearance at work, consider allowing some leeway on the dress code during the summer. Let men lose their ties for a few months, and let women wear sleeveless shirts or dresses. The more comfortable employees feel while in the office, the more their heads will be in the game.

Freebie Fridays

Another way to celebrate your employees’ devotion while maintaining their engagement is to hold special events throughout the summer. A smoothie machine one week, chair massages another, or an employee gathering outside of work hours can go a long way toward showing your appreciation. In addition to work-sponsored events, consider arranging discounts with local businesses like sports teams or amusement parks so your employees can enjoy some summer fun at a discount.

With a little planning and a lot of appreciation shown for jobs well done, perks at work can effectively maintain, or even increase, employee engagement during the coming summer season. Flexibility and perks can be the key to continued company success.

While you’re at it, why not take a second look at the rest of your Total Rewards Package? There’s a lot more that you can include in your compensation toolkit besides salaries, bonuses, and a few cool perks. Download our whitepaper, The Total Package: Including recognition in the compensation toolkit, to learn more.

Work-life balance tips

You look like you need a vacation: Helping your employees disconnect

Are you one of the 64 percent of managers who expect their employees to be continually available by email and phone? This figure comes from a recent survey by Workplace Trends, and the ramifications of blurring the boundaries between personal time and work time are concerning. Too often, both employers and employees assume that true dedication means they’re never off the clock – in reality, this inability to leave work behind yields only inefficiency and emotional burnout. Forward-thinking employers support (and even pay) their staff to disconnect completely when they’re not at work.

Weekends and vacations act as mental “reset buttons,” helping workers remain effective by allowing them to refresh themselves and engage fully in other interests. Decades of research show that humans perform better when they have the chance for rest and recuperation. Football coaches encourage players to get plenty of rest before a game, and colleges warn students not to study all night long before a big exam.

An increasing number of businesses now recognize that their workers are more engaged on the job when they have the chance to disconnect. In fact, the CEO of Evernote now pays employees $1,000 to take a vacation in which they stay entirely disconnected from work. FullContact went one step further, offering its employees $7,500 to take non-working vacations.

The trend toward working from home and using personal mobile devices on business trips creates confusion about what constitutes personal time. In addition, the economic pressures of the recent recession have instilled fear in employees that if they take truly disconnected vacations, they might be passed over for promotions.

To encourage your employees to get the mental refreshment they need, here’s a quick list of work-life balance tips:

  • Set an example: When you’re not working, let your staff know that you aren’t available by phone or email.
  • Make disconnecting during non-work hours a company-wide policy, and publicize it widely.
  • Provide assistance with delegating, especially if your employees have a tough time believing it is safe to leave work in a colleague’s hands.
  • Reassure workers that you don’t value them on the basis of over-connectedness. Instead, praise them for demonstrating good mental hygiene (as shown by being able to step away from phone and email).
  • Incentivize taking all the allotted vacation time.

Even if it takes a bit of effort to break the habit, your organization will benefit from the change in culture. When your employees have the chance to take a true break from work on evenings, weekends, and vacations, they’ll come back with increased productivity and improved morale.

Happy at Work

Get Happy—5 Links to Help Keep Everyone Smiling at Work

Imagine it’s a Monday morning and you’ve just arrived to the office. How’s your mood? Are you excited to be at work? Does the prospect of a new week get you excited? Are you smiling?

Happiness in the workplace may sound like a pie-in-the-sky concept, but the good news is, it’s not. Although happiness has often been attributed to an individual, there are things managers and companies can do to help foster a happy office environment. Here are five of our favorite links from around the web to help get your office smiling.

 

1. Why Happiness at Work Matters – (Inc.)

2. Make Fun a Workplace Priority for Happier Staff and Clients – (Lifehacker)

3. The Benefits of Bringing More Play into Your Work – (tinybuddha)

4. 5 Simple Office Policies That Make Danish Workers Way More Happy Than Americans – (FastCo.Exist)

5. Reframing Your Way to Happiness – (Forbes)

Maintaining a happy and fulfilling home life is a goal most of us have. So, with most of our waking lives spent at work, striving for the same at work makes perfect sense. Keep these tips and insights in mind as you and your company works to keep your employees happy and engaged.

 

Photo courtesy of: adt610 via Compfight cc

5 must-reads for the in-the-know HR Professional: Week of April 26th, 2013

happinessAs we draw near to the end of April showers and anticipate May flowers it reminds me of the rainy times and sunny times that can occur in the workplace in terms of employee happiness.  What is the role that HR plays in sustaining employee happiness? How can you keep all employees “happy” when dealing with a diverse workforce and limited resources? This week’s articles discuss the definition of employee happiness, how to enhance it and how happiness can affect work goals and outcomes.

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Why everybody should be treated as somebody

In her recent Inc.com article, Margaret Heffernan speaks about simple ways to make people happy at work. She mentions the importance of fair treatment, speaking to a call center representative who reported that at his work “Everybody Here is Somebody.” The job wasn’t thrilling, the pay wasn’t great, but every single person was treated with love and respect. Just walking through the door, he said, made you glad to come to work.

Create a culture of recognition where your employees feel valued and appreciated for their contributions, and you’re guaranteed to create happy and engaged workforce with employees who are aligned with to your company’s success.

Instant employee happiness: Easy as 1-2-3

Have you ever wondered what makes employees unhappy and how to solve the problem? The solution is right in front of you, and it won’t burn a hole in your wallet.

While every organization is different, there are easy steps that you can take to make a positive impact on employee happiness and retention.  Don’t start with employee relationships and team building just yet, this will manifest after you improve the foundation. You have to crawl before you can walk.

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Happy and productive: Harness communication to improve engagement

Dear A Advisor,

I’m an HR manager and I’ve recently noticed a breakdown in communication in my company. It’s affecting productivity between and within teams and making it more difficult for employees to truly engage with their work. In fact, the numbers on our engagement surveys are falling and people seem much less happy. I’d like to keep my teams positive and productive, without the strain of poor communication.

Do you have any tips for improving lines of communication between and amongst teams in my company?

Thanks!

Let’s Start Talking

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Make your mama proud: How recognition taps into our deeper needs

The other day I asked our CFO what kinds of recognition makes him feel the best. His answer surprised me:

“The best thing you can do is to let my mother know I’m doing a good job.”

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The power of positive thinking

Have you ever had a bad morning, and then determined the rest of your workday to be a disaster? You may have overlooked the fact that a little positivity could go a long way. Positive thinking can be a powerful tool, especially when it comes to engagement in the workplace.

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Why you don’t want workaholic employees

For many employees, the idea of a 40-hour work week is a thing of the past. Smartphones and other forms of technology now keep us connected to work 24/7 and, as a result, the lines between work time and personal time are completely blurred. It is easier than ever for employees to become workaholics and “burn the midnight oil” responding to client and business emails or working on projects. Many employers may think that these workaholics are great news for their business productivity and profitability, but they need to think again.

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Keeping your shining stars

“As the economy improves unhappy employees will be looking at other companies for better opportunities. Social media has brought a new challenge to HR managers, allowing competitors to easily identify, target and recruit your top performers. Create an environment in which top performers are consistently recognized in a meaningful, specific and timely way and you’ll see your employee engagement soar, improving retention dramatically.”

4 ways to benefit from open communication and improve employee engagement

Picture a familiar situation: You take advantage of a service, whether to sign up for a new mobile phone contract, or to order a new gadget from a website. There’s a problem with your purchase, but when you call customer service, you wait on hold only to reach an automated service and learn that the customer service office is closed. When you finally reach an agent to find a solution, they offer no assistance. What seemed like a simple fix has wasted valuable time, and the next time something goes wrong you may resort to a new provider.

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The “Happiest Jobs in America” reveals the #1 reason for employee happiness

What do a loan officer, warehouse manager and accountant have in common? Okay, the answer probably didn’t come to you immediately, so I’ll let you in on the secret: these are some of the happiest jobs in America. Yes folks, you heard that right. CareerBliss recently released the list of the 20 happiest jobs in America, and since you’re probably wondering how in the world these jobs ever topped the list, we’ll break down the key reason why these jobs outshine the competition.

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5 tips to improve productivity, morale, and happiness

Do your employees enjoy coming to the office? Are you looking for tips on how to improve productivity, morale, and happiness? At Achievers, we believe that a working environment should reflect a company’s culture and values, influence productivity, and evoke success. Organizations are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to keep their employees engaged; however, the answer is right in front of you.

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Your employees are your first customers

Your employees are your first customers

It is common for companies to believe customer loyalty is the key to profitability, but, in reality, employee loyalty is even more profitable and important to companies. Organizations should adopt the mindset of engaging their employees first, because engaged employees drive customer happiness.  Loyal and engaged employees are more aligned to customer’s needs and generate 37% higher sales and 31% higher productivity on average (according to a recent article in Harvard Business Review). This organically translates into customer loyalty and, in effect, drives profitability.

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Emotional at work? Rid the elephant in the room

When you’re happy, you smile.
When you’re sad, you cry.
When you’re stressed, your blood pressure rises.

Emotions: everyone has them all of the time – meaning that you’re bound to feel emotions while you’re at work.  But for some reason, emotions at work have become the elephant in the room.

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