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employee engagement measurement

3 Ways to Improve How You Measure Employee Engagement

Employee engagement has been one of the cornerstones of successful HR management for the last decade. Measuring engagement is like putting a thermometer into various parts of the organization to get a pulse of how your employees are doing. It is vital that you accurately measure employee engagement in order to gather insight on your workforce and learn how to improve your engagement strategy moving forward. Below, I dive into three ways to improve employee engagement measurement.

  1. Relating Engagement to Business Impact

One of the most underused opportunities in engagement surveys is the ability to relate what you measure to business outcomes. Engagement is often seen as a goal in itself. When one or multiple questions in an engagement survey have a particularly low score, the organization focuses on improving these scores. However, do you ask yourself, “How is our engagement score impacting the rest of the business?” For example, how does engagement lead to employee retention, to financial performance for your salespeople, or to your customer service level? Most of us in HR expect a relationship between engagement and these outcomes but it can be tricky to quantify this level.

Getting that one low score up from a score of three to four out of five is rewarding in itself but can you imagine how rewarding it will be to executives when you connect that score to the impact it has on the rest of the business? This is also a common critique of employees and front-line managers on the concept of engagement. Engagement might be very important for a few weeks, but afterwards no action is actually taken to address it. By relating engagement to business outcomes through people analytics, it is easier to create an urgency for improving engagement.

An example is Best Buy, a large electronics store chain, that tried to relate employee engagement to store profitability. They found that a 0.1% increase in employee engagement resulted in a $100,000 increase in profit per store. These kinds of insights help to drive better and more informed decision-making.

  1. Pulse Surveys

A trend that has been emerging in the past few years is the concept of pulse surveys. Traditionally, organizations had every employee fill out long-winded surveys once a year. These days, it is possible to measure the same using very brief surveys that are only sent to parts of the organization.

Pulse surveys enable HR to ‘take the pulse’ of the organization at different times throughout the year on a regular basis. Traditional surveys might extensively ask about a wide variety of topics, whereas pulse surveys only include a few questions, providing employees a quick and easy way to submit feedback.

An area where a lot of organizations, and particularly those in HR, can still improve on is the way they ask questions in surveys. Take a good look at what questions resonate most and least with employees, and use that insight in your next survey strategy.

In a recent publication, the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES) has been shortened to a 3-item questionnaire. This much shorter engagement scale would work very well with a pulse survey approach, enabling an organization to measure engagement frequently and in a reliable way. Because this questionnaire is used throughout the world in research, there are also norm groups available which help to benchmark engagement in your organization with engagement in the general population per region.

  1. Continuous Analytics

The two opportunities above offer a combined effect that’s larger than the sum of the individual components. Engagement can be related to business impact – and when executed the right way, pulse surveys can act as an excellent path towards gathering continuous feedback and engagement measurement. What more can you do to improve employee engagement measurement? Start with how often you look at analytics.

Don’t limit the amount of time you spend looking at analytics. Because engagement levels can fluctuate, you need to look at analytics frequently. Research has proven that engagement can change on a day-to-day basis and in line with this, the desired outcomes that are caused by engagement, also change. Continuously measuring engagement not only enables you to keep a finger on the pulse but also offers the opportunity to predict business success on a regular basis. This has also been referred to as continuous listening, a key trend in HR. Don’t turn down the opportunity to catch and address any signs of disengagement right away.

Final Thoughts

Even if your company already has engagement measurement practices in place, there’s always room for improvement and optimization.

I highly encourage taking a scientific approach to how you measure anything in an organization. Below are three key take-home messages I want every reader to take away from this article:

  1. Measurement is always a means to an end, never a goal in itself.
  2. What you measure is always related to a bigger picture.
  3. Keep learning and improving based on what you have measured.

Best of luck measuring engagement in your organization!

About the Author
Erik van VulpenErik van Vulpen is the founder of Analytics in HR (AIHR). He is writer, speaker, and trainer on people analytics. Erik is an instructor for the HR Analytics Academy and has extensive experience in the application of HR analytics.

 

 

 

 

employee feedback and recognition

Leveraging Recognition and Feedback to Boost Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is an ongoing issue. What can we do to effectively engage employees? Start with recognition and feedback. According to Aptitude Research Partners, companies identified recognition as having the greatest impact on engagement. And it doesn’t stop at recognition. Go the extra mile with employee feedback, pulse data and personalized actions in real-time to immediately address any disengagement. Dr. Natalie Baumgartner, Chief Workforce Scientist for Achievers, shares in an HRO Today article about how to effectively leverage recognition and feedback to boost engagement across your organization.

  1. Why is employee feedback software a need-to-have, and not a nice-to-have?

Employee feedback software is a need-to-have because it’s the best way for us to keep our finger on the pulse of engagement. Historically, we have thought of engagement as a survey exercise, but in this new era of engagement it has become clear that we need to focus on asking for and receiving feedback – and, most importantly, responding to it. Each of us as employees are exceptionally unique, which is why it is so critical that we offer employees different ways to provide feedback. Using a combination of modalities allows us to gather continuous feedback and valuable data that can be collected and then translated into actions that truly support employees.

  1. Why should organizations offer recognition and rewards?

Key analysts, including Josh Bersin, have long advocated recognition as a powerful engagement tool. Our research highlighting recognition as a massive driver of business performance supports the critical role that recognition plays within organizations. Research has demonstrated that engagement measurement can not just happen twice a year – and neither can recognition. Recognition needs to be a fluid, frequent activity that is built into the flow of work for every employee. In order for that to happen, we need to make it easy and engaging for employees to regularly recognize another, whether it’s manager to employee or peer to peer. Recognition is an indispensable tool that can effectively improve not only engagement specifically but also culture, more broadly. Impacting culture can be a challenging process but using a program that ties recognitions to company values makes it easier to effectively strengthen culture alignment.

  1. How can organizations leverage data to improve the employee experience?

Data is the most powerful tool you have to make informed decisions that improve the employee experience. Historically, organizations have typically gathered engagement data using traditional tools such as annual surveys that include numerous questions. We now know that engagement is exceptionally fluid and that moving the engagement needle requires real-time action. When it comes to impacting engagement, you need right-sized data in real-time. It is important to shift from launching long annual surveys to pulse and always-on measurement systems that gather engagement feedback on a more frequent basis – from every quarter to every week. Gathering feedback on a regular basis ensures that leadership has in-the-moment data they can act on. 

  1. Where is the future of employee engagement heading?

If you are an HR professional, you are most likely the one responsible for impacting engagement. Yet, who’s more motivated to impact engagement than the employees themselves? I believe that, in the future, engagement will no longer be owned by leadership – but, rather, it will be owned by the employee. Typically when engagement survey data is gathered it either never makes it to the employee or, if it does, it’s in the form of rich but complex action plans. In fact, even the more modern engagement technologies that provide libraries of solutions don’t offer the necessary real-time actions that actually move the needle on engagement. Research tells us that most engagement issues are on the smaller scale, whether it’s a lack of professional development or the office atmosphere. These are the type of issues that technology can help with by delivering bite-sized, personalized actions to employees that they can use to own the solution to the challenges they’re encountering, resulting in faster outcomes.

To learn more about the future of employee engagement, access Achievers white paper: “The New Engagement Conversation: Workplace Chatbots and the Science Behind Achievers Allie.

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

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.

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workplace

A Recognition Moment: An Interview with Jacqueline Scafidi of Zurich

Jacqueline ScafidiMeet Jacqueline Scafidi
Employee Experience Specialist, Zurich North America

Jacqueline Scafidi is on a team that leads company efforts which examine and evolve the employee experience in the workplace. Through her role with Zurich North America, she takes a human-centered approach towards recognition and rewards, volunteering, and targeted ways to engage employees in their work environment. She began with her current team in 2010, when Zurich invested in a growing team dedicated to community investment and the full employee experience. Jacqueline finds fulfillment in contributing to creative workplaces that engage a diverse set of thoughts and strategies, and has a passion to provide an approachable and distinct service experience for the customer and fellow colleagues.

Her previous career incarnation included production stage management with the Chicago theatre community. Jacqueline was a graduate of Knox College in Galesburg, IL and feels love and support from her spouse, children, family and friends.

Let’s Take a Moment to Recognize Jacqueline

We want to take a moment to recognize Jacqueline 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’ve always had an interest in the study and behavior of people. What influences our choices and our behaviors? What intrinsically and externally will motivate someone? I began with a focus on the charitable efforts of the company and our employees – coordinating volunteering and fundraising efforts. In time I began to take on programs and initiatives related to broader employee engagement. More recently I took over efforts on building a culture of recognition with our rewards and recognition strategy and programs. I enjoy the variance of a job role in HR – it’s never quite the same day.

  1. What is your biggest focus or goal when it comes to the employee experience?

People matter. They are a driving force behind the success of a culture and of a company. Our focus is to ensure that our people feel that they matter and feel supported by our culture and our business. We look to involve our people in the evolution of the employee experience through their feedback and by inviting them to solution-orientated working groups to improve.

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

The rapid pace of change is one of the larger cultural challenges I think any organization faces today. Technology, processes, the definition of your job role – every aspect is open to a more efficient or innovative way of working.

To overcome the resistance to change it is important to communicate early and often, and to involve the users in the process from the beginning.

If you explain why change is happening and how it can positively affect someone, you are more likely to experience acceptance and adoption.

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

The key to boosting employee engagement across the organization is the support of management teams. Early adopters will always exist in an organization, but there are a majority of individuals that look to the leaders around them. We all know senior leadership should be role models for the rest of the organization. It’s the support and investment of mid-level leadership that will help an organization cross the threshold to true engagement.

  1. What is your favorite employee recognition moment at Zurich?

At Zurich, my favorite employee recognition moment occurs each year when we honor and celebrate our KAMP Leadership Award recipients. On September 11, 2001, Zurich North America lost four colleagues in the World Trade Center attacks: John Keohane, Peggy Alario, Kathy Moran and Lud Picarro. Since 2002, Zurich has celebrated their lives by presenting the KAMP Leadership Award to deserving employee leaders. KAMP is an acronym representing each of our colleagues’ last names, but it also serves as a reminder about Keeping A Meaningful Perspective, something each of those friends and colleagues exemplified in their lives. The KAMP Leadership Award is a tribute to their spirit of courage, dedication, integrity and passion. There is a sense of duty and humility when I get to steward this award and experience we provide our winners.  

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

I think the future of employee engagement is one that responds to the changing work environment and adapts to the needs of the employees. Companies have evolved to be interconnected on global scales, now we must look at how we stay connected with the advancement of a mobile workforce that works anywhere, anytime. Across industries we need to rethink what it means to be engaged with one another and how those interactions will continue to be meaningful. The bottom line is that engagement affects our business and if we aren’t evolving to this new way of engaging, success will be harder to reach.

  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: Be intentional and specific on what your strategy should accomplish.

#2: Embrace the ideas of your employees and have them be a part of shaping the outcome.

#3: Be ready to evolve and learn.

Looking Ahead

What’s next for Jacqueline? She and her team are doing some exciting work around the employee experience at Zurich. They’ve recently had the opportunity to listen to their employees in a more in-depth way and map out key moments that matter to their experiences from when they join to when they retire. These insights are allowing the Zurich team to take a deep, human-centered look at what contributes to their company’s culture and work environment and how they can continue to find ways to contribute enhancements.

About Zurich’s Recognition Program

Zurich’s employee recognition program, powered by Achievers, caters to 9,300 employees across North America. Since launch, the program has seen huge success, including 98.13% activation and 67.18% monthly active users. In the first half of 2018 alone, the program saw:

  • 54% of employees received recognition
  • 1,025,235 award points given
  • 76,784 sent recognitions
  • 1,120 mobile recognitions
  • 24,249 boosted recognitions

 To learn more about the award-winning platform that powers Zurich’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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

AI and HR

Perils and Promise: What Machines and Millennials are Doing to HR (Part 3)

Part 3: … And What You Need to Do About It

(Read Part 1 and Part 2)

This is the third installment of my blog series. We’ve looked at how changes in the workforce are changing HR and we’ve also explored how a constellation of technologies will change the future of work and the very nature of labor itself. Next, we are going to get specific…what should you do about it?

As an applied futurist, it’s my job to not only envision the possible and probable future but to also work with organizations to figure out what they should do. How can you not only take steps to prepare for what’s coming, but how can you actually shape it?

My intention is to make it simple and easy to apply what you’ve learned. Essentially, here’s what you can do on Monday to prepare for the future.

Monday Focus: The Machines

Machines really aren’t that complicated for HR. Technology does not get to decide it’s future. Humans and organizations get to decide how it is implemented. All work is about humans. Everything we do as professionals is about people. As anyone in HR knows, all business is people business. So, let’s start with people.

As we imagine a future where we have autonomous technologies, what do we need to do to make sure we are keeping humans at the center? We always need to keep humans at the center of what we do. We have seen through time that any time we stray from keeping humans at the center of our decision-making, we get ourselves in trouble.

Autonomous technologies are going to afford us incredible efficiencies. They will streamline our work and they will also do away with many roles the people are actually doing today.

This is where I tell you that if a machine can take your job, then your job probably sucked. Really! If a machine can do your job, then it means that your job was turning you into a machine. The real opportunity for machines transforming the workforce is that they will free us up to be more human. We let the machines do what the machines are good at and we as humans engage with other humans. This is how we future proof the future of work. Be human.

As we bring in more autonomous technologies into the workplace, we must make sure that we are keeping humans at the center. This doesn’t mean that people have to do everything. However, we do have to ask ourselves WHY. Why are we doing this? Why are we automating this system or task? And WHAT do we hope to get out of it?

To be more specific, if you are going to implement an AI or autonomous technology in your business there are some pretty simple questions you should ask IT professionals, engineers, or vendors about when it comes to the use of these new technologies in the workplace. You don’t have to be a technology expert; you need to be a people expert.

Your To-Do List:

  1. Ask: What are you optimizing for?

All algorithms optimize.  You can’t consider all of the data all of the time. When you write an algorithm you have to limit the data that you are feeding into it. In short, you have to make choices. You have to ask yourself what are you optimizing for? What is the work that you are trying to do?

  1. Ask: What is the bias?

All data has bias. Algorithms have bias as well. At the highest-level bias is the prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair. Recently there have been well-documented cases of data and algorithmic bias in law enforcement, healthcare and the courts. It is important to understand how your organization is choosing the data they will be using. Urge your organization to get to know the data and also the bias of the algorithms.

In recent years, the high tech industry is coming to grips with the reality of bias to the point that the IEEE computer society is making recommendations for how to deal with it. This conversation will make sure that you are keeping a human perspective in these systems and having a healthy discussion on any blended team of technologies and HR professionals.

  1. Ask: Who is your outlier?

Always look for the outlier. In every system and in every algorithm, there is no way to completely understand all the data sets and all the people. When you have a system that is set up, it is always a good exercise to ask yourself, “Who are we not serving?”

“Whether your AI solution drives an internal system for HR or a customer-facing system that impacts your brand it’s important you constantly look for the outlier,” Renny Gleeson, Managing Director of Business Innovation Group for Wieden + Kennedy, explained in his upcoming report “Artificial Intelligence and the Home.” Wieden + Kennedy is a global, independent agency that creates strong and provocative relationships between good companies and their customers. “Who is the system not serving?”, Gleeson continued.  “To train your AI you need as much historical data as possible. How do you prevent your exciting new AI from trapping your organization in the status quo it’s been trained in rather than the future you seek? This search, this constant questioning, allows your organization and your brand to have a better chance of serving better – and finding the error before the error finds you.”

The constant interrogation of the autonomous system that we are using is important. Using these systems to gain efficiencies is great and they will give us incredible gains in productivity, but we have to remain vigilant. We have to keep people at the center. We must constantly interrogate the algorithms and the system to determine who are we not including. Who is the outlier?

Ok, that’s the machine part of this.

Millennials (and Gen Z)

We need to stop acting like they are not in the room. They are here and we need to involve them in the process. More importantly, we need to make sure they are helping us to make our organizations more attractive for the next generation after.

Your To-Do List:

  1. Stop talking about millennials. Start talking about purpose.

They are in the room. They are in your company. Understand that they are the key to your success. Millennials and Gen Z are more purpose-driven than any other generation in the workforce. Not only does the work you do matter but WHY as an organization are you doing this work? What is your higher purpose beyond just making money? Because it matters.

For some, these conversations might feel foreign but they are necessary because talent has choices. As the largest percentage of the labor force, millennials and Gen Z can choose where they want to put their time. Good talent always has a choice of what organization to work for.  Give them a reason to work for you.

  1. Empower millennials.

How are you empowering the next generation to make your organization successful? As the boom generation, they will have mass and be the ones to take the reins. What are you doing to ensure that they are benefiting from your experience? Are you giving them the freedom to make a new environment?

Are you creating physical and digital places for employees of all generations to mingle and collaborate? From co-working spaces to couches and long tables, where are the spaces in your organization that encourage people to gather. These are the spaces where relationships are built and innovation springs forward. They are communities inside of communities. Once you’ve discovered the nature of these physical spaces for your group, search outside their digital equivalent.

  1. Curate your culture and make millennials mentors.

As HR professionals you understand your organization. Fostering a positive and inclusive culture is extremely important. But, also as important is making sure that when you do bring in these new workers, they are a good fit to the true culture of your workplace. Because purpose matters so much, make sure that your organization’s purpose is in sync with the possible employee’s purpose as well.

Millennials are mentors. It’s time for them to not only take over the workforce, but empower up and down inside the organization. This not only means mentoring Gen Z but also “mentoring up.”  I’ve also been asked the following by senior level leaders that are baby boomers or Gen Z: What can they do to prepare their organizations for the future? My response is get a millennial mentor. They are the future workforce. Let them help you be as successful as possible. Remember the future involves all of us.

Come see me at ACE 2018 to learn more about what machines and millennials are doing to HR. Check out my entire blog series, starting at Part 1.

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Do you want to learn more about AI and HR? Check out Achievers’ webinar recording “Engagement: How AI Helps HR to be More Human, Not Less.”

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

About the Author

Brian JohnsonThe future is Brian David Johnson’s business. As a futurist he works with organizations to develop an actionable 10 -15 year vision and what it will feel like to live in the future. His work is called futurecasting, using ethnographic field studies, technology research, cultural history, trend data, global interviews and even science fiction to provide a pragmatic road map of the future. As an applied futurist Johnson has worked with governments, trade organizations, start-ups and multinational corporations to not only help envision their future but specify the steps needed to get there. Johnson is currently the futurist in residence at Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, a professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the Director of the ASU Threatcasting Lab. He is also a Futurist and Fellow at Frost and Sullivan.

Johnson speaks and writes extensively in ongoing columns for IEEE Computer Magazine and Successful Farming where he is the “Farm Futurist”. He has contributed articles to publications like The Wall Street Journal, Slate, and Wired Magazine. Johnson holds over 40 patents and is the best-selling author of both science fiction and fact books (WAR: Wizards and Robots, Humanity in the Machine, 21st Century Robot and Science Fiction Prototyping). He was appointed first futurist ever at the Intel Corporation in 2009 where he worked for over a decade helping to design over 2 billion microprocessors. Johnson appears regularly on Bloomberg TV, PBS, FOX News, and the Discovery Channel and has been featured in Scientific American, The Technology Review, Forbes, INC, and Popular Science. He has directed two feature films and is an illustrator and commissioned painter. In 2016 Samuel Goldwyn released “Vintage Tomorrows” a documentary based upon Johnson’s book of the same name.

 

AI and HR

Perils and Promise: What Machines and Millennials are Doing to HR (Part 2)

Part 2: AI + HR = Promises and Perils

(Read Part 1 and Part 3)

This is the second installment of my blog series. We’ve looked at how changes in the workforce are changing HR. Next, we’re going to explore how a constellation of technologies will change the future of work and the very nature of human labor itself.

In 2016, I wrote a paper for Frost and Sullivan called “The Coming Age of Sentient Tools.” In it I explored what comes after “the next big thing.” You know the next big thing…it’s the thing that everyone is writing, talking, or worried about. In fact, there are a lot of next big things that are coming. Over the next 10 years, we will see a constellation of technologies moving into the mainstream that will have fundamental change on how we live and do business. They will especially effect HR.

Artificial Intelligence

The modern definition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is “the study and design of intelligent agents where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions which maximizes its chances of success.” To be clear, I am not talking about machines that are smarter than humans or even Super AI. There are legitimate concerns raised by people like Stephen Hawking but this is an ethical, moral, policy, legal, and ultimately philosophical dissuasion. It is a discussion that needs to happen, but I am not a philosopher. I am a futurist; I work with people to build futures.

When I talk about AI, I am generally referring to “industrial AI”. This is the AI that lands our planes, helps us find a movie to watch, or the next book we will buy. It does work and it’s coming. Over the next ten years we will see AI move into more and more of our business lives. This move is filled with promise but there are also perils.

AI promises to streamline how we work, take over simple and repetitive tasks, and even discover insights in large data sets that are beyond human comprehension. It’s going to be pretty amazing. But with automation and the lack of human inside comes peril.

Internet of Things and Smart Cities

Over the next ten years, we will see the Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Cities more into the mainstream. One way to view both IoT and Smart Cities are different sides of the same coin. On one side of the coin you have IoT, the ability to turn anything into a computer. Essentially, if you can find a reason to make devices smart, sensing, and connected, you can do it; from thermostats to door bells. If there’s a reason, you can do it.

The other side of this coins are smart cities; a larger connected environment of buildings and city infrastructure. What would it mean to make an entire city smart, connected, and sensing? It would mean everything from energy efficient and safer buildings to smart parking meetings and even autonomous transportation of people and goods.

Imagine how these devices and buildings that are now aware could transform the workplace.  There is a real promise for safer, healthier, and more sustainable and productive places to work. I even like to imagine, what would it mean to have an office that not only allowed you to get your work done better and faster but also tried to make you laugh on a Monday or get you excited about your weekend on Friday?

But all this intelligence fueled by data exposes employees to a broader landscape of threats and misuse. HR has a specific and important role to play as these amazing new capabilities are brought into the workplace.

Robots Both Physical and Digital

Finally, we will see more robots. Right now, if you see a robot moving down the side walk it is interesting and maybe slightly odd. But imagine a future when seeing robot at work or on the street delivering dinner is commonplace.

A helpful way to imagine all of these technologies as they make their way into the workplace is to see them as autonomous technology. This could be physical autonomy like self-driving cars or warehouse robots. But autonomy can be strictly digital like AI, chat bots, and machine learning algorithms. These are the machines that will radically change HR.

But, how can we do business when the very nature of labor is changing? If machines begin to do more human work, how do we define work for humans? Ultimately, we will need to reimagine how we value human labor.

Come see me at ACE 2018 to learn more about what machines and millennials are doing to HR. Stay tuned for the my next blog post covering machines and millennials, but more importantly, what you need to do about it!

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For more information on AI and HR, view Achievers’ webinar recording “Engagement: How AI Helps HR to be More Human, Not Less.”

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

About the Author

Brian JohnsonThe future is Brian David Johnson’s business. As a futurist he works with organizations to develop an actionable 10 -15 year vision and what it will feel like to live in the future. His work is called futurecasting, using ethnographic field studies, technology research, cultural history, trend data, global interviews and even science fiction to provide a pragmatic road map of the future. As an applied futurist Johnson has worked with governments, trade organizations, start-ups and multinational corporations to not only help envision their future but specify the steps needed to get there. Johnson is currently the futurist in residence at Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, a professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the Director of the ASU Threatcasting Lab. He is also a Futurist and Fellow at Frost and Sullivan.

Johnson speaks and writes extensively in ongoing columns for IEEE Computer Magazine and Successful Farming where he is the “Farm Futurist”. He has contributed articles to publications like The Wall Street Journal, Slate, and Wired Magazine. Johnson holds over 40 patents and is the best-selling author of both science fiction and fact books (WAR: Wizards and Robots, Humanity in the Machine, 21st Century Robot and Science Fiction Prototyping). He was appointed first futurist ever at the Intel Corporation in 2009 where he worked for over a decade helping to design over 2 billion microprocessors.  Johnson appears regularly on Bloomberg TV, PBS, FOX News, and the Discovery Channel and has been featured in Scientific American, The Technology Review, Forbes, INC, and Popular Science. He has directed two feature films and is an illustrator and commissioned painter. In 2016 Samuel Goldwyn released “Vintage Tomorrows” a documentary based upon Johnson’s book of the same name.

 

millennials

Perils and Promise: What Machines and Millennials are Doing to HR (Part 1)

Part 1: Millennials and Gen Z

(Read Part 2 and Part 3)

I’m a futurist. I work with organizations to look out into the future, modeling both positive and negative futures. I do this using a process called futurecasting. The inputs and research are a mix of social science, technical research, cultural history, economics, global cultural trends, expert interviews and even a little science fiction. As an applied futurist, I not only construct possible and probable futures, but I also work with organizations to implement actions today to prepare and even shape their tomorrow.

Starting in 2016, organizations began asking me not just about the future of work but more specifically about the future workforce. Who are the employees of the future? How will you find them? How will you retain them? There’s good reason for this. We are experiencing a shift in our labor like we have not seen for decades.

Let’s start with the math:

  • More than a third of the current workforce are millennials and in 2016 they became the largest generation in the workforce.
  • 10,000 millennials turn 21 every day in the U.S.
  • And probably the most important statistic: By the year 2025 millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce

That answers the question: The workforce of the future is millennial and also a little Gen Z. Gen Z is the generation that is entering college today.

Now, if you have read this far you are probably not a millennial because most millennials know this and quiet frankly are getting a little tired of people talking about them like they are not in the room. Right now, they are 1 of every 3 people in the room. Look around…

Millennials and Gen Z are one of the most heavily researched, studied, talked about and honestly complained about generations in history. But what can HR organizations and employers do to prepare? One simple way to get started is to just ask them.

Julia Rose West is an author and futurist that studies millennials and Gen Z. On a recent podcast “Navigating the Noise: Meet your New Employee, Customer, Client and/or Boss” about the next generation of workers, I asked West what organizations should consider when bringing these new employees into the labor force.

Regarding Gen Z, Rose remarked, “We’ve seen a lot of jobs ending in career switching with millennials, but Generation Z is projected to do a whole lot less of this. Partly because they grew up during the recession, and they’re drawn to stability…they would rather take up new roles and challenges with an existing company, than change companies.”

Many HR departments are changing how they recruit and retain new workers. Some are even exploring how they lose their millennial workers and how they can bring them back again. Traditional organizations like manufacturing and warehousing had to think twice about why employees left their organizations for other companies. They are seeing that their next generation workers want to continue to explore new roles and new companies. This doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t want to return, especially if there’s an environment that embraces personal growth and change. In fact, they are coming back with more diverse and expansive job experience.

How can HR adapt to millennials and Gen Z?  The answer is simple. West points out that these generations, “hold out for fulfilling work. Once they find that work, they’re less likely to leave a company, as long as the company’s mission and work continues to align with their values.”

So, do your company policies and values align? It wouldn’t be a bad idea to hire a millennial or two into your HR department, if you haven’t already, and listen to them.

Now it should be said that these sweeping generalizations about the next generation labor force are not 100% accurate. Individuals have their own traits and desires, but you can’t escape the math. The workforce of the future is changing…are you?

Come see me at ACE 2018 to learn more about what machines and millennials are doing to HR. Stay tuned for the my next blog post covering AI and HR.

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Are you curious about AI? Check out Achievers’ webinar recording “Engagement: How AI Helps HR to be More Human, Not Less.”

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

About the Author

Brian JohnsonThe future is Brian David Johnson’s business. As a futurist he works with organizations to develop an actionable 10 -15 year vision and what it will feel like to live in the future. His work is called futurecasting, using ethnographic field studies, technology research, cultural history, trend data, global interviews and even science fiction to provide a pragmatic road map of the future. As an applied futurist Johnson has worked with governments, trade organizations, start-ups and multinational corporations to not only help envision their future but specify the steps needed to get there. Johnson is currently the futurist in residence at Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, a professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the Director of the ASU Threatcasting Lab. He is also a Futurist and Fellow at Frost and Sullivan.

Johnson speaks and writes extensively in ongoing columns for IEEE Computer Magazine and Successful Farming where he is the “Farm Futurist”. He has contributed articles to publications like The Wall Street Journal, Slate, and Wired Magazine. Johnson holds over 40 patents and is the best-selling author of both science fiction and fact books (WAR: Wizards and Robots, Humanity in the Machine, 21st Century Robot and Science Fiction Prototyping). He was appointed first futurist ever at the Intel Corporation in 2009 where he worked for over a decade helping to design over 2 billion microprocessors. Johnson appears regularly on Bloomberg TV, PBS, FOX News, and the Discovery Channel and has been featured in Scientific American, The Technology Review, Forbes, INC, and Popular Science. He has directed two feature films and is an illustrator and commissioned painter. In 2016 Samuel Goldwyn released “Vintage Tomorrows” a documentary based upon Johnson’s book of the same name.

 

 

skeleton in office

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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HR thought leaders

Words of Advice from 7 HR Thought Leaders

We have some stellar thinkers in the HR field today, so we decided to present a sampling of their pithy advice. Each of the people profiled below have their own unique take on managing your human capital, and you may even find a favorite or two whom you want to follow.

“You can’t prevent attrition if your organization doesn’t attend to employee experience.”

Meghan M. Biro is the founder and CEO of TalentCulture and an in-demand HR analyst.

In a recent Forbes article, Biro writes about the urgent need of focusing on the employee experience. She points out the disconnect that occurs in many organizations, where human capital is given lip service but no top-level executive is in charge of overseeing the well-being of workers. “Do you have a senior people manager?” she asks, “And if so, are they in the C-Suite?” Biro is a big fan of HR tech, but in her Forbes piece she observes that technology won’t solve problems unless it’s guided by a strategic vision. And that vision has to focus on what it’s like to be an employee.

“Don’t underestimate the power of recognition and how vital it is to create a positive work environment.”

David Novak is founder and CEO of oGoLead, a leadership development program.

In his recent commentary on CNBC, Novak describes the crisis brought about by toxic leadership. He observes that “actively disengaged workers are costing the U.S. as much as $600 billion in lost productivity” and that the cost of millennial turnover may be as much as $30 billion. He points out that “everyone likes to be appreciated for their contributions” and that employee rewards should be offered along the way, whenever you see great work. That way, momentum stays strong and your people will feel personally invested in the company’s mission.

“Managers need to stop telling people how to get better when they can’t provide enough staffing, training, tools or information for their people to succeed.”

Shane Green is the author of “Culture Hacker” and the founder and president of SGEI.

When providing informal feedback to employees, Green reminds managers that they have to start off by being fair. Informal feedback, provided immediately after a particular employee action, needs to include a listening component. He points out, “Do not deliver a lecture. Staff tune out managers when all they do is give a speech.” When you listen to your people and empower them with the tools that they need, you may find that performance issues resolve themselves.

“Most of us work for a reason: we want to spend our time contributing to others and creating something bigger than ourselves.”

Founder and principal at Bersin by Deloitte, Josh Bersin is a global HR analyst.

Bersin writes about the concept of meaningful work as a necessary foundation for employee engagement. He unpacks the concept of “meaningful” in the context of a job that can often feel routine. A meaningful job has four characteristics:

  • Autonomy: Workers need the freedom to accomplish tasks in their own style.
  • Selection for Fit: Managers should match tasks and employee skills.
  • Small Teams: Human beings perform most effectively in groups where they know each other.
  • Time for Slack: Workers need a chance to reflect and compare notes.

“Ensuring employees remain interested in their work creates a greater sense of purpose and deeper connection to their tasks and the company as a whole.”

Natalie Baumgartner is Chief Workforce Scientist at Achievers and she has spent her career translating engagement and culture research into software that enhances the employee experience.

In her recent Chief Executive Magazine article, Baumgartner points out that it’s important to remember humans are beings of change. Employees’ passions, interests and entire lives evolve over time. It is a costly retention error to believe talent who started their journey enthusiastically will always remain so. She shares, “While change is obviously a natural process, it’s important to catch dips in passion before employees start looking for new jobs. Use daily polls or pulse surveys to gauge interest, engagement, and overall job experiences. These frequent check-ins open the door for ongoing discussions about their future opportunities with the company.”

“I am starting to think of chatbots as your newest HR team member, one that allows employees to easily retrieve answers to frequently asked questions.”

Jeanne Meister is the founder of HR advisory firm Future Workplace and author of the 2017 book “The Future Workplace Experience.”

Meister works at the cutting edge of HR tech, and she maintains a vision of the direction that human resources is headed in. She promotes artificial intelligence as the source of solutions that make management more responsive to employee needs. When workers perceive the HR department as being their ally, performance will improve throughout the organization. Meister points out that some 75 percent of workplaces will use chatbots for some part of their HR solutions by 2020, and she notes that this technology will help HR leaders to create an employee experience “that mirrors their best customer service experience.”

“The best jobs turn coworkers into friends.”

Laurie Ruettiman is an HR leader turned writer, speaker and entrepreneur. She’s also the founder of HRBooks.

In a blog entry about the recent tax cut, Ruettiman writes about how this infusion of cash offers companies an opportunity to invest in social recognition. “I’d spend the money on a strategy that shores up your culture,” she advises, and then goes on to point out that “social recognition is a proven management practice that unlocks the full potential of people by providing purpose, meaning, and appreciation for the work they do every day.”

Fostering employee engagement is an art and a science, and HR leaders approach it from a wide variety of disciplines. Their insight can provide you with the tools you need to create a positive, productive culture in your company. To learn more, download our white paper “The True Cost of Disengagement.”

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Do you want to engage your employees? Start with social recognition. Access Achievers’ report “Building a Business Case for Social Recognition” to get started.

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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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Innovation Workplace

How to Apply Innovation Principles to Your Engagement Strategy

Any people-centric company lives through its employee experience: engagement, culture and performance management brought together. In the employee recognition and rewards space, this translates in continuous engagement efforts, closely aligned to individual preferences. But the 2018 Deloitte Human Capital Trends report states that only 8% of organizations considered “their rewards program was very effective at creating a personalized, flexible solution.” Employees expect you to come up with creative, tailored ways to respond to their feedback points. And a culture of innovation can be the answer you’re looking for.

You don’t always need a massive shift to apply innovation principles to your engagement strategy. Sometimes, even the smallest incremental improvement can trigger innovation. Ask yourself, “What could we do to make employee engagement efforts easier to consume, more responsive or more efficient?”

Do you need help to resolve your engagement innovation equation? Here’s how to apply innovation principles to your engagement strategy in 5 questions.

Engagement Innovation Question Change

Innovation is not always about building a brand new product.

It could be a better deal to pivot your engagement strategy by changing slightly your direction of travel instead of starting from scratch. That’s what Smart & Final understood when they decided to overhaul their employee recognition strategy.

Smart & Final implemented its “Spotlight” program on the Achievers Employee Engagement and Recognition platform, to engage and align employees across the organization’s geographically dispersed locations by encouraging cross-functional recognition via mobile devices. The results speak for themselves: “Sales grew 1.1% on average, resulting in revenues significantly above the sales level of the prior month-long time period.”

Engagement Innovation Question specialize

According to the innovation strategist Bill O’Connor, “Innovation is the art of establishing something in the real world that is new or different and that has a significant impact.”

The challenge is to pass the “real world” test. Innovation works when it’s useful and adopted by the individuals they target. And to address their main pain point in a new way, perfectly aligned to expectations, is specialization.

A good example of specialization happened at AirBnB. AirBnB was amongst the first ones to change the Chief HR Officer function into a Chief Employee Experience Officer function. Doing so, they aligned closely to the values of their workforce, including Millennials. And they sent a strong message to their employees that the employee experience is the essence of their workplace.

For the record, AirBnB rank #1 in Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” 2016 list.

Engagement Innovation Question combine

If your recognition strategy is already in place, would a small incremental addition make it more personal, effective, or user-friendly?

This is exactly the success story behind the Achievers and Limeade partnership.

Millennials know well that the root cause of stress for 80% of employees is work. That’s why they elevated wellness initiatives at work to the trademark of organizations who care for their employees.

With this being said, in order to help companies and employees feel more connected, Achievers recognition platform and Limeade’s wellness solution joined together to create a seamless, simplified employee engagement experience.

Engagement Innovation Question standardize

Innovation and creativity might be in full swing, but your business might still need structure to operate within profitable margins.

Are you looking for a performance boost? Rationalization and standardization are other ways to apply innovation principles to your engagement strategy.

M Resort Spa Casino story is a good example of standardization. To support its hands-on approach to customer service, M Resort was looking for a recognition program that would be personal and meaningful to its employees, while consolidating the property’s 14 separate employee recognition program. M Resort partnered with Achievers implement the Employee Success Platform and “boosted recognition activity by 10x—far surpassing its 2x goal—and achieved 88% activation in the first six months.” M Resort was also able to effectively reduce time and labor costs associated with the organization’s previous recognition programs.

Engagement Innovation Question Try

The current disruptive market demands companies to align product and customer experiences and to continuously pivot and iterate on the go. Design thinking can help you to apply innovation principles to your engagement strategy and promote innovative thinking in the workplace.

This the exact spirit of a HR hackathon. Starting with a simple problem statement, hackathons are opportunities for employees to work collaboratively on the design of their own “perfect” employee experience.

Asian Bank DBS organized its first HR hackathon in August 2017 to create a more joyful experience for DBS employees, while at the same time being open to re-vamping HR processes.

The results, reported in this Forbes article, are impressive: “Within 12 hours, the DBS HR Hackathon generated over 200 HR solutions from 340 DBS HR practitioners across 9 countries.”

Innovation is not always about building a better product. There are many ways to apply innovation principles to your employee engagement strategy. From redesigning the onboarding experience to making rewards and recognition more personal, a creative makeover for your employee engagement efforts can be as simple as asking a new question.

Do you want to learn more about innovation? Attend Achievers’ Customer Experience (ACE) conference from October 23-24 in Toronto. ACE 2018 is a conference for innovators who are focused on improving the employee experience and driving engagement.

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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 confident leadership and leading happy teams on her website.

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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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A Recognition Moment: An Interview with Sandra Garcia of General Motors

Sandra Garcia GMMeet Sandra Garcia
Global Compensation CoE (Center of Expertise) Lead for Global Strategic Initiatives – Global Recognition and Global Service Awards Programs, General Motors 

Sandra Garcia resides in Rosario, Argentina and has worked for General Motors (GM) for close to 21 years. Sandra knew early on in her career that she wanted to work for a global company that would allow her to collaborate with people from different countries and cultures. She wanted the opportunity to expand her skillset and be challenged on a daily basis. With a bachelor’s degree in Labor Relations and two professional certifications from WorldatWork (Global Remuneration Professional (GRP) and Certified Compensation Professional (CCP)) and her wide-ranging experience within GM, she is fully equipped to help lead GM’s global recognition and service awards programs.

As GM’s Global Compensation Lead for Global Strategic Initiatives, Sandra is highly regarded as a thought leader in global recognition and global service awards programs and responsible for leading the subject from beginning to end. Her role in GM’s global recognition program, which launched in August 2017, included conducting research and development, leading the bidding process and vendor strategy, designing the new program and gaining leadership buy-in/approval. Also, as a member of the recognition implementation team, she develops strategies and guidelines, training and communication content and participates in key decisions regarding global deployment.

Let’s Take a Moment to Recognize Sandra

We want to take a moment to recognize Sandra 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?

Early in my career at GM, I started working in Global Purchasing, which enabled me to develop strong negotiation, analytical and planning skills and build relationships with various stakeholders globally. As time passed, I realized I wanted to leverage my negotiation skills and bachelor’s degree in Labor Relations towards building collaborative relationships with the local Union within a challenging union environment in Argentina. I spent some time in Labor Relations, until I applied for a local Compensation and HR Planning position at GM which offered me more analytical and planning experience. I fell in love with working on compensation topics and that’s when I knew I wanted to become a specialized expert in this particular field. I ended up joining the Global Compensation CoE team at GM. I started as a Consultant, and over time, I developed deeper technical knowledge and expertise in different related areas. Just a couple of years ago, I was given the responsibility to lead the implementation of a new global recognition program. This stretch  assignment allowed me to use all the skills acquired throughout my career at GM to set up the program for success. The new recognition program has helped GM not only strengthen its culture of recognition, but support its culture change.   

  1. What is your biggest focus or goal when it comes to the employee experience?

Based on research, we know that focusing on the employee experience can give companies a competitive advantage. We also know that meaningful work and a sense of achievement are key factors that drive a positive employee experience. When it comes to recognition, our focus is to build a positive employee experience. Through our recognition platform, employees are able to connect the work they do every day with company values and gain a deeper understanding of how their work contributes to the company; this gives employees a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Social recognition, in particular, helps nurture a positive work environment of mutually supportive relationships, which offers employees a sense of belonging.

All of this contributes towards creating a more positive employee experience that increases employee performance, engagement and retention.

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

Overall, my biggest culture challenge is finding new ways to innovate and having an open mind to change – to see things not as they are, but as they could be. Innovation is clearly led from the top, and I have been lucky throughout my career at GM to have supportive leaders that provide me opportunities and push me outside of my comfort zone. This has allowed me to develop and propose solutions, strategies and initiatives to address important issues related to our employees and/or competitive practices. To overcome my culture challenge to innovate or champion change (and the initial fear of potential failure one might feel), I go through extensive external and internal research to understand issues; this includes gathering data, facts, trends, etc. This process allows me to thoroughly digest every idea before selecting which one is the best to pursue or recommend. When I have research in my back pocket, I feel more confident to endorse an idea, believe in it and give it a try. Also, I have made it a habit to always reflect on the lessons learned – what went well and what did not – to better equip me for future decisions.

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

One of the key factors for boosting employee engagement across GM involves our culture strategy. Our refreshed purpose, vision, values and behaviors introduced at the end of last year set the stage for common enterprise definitions. Having a common language globally for talent, feedback, recognition, development, learning and culture makes it easier for our employees to understand how their work is directly tied to the company purpose. Also, our leadership team plays a key role in GM’s employee engagement efforts and drives the direction of our culture. They focus on how to improve employee performance and drive a shared sense of accountability. Other key drivers that increase employee engagement across GM include career opportunities and frequent recognition. Our employees have endless opportunities to grow within the company both professionally and personally. They also have recognition embedded into their day to day, which gives them a sense of progress and achievement. When an employee’s work is publicly recognized by leaders and colleagues, it motivates him/her to grow, contribute and engage in the workplace.

  1. What is your favorite employee recognition moment at GM?

I have many memorable recognition moments at GM. One of my favorite moments was the day we launched our new global recognition program, powered by Achievers. On launch day, our project team received a public recognition from our Vice President of Global Human Resources and it ended up being the first recognition sent across the platform. This moment gave me a real sense of achievement and purpose, and I felt all my hard work paid off.

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

We know that the future of employee engagement is heading more towards frequent pulsing and the ability to act on feedback more rapidly; technology is key for this. As leaders play a critical role in employee engagement, we will continue to see a strong focus on providing leadership with quick, actionable tools to build and sustain engaged teams. There will also be an emphasis on providing employees the right resources to be more accountable of their own engagement levels. 

  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: Conduct extensive research and advanced planning  

Like any project, designing and executing a successful program happens well before vendor selection, so it is key to do extensive research and advanced planning. Gather as much information internally to understand your company’s current state. For example, look into how employees and leaders perceive recognition, what options are out there, and what is working and what isn’t working. Look outside your company and research externally to better understand the recognition industry, trends and best practices. This will help you create a compelling business case first, and later, design the program, strategy and objectives for leadership buy-in. Also, gather as much information as possible during the bidding process to get a strong grasp of project deliverables and the deployment process before selecting a vendor.

#2: Create a compelling business case

Use all the extensive research you’ve done to identify alignments between your company’s business goals and HR strategy. For example, ask yourself, “Are you leveraging recognition to be a top driver of employee engagement or as a catalyst for alignment? Or perhaps as a driver to accelerate cultural change?” Be prepared to use different targeted key messages and tailor data or evidence for the different buy-in audiences and stakeholders (i.e. a technology platform can help track budget and monitor spend for Finance, while a recognition platform can serve as a top driver of employee engagement for HR).

#3: Get executive sponsorship from key players and involve stakeholders early in the process

Make it a priority to get buy-in from key stakeholders or audiences. Determine which stakeholders are the right ones to involve early in the project to better set up the program for success. By identifying who to get sponsorship from and which stakeholders are vital, you are building a stronger case and structure for your future recognition program. An employee engagement and recognition program is dependent on the right team and advocates driving it.

Looking Ahead

What’s next for Sandra? She is currently integrating hourly employees globally and other programs into GM’s recognition platform to further improve the employee experience and engagement. She continues to partner with key stakeholders to drive a culture of recognition and remains focused on sustaining and improving employee recognition across GM.

About GM’s Recognition Program

GM’s employee recognition program, powered by Achievers, caters to 68,000 employees across 26 countries. Since launch, the program has set the record for most activations in the first day of program launch in Achievers history. GM has seen huge success, including 96% activation, 63% monthly active users and 67.9% recognition coverage. To learn more about the award-winning platform that powers GM’s recognition program, sign up for a demo of Achievers today.

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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.

 

 

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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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Using Recognition to Drive Engagement: Inside Scotiabank’s Pay It Forward Campaign

Are you currently using recognition to boost employee engagement across your organization? You should. Scotiabank, a leading financial services provider, is already ahead of the curve and finding innovative ways to spread employee recognition across 90,000 employees globally. Before diving straight into Scotiabank’s recognition success, let’s get to know the company a bit. Scotiabank was founded in 1832 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. With close to 90,000 employees around the world and over 23 million customers, Scotiabank is a leader in financial services in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean and Central America, and Asia-Pacific. They offer a broad range of advice, products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking, and capital markets.

In order to maintain and build their strong global reputation, Scotiabank had to make sure they focused on their employees to maximize productivity and business success. Where did Scotiabank start? The answer is with their Applause 2.0 informal recognition program, powered by Achievers.

A Round of Applause for Scotiabank

Scotiabank was running on a legacy platform from the early 2000’s before upgrading to its Applause 2.0 recognition program in March 2016. Applause 2.0 leverages advanced HR technology that enables ongoing employee recognition at all levels, linking to the company’s core values. Scotiabank’s employees across the world are able to participate in the program, including regular and contract employees. To simplify the employee experience, Applause 2.0 was integrated with other core systems, including Scotiabank’s internal social collaboration platform. With the ability to earn points through point-based recognitions, employees can work towards redeeming from a wide variety of reward items in the catalogue.

Let’s Pay It Forward With Recognition

In order to keep the momentum going with their employee recognition program, Scotiabank decided to build a 2-week campaign to create excitement in the workplace and keep the program fresh. The campaign, named Pay it Forward, encouraged employees to view each received recognition as an opportunity to pay it forward and recognize another peer. To further empower employees during the campaign, individual contributors, who typically only have access to social (non-monetary) recognition, were given access to points to award.

A domino effect shortly followed after the campaign launch and the results were extremely positive. So positive that Scotiabank has run the campaign two years in a row. In 2018, 86,243 total recognitions were sent during the same campaign period as the previous year, resulting in a 46% increase year-over-year for all recognition activity on the platform. Also, 20% of all employees sent more than one recognition during the campaign period, revealing that this campaign wasn’t all about the points for employees – it was about being intentional and conscious, and recognizing others based on performance. Scotiabank’s recognition program and Pay It Forward campaign truly aims to seek out employees that have gone above and beyond their normal duties. What other success did Scotiabank see with their Pay It Forward campaign in 2018? We’ll tell you.

Scotiabank saw the following positive results:

  • 47,586 Pay It Forward points-based recognitions were sent
  • 1,677 users activated their account during Pay It Forward, bringing Scotiabank up to 86% activation globally
  • 37% of employees sent at least one recognition during the campaign, an increase of 13% compared to 2017

It’s clear that Scotiabank’s Pay It Forward campaign was a huge success. But, what about Scotiabank’s KPIs? Did their KPIs see a positive impact as well from the campaign? The answer is absolutely. Employee participation from Pay It Forward ended up positively impacting KPIs in 2017, which was a great win for Scotiabank’s HR team.

2017 KPI results included the following:

  • People managers sent 3.0 recognitions on average in the campaign period, up from a 2.0 two months prior.
  • Recognition coverage jumped to 65%, resulting in a 10% increase month-over-month
  • 70% of employees globally logged into the platform, resulting in a 20% increase month-over-month

Scotiabank saw tangible and outstanding results from their targeted Pay It Forward campaign every year and it showcases the true value recognition has towards driving employee engagement. Let’s give a round of Applause to Scotiabank and their employee engagement success!

To learn more about Scotiabank’s recognition journey, check out this webinar recording on Using Recognition to Drive Engagement – A Best Practice Guide with Scotiabank.

Are you looking for another HR success story? Discover how Cox Automotive increased employee engagement across their organization by checking out this blog post on Lighting the Spark of Employee Engagement: Inside Cox Automotive’s Spark Week Celebration.

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.

 

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Lack of Impulse Control: Is It Preventing Leaders from Engaging with Their Teams?

It all started with a client of mine whose leader had expressed frustration with her team members for being too relaxed and unprofessional. My client was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of a large healthcare company with over 600 team members. She worked closely with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who was a successful leader and had been with the organization for over 15 years.

One morning, the CEO became really frustrated with a few employees who were eating breakfast at their desks, which seemed to exacerbate the unprofessional work environment she was observing. She felt this was a time-waster and team members were losing productivity.

She lacked patience and decided to send an email to the entire company letting employees know they could no longer eat breakfast at their desks. Instead, team members had to eat before work or in the cafeteria. She did not inform her COO or the Human Resources (HR) department she would be sending this email.

Effects on Productivity and Company Culture

What effect did the CEO’s actions have on employee productivity that week? Her intention was to increase productivity, but her impulsive actions resulted in a decrease in efficiency. Many employees were confused by her email, and HR was receiving calls for clarification, with employees wondering if protein bars or nuts were considered breakfast items.  Other employees were pregnant or had health issues, would they be penalized if they had food at their desks? They felt they were being discriminated against.

Self-Awareness and Understanding

Was this leader self-aware enough to recognize her patterns of behavior that led her to act impulsively?  Was she able to have difficult conversations? Did she recognize how her behaviors impacted others? The answer to all these questions was “no.” This leader was not self-aware and was not able to understand the negative impact of her actions.

A Better Response

What could this leader have done better? She could have had a conversation with those few employees she felt were not being productive instead of sending a group email.

Lack of Control and Impulsive Behavior

Impulses such as the CEO described above can be perceived as a lack of control, maturity, or business savvy. This type of behavior often derails the offender as it can lead to termination or reduced opportunities for advancement.

How many of us have observed another team member engaging in an activity that we believe to be unproductive? Have you read an email, and immediately became defensive about the content or tone the sender was using? Then you impulsively decide to respond immediately and give your feedback via email, or even worse hit ‘reply all,’ and later regret what you said or wrote in that email. Unfortunately, you can’t take it back. It felt good in the short-term moment but left you with regret in the long-term.

With the use of email, Twitter, and texting, immediate gratification and ease of use prevents you from delaying or fully thinking about a response to another person’s communication. Research shows smart phones and other devices make us less assertive and cause us to “play small” and not stop to reflect how this impacts bigger life plans and goals.

What Is the Definition of Impulse Control?

Impulse control is one of the core competencies of emotional intelligence (EI) and is defined as the degree to which a person can control the need for immediate gratification. It may be the most significant indicator of a person’s future success in the workplace or adaptation in society in terms of building and maintaining relationships with others.

The impact of a lack of impulse control in the workplace is generally significant whether it is a one-time occurrence or a pattern of behavior. When you act on an impulse that leads to a negative outcome, it can lead to serious consequences that are life changing and result in forming a negative reputation. On the other hand, when you have a positive outcome, it gets a different type of attention. It can look like you are brilliant, and your reputation is elevated as a leader and a managed risk taker.

What Does Research Reveal About Impulse Control and Life Success?

For years parents have been testing their young children on impulse control based on the findings in The Stanford marshmallow experiment on delayed gratification in the late 1960s and early 1970s, led by psychologist Walter Mischel. More recently, Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld have re-examined impulse control and America’s “culture of entitlement and instant gratification” in their book, The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America. Both research studies reveal impulse control is a key driver of better life outcomes as measured by better academic performance, higher SAT scores, upward mobility, and professional success.

Lack of Impulse Control and “Monkey Mind”

What prevents you from being present when you are engaging with another co-worker and not getting distracted? Is it emails, false deadlines, text messages, phone calls, web surfing, or interruptions? How can you not give into the power of temptation and stay more in the present moment?

When we lack impulse control, it takes us to a place we were not planning on going. We feel hijacked in the moment – our cognitive brain is no longer in control and our emotional brain is running the show.

On average, we have 60,000 thoughts a day (according to research by Dr. Fred Luskin of Stanford University) and only about 8-9 % are present-moment thinking. This is referred to as a “monkey-mind,” which can lead to impulsive behavior or emotional reactions when our emotional brain hijacks our thinking brain especially when we feel stress or triggered. This is called an amygdala hijack.

When the emotional part of your brain, your amygdala, is hijacked, your oxygen and blood flow move away from your thinking brain to your larger muscles, so you can react or get out of a dangerous situation. That is why you can’t tap into the best of your cognitive brain to see all variables and make a better rational decision.

The word “hijacked” is a strong word, but it feels sudden, unexpected, out of control, forceful, against your will, taking you someplace you were not planning on going. You feel more certain and things are more black and white. You are right, and the other person is wrong. You lose perspective to think clearly.

What Does Impulse Control Look Like in the Workplace?

As adults and business leaders, how can we improve our impulse control to engage better with team members and become more focused, productive and creative? Research findings reveal leaders who can manage strong emotions when feeling stress or pressure, while maintaining a healthy sense of humor, are more successful in building stronger relationships, being creative and meeting professional goals.

Developing Self-Awareness and Building Your Own Impulse Control Tools

The more self-aware you become about your own emotional triggers and how you manage your impulse control, the greater the chance to avoid inappropriate outbursts and poor decisions.  Many times, you learn to control your impulsive behavior after an unfortunate event where you lost control and had to pay a big price. Hindsight is always 20/20.  When you have a moment to look back at what you said or did, you have a better understanding of how you were triggered and how your actions impacted the situation in a negative way. You may take appropriate steps to limit the damage.

You cannot change another person or situation, but you can manage how you choose to react or respond to a situation. You can take charge of your impulse control. As a result, you can choose to “play big” and achieve more happiness, engagement and success in your personal and professional life.

Here are some specific tools you can utilize to improve impulse control:

  • Stop and breathe before you react to a situation or send an email.
  • Remember that instant gratification is short-lived and is about “playing small.” You want to “play big” and maintain a healthy sense of humor.
  • Evaluate options – no response is sometimes the most powerful response.
  • Listen to hear instead of listening to respond to someone. Become aware of distractions that are preventing you from listening.
  • Don’t feel the need to respond to every email or text immediately.
  • Leave 10-minutes earlier to an appointment to give yourself a buffer and practice mindfulness if you arrive early.
  • Avoid overpromising and under delivering and practice “present moment” thinking.

I encourage you to continue your journey toward self-awareness and practicing better impulse control.  Take charge of your success in life and the workplace and build a positive leadership reputation.  Remember this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Life is a journey not a destination.”

If you would like to learn more about EI, visit our website – www.swiei.com

Are you looking for more leadership tips? Discover how to effectively listen to your workforce with Achievers’ white paper on Taking the Pulse of Employee Engagement.

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About the Author
Bobi Seredich Headshot
Bobi Seredich is a recognized speaker, author, trainer and successful entrepreneur specializing in leadership development. She has spent over 23 years of her career dedicated to creating, directing, writing and presenting leadership programs for top companies in the U.S. and around the world.

Bobi is the co-founder of the Southwest Institute for Emotional Intelligence and Managing Partner of EQ Inspirations. In 2001, she founded Equanimity, Inc. also known as EQ Speakers – a speakers’ bureau and leadership training company. It fast became a top speaker bureau that booked hundreds of speakers with large Fortune 500 clients. EQ Speakers was sold in 2012 and continues to be a leader in the industry.

Her book, Courage Does Not Always Roar – Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Courage, was published by Simple Truths in the spring of 2010. The book is a collection of her experiences and stories of women who have had the courage to overcome very difficult life events.

Her passion is to guide individuals and organizations to a higher performance level through her own business knowledge, inspirational stories and leadership emotional intelligence training. Bobi lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband and 6-year old twins, Alex and Gia.

 

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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Incentivize Your Workforce

Why Today’s Incentive Thinking Is Different

Ever since people started working for each other, supervisors have tried to figure out the best way to reach their performance goals and keep workers on task. Too often in human history, this meant that people with less power were simply compelled to work, and incentives — if they existed — consisted merely of being allowed to survive. After several evolutionary waves, we have a deeper insight into what truly motivates people, and today’s incentives are about far more than compensation. As the Forbes Coaches Council puts it, “In decades past, motivating employees was all about raises, promotions, and bonuses. Those days are gone, and today’s employers are quickly learning that engagement stems from different kinds of incentives — ones that impact an employee’s emotional, rather than financial, health.” Here’s a quick look at how incentive thinking has changed over time, and how wise use of employee rewards contributes to today’s workplace culture.

The Beginning of Management Science

The examination of work incentives really began in the “scientific management era” from the late 1800s to about 1920. During this period, laboratory discoveries about reward and motivation began to be applied to the workplace. Employees were frequently paid at a piece rate, providing them with a straightforward pay incentive to be as productive as possible. When the innovation of pay by the hour or day was introduced, it was controversial. A widespread fear existed that if you paid workers only according to the time they spent, that they would “take it easy” and not try as hard. This was also brought up as an objection to the concept of profit- or gain-sharing programs, since it was felt that weaker workers would share equally in the rewards and thus not be motivated to try harder.

The Central Challenge of Giving Incentives

These differing opinions revealed the central challenge of providing incentives: Workers must experience a certain sense of fairness and equality, while at the same time the company must find a way of rewarding its top performers. This challenge led to elaborated systems that integrated bonuses and standards, so that all workers received a base-level pay, but those who reached higher productivity levels would be awarded a bonus. Later developments included paying the supervisor or foreman a higher rate if their team achieved set production goals. It was considered important to increase efficiency, and managers were seen as having a role in this effort. Many of the early discoveries about incentives are still applicable today, but the context in which they are given continued to evolve.

Twentieth Century Workplace Traditions

During the 20th century, companies generally offered rewards for staying with the company. Longevity bonuses and regular wage increases recognized employees for performing the core duties of their jobs, according to the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF). In the case of sales jobs, competitive (and sometimes cutthroat) relative incentives were introduced. The extreme form of such competition was classically demonstrated in the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross,” in which Alec Baldwin’s character says, “As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody wanna see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.”

Incentivizing Innovation and Adaptability

It doesn’t take much deep insight to recognize the toxic nature of the Glengarry scenario. Research by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University shows that pitting workers against each other for rewards often causes team-minded players to scale back their efforts in order to equalize things. Furthermore, as the IRF puts it, standard compensation systems that rewarded people for just showing up and completing their baseline tasks are no longer enough. “To differentiate themselves today, companies rely on people going beyond their core job — innovating, training recruits, adapting their performance to new challenges, expanding their skillsets.” The incentives that are most successful at eliciting these behaviors include a wide variety of short-term incentives overlaid with authentic employee recognition. They must be customized to the individual and closely aligned with the company’s mission and values. This combination is what is now recognized to lead to the best outcomes and the highest prosperity level for your company.

Stats That Prove the Value of Incentives

Just how important is it to offer the right incentives? Let the stats tell you:

  • 70 percent of all U.S. businesses now use gift card incentive programs.
  • Workers who do not feel recognized for their efforts are twice as likely to say they’re planning to quit in the coming year.
  • 90 percent of large enterprises use technology to implement their incentives and reward programs.
  • Companies with effective recognition and reward programs experience 31 percent less voluntary turnover.
  • 69 percent of employees in an Achievers survey say that receiving recognition and rewards would motivate them to stay at their current jobs.
  • 85 percent of workers in one British survey reported that they “felt more motivated to do their best when an incentive was offered.”
  • Corporations that implemented an employee rewards program found that their overall profits increased by an average of $123,600 per week.
  • When companies initiate a reward program, they see a 14 percent improvement in their employee engagement.
  • 55 percent of employees state that their job performance is affected by the quality of their company’s recognition program.

Today’s best practices are evidence-based, and some departments are already seeing success from implementing the right incentives program. A research report in HBR highlighted a call center as they explored the growing importance of “adaptive” rather than “tactical” performance. Workers who were only rewarded for the number of calls in a call center saw their results go down because they were sticking to the given scripts (being tactical). When a test group of call center workers were given the incentive of having ownership of their customer group and the freedom to improvise (or be adaptive), their results were twice as good as the control group.

Fast Company profiles a construction company that improves performance by offering employees the incentive of leaving early. Construction manager Collin Hanks says, “I give my crews benchmarks to work towards instead of them punching the clock and working from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. regardless of what they get done. The benchmarks let them know that if they work hard and get stuff done faster, they can go home early and are still paid as if they worked till 5 p.m.”

As the business world draws on decades of psychological research and actual workplace experience, HR practices have substantially evolved. The right approach to employee rewards is key to maintaining your company’s agility in a changing marketplace. For some fresh ideas about how today’s incentives can strengthen employee engagement, download our ebook on how to incentivize the modern workforce.

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Are you free in October? Learn how to incentivize your workforce and 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.

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Celebrate Work Anniversaries

10 Fun Ideas for Celebrating Work Anniversaries

On the inside, you’re full of warm-hearted gratitude for the loyalty of employees who stick around for the long haul. The question to ask yourself is whether your team knows how much you appreciate their efforts. They can’t read your mind, so celebrating employee milestones and work anniversaries is a way to showcase your positive energy and spread it around. It’s also a way to strengthen your company’s financial position, because a stronger work culture leads directly to stronger employee engagement. Emma Seppala, Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research, notes that “a positive environment will lead to dramatic benefits for employers, employees, and the bottom line.”

The negative side of the equation has plenty of alarming numbers: The absentee rate for disengaged workers is 37 percent higher than normal, and they have 49 percent more accidents and cause 60 percent more defects and errors in production. Furthermore, employees who don’t feel like their company recognizes their efforts are twice as likely to quit in the coming year, according to a 2016 study by Gallup.

An easy way to strengthen your work culture is to recognize employees on their work anniversaries. Here are 10 ways to have fun and reward your people for their loyalty.

1. Feature the Person on Your Landing Page

What better way is there to express your appreciation for someone’s years of hard work than to make him the face of your company for a while? Groundfloor Media, a Denver public relations company, does exactly that, and it obviously pays off. Named by Outside Online as one of America’s top places to work (for four years in a row!), Groundfloor Media’s loyalty to its employees conveys a brand identity focused around real people.

2. Sponsor an Exciting New Experience

Survey company 6Q celebrates employees’ long-term diligence by giving them a chance to have a whole new experience. A voucher for an unusual event — a fantasy convention or a skydiving jump, for example — can be combined with giving the employee an extra day off. The recipient will have lots to tell her co-workers about when she comes back, and the photos she takes will look great on the company’s social media page as well.

3. Personalize the Gift

Individualization is one of the top three characteristics of employee recognition, according to Gallup (with honesty and authenticity being the other two). In other words, you can’t stock up on a closet full of identical coffee mugs that say “Five Years” on them to give out during work anniversaries. Instead, offer something that demonstrates your knowledge of each worker as a unique individual. For example, set up an employee recognition and rewards platform that has a large catalog of rewards that employees can pick from.

4. Interrupt the Daily Routine

While standing up and being applauded may not be everyone’s cup of tea, fun ceremonies can occur in various brief, creative ways. Arrange for a balloon delivery to interrupt the day for employees who reach their work anniversaries. If you’re not in a big city that delivers anything from cookies to caviar, try contacting TaskRabbit and arrange for someone to come in and play a tuba solo at your worker’s desk.

5. Let Them Eat Cake

Go gluten-free if necessary, and explore the amazing art of today’s cake decorating. It’s not just for grandmothers anymore. Shock and amaze your employee with a professionally created cake in the shape of a dragon, a crystal geode or the planet Jupiter.

6. Support the Employee’s Charitable Cause

Many people have local or global causes they care fiercely about. To celebrate a worker’s loyalty in a way that has heart-level impact, take up a collection among the whole department to contribute to something the person is passionate about. You’ll improve employee productivity by showing that your company culture has an altruistic core, and you’ll polish up your employer brand as well.

7. Roll Out the Red Carpet

If your employee usually drives to work, it can be a fun (and free) treat to let her use a VIP parking space for a week, suggests Kelley Zanfardino of the HR Center for Excellence. If she typically takes the bus, you could hire a car service for her for the day and include a free cappuccino en route to work.

8. Give Coupons for Time Off

Offering workers more control over their day (and some “time for slack” as well) is a great way to express appreciation and build employee engagement, according to a Deloitte report. You can celebrate worker anniversaries with a handful of hourly coupons for time off, based on the number of years the person has worked for you.

9. Lunch With the CEO

This probably works better with small groups of employees whose work anniversaries fall within the same time period, unless your company is fairly small. Leadership consultant Christine Comaford writes that employee lunches with the CEO are “a terrific way to foster connection and safety, belonging, and mattering in your culture.”

10. Anniversary E-Cards

Who doesn’t love a fun e-card signed by their teammates? Get the team together to sign an anniversary e-card. This is a great way to get employees together to recognize an employee’s achievements and build a positive team spirit. On the day of the work anniversary, the employee will be pleasantly surprised to see a heartwarming e-card in their email inbox from their teammates. Cloud-based employee recognition and engagement platforms, such as Achievers, makes it easy for employees to participate in and receive work anniversary and birthday e-cards.

You can establish the roots of positivity in your organization today, and it doesn’t require a massive investment of time and money. Check out our ebook on employee recognition, and start optimizing your workers’ productivity.

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And if you’re looking for ways to improve the employee experience, check out our white paper, “Personalization: The Missing Link in Employee Experience.

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Learn how to increase employee engagement at your workplace 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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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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Discover how to effectively listen to your workforce by checking out this white paper, “Taking the Pulse of Employee Engagement.

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Learn more about Achievers Listen and employee engagement trends 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
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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Value of Mentorship

Manager and Employee Relationships: The Importance of Mentorship

The title of “manager” makes it sound like your entire responsibility is simply keeping track of your employees and maximizing their performance. Of course you want to elicit high-level productivity from your team, but your fastest route to success is to offer something back to the people who work for you. The most successful managers enter into a mentoring, or “coaching,” relationship with their direct reports. Here’s a look at why mentoring is so important, together with some best practice tips for putting together a mentorship program that really works.

Mentoring Builds Employee Alignment

Your employees have ambitions for where they want their careers to go, and it’s to your company’s benefit if the person doesn’t need to job-hop in order to realize those ambitions. Daimler Trucks has instituted a proactive mentoring plan throughout its entire 4,000 employee U.S. workforce as part of its leadership succession planning. Suz Hahn, Daimler’s Architect of Learning and Development, states that: “Daimler realizes mentoring is key to the health of our organization.” The company finds that employees who gain new skills become more engaged, and are also eager to spread their knowledge and best practices throughout the entire company.

Millennials Expect and Appreciate Mentoring

Today, more than one in three of your workers are millennials (people between the ages of 18 and 34), and this generation makes up the largest percentage of the U.S. workforce. These are the employees with the freshest skills and the keenest awareness of marketplace trends, and it’s clearly in your best interest to meet their needs. There are real differences in what this age group expects from their workplace, however, and 53 percent of managers say that it’s difficult to find and retain millennial employees. Providing mentorship is your most effective tool for attracting and retaining this demographic: A 2016 Deloitte millennial survey notes that of those respondents who plan to stay with their current company for the next five years, 68 percent say they have a mentor. To get down to exact nitty-gritty of these expectations, the millennials surveyed state that in an ideal week, 3.6 hours would be spent receiving coaching and mentoring.

Focus on Knowledge Transfer

Knowledge Transfer (sometimes shortened to KT) mentoring is described by Willis Towers Watson in their cover story for Workspan. The authors of this overview note that KT mentoring arose as a solution to the fact that fewer than half of the nation’s workers feel their employers are doing a good job of retaining a quality workforce. Clearly a new approach to employee retention is needed, and KT mentoring fills that need by introducing new standards of clarity and structure into the transfer of knowledge within a company.

Put Structure in Your Mentoring

Classic workplace mentoring is an informal relationship that’s very open-ended. Even the choice of which two people are paired together is usually made on a casual basis of who likes whom, and sometimes the very best mentee candidates can be overlooked. The mentor provides ad hoc guidance, slipping it in haphazardly when schedules allow. The informal nature of the exchange means that the mentee probably isn’t giving feedback to their mentor on how helpful he or she is, and mentoring techniques are rarely examined. Mentoring is considered to be a personal favor, and is delivered with that tone. While this informality can be appealing, giving the mentee a sense of being taken into the mentor’s confidence, the lack of structure has some obvious downsides. Here’s how KT mentoring is different:

KT mentoring approaches the process from a structured point of view. The topics to be covered are identified ahead of time, with emphasis being placed on those subjects that will be most beneficial to the organization. Selection of mentors and mentees are made on the basis of learning preferences, generational diversity and personality profiles. The number of candidates for mentorship is made as large as it can be throughout the organization. The mentor and mentee agree on time frames and knowledge goals, so that it’s clear what information will be shared and when this sharing will happen. Formal tools for giving feedback are included in the process, enabling the mentorship interaction to be continually fine-tuned. Towers Watson’s overview of their KT mentorship process emphasizes that its purpose is to sustain high levels of employee engagement.

Make Mentoring Part of Your Company Culture

For any mentorship program to be successful, your organization’s leadership has to believe in the idea. High-quality mentorship requires an investment of time and resources, but forward-thinking leaders recognize that it yields a worthwhile return in productivity and employee happiness. A Corporate Executive Board survey shows the growing recognition that structured mentorship programs are worth the effort: 25 percent of U.S. companies now host some type of formal mentorship program, as compared with only 4 or 5 percent a decade ago.

Mentorship Is About Building Relationships

Leadership coach, Luis Velasquez, notes that, “Mentoring is one method that can tip the scales on employee engagement by fostering lasting relationships among employees, promoting career development, and facilitating the transfer of knowledge within a company.” Using mentorship effectively as a tool to strengthen the organization is one of today’s key management skills. Plus, sharing what you’ve learned with an eager young protege can be a highly gratifying process.

For more insights on tools for great team-building in your organization, download our employee recognition eBook covering 3 Ways to Make Recognition an Everyday Event

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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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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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Inspiration for Leaders

Words of Inspiration for Leadership: Optimism and Resiliency

When I think of optimism and resiliency in people, I think of our “greatest generation” and people like Louis Zamperini. Zamperini faces extraordinary trauma, as depicted in the book Unbroken, and he has leadership lessons for all of us. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, Unbroken, you must add it to your list.

Zamperini’s story is unbelievable that one person could survive so much and live a healthy life to age 97.  He was born in 1917, and he competed in the 1936 Olympics as a champion distance runner, and then joined the American Air Force at the outbreak of the second world war. In May 1943, his plane was shot down over the South Pacific, killing eight of the eleven crew and leaving Zamperini and two others stranded in a tiny life raft. Enduring the loss of their friend Mac from starvation, machine gun fire from passing Japanese bombers and shark attacks, Zamperini and pilot Russell Phillips held out for 47 days.

Louis Zamperini

When they finally reached the Marshall Islands, both were too weak to stand. Little did they know, that their struggle had only just begun. They were rescued by a Japanese warship and sent to various concentration camps, where they suffered sadistic beatings and threats of death daily until their release in August 1945.

In an interview for CBS, Zamperini said, “They took great joy in telling us we were going to be executed. They would always go through the motions, gesturing with samurai swords and so forth. So every morning we woke up thinking, well this is it.”

The physical and psychological trauma that Zamperini endured was unbearable, and most of us can’t imagine. He did return home and suffer from some depression and nightmares. But he went on to start a new career as a motivational speaker promoting the power of forgiveness.

You may never experience what Zamperini went through, but there are days when you feel like you are being attacked, surrounded by sharks and need someone to help you. In business and life, rapid change is the normal and it comes in waves, hurricanes and now in “bomb cyclones”. Today, leaders and their organizations are forced to address increasingly complex challenges as well as grow with uncertainty.  Speed and agility are not the only edge.  The need for effective leaders that are resilient, optimistic and emotionally intelligent is more important than ever.

The definition of optimism: The hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.

The definition of resilience: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

Our leaders need to learn and understand better how to be resilient and optimistic especially when they are facing pressure and challenges.

Alvin Toffler

 Alvin Toffler famously said:

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Our view of the world and daily attitudes and behaviors are learned patterns to which Toffler’s insight applies with earnestness — the capacity to “learn, unlearn, and relearn” emotional behaviors and psychological patterns will be the edge leaders need to survive and thrive in this ever-changing crazy world.

How do you learn to be resilient and unlearn bad behaviors in this ever-changing world? You take time to be self-aware and understand how to think like an optimist.  Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism,  is an expert on optimism, and he shares his study on how humans and animals become passive when they experience failure and feel like they have no control.  His study reveals that we start to expect failure again and develop “learned helplessness.”

His study goes on to reveal, there was a third of the researched group of animals and people who experienced continuous failures who never become helpless. Seligman attributed this to optimism.  According to Seligman, “Over 15 years of study, my colleagues and I discovered that the answer is optimism. We developed questionnaires and analyzed the content of verbatim speech and writing to assess “explanatory style” as optimistic or pessimistic. We discovered that people who don’t give up have a habit of interpreting setbacks as temporary, local, and changeable (“It’s going away quickly; it’s just this one situation, and I can do something about it.”). That suggested how we might immunize people against learned helplessness, against depression and anxiety, and against giving up after failure: by teaching them to think like optimists.”

It is a good time to have a healthy dose of optimism whether you are struggling with your business, managing and motivating your team, negative politics, economics, finance, relationship setbacks, parenting challenges, health issues or an overall feeling that life is not turning out the way you thought it would.  Sometimes, we need to change the lens that is viewing our present moment and future and ask a few questions about our own level of optimism and how we are managing difficult situations and daily setbacks. How would Louis Zamperini view this problem and what would his attitude be?

Here is how optimists view the world:

  1. Was it me or something outside of me?
    Optimists believe it is something outside of them.
  2. Will it affect everything I do?
    No, optimist believe it will be short-lived not long-lasting.
  3. Will I change my game and adapt and do something different?
    Yes – changing your game is the answer. Optimists don’t give up.

Louis Zamperini never gave up! He continued to be an optimist until the day he died.  We can all learn from his story and from the research of Martin Seligman on optimism. Remind yourself when things are tough and the pressure is on, we have the capacity to be resilient and optimistic and don’t let anyone change your mind or influence you negatively.

To learn more, check out my blog post on Why Self-Esteem is Critical to Successful Leadership.

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

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About the Author
Bobi Seredich Headshot
Bobi Seredich is a recognized speaker, author, trainer and successful entrepreneur specializing in leadership development. She has spent over 20 years of her career dedicated to creating, directing, writing and presenting leadership programs for top companies in the U.S. and around the world.

Bobi is the co-founder of the Southwest Institute for Emotional Intelligence and Managing Partner of EQ Inspirations. In 2001, she founded Equanimity, Inc. also known as EQ Speakers – a speakers’ bureau and leadership training company. It fast became a top speaker bureau that booked hundreds of speakers with large Fortune 500 clients. EQ Speakers was sold in 2012 and continues to be a leader in the industry.

Her book, Courage Does Not Always Roar – Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Courage, was published by Simple Truths in the spring of 2010. The book is a collection of her experiences and stories of women who have had the courage to overcome very difficult life events.

Her passion is to guide individuals and organizations to a higher performance level through her own business knowledge, inspirational stories and leadership emotional intelligence training. Bobi lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband and 5-year old twins, Alex and Gia.

 

Employee Engagement Predictions

5 Employee Engagement Predictions for 2018

Employee engagement is critical to retention. Don’t believe us? The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median period people stay in their jobs is just over four years. And for those age 25 to 34 it’s even less (2.8 years). Broaden this to all millennials, and you’ve got a group that’s even more on the move – a scary prospect given they make up roughly a third of today’s U.S. workforce. So what’s a company to do? Read on for 5 employee engagement predictions – and they’re just the tip of the iceberg.

1. Employee Engagement Deniers, Seek Help Now

The biggest prediction for employee engagement in 2018? Adoption is not an option; it’s a necessity. If you don’t have already have an employee engagement strategy, get one. Even Fortune 500s compete with the gig economy, which trades the traditional work perks of a guaranteed salary and benefits for freedom, flexibility and creativity. Make sure your engagement strategy reflects those desires.

Not only must you have a strategy, you have to be ready to deploy it in as many ways as possible and as early as possible. Passing the drug test shouldn’t be the top onboard “win” for your new hire. Look into attractive benefits plans, flexible work hours or locations, gamification software, or learning opportunities that you can present during the interview process. And remember: today’s employee knows far more about you than you know about them when they walk in the door.

2. Your Employee is Your Customer

Forbes writer Denise Lee Yohn has dubbed 2018 The Year of Employee Experience (EX). This concept transcends traditional employee engagement (better HR, perks and swag, employee as customer, integrated communications) and encompasses “everything the employee experiences throughout his or her connection to the organization.” Consider who your employee is outside your building. Yohn cites compelling research that EX grows corporate stature and profits. We’re not saying to ignore the basics, but nobody buys the house for the foundation. And don’t be surprised if you start seeing “CEXO” – Chief Employee Experience Officer – creep into the C-suite.

3. Make Work Less Work

Before we get to the sexy stuff (integrated platforms!), let’s talk about some employee engagement basics: how people get their daily work done. In a 2016 Oracle Global Engagement study, only 44% of employees felt their companies used the latest technology to support their work. Are you making things easier or harder for your employees? And are you looking beyond the ubiquitous Microsoft Office suite (please)?

Today’s tools (e.g., Slack, Basecamp, Quickbase) feel more collaborative because they are. It’s not about a single person getting their work done, anymore. It’s about teams getting better work done together. But don’t forget to plan for change management. The best tech tools are worthless if they’re not adopted. It’s critical for you to answer “What’s in it for me?” for each employee. Desire is a powerful CPU.

4. Integrate, Analyze, Improve, Repeat

Whether you’re just now designing your employee engagement platform or fine-tuning it, you’ve got to think holistically and create an experience that supports your employees’ entire career path – unless you want it to be with another company.

From platforms that manage basic employee reward and retention programs to more sophisticated offerings that integrate social media, gamification, and even budget targets, technology-based employee engagement is on the rise. For example, Achievers offers a robust employee recognition and engagement platform with a full suite of tools to keep HR continuously informed and employees engaged. The more components included in your solution, the richer the data. It’s like having your own personal dashboard of what motivates your workforce.

Stephen Hunt with SAP Human Capital Management Research writes: “We will see exponential growth in the use of artificial intelligence, chatbots, intelligent services, machine learning, mobile solutions, and social platforms to make work more enjoyable, simple, and engaging.” Critical to these platforms is user-friendliness, mobility, and real-time feedback (think Pulse surveys, not the antiquated annual breed). And speaking of employee engagement, you might want to involve your employees and company brand in your platform’s design if you want it to succeed.

5. Wellness Tech Will Rival Work Tech

Collaboration tools: check. Integrated platforms: check. Health tech? Absolutely.

Even in wellness, tech is playing a bigger role in employee engagement. FastCompany reports that BP, Bank of America, IBM, Target, and other big names are putting wearables in their employees’ hands (and on their wrists). In 2016, FitBit launched Group Health, putting its product at the forefront of corporate wellness programs that are increasingly integrating downloadable fitness data into their health incentive tracking dashboards. In 2018, more and more companies will be helping employees get their 10,000 steps – understanding that an active body outside the cube promotes a more active mind inside it.

These are just a few of the ways great companies are thinking about employee engagement in 2018. Remember: you don’t have to be Google and your office park doesn’t have to be a self-sufficient compound to offer an awesome employee engagement experience.

To learn more about where employee engagement is heading, check out this infographic highlighting results from Achievers’ “New Year, New Job?” 2018 survey.

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Laura Beerman
Laura Beerman is a writer for TechnologyAdvice. Her insights have appeared in RevCycleIntelligence, Becker’s, InformationWeek and other outlets. She has spoken nationally on population health, long-term care, and been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal for her accountable care predictions. She resides in Nashville with her Canadian husband and American kittens. You can find her 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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Female Employee Must-Haves

What Female Employees Really Want in the Workplace

This is not the 1960s, but it’s difficult to convince many female employees who function within outdated corporate Human Resources policies. The policies read like a military manifesto by describing rigid schedules and failing to mention recognition and reward systems or establishing promotion policies favoring men. The HR policies form the unforgiving backbone of an organizational culture that disengages the modern woman, even as the organization struggles to understand why it cannot meet gender diversity workforce goals, has difficulty with recruiting and hiring talented and skilled women and is challenged with low female employee retention rates.

Tale of Two Worlds

Gallup data found that 48 percent of female employees say they are actively looking for a different job or watching for new opportunities. Though 73.5 million women over the age of 16 are working, they’re often caught between two opposing worlds. In one, she’s viewed as capable of career success and managing work and family. In the other, she’s criticized for denying her children a full-time mother to pursue a career. For the majority of women, it’s children who have the most influence, so the ability to achieve work-life balance is a major determinant of happiness.

A Matter of Importance

As a business leader, you are challenged with finding ways to make the workplace engaging to female employees by developing an inclusive culture, implementing HR best practices and recognizing and addressing issues of importance. Following is a list of what female employees desire in the workplace to find happiness.

Supportive Culture

The workplace culture influences gender diversity because it impacts talent management practices, interactions with co-workers and managers and career opportunities. A positive culture encourages employees to assist each other and to treat each other with integrity. It emphasizes the meaningfulness of work. For female employees, all the characteristics of a positive workplace culture inspire what they want – respect, compassion and positive relationships.

Mentoring

Talented women need a voice in the workplace because they’re still overcoming biases holding them back from advancing. Traditionally, men worked their way up the corporate ladder to assume senior leadership positions. Historically, women were not hired for higher-paying jobs and are still not fully included in succession planning and career planning, keeping them out of the loop for promotions into leadership positions.

Mentoring experienced and newly hired women gives them organizational visibility and access to decision-makers. A Global Strategy Group study sponsored by The Rockefeller Foundation found that only 34 percent of the women surveyed believed their workplace put a high priority on having women in leadership positions. A lack of support from mentors for career advancement and lack of access to career-building personal connections keep women from advancing.

Recognition and Reward 

Properly structured work benefits and perks are important to engaging all employees. Raising the profile of talented women in your organization through a strong recognition and reward system is a success strategy. Implementing a rewards and recognition program enables your co-workers and managers to recognize exceptional effort, innovative ideas, team contributions and leadership.

Family-Friendly Work-Life Balance Policies

A Fairygodboss survey of women attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland found a correlation between the number of weeks of maternity leave allowed and job satisfaction. Employer policies supporting work-life balance are important to women. Your policies can embrace supportive maternity leave and a flexible hours work schedule or a home-office work schedule, for example.

Since children have the most influence on whether women work, the ability to balance work and family responsibilities is extremely important. When a child has a doctor’s appointment or is on school break, savvy employers allow women scheduling flexibility. Flexible work schedules take many forms, from a set number of hours worked from home to the full ability to determine when and where hours are worked.

Addressing Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

Unconscious bias, embedded in workplace cultural norms, expresses itself in many ways. It limits women’s access to important projects, thus harming their advancement opportunities. It’s expressed during recruitment or performance reviews when men are consistently rated higher than women. It’s found when men are primarily chosen for prime training and development opportunities or promotions. Women want unconscious bias addressed in all its subtlety.

Equal Opportunities and Equal Pay

Statistics say the pay gap persists, with women earning approximately 77 percent of what men earn (figures vary depending on the source). There are a lot of reasons for the gap. In a study reported in the Journal of Applied Psychology, men who act altruistically, such as staying late to work with colleagues, were viewed more favorably than women who did the same thing. Women desire fair treatment, equal opportunities and equal pay.

Opportunities for Meaningful Work

In an ICEDR study, millennial women cited a lack of interesting and meaningful work as the third main reason for leaving organizations. Female employees want the work they do to make an important difference in some way, such as contributing to the improvement of people’s lives.

Paying Attention to Happiness

Paying attention to employee happiness reaps big rewards for organizations. Multiple studies have proven that a gender-balanced workplace enhances employee engagement, increases productivity and profits and improves organizational and brand reputation. Achieving gender balance requires a mix of policies and programs that engage, motivate, recognize and reward, as well as offer equitable pay and career opportunities to women.

Engage Your Employees

Employee engagement is mentioned first because an engaged workforce is inclusive, motivated, productive, recognized and rewarded. Giving employees the recognition they deserve is key to employee engagement. For more information on how to engage your employees, watch this webinar recording on Using Recognition to Drive Engagement.

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To learn more about what makes employees happy by checking out this infographic highlighting results from Achievers’ “New Year, New Job?” survey.

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Top 10 Company Perks

10 Irresistible Company Perks for the New Year

In a recent survey of millennials, more than 30 percent said that they’d like their workplace to be “more fun” – and this element seems to be in short supply. Survey respondents noted that “fun and humor” were job aspects for which daily reality fell far short of their wishes. In order to entice and retain the most talented workers in today’s competitive job market, it’s important to come up with company perks that will add fun to your environment. Here are 10 amazing possibilities that could make your employer brand sparkle in the new year:

1. A Place in the Spotlight

Every company has a few would-be stars yearning to strut their stuff for colleagues. AOL has found that events like lip sync battles, happy hours, and ping pong or Foosball tournaments are great at keeping staff engaged. Andrea Marston, AOL’s senior director of talent acquisition, notes that “Offering these company perks helps keep AOLers happy and excited to come and have a productive work environment.” Bain goes farther afield with its “Bain World Cup” soccer tournament for employees once a year.

2. Vehicle Maintenance Service

Okay, we know that having your vehicle worked on doesn’t really qualify as fun. But the opportunity to painlessly take care of routine auto maintenance or bike repair on the clock leaves your team more time outside of work to do something more enjoyable. Adobe offers this service worldwide, while adding kayak storage at its Seattle campus. And, in order to make sure that transportation is never a problem for its employees, Adobe also offers shuttle service and a guaranteed ride home.

3. Company Yacht

This one only works if you’re located near the right body of water, but many organizations on the San Francisco Peninsula are realizing the potential benefits of proximity to the bay. One of these is iCracked, with its Redwood City headquarters right next to a communal dock. Employees who need a break can take the yacht out for a spin on the bay to clear their heads and breathe in the fresh salt air.

4. Flex Time for Surfing

It’s hard for staff members to feel down when the workplace reception desk posts daily surf reports – and then offers flexible hours so they can take advantage of those days with absolutely perfect waves. At Patagonia’s Ventura campus, HR director Shannon Ellis says, “Whether it’s playing volleyball or going down to the beach, we encourage people to take a moment of time to reconnect and enjoy summer.”

5. And Snowboarding…

Vermont snowboard maker Burton, located in Vermont’s Green Mountains, offers its workers flexible hours so they can catch the powder while it’s fresh. Free lessons and demo equipment lure newbies and veteran riders out onto the slopes, with free passes and discounted lift tickets thrown in. Meanwhile, office attire at Burton includes “jeans, flip-flops, mud boots” and anything that the workers feel like wearing.

6. In-house Cooking Lessons

For employees who want to actually enjoy a home-cooked meal (rather than dining at one of the company’s specialty cafes), Adobe hosts cooking classes by the company’s executive chef in the “Learning Kitchen”. These type of company perks may not fall under traditional forms of worker training, but it’s bound to keep team members on the company campus for longer hours.

7. Workspace in the Woods

Spanish architecture company Selgas Cano located its office in an actual forest (conveniently located in downtown Madrid). Workers sit at eye level with the leafy forest floor, under a curved glass wall and partial roof that let in abundant natural light. The structure is partially embedded into the ground as well, making it comfortable regardless of season or outdoor temperature.

8. Wrap-Around Lifestyle Benefits

Cutting-edge companies like Yahoo pull out all the stops when it comes to company perks. The team can get a haircut, massage or dental care; visit a farmer’s market; get their car washed; play volleyball; exercise in the fitness center; do yoga and enjoy free meals three times a day – all without leaving work. Yahoo Director of Communications Carolyn Clark states, ” [We want] our employees to feel excited about coming to work every day and making a difference.” With benefits like these, employees might never want to go home.

9. Concierge Service

For employees who are too busy with work tasks to take care of personal errands, Wisconsin household product brand SC Johnson employs a full-time concierge. This person may do anything from standing in line for concert tickets to taking an employee’s car in for an oil change – helping workers with that tricky work-life balance.

10. Employee Recognition

All the parties, boat rides and cooking lessons in the world can’t substitute for giving your employees frequent individual recognition. HR technology introduces creativity into your workplace and also provides a streamlined way to reward your team members for their unique contributions. Coworkers and managers can all participate together, while workers enjoy the fun of being rewarded for their efforts.

More than three-fourths of millennial workers state that “the culture and atmosphere of their workplace is just as important as pay and benefits.” In today’s tight job market, you’ll keep the edge over competitors if you provide unbeatable company perks and make your company into a place where people simply enjoy hanging out. To learn more about attracting and retaining employees, download our infographic on Six Stats That Speak to Employee Retention.

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Company Missions and Values

Top 5 Company Missions and Values

Keeping employees engaged is vital for the health of your company, but it’s not a simple task that you can just scribble at the bottom of your to-do list. Your employees respond in complex emotional ways to the culture of your company, and the more positive and well-defined that culture is, the more they will feel they belong. Missions and values articulated through mission statements define a company’s identity right from the moment of its founding. When shared widely, these expressions of an organization’s purpose are an incredibly powerful tool for creating and focusing employee loyalty. Douglas Ready, a senior lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, points out that the secret to getting employees engaged “lies in three organizational capabilities: being purpose-driven, performance-oriented, and principles-led. Developing the three together is referred to as creating ‘collective ambition.'” But how do you put your company’s purpose into words?

Vision, Mission, Values… Parsing the Vocabulary of Inspiration

Although a variety of terms can be used, each company statement usually expresses some guiding vision or purpose, followed by a set of practices or behaviors that aim to realize that purpose. Let’s take a look at Ericsson. The first sentence of their vision states, “Our vision is a Networked Society where every person and every industry is empowered to reach their full potential.” That vision declares what this company is aspiring to; it describes the world that they want to help create. Ericsson’s mission statement describes how they plan to proceed: “We…have set out our mission to lead transformation through mobility… We do this in three principal ways…” And then they go on to enumerate those three ways. Occasionally, companies switch up this language and use the word “mission” to describe their overall vision, and the word “values” or “strategy” to explain how they plan to get there. As PwC puts it, “Our purpose is why we exist. Our values define how we behave.”

Building Blocks for Expressing Your Purpose

If your company’s reason for existing is buried in a pile of printed brochures and hasn’t seen the light of day since your founding, or if you’re creating a mission statement for the very first time, it’s helpful to look at how other organizations have chosen to express themselves. Five qualities that characterize the very best mission statements are as follows:

1. Innovation

In most cases, today’s companies are looking to create solutions better than any that existed in the past, and they want their mission statements to express this aim. An example is Samsung’s vision statement, which begins, “Through innovative, reliable products and services…” and then goes on to elaborate how they are “taking the world in imaginative new directions.” Our own mission statement here at Achievers also centers on innovation: The purpose behind what we do every day is “To Change the Way the World Works.”

2. Optimism

Regardless of how mission statements are structured, the one quality they universally share is that of optimism. A statement may specifically address the future role of the company, as when Cott says their vision is “To become the leading North American and European Water, Coffee, Tea and Filtration service provider …” On the other hand, Bank of Montreal (BMO) simply lists as one of their values, “Make Tomorrow Better.”

3. Integrity

Ryan, LLC specifically lists integrity as one of their company’s core values. They promise to “Do the right thing” on their web page, letting employees and customers know that they can trust the company’s honesty. PwC also lists “Act with Integrity” as their very first corporate value. The company identifies the primacy of this value, along with others like “work together” and “make a difference” as the way they strengthen employee alignment.

4. Generosity and Citizenship

Businesses don’t exist in a vacuum. Even a primarily online company still participates in its surrounding community, providing employment and paying taxes. Rogers places the following statement in a bold banner at the top of their “Vision and Strategy” page: “Contributing to our community, economy, and society in a meaningful way.” They go on to elaborate, saying, “We strive to be a good business for our customers and shareholders, a good employer for our people, and a good neighbor in the communities where we operate.” PwC also directs their purpose in an outward direction: “Our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems.”

5. Employee Empowerment

The importance of a company organizing its fundamental principles around employee motivation cannot be overstated. Your employees are your most valuable asset, and managing them well requires a clear declaration of their worth. It makes a real difference when (as with Cott), a company states: “Cott employees worldwide are united by a single, unifying core value: to think and act as owners and as if Cott’s resources and reputation were our own.” One of the values listed by 3M underlines this principle: ” [We will] …value and develop our employees’ diverse talents, initiative and leadership.”

The majority of employees — 57 percent — say they aren’t motivated by their company’s mission statement. This may be because they simply aren’t aware of it: Only 39 percent of workers even know their organization’s mission statement, and just 40 percent say they are familiar with the vision or purpose behind the work they do each day. The next time you’re thinking about revamping your company’s mission statement, remember to keep in mind these shocking stats and leverage our top five company missions and values list.

To learn more about how companies like 3M, Rogers and Ericsson are effectively engaging employees, access their success stories here.

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HR Technology Trends

Major Trends in HR Technology Software

Employees are the most valuable part of any organization and HR’s responsibility to engage employees is crucial for organizational growth. The latest development in the ever-changing world of HR technology software consists of major disrupters within the recent years, from listening tools to in-depth analytics and much more.

According to an article published by the Society of Human Resource Management, it was claimed ‘Investors, seeking the next big step in breakthrough technology, plunged more than $2 billion into HR tech systems and platforms in 2016.’ This clearly states the massive breadth of advancements the HR world has gained accessed to. There has been a major change in the field of human resources – from simplified employee recognition to enhanced performance management platforms, HR is becoming high tech and data-driven. Manually keeping records on file is no longer efficient and this need to stay in a modern workplace calls for robust HR technology software to assist in taking care of HR goals targeted towards employee engagement and an effortless and unbeatable employee experience.

Below are major trends in the HR technology software world:

Growth of HR Software

Bersin by Deloitte provided an HR Software evolution report in 2016, which clearly showed the evolution and market growth of HR systems over the years.

Bersin by Deloitte provided an HR Software evolution report in 2016

The report shows the progress from the year 2000. Switching from mainframe computers to personal computers was a major shift in the technological world. This led to the growth and development in the field of software and led to the creation of HR software. Client-server software delivered core HR features such as record capturing, hiring, payroll, and learning management. In 2000, talent competition grew more leading to the market for talent management software. The more advancements made in technology, the more opportunity HR had to develop platforms and programs surrounding other initiatives outside of employee record keeping, such as the ability to leverage employee engagement and employee recognition and rewards platforms. And over the years, now the entire hr technology software trend has moved and continues to move undoubtedly to cloud computing.

Switching to a Cloud-Based System

Legacy HR software has always focused on task completion and storing information. But now, companies want to replace their traditional HR software with cloud-based HR solutions. The major advantages of moving to cloud based HR software consists of anywhere access, super user-friendliness, mobile app support, easy upgrades, lesser maintenance and, most importantly, little or no requirements for IT infrastructure like hardware and trained staff. All you need is a computer and an internet connection and you are set to go!

Integration with Social Media and Learning Management

When it comes to trends, social media is leading the charge. It not only allows for network building but now social media can be an effective way to communicate at the workplace. Using simple, fun ways to communicate via emojis and hashtags can contribute to improving the employee experience. Even the ability to send social recognitions across an employee recognition platform can help boost employee engagement.

Also, Learning Management Systems (LMS) are now turning into an old tool. HR is adopting the latest web-based technology for taking interviews. Video-based learning is now a fundamental learning platform and already adopted by multiple companies. Visual element supporting features in HR software are now a must-have given the rise of VR and AI.

Predictive Analysis of Employees

A more integrated approach is being adopted when it comes to communication tools. People prefer to have an end-to-end technology-enabled platform for interpersonal communication. Tools that allow data to be collected and shared across departments and organizations are preferred because it allows quick access to real-time insight.

Pulse surveys, employee recognition and rewards, culture assessments or any other approach that merges all employee needs in one group is required by an HR department – think of it as a one-stop shop for HR. They now believe that building a predictive analysis model and harnessing employee data is more important and today many companies are spending large sums of budget to get this done.

Mobile is “The Platform”

With all this advancement in technology, we can see a whole new world coming up. If you look around, there are more mobile devices than PCs and laptops. People talk on a phone, walk with a phone and now even wake up and sleep with a phone. We prefer to access all information on our mobile.

This means that HR technology software also has to adapt accordingly. For example, mobile applications can be a huge benefit to recruiters as many high potential candidates use their mobile devices to find a job and can apply easily while on the go. HR mobile applications should be mobile-friendly and easy-to-use to stay current with how employees prefer to communicate and engage.

Breakthrough in HR Technologies

As we are now moving ahead of the computer revolution, core technologies are not enough, instead their refinements are given more importance. Simple and smart technologies have taken over the hyped and complex core technologies. User-friendliness and delivering targeted results efficiently is the main focus. Companies now ask if the HR software they are considering buying is easy to use and accessible to their employees. Overall, what matters most is smart data, value for money, and user-friendliness.

The development of HR technology software has a symbiotic relationship with both businesses and employees. It will enable organizations to grow HR initiatives more effectively – whether it is improving performance management, employee recognition, or employee engagement. Technology helps create transparency and enable employees and HR departments to stay updated on progress, engagement levels, and more.

So business owners, let’s get the ball rolling and strive to create a transparent working environment with HR technology software.

To learn more about HR tech, in particular employee engagement and analytics, download the eBook Employee Engagement: Four Places to Start Measuring What Matters.

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About the Author
Sanjay Darji
Sanjay Darji works as a software analyst at SoftwareSuggest. His interests include HR software, performance management, employee engagement, photography, and food. In his spare time, he likes to spend time with his son and catch up on the latest technologies. You can follow him on Twitter at @sanjaydarji01.

 

 

 

 

 

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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Develop Strong Self-Esteem

Why Self-Esteem Is Critical to Successful Leadership

I was at the ACE conference hosted by Achievers in San Francisco a few years ago, and the keynote speaker was Dan Harris, a correspondent for ABC News, an anchor for Nightline and co-anchor for the weekend edition of Good Morning America and author of the book, 10% Happier. I didn’t know much about Dan except for the title of his book, and I had seen him on the news. I thought he was going to share his personal success story and how he became so accomplished in news media and found his 10% of happiness through his work. But then, he started to tell his story and silenced the audience as he revealed a very vulnerable personal experience with panic attacks. He even showed a video of himself having a panic attack on live television. I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been to replay in front of hundreds of people. He went on to admit that he tried to self-medicate with legal drugs and then illegal drugs and finally discovered the power of meditation. His talk was fascinating to me. This reminded me that many people labeled “workaholics” or “overachievers” might have challenges with self-esteem. And it made me question, “When is their success good enough?”

The answer to that question is subjective, and is often left unanswered for years because of feelings of low self-esteem. The actual definition of self-esteem is confidence and satisfaction in oneself. You may be very successful, and still have low self-esteem because you are comparing yourself to someone else and unsatisfied with your results.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Low self-esteem is a funny thing. It shows up in successful people as much as it does in someone we deem as lazy. It also impacts the celebration of success – did we really earn it or deserve it or was it a bit of luck and good timing? On the other hand, a high level of self-esteem can turn into narcissism. Some people who have an excessively high self-regard may experience challenges in relationships and empathy. They may feel the need to put someone else down so they can feel better about themselves.

Low self-esteem is observed in very boisterous personalities and the timid are rarely heard from individuals. Someone could be covering up or overcompensating for low self-esteem by being the loudest in the room while others have a fear of uttering a single word in a crowd.

Low self-esteem is even seen in sports and physical appearance. A low self-esteem may be an overweight individual who doesn’t spend much time on appearance or style, or it may be a perfectly fit individual who is obsessed with body image and outer appearance. It is an odd thing that is not easily discoverable until you really get to know someone.

High self-esteem is not created by receiving praise all the time or listening to motivational talks, but it is built in having connections with others and realizing that setbacks are opportunities to grow, allowing us to have more empathy for others who are struggling. It is about finding confidence and satisfaction in our lives and our accomplishments and knowing when to silence the negative critic.

Self-esteem is a foundational competency of emotional intelligence (EI) skills. Research reveals a link between positive emotional intelligence with high self-esteem, and lower EI is related to depression and stressful behavior.

How Does High Self-Esteem Show up in a Leader?

High self-esteem is found in someone who is not threatened by other ideas. People with high self-esteem have no problem in empowering others and encouraging them to be their best. A leader with low self-esteem can often be controlling and a micro-manager, and someone who doesn’t act in ways that encourage growth and opportunity for others. They often take credit for other people’s work. A high self-esteem leader is often referred to as a servant leader, someone who puts the organization first and is the most committed to its team. This type of leader is concerned about accomplishing team goals and success and not personal gains.

If you have challenges with low self-esteem or a negative voice in your head – what can you do? Here are some suggestions for improving self-esteem:

  1. Stop listening to a negative inner narrative that says you are not good enough – because you are.
  2. Identify what is the worst-case scenario if you were to move forward and take a risk and do something outside of your comfort zone. For example – speak up or offer a different perspective or question an existing program.  Would someone ridicule you or say you are stupid?  Even if they do, what does that say about that person?  Are they working from a high self-esteem?
  3. Speak confidently – join toast masters or a group that teaches you better speaking skills. The more you do it, the better you will become.
  4. Be open to feedback without becoming defensive. If someone offers you constructive feedback they usually have a good intention, and view it is an opportunity for growth.
  5. Practice your “Power Pose” before presenting to a group and increase your testosterone levels by up to 20 % while decreasing stress hormone cortisol by 25%.
  6. Be compassionate to yourself. Practice appreciation for the good things you have in your life, even if they are small. Be kinder to yourself, and imagine if it was someone else speaking to you the way you are speaking to yourself, would you let them get away with it?

Remember, not everything you think is a true picture of reality. Question the critic and be open to new ways of thinking. Continue to practice EI skills because they really make a difference.

Check out my other guest posts for The Engage Blog here. And make sure to sign up for my 2018 public workshops. My first workshop is February 9, 2018 so don’t miss out and register now.

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About the Author
Bobi Seredich Headshot
Bobi Seredich is a recognized speaker, author, trainer and successful entrepreneur specializing in leadership development. She has spent over 20 years of her career dedicated to creating, directing, writing and presenting leadership programs for top companies in the U.S. and around the world.

Bobi is the co-founder of the Southwest Institute for Emotional Intelligence and Managing Partner of EQ Inspirations. In 2001, she founded Equanimity, Inc. also known as EQ Speakers – a speakers’ bureau and leadership training company. It fast became a top speaker bureau that booked hundreds of speakers with large Fortune 500 clients. EQ Speakers was sold in 2012 and continues to be a leader in the industry.

Her book, Courage Does Not Always Roar – Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Courage, was published by Simple Truths in the spring of 2010. The book is a collection of her experiences and stories of women who have had the courage to overcome very difficult life events.

Her passion is to guide individuals and organizations to a higher performance level through her own business knowledge, inspirational stories and leadership emotional intelligence training. Bobi lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband and 4-year old twins, Alex and Gia.

 

 

Reduce Employee Turnover

4 Ways to Reduce Employee Turnover and Improve Your Bottom Line

Employee turnover is one of the most bottom line busting costs associated with a company’s workforce. SHRM estimates that, for entry-level employees, the cost to fill an open position hovers near $4,000. Using this insight, if your company loses 100 employees a year, your company experiences a loss of at least $400,000.

While this number is certainly frightening, the good news is that turnover is an easily avoidable problem and with the right tools, your company can ensure that top talent is not leaving your company. It’s also worth mentioning that none of the following causes and solutions presented here exist in a vacuum—when an employee quits his or her job, it’s usually a reflection of many factors that led him or her to finally quit.

That being said, what tools and initiatives will help you reduce employee turnover? Let’s jump right in…

  1. Hire Managers Who Manage Well

Hiring managers and putting people in charge who show compassion and have the skills to manage others is one method to combat employee turnover on the front lines. Achievers employee survey showed that 57% of employees don’t feel recognized at work, and Entrepreneur claims that when workers are not recognized, they are not motivated. Low motivation can make an employee that much closer to quitting his or her job, or even put him or her over the edge far enough to finally quit.

Performing a top-down audit of your management team can have a huge effect on your entry-level workforce. While you may not have direct contact with these employees, the managers you choose certainly do. It is absolutely crucial that your management team is personable and qualified to lead. Poor managers also make it more difficult for an employee to work, and if the job itself (which may already be difficult by nature) is harder than necessary, an employee might find it not worth it to work there any longer. Address this issue early on by being transparent with recruiters about what traits you’re looking for in a manager during the hiring process.

  1. Be Flexible

Work flexibility is important for every employee at every level. I’m sure you can remember the last time you had to leave the office early or take a personal day for an inevitable issue. Being flexible with policies and protocols shows your employees that you understand that life happens. When an employee thinks that his or her employer is understanding, you reduce his or her risk of leaving the company. On the other hand, if an employee thinks that the company doesn’t understand his or her life situation, then it’s more likely that the employee will try to find a job for an employer who does care.

On the same train of thought, flexibility in other areas will show your employees that the company cares about them. Since entry-level employees may not be making as much money as they need to be able to save a hefty sum for emergency expenses, offering financial flexibility is another area to focus on if your company cannot afford to pay them more. One such initiative is allowing your employees to control the frequency of their pay. Simple add-ons to your existing payroll system allow you to do this at no cost to your company and no changes to the way your company handles payroll. In result, a study by DailyPay showed that employees are 1.9x more likely to apply for a position whose job description mentions that it offers daily payments.

  1. Prioritize Recognition and Rewards

Along with the previous point about hiring managers that care, instilling an employee recognition and rewards program that allows you to easily highlight achievements and strong work will also show your employees that you care and appreciate them. Making it as simple as possible for your managers to recognize employees on a daily basis will help ensure that your managers are actively participating. By promoting this type of program across your organization, you are letting employees know that your company takes employee recognition and happiness very seriously.

Recognizing employees will directly help improve your bottom line. For example, an Achievers’ video highlighted the following findings:

  • a 1% increase in employee engagement returns an additional .6% growth in sales for your company
  • 50% of HR leaders said that an increase in employee recognition would boost employee retention
  1. Offer Unique Advantages

In the current job market, it’s becoming increasingly harder and harder to hire top talent due to the record low unemployment rate and tight job market. Employees across all industries and skill levels are continually searching around to see which company will offer him or her the best complete package. Additionally, it’s been reported that if you offer help to improve financial wellness, employees are more willing to work for your company. The plain advice is that offering work perks and advantages that your competitors are not offering will help put your business ahead in overall employee preference.

Now more than ever, it’s crucial that your company is doing everything in its power to retain your current workforce and improve its employee retention rate. Since it is incredibly hard to fill open positions, you must prevent the need to fill open positions by retaining your workforce. In turn, your company will save time and improve its bottom line significantly without the recruitment costs and countless hours spent searching for talent. Try out some of these tips and let us know which worked best for your company.

To learn more about employee retention, check out this fun infographic covering 6 Stats That Speak to Employee Retention.

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About the Author
Seth LoftisSeth Loftis
Seth Loftis works at DailyPay, Inc., a financial solutions company dedicated to reducing employee turnover by improving the financial lives of employees. Employees can receive their wages days before their scheduled payday at no cost to your company or change to your existing payroll system. Learn more at trydailypay.com or follow them on Twitter or LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Achievers Knowledge Exchange Event

Key Highlights and Takeaways: Achievers Knowledge Exchange 2017, London

Are you struggling to increase employee engagement? You’re not alone. According to Gallup, only 15% of workers worldwide are engaged. Achievers, a leading employee recognition and engagement solution, aims to help companies effectively engage employees and increase their percentage scores. Achievers EMEA team was thrilled to have so many customers, prospects, and partners at their first-ever Achievers home-grown EMEA event in London. The objective for the inaugural Achievers Knowledge Exchange event was to facilitate the conversation surrounding employee engagement by bringing together HR industry experts and Achievers’ customers to share their success stories behind using employee recognition to drive engagement and business results.

Achievers, first and foremost, wants to take the opportunity to thank our wonderful customer and host, Shop Direct, who generously extended the use of their amazing new workspace in central London. The stunning environment really captures Shop Direct’s company values, ambition, purpose, and passion and provided the perfect backdrop for knowledge sharing, insight, and networking within the HR community.

The Achievers EMEA Team at Shop Direct’s Central London Office for the Achievers Knowledge Exchange Event.

The Achievers EMEA Team at Shop Direct’s Central London Office for the Achievers Knowledge Exchange Event

Greg Brown, SVP International of Blackhawk Network, kicked off Achievers Knowledge Exchange event with an inspiring welcome and eloquently communicated Achievers’ commitment to the EMEA market, Achievers’ wider global expansion, and its valued customers.

Brown was swiftly followed by Jasmine Gartner, renowned Employee Engagement Trainer, Speaker and Author of ‘A Little Book of Big Ideas’ – well worth the read if you fancy an alternative and practical look at employee engagement. Gartner led an interesting session on re-humanizing the workplace through employee engagement. Her presentation gave an insightful view of the unique, local, macro-economic factors impacting our workplaces both now and in the near future – Brexit being an exceptional example. She shared how we can’t accurately predict the likely impact but we do know that attracting, recruiting, retaining, and engaging talent will be increasingly important for economical success.

Gartner was then followed by Denise Willett, Senior Director of Achievers EMEA, who kept attendees on track by taking on the role of event chair for the remainder of the day, introducing the next speaker, Colin Watt, Shop Direct’s Director of Employee Relations, Engagement, and People Services. Colin’s theme was ‘It Takes a Village’ and he shared how Shop Direct has leveraged employee recognition to transform its business.

Following a short stop for lunch, Kerrie Maitland, Managing Director of Positive Dimensions, HR Consultant, and Life Coach shared her learnings around both gaining executive buy-in and top tips for a successful global implementation. Having led the procurement, design, and implementation of two employee recognition programs (both with Achievers) the audience were keen to hear Kerrie’s practical experience.

Next up were the perfect double act. Ramón Edilio Vargas, Director Global Employee Recognition at Scotiabank, and Vanessa Brangwyn, Achievers VP of Customer Success, took to the stage to share the Scotiabank success story on using recognition to drive engagement. Scotiabank is an organization that is leading the charge when it comes to global employee recognition and building compelling business results from successful employee programs.

Egan Cheung, Achievers VP of Product Development, rounded off the day and proudly shared more around the much-anticipated Achievers Listen release. Achievers Listen is a suite of tools that empowers employees to give continuous feedback on what’s working well and what needs to be improved. It provides managers with recommended actions based on their team’s unique values and culture. We know that every employee is different and to engage your entire workforce, we must avoid a “one size fits all” approach. Achievers Listen allows you to do just that.

Informal drinks and networking brought the successful day to a close and the Achievers EMEA team would like to thank every speaker, client, partner, and friend for their participation. A special shout-out to the Achievers team from North America for making the journey to be in London with everyone in person. This dynamic event was a valuable day for anyone interested in increasing employee engagement. Stay tuned for more information on Achievers’ next event and make sure to check out photos from Achievers Knowledge Exchange here.

To learn more about how Shop Direct increased employee recognition and engagement with Achievers, download the Shop Direct case study.

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About the Author
Ruth ChapmanRuth Chapman is Achievers’ Marketing Manager (EMEA) and is focused on growing awareness for the Achievers brand in the UK and wider EMEA marketplace. It is her mission to communicate the success that Achievers employee recognition and engagement platform is driving for its clients. Learn more about Achievers here.

 

 

 

The Value of HR Tech

How HR Tech is Making Employees More Engaged Than Ever

Employee engagement of past generations was historically limited to the HR department to address perfunctorily once per year. However, a recent Deloitte report on human capital trends indicates that that is no longer the case. Employee engagement is now a front-and-center business issue, with 87 percent of surveyed organizations citing employee engagement as a top priority challenge.

Why is employee engagement so important?

Gallup has conducted a number of large scale meta-analyses which show that employee engagement levels directly relate to outcomes such as customer satisfaction, profits, productivity, employee turnover, and product quality. And companies that increase their number of talented managers and double the rate of engaged employees achieve, on average, 147% higher earnings per share than their competition.

Having a high level of employee engagement can be a vital asset to businesses in today’s competitive market. It is clear that employee engagement is an area that must be monitored. Fortunately, this is easier than ever with advancements in HR tech. Here are five ways HR tech is making employees more engaged than ever.

  1. Social Chatter

Social media is how employees engage with friends and family in their personal lives, so it only makes sense that mimicking that function in the workplace can foster authentic relationships and improve employee engagement levels. Tools like Slack allow team members to collaborate easily across teams and functions, and keep multiple groups informed at the appropriate level. Aside from facilitating improved business functions, social media and chat tools allow employees to have fun — you can send GIFs, use emojis, share inside jokes, celebrate occasions like birthdays or work anniversaries, and more.

  1. Thanks 2.0

Never underestimate the power of thanks. In a survey of 1,000 U.S.-based, full-time employees 75% of employees who were recognized by their manager once a month reported being satisfied with their job. An appreciated employee is an engaged employee, but as teams grow and become more remote, staying on top of employee recognition can be a challenge. Plus, while many companies have a (even if half-hearted) process in place for manager to direct report recognition (i.e. performance reviews) they lack a way for peers to praise peers. Tools like Achievers are taking “thanks” to the tech-driven next level, ensuring that employee recognition is actually recognized as a critical part of day-to-day operations and overall employee satisfaction.

  1. Tailored Training

One important workplace trait often mentioned in employee engagement surveys is workplace training. A very human trait is the desire to grow and learn more. None of us likes to stagnate. However, training in the past meant long, dry conferences that took employees away from their critical daily work. Today, learning management systems (LMS) make it possible for employees to learn on their time and even better yet, in their way. While conferences of the past tried to put all employees into a one-size-fits all lecture box, LMS varies training techniques and includes gamification best practices to make the most of learning.

  1. Easy Check-ins

Sometimes the most important thing to do to increase employee engagement is to ask about it. Many businesses might think they have an effective employee engagement plan in place, but it can’t be done without frequent check-ins with employees. There are HR tech tools to assist with easy check-ins; such as allowing management to monitor moods of employees and receive feedback on a more frequent basis. This helps employees to feel heard more often. And managers can notice and nip problems before they get out of hand. When employees see that management listens to and addresses their concerns promptly, they will want to stay long-term.

  1. Simplified Communication

Record numbers of employees are now working remotely, whether it’s the occasional work-from-home day or an entirely remote team. This trend can be hugely beneficial for work-life balance, as it allows employees the flexibility to keep a job they love while adapting to changing personal needs (I.e. a move, a growing family, and so on). However, it can also present an employee engagement challenge. Without the right HR tech tools in place, remote employees can feel isolated, particularly when a larger group of employees work in an office together and only one or two are remote. In addition to the chat tools mentioned above, video calling and web conferencing solutions make it possible to have both one-on-one or entire team face time. Simply seeing a coworker’s smile across the miles can give any employee a big boost.

A final consideration to note is that technology needs are generational. As millennials move into management roles and Gen Z starts filing into the workforce, the types of HR tech that will be most natural for your teams to interact with will shift. Stay on top of HR tech trends because while the available technology is always changing, one thing isn’t — the importance of engaging your employees.

To learn more about how to engage your employees, check out this webinar recording Using Recognition to Drive Engagement.

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About the Author
Krystle DisneyKrystle Disney, M.A., PHR is a human resources consultant and writer for TechnologyAdvice. She obtained master’s degrees in community counseling and clinical psychology from Gonzaga University and Washington University in St. Louis, respectively. Krystle resides in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband, two children, and two very stubborn beagles. You can find her on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

Navigate Your Culture Transformation

How to Navigate a Successful Culture Transformation Process (Part 2)

Are you ready to transform your company’s culture? In Part 1 of this series, I discussed the process for a successful culture transformation. In this blog, I’ll discuss key tips and reminders to help you through the process. Let’s start by understanding that although this is not a quick and easy process, it can be done.

Transformations Take Time

The transformation of habits and attitudes does not occur overnight, especially when employees have been allowed to operate in a certain way or in status quo for a long period of time. Employees will naturally resist change at first, so the first thing to remember during a transformation process is that you need time. The good news is that you usually have more time than you think. While poor customer feedback, slumping profits, or even a crisis can create an incredible sense of urgency that something must be done now, the more time you plan, prepare, and work with your managers, the more likely your culture transformation will be successful. You cannot just focus on the employee base to successfully transform the service culture of your organization. As discussed in Part 1, the key to successfully transforming your culture is to focus on your front-line managers, enabling and empowering them to drive and be responsible for the change process. You also need the change to be led from the top, so in effect, everyone in the organization plays a part.

It Is All About the Habits

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” —Aristotle

Strong work habits are the key to successful execution. To change and improve your corporate culture, you must identify the habits or behaviors that need to be removed and replaced.  It is important to explain why certain habits need to change, but more critical, is to know what new attitudes and behaviors must be introduced. While new habits can generally be introduced relatively easily and quickly, it is the removal of old or outdated habits and thinking that takes time. As economist John Maynard Keynes rightly suggests, “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from the old ones.” To escape from old ideas, you cannot rely on training alone. You must take time to stimulate thinking and conversations that highlight why current habits and attitudes are hurting the business, brand, and interactions. At SGEi, we utilize a three-pronged approach of stimulation, training, and socialization to help remove old habits and introduce new ones.

Begin With Stimulation

Before you deliver any training on the new work habits you want to see, you must get people out of status quo and begin having conversations that promote thinking. We like to utilize various media like posters, quotes, videos, and business cases to help get the conversation started. It is not important that people are able to explain ideas or answer questions correctly, rather, it is necessary to focus on getting everyone in the organization talking and having conversations. This is the first part of the management team’s training, we take them through communication training and how to deliver effective messaging. Getting daily or weekly meetings started where managers are creating conversations is an important part of the stimulation process. As the stimulation process evolves, conversations around why certain habits are unhealthy or outdated are included.

employees in conference

The key to the stimulation process is to ensure you are providing the management team with the important sound bites you want them to repeat and talk about with their teams. In the previous blog, I talked about the importance of manager accountability. So to ensure stimulation is happening correctly, it is important to observe and listen in as the managers talk to their teams. Also, it is important that the managers begin demonstrating the desired behaviors and habits before the staff go through any training.

Deliver Great Learning Experiences

For training to be effective, it should occur after time has been spent talking about why change is required, why certain behaviors or attitudes are no longer effective, and what the expectations of performance look like moving forward. If done correctly, the employees should be asking for training and information regarding how they can improve in the future.

When it comes to training and development, keep in mind the following ideas:

  • Keep training sessions under two hours at a time and do not overload them with too much content.
  • Conduct the training with cross-discipline groups so that staff can get to know other staff outside of their immediate area.
  • Make the training fun and interactive so it is memorable. Remember, staff will not walk out of training ready to adopt new habits—that will occur with socialization—so consider training as just an interrupted opportunity to communicate.
  • Spread the training out so that participants have time between sessions to process and practice on information presented.

Deliver the Change You Want Through Heavy Socialization

Probably the most important part of this process is socialization. Once staff have gone through training, you need to reinforce key messages and communicate them repeatedly. Have a communication plan that continually shares information with your employees about the transformation process. All executives and managers must be involved in this, not just the Human Resource team or a few managers who speak very well. Communication is the most important leadership tool. Therefore, no manager can make the excuse that they are not good at it. An inability to communicate is an inability to lead, so this is an important test of the management team.

employee presenting

In addition to ensuring your managers are reinforcing the new habits in their daily and weekly communications, you should provide learning reinforcement of any classroom training with e-learning so staff can learn on their own in their own time. For some employees, learning on their own time is most effective. You also have to allow time for staff to practice. One of the best practices we have implemented on various projects is to schedule rehearsals for staff to attend each week. It is amazing how habit transformation is significantly enhanced by providing practice time to staff away from your customers. One hour per week for four weeks is a great opportunity to transform mindsets and behaviors. Ensure you have the managers lead these small group sessions (no more than twelve people), so they can practice explaining why the change is important and what is expected as well as practicing giving feedback. This best practice is a win-win for all.

The final critical element in habit transformation is to ensure your managers are providing clear, timely, and consistent feedback that provides insights into what the staff are doing well and what they can improve on. In Part 1, I explained how all managers must have a responsibility for the change process. The change process can only be successful when managers are reinforcing the training through continuous feedback and coaching.

Remember That You Are Building a Movement

We stress that in the early stages of transformation you must focus on those staff that are excited by and already embracing the change rather than those that resist. There will always be those that resist, and yet, so many times we spend all our energies trying to change them. The reality is they might not ever change. In the meantime, we fail to capture the hearts and minds of those that want change. To transform successfully, you must find and embrace those that are excited by the change. As they get on board, they will find and embrace others. Successful transformation is a numbers game—the more people you have supporting, excited by, and leading the change, the more likely you are to help everyone in the organization successfully change. Of course, there will be those few that resist, but many of them are smart enough to shift their perspective when they see such overwhelming support for the changes ahead.

Don’t Forget to Recognize a Lot

employees high fiving

Recognition is a key component of employee engagement. Remember that your managers need recognition too. Ensure you make a big deal about those managers, teams, or departments who are leading the way. I recommend enhancing your company’s employee recognition program during the critical parts of the transformation process, particularly when managers are communicating with their teams regarding the transformation and as front-line training begins. This provides positive reinforcement for those embracing the transformation process.

Cultural transformations are not easy, but they are necessary for continued success. By understanding the process and following these key tips, you will find yourself better prepared for this undertaking. Know that while the initial transformation process can be difficult, it is amazing once you get traction in a movement, start recognizing successes, and celebrating people’s change. You will quickly have your people tell you they wish you had done this a lot earlier.

“At first, people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, and then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done, then it is done, and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.” —Frances Hodgson Burnett, English writer

To learn more about how to enhance your company culture through recognition, check out this eBook Recognition Culture: The MVP of Employee Experience.

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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.

 

transform your culture

How to Navigate a Successful Culture Transformation Process (Part 1)

How strong is your work culture? Are you in need of a successful culture transformation? With 21% greater profitability from engaged business units, a strong work culture can be the key to your business’ future success.  It’s important to navigate your new culture shift with the right approach. SGEi has led transformation processes over the years to improve the culture of organizations, large and small, across multiple industries. From our experience, there are some important ideas to keep in mind and an approach to be followed for any cultural transformation to be successful. Let’s begin with recognizing the need for change.

Recognizing the Need for Change

Heraclitus once said that the only thing constant in life is change. This is probably more relevant in business today with our customer and employee bases forever evolving in their needs and wants. This alone explains why we need to move our business and people out of the status quo to be constantly evolving to deliver the products or services our customers demand. At the same time, companies must be evolving the employee experience to ensure it meets their employees’ needs and inspires them to deliver more and stay longer.

Culture is the collective mindset and attitude of your employees, and it impacts how much your employees will care about your customers, how much effort they will put into their work, and whether they will stay with you long term.  Ultimately, this impacts the performance and profitability of the company, so it’s pretty important. When companies see poor customer feedback, small market share, low productivity, low employee engagement, or high turnover, there is a good chance the company had a culture problem—meaning their employees just don’t feel as good as they should about who they work for or what they do. This is the clearest message that it is time to transform your culture, and reprogram your employee experience.

Once you’ve recognized the need for change, it is important to have a well-thought-out transformation plan that incorporates the following ideas.

Transformations Must Be Led from the Top

Culture transformation has to be led from the top. This does not mean a bunch of words being said—it means making decisions that support the change.  The problem, in our experience, is that for many cultural transformations the owners or executive teams think that the change is for everyone else but them. This is a problem. Successful transformations occur when the people at the top of the company become the change they want to see in others. Gallup recently shared 70% of variance in culture is due to team leadership. Executives set the example, and let their actions begin any transformation process. This means getting them out of the office, ensuring they have conversations with employees who may not even know who they are about the reason for change, and being humble enough to admit that they too are challenged by the transformation process. The transformation process requires executives to be vulnerable, which is not something they are always comfortable being. It is also important that the ownership and executive teams then focus on the most important group within the organization to ensure the cultural change is successful. Hint: it is not the front-line staff. The focus must be on the middle and front-line managers, as they are the critical element in the transformation process.

The Key to Any Transformation Is the Front-Line Managers

Generally, the executive and senior leadership teams are a small group within the organization that is acutely aware of how important the culture transformation process is. Therefore, they are generally strong supporters and advocates for change, even if they are not always willing to change themselves. However, even though the need for change is strong amongst the owners and senior leaders, research suggests that only 12% of companies executing a culture transformation process achieve their desired results. Why is this number so low when there is commitment from the top? It is because, even though the cultural transformation must be led from the top, the small ownership, or senior leadership team cannot initiate the change on their own. They need help, and the problem is they often don’t engage the most important group to assist in the change—the front-line managers.

employees

What do you think has a bigger and better chance of impacting change amongst your employees: a 15-person executive team, 50-person senior leadership team, or a 500-person front-line management team? The answer is, you need all of them. But if you only have a small executive team or a slightly larger senior leadership team trying to implement cultural change without the involvement of the front-line management team, you will fail.

Even if we understand the need to get the front-line managers involved, we often assume that because they have a title that they get it, know it, and do it. When we make assumptions about the abilities of the management team to lead the change process, we fail to instill the necessary comfort and confidence in them to affect change. Instead, we allow them to maintain their own sense of status quo, meaning all the training and communication in the world for the front-line staff will do very little to change mindsets and habits, because the group they look to for most of their communication, in actions, words, and attitudes, are still doing what they always did. When the employees see that their immediate managers are not changing they naturally assume there is no real need for them to change too.

To successfully change your culture, you must invest most of your time, training, communications, and accountability in your management team. A big part of the focus on the managers is to assess their leadership abilities. Leadership is defined as a person’s ability to inspire someone to want to do what they, the leader, wants them to do. If you ask most front-line staff, they will tell you that they do not want to change. So the cultural transformation process, in my mind, is the best opportunity to see if your managers can inspire their people to want to do something they probably don’t want to do. By having the right management team in place with the ability to lead change you not only significantly increase your chances of a successful cultural transformation, but you also have a strong leadership team in place moving forward.

All Managers Are Responsible for Communicating Change

As I have already indicated, the key is not to assume that the managers know how to change or what needs to be done, so you must invest in their development first. The important things to work through and teach your managers are to understand the change process, why the culture is changing, how they can model the ideal leadership behaviors, and what they can do to improve their employees’ experience. From these initial training sessions, it is important that you communicate with the managers the reason for change, and provide them with a few choice sound bites that they will ultimately use with their staff. Communication is critical to successfully change while maintaining engagement from employees.

workplace employee

The next set of skills that you must ensure your front-line managers have is the ability to provide informal feedback, or have casual conversations with their staff about the new behaviors they wish to see. In our experience, the front-line managers’ inability to give casual and comfortable feedback to their staff is another important reason why transformations fail. So before doing anything with your staff, ensure your managers are trained on understanding change, why change needs to happen in your organization, how to help their staff change, and how to give them effective feedback once the new mindset and behaviors are rolled out.

Remember, just like with anyone, do not think that by putting a manager through a training class that they will suddenly adopt the habits and expectations held of them. The secret with managers is to require them to practice their new habits immediately.  This is done by equipping managers with sound bites, posters, videos, and talking points they can use with their staff to stimulate conversation. By requiring them to talk about the reasons for change and demonstrating the new habits, you can quickly evaluate a manager’s belief and commitment to the transformation process. Remember, if you do not enable them by giving them the necessary training, tools, and information, they will not be able to lead the change process. Invest the time and resources to make them a part of the change process, not a group sitting on the sidelines.

One of the important steps is to provide the management group with their own coaches, someone who can give feedback and guidance on these initial steps. The coach is assessing each manager’s engagement in the process. There are few organizations with the resources to dedicate coaches to the managers, which is why SGEi has focused on coaching managers over the years by providing them with the training, feedback, and support to be successful in change. We have learned that by setting a series of tasks for the managers to complete, guiding them through what to say and how to say it, and then ultimately assessing their ability to deliver, these are critical components to a successful cultural transformation. While we encourage our coaches and the executive teams to recognize the managers whose departments meet their goals and are champions of the change process, we also require the executives to have tough conversations with those that do not. It is important to note that those tough conversations might lead to making the equally tough decision that a certain manager is not a good fit for your organization to move forward.

One of the things our coaches have learned over the years is that managers reaching out for help or asking a lot of questions is a good thing. I am often quoted as telling all managers that they should all be struggling when it comes to change and the unknown. Our coaches know that the managers to be worried about are the ones who do not step up and ask for help—or remain quiet during training. This group is hoping that the cultural transformation just goes away, which is another reason why requiring the front-line managers to be front and center in communication is the best way to judge their comfort and confidence in the process and messaging.

Leading Change with the Front-Line Staff

Once your managers are set up for success, the attention shifts to executing change with the front-line staff. Consider the following ideas: First, keep their training sessions short, no more than two hours. Involve the executives and managers to speak at the sessions and keep training interactive and fun. Remember, most of the habit transformation will occur back in the operation, so any training session should be an introduction of ideas and behaviors. If the managers are providing feedback effectively, the employees will begin shifting their perspectives and evolving their behaviors. Reinforce the casual conversations with a lot of employee recognition to celebrate effort and mastery.

employees

Have a Plan for Those That Don’t Want to Change

At some point, as there is positive momentum in the organization, and you have provided a lot of information, training, and tools to enable great performance, you will have to start focusing on those still resisting the change. This is where you need to develop a consistent, clear, and comprehensive plan with your human resources team to transition out those that do not want to be a part of the new culture. However, don’t be too quick to write people off. People will surprise you.

In Part 2 of this blog series, I will discuss key ideas for a successful culture transformation. Read Part 2 here.

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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 transformation strategy and plan. We enable and coach your management team to own the continuous development of your company and people. We design and deliver the training and communications necessary to shift mindsets and habits to meet the objectives of the company. Please email connect@sgeinternational.com to learn more about how we can assist you with your transformation needs.

 

Strengthen Leadership

How to Strengthen Your Manager’s Leadership Practices and Why It’s Crucial to Enhance Employee Engagement

You know it, and I know it: The key to improving employee engagement and culture is through strengthening management’s leadership practices and capabilities. Being good at management isn’t enough. Today, more than ever, managers need to practice great leadership to manage change effectively and to seriously help others grow. Doing so results in higher employee engagement and motivation, and higher engagement ultimately improves productivity and the overall health of the organization.

Why You Need Great Leadership

If you ever need to convince others about the need to motivate and engage managers, just show them a copy of Gallup’s State of the American Manager. After years of studying data from millions of managers and employees from just under 200 countries, Gallup reports some insightful data including these highlights from their 2017 report:

  1. Managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units…just 30% of U.S. workers are engaged, demonstrating a clear link between poor managing and a nation of “checked out” employees.
  2. One in two employees have left their job to get away from their manager at some point in their career.
  3. 35% of managers are engaged, 51% are not engaged and 14% are actively disengaged.
  4. Managers who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the U.S. economy $319 billion to $398 billion annually.
  5. Employees who are supervised by highly engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged than those supervised by actively disengaged managers.

How to Strengthen Management’s Leadership Practices

Have you ever worked at an organization where HR distributes copies of leadership books and articles to managers? This happened a lot when I worked at Lowe’s. At Ceridian, my VP gave all her managers a copy of Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. When I was at Lowe’s, our leadership development team would bring in nationally known speakers such as Ken Blanchard and Liz Wiseman. While giving managers books and bringing in speakers is helpful for raising awareness about leadership, more needs to be done to help managers shift from knowing to practicing leadership.

In my book, Nine Practices of 21st Century Leadership, I share what I call the 21st Century Leadership Development Roadmap. The roadmap has four stages. At Stage Two, many managers realize that the old ways of managing are ineffective at engaging and building team culture, but managers fall short of putting leadership into practice. Something blocks them from reaching the third stage.

Leadership Is a Skill

To move to the Roadmap’s third stage, managers need to develop leadership the same as with any skill. Here’s what I mean:

Imagine that Player A and Player B want to get better at racquetball. They tried this by spending a week practicing for five-hours per day. During that week, they played against better opponents, and at night, they read articles about how they could improve their game.

Here’s one difference: Player A had a coach. Periodically during that week, the coach stopped the game, gave feedback, showed ways to improve form, and then gave more feedback. After a week, guess who improved more? Player A did.

In The Servant, James Hunter explains that leadership needs to be developed through practice, feedback, and follow-up. When managers just read books or attend leadership talks, their effort isn’t enough. He writes:

“Has anyone ever learned to swim reading a book? Has anyone ever become an accomplished pianist studying piano history? Has anyone ever become a great golfer watching Tiger Woods DVDs?…I have met many people over the years who know all about leadership but don’t know leadership.” (pp. xxiii-xxiv) – James C. Hunter

To get managers to adopt leadership practices sincerely, Hunter recommends a three-phased approach: Foundation, Feedback, and Friction. Foundation is acquiring leadership knowledge. This helps managers advance to the Roadmap’s Stage Two. To advance further, you need feedback and friction.

Without Feedback, You’re Left in the Dark

If you’ve ever administered 360-feedback reviews, you know that managers can act surprised by the feedback’s revelations about their behavior. Sometimes these discoveries hurt and aren’t easy to receive. But without knowing their blind spots, managers won’t know what or how to improve.

In Marshall Goldsmith’s book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, feedback is how he learns what his clients should focus on. He writes:

“I wish I had the power to snap my fingers and make these people immediately see the need to change…But I can’t and I don’t. Instead, I show these people what their colleagues at work really think of them. It’s called feedback. It’s the only tool I need to show people, “You Are Here.” (p. 8) – Marshall Goldsmith

From feedback, managers might identify several things to improve, and if they’re Type A people, they may want to attempt to resolve all behavioral issues at once. While admirable, that’s not good. If you’re administering the feedback, help managers focus on one or two behaviors that can have the most impact.

Friction: The Process for Making Sustainable Change

Getting managers to accept their feedback is one thing, but it’s another to get them to act upon the feedback effectively. Fortunately, you can guide managers by using a structure that Hunter and Goldsmith advocate. Here are the high-level steps for what you should guide managers to do:

  1. Acknowledge and apologize to those affected by their faulty behavior.
  2. Ask the affected people to help them get better. This could include calling them out when managers revert back to old habits.
  3. Advertise to others that they are trying to get better at a specific behavior. Goldsmith explains that if you don’t, people won’t notice.
  4. Rigorously follow up monthly with people affected and find out how well they’re doing. Employees and others affected by past behaviors need to realize how serious the managers are at trying to improve.

Call to Action: Guide Managers through Feedback and Friction

It’s easy to read books and attend leadership talks, but It’s not easy for managers to receive critical feedback. It’s even harder getting them to commit to the friction phase and doing the steps, especially the follow-up. In Triggers, Goldsmith writes, “People don’t get better without follow-up. So let’s get better at following up with our people.”

Guiding your managers through this process will change the dynamics and health of their teams. Fixing key behaviors could have a chain reaction to improve other behaviors, and managers modeling the drive to change will have a cascading affect upon their people. When managers get better at leadership practices, everyone on the team gets better and healthier!

Two More Things…

In addition to the Foundation/Follow-up/Friction approach, you might want to try Goldsmith’s feedforward process. His free article, Try Feedforward Instead of Feedback, is worth reading and introducing to your managers. Managers who read this will learn a positive way to change future behavior without dwelling on the past.

There are other ways to help managers, especially those in middle management. For several insights and tips, check out the eBook The Secret Weapon to Driving Employee Success.

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About Gary A. DePaul
Gary DePaul
Gary DePaul is a speaker, author, and leadership curator. He provides performance consulting services to help organizations identify gaps between what executives expect managers to do (in the current and future states) and what managers actually do. He has more than twenty years of professional and scholarly experience and has worked for companies such as Lowe’s, Ceridian, Fidelity Information Services, Johnson Controls, and Arthur Andersen. Gary welcomes inquiries and the sharing of ideas. You can reach him at gary@garyadepaul.com.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Take Advantage of HR Tech

5 Creative Ways to Engage Employees with HR Tech

It’s no secret that an engaged employee is a productive employee, but fostering and maintaining that initial focus and enthusiasm is no easy task. Employee engagement relies on sparking an emotional investment in the company and creating an atmosphere in which everyone is motivated to work toward common goals. Considering only 29 percent of workers say they’re actively engaged at work, this is an issue most businesses contend with on a daily basis. Digital technology has rewritten the rules for both business and personal interactions. It’s surprising that 89% of the workforce feels they aren’t provided with the latest technology when it’s become such a necessity in the modern workplace. For savvy HR teams, there are myriad ways to bring positive change to the workplace and encourage employees to communicate, share and participate leveraging HR tech. Let’s take a look at a few ways technology is changing HR for the better.

  1. Play Around with Gamification

About 40 percent of Global 1000 organizations use some form of gamification to keep their employees engaged and invested, but what is it and how does it work? Gamification is simply a way to apply elements typically found in games – achievement-tracking, peer competition, immediate feedback and so on – onto a variety of real-world situations. HR tech platforms use these factors to tap into employees’ psychological motivators, encouraging good-natured competition and social sharing that drives determination and fun.

  1. Personalize the Employee Experience

Every employee wants to know that their unique needs and abilities are frequently recognized, and one way to accomplish this is through delivering a personalized working experience. This means making the extra effort to understand each employee’s specific wants, needs and preferences and catering to them, from the initial hiring process all the way through day-to-day activities and tasks.

Software platforms simplify this task, making it easier to customize everything from onboarding to benefits enrollment to ensure that each employee has the support and experiences they want. If your company offers a wide range of benefits, you can also leverage computer algorithms to help your employees identify the benefits that are most useful to them. This kind of individualized attention drives home the point that each employee is valued and respected, making them more likely to invest personally in their work.

  1. Manage Employee Feedback

When it comes to employee engagement, few things are more important than providing ways for workers to give feedback on the issues that matter to them. Employees need to know that their voices are being heard, and pulse surveys are one way to ensure that happens. Pulse surveys can be used to gather data on virtually anything, from gauging feelings about a recent significant change within the company to tracking the effects of action initiatives. This allows employees to offer real-time feedback and also provides managers with the valuable information they need to guide their decisions and inform strategy. However, it’s important that you have a genuine commitment to acting on the results of these surveys, as engagement may actually suffer if employees feel their input has fallen on deaf ears.

  1. Reward and Recognize Employees

Everyone wants to be recognized for their good work and achievements, but many employees feel their efforts go largely unnoticed. One way to remedy that is through HR tech tools and cloud-based platforms such as Achievers that encourage peer-to-peer recognition. Whether it comes in the form of leaderboards, awards or social and monetary recognitions, these tools keep employees engaged by recognizing achievements and creating a fun, friendly competition in the workplace. In fact, 75% of employees who were recognized by their manager once a month reported being satisfied with their job.

  1. Stay Connected

At 43 percent of all employed Americans, a greater number of employees than ever before are spending at least part of their time working remotely. While remote working on its own has been connected to higher employee engagement and greater employee satisfaction, it’s still important to make the employee experience as smooth as possible. Meeting with workers at their home office will require some different approaches and balance acts – consider exploring communication and web conferencing tools to keep in touch without a keyboard. If your remote workers need to use a variety of different systems during the course of their work, APIs can be used to tie disparate platforms together into a convenient and efficient whole.

No company can thrive without happy, motivated workers. In fact, companies with engaged employees typically outperform those without by up to a staggering 202 percent. By leveraging the technologies laid out above, you can streamline your HR responsibilities and help foster a friendly, productive environment that encourages your employees to reach their full potential.

To learn more about the importance of employee engagement, check out this fun infographic 6 Stats That Speak to Employee Retention

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About the Author
Beth Kotz is a freelance contributor for numerous home, technology, and personal finance blogs. She graduated with BA in Communications and Media from DePaul University in Chicago, IL where she continues to live and write. You can find her latest work at HomeOwnerGuides.com.

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Develop Employees

How Neglecting Employee Development Affects Your ROI

When businesses need to balance the books, they tend to cut corners in areas where they find it difficult to prove a return on investment. For this reason, employee development is often an aspect that gets hit – if not by outright budget cuts, then by general neglect and a lack of increased investment.

While a ROI on employee development programs can sometimes be difficult to prove, making increased investment tough to justify, it is an area where businesses get out what they put in. Below, we take a look at how neglecting your employee development programs can negatively impact your ROI.

The Value of Employee Development

The primary reason for investing in employee development programs for your employees is to provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to carry out their tasks. However, there are many ripple effects as well, ranging from improved productivity amongst those who are well-trained, to a competitive advantage over your rivals.

Of course, the value of employee development also extends to the customer as well. Generally speaking, organizations that invest in comprehensive development programs can expect to see a higher number of sales, as well as improvements to customer retention resulting from superior service.

When people think about staff development, they often view it as a synonym for training, but continuous coaching also has a role to play. Indeed, the CSO Insights 2016 Sales Enablement Optimization Study found that formal and dynamic coaching processes improved sales reps’ quota attainment by as much as 10 percent.

Impact on Employee Retention

One of the biggest effects of neglecting the development of your employees comes in the form of staff turnover. There is a direct link between the amount of time and money you invest in development, and the likelihood of staff members choosing to leave your organization.

For example, businesses on the Fortune 100 “Best Companies to Work For” list provide almost double the number of training hours for full-time employees compared to companies that aren’t on the list. Those Fortune 100 organizations saw their ROI manifested in increased employee retention; they had 65 percent lower staff turnover than other businesses in the same sector.

In the CSO Insights 2015 Sales Compensation & Performance Management Study, it is revealed that turnover is five times higher among sales employees than the US national average. This is problematic, because a single salesperson leaving an organization has the capacity to disrupt that organization for up to a year.

Essentially, what this shows is that neglecting your development programs decreases your overall return on investment, while investing fully in development programs results in a much greater ROI.

The Consequences of Neglect

Crucially, however, it is not simply investment that wins the day. Continuous employee development is a vital part of talent management, meaning that development programs must be in a constant state of evolution, adapting as products, services, business practices and market conditions change.

Neglecting employee development by failing to update procedures, can result in outdated product knowledge, longer ramp up times and a competitive disadvantage when compared to other businesses in the same industry. Worse still, neglecting development by putting it off completely can result in poor morale and unskilled staff.

“Developing employees is the classic example of a management function that’s both highly valued and highly neglected,” says Victor Lipman, writing for Forbes. “For busy managers, generally with too much to do in too little time, it’s a very easy task to put off to some indefinite point in the future.”

Finally, it is crucial that investment in employee development extends beyond new hires, to experienced staff members. According to the 2017 CSO Insights Sales Manager Enablement Report, those who spend more than $5,000 per year on developing sales managers see increased quota and revenue attainment, and improved win rates. Nevertheless, sales managers are three times more likely to receive no training at all than salespeople are.

Important Takeaways

Staff development programs require significant investment, both in terms of time and money, as they must be high in quality and evolve along with business practices and market conditions. However, employee development is also an area where it can be difficult to prove a clear ROI, which is why it is often neglected.

While the most obvious form of neglect is the reduction or removal of development services, it can also manifest as a lack of increased investment when it is needed to meet business demands. Yet, high-quality coaching and training have clear benefits when it comes to improving win rates, as well as revenue and quota attainment.

The consequences of neglecting employee development are numerous and include lower levels of customer retention, out-dated product knowledge and poor quality customer service. Additionally, there is a direct correlation between training provisions and staff turnover, with neglect resulting in more employees leaving a company.

For these reasons, neglecting employee development has a detrimental impact on your ROI. The only way to generate the right level of return from your employee development program is to invest sufficiently, spend ample time on development practices and ensure development is continuous, rather than being targeted exclusively to new hires.

To learn more about employee retention, check out this fun infographic 6 Stats That Speak to Employee Retention

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About the Author  
Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global employee development and sales training firm. It helps organizations develop effective talent management strategies through talent ready assessment. She enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts on talent management strategies and best practices.

 

Identify skilled leaders

5 Leadership Skills to Look for When Promoting In-House

Promoting in-house is a smart way to grow your business and invest in your staff towards leadership development. Companies that promote from within often have higher satisfaction ratings from employees and there’s nothing like the possibility of a promotion to keep your team working hard. According to Adam Foroughi, a co-founder and CEO:

“Outside hires can sap the motivation for mid-level and junior-level talent to work harder and move up the ladder. When you promote from within, your employees know that the sky’s the limit, so they always work hard and deliver more for your company. In my experience, this ‘sky’s the limit’ approach creates an atmosphere of optimism that has a positive effect on everyone.”

As you look to various employees who may be similar in terms of work ethic, company loyalty and passion for the business, look for these leadership traits that set them apart. Employees who exemplify these characteristics will be better suited for a leadership position, allowing you to promote the most qualified and excited employees.

  1. Confidence

Confidence is one of the best indicators of potential success with an in-house hire. Fear of personal failure affects a staggering 31 percent of Americans according to a 2016 survey. The same survey even found that 6.1 percent of respondents had given up a promotion due to fear of failure.

While having these fears is common, employees that are confident in their decision-making skills will be more effective leaders. How do you identify confident employees? Look for the following traits, as outlined by Jeff Haden, of Inc.:

  • They take a stand—not to be right, but because they aren’t afraid to be wrong.
  • They listen more than they speak.
  • They duck the spotlight to shine it on others.
  • They freely ask for help.
  • They think, “Why not me?”
  • They don’t put other people down.
  • They aren’t afraid to look silly.
  • They make their own mistakes.
  • They seek approval from only the people who matter.
  1. Social Skills

One of the best ways to know if your new hire has leadership potential is the ‘beer and barbecue’ test, according to Brian Scudamore, CEO of O2E Brands: Would you want to have a beer with this person? Would they have a good time and make connections at a company barbecue?

If so, the person shows leadership potential, because leadership is all about effective communication. You’ve seen this employee in action, and have a good idea of what their strengths and weaknesses are. If communication is one of them—they tend to be social at group events, often organize fun shindigs in the office, or are always the first person to answer a group email—then they may be one of the top candidates.

It’s also important for leaders to recognize others and show appreciation for hard work. Only 41% of employees feel recognized at their desired frequency and 60% feel their managers don’t recognize them enough. Recognition goes a long way and understanding the importance of employee recognition can positively impact employee engagement levels.

  1. Vision

The best leaders have a good idea of what they want to bring to the table. Business News Daily says that a good internal hire will already be showing signs of this kind of vision. They’ll be motivated, focused, and already striving to make company practices as streamlined as possible.

Look for employees that are ‘hustling’ and doing their best to make the company better, rather than simply showing up and going through the motions each day. You can trust that employees who share your vision, and maybe even have their own ideas for the growth of the company, will improve the organization when in a leadership role.

  1. Critical Thinking Skills

Managers are required to think critically every day: “One of the most common duties of a manager or supervisor is to make sure that client, customer, and employee obstacles are being removed or lessened. This includes making sure questions are being answered, proper actions are being taken, and problems are being resolved,” says Lindsey Burke of Select International.

Work with the potential candidates’ direct superiors to assess their work on the last few projects. Ask questions like:

  • Have they shown the ability to analyze a situation thoroughly instead of responding to it immediately?
  • Can they find effective solutions, or do they flounder?
  • Do they regularly offer solutions in brainstorming sessions and meetings?
  1. Ownership

If you’re considering an employee for a promotion, start by giving additional responsibility as a trial; even if they don’t know they’re being considered for the promotion or that this is a trial. Then watch closely as the employee(s) inevitably make mistakes and learn through these new tasks.

Employees that show ownership of mistakes they’ve made, and can move past them and see the learning experience that comes out of it, are the employees you want to promote, according to The Muse. The skill of ownership is difficult to teach, but invaluable when it comes to leading a team. Employees that embody this trait will often be the best people for the promotion.

Start Promoting

Use these tips to find the best candidates for an in-house promotion. There are budding and excited leaders among you, it’s just a matter of finding them. Look for confidence, vision, ownership and more to identify the employees who want to help grow your business and their career.

Discover why it’s important to recognize employees and promote in-house by checking out the eBook The Case for Employee Recognition.

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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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Offer the right perks

What Hourly Workers Really Want (It Might Surprise You)

Hourly workers are among the most unhappy employees in the workforce. They often take fewer vacations, have worse benefits, and are passed over for promotions compared to their salaried counterparts. This isn’t surprising. When most companies hire hourly workers, they often focus solely on the dollar amount they must pay to attract qualified candidates, rather than the perks and benefits that can set them apart from other potential employers.

Don’t be MOST companies.

With hourly rates climbing in most major cities, it can be hard to make your job look enticing. However, it turns out that hourly workers value much more than their pay. Employee engagement is more important than ever before. Companies should be considering techniques to attract and engage their hourly workforce

Let’s take a deeper look at what hourly workers really want and how your company can use that to stand out amongst the competition and hire great talent!

Work Flexibility 

It turns out that one of the perks hourly workers value most is work flexibility. In a recent study conducted by Snagajob, nearly 36% of hourly workers reported that work flexibility was the most important perk but only approximately 50% of employers planned on offering job flexibility. So, it begs the questions:

  • How can your company offer flexibility?
  • Is it possible for hourly workers to set their own schedule?
  • Can you offer unlimited vacation time (even if it’s unpaid)?
  • Can your workers choose how many hours they work?

If any of this is possible, your company will greatly improve its odds of making a hire and can even potentially offer a lower hourly rate to prospective candidates.

Bonuses

Another work perk that hourly candidates care about is a performance-based employee bonus.

In the same Snagajob survey referenced above, it appears that 27% of candidates thought bonuses are the most important work perk, so much so that 54% of workers surveyed would change jobs if it meant a bonus structure was included in their compensation plan. Although this seems like the same thing as paying more per hour, which most hiring managers can’t do, bonuses are different.

That’s because bonuses are usually based on work performance. Therefore, if you pay an hourly worker less but offer them a large bonus if they perform well, it’s a win-win situation. If they don’t meet their goals, you don’t have to pay as much. And, if they do, you pay more but you get great results.

See if there is a way your company can offer a bonus tied to performance.  You’ll be able to attract more candidates and it will also give them a great employee incentive to work hard.

Vacation Time

Nearly 13% of workers said that the number one perk they look for is paid time off. However, many hourly employers don’t offer much PTO if they offer it at all. And this, on the surface, seems like a good idea. Why give workers time off when you can have them in the office being productive?

Well, there are a couple very good reasons. Offering PTO is clearly important to workers which means that offering more vacation time will allow you to offer a lower hourly rate or hire more qualified employees. Secondly, many workers don’t even use the vacation time they have earned, so it won’t impact your organization as much as you thought it might. Finally, if your company is in a position where it can offer hourly employees unlimited vacation (even if it’s unpaid), it will be difficult for a candidate to pass up, even for a higher wage. And, as outlined above, they probably won’t use an excessive amount of vacation, even if they do have the option.

Employee Recognition

Don’t just roll your eyes and say “Ugh, Millennials!” Employees, even hourly or contract employees, thrive on engagement, recognition, and general feedback. After all, these are building blocks for improvement and advancement in any career. And even better, deficits in employee recognition are simple to address and can (and most often will) cost you zero dollars. In the meantime, employee recognition improves company culture, increases retention and boosts morale.

There are simple ways to get an employee recognition initiative started. A manager can start by simply sending an end-of-week email highlighting the highs (and lows) of the week. This kind of constructive feedback will enhance an employee’s work. You can even gamify employee recognition, create an employee shout-out on social media or simply give a pat on the back at the end of a grueling project or difficult day. Try taking it one step further and consider implementing HR technology or an employee recognition program across your organization to encourage daily peer-to-peer recognition. Decide what sort of employee recognition best fits your culture and put it into action today!

Employee Engagement

Many hourly employees feel like they’re not really part of the organization or that they are simply temporary workers. However, studies have found that hourly employees usually want to be more engaged with the company they’re working for. There are numerous ways a company and its managers can work to keep hourly employees feeling engaged.

A great way to start is to create a culture of inclusion and make sure that hourly employees are treated and communicated with just like full time or salaried employees. Secondly, managers and other employees should invest the time to get to know hourly employees and form personal relationships.  If an employee integrates particularly well, it may be a good idea to keep them on a salaried basis. Third, managers should communicate regularly with their hourly employees. Many hourly employees complain they are set on a task and are unable to communicate with their boss on a regular basis. Setting up an open line of communication and checking in regularly will not only help an hourly employee stay on task but will also make them feel more engaged with the company and team.

How Does All of This Help Your Company?

If you find ways to stand out amidst an ever-crowded, you can make better hires and pay less per hour by offering the right work perks for your employees. Work perks like flexibility, employee engagement, and vacation time cost your company very little but are incredibly valuable to hourly employees.

If you have any other ideas for great perks that hourly employees highly value, let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear what you think!

For more information on how employee recognition can help your company, check out the eBook Recognition Culture: The MVP of Employee Experience.

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About the Author
Will Zimmerman is a writer for Proven.

 

managerial tips

5 Ways Managers Can Transform Themselves into Leaders

A quick search on Amazon.com indicates that there are more than 187,000 books with “leadership” or related words in the title. That’s a lot of content written on a single topic.

However,  the word “leader” has been applied to so many different areas of activity that it has become meaningless. Apart from political and military leaders, we have business leaders, market leaders, industry leaders, thought leaders, and so on.

The concept has become so overused that we’ve lost a true understanding of exactly what leadership is. As a result, today’s employees don’t trust their leaders like they used to. And because of this, many areas of the business might suffer, like employee engagement and employee retention.

That said, earning the title of “manager” is one of the greatest professional milestones a contributor can achieve. It means you’ve been deemed capable enough in your current job to be directing others to do it.

Even though this is a leadership role, actually being seen as a leader is no easy task. It takes a great deal of devotion, stamina, and determination.

A manager is someone who keeps operations running smoothly and ensures tasks are completed to meet the defined criteria. A leader, on the other hand, pushes the envelope and drives innovation.

“A genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus, but a molder of consensus.” – Martin Luther King

Make no mistake, both managerial and leadership roles are essential in business. However, leaders are the ones who tend to be remembered and cement their legacies in the history (and self-help) books. Here is what you can do to be one of the crème de la crème…

1. Exhibit Emotional Intelligence

An emotionally intelligent leader can be defined by five major components:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Motivation/passion
  4. Empathy
  5. Social skills

Plain and simple, business is about people, both internally and externally. A good leader is well-aware of this and uses these components to pick up on the sensitivities of those around them. They can see the big picture and acknowledge opinions in the correct context of how they fit into it. Even more, they can anticipate reactions and proceed appropriately on instinct.

In terms of emotional intelligence, perhaps the most valuable trait of effective leaders is their ability to listen critically and observe neutrally. In addition to understanding what others are saying, they also take mental notes of the emotions behind the words. In many cases, these are much more important than the words themselves.

Leaders are visionaries. They know how to work with what they are given and inspire others to collectively achieve long-term goals. Speaking of vision . . .

2. Commit to Your Vision

Managers are committed to an organization and its goals. Their loyalty is to the company, and they have the reliability and inflexibility typical of the “good soldier” in that commitment. They’ll ask staff to push ahead, chasing the company’s aims. But their primary duty is to the organization.

By contrast, leaders are committed to their vision. We hear a lot about how leadership goes hand-in-hand with disruption, but unless you’ve worked with a true leader you don’t necessarily realize that disruption starts at home – in the leader’s own organization. Managers want to keep the show on the road. Leaders ask if it’s the right road, the right show, the right cast. Richard Hackman, the Edgar Pierce Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at Harvard University and a leading expert on teams and teamwork, has this to say:

“Every team needs a deviant, someone who can help the team by challenging the tendency to want too much homogeneity, which can stifle creativity and learning.”

While managers want each day and each operation to run smoothly on well-understood lines toward predefined goals, deviants are the ones who stand back and say, “Well, wait a minute, why are we even doing this at all? What if we looked at the thing backwards or turned it inside out?”

When the Hackman deviant is just another team member, not a leader, they can be shouted down or frozen out, especially by over-organizing managers. But when they’re the one in charge, the whole team is moving toward innovation.

If you want to be a great leader, expect – and cause – the ground to shift under your feet in ways no manager would ever want. Change your vision of commitment before you commit to your vision.

3. Get Your Hands Dirty

Most great leaders have a common trait: their subordinates trust them and demonstrate unflinching loyalty to their cause. To achieve this, you must prove that you are willing to put yourself in the trenches and not delegate any task that you wouldn’t do yourself.

In other words, you must practice what you preach and not be afraid to jump into the thick of things. Working side-by-side with your subordinates will give you a better idea of exactly how things run on the ground level as well as working knowledge of the tools and methodologies your team uses to complete their tasks and streamline job management.

At the end of the day, demanding respect won’t give you the results you want. To actually earn it from those around you, one of the best things you can do is exhibit an all-for-one and one-for-all attitude.

4. Build People Up

When looking at the concept of people management, there are two major theories to consider.

The first one is Theory X. Managers who fall under the purview of Theory X are more pessimistic and generally assume subordinates do not like their job, avoid responsibility, and must be constantly controlled. These managers are typically known for stifling ideas and not focusing on the unique value each person offers. When this is the case, employees can easily lose motivation, resulting in a high turnover rate. In fact, a study by Gallup found that the odds of an employee being engaged are only 9% under such circumstances.

On the contrary, Theory Y is the one most often adopted by respected leaders. These managers live under the assumption that their subordinates are self-motivated and can work on their own initiative. When the work environment of an organization assumes and provides for such a culture, employees feel fulfilled both personally and professionally, and are motivated to do their best work.

Ultimately, it’s much harder for an organization to develop when managers tend to hold people back. A good leader encourages others to speak up and be meaningfully involved in completing the mission, rather than just following orders. Essentially, leaders coach and mentor, managers give commands.

The key to becoming a “Theory Y Leader” is by promoting transparency in the workplace. Make it a point to encourage open communication. Ask for honest feedback and value everyone’s opinions. This is how company cultures evolve and employees feel more engaged.

5. Challenge the Status Quo

As previously stated, managers keep operations running per usual. Leaders are known to break the mold and take risks. Bill Gates dropped out of college to start Microsoft. Alexander the Great marched a tired but undefeated army on and on. The best leaders are not remembered for playing it safe when opportunity arose.

To establish yourself as a leader, you must be willing to step out of your comfort zone, without being intimidated by the idea of failure. While you should always take appropriate precautions and “manage” risk, remember that leaders embrace change, even if there is nothing wrong with the current status quo. Great breakthroughs don’t happen without a significant risk factor.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw

Leadership is about finding new and innovative ways to improve the norm. When you take risks, you are not judged by the extent of your success or failure. You are defined by the thought process underlying your approach, how you reacted throughout the execution, and what you did with the outcome.

Over to You

It’s important to note that leadership and management are not mutually exclusive roles. Leaders are managers by nature, and vice versa, in many instances. There will always be a need for someone to keep operations going steady. But for a business to see significant growth and development, managers must strive to push boundaries and claim new territory. The impact of a true leader is profound and influences the way people work and live. Ultimately, true leaders are those who make the world a better place.

Check out The Ultimate Guide to Employee Recognition to see how leaders can effectively engage, align, and set their employees up for success.

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About the Author
Lori Wagoner is a market research consultant. She advises small businesses on new ways to find local and national business. She’s an avid blogger and writes for sites such as Small Business Can, Tweak Your Biz and Customer Think. You can catch her on Twitter @loridwagoner.