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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.

 

 

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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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.

 

 

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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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.

 

 

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

 

 

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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If you’re not offering employees education opportunities then you might want to reconsider. Today’s generation of workers have put employee education and development high on their list of the most-desired benefits that a company can offer.

Offering educational opportunities has a wide variety of benefits for both employees and companies, and gives a competitive advantage from a recruiting standpoint. The right educational offering just might be the deciding factor for candidates who are being sourced for similar jobs with matching salary packages.

And this doesn’t have to be expensive. While some companies can afford to help their employees’ take graduate courses, for example, others simply provide in-house employee education opportunities or give employees a chance to learn outside of work by attending relevant conferences, seminars and trainings.

It’s an expense none-the-less. But before you discard this idea, let the data speak for itself. Having the right data to back up your initiatives always makes it easier to get additional funding and leadership support. Check out these five data-based reasons why you should make employee education a priority in your business.

  1. Employees Want Special Training to Advance Their Careers

Of almost 4,300 workers, a massive 74% felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work and, as a result, would value access to more development opportunities.

What type of incentives do employees want in our modern world? In addition to usual wants, like higher salaries and better work-life balance, employees are looking for special in-house training and skills development to help advance their careers.

By offering employees additional training opportunities, you’re investing in the advancement of their careers, while adding more value to your business. The more successful and capable your employees are, the better your business will be.

  1. Offering Employees Training and Development Increases Employee Retention

7 out of 10 people say that training and development opportunities influence their decision to stay with a company.

As a manager or HR professional, you’re well aware of the costs associated with employee turnover. As a reminder: it costs upwards of $4,129 to hire an employee, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) new Human Capital Benchmarking Report.

Offering employees external or internal training and development opportunities improves employee satisfaction, which in turn is likely to increase loyalty and decrease costly turnover.

  1. Employees Are Already Learning On Their Own Time

Respondents revealed that an average of seven hours per week of their own time is devoted to learning.

Did you realize your employees are already working hard to learn more and expand their skill set? While the survey cited above is specific to developers, most other employees are doing the same. A 2017 Udemy report found that 95 percent of millennials believe learning is key to their career success and are willing to spend their own time and money to do it.

By offering employee education instead, you help reduce personal costs for employees, which could outweigh salary issues or lack of other benefits, like health insurance or 401k options.

  1. Most HR Managers Don’t Think Their Training Is Good Enough

62% of HR managers believe that they are not doing a good job meeting the learner’s needs. 

Is your training program actually setting your employees up for success? Most employee training and development programs fall short of providing value. Investing in a comprehensive educational training program will not only help HR managers be more effective with this initiative, but set both HR departments and employees up for future success.

  1. Offering Educational Training and Development Increases Profits

Companies that offer comprehensive training programs experienced 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less on training. 

If you want to make more money—and what business doesn’t—invest in employee training and education. While this can be costly, it’s a sound investment that surely pays off. To benchmark the costs, the same ADT report found that average cost per learning hour is $82; use this to determine what you can afford. If you see improvements in the business’s bottom line, invest more.

Find the Budget for Learning

There are many reasons why learning is critical to your employees and company as a whole, and these are some of the most important ones to consider. When you invest in employee education, the company improves and your employees are happier, which means you may experience less turnover and even see higher profits—a win-win for everyone.

Don’t lose top talent due to a lack of educational offerings. Find out why almost three-quarters of employees plan on finding a new job this year and how to make them stay in Achievers’ latest report: The Retention Epidemic.

 

 

Get a quick glimpse of the report’s key findings in this infographic.

 

 

Are you ready to boost employee engagement at your workplace? Learn about the future of employee engagement at Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2018 in Toronto, October 23-24. Get the early bird rate and save $200 off the regular rate today. Buy now here.

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

About the Author
Jessica 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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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.

 

 

Discover how to effectively listen to your workforce by checking out this white paper, “Taking the Pulse of Employee Engagement.

 

 

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.

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

About the Author
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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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.”

 

 

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.

 

 

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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Leadership structure, office environment, core mission and values, interpersonal relations, team engagement and communication style—these are just some of the many organizational details that shape company culture, something that is becoming more and more important to businesses of all kinds. A strong company culture improves:

  • Identity of the organization
  • Employee retention
  • Corporate image

What’s more, more people rank “workplace well-being” over monetary or “material benefits,” according to the Harvard Business Review—and that well-being is created through a positive company culture.

This is why it’s important to assess company culture, just as you would your finances or sales process. If you’ve never done so before, use these five action-steps to critique—and ultimately improve—the culture of your organization.

  1. Evaluate the Onboarding Process

If your goal is to recruit people who are innovative, competent and dedicated to your mission, then it’s crucial to earn their loyalty and respect in the hiring and onboarding process. If the process is unorganized or they’re waiting around for someone to meet with them, they expect the organization to follow suit.

Consider if your training methods are outdated, monotonous and derivative—such as reading a company manual—or if the approach is personalized, engaging, creative and participatory. New hires are eager to learn their positions and acclimate to the team, but if the onboarding process doesn’t “provide the resources and tools they need to ramp-up, they can end up stagnating,” suggests SaplingHR.

Show a strong company culture from the beginning, with an onboarding process that’s as engaging and interesting as it educational.

  1. Gauge Openness Within Leadership

It’s important that you foster a culture of embracing change, especially if you want to be seen as relevant and accessible to young professionals. A recent headline in Harvard Business Review confirms this, Changing Company Culture Requires a Movement, Not a Mandate. The authors explain why this can be challenging:

“Innovation demands new behaviors from leaders and employees that are often antithetical to corporate cultures, which are historically focused on operational excellence and efficiency.”

When assessing company culture, determine whether leadership has the ability to be agile and fluid. Are they stuck in the “9-to-5” mindset, which can be stiff and resistant to change? If so, the next question is: how can our culture evolve despite hesitancy among executives? There may be the need for change at the top or a board meeting with those who have a say in the direction of the company.

  1. Look at Incentive Programs (Or Lack There-Of)

The act of praising and incentivizing employees who perform well or provide value to the company is critical—but you don’t have to break the bank with bonus checks that are taxed at an extremely high rate.

Instead, make this aspect of the company culture more personal. Take into account each employee’s interests, lifestyle and hobbies, and find ways to reward them with these personal details in mind. For example, if someone loves cooking, show appreciation with a gift certificate for cooking classes.

Conversely, you can give employees an option for how they want to be recognized with something as simple as gift cards, suggests Jason Mauser, VP of Sales at Hawk Incentives. They’re are ideal for satisfying a “diverse group of recipients” because “they’ll appreciate the ability to make their own decision.”

  1. Observe Team Interactions

The strongest and most sustainable company cultures are forged on relationships and human connections. As you assess culture, analyze the dynamics between co-workers and notice how they communicate or collaborate with each other.

  • Do they respect one another’s ideas and opinions?
  • Do they relate on an interpersonal level?
  • Do they function cohesively as a team?
  • Does the setting promote a free exchange of dialogue and unique perspectives?

“In a teamwork environment, people understand and believe that thinking, planning, decisions and actions are better when done cooperatively,” suggests Human Resources expert Susan Heathfield in an article for The Balance.

If there aren’t strong team connections, consider adding more team outings to the roster. These give employees a chance to get to know each other outside the stresses of the office, while you show appreciation for their hard work.

  1. Determine Attitudes from Answers

The right questions will elicit the most valuable insights about your company culture.  Instead of asking directly about culture, gauge how the current climate is affecting attitudes by asking about the success and challenges of the business. If negativity is coming through in answers, you know a change is needed to steer the ship back toward calmer waters. Certain topics may also elicit the same response company-wide, which can also be telling in terms of how the organization is handling a specific issue or challenge.

Here are a few questions to try from Lessons Learned in 29 Powerful Questions to ask in the New Year:

  • What didn’t go so well last year?
  • Were there any cringe-worthy moments?
  • What is the one thing your organization was worst at last year?
  • What did we learn from our mistakes?
  • What lessons can our company leverage?
  • What could our organization do differently over the next 12 months?
  • What break-through moments did we experience last year?
  • What is holding our company back?
  • What can each of us do to be more helpful to the team?

Assess Company Culture—Regularly

The culture of your organization impacts everything from productivity and engagement to retention and growth. While there isn’t a “company culture 101” blue print for every business to follow, you can assess on a regular basis to uncover the unique culture pillars of your organization. Use these tips to do exactly that, slowly creating a company culture that retains top talent and facilitates success.

If you don’t regularly assess your company culture and pay attention to what your employees want, you risk facing the high cost of employee disengagement. To learn more, download this white paper: Is HR a Cost Center? The True Cost of Employee Disengagement.

 

 

Find out more about your employees’ needs and expectations by downloading this report: The Retention Epidemic: Why 74% of the North American Workforce Plans on Quitting.

 

 

Are you ready to improve your work culture? Learn how to enhance your culture 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.

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

About the Author
Jessica 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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When a critical piece of business technology suddenly stops operating properly, your first reaction is to find the problem and get it up and running at full-capacity, as soon as possible.

Yet, when it comes to your most valuable business asset, your employees, many company leaders aren’t as quick to react. Unfortunately, according to a new SHRM report, 38 percent of employees feel overwhelmed by how much they have to get done at work. What’s more, a January 2017 report by Kronos and Future Workplace found that 46 percent of human resources professionals blame burnout for up to half of their staff quitting each year.

The issue of an overwhelmed and burnt-out workforce is nothing new — and that’s the problem.  So, we went directly to the source to find out where the disconnect is.

Here’s what employees told us they need from their employers, along with some insights on how you can address those needs to improve employee engagement:

Recognition

When work becomes overwhelming, those who feel unappreciated will disengage even faster, increasing their chances of looking for new work. In fact, 55 percent of North American employees noted a lack of recognition as one of the main reasons they are considering changing jobs, according to our latest report.

Of course, more and better recognition won’t decrease your team’s workload, but it will make them feel appreciated for their contributions and perhaps more motivated to do their best. These shifts can enhance productivity, lightening the burden of an overwhelming workload.

Start engaging

KABOOOM!

This hard-hitting word isn’t just for sound effect. For CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System’s employees, KABOOM, their employee recognition platform, is now a way of life. The CHRISTUS team is dedicated to compassionate care, especially for those who are poor and underserved. With such an intensive mission, it’s easy for employees to feel overwhelmed.

Seeing the need for more employee support, company leaders implemented an online, points-based social recognition solution. Leaders and employees now both celebrate in-the-moment acts of accomplishment and dedication by sharing peers’ specific actions and rewarding them with points. These recognition points accumulate and employees can then use them toward a reward they desire.

The KABOOOM program was a hit for CHRISTUS St. Michael. In fact, the company saw more than a 10 percent increase in employee engagement thanks to this recognition tool.

Strong Employee-to-Work Connection

Passionless employees are disengaged employees.

It’s up to leadership to understand what drives a strong connection between employees, their individual roles, and the company’s mission and goals. Clarifying and solidifying this connection unquestionably increases retention. In fact, according to our previously mentioned report, 74 percent of employees note that making work more interesting and inspiring increases the likelihood that they will stay with an organization.

Start engaging

Go against company norms to change the way employees interact with one another and approach their daily tasks. To form a true connection, many employees need to step out of constraining routines.

Rather than hosting traditional weekly or monthly meetings, encourage employees to keep discussions ongoing via online forums. This approach to communication not only saves time, but also allows employees to stay connected with peers and their work without being interrupted by lengthy, in-person meetings.

Some employees may need a stronger disruption from the daily grind. Consider offering regular employee education hours to help employees step out of their comfort zone and reconnect with their roles, peers, and the company as a whole. During these hours, employees can job shadow a co-worker, take a course, or draw inspiration from a favorite podcast.

Each of these tactics offers a unique way for employees to find a new, interesting take on work.

Flexibility

Your team is full of unique, diverse individuals — and that’s what makes a company successful.

Unfortunately, many employees have limited flexibility when it comes to when and where they work. This constraint can result in a lack of creativity and efficiency – and even a decrease in retention. In fact, according to our report, employees are motivated to stay on board when they have more time off (57 percent) and have the ability to work remotely (55 percent).

Start engaging

Create a unique employee experience to enhance productivity and keep employees from feeling overwhelmed. Start by surveying your team to find out why they’re overwhelmed, when they feel most productive, and where they’d like to work, or what atmosphere increases their innovation.

Based on results, start changing up the employee experience. If employees say they need a more home-like atmosphere, brainstorm as a team to identify ways to make that shift. Additionally, consider offering one or two days a week during which your team can work from wherever they want.

These are great tactics to start with but it’s critical that you don’t stop here.

Continuously survey employees about their connection to work, productivity, motivation, and emotions. Look for trends in employee engagement and compare engagement scores to the days employees are able to work when and how they want. Keep altering and communicating with your team until you find something that works for everyone.

How do you engage your team when they’re feeling overwhelmed? Let us know!

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

 

 

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

About the Author

Dr. Natalie Baumgartner is the Chief Workforce Scientist at Achievers, an employee engagement platform specifically designed to align everyone with business objectives and company values, driven by recognizing shared victories every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

1. Let Workers Control Their Schedules

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

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

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

2. Work on Building an Active Employee Community

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

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

3. Facilitate Whole-Company Meetings

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

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

4. Invest in Professional Development

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

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

5. Recognize Hard Work

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Start with the employee

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Celebrate your mission

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Be transparent during the good and the bad

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

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

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

  1. Stay connected

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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