Memorial Day weekend is behind us and summer is almost here. The days are warmer and longer, and for some employees, it means summer hours at the office. Companies offer summer hours as a perk to employees, which grants them reduced work hours on Fridays to enjoy longer weekends. How common are these programs in business?
You know that satisfying feeling you get when you donate to charity? Or the pride you feel after donating your time volunteering for a non-profit? We all feel great when we give back to the community, and just as we commit to being socially responsible individuals, we also expect our employers to be social responsible companies. Employees want to work for organizations that are making socially responsible choices regarding their products and services, business practices, and as members of the communities in which they operate.
“HR has never been known for being at the leading edge of new technology or communication. However there are many new technologies that now help increase engagement and productivity making it imperative for HR to jump on board. Today’s employees have high expectations, Gen X and Gen Y are demanding that their employers become early adopters of technologies such as social media to excel in their job functions.” Achivers Whitepaper: Early Adoption: Against HR’s Nature?
What’s the best way to attract top talent from the Class of 2012? In order to successfully recruit, retain, and inspire these Millennials, you should focus your engagement strategy based on their motivations and desire for choice.
“As the economy improves unhappy employees will be looking at other companies for better opportunities. Social media has brought a new challenge to HR managers, allowing competitors to easily identify, target and recruit your top performers. Create an environment in which top performers are consistently recognized in a meaningful, specific and timely way and you’ll see your employee engagement soar, improving retention dramatically.”
Picture a familiar situation: You take advantage of a service, whether to sign up for a new mobile phone contract, or to order a new gadget from a website. There’s a problem with your purchase, but when you call customer service, you wait on hold only to reach an automated service and learn that the customer service office is closed. When you finally reach an agent to find a solution, they offer no assistance. What seemed like a simple fix has wasted valuable time, and the next time something goes wrong you may resort to a new provider.
What do a graphic designer, an account executive, and a social media specialist have in common? The answer lies within the employee’s desire to heighten their development and acquire new skills, which may or may not relate to their job title.
In order to set up employees for success and foster an engaged workforce, consider offering opportunities to “cross-train,” or develop new skills in a specific field, to reaffirm that the organization supports professional and personal growth.
“With three generations of employees in the workforce companies are managing their most diverse workforce ever. Uniform policies, benefits, and compensation won’t work for everyone anymore. We live in a society full of choices and that’s what employees, especially Gen X and Gen Y, respond well to. Make sure you empower your employees to choose their own rewards for a job well done-rewards that that are meaningful to them.“- HRMA http://www.bchrma.org/pdf/news/2011/release-yearinreview-111219.pdf
You may have heard of Facebook’s philosophy “Move Fast and Break Things.” Essentially, the philosophy is about testing boundaries and the importance of continuous innovation in order to grow and reach your maximum potential. Have you ever thought about how you can utilize this concept in your company? Let’s emphasize how you should apply this concept to employee development, because professional and personal growth is crucial to employee engagement.
“Hey, did you hear what happened in the lunch room yesterday? You are not going to believe this.”
We have all been subject to gossip at work. It happens in between meetings, through chat sessions and emails, and is almost impossible to avoid – until you realize how harmful gossip threatens corporate culture, and eventually transforms the workplace into a culture of doubt. A culture of doubt is characterized by ongoing miscommunications, decreased retention, and low employee morale at the workplace – and must be reconciled in order for employees to drive results necessary for the organization’s success.
Reputation is EVERYTHING. Society beats this message into our heads every day. For instance, we’re told to protect our reputations on Facebook and not post inappropriate photos, or we’re told to build our reputations on LinkedIn as accomplished professionals. Your reputation speaks volumes about who you are as an employee, family member, partner or friend; therefore, your reputation should be protected and treated as a top priority.
The key to business success is employee engagement: engaged employees produce results because when they are in a thriving environment, they are motivated to achieve. Employee engagement is a strategic and collaborative initiative, but will be less effective without a cohesive bond between team members.
Do you know someone who is social and liked and respected by everyone? Does this person have contagious energy? Is this person motivating and inspiring? If so, this person would make a great candidate for a “culture chief” at your office.
“Social media is at the forefront of communication, whether you like it or not. You can jump on the bandwagon or miss the train. As a leading company of the 21st century it is important for us to stay on top of the newest social media tools and platforms. At Achievers we use social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn to communicate our mission and core values, and to share industry-leading resources and build brand awareness.”
It’s easy for employees to get lost in their daily routines and lose sight of what their contributions are attributed to on a larger scale. Take a proactive approach to reinforce your organization’s alignment by planning a retreat geared toward employee engagement.
What do a loan officer, warehouse manager and accountant have in common? Okay, the answer probably didn’t come to you immediately, so I’ll let you in on the secret: these are some of the happiest jobs in America. Yes folks, you heard that right. CareerBliss recently released the list of the 20 happiest jobs in America, and since you’re probably wondering how in the world these jobs ever topped the list, we’ll break down the key reason why these jobs outshine the competition.
Dear A Advisor,
I keep hearing that companies are using social media sites like Facebook to help motivate and engage their employees. I don’t get it—aren’t they just time wasters? I want to help my employees reach a good work-life balance, but I’m afraid that social media will just be a distraction.
To Friend, or not to Friend
“To recruit and retain top talent, an organization needs to be exceptional at recognizing employees in ways they value. Modern leadership must accept that recognition has a different meaning for Gen X and Gen Y employees than for previous generations. They grew up with it and they expect it. Create a culture of recognition where employees are empowered to choose their own rewards and they’ll never leave.”
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR “TELL US YOUR BEST RECOGNITION STORY” CONTEST WINNER ANDREW GOTTLIEB WHO’S WON $100.00 WORTH OF POINTS THAT HE CAN REDEEM FOR ANYTHING IN OUR CATALOGUE!
Communication is vital to employee engagement. All high-performing organizations have great communication and, unsurprisingly, it is a top motivator for employees. Great communication within an organization can be defined as open, consistent, transparent and multi-directional.
This means that ideas and direction not only come from the top, but employees also contribute to the conversation. Dialogue is free-flowing and comes from both directions, as simple and basic as a homemade telephone with two soup cans and a string. Managers who are great communicators are also available to their employees for support, encouragement and questions. Finally, good leaders share the organization’s successes as well as its failures with employees because everyone has the right to know about it and transparency builds trust.
Do your employees enjoy coming to the office? Are you looking for tips on how to improve productivity, morale, and happiness? At Achievers, we believe that a working environment should reflect a company’s culture and values, influence productivity, and evoke success. Organizations are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to keep their employees engaged; however, the answer is right in front of you.
Dear A Advisor,
Recently, we’ve been fortunate enough to bring on a few new hires. We’ve already improved our employee engagement throughout our company. Now that we’ve brought on new people, how do we ensure our new hires are engaged and productive from day one?
– Growing Up Fast
What does it take for managers to motivate employees to achieve powerful results? Developing a strategy for employee engagement is the formula for an organization’s success, which starts with several initiatives geared towards strengthening the employee-manager relationship. We’re pleased to share The Employee Engagement Pyramid by David Zinger, which illustrates the most important fundamentals of employee engagement, thanks to The Globe and Mail’s recent post on the 10 building blocks for employee engagement. Read more →
Would you order the most expensive meal on the menu and expect your date to pay?
Would you tell your date to arrive at 7PM sharp and then show up an hour later?
You probably wouldn’t, because great relationships are a two-way street of giving and taking. And like romantic relationships, your relationships with your employees need to be equally co-invested. Employers must provide an engaging environment for their workforce so that the employees are inclined to thrive.
We just polled our company and our engagement scores were down low. We’ve noticed a shift in morale and lack of recognition in general. We want to start with our managers to begin making a change. What do managers need to do to increase employee engagement on a daily basis?
“Align your feedback with the company’s overall objectives. The most deeply motivated people – not to mention those who are most productive and satisfied – hitch their desires to a cause larger themselves.”
Your employees are your first customers
It is common for companies to believe customer loyalty is the key to profitability, but, in reality, employee loyalty is even more profitable and important to companies. Organizations should adopt the mindset of engaging their employees first, because engaged employees drive customer happiness. Loyal and engaged employees are more aligned to customer’s needs and generate 37% higher sales and 31% higher productivity on average (according to a recent article in Harvard Business Review). This organically translates into customer loyalty and, in effect, drives profitability.
“You wouldn’t let people smoke in your office because of the harmful effects it has on others. Like smoking, disengagement is damaging to your workforce. People who are unhappy and underperforming are bringing down the rest of your employees – including top performers who are engaged.“
“The most effective way to drive long-term performance is to provide employees with an intrinsic motivator – the ability to choose their own rewards. Empowering employees to redeem for what is of value to them is an enjoyable experience, motivating the employee to perform the activity that resulted in this outcome again.”
“While recognition and engagement scores hit bottom, people still inherently want to feel connected with others more and more. Tweeted, posted, and liked recognitions allow employees to share positive moments at your business with their internal network.”
Nintendo, Snakes & Ladders, Pinball: these words alone evoke competition, strategy, and excitement – largely because humans are fundamentally psychologically stimulated by games. It’s no wonder that more and more employers are adopting the Gamification trend as an approach to motivating the workforce in an effort to uniquely inspire employees to drive greater business results. Gamification in a work environment uses game-like dynamics to target the same psychological behaviors humans inherently exhibit in gaming and apply that to tasks at work.
“Two of the youngest generations now occupy 57% of the workforce. This new demographic’s demands trump old workplace traditions. In order to recruit and retain top talent, evolve your engagement strategy by offering career progression opportunities and creating a recognition rhythm where feedback is instantaneous.”
A, I need your help –
Our workforce isn’t producing the results we need, and I think it’s because they don’t know what they are expected to accomplish. What spark gets individual employees to go from vague, general goals to ones with targets? Our team of managers has much difficulty getting to results /outcomes with their respective teams.
There’s a new kid in town, and what they have to offer is very Pinterest-ing.
With TechCrunch reporting that Pinterest now has 10.4M registered users, the reality is that businesses should WANT to get on (a pin) board and take advantage of the traffic that this new phenomenon of a social site attracts.
The company I work for is all virtual with employees located across the country. We’ve noticed a decline in motivation but we don’t know how to drive employees without face to face time? How do we get them engaged when we can’t even see them?
“Although the workforce has evolved and is now consumed by over 50% of Millennial employees, companies’ recognition practices have remained the same. Retaining talent and driving results have become two obstacles that employers constantly struggle to overcome. To boost engagement, drive performance, and get results, employers must move beyond Traditional Years of Service awards and implement a culture of everyday feedback.”
Social media is at the forefront of communication, whether you like it or not. A 2011 study from Ipsos Reid found that over 17 million people nationwide are regular users of social media. So, how does this affect your employee engagement strategy?
We’re working with our managers to get them to recognize their teams more, but management don’t seem to see the value. They feel like everything is fine as is. How can I explain to others exactly what the term “engagement” means?
“Effective management is critical to driving motivation. Historically, successful management was defined as the ability to obtain compliance from employees. Today the science of motivation overrules this notion by illustrating a significant gap between compliance and engagement. The key to successfully building employee engagement is by instilling autonomy in employees.”
Can’t keep it up?
You’re not alone. Employers worldwide can’t keep it up either. If you’re experiencing snowball effects such as:
- Increased turnover rates
- Decreased employee empowerment
- Unsatisfying performance results
- Poor team culture
…then it’s time you admit that your employee engagement strategy needs a makeover.
Aon Hewitt recently released their disturbing analysis on employee engagement levels in 2011 in workplaces across the world. They reported shockingly low levels of engagement, levels that have failed to increase since 2008.
“At the end of the third quarter, Aon Hewitt analyzed its employee engagement database of more than 5,700 employers, representing five million employees worldwide. The findings reveal an engagement level of 56 percent thus far in 2011, which is the same as 2010, but lower than 2009 (60 percent) and 2008 (57 percent). Traditionally, engagement levels between 65 percent and 100 percent represent a high-performing culture; 45 percent to 65 percent indicate the workforce is indifferent to organizational success or failure; and anything lower than 45 percent represents a serious or destructive range.”
Take a moment to reflect on that. And then ask yourself, why? Why are we letting ourselves fall victim to the “what goes up must come down” law of nature?
It couldn’t be spelled out more clearly for employers: employees + engagement = business results. And that’s what makes it difficult to understand why companies have failed to evolve – or even adopt – an engagement solution. There are many possible reasons why this problem has been perpetuated. Here are three major trends in 2011 that I believe to have contributed to disengagement. Last year, employers continued to:
- Remain uninformed about the significance of employee engagement
- Stereotype “engagement” as a fluffy and immeasurable topic
- Be completely preoccupied with social media
It’s 2012 now; if you’re looking for business success this year (and really, who isn’t?), then it’s time to get informed about employee engagement. It’s been researched, studied and published – HR industry analysts stand behind the performance and engagement equation, with recognition being the best form of driving engagement and motivating your workforce. The reality is that a “thank you” is much more powerful than a bonus, not to mention entirely aligned to business success. Makes you wonder why you’re not recognizing more, doesn’t it?
If you can identify with any of the three trends above that reigned top of mind in 2011, I encourage you to consider these in 2012 to boost your employee engagement scores:
- Set realistic goals and be transparent with your teams about expectations
- Open the lines of communication and meet regularly with employees to provide feedback and facilitate status reports
- Establish a recognition rhythm by following-up and using the power of a “thank you” to reinforce positive results
We just conducted an engagement survey and our results were more than disappointing. I know that we need to implement an engagement solution but our C-Suite isn’t buying in to the idea. What is the easiest way to submit this idea to my executive management team?
Guest post written by: Laurie Ruettimann
Twenty years ago, I graduated from high school. This makes me old enough to remember when 1992 was labeled “the year of the woman” in America. In what seemed like an amazing push for equal rights, there were five female senators in our upper house of Congress.
Unfortunately, there are 100 seats in the Senate.
As we embark on a new year, it poses the perfect opportunity to revaluate our lives, goals and direction – and this extends to the workplace. This year, when it comes to rewarding your employees and fostering an engaging workforce, consider these New Year’s Resolutions to create a culture of recognition where employees drive results.
Despite the current economy, when it comes to the technology industry, the job market not only has recovered — it’s booming. Now, with the biggest competition for technology companies headquartered in Silicon Valley, employers are finding themselves contending for the industry’s top talent. Hiring and retaining employees in a competitive market significantly depends on understanding the needs of the Next Generation – Millennials – who now occupy more than the majority of the workforce.