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ideas for employee appreciation week

Out of the Box Ideas for Employee Appreciation Week

By: Sarah Clayton
Communications and Campaigns Specialist, Achievers

Promoting a consistent culture of recognition is an essential component to employee engagement, but who says you can’t step up your appreciation game every once in a while? A good celebration tends to incite a positive atmosphere that is almost tangible to the touch – and the positivity is infectious. People’s smiles get a little bigger, the laughs a little louder and the residual feel-good attitude can be felt for days after. What’s not to love about that?

In the world of employee recognition, Employee Appreciation Day is the be-all and end-all of celebrations. In fact, some people (ourselves included) take it so seriously that we celebrate it for a whole week! If you’re keen on the idea of doing something extra special for your people to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day (or week), we’ve got some fantastic suggestions for you:

Fun and Games

My local gym (actually, it’s more like an adult playground) has a great little message on a wall that reads, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”  There are numerous gratifying aspects of working, from building your career to meeting some amazing people, but I am a firm believer that everyone has an inner child who is just waiting to be let out to play. Here are some ways to indulge the inner child in all of your employees:

  1. Craft Room
    Fill a room with different art supplies and encourage your team to let their imaginations run free. If you have especially artistic employees, ask if they would like to share their skills through an art class.
  1. Games Room
    Puzzles, board games, cards – there are an infinite number of games out there. Games have come back in a big way in 2017, and they are the perfect way to facilitate some team bonding and to let off some steam in the process.
  1. Jumbo Games
    If you want to go big on the game front, rent a bigger game, like a ping pong or foosball table, for your employees to enjoy during the week.
  1. Trivia
    Have a condensed jeopardy type competition at lunch or put out random trivia questions throughout the day. To spice things up, add prizes.
  1. Throw Back Thursday: baby photo edition
    This one requires some prep, but is well worth the effort. Ask your team to bring in their baby photos in the days leading up to EAD/EAW, then compile the photos on a poster board and let the guessing begin. For added difficultly, sprinkle in some celebrity baby photos.
  1. Photo Booth
    Rent a photo booth (or get a Polaroid camera) for the office so your team can document the employee appreciation moments and get some new pictures to put up at their desks – or to share on social media. This has the added benefit of showing the outside world (think perspective employees) how cool and fun your workplace is.
  1. Comedy
    I have yet to meet someone who is not a fan of a good laugh. Reach out to a local comedy group and get someone in to get the chuckles going in the office. Who knows, maybe you even have a few comedians on your own employee roster.
  1. Scavenger Hunt
    There are SO many options with how to approach this. From items in the office to incorporating the surrounding neighborhood or having an ‘employee scavenger hunt’ (e.g. find someone who has completed a triathlon), there is huge potential to be creative here. Scavenger hunts are also a great way to promote inter-departmental collaboration and bonding.

Snacks and Treats

Snacks are fantastic, and I do not think it would be untrue to say that free snacks are an almost guaranteed slam dunk. Ever pay attention to what happens when the après meeting ‘leftover sandwiches are in the kitchen’ email goes out?  Mass kitchen migration.

  1. Hire a food truck to park outside the office (on the company’s dime) for lunch
    Food trucks are all the rage these days. They offer new twists on old classics, have unique menus and can provide more good fodder for social media posts.
  1. Ice Cream Sundae Bar
    Delicious ice cream. Creative toppings. Need I say more?
  1. Smoothie Bar
    Same idea as the Sundae Bar, but a healthier option (and could be more appropriate if you’ve been making wellness a priority at your company this year)
  1. Team Picnic
    The outdoors and food are two pretty awesome things, so when you pair them together it’s a pretty excellent outcome. Have a nice patio? Get your team outside and into the fresh air for a bit.
    **This is more applicable for those working in warm environments. If you’re located in an area where average temperatures in March are below zero this could be perceived as a perverse form of punishment.
  1. Top Chef Competition
    I would be willing to bet that every office has a few aspiring chefs in their midst. Put out feelers in the time leading up to your Employee Appreciation celebrations and see if anyone wants to put their culinary prowess on display for an entertaining, and tasty, competition.

Personal Development

  1. Ted Talks
    Screen Ted Talks throughout the celebrations – bonus points for committing to the ‘theatre vibe’ with comfy seats and treats (popcorn machine anyone?). You can put out feelers leading up to the event and ask people to submit topics or speakers of interest.
  1. Leader Q&A
    Transparency is king. It provides people with a sense of inclusion and breaks down some of the typical hierarchical barriers. Create a comfortable environment where Leaders answer employee’s questions and hear their ideas. It’s a good idea to include a moderator and a question submission box, in case employees wish to ask sensitive questions anonymously.
  1. Celebrate Personal Accomplishments
    People in your organization are capable of, and may have already done, amazing things. Take some time to celebrate your team member’s accomplishments outside of work – this is also a great way to get to know them as individuals, beyond the office.

These are just some ideas to get the ball rolling, the key to a successful Employee Appreciation Celebration is incorporating aspects that matter to your employees.

Start celebrating Employee Appreciation Week by giving thanks and appreciating your employees today. Recognize their great work with a personalized recognition card. Get started here. 

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About Sarah Clayton

Sarah ClaytonSarah Clayton is the Communications and Campaigns Specialist at Achievers, where she focuses on generating content to drive desired recognition behaviors and engagement on the platform.

 

 

 

Positive Work Culture

5 Company Initiatives That Improve Office Culture

By: Jessica Thiefels
Small Business Freelancer, Content Marketing and Strategy Consultant

In today’s competitive market for talent, office culture is everything. With employees spending most of their time (some upwards of 50 hours a week) in the office, it’s should come as no surprise that HR leaders consider developing and nurturing corporate culture and employee engagement to be their number one challenge.

Luckily, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to improve company culture. Initiatives that promote health, work-life balance, kindness and gratitude already exist and can go a long way in bolstering a positive office culture while also increasing engagement.

If you’re unsure where to start, here are a few initiatives to consider:

Employee Health

Companies have been holding organization-wide health challenges and the like for some time now, but the kinds of health initiatives employees desire are different than they once were, where end results were all that was emphasized. People don’t want to step on a giant scale and see how much weight they lost (or didn’t lose!). Instead, they want measurable processes that lead to overall well-being; to track progress with technology, get stronger, healthier, and feel great. With that in mind, here are a few modern health initiatives to try:

Supply organic lunches: According to a 3-month Communispace study. millennials care deeply about what they eat: “More than a quarter say organic, natural and non-toxic products are part of maintaining their health and may see them as alternatives to traditional medicine, signaling an opportunity for brands well beyond the traditional health care sectors,” If your organization can’t pay for lunch every day, choose a couple days to provide an organic lunch for employees or consider partnering with a catering company or bringing in a chef.

Strength challenge: You are probably familiar with popular health hashtags such as: #Healthyisthenewskinny and #progressnotperfection. With the idea of encouraging progress towards health goals in mind, why not hold a fitness challenge and then give employees a period of time to prepare for a re-test, challenging them to improve their performance and beat their old numbers. The friendly competition will encourage camaraderie and morale among employees while emphasizing greater personal health through competition.

Sleep goals: According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the more sleep an employee gets, the less likely they are to call in sick: “Results show that the risk of an extended absence from work due to sickness rose sharply among those who reported sleeping less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours per night,”

With fitness trackers and other wearables, people can now track how long and how well they’re sleeping every night. Set a sleep goal for employees and have them track their sleep over a period of time to earn rewards like gift cards, merchandise or PTO. Employees will feel better and they’ll love telling people they have “sleep goals” for work.

A Kindness Initiative

We could all benefit from more kindness in the world these days; not only at work but throughout our daily lives. In a recent poll, 76 percent of respondents said the world is a less kind place than it was 10 to 20 years ago. One way to bring more kindness, respect, and empathy into the workplace is with a kindness initiative.

It should include the following components:

Create a set of kindness “pillars” that everyone follows. Examples include: When giving constructive criticism or performance feedback, always give “compliment sandwiches” (compliment, criticism, compliment), assign work based on people’s strengths to set everyone up for success, exhibit small acts of kindness like holding the door open for coworkers, etc.

Institute regular recognition of employees. For this to stick, it has to work top down. Managers and team leaders can plan a monthly meeting where one or a group of employee(s) is called out for their excellent work. To ensure a tangible element for this type of recognition, employers can also create a wall of fame to post photos of these high performing employees. For larger organizations, an employee recognition platform is a great way to create and embed a culture of recognition.

Encourage employees to “give props” to their peers. If you use a tool like Slack to communicate within your office, this is easy to facilitate. Set up a channel where employees can recognize one another with a timely “thanks” or “nice job” regarding recent business successes. Using Slack, colleagues can not only tag the recipient of the “props”, but the entire channel, so everyone sees what that person did. Some recognition software providers, like Achievers, even allow the integration of popular tools like Slack within their recognition platform to further encourage “recognition in the flow of work”.

Employees will love getting the extra recognition, and more kindness may help reduce drama and sticky office politics.

A Volunteer Initiative

Giving back is not only good for the soul of your organization, it’s also good for attracting and retaining millennials: But sadly, only 57 percent of millennials believe that business leaders are committed to improving society. A volunteer initiative is relatively easy to set up and gives you a chance to boost your employer brand while also increasing loyalty and engagement among millennials.

Here are a few suggestions for setting up a volunteer initiative:

  • Hold a bi-annual volunteer event, where employees volunteer their time rather than go into the office for the day. Don’t do it on a Saturday—not only will you likely cripple turnout, but employees will likely not appreciate having an initiative such as this scheduled during their free time.
  • Reward employees who volunteer on their own time with “free” half-days.
  • Give every employee one workday a year, month or quarter to take part in a volunteer activity of their choosing.

In addition to the inherent value of the good deed itself, participating employees will feel good about themselves and gain more respect for your business, making volunteer initiatives especially valuable.

A Work/Life Balance Initiative

In the aforementioned Communispace study, 49 percent of millennials reported work-life balance as an important part of their health and wellness, followed by relationships with friends and family (47 percent). Employees of all generations care greatly about achieving a proper Work/Life balance, making it an important part of any culture campaign.

Luckily, there are many ways you can help employees foster desired work-life balance:

  • Half-day Fridays: Offer this once a month, or during a specific quarter. Many companies do this in the summer, when people tend to go on more weekend escapes.
  • Flexible work hours: Instead of limiting office attendance to the standard 9-to-5, allow employees to work when and how they can personally be most productive, whether that means coming in and leaving early, or working through the night. As long as they are performing up to expectations and making themselves available for meetings and other requests from colleagues, allow them the flexibility to manage their own schedules.
  • Work from home: If possible, allow employees to occasionally work from home, be it once a week or month.
  • Unlimited time off: This is something many startups and even larger companies are starting to offer. Employees can take as much, or as little time off as their job permits, without worrying about PTO caps or tracking their remaining vacation days. Fostering trust among your employees does wonders for engagement and it also benefits employers as it has been suggested that employees may actually take less time off when they have unlimited PTO.

A Shadow Initiative

This initiative allows employees to shadow their peers for a period of time. Business departments often get siloed and have little understanding as to what each other is doing. Shadow initiatives give everyone a chance to understand the roles of their collegues and see how their two positions can work together to achieve even better results.

To keep it organized, allow one department to shadow each month. For example, in March, members of the marketing team will shadow whomever they want. Set your time period (4 hours, an afternoon), and ask each shadow pairing to come up with one way they can work together in the next month.

Employees will love spending time doing something new and the business will flourish as connections are made that take projects and ideas to the next level.

To learn more, download the white paper All For One and One For All: Uniting a Global Workforce With Company Culture.

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About Jessica Thiefels
Jessica Thiefels
Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and spent the last five years in marketing. She recently stepped down from a senior marketing position to focus on growing her own startup and consulting for small businesses. She’s been featured on Forbes and has written for sites such as Lifehack, Inman, Manta, StartupNation and more. When she’s not working, she’s enjoying sunny San Diego with her husband and friends or traveling somewhere new. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07.

 

New Hires Engaged Employees

Turning New Hires into Engaged Employees – 3 Quick Tips for Success

Studies on turnover estimate that when an employee leaves a company it can cost the organization between 30 to 250 percent of that person’s annual salary due to factors like loss of productivity and other associated replacement costs. BambooHR shared its research on turnover with the Society for Human Resource Management, saying the average company is losing one-sixth of its new hires in the first six months. Providing a competitive compensation and benefits package is important, but in today’s market, retention also requires making new hires feel engaged, aligned and connected from Day 1.

With this in mind, we offer three quick tips to think about when bringing people onboard your organization.

1. Promote affiliation with people from the start

The BambooHR study found the reasons new hires leave so soon included the expected, like lacking in clear guidelines on responsibilities and wanting better training, as well as some less intuitive factors. For instance, 17% said a friendly smile or a helpful co-worker would have made the difference between staying and going, and 12% wanted to be “recognized for their unique contributions.” Employees today, especially millennials, like to connect and collaborate, and that is especially true of millennials, yet the Aberdeen Group found that only 32% of organizations provide opportunities for peer networking. This represents a clear missed opportunity and one that can be easily remedied with a mentoring or “buddy” program. Conclusion: Providing early opportunities for peer networking and social recognition are critical to retention.

2. Look beyond money to drive desired behaviors

According to a frequently cited Kepner Tregoe study, 40% of employees felt that that increased salaries and financial rewards were ineffective in reducing turnover. Employee behaviors today are driven less by financial incentive and more by aligning their personal values with company goals in order to endow their work with a greater sense of meaning. Meeting these seemingly less-tangible needs can be accomplished through a formal recognition and rewards program, along with frequent manager feedback and opportunities to connect with new team members. Conclusion: Aligning employees’ personal values with company goals through recognition programs and frequent feedback is more likely to drive successful behavior.

3. Develop an onboarding system that engages quickly

Do you think of employee recognition as something only for employees who have been with the company for some time? More and more leading organizations are realizing that optimizing the workplace for employee retention requires integrating new employees into their recognition programs right from the start. By encouraging participation in an organization’s recognition program from the outset, employers can insure that new hires embrace and contribute to the company’s culture of recognition. To do this, employers can build training on the company’s rewards and recognition platform into employee onboarding programs and by not waiting until the employee has been with the company for an extended period before recognizing desired behaviors.

Ideas for early recognitions include recognizing new hires for how quickly they get up to speed on their new job responsibilities, how well they are connecting with their new co-workers, or how frequently they participate in culture-building activities. In order to reinforce a culture of recognition and achieve ongoing employee engagement as a result, recognitions should be frequent, meaningful and tied to company values. In fact, Gallup recommends at least every seven days. Conclusion: Engage employees and integrate them into the company’s culture of recognition from day one through recognitions given early and often.

New hires are more likely to decide to stay with your organization when they feel appreciated and welcomed by their peers. Millennials especially, projected to make up more than 50% of the workforce by 2020, embrace peer networking and social recognition. Setting up new hires for success through early participation in a company’s culture of recognition is good for employees and good for the organization.

Learn how to build a culture of recognition by downloading The Case for Employee Recognition Ebook.

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employee recognition culture

It Takes a Recognition Culture To Spark Engagement

By: Meghan M. Biro

Today’s workplace is evolving rapidly. The recent focus on employee engagement has taught us plenty, including how closely tied employee engagement is to an organization’s success, and what happens in this disrupted, transformed workforce without engagement: our top talent moves on. We also know that one of the primary drivers of engagement is recognition. So where do those understandings lead? If we want to be successful in this changing landscape they lead to a workplace culture built on recognition, rewards, feedback and transparency.

But to spark the kind of engagement that spurs organizational success, recognition has to be ingrained in the culture – a central and fundamental part of an organization’s DNA. When this is achieved there are countless examples of tangible results. Here are just a few:

  • Ericsson’s North American operations boosted its employee engagement scores 14% higher than the industry average;
  • When M Resort organization instituted a trackable recognition program, it elevated employee engagement by 12% within the first 8 months. It also saw a continuing rise in customer satisfaction ratings;
  • Leading health information network, Availity has aligned its corporate values with its employee rewards and recognition program, supporting a fun and engaging work environment, and ultimately solidifying its culture of transparency and respect.

Culture First, Then Engagement: 3 Must-Dos

When we look at employee recognition and ask where to start and what to focus on, most of the answers we’re getting point to culture. Culture is not just another word in the special-sauce lexicon of talent management: culture, done right, is the glue that holds a workplace together. But if it goes awry, bad workplace culture can be the source of endless friction that keeps a workplace apart. In fact, and perhaps unsurprisingly, a new SHRM study found that more than three-quarters (77%) of employees say their engagement at work hinges on having good relationships with their co-workers.

An effective culture of recognition has three prongs:

Transparency and Democratization

Positive relationships at work are built on daily interactions between employees and through opportunities for productive, creative collaboration, not occasional projects or isolated moments. Another common expectation that has come to the fore as millennials have entered the workplace in greater numbers, is transparency. Recognition programs limited to “top down” performance incentives handed down by leaders who don’t bother to consult employees on their needs and preferences can shift culture in the wrong way. Instead of inspiring greater buy-in and cultural unity, these misguided efforts may instead inspire a job search. In a workforce that values transparency, a one-directional, hierarchical approach can look like thinly veiled condescension.

What does work: opportunities for recognition and rewards that build cultural synergies demographically, structurally, and geographically. These are the stitches in a quilt of recognition that includes everyone on all levels, entry level to C-suite, by enabling participation in all directions: uphill, lateral (peer-to-peer, team to team and across teams and departments), and top-down. Recognition in this form can navigate global divides, connecting multiple hubs and geographically dispersed locations. It can’t be left to a manager to know which of his or her people want the chance to cheer their teammates on, nor should it. And they shouldn’t need to approve recognitions either. To manage recognition instead of enabling it it goes right back to the problem of top-down relationships — it simply gets in the way. On top of that, managers have enough to do, as we all know.

Integration

In the latest Global Human Capital Trends report by Deloitte, 85% of executives named engagement a key priority, but understanding how to improve it is another story. Only 34% said they felt ready to deal with issues of engagement, though 46% of companies are tackling it head-on. In terms of recognition, integration means cross-platform, frequency and flexibility. It means offering varying forms of recognition and rewards from social to monetary, from informal “Thank You’s” to big ticket rewards and incentives. Integration also means enabling recognition across any platform: via smartphones, tablets, PCs, or even an on-site kiosk.

Integrated recognition programs are already evolving: some feature open APIs that connect to other important drivers of engagement, such as health & wellness and learning & development. This also speaks to the importance of culture and another expectation that has its roots in the millennial mindset: that employees should be valued not just as talent, or “human capital” but as real humans with real lives. Workplace flexibility remains a high priority for today’s workforce, but the digital transformation also means that health & wellness, learning & development, and performance management — can all exist online or in app. It’s an easy enhancement with great payback. Moreover, it’s another stream of trackable data.

Measurability

A culture of recognition that exists across multiple platforms and embraces a wide range of functions also provides a continuous stream of data – not just for a CHRO or an HR team to measure and gain insights from, but for managers and leaders throughout the organization. Tracking program ROI and managing rewards budgets is only one part the equation. Again, this is one of the most profound ways to drive and support transparency: by sharing and democratizing the data. Consider the possibilities of a team that can look at its own performance and behaviors; of managers tracking recognition patterns as they relate to engagement and performance. In terms of retention, skills gaps, identifying front-runners and planning successions, it’s an invaluable resource.

The right reporting and analytics tools provide another source of in-the-moment feedback as well, part of that reciprocal interaction between human talent and digital tools. It also makes reporting and ROI part of the very functionality of that recognition culture. In terms of feeling invested in business outcomes, and aligned with business goals, data and graphs speak volumes.

Endless Opportunity

A recognition culture supported by a robust digital platform provides endless opportunities for positive reinforcement, all tying back to tangible benefits and results. Developed with an organization’s mission and values in mind, a recognition culture should leverage technology to humanize the workplace and provide additional meaning for every task and interaction. In this current environment that values transparency, trust and flexibility, but is more scattered across locations, devices and platforms than ever, this is what it takes.

Check out Meghan M. Biro’s third guest blog post 5 Performance Measurement Myths.

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About Meghan M. Biro

meghan biroMeghan M. Biro is a globally recognized Talent Management and HR Tech brand strategist, analyst, digital catalyst, author and speaker. As founder and CEO of TalentCulture, she has worked with hundreds of companies, from early-stage ventures to global brands like Microsoft, IBM and Google, helping them recruit and empower stellar talent. Meghan has been a guest on numerous radio shows and online forums, and has been a featured speaker at global conferences. She is a regular contributor at Forbes, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur and several other media outlets. Meghan regularly serves on advisory boards for leading HR and technology brands. Meghan has been voted one of the Top 100 Social Media Power Influencers in 2015 by StatSocial and Forbes, Top 50 Most Valuable Social Media Influencers by General Sentiment, Top 100 on Twitter Business, Leadership, and Tech by Huffington Post, and Top 25 HR Trendsetters by HR Examiner.

 

How to Spot Who’s Going to Quit Next

Most of your company’s expenses are unavoidable, but employee attrition is one of the costs that you can have significant control over. Employee attrition can cost six to nine months’ worth of the departing worker’s salary, so it’s in your best interests to find ways to address employee attrition head-on. Of course it’s necessary to create a culture in your organization that makes people want to stay — but it’s equally important to be able to recognize which employee is planning to quit next. Research into employees quitting provides some actionable insights:

Demographics most likely to quit

Over half of employees who leave their jobs do so within the first year, according to a study by Equifax. This statistic indicates that the early phases of your new hires’ careers are the most sensitive and that you should pay extra close attention to new hires who show continuing signs of disengagement at the workplace. To this end, it is important to focus your onboarding program on how to engage employees as quickly as possible to avoid high turnover. It’s also helpful to be aware of which industries have the highest percentage of employee turnover. The average turnover rate in 2015 across all industries was 16.7 percent. However, the banking and finance industry saw an 18.6 percent turnover rate, the healthcare industry was at 19 percent, and the hospitality industry topped the list with a whopping 37.6 percent employee churn rate.

Specific traits that mark a quitter

While knowing that your industry tends to have especially high turnover rates can cause you to be more alert to the risks, it also helps to know what specific traits to look for in your employees. Research conducted at Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University yielded an actionable set of behaviors that you should be watching for. If employees display at least six of the behaviors listed in the Utah State University study, the likelihood they are planning to quit in the near future reaches 80 percent. Top behaviors listed in the study include:

  • Less focus on the future: Since they know they won’t be around as projects are completed and rolled out, workers planning to quit in coming weeks tend to show markedly less willingness to sign onto long-term projects. They may also pass up opportunities for training and development, and show less interest in advancing to higher positions within the company.
  • Less connection to work: As they begin to withdraw and their engagement level drops, workers planning to leave soon tend to display lowered productivity. They’ll come up with fewer new ideas and suggestions for innovation, and they won’t go beyond the required minimum effort.
  • Less social energy: Employees likely to quit soon begin to retreat from normal socializing at work. They become “more reserved and quiet,” and they also avoid interacting socially with their boss or other managers.

Employee engagement is a reliable indicator. Reviewing the problematic behaviors listed above, it becomes obvious that they all describe a worker who is not engaged. The direct correlation between engagement and retention is further demonstrated by the USU’s list of behaviors that don’t correlate with quitting: If you have an employee who suddenly schedules a lot of doctor’s appointments, shows up at work in a suit, or even leaves a copy of their resume on the copier, you may want to check in with that person — but (contrary to conventional wisdom) those actions don’t necessarily indicate that the worker plans to quit. And, interestingly, these non-problematic behaviors can all occur in a fully engaged worker. Predicting employee attrition, then, becomes a matter of being able to recognize lack of engagement, rather than other less reliable markets.

Developing your action plan

Using employee recognition as an indicator enables you to identify your most loyal employees. These top performers are the ones who are not only engaged in producing high-quality work, but they’re also the ones who reach out to recognize their colleagues and promote an atmosphere of warmth and recognition within your organization. Conversely, once you find out which people are most engaged with their coworkers, you can also more easily become aware of the ones on the opposite end of the spectrum: the employees who are retreating from engagement and showing signs that they might quit.

Recognizing coworkers is a solid sign of engagement

According to a recent Achievers study, it was discovered employees who were about to be promoted sent an average of 3.8 times more recognitions than their coworkers; meaning active recognizers are more likely to be promoted within their organization as opposed to non-active recognizers. Those employees who feel appreciated and engaged tend to reach out to express active recognition of their colleagues are more likely to stay than quit, and they’re also the ones you need to nurture and groom for leadership roles.

Once you identify the members of your staff who are in greatest danger of quitting, you can develop managerial practices to build employee morale and loop the outliers back into a sense of alignment with the company. A desire to be recognized and appreciated for the work that they’re doing is one of the primary reasons that people quit their jobs, and a Forbes survey found 79 percent of employees “don’t feel strongly valued for the work they put in.” That same article stated, “When you take into consideration the high cost of turnover and an increasingly improving job market, these findings ought to get you thinking about your own recognition strategies. How can you expect employees to stay at your organization if they’re not getting the appreciation they deserve?”

Don’t lose top talent and take action immediately by developing the right employee recognition strategy for your business. The more you increase employee recognition, the more you’ll increase employee retention and engagement as a result. To learn more about how you can increase employee retention through a culture of recognition, download our Ultimate Guide to Employee Recognition.

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Buyer's Guide for Social Recognition Systems

Finding the right social employee recognition solution: partner, platform, program

Employee recognition — done right — is today’s must-have for business. Social employee recognition systems appear on Gartner’s Hype Cycle, climbing the curve to become a standard business system — but how do you choose the right system? It’s a choice that comes with very high stakes. Pick the wrong partner and you not only risk throwing your money to the wind; you could also alienate your entire workforce. Ouch.

Let’s consider what to look for to better your chances of finding the right fit.

It starts with finding a partner. This means the people and services that stand behind the solution. Ultimately, a platform is only as good as the people who bring it to life. The success of your employee recognition program hinges on the support and expertise your vendor provides.

A platform: The core technology system that your employee recognition program will run on. Enterprise platforms – rather than a mobile-only solution for example – give you the place to consolidate all of your employee programs and get visibility and control over program spend. Platforms that offer an API enable you to integrate the solution with other enterprise applications. It’s a great opportunity to keep employees productive by having recognition right within their flow of work and enables you to bring your workforce data together, ultimately getting more value out of your investment in each application.

Ability to create your unique program. Getting results relies on how well the set of features and functions you’ll be using can be tailored to the culture and objectives you’re targeting.  It might go without saying, but recognition tools need to be front and center.  Here is a short list of some of the essential recognition features to look for that will ensure your program will be successful.

Recognition tools to look for:

2016 Buyer's Guide for Social Recognition Systems

Learn more about what you need to consider to find the right employee recognition solution for your organization in our new 2016 Buyer’s Guide for Social Recognition Systems

Employee Recognition

Why you need to celebrate employee milestones

As a manager, you’re aware that it’s important to give employees everyday recognition, praise, and feedback. You’ll do a better job of effectively delivering this recognition, however, if you understand the reasons behind it. Here are three primary effects you’ll experience from building employee recognition into your daily workplace culture:

  • Better morale: Acknowledging the hard work and dedication that employees invest in your company is a good way to give them “a sense of ownership and belonging,” according to HR Council. They’re more likely to have the motivation to go above and beyond on the next project if they know their efforts will be noticed.
  • Greater employee retention: As HR.com points out, this isn’t rocket science – employees who are recognized are more likely to be engaged, and engaged employees equal higher retention rates. On the flip side, employee turnover can be a huge expense for your company and can damage your customer’s experience with your brand.
  • Higher productivity: After surveying more than 4 million employees in 10,000 business units, the Gallup Organization states unequivocally that individuals who receive regular recognition and praise increase their individual productivity.

Options for employee recognition

In addition to ongoing recognition and feedback, HR and managers need to develop special ways to celebrate bigger milestones. When your workers meet their goals, achieve a professional accomplishment such as a new certification, earn a promotion, or even hit their annual anniversary, there are a variety of unique ways that you can mark their special occasion. These are a few popular reward and recognition ideas that go beyond everyday praise:

  • Free lunch
  • Gift card or financial bonus
  • “Free” time off
  • New electronics like an upgraded smartphone, tablet, or laptop
  • All-expenses-paid vacation
  • Special award or bonus points
  • A public, company-wide ecard

Recognizing your employees will pay off

When you acknowledge the contributions your employees make and create an encouraging workplace culture, you’re laying the foundation for your future business success. Gallup’s Business Journal estimates that “22 million workers (in the United States alone) are extremely negative or ‘actively disengaged.” This disaffection ends up costing the U.S. economy up to $300 billion in lost productivity every year, not including associated absences, injuries, and employee turnover. Take the time to invest in your employees’ sense of meaning, pride, and emotional health – the investment could pay back in the form of better productivity and retention.

4 ideas for celebrating employee anniversaries

We’re big advocates of everyday recognition, but we agree that there are some employee milestones that deserve extra-special recognition. Whether it’s anniversaries, retirements, or other major accomplishments, observing milestones is a great way to show an employee that you care about their contributions. Here are a few ideas for how you can celebrate milestones with a bigger bang:

  1. Collaborate on a personalized reward

HR can collaborate with team leaders to figure out what type of employee rewards or celebration would be most meaningful to the employee, whether it’s a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant, or a cake in their favorite flavor and color. Going the extra mile to personalize the celebration is a great way to make the employee feel understood and appreciated.

  1. Send a company-wide recognition email or online video

Recognition of career accomplishments is important to all employees, whether it’s a tenure of one year or 10. When a manager sends an email or video to all employees, recognizing a work anniversary and mentioning specific accomplishments, the employee has verification that work contributions are recognized as important to business success.

  1. Give the employee a choice

You can develop an employee rewards system with different items for each year of service and let the employee have fun by choosing. For example, a five-year-anniversary employee might have three options: a gift card, free lunch, or a company-sponsored donation to the charity of their choice. The 20-year employee could choose between a weekend trip with family, a gift of top-of-the-line technology, or paid sabbatical time.

  1. Generate company-wide support with interactive cards

Most managers will pass cards around the office to drum up signatures and well wishes, but we think that electronic “cards” make for more dynamic keepsakes. Our product Celebrations allows employees across an organization to share congratulations, encouragement, and memories whenever an employee celebrates a new milestone.

Achievers Fall Product Release

This card makes it easy and interactive to celebrate the employee through social recognition, but also with certificates, commemorative items, gifts, points, or all of the above. It’s a great way for employees from across the globe to contribute to their coworker’s special day.

Of course, you can still throw the traditional office party, but small parties have a limited and short-term impact. The recognition process must be inspiring as well as consistent, personal, and timely to deliver the biggest bang.

Employee Appreciation Day

It’s time to give thanks — to your employees

The Thanksgiving holiday reminds us to be grateful for everything that enriches our lives. When you’re caught up in daily management tasks, however, it’s easy to forget how much you appreciate your coworkers and employees, and it’s easy to underestimate how much it would help to show more gratitude. When you show your staff you’re aware of — and grateful for — their contributions, you build a sense of shared purpose and strengthen the connection they feel to you and to the business. Here are a few employee recognition ideas to let your employees know you’re thankful for their efforts:

Go out for coffee one-on-one

Appreciation comes in many forms, but one of the most potent is to show genuine human interest in your workers. They are used to meeting with you for task-related purposes, but they may not know the real you. You can create an entirely different experience by inviting them to join you one-on-one for coffee. Show interest in your employee during that meeting, just as you would in any person whose company you enjoy. These special visits will not only make employees feel that they matter to you, but the conversation may also alert you to any personal stresses the worker encounters. Don’t come across as intrusive, though; keep the interaction friendly and encouraging.

Let them hand off a task

No matter how satisfying someone’s job duties are, a few small tasks will feel like drudgery. American Express suggests you can show your appreciation by letting your employees “ditch” one (small) project they dislike, while you step in to do the work instead. This will provide your workers with a strong sense of solidarity and a little extra breathing room to focus on other tasks. Is there a perk for you? You bet! You may gain fresh awareness of operational areas you haven’t personally handled lately, leading you to a better understanding of how your employees are spending their time.

Offer pleasant surprises

Even the most sophisticated person never outgrows that childhood fondness for pleasant surprises. An employee appreciation survey by Glassdoor found that when “…employees want to feel appreciated by their employer, nearly half say unexpected treats and rewards are great ways.” These rewards can take various forms, and they don’t need to be large to elicit delight and convey gratitude.

Thanksgiving brings a valuable reminder of the power of rewards and recognition, but these interactions shouldn’t be limited to one season of the year. To keep your employees engaged and productive, find ways to let them know year-round that you are grateful for their efforts.

Social Recognition for Introverted Employees

Life in the shadows: Don’t let one star employee outshine your team

It’s easy to recognize the employees that talk the loudest or most often, but are they the only ones with something to say? What about those deep thinkers who enjoy creative time alone or in silence? Which social recognition strategies should you use to bring out the best in all of your employees, including those who don’t fight to be heard?

The extrovert often gains energy and insight while spending time with others. They feed on the interaction and thrive in a collective atmosphere. An introvert comes up with solutions and ideas most easily in a quiet environment, often alone, with time to think deeply. They can be good at spotting flaws in an otherwise accepted line of thinking.

These differences can lead to hearing only half of the available employee ideas. Here are some simple ways to be sure that you’re engaging all of your employees:

Give introverts time to think

Provide an agenda or information about what will be discussed at the next staff meeting. An extrovert may brainstorm solutions on the spot, but having a list of meeting goals and topics ahead of time will motivate an introvert to bring their ideas to the table. If you can give even an hour’s notice before a meeting, your introverted staff members will have a better chance to contribute what might be a critical solution for your company.

Facilitate employee interaction

Foster low-pressure opportunities for your employees to mingle throughout the day. Common spaces in the office can give employees who might not otherwise communicate the chance to interact. Create open areas with comfortable seating, snacks, and coffee, where people can talk and collaborate. You might just lure an introvert into interacting with other team members more regularly. It’s far easier to speak up at meetings if you’re familiar with fellow employees. It’s also easier for extroverts to encourage ideas from the introverts they’re getting to know on a casual basis.

Offer social recognition

Consistent recognition is valuable to all employees, both introverted and extroverted. Your outgoing employees might relish public praise in a meeting, whereas your introverted employees may prefer to receive a personal message that doesn’t put them on the spot.

Social recognition platforms give you a way to publicly praise all of your employees on a consistent basis, and they can help managers track who they’re recognizing and how often. This is a great way to ensure that the recognitions are distributed to the people who most deserve them – not just the people the people who command the most attention.

Administrative Professionals Day

Three ways to recognize your admins on Administrative Professionals Day and throughout the year

Most companies realize that their administrative staff members are essential contributors to day-to-day operations, and that Administrative Professionals Day is a great way to show them some appreciation. But keeping your admins engaged takes more than just a vase of flowers one day a year; it requires continual recognition and appreciation for all of the hard work that they do, even though much of it takes place behind the scenes.

Even if employee recognition is new to your organization, there are several Administrative Professionals Day ideas that you can use any time of the year to keep these essential staff members engaged.

  1. Foster community with a celebration

Why not take some time during the workday to show appreciation? Order a custom cake and let the whole office celebrate and show their appreciation for the support provided by your admin team. This type of community building can go on throughout the year by celebrating birthdays and/or work anniversaries during the workday. Taking an hour out once a month (or even once a week!) for such gatherings can have a great payoff: it leads to more collaboration by allowing your employees social time to get to know each other and share ideas.

  1. Personalize it

Nothing communicates thoughtful attention more than a recognition that’s personalized for the individual. That’s right: that means no more company-branded mugs as a reward for good work. Employees need something more individualized to make them feel known and appreciated. Work with your admin team managers to come up with personalized gift ideas. One person may love flowers, one may love a box of chocolates, and one may love a Starbucks gift card. And the best thing you can do is include a thoughtful note with each gift that clearly recognizes that employee’s strengths and contributions. These are great ideas for Administrative Professionals Day, but they can be used throughout the year when some special recognition is in order.

  1. Take them out of the office

Another Administrative Professionals Day idea is to arrange for some fun time for the entire administrative team outside of the office. You can coordinate coverage of their basic responsibilities while they’re gone to help make the activity especially relaxing. It could be a pizza party at the bowling alley or a group spa day with a massage for each. These types of team getaways offer reward along with the benefit of encouraging personal engagement in a relaxed environment.

A company can never go wrong when expressing gratitude or appreciation for a job well done. It’s great to recognize your admin staff on their special day, but small efforts throughout the year can go a long way toward keeping your employees engaged.

Want to make recognition part of everyday life for your employees? Achievers can help.

Achievers Administrative Professionals Day Ideas

 

Employee Appreciation Week

4 Links to inspire greatness during employee appreciation week—and all year long

2015_EAW-05What is greatness? Your employees and colleagues are doing great things every day, and the only way to keep them motivated to keep up the great work is to recognize them for it. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start recognizing the greatness in your fellow colleagues today!

As we close out Employee Appreciation Week 2015, here are a few articles to help inspire you to recognize greatness today, and every day!

How to inspire greatness: stop leadingInc.

13 epic battle speeches that will inspire greatnessMashable

These 4 feelings could hold you back from greatnessEntrepreneur

The complexity of greatness: beyond talent or practiceScientific American

 

Have you recognized greatness today?

Employee Appreciation Week

3 Links to drive results during employee appreciation week—and all year long

2015_EAW-04

Eventually, it all comes down to results. While the journey is definitely important, it’s also crucial to measure how that journey leads us to success. Recognizing success within your organization has a fantastic side effect; it encourages even more success.

Appreciating employees is an everyday thing here at Achievers, and in honor of Employee Appreciation Week 2015, we thought we’d share some of our favorite links on getting results to inspire recognition—and results—today!

5 Unconventional habits that’ll make you successfulThe Daily Muse

Micro vs macro: Using “success factors” to manage your team99U

7 Scientifically proven ways to achiever better success in lifeInc.

 

How are you recognizing your colleagues for Employee Appreciation Week?

3 reasons your mobile app shouldn’t mirror your desktop application

By Justin Rutherford, National Account Executive, Achievers

A couple of years back, I downloaded one of the most popular CRM apps for iOS thinking this was going to triple my productivity, “Now I can work while on the train to the office. This is awesome!” But I quickly realized the app was less than I’d hoped for. It was clunky and difficult to navigate. After several attempts to squeeze even an ounce of value out of the tool, it was promptly deleted and I haven’t attempted using it since.

Now when prospective customers ask me, “can the Achievers native apps do everything that the desktop version can?” my immediate response is, “Why would you want to burden your employees with that kind of experience?”

And this isn’t unique to this particular company. Many organizations evaluating enterprise applications are overlooking some basic needs for users when determining what to put in front of their employees. Although I’m not a developer, I’ve tested my fair share of apps. As someone who frequently has conversations with HR leaders on the topic, here’s where organizations are missing the mark with their enterprise apps:

1.  Feature overload

Think about the consumer applications that have been wildly successful from the start. Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter. Their focus from day one has been a delightful, wholly native mobile experience. Product design for each is focused on doing one thing really well; sharing photos, newsfeed of mini blog posts respectively. Over the years they’ve compounded their initial success, slowly layering-on features that continue to enhance that experience.

But that isn’t what I experienced with my CRM app. It was packed with “features” that were more congesting than they were useful. Because it was so overloaded, it was frustrating and difficult to navigate.

Ray Wang did a great job cataloging what many of us have experienced with business applications on our mobile devices. He notes that first and second generation mobile experiences failed us,

Instead of crafting new experiences, first and second-generation apps, mostly mimicked the same experiences as the systems of transaction they replaced.

Lightbulb moment. We don’t need everything from desktop versions of software on our apps. If we’re on the move and using our phones, that probably means we just need some of the basics to “get it done.” Look at email apps for example. They’re pretty basic. Read, reply, draft and send. And you know what? That’s all we need when we’re away from our desks. The complicated things can wait until we’re back at our desks.

If enterprise apps released themselves from the shackles of desktop replication, their customers would have a much more productive, enjoyable mobile experience.

2. Utilization and adoption

I can tell you the top five apps that I open up daily, why they fit into my routine, and what value I derive from them personally and socially. Now take a look at what business applications are on your phone today. I’d wager a bet that email is the only one that sees any serious traffic on a regular basis. Why is this?

If a tool isn’t useful to the majority of your workforce, they’re not going to use it. My CRM company didn’t factor in how different users would most value the app, so it was targeted at a small, specific user persona, essentially alienating everyone else—including me.

Take stock of what your employees are using, and figure out how to cater to as many of them as possible. If you’re having trouble identifying value in business apps across the organization, it’s because too few employees are deriving meaningful value from the tools they’re provided.

For HR leaders, the biggest task is to be champions and enablers of culture. A big piece of that monstrous, constantly shifting puzzle—empowering individual contributors and people leaders with the right tools to execute on engagement and leadership strategies. At scale. If what you’re putting in front of them isn’t enabling this to happen, employees will continue to cobble together what they need to get the job done.

If done correctly, utilization and adoption doesn’t become a means to an end for enterprise tools, as in, “I have to use this tool because HR says I have to” but a natural result of users finding the app makes their lives easier.

3. The user experience

In a world of system overload, well documented by Josh Bersin, software tools find they become lost in the mix, plagued with 30% adoption rates across the organization. Demand for employees’ attention comes from so many directions, so when it’s difficult to see immediate value, they’ll quickly move on.

My CRM app was anything but enjoyable to use. I was frustrated with the first tap, and was more inclined to write a scathing review in the App Store than ever use it again. They could learn from companies like Evernote, who continues to deliver a positive user experience. They lured me with it’s simple to use note-taking feature, and over time, I discovered new uses that made the mobile experience uniquely valuable, while also complimenting the broader features and functionality of the desktop version.

Mobile can’t just be a box that’s checked. The user experience must be one that employees want to use because they love the experience—not one they have to use. And the bonus side-effect of loving your mobile app, is that your users are more likely to get attached to the desktop version, too. Win win.

comscoreTalent strategies are quickly becoming people strategies. In the same way, talent focused technologies that are doing it right, are focused on the value the individual user derives from the tool. With mobile usage quickly eclipsing that of desktop, it’s more important than ever to make sure the tools you’re providing to your employees make their work life easy, connected, and seamless.

 

 

 

 

Now when prospective customers ask me, “can the Achievers native apps do everything that the desktop version can?” my immediate response is, “Why would you want to burden your employees with that kind of experience?”

 

To learn more about Achievers’ latest product release, read the press release.

 

JustinJustin shares his passion for talent strategies that deliver an employee first experience as a National Account Executive for Achievers. When he’s not poring over the latest analyst reports, Justin devotes a significant portion of his free time eating all the great food San Francisco has to offer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Employee Appreciation Week

4 Links to inspire leadership during employee appreciation week—and all year long

2015_EAW-03

A good leader can make all the difference in a team’s success—and longevity. And one key to encouraging a culture of recognition lies within your leaders. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes, too—they’re not just managers.

Appreciating employees is an everyday thing here at Achievers, and in honor of Employee Appreciation Week 2015, we thought we’d share some of our favorite links on leadership to inspire recognition—and leadership—today!

Between Venus and Mars: 7 traits of true leadersInc.

Become a better leader by thinking like Swiss cheeseLifehacker

You don’t have to be a CEO to develop leadership qualitiesEntreprenuer

5 Ways to transform yourself into a leaderThe Daily Muse

 

How are you recognizing your colleagues for Employee Appreciation Week?

 

Employee Appreciation Week

4 Links to inspire collaboration during employee appreciation week—and all year long

2015_EAW-02Put a few great minds in a room together and see what happens. You already have talented, motivated, and creative talent in your organization. What do you think will result when you encourage them to collaborate in new ways?

Appreciating employees is an everyday thing here at Achievers, so in honor of Employee Appreciation Week 2015, we thought we’d share some of our favorite links on collaboration to inspire recognition—and collaboration—today!

 

 

 

 

 

Are you a collaborative leader?Harvard Business Review

What jazz soloists know about creative collaboration99U

Thomas Edison’s keys to managing team collaborationFastCompmany

Standing improves group collaborationMashable

 

How are you recognizing your colleagues for employee appreciation week?

 

 

 

 

Employee Appreciation Week

4 Links to inspire innovation during employee appreciation week—and all year long

2015_EAW-01Innovation is all around us, yet it’s not always so easy to uncover. Organizations have the opportunity every day to promote a culture of recognition and inspire innovation from employees.

Appreciating employees is an everyday thing here at Achievers, so in honor of Employee Appreciation Week 2015, we thought we’d share some of our favorite links on innovation to inspire recognition—and innovation—today!

 

 

 

 

How are you recognizing your colleagues for Employee Appreciation Week?

3 keys to social recognition for HR professionals

This month, Brandon Hall Group released their recent Employee Engagement Survey, which suggested that a strategic employee engagement solution dramatically impacts an organization’s bottom line. For many companies, investing in social recognition solutions has had an incredible impact on retention, performance and productivity.

But how can HR professionals use social recognition to successfully implement an employee engagement program and align their employees to their organization’s values and business objectives?

Read on for three keys to understanding social recognition for HR professionals, and how to build the business case for implementing a social recognition solution..

Current engagement strategies aren’t effective
Only 32% of organizations have implemented formal engagement strategies. And just about everyone else relies on engagement surveys conducted by HR teams. While surveys can provide insight into the health of the organization, they represent a static point in the past, and fail to capture engagement in real time. Brandon Hall Group’s research revealed that one key to a comprehensive, long-term employee engagement strategy is consistent recognition. Adopting a social recognition platform brings employee success to life and increases engagement levels, boosting organizational performance.

It’s not about money
Many businesses use monetary incentives as tools to engage their employees. Brandon Hall Group urges organizations to think differently when it comes to employee engagement. Although monetary rewards can easily be paired with a recognition, the power of social recognition shouldn’t be overlooked. Today’s modern workforce values immediate feedback, and uses it as a springboard for innovation. When employees experience immediate recognition for their contributions, it naturally increases recognition levels across the organization, further driving business results and establishing a culture of recognition.

Link engagement to performance
In order for companies to effectively boost engagement levels, they need to ensure that recognition is part of the culture. The best way to facilitate this is by implementing a social recognition platform. From there, leaders can use the tool to align individual performance, productivity and engagement to company performance. The link between engagement and productivity is innate: employees who are engaged at work are driven to outperform.

 

Learn more about how investing in a social recognition platform can positively impact your business. Download the Brandon Hall Group report, Building the business  case for social recognition solutions.

BH-LP-Asset-image

Employee engagement financial services

Let’s talk numbers: How employee engagement impacts financial services and banking industries

WP_COD_Financial_Meme_600x600_V1The financial services and banking industries don’t fare well when it comes to employee engagement. When compared to all other industries, finance and banking suffer from high customer-switching rates, low employee engagement levels, high turnover, and absenteeism. Ouch.

 

 

 

 

 

For banks, 20 percent of lost business to competitors was due to poor service, ranking higher than internet service providers (18 percent), and even wireless phone companies (17 percent).


Your clients’ reach and access to knowledge is wider than ever before. Now that your prospective and current clients can instantly get access to information about your company and your competitors, they can make quick decisions about which companies they want to do business with. This makes customer-switching extremely problematic for businesses—which is typically the outcome after a poor customer service experience. Recognize your employees for providing outstanding service to clients in order to combat customer-switching and reinforce positive behaviors you want repeated.

Total costs related to absenteeism amount to $84 billion annually. A decrease of only 10 percent in employee absence could produce a one to two percent savings in payroll costs.

When employees are disengaged, being at work is the last place where they want to spend their time. Unfortunately for banking and financial services companies, this means that absenteeism has a significant impact on productivity and payroll costs. It’s not an easy problem to tackle, but aligning your employees to business objectives is one way you can infuse more meaning into employees’ work, making them feel like the valued contributors that they are.

The number one reason employees quit after financial considerations is lack of recognition, and 65 percent of employees don’t feel recognized at work.

The numbers speak for themselves: organizations with high engagement rates are 78 percent more profitable than organizations with low levels of engagement. This means that engagement really does have a strong impact on business results. Financial services and banking executives need to get on board with an employee recognition strategy, and can start by explaining the business benefits and potential growth the organization could achieve with an engaged workforce.

At 17.2 percent, banking and finance employees mark the industry with the highest turnover rates.

When banking employees leave their business, they take years of experience, skills, and potentially even clients with them. This is a real problem for the industry. Reducing turnover rates starts with understanding the problem, and making an effective strategy to combat turnover. Consider deploying an employee engagement survey to understand how and if employees feel connected to the business. From there, develop an engagement strategy that specifically aligns with the outcomes of the survey.

Download our latest whitepaper, and learn more about the cost of disengagement to the financial services and banking industry.

 

 

Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces

Announcing the 2015 50 Most Engaged Workplaces™ winners!

Today, we’re excited to announce the 50 Most Engaged Workplaces in North America for 2015. This annual award recognizes top employers that display leadership and innovation in engaging their workplaces.

Our panel of judges evaluated each applicant based on the Eight Elements of Employee Engagement™: Communication, Leadership, Culture, Rewards and Recognition, Professional and Personal Growth, Accountability and Performance, Vision and Values and Corporate Social Responsibility.

The panel of judges was comprised of academic and thought leaders on employee engagement from organizations such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Human Capital Institute and Human Resource Executive.

Recipients of the Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces™ Awards will be honored at an award gala on March 11, 2015 at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. We’re excited to congratulate all the winners!

The Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces™ in North America in alphabetical order include:

  1. 3M Canada
  2. Agrium U.S. Inc.
  3. AMN Healthcare
  4. AOL Canada
  5. ATB Financial
  6. AutoTrader.com
  7. Bell
  8. Black Hills Corporation
  9. Blue Coat Systems
  10. C.R. England
  11. CA Technologies
  12. Cargill
  13. CBRE
  14. Ceridian
  15. CIBC
  16. CIBC Mellon
  17. Cisco – Services Platforms Group
  18. ERICSSON NORTH AMERICA
  19. G4S Secure Solutions (USA) Inc
  20. GoodLife Fitness
  21. HomeAway, Inc.
  22. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
  23. HP Software Professional Services
  24. Humana: National Education
  25. KPMG LLP
  26. MD Financial Management
  27. Meridian Credit Union
  28. MGM Resorts International
  29. Moneris Solutions
  30. NetSuite, Inc. Canada
  31. NetSuite, Inc. USA
  32. PRAXAIR
  33. Reliant Medical Group
  34. Rogers Communications
  35. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
  36. Ryan, LLC
  37. Shoppers Drug Mart
  38. SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts
  39. Smart & Final Stores LLC
  40. Softchoice LP.
  41. Sutherland Global Services
  42. TATA Consultancy Services
  43. Tata Consultancy Services Canada Inc
  44. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
  45. Ultimate Software
  46. Veterans United Home Loans
  47. Virtusa Corporation
  48. World Travel Holdings
  49. Zappos.com, Inc.
  50. Zurich American Insurance Company

Learn more about Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces™ here, and follow the conversation on Twitter with #Achievers50.

Employee engagement: the buzzword for business success

The term, “employee engagement,” earned itself buzzword status in 2014, and with good reason. With each passing year, we learn more about the importance of engaging employees, and why they’re the key to any successful business and employee engagement continues to be the cornerstone for success—both for employees and businesses.

As you prepare for 2015, here’s a roundup of some of our favorite articles and resources from 2014 to help you engage, align, recognize, and reward your employees in the new year.

Engage

Why Employee Engagement Is Critical to Corporate SuccessMashable

How to Lose an Employee in 10 DaysAchievers

Five Ways to Improve Employee Engagement NowGallup

Align

Company Culture Is Part of Your Business ModelHarvard Business Review

It Really Pays to Have a Rich Company CultureEntrepreneur

Company Culture: What’s the Big Hype?Achievers

Recognize

The Art and Science of Giving and Receiving Criticism At WorkFast Company

The Ultimate Guide to Employee RecognitionAchievers

The Wrong Way to Thank EmployeesThe Wall Street Journal

Reward

11 Non-Traditional Ways to Reward Innovative EmployeesTLNT

5 Ways to Reward Great Employees Besides MoneyInc.

Top Talent, Tight Wallet: 4 Budget-Friendly Ways to Reward EmployeesThe Daily Muse

 

Wishing you an engaging New Year!

– Your friends at Achievers

 

 

How not to engage your employees

How Not to Engage Your Employees

This week, Canadian ad agency, Union Advertising, shows us how they reward their employees for their hard work. While obviously a spoof, the hint of truth to the ad will strike a nerve with most of us, and is a great example of how not to treat your employees.

Are there really employers like this out there? I hope not.

Instead, we’d love to hear what your organization does that actually puts a smile on your face and makes you feel recognized and rewarded.

Share your experience in the comments!

 

HR Tech Europe

Lessons Learned At HR Tech Europe—When I Wasn’t There

Don’t get me wrong; I learned a lot from HR Tech Europe in Amsterdam, and thoroughly enjoyed my experience. The sessions were great. Connecting with several analysts and the media was enlightening. The people I met in the Spire bar as we passed around red drink tickets and stories were plenty and inspiring. But, the biggest takeaway from my first HR Tech Europe experience didn’t happen at the show; it happened at an old Heineken Brewery.

heinekenWith two fellow Achievers (as you can see by my pictures below with amazing colleagues Loren and Katie; we had a great time), we took part in the Heineken Experience. On Saturday afternoon after HR Tech, we spent three hours learning about the quality of Heineken beer and had a few (ok, a lot of) samples. But what stood out most for me wasn’t the product, or the brilliant Heineken marketing, or the fun experience and copious amounts of silly pictures—it was that Heineken’s unwavering focus on their people continues to make this company great.

Throughout the experience, it was obvious that Heineken creates a culture where their people, and in turn their company, can thrive. It starts with a dedicated room that shows a video from their Executive Director of their Board, Charlene Lucille de Carvalho-Heineken, describing the values of Respect, Quality and Enjoyment. She comments on how every decision the company makes flourishes from these values, creating an aligned purpose.

There’s a wall of stories describing how the leadership was insanely focused on putting their people first. In one story from 1923, Heineken became one of the first Dutch companies to establish a non-contributory pension fund for its employees. In 1929, a decade after an economic crisis, Heineken refused to fire or lay off employees, and instead provided early retirement options at age 58. In 1937, they developed The Heineken Foundation for Personnel to provide extra support for employees in need. Decades later, Heineken continues to focus on innovating great culture fit, earning them awards around the world for their focus on employees. Seriously, this company is amazing—just check out their latest hiring campaign.

The people I met embody everything we all want in our employees. They’re focused, energized, passionate, and engaged. Listening to—and watching—them speak about the product was inspiring, and more akin to a parent talking about their newborn child. The woman providing us our first sample didn’t call it “yellow beer,” she called it “liquid gold.” And all did it with a passion and confidence that they belonged to the Heineken family. You’d never guess they’d been doing the same thing, hour after hour, over and over, to more than 600,000 visitors so far in 2014.

Every interaction, from the gentleman selling us our tickets, to the lovely woman accepting them, to the person that checked out all the things I couldn’t resist from the gift shop, and everyone in between, showed that the employees not only lived and believed in the brand, they’re actively a part of the Heineken journey.

And I’m not just talking about people. Heineken’s horses are behind the brew, too.

Heineken2Yup! That’s not a typo. Even the horses are recognized as part of the family with an entire section dedicated to the role horses have played in Heineken’s growth for over 150 years. Horses were the prime method of distribution for the tasty-suds, from the streets of Amsterdam and beyond, up until the 1960’s. They highlighted their importance and displayed their continued purpose. They displayed how they are part of the family. They even have a vacation day each year when all the horses are taken on a field trip to run free in the pastures. They even take care of them after they retire for the remainder of their lives. The horses are as part of the culture as their people.

Heineken3Throughout our tour there were many passionate references to the ‘secret-sauce’ in their beer—affectionately named the ‘A-Yeast’—that keeps Heineken’s taste consistent, in 180 countries worldwide. It reminded me of the importance of alignment, and why company culture is the secret sauce your competition can’t duplicate. There are 20,000 beer brands worldwide that can make a beer with a similar look, feel, taste, and smell as Heineken.

And, so it happened that my biggest ‘ah-ha’ from HR Tech Europe came off-site of the event in an old brewery. I urge you as business and HR leaders to consider this: Anyone can build your product and compete in your market. Give a smart kid some money and a laptop and they can probably build a product better than yours—I saw more superior products in the Disrupt HR section of HR Tech than what’s currently out in the market. That means what sets you apart isn’t just in what you build, but who builds it, and why. One of my primary goals as a manager and a leader in two fast-growth companies has been simply this; don’t let a single employee be a passenger. Hire to your company values and culture, and ensure that they have the chance to belong to something they can feel passionate about and engaged with. This includes being transparent, allowing employees to have a voice, having a purpose, mission and values that are clear and lived by senior management (and not just a page on your website), and recognizing and aligning employees with that vision.

Isn’t this what HR Tech is all about? All the fancy tools and technologies are great, but so often they aren’t people centric. Technology, tools, platforms—whatever you want to call them—are enablers. They need to enable people to align to the behaviors and values you want every employee to embody, and empower them to do their jobs more effectively and passionately.

Heineken4I learned a lot at the Heineken Experience but one other thing was new and cool to me. I was unaware that the three letter e’s in the Heineken logo were turned slightly to make it look like they were smiling. A nice touch for their brand and culture. With the whole experience that day, my fellow Achievers and I had three faces smiling back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RobRob Catalano is a Vice-President at Achievers focusing on the company’s global expansion. Marketer by trade, but focused on HR by passion – Rob has spent a decade growing Achievers in multiple roles focused on helping companies engage, align and recognize their employees to drive company purpose, values and phenomenal business performance. Follow him at @RobCatalano

 

Talent Community

What’s a Talent Community?

Guest post by Jeff Waldman, Founder & Social HR Strategist of Stratify and SocialHRCamp

Talent pool, talent network or talent community—semantics shemantics. We in the HR industry appear to be having some difficulties wrapping our heads around all of this. For starters, we can’t seem to agree on the definitions for each of these terms, let alone understand what the core purposes of each are. The so-called ‘industry influencers’ are struggling with this as well. If the thought-leaders and influencers are struggling, how can the industry at large have a clear understanding?

Part of the problem with understanding talent communities, lies in our attempts to define it. While we could sit around and debate the meaning of specific words, concepts and ideas, a simple definition just doesn’t capture the essence of what a talent community really is at its core.

Instead, what if we equate the core purpose of a talent community to the practice of relationship building? Take a marketer for example. Why are successful marketers successful? Is it because they create more appealing advertisements? Is it because they have a way with words? Or is it because they are the loudest on social networks? No, not really, and probably not.

A marketer’s success hinges on their ability to build strong relationships based on value, respect, credibility, honesty, and reciprocity. They have the ability to effectively tap into the emotional core of their target audience. They’re engaging and conversational, always discovering and sharing, and asking questions. Their success is directly correlated to their engagement with their audience.

This is exactly what a talent community is all about. The final desired outcome is a rich community of top talent that loves and promotes the brand.

Yet, to date, the approach that the majority of the HR industry has taken is what I call an “old school sales” approach. The industry has this notion that employers hold all the power, and that simply offering an open position is all the effort needed to attract top talent. With this approach, dialogue between a prospect and the organization is limited and one-sided, not to mention inconsistent. Oh, and it’s terribly boring—for everyone involved. How in the world can this practice differentiate you from your competitors, promote brand awareness, and ultimately build strong relationships? Tactics like these only seek to define a position, not create a community.

Appropriately, the answer here isn’t easy. Simply stating the desired qualities of your ideal employees won’t magically draw them to you. Instead, seek out the best talent you know, and ask them how they build relationships with their target audiences. Then begin to cultivate the type of community that attracts the caliber of colleague you’re looking for.

Like any good community, your talent community is only as good as its members. Dedicate the time and effort to understand yours, and you’ll find your success far surpasses a simple definition.

 

 

Jeff Headshot SHRMJeff Waldman, Founder & Social HR Strategist of Stratify and SocialHRCamp is leading the way in a growing niche that brings together HR, employer branding, social media, marketing and business. With a diverse career since 2000, spanning all facets of HR Jeff founded SocialHRCamp in 2012; a growing global interactive learning platform that helps the HR Community adopt social media and emerging HR technology in the workplace. Jeff consults and advises HR and Recruitment software companies on content market strategy, business development and product development, and with corporate HR teams across multiple industries to strategically integrate social media and emerging HR technology into HR and Employer Branding strategy.

Jeff is an avid speaker, blogger and volunteer with diverse organizations such as the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition, HR Technology Conference, HR Metrics Conference Canada, Illinois State SHRM Conference, Louisiana State SHRM Conference and many other events in Canada and the U.S.. Recently named one of the Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts on Twitter by the Huffington Post he also served as a judge for the 2013 Achievers Top 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards.

You can find Jeff on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.

HR Achievers AACE

The New Face of HR

product spotlightThe HR space is in the midst of a dramatic upgrade, and this year’s #AACE14 conference proves there’s a new face to human resources.

As a newcomer to the space—I joined Achievers in San Francisco last week—I have to admit, I had a few preconceived ideas about what an HR conference would look like.

Yet, when I hit the conference floor this morning, I felt like I was walking in on the latest, Silicon Valley darling’s newest product launch. Even at 7 AM, the mood was electric, and excited attendees chatted over coffee while exchanging social media handles. It was all very sexy.

Not exactly the stuffy, rigid, image of HR professionals I was used to. But, after spending the day with this group, I’m happy to say my perception of HR is forever changed. Gone is the notion of a matronly HR administrator, cloistered in an office far away from the team, buried behind a towering pile of personnel forms and employee handbooks.

After just one day with the esteemed group attending #AACE14, it’s clear there’s a new face of Human Resources. Here’s what they look like:

Innovators

Not one single person here today is satisfied with the status quo. Like any other disruptive technology or movement, innovation is at the heart of everyone involved, and the result is impressive. From exciting product innovations, to groundbreaking corporate initiatives making employee recognition a priority, the event was bursting with ideas and enthusiasm.

In the past, HR was plagued with the reputation of being an inflexible, necessary evil. After what I’ve seen today, that reputation no longer applies, and innovation is the new normal for HR.

 

Risk Takers

Using the word “risk” in same sentence as “human resources” might sound, well, risky, but it’s not. After listening to a handful of companies share their stories about implementing employee engagement platforms, one thing was clear; this wasn’t an easy sell. While just about everyone on the planet acknowledges being recognized for a job well done is welcome feedback, not everyone understands how that’s done—or is willing to take on the challenge of figuring it out. None of those people where in attendance today. Fortunately, today’s HR professionals are fiercely dedicated to their craft—not to mention fearless. Not only do they have to convince a tough crowd of executives that employee recognition is a worthwhile investment, they also have to convince armies of employees. Change can be a challenge, but the dedicated professionals here today, are taking it head on, and we’ll all be thanking them for it, soon.

 

Humans

Yes, human. A resounding battle cry throughout the day, was that we need to put the “human” in human resources. Whether it was highlighting the need for focus on developing relationships, to understanding the value of social recognition, everyone here today agreed—we’re all humans. Every piece of technology, every campaign, every initiative, had one thing in common; we all need the human touch. As our founder, Razor Suleman, said in his keynote this morning, “This is about the conversation, not compliance.”

 

The power and energy at this conference is infectious. I spent over 15 years of my career, seeing my colleagues in HR one way, and after just one day at #AACE14, I’ll never see HR the same again.

 

Shopify

Why voluntary turnover is unimaginable at Shopify

Achievers 50 Most Engaged WorkplacesToday, people work differently. It’s become increasingly challenging for companies to inspire the modern workforce. Employers must prioritize employee engagement to maintain a competitive edge in the war for talent. Your competitors can take your customers and recruit your top talent, but the one thing they cannot steal is your culture. A strong corporate culture will positively impact your employee engagement, as long as employees and managers live your culture’s values on a daily basis.

Companies that achieve high engagement should be celebrated, so we’d like to highlight Shopify’s achievement as one of the Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces™ for 2013. Read more →

Employee Appreciation Day

Rise to the occasion—Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

Employee Appreciation Week 2014Great companies engage their top performers, align their employees with company values, and recognize their team’s achievements in the moment to drive employee success.

March 7, 2014 is Employee Appreciation Day. There’s no better time to share some gratitude, appreciation, and validation with your employees for all of their hard work. Whether it is staying late to finish a project, helping out another employee by going above and beyond the call of duty, or never settling for the status quo, these things can make a measurable impact on business success and should not go unnoticed. Read more →