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ACE Achievers Customer Experience 2015

More than 100,000 HR professionals across the globe hold certification from the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), the premier HR credentialing organization dedicated to setting the standard for HR mastery and excellence around the globe. These dedicated professionals understand how important engagement is in creating a positive, innovative, and successful workforce. A big factor in the value of working with HRCI certified professionals is knowing that they are committed to their field and make continuing professional development a high priority.

We want to make it easier for any HR professional holding an HRCI PHR, SPHR, GPHR, or California credential to earn recertification credits while they learn at the Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2015! Every HRCI certified professional who attends the conference in San Francisco can earn up to 10.75 credits toward their required recertification total.

In addition, we are offering the opportunity for those who need HR General, global, or business credits to earn those too! Here’s how it will work:

  • ACE 2015 – total show credits = 10.75
  • HR General credits (apply to all certifications):
    • Emotional Intelligence: The Science of Influencing Others
    • Building the Simply Irresistible Organization: Why Recognition Matters
    • Inside the Employee Mindset: What They Want From the Employment Experience, Rewards, and Communication
    • Client Roundtable: 50 Shades of Engagement
    • #RecognitionNeverSleeps: A Panel Discussion with COX Automotive
    • A Morning with Dan Harris
    • Offline in an Online World: The Secret to Engaging Offline Employees
    • What The World’s Best Managers Do Differently
  • Business credits (apply to SPHR and HRMP):
    • It’s All About the Launch!
    • How to Build the Vision and Business Case For Employee Recognition
  • Global – Business (apply to GPHR, SPHR and HRMP):
    • And the Global HR Oscar Goes to… iProps & Highfive!
    • Incentivizing Innovation with KPMG: The Big Idea Exchange

We look forward to seeing many HRCI certified professionals learning (& earning!), sharing knowledge, and networking at ACE 2015 in November.

Not registered for ACE 2015 yet? Register here. Early bird registration available through August 31!

Employee Motivation Statistics

This article originally appeared on the Blackhawk Engagement Solutions blog

Although finding the right rewards and building upon the right tools can be a challenge to implementing a new incentive program, the toughest aspect for any organization is silencing naysayers and getting buy-in from management.

To help with your efforts to build momentum for your incentive efforts, we’ve compiled a list of 23 employee motivation statistics that you can use to sell your supervisors and coworkers on the idea of an employee incentive program. We’ve even organized them as rebuttals to the most common concerns we hear from skeptical managers:

“Employee incentive programs are a fad.”

Not true.

  • Most organizations (86%) have a rewards and/or recognition program in place.
  • 70% of those organizations offer between 3 and 6 different programs.
  • Incentives are part of a $100+ billion industry, $46 billion of which is non-cash incentives (a number that’s doubled in the past 10 years).
  • 89% of employers assume that their employees leave for more money elsewhere, but only 12% of employees actually earn more from their next company.

“We don’t need a program” or “We can’t afford a new program right now.”

Here’s the thing: it’s not really about the need or the cost. It’s about the return on investment. After all, if your organization could get back in productivity double what it pays for a program, wouldn’t it be smart to invest?

One of the main reasons why decision-makers don’t pull the trigger on a program is because they can’t see its direct connection with a predictable return. But you can show them employee motivation statistics that support the significant contributions employee motivation programs make to the bottom line.

For example, incentive programs are valuable for attracting talent:

  • 90% of business leaders believe that an engagement strategy could positively impact their business, yet only 25% of them actually have a strategy in place.
  • More than 4 out of 10 (42%) employees consider rewards and recognition program opportunities when seeking employment.
  • 51% of sales talent and 52% of employees are already participating in some sort of program where they work.
  • 39% of employees feel underappreciated at work, with 77% reporting that they would work harder if they felt better recognized.

And for retaining talent:

  • According to a recent CareerBuilder/USA Today survey, 56% of HR managers are worried that their top talent will leave for another job within the year.
  • 75% of people who willingly leave their jobs don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses.
  • The presence of a corporate incentive program motivated 66% of employees to stay at their job.
  • Organizations that offer at least one recognition program and that have a low turnover rate (0%-5%) report statistically more recognition programs in place than the medium or high turnover categories.
  • A 5% increase in employee retention can generate a 25% to 85% increase in profitability.

Plus, your employees won’t just stay. Their attitude will be better, which will improve customer service. For example:

  • 41% of customers are loyal to a brand or company because they consistently notice a positive employee attitude, while 68% of customers defect from a brand or company because of negative employee attitude.
  • Only 40% of employees are well informed of their company’s goals, strategy, and tactics.

And let’s not forget the employee motivation statistics about engagement:

  • Disengaged workers cost the economy $300 billion or more per year.
  • Companies that actively engage workers profit more than those that don’t. If you look at Fortune’s “Best 100 Companies to Work For,” these organizations have averaged an amazing 200.6% return over the past decade.
  • Organizations with higher than average levels of employee engagement realized 27% higher profits, 50% higher sales, 50% higher customer loyalty levels, and 38% above-average productivity.

“But employee incentive programs don’t really work.”

If an incentive program doesn’t work, it’s usually because the program was poorly designed, difficult to manage, or both. Employee buy-in and management support are critical factors, as the following statistics show:

  • Companies using incentive programs reported a 79% success rate in achieving their established goals when the correct reward was offered.
  • Properly structured incentive programs can increase employee performance by as much as 44%.
  • Annual revenue increases are 3 times higher in companies that use a tangible sales incentive over those that don’t use an additional incentive. When incentive programs are working, the potential for growth is much, much higher.

Employee Incentive Program Success

When looking to achieve long-term success through an employee incentive program, a number of factors need to be considered. 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies use gamification to boost retention, engagement, and revenues. With that in mind, along with the employee motivation statistics above, we’ve outlined four key areas most important to focus on when managing a successful incentive program:

Promote or Encourage Action

Employees gauge an incentive’s value based on how hard it is to earn. If you set the goal too high, people shrug off the incentive as unrealistic and not worth the effort. But choose a goal that’s too easy, and it won’t be significant enough to inspire action. Instead, select rewards that inherently have high enough value to be envied, yet still seem within reach. The trick is to choose a reward that both attracts peer attention and stands out from regular pay. Keep in mind that a reward is often more impactful if it’s something that’s generally too indulgent to be justified in the bigger picture of everyday living expenses.

Ensure That It Produces Measurable Success

One of the biggest roadblocks for companies considering an employee incentive program is a lack of confidence that the benefit can be clearly measured against the cost of investment.  But let’s take a brief look back at the employee motivation statistics listed above to see if such return-on-investment concerns are really justified. In the case of incentive programs having a significant impact on attracting and retaining talent, remember that just a mere 5% increase in employee retention can result in a 25-85% boost in profits. When you consider that it costs 5 times more to obtain a new customer than it does to retain a current one, it’s easy to see the connection between small boosts in retention and large jumps in profits.

Make It Adaptable to Change and Optimization

Another key characteristic of any successful employee incentive program is that it has the ability to easily be adjusted over time to accommodate evolving needs/goals. Giving out iPads to top performers might really motivate your staff, but it’s probably not the best idea in terms of return on investment. Besides, an award like an iPad doesn’t hold the same level of appeal to some employees as it does others, and therefore might not be the best motivator for everyone. Incentive awards don’t necessarily have to be super-expensive (or require a whole roomful of inventory) to accomplish your goals. Prepaid cards, for example, equally excite everyone on your team while saving you a whole host of program management hassles. Because each individual employee gets to envision exactly what he or she would buy with their card, it ensures a consistently meaningful award each and every time.

Keep It Simple

Finally, don’t make the mistake of thinking that a more elaborate incentive program will produce better bottom-line results than a simple one. Many well-intentioned HR managers have failed to design effective incentive programs simply because they built too many rules and conditions into the mix. At the end of the day, it all boils down to motivating employees by giving them a clear, achievable goal, and then rewarding them with something they really want. Not sure where to start? We’ve got some ideas.

A special thanks to the organizations that provided the research behind these statistics, including Gallupthe Incentive Federation the Incentive Research FoundationMaritz, and World at Work.

 

Mentorship Programs

Few things are more nerve-wracking than starting a new job. New hires are often apprehensive when they walk through the door on their first day, and their long-term engagement and success can be affected by how well you onboard them during the first few weeks. One great way to transition your new employees is through mentorship programs. By connecting rookie employees with seasoned mentors, you can improve morale, training quality, and even retention.   Tweet: By connecting rookie employees with seasoned mentors, you can improve morale, training quality, and even retention. http://ctt.ec/UYlu2+

Mentoring offers a host of perks for the entire workplace, such as a friendlier work atmosphere and enhanced job training. Workplace veterans can provide newbies with tips for internal processes, cultural norms, and even job-specific skills. For instance, at Achievers, all new hires are paired with a “buddy” who takes them out to lunch during their first week, introduces them to other employees, and helps them access all the resources they need to complete their onboarding paperwork and checklist.

This relationship can create an increased sense of belonging for new hires as well as a feeling of purpose for long-term employees. Instead of creating a competitive atmosphere in the workplace, you’re encouraging collaboration and peer-to-peer support.

Ideally, mentorship programs should be well-planned and thoughtfully executed to ensure that the process runs smoothly. HR should start off by talking with long-term, respected employees to gauge their interest in becoming mentors. Offering a reward for participation is a great way to entice mentors who might worry about time management and availability. At Achievers, both the new hire and the “buddy” receive reward points when the new hire successfully completes their onboarding checklist. This incentivizes both parties to work together to get everything done.

When building a mentorship program, it’s important to outline specifics like the pairing approach, program length, and collaboration frequency. Mentors will be more likely to participate if they understand exactly what their time commitment needs to be.

You’ll also need to decide how mentorships will be assigned and how outcomes will be measured. What’s the appropriate ratio of new hires to mentors? For smaller companies, a 1:1 ratio is ideal, but many large businesses prefer small groups.

Will new hires be paired with a peer or with a senior team member? Will they be paired with someone on their team or in a different department?

Before you roll out a mentorship program across your organization, consider recruiting a small test group of mentors and new hires that you work with closely to monitor their activities and get feedback. Take your learnings from the test group to create a carefully documented set of expectations and responsibilities for future mentors. Think strategically about how you can set incentives, and then publicize those incentives, to attract the best set of mentor volunteers. Mentoring will be one of the first impressions your company makes on new employees, so you want it to be easy, streamlined, and genuinely helpful.

Commuting to Work

There’s nothing worse than sitting in traffic or squeezing onto a crowded subway. But for many workers, it’s the way they both start and end their day. When we think about the issues that most affect employee happiness and turnover, we often overlook a major factor that actually takes place outside the office: the quality and length of an employee’s commute.

Long commutes can cause personal problems, physical problems, and ultimately disengagement from the workplace. Tweet: Long commutes can cause personal problems, physical problems, and ultimately disengagement from the workplace http://ctt.ec/frg2v+

While a recent study by the Brookings Institution shows that commute distances for both urban and suburban residents are increasing overall, managers do have options. There are a number of changes you can make within your organization to help relieve the negative effects of commuting to work.

One big impact that long commutes have on people’s lives is that they increase their sense of loneliness. Harvard social scientist Robert Putnam has studied social isolation at length, and he discovered that “every 10 minutes spent commuting results in 10 percent fewer ‘social connections’.” To alleviate your employees’ sense of isolation as they travel to and from work, you can help them set up carpool or vanpool options. That way, they can break the isolation and connect with colleagues while underway.

If employees do need to rely on personal vehicles to get to work, you can make their lives easier by flexing hours in response to local traffic patterns. If you allow someone’s workday to begin and end slightly earlier or later than the standard rush hours, they can avoid gridlock and get to and from home faster.

Since long commutes result in more time spent sitting down (and more fast food consumed en route) you can help employees counter these effects by placing stronger emphasis on healthy habits in your workplace. You can replace the office donut box with fresh fruits and raw vegetables, and offer subsidized benefits such as gym memberships and smoking cessation assistance. Get more ideas for encouraging health in the workplace from our article 5 ways to make healthy lifestyle part of your company culture.

Another way to solve the commute issue is to lessen or eliminate it; telecommuting, compressed work weeks, and job-sharing options allow employees to complete work with less physical travel. The number of employees who work remotely grew by almost 80 percent between 2005 and 2012, and these numbers increased across all sectors even during the recession.

Finally, some employers are considering commute time as a selection factor in hiring, and some job candidates have mixed feelings about the practice. Just ask this letter-writer to the Ask a Manager blog who doesn’t understand why potential employers should care about her 2-hour commute.

While this hiring approach might eventually weed out the commuting problem altogether, it might not be the most effective or ethical way to screen candidates. Xerox, for example, decided not to use data regarding job applicants’ distance from the workplace because it wanted to ensure that its hiring policies were not discriminatory – i.e. because in some areas, lower-income communities might be located farther from the city center.

Whichever approach you take, make sure that your people leaders have awareness of and sensitivity toward commuting issues. Small changes and allowances can have a big impact on employee engagement, health, and productivity long term.

Intern with Coffee

Many businesses follow specific procedures when they welcome new employees aboard. Typical activities include tours of the workplace, meeting fellow employees, and completing paperwork. These types of activities can improve employee engagement within the first few weeks, and they help employees understand what is expected of them. However, some businesses skimp on those welcome procedures with temps and interns, thinking: “Well, they won’t be here long, so we don’t need to invest in them.”

Thinking like this is a mistake. First, it leads to wasted time and wasted money as interns and temps struggle to acclimate and become productive. Second, interns and temps represent a recruiting pool from which companies can find employees who already understand and care about the business. You can help your temps and interns be more productive faster by making their lives easier right from the start. Most of these techniques you should already be using for your full-time employees, as well!

1. Eliminate guesswork during onboarding
Explain the situation that requires that a temp or intern be brought on instead of a regular employee. With interns, one possible reason (of several) is that the business values a fresh set of eyes and the recent knowledge in the field that a student brings. With temps, one reason could be that a temp can quickly and efficiently bring in a particular skill set. Doing this gets rid of any guesswork and feelings interns and temps have that they are expendable, and it increases their engagement. They’re aware that your business recognizes and values them.

2. Outline expectations and priorities
Define how you plan to measure success and what you need to see from the intern or temp. For example, you could write in the welcome packet and explain in an in-person meeting that the intern or temp should finish X project by X date, and work with ABC team. Explain priorities, possible challenges and how to address them, as well as the importance of the project. And don’t forget — employee recognition has a big impact on your employees’ happiness, so be sure to acknowledge when they do quality work and accomplish their goals.

3. Assign a mentor or buddy
You could have a handful of designated employees who always serve as “buddies” for your interns and temps, or you could solicit relevant staff to volunteer for this role depending on their department. In any case, the mentor should help the new person feel welcome by going to lunch with him or her, introducing them to other employees, giving them a tour of the office, and serving as secondary resource (along with the manager) for questions about the workplace.

4. Provide a dedicated workspace
Get newbies invested and engaged by giving them a sense of ownership. Ensure they have a dedicated space to work with all the supplies they need. If they have to struggle and scrimp for materials and a place to work from day to day, they won’t have the easiest work experience, nor will they be as eager to work for you in the future.

5. Involve your employees
The day before the intern or temp arrives, send a company-wide email explaining that X person is arriving and why, and what everyone can do to welcome him or her. Explain where he or she will be working, what projects they’ll be working on, and who they’ll be reporting to.

Job Personality Test

In the interests of efficiency, the hiring process is becoming increasingly automated. Hiring managers and recruiters are continually developing new ways to save time, reduce manual effort, and identify the best possible candidates for each open role. One outcome of this shift is that hiring managers are relying to an ever-greater extent on personality assessment tests. According to The Wall Street Journal, 8 of the 10 most prominent private employers now incorporate pre-hire personality testing in their application process.

For employers interested in following this trend, an abundance of such tests are readily available. These tests range from classical personality-type assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to a variety of newer evaluation instruments, some of which are geared to specific industries or jobs. Many employers believe these tests can determine how well prospective job candidates will fare in their organization’s work environment, and whether they’ll be a good cultural fit. This information is particularly valuable given that employees who jive well with their company culture tend to have higher levels of engagement.

Despite their popularity, however, job personality tests do not always result in traceable benefits such as reduced churn or improved employee engagement. In fact, such tests may not even speed up the hiring process. Steven Davis, a University of Chicago economist interviewed in The Wall Street Journal article, found that as companies add more layers of pre-hire screening, the average time before a job is filled has expanded to the longest time on record: 26.8 days.

Furthermore, Harvard Business Review (HBR) points out that research has been available since 2002 demonstrating that personality testing doesn’t necessarily correlate with better job performance. Despite this evidence, however, the researchers found that HR professionals continue to place faith in the efficacy of such tests. The writers attribute this to the fact that busy hiring managers don’t have time to read academic research and are likelier to be swayed by their own industry trends.

There are some types of pre-employment testing that do offer measurable benefits, however. The HBR article cites evidence that testing for specific job-related competency is generally valuable, as are cognitive ability (intelligence) tests. While personality tests tend to measure transient states of mind, cognitive and functional tests measure stable traits that don’t undergo as much change, according to the HBR researchers. Such focused tests are also less subject to being “gamed” by savvy test-takers who can perceive the more desirable answers on personality tests and simply fill them out to please the potential employer.

The fact is that as a hiring manager, you have numerous powerful tools at your disposal for effectively screening job candidates, and you may prefer methods that are supported by solid evidence. Behavioral interview questions can be highly revealing of a candidate’s essential personality, as are job-related test assignments. In the end, however, the art of human resource professionals and the hiring manager’s personal insight still are (and will always be) the most effective employee screening tools in existence.

Want more tips for how to screen candidates for cultural fit? Check out our article “6 questions every recruiter should ask to determine cultural fit

Engage Reader Survey

Gartner recently completed their “Technology Overview for Employee Recognition and Rewards Software,” a comprehensive look at the evolution of R&R technologies over the past five years. They investigated a variety of solutions, including the Achievers Employee Success Platform, to determine what features and functionality consumers can expect, the common use cases for employee recognition platforms, and what criteria HR and IT professionals should use to select a solution.

You can access their full findings and recommendations on our website.

Gartner Report Achievers

 

Employee Onboarding, Training, and Development

Employee onboarding is an essential part of the hiring process, and when it’s done effectively, it can set the foundation for long-term success in the employee’s new role. Too often, however, managers don’t realize the importance of onboarding and the long-term benefits of training and development, so they end up providing a poor-quality employee experience. This has very real effects: according to SHRM, “Half of all senior hires fail within 18 months in a new position, and half of all hourly workers leave new jobs within the first 120 days.”
Do you know the best practices for effectively onboarding your new hires? See if you identify with either of the scenarios below.

Scenario 1
On your new employee’s first day of work, you sit him or her down at a workstation and give them a large file of HR forms to fill out. After these documents have been submitted, you present the new hire with their first set of tasks and tell them to get started. You assume if they have questions, they will ask. Coworkers mostly leave the new employee alone, because they assume the person has a lot to figure out and doesn’t have time for small talk. You see onboarding as a practical to-do list: setting up a new log-in and work area and making sure the new hire is briefed on logistics such as exit, entry, schedules, and timesheets. Once the logistics are covered, you feel that onboarding is complete.
If the scenario above sounds familiar, you may be losing good employees because you’re not effectively integrating them into your organization right from the start. Scenario 2, below, demonstrates an approach that’s informed by the best onboarding practices:

Scenario 2
You gather together a set of new employees for a multi-day onboarding session, and you encourage them to think like a team. Enthusiastic brand ambassadors provide a personal welcome and company orientation, with form-filling as an interim activity that all new hires do in the same physical space. After the initial session, a peer mentor is assigned to each new hire to introduce them to co-workers and orient them to the expectations for their role. Co-workers invite the new hire to join them for a team lunch and stop by their work station frequently to offer a greeting or helpful tip and check in with how they’re doing. On several occasions after hiring, you seek feedback from your new employee about their onboarding process, and ask whether they have any suggestions for improving it.
The faster your new hires feel comfortable and confident with their new coworkers and new responsibilities, the sooner they will begin contributing to your organization’s mission in a meaningful way. The benefits of appropriate onboarding, training, and development will pay off well in building staff loyalty and strengthening your employer brand reputation for future hires.