Summer is an exciting time of year. The cold, gray winter has finally been transformed into a season bursting with warmth and color. The beaches are open, and pools across the country are waiting to be used.
While all of that makes the summertime enjoyable, it can also distract employees and bring their motivation to a near-grinding halt.
According to a study conducted by Toggl, a time tracker and employee timesheet software company, mid-May is when its tool’s daily usage drops 22 percent from the yearly average. Conversely, the highest overall yearly productivity is in September, with the most active users and sign-ups. Toggl believes this is due to employees’ “guilt syndrome” caused by the summer’s drop in productivity.
But you shouldn’t get discouraged if your team is slacking off. There are effective ways to keep employees on task, even during the lazy days of summer.
Building the right culture
Your company culture can directly affect an employee’s attitude during all the seasons of the year.
“Culture can inspire proactive problem solving or inspire passive problem spotting, with no action to address issues,” said S. Chris Edmonds, founder and CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group, and an author. “Culture can inspire cooperative interaction and teamwork to boost production, quality and service, or frustrate employees so they just go through the motions, daily.”
To this end, Jojo Hedaya, founder and CEO at Unroll.me, has built a culture of ownership, where each team member takes responsibility for his or her projects and tasks.
“Enabling ownership increases the dedication [employees] have to the work, no matter the time of the year,” Hedaya said. “I encourage everyone to take the vacation time they need. Since each member feels like they own something, they’re not going to let anything slip by.”
Brad Lande, CEO of Live in the Grey, a workplace consultant company, advised creating an authentic workplace — a place where people feel connected, impactful and fulfilled because they can bring their whole selves to work every day.
“Start by investing time to get to know your people,” Lande said. “Find out what makes them come alive. You’ll realize they’re all unique. Some people will value more time with their families, while others will value continuing education or mentorship. Actively listen to your people.”
The role of leadership
Being an effective leader year-round will also encourage employees to do their best work, whether the weather is delightfully warm or bitterly cold. You can motivate employees by combining inspiration, knowledge and rewards, said Jan Bruce, CEO and co-founder of meQuilibrium, a workforce resilience training company.
“For leaders, it’s not enough to tell employees they’re doing a good job,” Bruce said. “It’s more important to lead by example, which is inspiring; to share knowledge, so others might use it; and to reward people who do well, to let them know that they’re valued. For an employee, feeling valued is one of the most important things.”
The second employees question their purpose, there will likely be a loss of motivation and excitement to continue producing, and good work will also drop off, Bruce said.
“I am constantly trying to cultivate a happy, fun workplace,” Hedaya added. “If my people are unhappy coming into the office every day, their work will reflect that. The happier the employee, the better the work.”
It’s been said that strong relationships are built on trust, but new research finds that workers have very little faith in their employer, boss or co-workers.
Employers garner the least amount of trust from U.S. employees, according to the study from EY, a provider of assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Specifically, just 38 percent of American workers trust the company they work for. That’s even less than many of their peers worldwide. Of the eight countries studied, only employees in the United Kingdom and Japan were less trusting of their employer.
In the U.S., younger workers are the most trusting. The study shows that 42 percent of millennials trust their company, compared with 40 percent of baby boomers and just 32 percent of Gen X workers.
There are a variety of reasons why employees worldwide have little faith in their organization. Among the factors driving employees’ lack of trust in their employer are:
- Employee compensation is not fair.
- Equal opportunity for pay and promotion is not available.
- Strong leadership is lacking.
- Employee turnover is high.
- A collaborative work environment is not valued.
“The research findings underscore the importance of cultivating a workplace culture that values open communication, inclusive leadership and collaboration – the true building blocks of trust,” Nancy Altobello, EY’s global vice chairwoman of talent, said in a statement.
The study discovered a variety of benefits for employers when their employees trust them. Employees who have a high level of trust in an organization are more likely to be happier, produce higher quality work, be more engaged, stay with the company longer and recommend the company to others.
“Senior executives who understand the factors that impact trust within their organizations will be able to drive employee engagement and retention,” Altobello said.
In addition to their lack of trust in the company they work for, a large percentage of employees also have little faith in those they work with. The study found that just 46 percent of U.S. workers have a great deal of trust in their colleagues and only 50 percent feel similarly about their boss.
Factors that influence whether employees trust their boss include whether their manager treats them with respect, follows through on what he or she says, communicates openly and transparently, and behaves ethically. In addition, workers are more likely to trust a manager when they feel their point of view is valued and are recognized for a job well done.
In order to trust their co-workers, employees expect them to treat others with respect, do quality work, be collaborative and cooperative, communicate openly and behave ethically.
Researchers also looked at what factors will drive trust in the next generation of employees. Those in Generation Z said pay, promotion equity and opportunities to learn and advance are what will influence their trust in an employer.
“We found that parents of Gen Z often both positively and negatively impact the level of trust this next wave of talent is looking for in their future employers,” said Karyn Twaronite, EY global diversity and inclusiveness officer. “The impact of this could be far-reaching, so by understanding these factors, and proactively taking action on them, employers, bosses and teams can help to build trust for the workforce of today as well as tomorrow.”
The study was based on surveys of 9,859 adults in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S., between ages 19 and 68 who are employed full time. Of those, 1,233 were from the U.S.
One of the most important ways to set a new employee up for success is to train that person well. Every job has a learning curve, and proper training is key to helping employees assimilate their new roles and your company’s culture.
Handing a new employee a pamphlet or a pile of notes may be easy, but it’s not going to help your team members learn how to do their jobs well. Business News Daily asked business leaders to outline a few training methods that help employees stay engaged and motivated throughout the process.
1. Hands-on shadowing
It’s one thing to be told how to do something, but doing a task on the spot can sometimes be the most effective way of learning. Melissa Cohen, managing partner at Metis Communications, said her company incorporates hands-on shadowing into the new employee training process.
“The shadowing process allows trainees to retain information better by applying learned skills in real time and translating them to their daily tasks,” Cohen said. “It also helps new team members experiment with responsibilities in a controlled environment without risk, all while building their confidence.” [See Related Story: Starting Strong: How to Successfully Onboard a New Hire]
2. One-on-one meetings
Kathy Thiessen, VP of franchise operations at 101 Mobility, a franchised provider of mobility and accessibility equipment, said that structured, biweekly meetings between an employee and his or her supervisor have been a very effective training method for her team.
“Our leadership team adheres to that schedule to show our trustworthiness and our investment in the team’s success,” she said. “Employees are required to bring their own agenda to kick off our coaching discussion.”
In these meetings, Thiessen said 101 Mobility employees focus on opportunities for skills development and building self-identified strengths.
“I like to close out those meetings by talking about the last 10 percent — the things that are difficult to discuss or topics an employee may be hesitant to discuss,” she added. “This needs to be done knowing their confidentiality will be respected.”
3. “Lunch and learn” sessions
Some employees learn best when they’re in a more relaxed environment. Many businesses have adopted the concept of a “lunch and learn” session, in which a team member or third-party source gives a brief seminar-style presentation while refreshments are served. It doesn’t even have to be a full lunch — Cohen said Metis Communications hosts optional, 45-minute Bagel or Beer ‘n’ Learns in the office and over video chat for its employees.
“In these sessions, a senior team member usually creates a casual, interactive and engaging presentation about a topic she has personal experience with, and then opens it up at the end for further discussion,” she said. “Such sessions usually lead to brainstorming among the group, as well as comfortable, open communication between team members of all experience levels.”
4. Video recordings
While live training sessions can certainly be engaging, you run the risk of the employee forgetting what he or she has learned after it’s over. Recording these presentations and making them available to your team can serve as a great refresher, or as a convenient “makeup” for those who missed the meeting.
“For basic training on technology tools and other standard PR and marketing practices, we provide links to video recordings and have the team make internal presentation recordings through join.me, so any team member can watch them at his or her own convenience.”
Choosing the right promotional products and gifts like corporate promotional items are important for any company trying to promote themselves to potential customers; but with such a wide range of products available, how can you be sure you are choosing the best options? Below you’ll find our promotional gifts specialist’s thoughts on the type of questions you should be asking yourself when looking for suitable products.
# Is the product unique?
Research your competitors and don’t select the same products they’re using. Try to think out of the box and select some unique products so that you could really stand out – this is where selecting useful products can really pay dividends, you’re more likely to remember a company that sends you something you like and use than something that looks nice but has no practical function.
# Are the products reliable?
Nobody likes gifts which stop working after a few days, even if they are getting them for free. Make sure that whatever you are going to give is of high quality, and reflects the image you want to create for your company. If your promotional gifts are of poor quality, what conclusion might a potential customer draw from this?
# Are the products easy to customise?
Select items that you can imprint your company name, slogan and contact information on easily. Picking products in the right colour scheme will help keep any promotional gifts in line with your corporate branding, making your products easily recognisable.
# Would they be pleased to receive this product as a free gift?
If the answer is no, look for something else. Does the product reflect company brand and service? Try to choose something that is relevant to your own products and services. For example, a travel company could choose branded backpacks, lip balms or even beach balls. Picking something useful and functional, as well as promotional, is a great way to keep your product on their desk and your brand in view.
# Does my customer need this?
This seems like the most obvious question to ask, but it’s often one that’s overlooked. Try and think like you’re the recipient: is it something they would want to keep or will it be just thrown in a drawer and forgotten about?
Many new entrepreneurs may think that getting business cards printed is a relatively easy thing to do. But, it is important to remember that your business card provides not only your contact information but a snapshot of your brand. Here are our top 5 key things to consider before going to print so that you portray your company in the best light.
Selecting your Company Name, Logo & Brand
Be sure to choose the right name for your business, and also make sure that the company name is cleared for use. Using the name of your corporation, LLC or DBA is a common choice. Additionally, you may also want to brand your company name with either a logo, graphic text or both.
Logo & Branding
Many entrepreneurs will try to cut corners by designing their own logo or using stock images from the local printer. This is cost effective and very inexpensive. However, the final design could look homemade and unprofessional. Remember your business card represents you and your company. A professionally designed logo like graphic design peoria az is worth the investment.
LogoWorks’ Startup Package is perfect for the serious business owner, which and includes a logo design, stationery design, 3 page website and 500 free business cards. All for under $1500. They also offer stand-alone logo design services, where a team of professional designers will create your company logo from $300 to $600.
If you have the resources (i.e. money), hiring a graphic designer or a branding consultant to create your logo is a great option. The only drawback is cost which can range from hundreds to several thousands of dollars. During the startup phase, spending tons of money for a logo may not be the right choice, especially when cutting costs is crucial. One alternative that many entrepreneurs have relied upon is outsourcing to online logo companies to get their creative projects designed without the high ad agency fees.
Now once your logo is complete, the final task is to trademark your company name and logo to protect your logo from infringement and imitators.
Company Website and Email
If you haven’t done so already, you will want to secure the website domain names and showcase the website address on your business card. Regardless if you’re an internet business or not, you should invest in a company website. You don’t have to have full website up and running before you start handing out business cards. Just be sure to buy the domain names and put up a “coming soon” page with your company contact information.
Once you have the domain name, you can also set up email accounts so you can send and receive company email. You can start thinking about how to design and build your website later when you have time to plan and develop your website strategy.
WebsitePros has a great, no-strings-attached, free website trial offer where they build a completely functional website. You can decide in 30 days whether or not to purchase. If you are only looking to secure your domain name and set up your company email, NetworkSolutions.com offers low cost domain names services with strengths in website security and is one of the most established domain name providers in the industry.
Some business owners may use free email (and website) services to cut costs such as Hotmail, Yahoo Mail (and MySpace). The drawback is that you may compromise the professionalism that is conveyed with an address from email@example.com.
Phone and Fax Numbers
You should also put some thought into what phone and fax numbers to print on your business card. Depending on the type of business, you will want make sure you secure proper communication services for your operations. Many startup entrepreneurs will consider using their cell or home phone as their main phone line. This is another way to cut costs, especially during the start up phase. However, you’ll want to make sure to maintain the professionalism of you and your business.
Ring Central offers a free 30-day trial for a fully functional virtual phone system. GotVmail also inexpensive virtual phone systems designed for entrepreneurs. Make your company sound ” big” with GotVmail, starting only at $9.95/month (with a 30-day money back guarantee).
Fonality is another option for those of you that need a little more sophistication and functionality with your phone system.
Business & Mailing Addresses
For startups and home-based businesses, using your home address or a P.O. Box as your business address initially is probably fine. Let’s face it until your business is successful and stable, committing to a multi-year, commercial lease can be risky (which is probably why you’re running the business from your home).
Another alternative is to consider using a virtual office service which allows you to use a real business address in most metropolitan cities across the U.S without the risk of committing to a multi-year commercial lease. You can also take advantage of mail forwarding, answering services (live or automated), meeting/conference rooms, internet access, work stations, and more. Ranging from high-end “Park Avenue” locations to standard commercial spaces in your local area, a virtual office can help your company look more established and stable as a company. If you need to set up a virtual office, Regus.com is a the industry leader with over 350 locations in the U.S.
There are a variety of options for getting your business cards printed. But before you do, go through your Rolodex of business cards and rate them in terms of design, layout and overall branding. You’ll notice some businesses have invested time and money on the layout and design of the card, whereas other companies have used standard templates and stock images. The differences should be night and day.
If you’re serious about your brand and image, have your business card designed by a professional. If you’re using designer to create your logo, you may want to also request company letterhead and business card designs to complete your corporate identity package.
Once you’re ready to go to print, you’ll have a few options. Your local printer is one option, especially if you need that face-to-face service and local access. Printing online has also become very popular and inexpensive, as well. Be sure to get a few quotes and comparison shop. Another good resource would be your graphic designer, as she/he will usually have a few good printing contacts in your area. VistaPrint offers a variety of free (and low cost) printing services. To learn more about free and premium business cards. LegalZoom members also get 25% off any service.
While it may seem like anger could spur employees to quit, new research revealed that, in some cases, it actually does the opposite.
According to a study recently published in the Academy of Management Journal, when employees who identify well with their employer face job issues, it often decreases their intention to leave: They are more motivated to stick around and improve their situation, rather than storming out in a fury.
However, when employees’ identity with their company is low, they are more likely to quit when job situations anger them, the study found.
The researchers discovered that employees who identify well with their organization tend to blame themselves, rather than their employer, for anger over job issues, because their employer is part of what defines them. Thus, these employees are less likely to respond to these feelings of anger by disengaging, the study found. [See Related Story: Your Best Employee Just Quit … Now What?]
Jochen Menges, a lecturer at the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School in the United Kingdom and a professor at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany, said the study shows that it is ill-advised for employers to broadly characterize specific emotions as beneficial or detrimental to their company.
“The study suggests that company policies that are designed to promote positive emotions or minimize negative emotions may, in fact, not have the intended effect,” Menges said in a statement. “So rather than seeking to suppress certain workplace emotions, companies should instead adopt practices that seek to encourage greater organizational identification.”
For the study, researchers examined 135 employees in the United States and Europe who worked for a large company in the pilot training and certification business. Over a one-year period, the employees were surveyed about their intentions to leave or remain with the company, and about general organization issues, such as schedule and pay. In addition, the researchers asked the employees about specific matters related to the job, such as events that made them feel good or disrespected at their job, as well as instances that made them feel close to their co-workers.
Six months after their final survey, the researchers analyzed actual staff turnover. They found a significant correlation between the number of employees intending to leave the company and the actual staff turnover.
In addition to anger, the research looked at feelings of guilt and pride. Similar to what they discovered with anger, the study’s authors found negatives with positive emotions and positives with negative emotions in some employees. For example, although pride usually encourages employees to remain at a company, for workers lacking work-related identifications, a feeling of pride made them more likely to consider quitting.
The study was co-authored by Samantha Conroy, an assistant professor at Colorado State University, and William Becker, an assistant professor at Texas Christian University.
A rule change announced May 18 by the U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) would expand overtime protections to an estimated 4.2 million workers, extending the rule to cover those making less than $47,476 per year and removing long-standing exemptions in the law. Business News Daily dug into the specifics of the new regulation and spoke with labor policy experts and human resources professionals about the anticipated effects of the change, for both employers and workers.
Scheduled to go into effect Dec. 1, 2016, the new rule changes overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime protections. Previously, employees were excluded if they were salaried, earned at least $455 per week ($23,660 per year) or were in positions considered executive, administrative or professional. Now, those exemptions will be lifted and the pay threshold for overtime protections will be raised to $913 per week, or an annual salary of $47,476. That pay threshold will be updated once every three years, indexed to wage growth over time.
So what does the overtime expansion mean for entrepreneurs and employees of small businesses? Basically, any employees who do not make at least the threshold salary and classify as exempt — now a narrower classification than before — are entitled to time-and-a-half pay after they’ve worked 40 hours in a week.
From a management perspective, business owners have a few options. The obvious answer is to keep your employees at 40 hours per week or less, even if they were previously working longer hours. Similarly, the other option is to simply pay time-and-a-half for overtime, although those costs are bound to add up quickly. And, of course, employers also have the option to raise employees’ salaries beyond the new threshold, in which case those workers would no longer qualify for the overtime protections.
David Reid, CEO of human resources and benefits company EaseCentral, told Business News Daily he expects many entrepreneurs to convert salaried employees to hourly wages in the wake of the change. By doing so, Reid said, small business owners could aim to keep an employee’s annual overtime wages below the difference between the new threshold of $47,476 and the worker’s previous salary.
“If you’ll have them work additional hours, pay raises are going to come more in the form of overtime in these small businesses,” Reid said, referring particularly to small businesses with around 15 employees. “I don’t think the mentality of the small business owner is to give somebody a raise over the cap. I think they’re going to sit back and realize that what used to not be additional pay for additional time at work will now be overtime pay, and that will be used in lieu of giving a pay raise.”
Reid said it’s important for small business owners to ask themselves, “At what point am I better off evaluating the option of going to an hourly employee?”
Valerie Samuels, a partner in the law firm Posternak, Blankstein & Lund LLP, said the rule change will also lift the exemptions on employees who were categorized as executive, professional or administrative, but who weren’t truly working in any of those capacities.
“Employers very often play fast and loose with the ‘duties test,’ which is whatever [employees duties are] that make them exempt,” Samuels said. “Let’s say you have someone who is an administrative assistant. They probably have some administrative duties … but aren’t really exercising any significant discretion on anything of importance.”
That “significant discretion” is supposed to be the legal justification for classifying an employee as exempt, Samuels said, but very often positions that shouldn’t be exempt are classified as such, based on the way their job descriptions have been written. Samuels advised employers to prepare for the Dec. 1 deadline accordingly.
“I think employers need to sit down with their employment counsel and take a hard look at all their employees to make sure they are properly classified. If not, they have to address that, because they’ll have a liability,” Samuels said, adding that in some states, failure to pay required overtime will incur “triple damages.”
The federal rule change has been in the making since July 2015, when the U.S. DOL first published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register for public comment. By September 2015, the department received more than 270,000 comments and used the feedback to tailor the final rule change.
If you feel like you’re having a “case of the Mondays” all week, every week, it may be time to evaluate your professional environment. Inspiration can run dry for a number of reasons, but it shouldn’t be due to your daily workspace.
An office makeover may help, but before you start repainting and refurnishing, think carefully about how you want to design your space, and whether it’s conducive to the company culture you want to promote. Workplace experts weighed in on how to design both an office and a culture that encourage productivity.
Where you work matters
A recent survey by office furniture retailer Steelcase and research firm Ipsos found that nearly 90 percent of workers around the world are less than satisfied with their work environments, primarily due to a lack of privacy. Open-office plans are great for facilitating collaboration and transparency, but these setups also make privacy and focus a real challenge for today’s workers, said Meg O’Neil, senior designer and developer of advanced applications and marketing at Steelcase.
“Everyone seems to be struggling with [workplace privacy],” O’Neil told Business News Daily. “It’s affecting engagement, performance and [job] satisfaction.”
One of the greatest benefits of a well-designed workspace, which offers privacy in the office, is an increase in engagement and productivity among workers. Of the 11 percent of survey respondents who were highly satisfied with their work environments, the majority (88 percent or more) said their workplaces allowed them to concentrate easily, work in teams without being interrupted, choose where to work based on their tasks, and feel a sense of belonging to the company and its culture.
“In any office, having a variety of workspaces that are suited to different work styles and tasks is the key to ensuring that every employee can do his or her best work,” O’Neil said. “Individually owned workspaces are getting smaller and smaller [with fewer] boundaries, making a series of interdependent spaces in an [office] ecosystem that much more important.”
Morris Levy, co-founder of co-working space The Yard, noted that since people can work anywhere, you should provide a space that employees are happy coming to.
“The reality is we’re all here to make a living and contribute something, so space is really important,” Levy said. “Most people spend as much time here as in their home. If you’re working in a dull space, what is inspiring you?””
Max Chopovsky, founder of Chicago Creative Space, a company that produces video and media content on office design and culture, shared a similar sentiment: As a company grows and can afford to invest in a good workspace, the environment should become a tangible manifestation of the company culture, he said. This means collecting input from employees about their ideal work conditions and incorporating that feedback into the workspace.
“[Culture] might be more important than the space [in which we work],” Levy said. “We can impact the space, but the culture happens organically. We impact it through our team.”
Positive culture is motivational
Culture isn’t limited to work perks like foosball in the lunchroom or fun outings; more importantly, it’s the company’s impact on employees from the top down.
“Culture drives everything that happens in organizations, good or bad,” said S. Chris Edmonds, founder and CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group and an author. “The quality of the work environment causes players to treat each other, and customers, with trust, respect and dignity.”
Culture can also inspire cooperative interaction and teamwork, which can boost production, quality and service, he said. Or, culture can do the opposite and frustrate employees so they just go through the motions daily, Edmonds said.
Company values are so important that if they’re not met, this has the largest impact on workers’ likelihood to stay at a job.
According to a Deloitte survey on millennials, the largest demographic in the workplace, when millennials share corporate values and believe in them, it also promotes loyalty. This is particularly true when employers demonstrate a strong sense of company purpose beyond financial success. Millennials intending to stay with their organizations for at least five years are far more likely than others to report a positive culture that focuses on the needs of the individual.
“Most leaders don’t pay attention to the quality of their workplace culture,” Edmonds said. “They’ve never been asked to do that. If they see that their work environment is unhealthy, they don’t know what to do about it.”
Most importantly, succinctly merging where you work with how you work will positively impact employees, making them feel more relaxed and engaged in the workplace.
“Office design for small businesses [should be] focused on allowing employees to feel like they’re a meaningful part of the organization [and its] purpose.” said Brian Shapland, general manager of turnstone, a Steelcase brand. “[When they] walk into the space, make it apparent that the company values them.”
Today’s employers place a high premium on keeping workers happy. After all, research shows that happy workers are the most productive.
A strong mission, like-minded co-workers and a great company culture can be rewarding, but there are other, unique perks that can both attract prospective employees and keep your existing ones motivated and engaged. Here are 15 awesome perks offered by large and small businesses across the country.
1. No official work hours
What 9 to 5? At Netflix’s California headquarters, vacation days and work hours aren’t tracked. The company only measures what people get done — so, as long as employees do their work, it doesn’t matter when or for how long they’re in the office. But Netflix’s staff members know better than to slack off: Abusing this policy gets you a one-way ticket out the door.
2. Tons of time off
When you work hard, it’s nice to have an employer that lets you play hard, too. Some big-name companies, such as Glassdoor and Virgin Group, offer unlimited time off. However, this type of policy usually discourages employees from actually taking vacation days because there’s no incentive to “use it or lose it.” Boston-based Metis Communications does put a cap on its employees’ paid time off, but the amount is incredibly generous: On top of the standard three weeks of vacation time (four, if you’ve been there four years or more), staff members get their birthdays off, a bonus vacation week during the last week of December and, after five years of employment, summer Friday vacation days. [See Related Story: 5 Ways to Cultivate Happy Employees]
3. Focus on family
Forget standard maternity leave. Facebook offers some incredible perks for parents and parents-to-be. New moms and dads get four months of paid parental leave, reimbursement for day care and adoption fees, and up to $4,000 in “baby cash” after their child is born.
Similarly, fast-food restaurant chain Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop allows its on-staff parents to take time off, no questions asked, to attend their children’s events and activities.
4. Food for thought
Lots of companies offer employee enrichment programs, but for most, these beneficial lectures and events typically happen only a few times a year. But footwear brand BucketFeet sponsors a monthly Learning Series, an hour-long gathering where employees listen to a guest speaker and ask questions. Co-founder and CEO Raaja Nemani said the team really values these informal sessions, which usually have a clear tie to the company’s mission and values.
5. On-site health services
Everyone seems to want to work for Google, and for good reason: It’s the king of amazing employee benefits. There are lists dedicated to all of Google’s perks, but it’s the company’s commitment to its workers’ health that sets it apart: In addition to medical doctors, you’ll find physical therapists, chiropractors and massage therapists on the Google campus.
6. Total wellness
It may not have on-staff physicians as Google does, but the Institute for Integrative Nutrition does a pretty good job of making sure its employees have what they need for physical and mental wellness. A professional chef prepares a healthy organic lunch for the staff every day (breakfast and snacks are also provided), and fresh flowers are placed on everyone’s desk. If biweekly chair massages and in-house yoga classes aren’t enough to de-stress you, just go on the staff yoga retreat.
People, leadership, benefits, work-life balance and learning opportunities all affect whether a workplace’s employees are highly engaged, according to new research.
To help businesses develop a culture that helps encourage engagement, researchers from The Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc. and WorkplaceTrends.com surveyed human resources professionals, managers and nonmanaging employees to better understand what matters most to them.
Joyce Maroney, director of The Workforce Institute, said organizations need the right formula to keep employees engaged.
“Good chemistry with employees starts at the top, with senior leadership identifying the elements of workplace culture that will support their strategy,” Maroney said in a statement. “Just as important is ensuring this formula is well understood and executed by people managers throughout the organization.” [See Related Story: The 4 Things That Keep Employees Interested In Their Jobs]
Based on the data, researchers found 25 elements needed to foster an engaging workplace:
Culture over performance: Nearly 60 percent of the HR professionals surveyed would fire a high-performing employee who did not fit into the company culture or did not get along with their co-workers.
Appreciation: More than half of employees get a high sense of satisfaction from their work when they get a simple “thank you” from their boss.
Friendships: Nearly two-thirds of employees believe having friendships at work is important to their performance.
Boomerangs: Although there was a time when many employers had policies restricting the rehiring of former employees, more than three-quarters of businesses are now open to the hiring of these so-called boomerang employees.
Leadership: HR professionals and managers believe that having executives who lead by example is the most important aspect of their workplace culture.
Innovation: Although workers at all levels believe innovation is critical to their company’s success, not everyone agrees that their company encourages employees to come up with new ideas.
Active feedback: Nearly half of HR professionals and managers regularly ask employees for their opinions in order to preserve and strengthen their workplace culture.
Flexible bosses: Nearly one-quarter of employees believe having a flexible manager is required for a positive work-life balance.
Customer-centric: More than 40 percent of the HR professionals and bosses surveyed get insights from their customers when developing new ideas.
Mentors: While millennial employees prefer mentorships, just 20 percent of those surveyed said they were given a mentor when they started working for their employer.
Benefits: Excluding pay, getting better employee benefits is the top reason employees would leave their employer; nearly one-quarter of employees said they’d leave their company for that reason.
Recognition: Nearly half of the HR professionals surveyed think offering more rewards and recognition is an important way to retain employees.
Wellness: Nearly one-quarter of both managers and employees believe offering health programs is an important aspect of retention strategies.
Flexibility: Having a flexible work environment contributes to both retention and work-life balance. The research revealed that 24 percent of HR professionals and 35 percent of managers recognize that providing employees with more flexibility is an effective strategy for retention, while more than one-quarter of everyone surveyed think flexible schedules help improve work-life balance.
Personal time: Employers understand that having some “me time” is important for employees. More than 80 percent of the employees surveyed said their workload doesn’t stop them from engaging in personal activities at home or in the office.
Generational awareness: More than 40 percent of the HR processionals surveyed change their recruiting pitch based on the age of the candidate they are pitching to, by highlighting the aspects each generation will find most appealing.
Many of today’s most successful multibillion-dollar corporations began as startups. And the culture that kick-started these companies is what inspires hundreds of job-seeking professionals to apply at these places and stay there.
Recently, LinkedIn released a list of 40 companies that attract the top talent. LinkedIn examined the actions of the site’s more than 433 million members to rank the top companies where people want to work.
The top 10 companies — Google, Salesforce, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Uber, Microsoft, Tesla, Twitter and Airbnb — have a few things in common that make employees want to work for them. As it turns out, most of these things involve their approach to their people. Here’s what these companies are doing right, and how you can mirror these techniques in your own startup.
Look out for your employees
Employees want to work for a company that they’re passionate about, but they also want a company that’s passionate about them.
The No. 1 most coveted company on the list, Google, goes above and beyond making its workers feel taken care of, not just now, but also in the event that an employee passes away.
According to Inc, if someone dies while employed at Google, the company offers 50 percent of that employee’s salary to the spouse or next of kin over a period of 10 years.
Apple literally invests in its employees. Last year, Apple introduced a novel benefit, giving out restricted stock units to the vast majority of its more than 100,000 employees. Netflix offers a similar perk, letting employees decide what portion of their salary to receive in cash or Netflix stock.
No. 10 on the list, Airbnb truly embraces the startup culture by bringing a “practice what you preach” mentality to the office. According to LinkedIn, the Airbnb offices are furnished with “homey” details that Airbnb guests would appreciate. The office lounge areas are decorated with oriental rugs, meeting rooms are designed after popular rentals and there is an assortment of house-made sodas for employees. The company also pushes employees to “never stop being crazy” and attempts to inspire a “sense of adventure” by offering travel vouchers to employees so that they can experience Airbnb properties.
Hire the right people
The success of these brands is based on whom they hire. It’s no mistake that companies are selective when it comes to talent.
“Nearly every company is undergoing transformation. The pace of innovation keeps speeding up, which accelerates and changes competition, and raises customer and client expectations,” Daniel Roth, LinkedIn’s executive editor, said in business journalist Suzy Welch’s blog. “The only way to meet these new demands is to hire and retain the right people. That means the companies who can hire better and keep the best.”
Companies like Pandora, which also made the Top Attractors list, say that they hire for “culture add” rather than “culture fit.”
“We want our employees to bring their own unique, individual perspective to Pandora, rather than have them blend in with the pack,” a Pandora representative told LinkedIn career expert Catherine Fisher in a blog post.
Across the board, companies on the list seek out candidates who are passionate about their brand and mission, and are agile enough to keep up with the demand of constant change.
Have flexible leadership
According to a LinkedIn survey, nearly half of American workers would forgo the corner office job and a high salary to gain more flexibility in their schedules.
Companies across the board, especially those on the Top Attractors list, have slowly been embracing the change, Roth said:
- PwC boasts of the ability to create compressed workweeks, so that employees work longer hours, but fewer days a week.
- Westpac Group has stopped assigning desks in multiple offices. Now, employees sit in “neighborhoods,” and can work wherever best suits them, whether that’s at a standing desk by the windows or at a quiet conference table.
- Suncorp Group allows employees to permanently work from home.
“Generation X and boomers have this kind of misconception … that these people that want flexibility might be less committed to their work, less committed to their career progression,” Monica Marquez, Ernst & Young’s west region diversity inclusiveness and flexibility leader, told the L.A. Times. “For the millennials, they’re saying, we want this flexibility, but we aren’t any less aggressive about our career.”
Deconstructing the generally accepted office structure is the new frontier of business. Business leaders are transforming the way employees view them and are creating a better playing field.
Zappos very publicly dealt with the departure of the company’s leaders as it transitioned into a nonhierarchical management system called holacracy.
Stryker attracts top talent in part by sticking to a (relatively expensive) decentralized structure. As CEO Kevin Lobo explained, business units operate independently, meaning employees can stay closer to end customers and quickly plan, ramp and market new ideas without worrying about corporate redundancy, Roth said.
“With the pace of change just accelerating, smart employers know that they have to rewrite their strategies and rethink who they’re competing with to survive,” Roth said. “Those companies who can hire better and keep the best [sic] are going to be the ones with better shots at making it to the other side of the transition.”
Explore company culture and employee retention to begin the process of becoming a company that potential employees covet. You don’t necessarily need to change your company from the top down, but consideration of the most-used practices is a good start.
Ready to learn more about creating a great work environment? Visit this Business News Daily article.
Employees who are disrespected by their co-workers feel more comfortable treating others the same way, and end up creating a very toxic workplace, new research finds.
The problem stems from one employee undermining another, found a study set to be published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. KiYoung Lee, one of the study’s authors and an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo School of Management in New York, said undermining is intentional behavior that hinders other employees from achieving workplace success or establishing and maintaining positive relationships at work. Examples include giving a co-worker the silent treatment, belittling a co-worker’s ideas in front of others or purposely withholding information just to delay the progress of a colleague.
“This kind of interpersonal aggression costs organizations about $6 billion each year in health problems, employee turnover and productivity loss,” Lee said in a statement.
As part of the study, researchers conducted two rounds of surveys of 182 employees at 25 branches of two Korean banks to measure whether those who had been the victim of undermining would later become perpetrators. [See Related Story: Can Bad Behavior Benefit Your Team?]
The first survey examined employees’ levels of undermining victimization, moral identity and interpersonal justice. The second survey, conducted one month later, measured employees’ levels of moral disengagement, resource depletion and engagement in social undermining.
The researchers found that when employees feel they’ve been treated disrespectfully, they become more selfish because of an unfairness perception. Lee said these workers feel as if they have suffered enough and so now they are entitled to be selfish toward others.
“When we become selfish, it is much easier to justify our own [undermining] toward others,” Lee said. “We use this to justify our actions, for instance, by calling undermining ‘part of the game.'”
The key to stopping this spread of poor behavior is to hire employees with high moral character, Lee said.
“When employees have high moral identity, they are not susceptible to this process,” he said.
In addition, employers can limit undermining in the workplace by emphasizing moral values within the organization, he said.
“They can provide more ethics training, or they can try to create an office environment where moral values are more salient,” Lee said. “Simply displaying posters and slogans with moral values will also be very helpful, because it activates more [moral] identity in employees’ minds.”
The study was co-authored by Eugene Kim, an assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology; Devasheesh Bhave, an assistant professor at Singapore Management University; and Michelle Duffy, a professor at the University of Minnesota.