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Culture

5 min

5 min

20 Ideas to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day 2024

20 Ideas to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day 2024 20 Ideas to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day 2024

Here are 20 ways to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day this year (with a free kit!).

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Mark your calendars - Employee Appreciation Day is on Friday, March 1st, 2024, and it isn't just a date on the calendar; it's an important opportunity to shine a spotlight on the remarkable efforts of your dedicated team. While a pat on the back is great any day, use this special occasion to amp up the gratitude.  

What is Employee Appreciation Day?

Employee Appreciation Day serves to honor and value the contributions and efforts of your workforce. The story of Employee Appreciation Day begins in 1995, thanks to Dr. Bob Nelson, a visionary in cultivating cultures of recognition in workplaces around the globe.  

Now a global phenomenon, this day is a powerful reminder of the impact that appreciation can have within any organization. Annually, we mark Employee Appreciation Day on the first Friday of March. In 2024, it falls on March 1st.  

What’s inside your Employee Appreciation Day kit?

It's imperative to mark this day with meaningful activities that resonate with your team, making it a significant and anticipated event in your corporate calendar.

This year, we’ve made prioritizing this day easier with your curated Employee Appreciation Day Kit. Here’s what you’ll find inside:  

  • March Recognition Calendar: why limit the appreciation to just one day? This recognition calendar includes daily prompts for celebrating your team and colleagues all month long.
  • Social Media Assets: you can use these Employee Appreciation Day graphics for your social media posts.  
  • Mingle Bingo: a fun virtual or in-office ice-breaker game to include in your celebrations!

Download your 2024 Employee Appreciation Day Kit.

How to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day (20 Ideas)

If you’re looking for additional ways to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day, we’ve got you covered.  

Here are some in-office and virtual ideas to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day:

In-Office Celebrations

  1. Office Lunch or Breakfast: Cater a special meal for your team, offering a variety of options to accommodate different dietary preferences.
  1. Award Ceremony: Host a fun award ceremony with unique categories that highlight each employee's special contributions or quirks.
  1. Professional Development Workshops: Arrange for a workshop or a speaker that offers professional growth opportunities.
  1. Wellness Day: Organize a day focused on wellness with activities like group exercise, meditation sessions, or a massage therapist on site.
  1. Team Building Activities: Plan team-building exercises or games that encourage collaboration and fun.
  1. Personalized Gifts: Give out small, personalized gifts or thank-you notes to each employee, acknowledging their specific contributions.
  1. A Day Off: Allow employees to take a much-deserved day off to rest, relax and enjoy their own activities.  
  1. Surprise Entertainment: Hire a musician, comedian, or magician for a surprise performance during the workday.
  1. Extended Breaks: Give employees extra-long breaks or a relaxed workday to enjoy leisure activities.
  1. Charity Work: Organize a volunteer day for a cause important to your team, promoting teamwork and social responsibility.

Virtual Celebrations

  1. Virtual Hangout: Host a virtual party or happy hour with games, music, and casual conversation.
  1. Online Awards Ceremony: Similar to in-office, but done virtually, celebrating achievements and milestones.
  1. E-Gift Cards: Send electronic gift cards as a token of appreciation, offering flexibility and a wide range of options.
  1. Virtual Workshops or Webinars: Provide access to online courses or webinars for professional or personal development.
  1. Home Office Upgrades: Offer a budget for employees to upgrade their home office, improving their work-from-home experience.
  1. Online Fitness Classes: Sponsor online fitness or wellness classes that employees can join from home.
  1. Digital Escape Room or Trivia Night: Organize an online game night with virtual escape rooms or trivia challenges.
  1. Subscription Services: Offer subscriptions to services like streaming platforms, e-books, or meal kits.
  1. Virtual Coffee Breaks: Schedule regular virtual coffee breaks where team members can socialize informally.
  1. Recognition Posts on Social Media: Highlight individual employees or teams on the company’s social media channels, praising their hard work and dedication.

These ideas can help create a memorable and enjoyable Employee Appreciation Day, showing your team how much their efforts are valued.

Year-Round Recognition: The Key to Organizational Success

While Employee Appreciation Day is an important day, ongoing recognition throughout the year is essential for maximizing organizational impact. Tools like Kudos facilitate easy and meaningful recognition, ensuring that every achievement, big or small, is acknowledged. With features like employee milestone celebrations, nomination programs, personalized rewards and pulse surveys, it becomes simple to maintain a culture of appreciation.

To help you stay on top of important dates for employee recognition, our 2024 Celebrations Calendar is a handy resource. It's never too early to start integrating recognition into your company culture, and we're here to assist you when you’re ready!

Recognition

5 min

6 min

Elevating Healthcare Through Employee Recognition: A Prescription for Success

Elevating Healthcare Through Employee Recognition: A Prescription for Success Elevating Healthcare Through Employee Recognition: A Prescription for Success

What is the current state of the employee experience in healthcare?

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The healthcare industry has high stakes. The difference between life and death can hinge on a split-second decision, and the wellbeing of those who care for us often takes a backseat. Yet, as any seasoned HR professional in the healthcare sector knows, the key to exceptional patient care lies in the hands of satisfied, recognized, and engaged employees.

Employee turnover and burnout are at an all-time high in the healthcare sector. The link between how employees feel, and the experience of patients is undeniable. When healthcare organizations concentrate on enhancing employee engagement, building trust with senior leaders, and promoting a culture of recognition, they establish a beneficial cycle. This not only improves patient results but also gives healthcare workers the motivational lift they require to combat burnout.

The Pulse of Healthcare: A Look at the Employee Experience

Frontline workers face daily challenges - long hours, emotional tolls, and high-stress situations. Amidst this backdrop, the employee experience becomes not just a matter of job satisfaction, but one of providing quality patient care.

However, the current state of employee experience in healthcare reveals a gap. Burnout is rampant, and engagement levels often waver under the strain of relentless pressure. This is where employee recognition platforms, like Kudos, play a crucial role.

Diagnosing HR challenges in healthcare

Staffing shortages, regulatory compliance, diversity management and crisis response are just a few of the many hurdles HR leaders in healthcare face. For example, staff shortages not only fuels employee burnout and turnover but also impedes healthcare providers' efforts to enhance patient satisfaction, comply with regulations, and ensure the safety of both patients and employees.  

These challenges are compounded by the need to maintain a workforce that is not only skilled but also emotionally and mentally resilient. HR teams need to address employee needs, which range from compensation and benefits to flexible scheduling and access to cutting-edge technologies, all while managing the pressure to contain escalating labor costs. This balancing act is crucial for maintaining a robust healthcare workforce capable of meeting the evolving demands of patient care.

Employee recognition in healthcare

Employee recognition in healthcare isn't just about saying "thank you" – it's about acknowledging the extraordinary efforts of individuals who work in extraordinary circumstances. Recognizing healthcare workers can take various forms - from formal award programs to everyday expressions of gratitude.

The impact of recognition in healthcare is profound:

  • Boosts morale: in an environment often clouded by emotional and physical fatigue, recognition acts as a positive motivator, boosting morale.
  • Reduces burnout: recognition reminds employees that their efforts are seen and valued, mitigating feelings of burnout.
  • Improves retention: recognized employees are more likely to stay, reducing turnover in a sector where continuity is key.
  • Enhances patient care: happy and valued employees are more engaged, directly impacting the quality of patient care.

From Recognition to Retention: Crafting a Healthier Work Environment

The journey from employee recognition to a thriving work environment in healthcare is intricate but achievable. This transformation involves several steps:

  1. Tailored recognition programs: one-size-fits-all doesn't work in healthcare. Recognition programs need to be as diverse as the workforce.
  1. Frequent and timely acknowledgment: in a high-pressure environment, real-time recognition can be a powerful motivator.
  1. Leadership involvement: when recognition comes from the top, it carries more weight and fosters a culture of appreciation.
  1. Peer recognition: encouraging employees to recognize their colleagues creates a supportive community.
  1. Continuous employee feedback: collecting frequent feedback from employees is crucial to better understanding their needs and making meaningful changes.  

Better employee experience equals better patient care

The correlation between employee experience and patient care in healthcare is undeniable. Satisfied, engaged, and recognized employees are more empathetic, attentive, and committed - qualities that directly influence patient satisfaction and outcomes. Moreover, a positive work environment leads to lower error rates, enhanced team collaboration, and a more humane approach to patient care.

Case Study: Recognition in Action

Several healthcare organizations have reaped the benefits of prioritizing employee recognition. Since partnering with Kudos in 2012, LMC Healthcare has demonstrated that embedding employee recognition within their healthcare culture enhances patient care. LMC, with Kudos' assistance, has developed a culture centered around their core values, where every team member is dedicated to excellence and providing top-notch patient experiences.

Spanning clinics throughout Canada, LMC's staff and physicians utilize Kudos' desktop and mobile applications to acknowledge and celebrate each other's contributions. This accessibility makes fostering a positive and recognition-rich workplace culture effortless.

“A great culture is the foundation for a successful business. A strong culture encourages staff to be actively engaged, do their best, and come to work every day to support the company’s mission. With a focus on culture, employee performance can then translate into business success – hitting whatever key performance indicators that have been set, including revenue and positive patient outcomes.” Leah Topic Director of Human Resources at LMC Healthcare.

Prescription for a Healthier Healthcare Environment

The healthcare industry's future hinges not just on technological advancements or policy reforms, but fundamentally on how it nurtures its most valuable asset - its people. Employee recognition isn't just a nice-to-have; it's a must-have in the quest for quality healthcare. HR leaders who understand and act on this connection will not only elevate the employee experience but also set the stage for a revolution in patient care.

Checking vitals on employee experience

Prioritizing employee feedback through pulse surveys is not just about ensuring a positive work environment; it's a strategic approach that intertwines staff wellbeing with the overarching mission of delivering exceptional patient care and achieving superior business performance.

Pulse surveys are invaluable tools for driving improvement in patient care and business outcomes. Kudos Pulse Surveys provide a platform for healthcare professionals to voice their insights, concerns, and suggestions, fostering a culture of open communication and continuous improvement. Regular pulse surveys can quickly gauge employee sentiment, identify areas of stress or dissatisfaction, and highlight opportunities for enhancing workplace conditions.

By actively responding to this feedback, healthcare organizations can address issues proactively.  Engaged and satisfied employees are more likely to be attentive, empathetic, and efficient in their roles - all of which are crucial for maintaining high-quality patient care. By leveraging these insights, healthcare facilities can streamline their operations, enhance team dynamics, and make informed decisions that align with both staff wellbeing and organizational goals.

Kudos is here to help

An investment in employee recognition is an investment in the very heart of healthcare. It's time to give our healthcare heroes the recognition they deserve and, in doing so, pave the way for a future where the diagnoses for employee and patient wellbeing is happy and healthy.

People Analytics

5 min

6 min

Why Pulse Surveys Matter

Why Pulse Surveys MatterWhy Pulse Surveys Matter

What are pulse surveys, how can they transform employee feedback into loyalty, and why are they so crucial for business success?

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We are witnessing a unique change in the workplace - the Great Stay. This shift in the labor market is unlike the more familiar Great Resignation., in fact, it’s the complete opposite.

Not long-ago employees were leaving their jobs at unprecedented rates, with trends like “quiet quitting” and “rage applying” making headlines. Today, employees are opting to remain with their current employers, even if they don’t want to.

This significant percentage of the workforce is staying put due to economic uncertainties and the fear of an unstable job market. This trend poses a critical challenge for organizations: how to identify and address what’s causing the hidden disengagement among employees who are physically present but may be mentally checked out.

Tools like pulse surveys that help measure employee engagement are indispensable – they serve not only as a barometer of employee sentiment but also as a guide for creating a more vibrant and productive workplace culture.

Now more than ever, HR leaders need to take full advantage of employee feedback tools to help understand their culture, keep employees engaged and productivity high. There’s a very simple way of knowing what your employees are thinking and feeling, and that’s by asking them.  

What is a pulse survey?

Pulse surveys are brief, frequent surveys that provide real-time insights into employee sentiment. Unlike traditional surveys, which can be lengthy and infrequent, pulse surveys are designed to be concise and constant, making them an invaluable tool for continuous employee feedback.  

The challenges with traditional pulse survey tools

While the value of pulse surveys is evident, their implementation sometimes poses challenges. Many tools available in the market require extensive configuration before they can be effectively deployed. This process can be time-consuming and may require a significant investment in terms of resources and training. Organizations often find themselves struggling with the complexity of setting up these surveys, which can delay the collection of critical employee feedback.

Recognizing these challenges, Kudos has designed its Pulse Survey feature to stand out in simplicity and ease of use. Unlike other tools that demand extensive setup, Kudos' Pulse Surveys are built with a minimal configuration approach so organizations can start gathering valuable employee feedback and plan actionable changes.” says Scott Sturgeon, Vice President of Technology at Kudos.  

Why do pulse surveys matter?

Traditional annual surveys often fail to capture the ongoing subtle shifts in employee sentiment. Pulse surveys offer a real-time barometer of employee engagement. They serve as a continuous feedback mechanism, helping organizations detect and respond to issues before it’s too late.  

In a time where disengagement might be silently brewing, pulse surveys act as an early warning sign, allowing companies to take proactive measures. They enable organizations to:  

  • Capture real-time feedback: Pulse surveys offer a snapshot of how employees feel at a given moment, allowing companies to react and adapt quickly.
  • Improve communication: These surveys open up new channels for communication between employees and management, ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard.
  • Enhance employee recognition: By understanding employee needs and concerns, organizations can tailor their recognition and rewards programs more effectively.
  • Foster a positive workplace culture: Regular feedback helps build a culture of openness and continuous improvement.

How pulse surveys transform employee feedback

Employee feedback is a critical component of a thriving workplace. By giving employees a voice and actively seeking their input, organizations not only gain valuable insights for improvement but also significantly boost employee loyalty.  

Promote better communication and transparency

Pulse surveys offer an open communication channel that show employees their opinions are valid, valued and considered.  When employees feel heard and their contributions are acknowledged, they are more likely to develop a strong emotional connection with the organization, leading to increased job satisfaction, commitment, and ultimately, heightened loyalty. Employee feedback is a cornerstone for building a loyal and dedicated workforce that trusts and believes in its organization.  

Gather and act on employee feedback

Pulse surveys introduce a dynamic, real-time approach to understanding and enhancing the employee experience. They offer a concise, frequent, and engaging way to capture the immediate sentiments of employees.  

This transformation allows companies to quickly identify and react to trends, issues, and opportunities within their workforce. As a result, feedback becomes an ongoing conversation rather than a periodic checkpoint, leading to more responsive and effective organizational changes. This real-time feedback mechanism empowers companies to build a more engaged workplace, and actively shapes a better company culture and employee experience.  

The role of eNPS in employee feedback

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a crucial metric for measuring employee loyalty and satisfaction. Pulse surveys are an excellent tool for regularly tracking eNPS, providing organizations with timely insights into employee advocacy and engagement levels. By regularly measuring eNPS through pulse surveys, companies can proactively address issues and bolster employee satisfaction.

Pulse surveys and employee recognition

Pulse surveys also play a crucial role in shaping effective employee recognition programs. By gathering direct feedback from employees, these surveys provide insights into what aspects of the recognition program are working and what needs improvement. This feedback helps organizations tailor their recognition strategies to better meet employee needs. The ability to continuously refine recognition programs based on real-time feedback ensures that they remain relevant and effective, aligning with the evolving expectations of everyone.  

Kudos' Pulse Surveys: simplicity, efficiency & insight

Kudos' Pulse Surveys feature is centered on accessibility and user-friendliness. The surveys are crafted to be straightforward, ensuring that employees can provide their feedback quickly and effortlessly. This also allows for faster implementation of feedback-driven actions through:  

  • Simplicity in survey creation: with a selection of meaningful questions, creating engaging and relevant pulse surveys becomes straightforward and efficient.
  • Generation of actionable insights: the feedback collected through pulse surveys isn’t merely data; it’s a valuable resource for implementing impactful changes within an organization.
  • Optimized survey design: the balance achieved in the design of these surveys by Kudos ensures their effectiveness and user-friendliness.

Kudos has revamped its People Analytics to offer deeper insights into organizational culture initiatives. This analytics platform transforms raw survey data into actionable intelligence. It allows organizations to benchmark, track trends, identify patterns, and understand the impact of their culture initiatives. By leveraging this, organizations can make informed decisions to enhance employee engagement, improve workplace culture, and drive positive change.

Embracing pulse surveys for a better workplace  

As organizations navigate the complexities of employee engagement, today’s workforce demands a new approach. With traditional engagement strategies proving to be less effective, Kudos Pulse Surveys provide an essential solution. It offers a quick, accurate, and user-friendly way to gauge and respond to employee sentiment, which is crucial for maintaining motivated and productive employees.  

Kudos is committed to helping organizations navigate these evolving challenges to ensure organizations are proactively addressing issues before it’s too late. With this innovative, easy-to-use pulse survey tool; employees voices are heard, feedback is analyzed and targeted solutions can be and implemented.  

Culture

5 min

5 min

Navigating the Future: The Top 5 HR Trends for 2024

Navigating the Future: The Top 5 HR Trends for 2024  Navigating the Future: The Top 5 HR Trends for 2024

What are the top trends HR leaders should be focusing on in 2024?

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Welcome to the not-so-distant future, where HR isn't just a department but a powerhouse of innovation and strategy. In 2024, the world of HR is evolving faster than you can say "talent acquisition." Let's explore the rollercoaster of HR trends that are set to redefine the way organizations operate and engage with their most valuable asset – their people.

1. Embracing HR technology

In the era of automation and artificial intelligence, it’s more critical now than ever to stay current. You can use HR technology to transform your entire employee experience. From recruitment bots that sift through resumes to virtual reality onboarding experiences that make the first day on the job the most welcoming – the future of HR is digital.  

Rewards and recognition are here to stay

Attracting and retaining top talent is a competitive sport – software solutions can serve as indispensable tools for fostering a culture of appreciation and engagement. More and more organizations are recognizing the  importance of embracing employee rewards and recognition software, like Kudos, as a strategic imperative.  

Through my research and previous partnership with Kudos, I’ve learned that what people really want at work is to be seen and noticed for positive output and outcomes. Beyond a fair salary, recognition is one of the most critical factors for an employee. A platform like Kudos is vital to any organization because it provides an avenue to share gratitude across geographies – and gratitude is a powerful stepping stone in cultivating organizational belonging.” - Rebecca Pound, Manager of Employee Experience at AIMCo.

Modern workforce dynamics demand real-time acknowledgment and celebration of achievements. Kudos streamlines the process but also provides data-driven insights, allowing organizations to identify and amplify positive behaviors that contribute to a thriving workplace. By harnessing the power of such technology, companies not only enhance employee morale and satisfaction but also fortify their employer brand, positioning themselves as forward-thinking organizations. In 2024, recognition software is not just a tool; it's a strategic investment in building a resilient, motivated, and high-performing workforce.

2. Career management and skill development

The corporate ladder is more of a lattice – people are shifting, exploring, and finding new and exciting ways to grow. This means that career management is no longer about climbing a linear ladder but navigating this lattice of opportunities. Leading organizations are becoming talent playgrounds, encouraging employees to swing from one skill branch to another, fostering a culture of continuous learning and adaptability.

Managers are no longer manageable

Gartner’s Top Priorities for HR Leaders in 2024 states that 73% of HR leaders feel their organization’s leaders and managers aren’t equipped to lead change. This means HR leaders need to move away from the traditional one-size-fits-all group training sessions and focus more on the individual “must-have” skills required for managers and leaders to be successful.  

Many traditional roles are becoming obsolete, replaced by emerging positions driven by automation and artificial intelligence. As organizations struggle to identify the right candidates, employees are unsure of where they fit in this evolving landscape. Rather than eliminating existing staff due to mismatched job titles, I believe in investing in their development, identifying their strengths, and providing training opportunities. By understanding and nurturing their talents, individuals can thrive and contribute to the organization in meaningful ways.” - Denise Beaupré, Entrepreneur, Author, Personal Development Coach, and Creative Leadership Mentor.

The business world is continually evolving – the responsibilities in a role a manager was hired to do may have shifted, and that’s okay. Encourage role changes, process improvements, and focused reflection to avoid burnout and keep managers and leaders focused on the impact of their tasks to contribute value to their team and organization.  

3. Amplifying organizational culture

We’ve said it before – organizational culture is more than free snacks and ping pong tables. Organizations are creating a living, breathing culture that aligns with the company's values and engages employees on a deep, meaningful level. Flexibility, inclusivity, and purpose-driven work are the new buzzwords, and organizations are no longer afraid to wear their cultural quirks like badges of honor.

Keeping employees connected

Culture connectedness has become a major challenge for organizations everywhere – especially with remote and hybrid work becoming the norm – and preference. The key is to enable employees to connect with their company culture wherever they are. Equipped teams with the ability to create emotional connections with each other and establish microcultures. Ensure your organization's values align with your culture, infuse culture initiatives throughout every level on your organization and embrace all technology that allows your teams to stay connected.  

In everything we do, including our partnership with Kudos, the focus is on ensuring our values are front and center for all employees. Recognizing and rewarding people for living those values using Kudos cements a lot of the things we’re trying to accomplish. We’re using that lever to get our culture to stick.” - John Odike, Vice President of Human Resources at Wesley Enhanced Living.

4. Experimenting with Generative AI

No one can enter 2024 without seeing the buzzword  popping up everywhere: Generative AI, also known as GenAI. GenAI is a type of artificial intelligence technology that can (literally) produce anything you need in seconds. Whether that’s various content, writing pieces, imagery, video, audio, development code, or just a simple chocolate chip cookie recipe, GenAI is becoming increasingly popular everywhere.  

A recent survey reported that 79% of respondents noticed an increase in productivity and efficiency when implementing GenAI into their workforce. It’s being called the “workplace sidekick” and for HR professionals this could mean using AI to predict trends, foresee employee needs, and recommend strategies before you even realize you need them.  

5. Improving overall employee experience

The employee experience refers to the overall interactions, perceptions, and feelings that an employee has throughout their entire journey within an organization. It isn't just about perks; it's about the entire journey from onboarding to retirement. It's about creating a work environment where employees feel valued, supported, and inspired. From personalized learning paths to culture initiatives, the focus is on the holistic well-being of the workforce.

Better employee experience equals reduced turnover

McLean & Company addressed several key areas in their 2024 HR Trends report and one of them was the correlation between employee experience and turnover. Their report stated that organizations with poorly designed employee experience face 36% higher rates of voluntary turnover compared to those with HR initiatives that succeed in this area.

Flexibility doesn’t just mean remote work

Flexibility for employees extends far beyond merely offering the option to work remotely. While remote work is a significant component, a truly flexible work environment considers a broader spectrum of arrangements that cater to diverse needs. It involves adapting to varied working hours, compressed workweeks, job sharing, and providing autonomy in task management.  

Recognizing that employees have unique preferences and life circumstances; a more flexible approach allows individuals to tailor their work structures to align with their personal lives and productivity rhythms. It not only fosters a healthier work-life balance but also acknowledges the importance of individual well-being, contributing to increased job satisfaction and overall organizational success.  

Here’s to HR

HR is not merely a department; it's the heart of innovation and strategy, propelling organizations towards success. The decisions HR leaders make today can impact their organization’s business outcomes and brand for years to come.  

As we all collectively try and navigate the future, remember: HR isn't just about managing resources; it's about unleashing the full potential of your greatest asset – your people.

Rewards

5 min

5 min

Gifts Your Employees Really Want This Holiday Season

Gifts Your Employees Really Want This Holiday SeasonGifts Your Employees Really Want This Holiday Season

Which employee holiday gifts are on the naughty list this year?

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The holiday season is upon us, and as company decision-makers and HR leaders, you might be asking yourself the yuletide question: what do our employees really want for the holidays?  

While the old classics like company swag, free lunch and holiday cards may be tempting – your employees might not be as excited about traditional company gifts as you are. Let's be honest, nobody wants a partridge in a pear tree this year.  

Let’s dive into the holiday gifts your employees really want, and how they can make the most impact to end the year on a high note.  

The ho-ho-horrible gifts your employees don’t want.

Firstly, let’s talk about the gifts your employees don’t want. When it comes to holiday gifts for employees, it's essential to strike the right balance between thoughtful and practical. While the gesture is always appreciated, there are some gifts that are dated, thoughtless and don’t deliver the right message to your hard-working employees.  

  • One-size-fits-all presents: such as desk calendars, company swag, or pre-selected gift cards. These items, while well-intentioned, can come across as uninspired and lacking personalization.  
  • Regifted items: such as leftover gifts from vendors or promotional giveaways. This can feel like an afterthought and lacks sentiment. Employee gifts should not come from your team’s stock room.  
  • Free lunch or snacks: while offering a company-wide lunch is always appreciated, it doesn’t consider remote employees, and it shouldn’t be your only gift.  

To truly make employees feel valued and appreciated, it's essential to consider their individual tastes and preferences, ensuring that the chosen gifts resonate with the spirit of the season and the unique contributions each team member brings to the table.

Time off: the gift that keeps on giving.

There's no better gift than the gift of time. Your employees work hard year-round, and what they crave most might just be a little extra time to relax, recharge, and revel in the holiday spirit. Consider offering extra paid time off during the holiday season.  

While this time of year brings joy to many people, it can also be overwhelming and stressful for some. Offering time off can bring relief to those struggling with their overall mental health and well-being. Make sure to check in with your employees, offer support and encourage the right resources.  

It’s also important to remember there are many different cultural and religious celebrations happening this time of year. Offer your employees the opportunity to take time off when they want to and not just around the most popular holidays in your region.  

Rockin’ around the rewards catalogue.

A recent survey revealed that 86% of employees feel gifts or rewards would make them feel appreciated during the holiday season. Why not give your employees the freedom to spend as they please on something they truly want or need?  

Employee reward programs are initiatives that recognize and reward employees for their hard work and dedication. Organizations need to offer curated and customizable reward options to meet the demands of what all your employees truly value.  

Kudos Rewards provides a rewards catalogue that can be customizable and personalized and offers a world-class suite of options with merchandise, events, travel, charities, gift cards and more.  

If you’re unsure of handing out money or bonuses, you can always top up your employees’ rewards with extra points so they can select a gift of their choosing that’s meaningful to them.  

Sing carols and recognition, too.  

While you’re planning out your holiday gifts, don’t forget about the power of a simple “thank you.” Employee recognition during the year-end and holiday season is of paramount importance as it serves as a powerful means to convey gratitude and celebrate the collective achievements of the past year.  

Acknowledging your employees for their hard work and dedication reinforces their value to the organization and sets a harmonious tone for the year ahead. Encourage your leaders and managers to set an example and give well-deserved recognition to their teams.  

If you need help crafting the perfect holiday message, here’s holiday message examples, to help spread holiday cheer to your employees.

Make a list and check it twice.

Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your holiday gifts this year. Make sure you have budget set aside, you have all the necessary approvals, and no one is left out – everyone should be on the nice list!  

If you’re still unsure about what to give your employees, don’t hesitate to ask them. There’s nothing wrong with sending around a survey to gather deeper insights into what your employees would prefer as a token of appreciation.  

So, as you gear up for the holiday season, remember that the best gifts are the ones that show you truly understand your employees' desires.  

Recognition

5 min

5 min

Holiday Messages Your Team Will Love

Holiday Messages Your Team Will LoveHoliday Messages Your Team Will Love

Explore holiday message examples to help you spread cheer to your employees.

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The holiday season is a time of warmth, togetherness, and spreading joy. As a manager or leader, it's the perfect opportunity to recognize your hardworking team, celebrate a great year and extend well-wishes for the festive time ahead.  

It’s important to remember that there are many cultural and religious celebrations happening this time of year. Whether you're celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Rohatsu, Diwali, or simply the season itself, sending thoughtful holiday messages to your employees can foster a sense of belonging and inclusion. Here are some dates to keep in mind:  

  • Diwali is November 12, 2023  
  • Hanukkah starts December 7, 2023  
  • Rohatsu is December 8, 2023  
  • Christmas is December 25, 2023  
  • Kwanzaa starts December 26, 2023  

Let’s explore examples of holiday messages that can brighten your team's spirits during this special time of year.

General Holiday Greetings and Appreciation Messages

Warm Holiday Wishes and a Token of Appreciation!

Dear Team,

As we reflect on the year gone by, I am struck by the extraordinary spirit that each one of you has demonstrated. Your resilience, commitment, and camaraderie have been the cornerstone of our success, making [Company Name] more than a workplace, but a true community.

This time of year reinforces the importance of connection, kindness, and the joy of giving back. Even as we pause to enjoy the holiday season with loved ones, let's carry these values into the coming year and beyond.

Looking ahead, 2024 promises new adventures, challenges, and triumphs. I am confident that with our shared energy and passion, there's no limit to what we can achieve together.

Wishing you a joyous, restful holiday season, and a vibrant New Year filled with hope and happiness.

Warmest regards,

[Your Name]

A Year-End Thank You and Happy Holidays! 🎁

Hello Everyone,

As we approach the end of another prosperous year, I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your outstanding contributions and dedication to our organization. Your hard work and commitment have played a crucial role in our success, and I am truly grateful for the effort you've put into making this year a great one for all of us.

As we head into the holiday season, I encourage you to take a well-deserved break and spend quality time with your loved ones. It's a time to recharge, reflect on our achievements, and create cherished memories with those who matter most.  

The coming year holds new opportunities and challenges, and I am confident that, with your continued dedication and hard work, we will achieve even greater success!  

I wish you all a joyous and restful holiday!  

[Your Name]

It’s All Because of You 🎁

Dear Team,  

What a year it's been!

The holiday season is upon us, and as we gear up to bid farewell to another remarkable year, it's the perfect time to spread some festive cheer and express our heartfelt gratitude for your fantastic contributions.  

We've navigated through ups, downs, and unexpected plot twists, and through it all, your dedication and enthusiasm have shone bright.  

While you deck the halls and enjoy your holiday feasts, I hope you find time to relax, unwind, and create unforgettable memories with loved ones. Here's to laughter, joy, and all the good vibes as we welcome a brand-new year!

Thank you for being an integral part of our amazing team. Let's recharge our enthusiasm batteries and tackle new adventures together in the year ahead.

Happy Holidays!  

[Your Name]

Season's Greetings and Warm Wishes Messages

A Heartfelt Thank You and Warm Wishes

Hello All,  

As the year draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for your exceptional contributions to our team and organization throughout the year.  

2023 has been a year filled with challenges and triumphs, and your dedication, hard work, and commitment have been the driving force behind our success. It is a time to reflect on our achievements, celebrate the joys of the season, and look forward to the opportunities that the new year will bring.

On behalf of the entire [Company Name] family, I would like to wish you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season filled with warmth, happiness, and good health.  

Thank you once again for your dedication and hard work. I am incredibly proud to have you all as part of our team, and here’s to a prosperous 2024!  

With gratitude,  

[Your Name]

Season’s Greetings to You! 🌟

Dear Team,

As we approach the end of 2023, it's a perfect time to reflect on the past year's achievements. I want to extend my warmest wishes to each and every one of you. May your hearts be filled with joy, peace, and togetherness during this time of year.  

Season's Greetings to you and your families. Thank you for your hard work and dedication!

Best regards,  

[Your Name]

Merry Christmas Messages

Thank You and Merry Christmas from [Company Name] 🎁

Hello everyone,  

I want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation for all your exceptional performances this past year – your commitment to our shared goals and values is truly commendable.  

Whether it was meeting tight deadlines, going the extra mile to assist colleagues, or consistently delivering top-notch results, your efforts have not gone unnoticed. Our success this past year is because of all of you, and I am truly grateful.  

As we reflect on 2023, I hope you all take some well-deserved time to rest, relax, and enjoy the company of your loved ones – you all deserve it! May your holiday season be filled with warmth, love, and just the right amount of festive indulgence.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  

[Your Name]

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Dear [Company Name] Family,  

As we wrap up another successful year, I want to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude for your dedication and hard work. May this Christmas bring you joy, love, and well-deserved rest. Enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones, and may the new year ahead be filled with exciting opportunities.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Warm regards,  

[Your Name]

Spreading holiday cheer in the workplace is not only a kind gesture but also a great way to foster a sense of unity and appreciation among your team. Encouraging all your team members to send recognition will give that extra boost of motivation before the year ends.  

Remember, it's not just about the specific holiday but the sentiment behind your message that matters. Recognition is appreciated any time of the year and is the true gift that keeps on giving.  

Recognition

5 min

5 min

10 Truths of Employee Recognition Every HR Leader Should Know

10 Truths of Employee Recognition Every HR Leader Should Know10 Truths of Employee Recognition Every HR Leader Should Know

Explore the powerful impact employee recognition has on every area of an organization.

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Recognition plays a pivotal role in many areas of an organization. Retaining talent, boosting productivity and engagement, and driving performance are just a few of the many powerful benefits.  

Employee recognition continually comes up as a key solution for many challenges organizations are faced with today. We don’t need to prove this, it’s a fact – employee recognition helps drive organizational performance and improves business outcomes.  

Let's explore 10 undeniable facts about employee recognition.

1. Employee recognition enhances company culture

To gain a competitive advantage, organizations must comprehend the impact of building a culture of recognition, and the impact that has on the overall employee experience. In a recognition culture, employees are aware their contributions are genuinely valued by their company.  

A culture of recognition builds trust, security, and a heightened motivation to continue delivering exceptional work. Employee recognition enhances workplace culture, engaging and inspiring employees to perform at their best.

While the specifics of employee recognition may vary across industries, understanding how to strategically implement it and build a culture of recognition can have a profound impact on your business.

2. Employee recognition leads to better engagement

Since the rise of remote and hybrid work, many organizations have struggled to keep employees engaged and connected. Engaged employees are highly motivated and more productive because they know their organization values them and their needs are being met.  

Employee recognition is continually noted as a top driver for employee engagement. According to Quantum Workplace, employees who are recognized are 2.7 times more likely to be highly engaged. A highly engaged workforce leads to higher productivity, better performance and improved business outcomes.  

3. Employee recognition improves well-being

Stress is a major contributor to decreased productivity, motivation and overall well-being – nearly 1 in 5 workers have quit their jobs due to stress.  

Recognizing and valuing employees' efforts plays a vital role in nurturing the overall well-being of your workforce. When team members are genuinely appreciated and praised for their hard work, it not only elevates their self-assurance but also alleviates stress. Including recognition in your culture strategies fosters an environment where employees are happier, healthier, and more productive.  

Ensuring employees have a safe space to voice how they are feeling is vital. For example. Kudos' Sentiment Survey provides valuable insights about employee well-being in your workplace, allowing leaders to assess the overall employee sentiment in the moment and over time.  

4. Employee recognition improves retention

There are many reasons why someone chooses to leave their job – burnout, lack of growth opportunity, and lousy culture are just a few of many reasons. Turnover has a tremendous financial impact on an organization. It’s estimated that turnover costs 33% of an employee’s annual salary.  

Employee recognition can help lower turnover and help address the pain points that are causing your best talent to leave. Regular recognition fosters a positive and supportive work environment, enhances employee satisfaction, and strengthens bonds among coworkers, leading to reduced turnover and a more engaged workforce.

5. Meaningful recognition is more impactful

In companies where an effective recognition system is in place, employees are five times more likely to feel connected to the company's culture and four times more likely to be engaged in their work.  

Recognition should always flow freely, but when your message is truly meaningful, it will have the most impact. While a simple "thank you" is always appreciated, establishing a formal employee recognition program where meaningful recognition tied to your corporate values can easily flow throughout your organization will have the most impact.

Learn how to write a meaningful recognition message in our Recognition Your Team Will Love Culture Guide.

6. Rewards must be paired with recognition

Employee rewards create an environment that fosters short-term motivation, loyalty, productivity, and, ultimately, business success. They can be a powerful motivation tool – rewards can be tied to goals and milestones, and encourage employees to reach new heights. However, for employee rewards to be impactful in today’s workforce, they must be personalized and paired with recognition.  

The key to an effective employee rewards program that can elevate recognition, is providing flexible reward options that satisfy everyone’s preferences. Personalized rewards that align with employees' needs and values will have a greater, transformative impact on your culture.  

7. Employee recognition reinforces values

Most employees either don’t understand their company’s core values, or don’t know them at all. An employee recognition platform that reinforces your core values, like Kudos, ensures your values are being demonstrated throughout all levels of your organization.  

Employee recognition serves as a powerful reminder to organizations that everyone plays an integral role in upholding and embodying the company's core values. Through effective recognition, employees grasp the significance of their achievements within the broader context of the organization's mission. Even during times of change, employees feel secure and content, knowing that their contributions are appreciated and impactful.

Learn how Oliver+, a Kudos client since 2021, has transformed their company culture by ensuring its values are being demonstrated at all levels of the organization.

8. Appreciation is a basic human need

Abraham Maslow theorized in the hierarchy of needs that for human beings to be motivated to make decisions, they must feel appreciated. Appreciation is included in many levels of Maslow’s pyramid – it can be found in the need for love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization.

Employee recognition fulfills people’s need for appreciation. Being recognized for contributions helps employees understand the value they bring and that their work has a purpose. Without recognition, employees can feel undervalued and unmotivated, and can start to resent the organization they work for.  

9. Employee recognition increases motivation

Employee recognition directly impacts motivation – when employees are recognized, they feel more motivated to do great work. It affects drive, productivity, wellbeing and the overall performance of the organization.  

When employees witness recognition being given to their colleagues, it also serves as a powerful motivator to engage in more recognition themselves. When we receive recognition, it activates the reward center of our brains and automatically produces motivational thought patterns. By making recognition a workplace habit, employees feel more motivated to contribute value to their organization.

Recognition is a powerful motivator – here are 25 inspirational quotes to help motivate your team.  

10. Employee recognition improves customer satisfaction

When employees feel valued and appreciated, their motivation to perform at their best soars. For those employees who directly interact with customers, this translates into providing exceptional experiences that clients cherish and remember. One study confirmed that companies boasting at least 50% employee engagement retain over 80% of their customer base. This exemplifies the profound impact of employee recognition.

Renowned author and speaker Simon Sinek once said, "There's no CEO on the planet who's responsible for the customer. They're just not. They're responsible for the people who are responsible for the customer." To ensure your customers remain satisfied, prioritize the happiness of your employees by recognizing their contributions.

Employee Recognition Matters

Employees seek workplaces that unlock their full potential, invest in their growth, acknowledge their achievements, and cultivate a positive workplace environment. With continuous HR challenges and shifting employee expectations happening worldwide, employee recognition is a beacon of hope for businesses seeking to thrive.

When meaningful recognition becomes an integral part of your company's culture, you gain a competitive advantage and set the standard for what truly makes a workplace exceptional.

Your employees are your most valuable asset. Kudos is here to be your technology partner in creating an exceptional culture where employee recognition is the foundation of a highly engaged and thriving workplace.  

People People

5 min

5 min

The HR Blueprint: Data, Well-being, and Culture

The HR Blueprint: Data, Well-being, and Culture The HR Blueprint: Data, Well-being, and Culture

Meet Rebecca Pound, Manager of Employee Experience at AIMCo.

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Rebecca Pound stands out as a trailblazer in Human Resources, with an illustrious career marked by her unwavering commitment to fostering positive workplace cultures. Her journey, which began at Mount Royal University, has led her through roles at impressive organizations like ATB Financial, FortisAlberta and Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo). Rebecca’s unique approach to HR is highlighted by her emphasis on using data-driven decision-making, delivering action-focused training, and coaching with genuine empathy.

At ATB, Rebecca identified trends within employee sick leave data that was the catalyst in overhauling the organization’s mental health strategy. At FortisAlberta, she was the force behind the company’s first Diversity & Inclusion Committee, championing the origin and success of five employee resource groups. Her recent transition to the role of Manager, Employee Experience at AIMCo signifies her continued dedication to enhancing employee experiences and leveraging her skills in cultivating organizational belonging.

In our recent sit-down with Rebecca, she delved deep into her HR journey, sharing insights from her vast experience, the challenges she’s navigated, and her vision for the future of HR.

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What drove you to a career in HR?

Like many of my colleagues, I fell into HR. I went into university majoring in business. But it was HR that truly resonated with me. I had one fantastic professor in particular – the impact she had on me is unforgettable. She believed I had a natural mind for HR and shared that she always looked forward to reviewing my work. Her encouragement and feedback were instrumental in building my passion for the field and ultimately changing my major to HR.

What surprised you the most when you transitioned from school to your first HR role?

The TSN turning point, if you will, of going from university to hands-on reality was realizing that HR is a much more data-driven field than I was anticipating. Unfortunately, the stuff we worked on in school focused on policy creation. We didn’t really focus on how to tie those initiatives back to core business functions.

As a young HR Coordinator out of university, watching my director present extremely data-informed proposals was eye-opening, and I’m so grateful I had that lesson early on in my career. The lightbulb clicked – what makes you a strong HR professional is having data insights and approaching your work strategically with a mix of analytics and intuition.  

You’ve worked on some impressive initiatives throughout your career. How do you balance those big projects with your day-to-day responsibilities?

Call me when you’ve figured it out! It’s something that you always have to manage. But one thing that helps me is Franklin Covey’s concept of big rocks vs. the gravel. Make sure you’re scheduling time to move those boulders forward versus sorting gravel and tinkering with those more minor tasks. If I notice I’m getting too caught up in that “gravel work,” I schedule time for the big rocks.

You’ve done some impressive work around workplace mental health. How do workplace culture and mental health impact each other?

There’s a difference between an organization that walks the talk and an organization that does mental health programing as a checkbox activity. Meaning, having an Employee Family Assistance provider, and posting an article during Mental Health Week are bare-minimum table stakes. Employees can see through recycled lunch and learns and pamphlets.

Organizations that are taking serious steps in this space, however, are doing the work to dismantle or redesign historical policies and practices that contradict creating positive mental health environments.

How can organizations support employees facing mental health challenges?

The biggest bang for the organization’s buck here is ensuring your employees clearly understand the resources they have access to, and there are no barriers preventing them from accessing. The second step is working with leaders to express the critical role they play in supporting the mental wellness of their team. Their job is, first and foremost, to reduce stigma.  

In my opinion, why leaders most commonly shy away from having mental health conversations at work is their perceived fear around needing to “solve” the problem for the individual. Managers are not expected to have the capacity or skills to counsel employees – that’s not their job! What organizations need to do is upskill their people leaders in how to notice signs of declining mental health, how to confidently approach that individual, and guide them to the mental health resources available.

TL;DR answer: Organizations who are doing workplace mental health well have an elevated level of leadership maturity, and HR policies and practices that are reflective of a humanized approach.  

What has your experience been with employee recognition?

Through my research and previous partnership with Kudos, I’ve learned that what people really want at work is to be seen and noticed for positive output and outcomes. Beyond a fair salary, recognition is one of the most critical factors for an employee. A platform like Kudos is vital to any organization because it provides an avenue to share gratitude across geographies – and gratitude is a powerful stepping stone in cultivating organizational belonging.

As an HR leader, what is the biggest challenge you face in the next 12-18 months?

One thing keeping me up at night is the average person’s capacity to absorb and apply new information today, given their job demands and external distractions. In my role, I’m creating programs and running initiatives to educate, inform and empower the people in my organization when it comes to mental health, wellness, employee experience, and more; I want to ensure my work is always seen as enrichment (because it is) and not just another to-do.

On the flip side, what are you most excited about?

One thing I’m exploring is a new concept around organizations evolving from enforcing policies to following principles. I.e., if your organization is mature and ready for it, have north-star principles around how you do business vs. static rules. This allows some grey area and especially rehumanizes the HR approach. One-size-fits-all human resources policies don’t work when you’re striving to build inclusive workplaces.

Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing your insights and experiences with us!

Know an outstanding HR Leader you think we should feature?

Send us a note at marketing@kudos.com  

Recognition

5 min

6 min

Leveraging Recognition in the Open Enrollment Period 

Leveraging Recognition in the Open Enrollment Period Leveraging Recognition in the Open Enrollment Period 

During the open enrollment period, when employees are expected to lock into a plan, it’s important for them to feel valued and uplifted.

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The open enrollment season is a pivotal juncture for both employees and organizations every year, presenting a unique chance to choose benefits tailored to individual needs.  

In this article, we’ll explore how blending recognition platforms, like Kudos, into this process can not only amplify engagement but also transform the open enrollment experience into a more meaningful and productive venture. Let’s dive in!

Enhancing Engagement Through Recognition

Recognition platforms play a pivotal role in strengthening the bonds between colleagues, fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and acknowledged. Recognition platforms help create a community of engaged employees, where people feel secure, acknowledged, and know their voices matter.

There are many definitions of employee engagement out there, but Gallup’s simple definition resonates well: employee engagement is the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace.

Involvement and enthusiasm are critical to an effective and efficient open enrollment period. By fostering an atmosphere of open communication and genuine recognition, employees feel empowered to voice their needs and preferences. After all, when employees are engaged, they bring their authentic selves to work and are forthright about their needs. This cultivates an environment of transparency and honesty, essential for selecting the best benefit policies.

Tailored Insights Through Data

In Kudos, you can tailor values-aligned qualities to inspire your team. With each recognition message, users can tag qualities that best describe the intention behind a job well done. This not only celebrates the qualities behind outstanding performances but also offers insights into which qualities an individual embodies most and what they value in others.  

With this personal data, employees are more informed about what they truly need from their benefits plan. Similarly, Kudos Administrators have access to aggregated organizational data on values, qualities and overall employee sentiment, potentially highlighting collective benefits preferences.

Kudos Analytics gives users clear pathways to personal and professional improvement, and makes every step meaningful.  

Gamification of Benefits Selection

Awards and Achievement Badges in Kudos give employees something to strive for and a moment of pride to look back on. With a healthy level of competition, employees will work hard to champion the needs of their team.

If you want to give your team extra support during the open enrollment period, make the experience more interactive. By gamifying the open enrollment process, employees become more invested, ensuring collective participation and thorough scrutiny of all options. When everyone participates, questions are answered faster, and concerns are addressed more thoughtfully. In other words, no stones are left unturned when the whole community is actively involved, keeping a watchful eye.  

Here are some ideas for campaigns to amplify engagement during the open enrolment period using Kudos:

  • Allocating Kudos points for rewards for meeting organization-wide enrollment milestones (e.g., 25% completion by X date).
  • Bestowing a special badge or recognition message to early-bird enrollees.
  • Spotlighting ‘Open Enrollment Champions’ weekly based on their proactive engagement or exemplary assistance to peers.

Remember, the key is to align these initiatives with your organizational values and the unique needs of your employees.

Increasing Benefits Awareness

In a culture of recognition, employees have each other’s backs and want everyone to succeed. In a recognition platform, announcements are easy to make and hard to miss. During the open enrollment period, nobody should be left behind or unnotified about benefits options that might be a perfect fit. 

In Kudos, users can make Announcements company-wide for everyone to interact with. It may sound simple, but the first step to a positive enrollment experience is to start a conversation and keep it open.

You can also create a Space in Kudos to house all of the different benefits options to ensure visibility and understanding. Spaces are intuitive and easy – you can have a webpage up in minutes to the delight of your entire team!

The Ripple Effect of Employee Recognition

In toxic workplaces, people keep their heads down. Asking simple questions can feel intimidating, and employees are told they’re asking for too much.  

With a recognition-rich environment powered by Kudos, employees feel seen, valued, and heard and come to work with their heads held high. They feel comfortable advocating for their needs, knowing it’s OK and often even celebrated.  

During the open enrollment period, when employees are expected to lock into a plan, it’s important for them to feel valued and uplifted. In Kudos, employees are reminded every day of their unique value. They’re flooded with positivity from their peers. A positive psychological environment at work is the first rung on the ladder to a positive enrollment experience.

Employee Advocacy and Communication

Try breaking down traditions that keep people in the shadows. 

Introducing a recognition platform feels like moving the chairs around in a classroom and sitting everyone in a circle. It allows people to speak for themselves, rather than sit patiently in the back listening to someone speak for them.  

Not to mention, recognition platforms breed more inclusive environments, where suggested additions to benefits plans are taken seriously.

The open enrollment period, while essential, can often feel daunting for many. By integrating a recognition platform like Kudos, organizations can transform this process into an engaging, insightful, and empowering experience. As HR leaders, leveraging these tools not only simplifies the enrollment process but also strengthens the organizational fabric, ensuring employees feel valued, heard, and confident in their choices.  

Remember, when employees are engaged and empowered, they’re better equipped to make decisions that resonate with their needs, ensuring a happier and more productive workforce. Choose recognition, choose empowerment, choose Kudos.

Recognition

5 min

5 min

Creating an Employee Recognition Flywheel

Creating an Employee Recognition FlywheelCreating an Employee Recognition Flywheel

Ignite the power of the recognition flywheel, and watch as it transforms employee engagement, drives continuous improvement, and positions your organization at the forefront of success.

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Today’s studies show that more than half of today’s employees are disengaged.

It’s no surprise then, that many organizations are continuously striving to engage their workforce effectively. Because fostering engagement is a continuous effort for employers and leaders, one proven strategy that has gained prominence in recent years is the implementation of an employee recognition loop. This strategy not only fosters a culture of appreciation but also fuels a recognition flywheel that can significantly enhance employee engagement and performance.

The flywheel effect occurs when small wins accumulate over time, creating momentum that keeps your recognition strategy flowing organically.

In this article, we’ll explore how organizations can implement a recognition loop strategy and the three key ways in which it creates a powerful recognition flywheel.

Understanding the Recognition Loop

The recognition loop is a cyclical process that encourages employees to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of their peers and managers. This process involves three critical steps that work in tandem to create a positive feedback loop within your organization:

1. Encouraging Peer and Manager Recognition:

The first step in implementing a recognition loop is to encourage and incentivize both managers and employees to recognize each other's efforts. This can be achieved through various means, such as introducing a formal recognition program, creating an easily accessible platform for recognition, or providing rewards for exceptional recognition efforts. When employees and managers are motivated to appreciate their colleagues' contributions, it sets the foundation for a culture of recognition.

2. Showcasing Top Examples of Recognition:

Leaders play a pivotal role in keeping the recognition loop vibrant. To ensure that recognition efforts are visible and valued, leaders should take action by showcasing the top examples of recognition given within the organization each week. This can be done through company-wide communications, meetings, or a dedicated recognition platform. By highlighting specific instances of exceptional recognition, leaders not only acknowledge and appreciate employees but also set a standard for what constitutes meaningful recognition. Tip: if you have standing companywide meetings or townhalls, that’s a great opportunity to “recognize the recognizers.”

3. Motivating More Recognition:

When managers and employees witness the recognition given to their colleagues, it serves as a powerful motivator to engage in more recognition themselves. Seeing their peers and leaders appreciating one another's contributions creates a sense of inspiration and healthy competition. Employees are more likely to emulate these behaviors, leading to a culture of continuous appreciation and recognition. A formal employee recognition platform like Kudos, has a feed that makes the recognition visible and accessible to everyone.

The Recognition Flywheel

Building a Recognition Flywheel

Now that we understand how to foster a recognition loop, let's delve into how it creates a recognition flywheel, propelling the organization towards increased employee engagement, reduced turnover, and improved performance:

1. Reinforcing a Culture of Appreciation:

As more managers and employees engage in recognition, a culture of appreciation takes root within the organization. Employees begin to feel valued and appreciated for their efforts, which fosters a sense of belonging and motivation. When individuals know that their hard work is acknowledged and celebrated, they are more likely to be committed and engaged with their roles.

2. Boosting Employee Morale and Well-being:

Regular recognition has a direct impact on employee morale and well-being. When employees receive praise and acknowledgment for their contributions, it boosts their confidence and self-esteem. Additionally, it reduces stress and enhances job satisfaction. As a result, employees are more likely to be happier, healthier, and more productive, leading to improved overall organizational performance.

3. Driving Continuous Improvement:

The recognition loop's cyclical nature ensures that the organization continually strives for excellence. By showcasing top examples of recognition, leaders set a benchmark for what constitutes exceptional performance. This not only motivates employees to reach for greater heights but also encourages continuous improvement and innovation. Over time, this drive for excellence becomes ingrained in the organizational culture.

Implementing a recognition loop strategy within an organization is a powerful way to engage the workforce and create a recognition flywheel that drives continuous improvement and employee satisfaction. By encouraging peer and manager recognition, showcasing top examples of recognition, and motivating more recognition efforts, organizations can foster a culture of appreciation that leads to enhanced employee engagement and better overall performance.  

In today's competitive business landscape, a recognition loop can be a game-changer in retaining top talent and achieving long-term success.

How Kudos Supports a Recognition Flywheel

With a suite of innovative features and a dedicated support team, Kudos offers the ideal solution for implementing a successful recognition program and harnessing the power of the recognition flywheel.  

Kudos offers:

  • A Recognition Wall – a central hub where all recognition can be showcased
  • Customizable recognition and rewards programs
  • Filters for leaders to easily skim the recognition sent and received to select the best examples to showcase at team or companywide meetings
  • Leaderboards to help foster healthy competition and motivation among employees
  • Kudos Analytics to help track recognition trends, enabling organizations to make data driven decisions about recognition programs

Implementing a recognition program can be a complex endeavor, but the Kudos team is there to guide organizations every step of the way. The Kudos team assists organizations in designing and customizing recognition programs that align with their culture and goals. Kudos offers comprehensive training and onboarding for employees and managers. This ensures that everyone is well-equipped to use the app effectively and maximize its benefits. The support doesn't end after implementation. Kudos' customer support team is readily available to address any questions or concerns, making sure that the recognition program remains a success.  

To thrive in today's fast-evolving business world, ignite the power of the recognition flywheel, and watch as it transforms employee engagement, drives continuous improvement, and positions your organization at the forefront of success. Harness that momentum – with Kudos, the journey is just the beginning.

Rewards

5 min

5 min

The 8 Secret Signals that Your Rewards & Recognition Partner Is Wasting Your Budget

The 8 Secret Signals that Your Rewards & Recognition Partner Is Wasting Your Budget The 8 Secret Signals that Your Rewards & Recognition Partner Is Wasting Your Budget

There’s a dark side to the R&R industry.

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When it comes to today's recognition and rewards (R&R) vendor landscape, there are a few dark corners that demand our attention. We did some detective work to uncover the secrets behind the scenes for you. Join us as we reveal 8 sneaky signs that your rewards and recognition partner could be quietly taking more from your budget than you realize, and discover how to navigate this complex world with clarity.  

1. Over-Emphasis on Rewards

Many of the most prominent R&R vendors started as companies that sold awards such as plaques, rings, and the proverbial gold watch. Today, while most of these vendors have migrated to offering a software solution, their business models are still based on selling rewards.

Because of this, many vendors design their software to maximize the redemption of rewards versus encouraging meaningful recognition and building employee engagement. As a result, system usage may look good because employees want to redeem their points, but the actual impact on your workplace culture remains questionable.

We've designed the Kudos platform to maximize meaningful recognition and everything from how recognition looks on your Kudos wall, to the way that users are nudged to take action reflects these choices.

2. Poor Controls to Prevent Gaming the System

One common reason why businesses switch to Kudos is that our platform has built-in, automatic controls to prevent users from gaming the system. When users game the system, they may attempt to cheat by sending all of their rewards points to one person in exchange for the same. This is a costly problem for many businesses, and one that many R&R vendors avoid fixing because they earn big bucks on all the rewards redeemed.

For clients that use rewards, Kudos includes a safeguard which we affectionately call the "too much love rule." This safeguard prevents users from abusing the system - if a user has sent more than a certain number of recognition with points to another user, any further recognition sent will be sent without points.

3. “Usage-based” Pricing

Usage-based pricing sounds excellent in theory, however in the R&R industry, this typically looks like the vendor taking a higher fee on rewards and reward redemptions. In most cases, if you do the math on usage-based pricing, it will only save you money if your organization has extremely low usage. If your organization has average or above average usage, you could end up spending thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars more than you would for a flat, price-per-user pricing model. Not to mention, you don’t want any deterrents to participation.

At Kudos, we offer flexibility around how we price our product based on our clients’ needs – but our most popular pricing model is flat monthly, per-user pricing.

4. Gaps in Your Detailed Reporting

Some vendors limit your oversight into things like rewards redemptions, opting instead to only provide generalized company-wide summaries. Naturally, this limits your ability to identify areas where rewards redemptions might indicate a problem, or to gain insight into things that require addressing.

Here at Kudos, since our business model is not designed to maximize your spend on rewards, we have nothing to hide when it comes to your analytics and reporting.

5. Variable Points Per Message

Some vendors allow employees to choose how many points to send with a recognition message. This can cause recognition messages in an organization to be sent with inflated numbers of points, costing your organization a lot of money over the long term.

A well-known multi-national business recently shared a story with us about how they struggled with employees sending minor recognition to dozens of their team members with $50 worth of points to each person which caused them massive budget headaches.

In Kudos, recognition messages are calibrated with pre-defined points amounts at four different levels of recognition (Thank You, Good Job, Impressive, and Exceptional). This model ensures that employees send the right amount of points for the type of recognition sent.

6. Rewards Are Not Optional

While you may be looking for an R&R partner that offers rewards, it’s always a good idea to find out if your partner will require you to use rewards, or if rewards are optional. If rewards are a mandatory part of their program, then the items listed above should be on your radar.

Kudos is one of the few R&R vendors that does not require clients to make use of rewards. Rewards are popular and they can support and effective recognition program, but they aren't for every business.

7. Too Attractive Low Pricing with Hidden Costs

Unfortunately, the R&R industry has many players that will offer attractive, extremely low monthly costs in an attempt to secure you as a customer. Don’t be fooled; these vendors are going to make their money somehow, and offering you a low per-user price is often a signal that a vendor will make more money off of your organization through things like rewards redemptions, required add-ons, charging fees for support or software upgrades, etc. Beyond that, be wary of steep renewals. Implementing R&R software takes time and requires change management – you don’t want to face switching vendors due to higher fees at renewal and have to restart the process.

Kudos clients enjoy straightforward and transparent pricing. For a low monthly per user flat rate, our clients always have access to the latest platform updates along with user and admin support.

8. Large Pre-purchase Points Quantities

Some vendors may require you to purchase excessively large quantities of points up-front – in some cases, millions of dollars worth of points. These points are then used as rewards are redeemed in the years ahead. This approach is often a signal that your vendor makes their money by selling you rewards and committing you to a minimum reward spend.

This approach locks your organization in for the long term, making it very hard for you to switch to another vendor. If you do decide to switch to a new R&R vendor, your old vendor will simply keep the remaining points balance.

Kudos provides its clients with a high degree of flexibility around funding rewards programs. Whether you want to purchase a smaller amount of points upfront, or buy years worth of points up front, that decision is yours to make.

9. BONUS Other Costs

Watch out for vendors that charge for things like support calls, software version upgrades, or even maintaining your R&R software on a monthly basis. Most vendors enable clients to use the most up-to-date version of their apps without any additional charges and offer support as part of the subscription, but not all do – so be sure to ask the questions to know what you’re getting into.

Partnering with Kudos means no hidden costs.

As we wrap up this journey through the world of recognition and rewards, one thing is clear: being informed is essential. The subtle details we've uncovered show just how important it is to make careful choices when picking a rewards and recognition partner. The balance between rewards and true appreciation can shape your workplace in meaningful ways. With this newfound knowledge, you're ready to create genuine, impactful employee recognition that truly makes a difference. Remember, behind every recognition message lies a chance to inspire, motivate, and uplift, and it's up to you to make the most of that opportunity.

ROI

5 min

5 min

7 Hacks for Building Your Business Case for Recognition & Rewards

7 Hacks for Building Your Business Case for Recognition & Rewards 7 Hacks for Building Your Business Case for Recognition & Rewards

Crafting a persuasive business case for recognition and rewards requires a strategic approach.

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So, you know a recognition & rewards (R&R) platform is right for your organization, but you need executive buy-in and backing to access budget and move the project forward? We're here to help.  

Building a robust business case for R&R requires a strategic approach, intertwining innovation with financial foresight. These seven hacks serve as the foundation, enabling you to navigate challenges, quantify impact, and create a compelling narrative that resonates with the stakeholders who matter most.

1. Tell a Compelling Story

When you’re putting together your internal pitch for an R&R solution, think about how the world has changed and how this impacts your organization. Is it harder for you to find talent these days due to competition? Are you seeing higher turnover and more Gen Z employees in your workforce?

There are always massive changes happening in the world, and your job is to help your company succeed by taking advantage of these changes. Position your proposal as a way to do this.

2. Work with Finance to Demonstrate the ROI

When you propose your R&R program, you will likely have at least one person ask about the return on investment (ROI) of implementing such a program. In many cases, this person might even be a leader from the Finance team, such as your CFO or a Controller. In our experience, questions from Finance about ROI can cause delays in moving a project forward.

You can get ahead of this by involving Finance early as you build your business case. By involving Finance, you achieve two things:

  1. You will ensure that the information you put together answers all of their questions
  1. By the time you present/pitch your proposal, you will already have a de facto seal of approval from your Finance department

Pro Tip: You need to quantify your ROI. Check out our resources on calculating the ROI of R&R for easy ways to do this.

3. Recruit High-Influence Leaders into Your Pitch

This tactic will increase your success rate significantly. Once you have established a robust draft of your proposal, select one or more people who will be at the table when you are presenting your proposal and ask them to review and provide feedback on your proposal. Ideally, the person(s) that you loop in will be either a decision maker or a very high-level influencer within your organization.  

Doing this will provide you with valuable information that will help you avoid any pitfalls in your proposal, and it will have the added effect of giving you additional supportive voices in the room when you make your formal proposal.

4. Budget According to Your Fiscal Year

We tend to think about budgets for contracts in annual terms, but if you’re looking to bring on an R&R solution in the middle of your fiscal year, keep in mind the actual budget you’re asking for in the current year is half of the annual fee. Presenting it this way can make the expense more palatable to the Finance team – by breaking down the cost based on how many months are left in your fiscal year. This reduces the perceived risk of the expense in the first year of your agreement by spreading the cost across two fiscal years instead of one.

5. Target Unspent Budget in H2

If your organization has unspent budget in the second half of the fiscal year, make sure to mention it in your pitch. Knowing this can help alleviate concerns that your Finance team might have about spending on a new R&R program that was outside the original budget for the year. Tie this in with a strong ROI model and budgeting according to your fiscal year (see above) and you have a very strong case for Finance to approve this initiative! Hint: If you hit a roadblock here, make sure to include the required budget in your next fiscal year to ensure a “Yes!”

6. Focus on the Cost of Doing Nothing

This hack is heavily tied to telling a compelling story. By now, you know that you need to tell a compelling story about how the world has changed, and you know how to tell the story about how your R&R program will help your business navigate these changes – but what will happen if your organization doesn’t act now? Will it become less competitive over time? Will costs increase? Will your competitors overtake you in some way? Call out these risks early in your pitch to prime the audience for the rest of your proposal.

7. Identify Things You Can Stop Doing/Using

If your organization is using any tools that can be replaced by your proposed R&R solution, or if you have any manual processes that will be streamlined/automated using Kudos, be sure to quantify these cost savings at the end of your proposal. This is the cherry on top and a great way to wrap up your proposal as an additional value add.

Examples of software that you might be able to replace are pulse surveys, company internal image hosting, and employee gifting tools. Processes that you can automate or eliminate are manual awards for birthdays and/or work anniversaries, rewards management, etc.

Our world has changed. Now is the time to craft a persuasive business case for Recognition and Rewards. It's the best strategic move for your people, your company, and your career.  

You can present an irrefutable proposal by harnessing the power of a captivating story, collaborating closely with Finance, enlisting influential champions, and weaving together fiscal prudence and long-term vision. As organizations strive to remain agile, relevant, and competitive, your skillful mastery of these seven hacks promises not just approval, but admiration for your ability to transform intention into impactful action.

Culture

5 min

6 min

Generation Alpha: The World’s Next Leaders

Generation Alpha: The World’s Next Leaders  Generation Alpha: The World’s Next Leaders

Everything you need to know about Gen Alpha – the tech-savvy trailblazers who will transform the working world.

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Step aside Millennials and Gen Z – there's a new generation entering the workforce.  

Meet Gen Alpha, the generation after Gen Z that is expected to shake up the working world in a big way.

Defined by the digital world, this tech-savvy generation is very familiar with smartphones, AI technology and social media. They will soon begin to trickle into the workforce, and it's time for employers and colleagues to take notice of this fascinating generation and prepare for the unique dynamics they bring to the workplace.

Who is Gen Alpha?

The children of millennials, Gen Alpha is anyone born between 2010 and 2025. Millennials make up the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, and experts are paying attention to their children, how they’re being raised, and what this generation will value when they start their career journeys.  

Millennials are generally very caring and supportive parents, which means their children will most likely seek that out later in life. This means mental health, work-life balance and financial security will be crucial to Gen Alpha. In a recent study, 75% of 8–10-year-olds are already thinking about their mental health.  

Gen Z had a profound impact on how brands approached their consumer experiences, but companies need to brace themselves even more for the changes Gen Alpha will infuse,” says Dani Mariano, President at Razorfish.

What will Gen Alpha be known for?

This generation is rewriting the rules of engagement. While Millennials and Gen Z experienced the tech revolution, for Gen Alpha, technology has been seamlessly integrated into their worlds from the beginning – it's an extension of themselves. Many distinctions will undoubtedly influence their approach to work and collaboration.

Fuelled by technology

Gen Alpha's relationship with technology is a whole new level of intimacy. While learning to tie their shoelaces, they’re also learning to master complex apps, code, and any digital device. McCrindle Research is calling this generation the “Great Screen Age”, due to their extreme savviness with navigating the fast-paced evolutions in tech. More colloquially, these are iPad kids.

Multitasking champions

Gen Alpha has the ability to juggle multiple screens, tasks, and conversations simultaneously. They’re able to learn faster, and their capacity for maintaining information is much greater than the generations before them.  

Entrepreneurial spirit

Technology has allowed access to more information to Gen Alpha than any other generation before them. If they’re looking for a solution, they have Google at their fingertips to figure it out. This is also contributing to a new concept called kid-powered entrepreneurship - with technology readily available, they are learning how to problem solve, and be innovative and creative much earlier.  

What will Gen Alpha value at work?

As HR leaders, understanding the core values of upcoming generations is essential for building a cohesive and thriving workforce. Being attuned to these values will be instrumental in creating an environment where Gen Alpha can thrive.  

Download our free Recognizing Generational Diversity Culture Guide to learn more about the meaningful differences between generations, and what they each need to help you build a more vibrant company culture.

Gen Alpha's values reflect their upbringing in a digitally connected and diverse world:  

The private generation

Gen Alpha will not know social media without professional content creators – they are growing up in a world saturated with influencers and vloggers. Some may even have parents who are heavily present on social media. This may lead Gen Alpha to a more privatized social media life, and an increase in more personalized, one-on-one communication preferences like email or phone. This won’t take away from their talents in understanding the complexities with social media, but it will play a role in what they value when deciding on a career path.  

Diversity advocates  

Gen Alpha's worldview is naturally diverse and inclusive. Growing up in an era of increasing social awareness, they are more accepting of differences and strive for equality. Employers who celebrate and embrace diversity will be more attractive to this generation. Moreover, Gen Alpha's openness to new ideas makes them receptive to experimentation and change.

Personal life over work-life

Say goodbye to the rigid boundaries between work and personal life. Gen Alpha's approach to work is all about integration. They are not confined to the traditional 9-to-5 schedule and are more likely to embrace flexible work arrangements that cater to their lifestyle preferences.

How can HR leaders prepare for Gen Alpha?

With fresh perspectives, boundless enthusiasm, and eagerness to learn – Gen Alpha will bring many unique skills to the workplace.  

Gen Alpha will come with several expectations. though. With meaningful work in mind, they won’t be interested in an organization that is working towards a better culture – they will want an organization that has already established firm roots in their employee experience.  

Experts are predicting that Gen Alpha will see remote-first work as very normal, and value more work-life balance and social issues. This means they will most likely seek organizations who have already established robust company culture and are placing extreme emphasis on their employee experience.  

When they talk about what their goals are and the kind of workplaces they want to be in, they want flexibility and are looking for more meaningful work.” - Abdaal Mazhar Shafi, Co-Founder of UpstartED.

Purpose-driven engagement

Gen Alpha isn't just chasing paychecks; they want purpose. They're driven by a desire to make a difference in the world. It’s important that organizations align their company's values with meaningful causes to attract and retain their socially conscious spirits.

Flexible work is key

They will thrive in flexible work environments that adapt to their preferences. HR leaders will need to consider remote work options, flexible hours, and gig-based projects to keep them excited and productive.

Feedback loops

Regular performance reviews won't suffice; they crave ongoing feedback. Implementing real-time feedback mechanisms to keep them motivated and on track will be crucial.  

Gen Alpha will demand meaningful recognition

Gen Alpha is expected to value employee recognition, but the way they perceive and respond to recognition might differ from previous generations. Growing up in a digital and highly connected world, Gen Alpha is likely to have certain expectations when it comes to recognition in the workplace:

  • Instant gratification: Gen Alpha is accustomed to immediate feedback, and they might appreciate and respond well to frequent and timely recognition. Short, real-time acknowledgments can be more impactful for them compared to traditional annual awards.
  • Digital recognition: Digital recognition tools, such as Kudos, will resonate well with Gen Alpha for open and highly visible peer-to-peer recognition that aligns with their tech-savvy nature.  
  • Personalized approach: Generic recognition might not have the same effect on them as it does on other generations. Customized messages that highlight specific contributions or qualities can make recognition more meaningful and engaging for them.
  • Tangible rewards: While peer-to-peer recognition is important, Gen Alpha might also appreciate tangible rewards. These could range from experiences, such as team outings or workshops, to tech gadgets or innovative products.

Employee recognition is here to stay and is growing more and more important. HR leaders and managers should be mindful of their recognition strategies and take note of Gen Alpha's preferences, emphasizing personalized and integrated approaches that align with their digital upbringing and individualistic mindset.  

The world’s next leaders

As Gen Alpha starts to make their mark in the professional world, embracing their technological prowess, collaborative spirit, and entrepreneurial mindset will be key to unlocking their full potential.  

They may be small now, but their impact on the world will be mighty. By preparing for these next generations to enter the workforce, organizations can be ahead of the game with a future-ready workplace that is years ahead of its competition.  

Culture

5 min

5 min

Making a Memory-filled Summer at the Office (15+ Ideas)

Making a Memory-filled Summer at the Office (15+ Ideas)Making a Memory-filled Summer at the Office (15+ Ideas)

Create lasting memories during the summer office days fostering team bonding and creativity throughout the warmer season.

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It’s easy to feel stuck in the office, whether remote or shared, looking out the window and envying everyone spending their summer outside. But, being in the office doesn’t have to mean you’re missing out on making other memories. It should be the opposite. So, we put together a handful of summer office activities and injected some personality into them.

It’s one thing to plan a group outing, but to make sure employees feel their summertime is well spent, add some small, personalized touches, and make it a true team-building experience. With that said, here are our ideas for a memory-filled summer at the office.  

For a Crafty Summer

Team Zines

Zines, pronounced zeens, are beginner-friendly, handmade magazines or comics. But really, your zine can be whatever you make it. You could brainstorm a theme, or have each team member fill a page with a collage of their summer. Put everyone’s artwork together on one printable document and publish your zine to the whole company. To get started, search Google or Pinterest for downloadable templates, or create your own. Zines don’t have to be complicated; you can even make a mini zine with just one piece of printer paper.  

Zines are a great way to share memories and create traditions. Every summer, your team can look forward to making the next edition or volume.  

Personal Picnic Blanket

Picnics already make for a wholesome summer day, but throw in a blanket canvas and some fabric paint to really bring everyone together. Team members can paint one square each, quilt-style, or paint all over the blanket, abstract-style. Hold onto it for future team picnics, or hang it up in the office as a conversation piece.  

If one blanket is too small for everyone’s illustrations, cover your lunch tables in some brown kraft paper and leave out a pack of rainbow crayons or markers. Who said coloring is just for kids?

Paint Night

Paint nights are great for bonding with your co-workers and decorating the office for the season. Not to mention, a great opportunity for creative team members to share their ideas. Hopefully, everyone leaves with a sense of pride for what they created, but even better, a sense of belonging. Teams can paint frames to fill with their own photos, or canvases to bring home.  

Maybe bring a big blender to the office and sip on a batch of (virgin) frozen margaritas while you’re at it?  

Desk Terrariums

Terrariums bring a little more life to the office and showcase everyone’s imagination. Plus, they’re pretty low maintenance, so team members who aren’t plant lovers will have no issue keeping them alive. Terrariums are super customizable, but here are some supplies you might need:  

  • Glassware, check out your local thrift or dollar store
  • Rocks, Pebbles
  • Perlite
  • Orchid Bark
  • Potting Soil
  • Moss
  • Succulents

You can bring terrarium kits to the office for people to make on their own time, or bring all the supplies in bulk and lead them through the experience.  

For a Sporty Summer

People want to step away from the screen and be outside while the sun’s shining. These ideas don’t need too much pre or post-amble, rewarding your team with some healthy summer sun is a great way to make the most of the season.  

Of course, pick a sport or activity you know your whole team would be excited for and that’s inclusive to everyone’s mobility. Lean toward options that give employees more time outdoors with their families. These are just a few ideas, low and high intensity, for a sporty summer:  

  • Mini-Golf
  • Hacky Sack Games
  • Kite Flying
  • Cardboard Boat Racing
  • Badminton Tournament  
  • Hiking
  • Soccer Game  
  • Volleyball Tournament

Refresh with some lemonade or ice cream to round out the day. Don’t forget to take lots of photos along the way so you can reminisce once the cooler months hit.

For a Virtual Summer

We didn’t forget about your remote team members of course. There are endless options for online team building throughout the summer.  

Oracle Card Readings

You could hold oracle card readings throughout the year, but in the summer, people might have more time to reflect on their readings during vacation. And if you love a theme, there are many oracle decks with nature and floral illustrations you can use to tie in the season.  

In one team fortune-telling session, for example, the manager could pull a card for each team member and help them find the meaning behind it. Team members can ask their fortune teller questions like, “Am I on the right track with this idea?” or “Where should I get ideas for my next project?” Readings don’t set anything in stone, but they are a fun way to keep your team sharing ideas.  

Virtual Contests

From finding the best summer recipe to snapping the coolest landscape, give your team the opportunity for some friendly competition. Though these ideas make online participation easy, they’re also meant to give remote workers time away from the screen first. Here are just a few ideas for virtual contests that keep everyone engaged no matter where they’re working from:  

  • Summer Photography Contest: Post your summer pictures to an album where team members can vote on their favourite one. The winner gets to pick the theme for a company-wide photo at the end of the summer, the sillier the better.  
  • Recipe Recreation Contest: Post your favourite summer recipes to an album all team members can access. Then, decide on an award for the employee with the most recreated recipe. Maybe a paid night out to their favourite restaurant?  
  • A Scavenger Hunt: Less time-consuming than an in-person scavenger hunt, send team members out to solve riddles and find common household objects as fast as possible. The first person to complete the scavenger hunt could win a trip to an escape room near them.  
  • Hawaiian Shirt Contest: This one can take on many forms. The basic idea is that people wear their best Hawaiian shirts to the team meeting, and the tackiest one wins. It doesn’t have to be limited to Hawaiian shirts though, try the contest with hats or sunglasses.  

And remember, Kudos can help you bring all these ideas to reality, with features such as Albums to hold all of your virtual contests and safe-keep your favourite summer memories. It’s now time to let the sun set on this article, but hopefully we gave you some ideas worth considering.  

People People

5 min

5 min

Embracing Change and Inspiring Growth

Embracing Change and Inspiring GrowthEmbracing Change and Inspiring Growth

Meet Denise Beaupré, Entrepreneur, Author, Personal Development Coach, and Creative Leadership Mentor.

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Denise Beaupré, a best-selling author and accomplished entrepreneur, has navigated the ever-changing landscape of business and leadership by staying true to her values, and building relationships.  

From her early days in real estate, where she achieved recognition as one of the Top 100 Realtors in North America, to owning and operating a thriving car hauling business, Denise's journey has been marked by both triumphs and challenges.

Her accomplishments have garnered attention from esteemed publications like MacLean's Magazine and The Globe and Mail, highlighting her car hauling business as one of Canada's fastest-growing companies, reaching a 5-year revenue growth of 283% between 2015-2020.

With a passion for personal development and a commitment to fostering creativity and innovation within her teams, Denise has discovered the power of effective leadership and the importance of investing in people. Her most recent endeavor? A coaching and leadership consulting practice to share her wisdom and philosophy with leaders in business.

In this insightful interview, we delve into Denise's unique perspective on HR, leadership, and the evolving nature of work in today's rapidly changing world.

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity

Tell me about your career. How did you get started, and when did you feel like you hit your stride?

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. My career began in real estate, where I was constantly exposed to motivational speakers, conventions, and training programs. Those learning opportunities helped me face my fears, step out of my comfort zone, and achieve remarkable success. I became one of the top 100 Realtors in North America, selling over $100 million worth of residential properties in a real estate market where the average house was $175,000. Interestingly, when I retired from real estate and entered the trucking industry, I realized I really missed the training and mentorship I had in real estate. This realization led me to seek out renowned speaker and mentor Bob Proctor – who I’m proud to have called a friend.

How did mentorship and personal development shape your leadership style?

Joining Bob Proctor's mentorship program elevated my leadership skills and introduced me to a different perspective. Instead of focusing on competition, I learned the importance of collaboration and creativity—the abundance mindset. I immediately implemented these principles in my trucking organization, exposing my staff to personal development and encouraging them to think creatively. The results were astounding, with our team securing multimillion-dollar contracts and experiencing tremendous growth. It became evident that understanding and valuing each team member's story, beliefs, and aspirations creates a strong foundation for effective leadership. To me, the key is leading by example – leaders should never stop learning, taking chances, and being creative.  

Tell me about your experience with employee recognition.

The issue I faced in my trucking business was that I had two types of workers, field workers and office workers. The workers didn’t understand each other’s responsibilities, there was a lack of respect, and I realized this was partly due to a lack of a shared communication channel. Kudos helped connect everyone.  

I had employees who were going above and beyond, and they deserved to be recognized.  

To me, one of the most prevalent causes of unhappiness at work is when employees put in that extra effort and aren’t recognized for it. That can turn into resentment – the fact that nobody sees what they’re doing.  

Kudos was also a channel for recognition. It’s not always about the money. Sometimes it’s just a matter of recognizing, acknowledging, and thanking employees publicly in front of their peers.  

And what impact did this culture of recognition have?

What we saw was incredible respect, something I had never witnessed before. Drivers were thanking office workers, being incredibly polite on the phone. Office workers were supporting drivers. I was even seeing drivers show more kindness toward each other. I got messages from customers (big manufacturers) who had noticed too. Things like, “I was at the plant this week and saw two of your drivers helping each other; I never see that.” It was terrific for the team to not only feel great receiving recognition, but also sending it. Recognizing everybody’s acts of kindness and achievements made them want to do more.

Fear is not a conducive mindset for success, and it is essential for leaders to help their teams overcome fear and operate from a place of strength.

How did the pandemic impact your business and leadership approach?

The pandemic brought financial difficulties, both personally and professionally. It disrupted the business landscape, especially trucking, and caused drastic changes and uncertainty. Unfortunately, due to the associated costs, I had to cut back on mentoring then. Regrettably, this decision hindered my progress and reminded me of the detrimental effects of fear. When I reflect on the choices I made during that time, I realize that continuing with mentorship might have yielded different outcomes. Fear is not a conducive mindset for success, and it is essential for leaders to help their teams overcome fear and operate from a place of strength.

What do you think is the biggest challenge in HR and people management today?

The current difficulties in finding suitable talent indicate a larger shift in the job market. Many traditional roles are becoming obsolete, replaced by emerging positions driven by automation and artificial intelligence. As organizations struggle to identify the right candidates, employees are unsure of where they fit in this evolving landscape. Rather than eliminating existing staff due to mismatched job titles, I believe in investing in their development, identifying their strengths, and providing training opportunities. By understanding and nurturing their talents, individuals can thrive and contribute to the organization in meaningful ways.  

The flip side is that while I believe we can all be leaders, a lot of people are put in leadership positions with no training, no guidance, and have no clue what it stands for, and therefore, teams are affected by it.  

And then you have another issue where you have some leaders that are taking advantage of their titles and abusing their power, and we're seeing a lot of that as well. What we need are authentic leaders, who understand people and want to come to work with intent and make a difference in the world.  

So, what advice would you give to a new manager?

First – get a mentor. Second – set goals. Not necessarily individual goals, but team, or departmental goals. I find many companies, corporations, smaller businesses, etc., may have a mission or a vision of where they want to go, but they're not necessarily getting participation from their staff. Shared goals are a great way to make that happen.

Next would be to get to know your staff. It's much easier to lead others when you understand that everybody has a story. Their stories are all important. Our stories dictate our belief systems, our values, what makes us happy, what makes us tick. If you can understand where everyone on your team is coming from, you can help them grow and achieve their goals.

Thank you, Denise Beaupré, for sitting down with us and sharing your experience and knowledge!

Know an amazing HR Leader you think we should feature? Send us a note at marketing@kudos.com    

 

Culture

5 min

5 min

10 Ways to Build Your Culture with Gratitude

10 Ways to Build Your Culture with Gratitude10 Ways to Build Your Culture with Gratitude

Check out these 10 ways you can use gratitude to build your culture.

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A few years ago, Harvard Business Review met with a Fortune 500 company, and the word “culture” came up 27 times in 90 minutes. Culture is critical. A healthy culture is the cornerstone of any successful organization, which underlines the importance of building culture with intention. 

Gratitude is a powerful tool that can foster a stronger, more positive culture in your organization. In today's ever-evolving corporate landscape, organizations across the globe are recognizing the immense value of fostering a culture rooted in gratitude, thanks, and recognition. 

And it's no surprise why. As workplaces embrace the power of appreciation, they witness a multitude of benefits. Extensive research in positive psychology consistently reaffirms that gratitude lays the foundation for a more productive, positive, and engaged workforce. The shift towards a culture of gratitude is not just a trend but a strategic move that can revolutionize how organizations thrive in today’s world - and this starts with you! 

Why Culture is Key

A strong culture sets the workplace tone and influences every element of an organization’s success. It can help build the identity of a brand or business, and can directly influence a sense of purpose, mission, and belonging across employees. We know that strong culture motivates employees to do better work, but it also:

  • Boosts productivity
  • Retains talent 
  • Makes an organization more resilient
  • Creates healthy team environments
  • Reduces turnover 

High-performance cultures focus on unearthing the potential and purpose of each individual and celebrates them as a contributor to a team. Gratitude is the perfect tool to ensure your organization can do exactly that.

Why Workplace Culture Needs Gratitude

Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for fostering a positive and thriving workplace. Gratitude creates a sense of appreciation, recognition, and value among employees. Gratitude and recognition helps them feel motivated to give their best in their roles . Gratitude also can help employees:

  • Feel more engaged with the team
  • Focus on the large collective goal and mission
  • Feel more motivated in their role
  • Maintain a more positive mindset
  • Maintain better mental and physical well-being
  • Bounce back from a challenge or obstacle quickly

10 Ways to Build Culture with Gratitude 

As HR leaders, it's critical to implement strategies that cultivate a culture of gratitude in your organization. So, how can you do this in your organization? Here are 10 ways you can use gratitude to build your culture.  

  1. Create a Workplace Recognition Program: Establish a formal recognition program that acknowledges and rewards employees for their work or positive impact on the organization.
  2. Gratitude Email Train: Start a gratitude email to someone and CC the entire team. Encourage them to keep the email train going by paying it forward to someone CC-ed that they appreciate.
  3. Gratitude Gifts: Celebrate your employees and acknowledge their contributions to the business and gift them something that allows them to harness the power of gratitude in their personal lives, like a gratitude journal. Gifts serve not only as a morale booster but are a way to go the extra mile in celebrating your team.
  4. Promote Work-Life Balance: Demonstrate gratitude for employees' commitment and hard work by providing flexible work arrangements. This flexibility shows appreciation for their personal needs and fosters a culture of trust.
  5. Host a Gratitude Event: Organize events centered around gratitude, like a team-building exercise focused on appreciation, a gratitude workshop, or volunteer activities that give back to the community.
  6. Set Up a Gratitude Wall: Set up a gratitude wall where employees can share appreciative messages for their colleagues, either physically or digitally. This serves as a constant reminder of the positive impact individuals have on each other.
  7. Appreciate Work Milestones: Celebrate employees' work anniversaries to commemorate their loyalty and dedication to the organization. This can include small gestures like personalized notes, gifts, or holding a team celebration.
  8. Share Stories of Appreciation: Regularly share stories that highlight employees' achievements and how their efforts contribute to the organization's success in team or company-wide meetings. 
  9. Foster a Culture of Thank You Notes: Encourage employees to write thank-you notes to express appreciation to their colleagues. This simple act can create a positive ripple effect throughout the organization.
  10. Lead by Example: When we model the spirit of gratitude, it encourages others to do the same. We can demonstrate gratitude by expressing appreciation for employees' efforts and contributions openly, especially in front of others.

Your employees are your greatest asset! Showing gratitude in the workplace is truly a win-win for both employees and the overall success of the organization. Use it to increase productivity and performance and ultimately create a culture that cannot be broken or replicated

Show Your Gratitude with Kudos 

Kudos is a recognition platform that allows you to share your gratitude and appreciation for all the hard work your employees do. Celebrate your team with:

  • Meaningful Recognition: A great culture is built on a foundation of gratitude. Strengthen the bond of inner workplace relationships and encourage gratitude to be expressed between employees rather than only coming from the top down.
  • Sensational Rewards: Lead by example with recognition and rewards to create a memorable moment of gratitude for your team.  
  • Employee Milestones: Celebrate tenure and show your appreciation for special workplace milestones to celebrate your people. Celebrating the little things are what adds up to become the big things!

Performance

5 min

6 min

Building a Career in Human Resources: Everything You Need to Know

Building a Career in Human Resources: Everything You Need to Know  Building a Career in Human Resources: Everything You Need to Know

Explore the importance of human resources, the diverse career paths available for aspiring HR professionals, and how to build a career in HR (with a free worksheet!).

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The role of Human Resources (HR) has never been more vital – in fact, HR-related job postings have grown by 87% since 2020. HR professionals are the backbone of any organization, driving the growth and success of their company through their expertise in talent management, employee development, and strategic workforce planning.  

"It's not just about being a people person - that’s only one part of the equation. For me, it's also about helping the business. I'm interested in solving business problems, and my worldview is that in order to solve them, you need to lean into the people side of things, because ultimately, business is done by people,” says Rebecca Lee, Director of People at Kudos.  

Choosing a career in HR brings many possibilities – HR professionals empower individuals to reach their full potential, driving overall organizational success.

The History of Human Resources

The concept of Human Resources Management (HRM) can be traced back to the early 20th century when organizations began recognizing the importance of employee welfare and productivity. In the early 1900s, personnel management emerged as a discipline focused on administrative tasks such as hiring, training, and payroll.  

HRM gained prominence in the 1970s and 1980s, emphasizing a strategic approach to managing employees, aligning HR practices with organizational goals, and focusing on employee engagement. In recent decades, HRM has evolved into Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) and talent management, focusing on attracting, developing, and retaining top talent to achieve competitive advantage.  

More recently, we’ve seen the integration of technology into HR processes, with the emergence of HR technology solutions, such as applicant tracking systems, performance management software, data analytics tools, and employee recognition and culture solutions like Kudos.  

The Importance of Human Resources

Among many other responsibilities, HR professionals are the champions of organizational culture. With their expertise, they create and nurture a positive work environment that embraces diversity, fosters inclusivity, and nurtures company culture.  

HR professionals take on many responsibilities and are put at the forefront of building thriving workplaces that drive employee satisfaction, business growth, and much more.  

Shaping organizational culture

HR professionals play a crucial role in shaping and nurturing a positive company culture. By fostering an inclusive, diverse, and engaging work environment, they cultivate a sense of belonging, which enhances employee morale and productivity.

Culture is about aligning people's behaviour to what you want the organization to drive in terms of results and strategy,” says Charlotte Collett, VP of Human Resources at NorthRiver Midstream.  

Talent acquisition and retention

Recruiting and retaining top talent is a top priority for every organization. HR professionals are responsible for attracting skilled individuals who align with the company's goals and values. By implementing effective recruitment strategies and designing comprehensive employee benefits and retention programs, HR ensures the organization has a competitive edge.

Employee development and performance management

HR professionals facilitate continuous learning and growth within the workforce. Through training and development programs, performance evaluations, and coaching initiatives, they help employees maximize their potential, boosting individual and organizational performance.

Compliance and risk management

Staying on top of labor laws, regulations, and compliance requirements is crucial for businesses. HR professionals ensure that companies operate within legal boundaries, mitigating risks and safeguarding the rights of employees.

Exploring Human Resources Career Paths

In the world of HR, not everyone aspires to become a Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). Many professionals develop a passion for specific HR disciplines and choose to specialize in areas such as:

  • Payroll and benefits  
  • Recruiting and talent acquisition  
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB)
  • Learning and development
  • Organizational culture  
  • Employee engagement and experience  
  • Training and compliance
  • Rewards and recognition  

If you're considering a more focused career path within HR, there are many exciting areas to explore:  

HR Coordinator

HR Coordinators support various essential functions within the department. They assist with recruitment and onboarding processes, coordinating employee benefits and payroll administration, maintaining employee records and databases, and ensuring compliance with HR policies and regulations.  

HR Generalist

HR Generalists have a broad range of responsibilities across all aspects of HR. They handle recruitment, employee relations, training, performance management, and policy implementation. This versatile role provides a solid foundation for those starting their HR careers.

Recruitment or Talent Acquisition Specialist

Recruitment or Talent Acquisition Specialists focus on attracting and hiring top talent. They utilize various sourcing strategies, conduct interviews, and evaluate candidates to identify the best fit for the organization. This role requires strong interpersonal skills and an ability to assess candidates effectively.

First and foremost, you need to be extremely people-oriented. You need to be comfortable having conversations about anything with candidates and clients left, right and center. I think authenticity is also really important, “ says Niki Murphy, Canadian Talent Acquisition and Talent Advancement Lead at ABB.  

Training and Development Manager

These professionals design and implement training programs to enhance employee skills and knowledge. They assess training needs, develop curriculum, and deliver engaging learning experiences. A Training and Development Manager needs a strong grasp of learning principles and a knack for instructional design.

Compensation and Benefits Analyst

Compensation and Benefits Analysts are responsible for designing and managing employee compensation packages and benefits programs. They conduct market research, develop salary structures, and ensure the organization remains competitive in attracting and retaining talent.

HR Director or Vice President

As an HR Director or VP, you serve as the driving force behind the development and implementation of human resources strategies that align with the company's overall goals. They are usually responsible for the creation and execution of HR policies and procedures, ensuring compliance with labor laws and regulations while fostering a fair and inclusive work environment.  

My favorite thing is working with people and the interconnectivity between people and business. How, if you put people in the right positions, and give them the right tools, you can build an organization from nothing to something successful. It’s an amazing thing to see,” says John Odike, Vice President of Human Resources at Wesley Enhanced Living.  

HR Business Partner

HR Business Partners align HR strategies with overall business objectives. They work closely with department heads, providing guidance on workforce planning, organizational development, and employee engagement. This role requires strong analytical skills and the ability to drive change effectively.

HR Information Systems (HRIS) Specialist

HRIS Specialists manage and optimize HR technology systems, such as human resources management software. They ensure data accuracy, streamline processes, and leverage technology to enhance HR operations, reporting, and analytics.

How to Map Your HR Career Path (with a free worksheet!)

There’s no secret formula when mapping out a career – everyone's career paths are different and even with the same starting point, two people can end up in very different careers. The good news is the possibilities in an HR career are endless.  

Career mapping can be a daunting task, but we’ve broken it down into five simple steps to help you map out your ideal career:  

  1. Identify your dream job: ask yourself what your ideal career would be. If you don’t know what your dream role is, that’s okay! Focus on the skills and experiences you would like to have instead.  
  1. Determine the skills needed: identify the skills, knowledge and experiences needed to obtain your dream job. If you’re unsure, reach out to your network or someone who has your dream job for their insights.  
  1. Reflect on your current role: compare the skills needed with the skills you already have, where your strengths are and areas of knowledge or experience you want to invest in.  
  1. Establish a growth plan: define the actions you’re going to take to fill the gaps in your skills and knowledge. Ask yourself what success looks like; this could be additional training or experience, adjusting your responsibilities, or enrolling in a course or continued education.  
  1. Work with your manager: present your career map to your manager and discuss any resources available to help you achieve your goals, or other initiatives your manager can help you with to get you on track.  

For more in-depth career mapping, use our downloadable career planning worksheet to help establish your career goals, reflect on where you’re currently at in your career, and helpful questions and conversation tips to discuss with your manager.

The Future of HR is Bright

The importance of Human Resources in today's dynamic workplace cannot be overstated, and it is certainly not an area of business that is going away any time soon. HR professionals contribute significantly to creating a harmonious, engaged, and high-performing workforce. There are endless HR career paths – think about choosing a specialization that aligns with your interests and strengths, and what will make you feel successful in your journey.  

Remember, whether you are an aspiring HR professional or an HR veteran seeking growth opportunities, investing in your HR skills, staying up to date with industry trends, and continuously expanding your knowledge will propel your career forward and make you an invaluable asset to any organization.

People People

5 min

5 min

Revolutionizing Recruitment: From Passion to Purpose

Revolutionizing Recruitment: From Passion to PurposeRevolutionizing Recruitment: From Passion to Purpose

Meet Samantha Bateman, a great talent in talent.

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Samantha Bateman started Integria Consulting from the ground up. She wanted to re-imagine recruitment, her way. Now, she leads her business with a close to 20-year legacy of integrity, diversity, and transparency.

Bateman fell into recruitment, and it quickly became a passion.  So much so that she returned to McGill University to study HR and eventually taught a recruitment class there. In 2021, Bateman’s company established the McGill University Integria Consulting Bursary to support young changemakers.  

In our recent interview, we got to hear her perspective on HR, where it’s going and where it’s been, from the outside looking in.  

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity

Where did your adventure begin?

I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody in recruitment who said, “I went to school because I really wanted to be a recruiter.” We all just kind of fall into it.  

I think it’s an easy way to get into HR, from the talent acquisition side. It is a good way, yet I’ve kind of done the opposite.  

I had taken on the role of office coordinator fresh out of university for an economic forecasting firm. We kept on hiring receptionists that didn’t want to stay; they would come in as receptionists but want to move into customer support. We always worked with recruitment agencies, and they were constantly replacing them, so I asked, “Why don’t we just hire somebody who’s been a career receptionist?” Monster had just come onto the scene, and it was revolutionary at the time. I pushed our firm to let me recruit through their platform in order to save on agency fees.  Needless to say, it was a success.

And that’s how I moved into HR.  

After 5 years, I transitioned to working in a recruitment agency. Unfortunately, my values didn’t align with that organization’s. My husband asked me at one point, “What’ll it take to get started on your own?”  

That was 18 years ago. I’d like to say the rest is history, but it’s been a wild ride.  

What makes you a great talent in talent?

I think I’m just very curious about people and have enjoyed fitting them together.  

Talent has always been our client. If we don’t provide a great candidate experience, then we haven’t adequately represented our corporate clients, and our candidates don’t feel valued.  

That was one thing I’ve held onto [focusing on people.] A stark contrast with my experience at an agency that was very transactional. I couldn’t work in that environment, it never felt right to me. Especially after having worked at my previous firm which truly valued talent from entry to exit.

When you look back on your accomplishments, what stands out?

I would say there are a few that stand out, but definitely going out on my own when I did is one of them.  

My husband was constantly working late hours, and I was working and rushing to tend to my three-year-old daughter night after night. I had no other option but to go through the grind that so many working parents do. It was day after day of sprinting to pick her up on time from daycare.  At least twice she was the last one sitting on a bench by her locker waiting for me. I felt like I was failing motherhood, and I didn’t want that life for myself or my family anymore.  

Making the decision to go out on my own was terrifying. But then, 6 months into starting Integria Consulting, I reached out to somebody at Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG). The HR Director there had gotten promoted and wanted to backfill his role. I had to make this one happen.  

We met for breakfast and had an incredible first meeting. I felt like we really got to know each other, but when I left, I realized neither of us had said anything about recruitment. A couple of days later he reached out saying, “That was such a great conversation. It’s right in line with our values and our way of thinking. We’d love to work with you.” It took another 6 months for PBG to call me with a role to work on and they changed my life.  Working with that company for about 5 years, and their leaders – Sian, Carm and Mary-Beth, they elevated my entire practice.

Then we fell into a recession. Everybody was making cuts. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it, but I saw a solution in LinkedIn.

It was 2008 and most people didn’t know what LinkedIn was. Nobody was hiring a recruiter, but I was going into companies and charging them $3000 for a 3-hour session on how to recruit with LinkedIn. That paid my bills.  

When you see a wall, you have to get to the other side of it. So, I’m going to dig a hole under, go around, go through it — you just have to figure it out.  

If someone doesn’t make it past the first month, it’s a recruitment issue. If they leave within the first three months, it's an onboarding issue. And if they leave within the first 6 months, it’s a manager issue.

What makes a good candidate experience?

A job description is like a resume, it’s just your marketing piece.

When we launch a search, we dig deep with our clients.  We ask about short and long-term objectives in the role, growth opportunities, the good, the bad and the ugly of the position.  

This helps guide our candidates no matter the role. The candidate experience is critically important from the first reach out. You need to have honest and down-to-earth conversations with candidates to really do right by them.  

It’s not just about, ‘we’re nice to them and we care about them,’ it’s really about having their best interest at heart. If the role will side-track their career, we need to be able to say “I’d love to work with you, but this role may not be it.  Let’s work through it together.  It also means, sharing market data and salary guides – especially with traditionally marginalized community members who may not be aware that they are grossly underpaid.  For new arrivals especially, we get them in touch with people doing the same work, advocate for what they deserve, and support them in what they’re asking for.  

‘If you don’t have all the qualifications listed, please apply anyway.’  A statement like this in your job description really does have an impact.  

I think the statistics tell us that men will apply if they’re only 30% qualified for a position, but women will only apply when they have 90%.  

And I’m always very critical about this “lack of Canadian work experience,” idea that keeps job postings open for months on end. We have great talent that comes from other countries.  They don’t always need to have knowledge of local laws or designations.  

We’re getting a lot of candidates asking for representation too. They’re asking about the diversity at the top. We have those conversations, and we’ve stopped working with companies for discriminatory hiring practices.  

We need to talk about managerial courage. When a new hire is disrupting the culture, you need to have the courage to change or reverse that.

What are candidates asking you about corporate culture?

Culture is so important, but it can be difficult to put your finger on it.  

I see organizations where hiring managers are looking for different things, so each team has a different culture because of it. I see a lot of miscommunications about culture, but it’s hugely important when it comes to retention and engagement.  

We need to talk about managerial courage. When a new hire is disrupting the culture, you need to have the courage to change or reverse that. First, you need to be clear on what you tolerate and what you don’t, and then you need the courage to hold everyone to that same standard.  

Candidates are also talking about the culture they’re staying away from.  

We see a pattern where candidates worked in one place for ten years, 5 years at the next, and then 3 years following that. Oftentimes, they’re looking for that first culture fit again and just haven’t been able to find it. They know deep down what kind of culture they’re chasing after, but they sometimes can’t put it into words. Often, it’s that continuous learning and development piece that had them staying for as long as they did.

How do you measure success in recruitment?

There’s an expression that if someone doesn’t make it past the first month, it’s a recruitment issue. If they leave within the first three months, it's an onboarding issue. And if they leave within the first 6 months, it’s a manager issue. Retention of talent is very important to us, and we make sure to check in at these benchmarks.  

We also look at how diverse our slate of talent is. With every role we’re thinking, “Is this group too homogenous? Are we looking in the right places? Are we connected to the right people?” Somebody said to me once, and I agree, that any employer who doesn’t have diversity on their teams has consciously decided not to. I agree.

In the end, we can measure success with a slew of KPIs but I would tell you, that when talent takes our call a year after placement when we check in, and they’re getting promoted or just still enjoying their role, and organization, then we know we’re doing the right things.

What does the future of HR look like to you?

It’s a very challenging time right now, there are a lot of managers who were promoted well ahead of their curve without any support. Many haven’t been given any tools or training, so they’re failing.

The best companies have strong development plans for their team members, and we find it very challenging to pull anybody out of those organizations. Even if bigger opportunities fall on their lap, people will rather stay if you have a plan for them — talk about retention and engagement.  

What’s also of concern is all the conversations about diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, because I don’t see the needle moving on that, to be honest. The easy, lazy approach is to ask your recruitment firm to present a diverse slate of talent, right? Even then, it’s rare that we are asked to bring forward diverse talent. I’d like to think it’s because they know we’ll do that regardless, but it’s really because they haven’t woven that into their HR strategy. That’s extremely concerning to me.

And leaving my concerns out of the equation, if you don’t make a conscious effort toward diversity, your culture will suffer for it. Not to mention, great talent will avoid your organization because they see you don’t take it seriously.  

Ultimately looking ahead, it will be all about finding ways to engage employees from multiple generations and cultural backgrounds in a way that makes them feel valued and appreciated to drive retention and employee satisfaction.

Thank you, Samantha Bateman, for sitting down with us and sharing your experience and knowledge!

Know an amazing HR Leader you think we should feature?

Send us a note at marketing@kudos.com  

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