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Performance

5 min

Choosing Strategic Core Values and Assigning Qualities (4 Simple Steps)

Choosing Strategic Core Values and Assigning Qualities (4 Simple Steps)

Corporate values are a powerful tool and should be top of mind for HR professionals and Leaders. The right values have the power to connect your entire workforce and drive everyone toward a shared goal.

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These are some of the most popular corporate values, according to a recent MIT study. But what’s the intention behind choosing those common values (and others)? Do they matter? Are they essential?

In short - yes.

Corporate values are a powerful tool and should be top of mind for HR professionals and Leaders. The right values have the power to connect your entire workforce and drive everyone toward a shared goal. But to get there, you must align your corporate values to your strategy and into daily life within your organization. That’s why values are such an integral part of the Kudos® employee engagement and recognition platform.

When values are distilled down from broad, aspirational statements to clear behaviors or qualities, employees are equipped with clear expectations of which behaviors will enable them to do their jobs in a meaningful and valued way.

Why Should HR Professionals Care about Values?

  • Values define your employer brand, or “what it’s like” to work for your company to prospective employees.
  • Clear values help HR and hiring managers understand who will be a good fit for the company.
  • Values and associated behaviors allow for simpler performance management and measurement – employees and managers are all working toward the same goals.

Why Should Organizational Leaders Care about Values?

  • Values can put your business strategy into action and align employee efforts to business goals, improving productivity and results.
  • Values also serve as a roadmap, guiding employees in making decisions in day-to-day tasks. This can be especially helpful in organizations where employees work remotely, with less supervision or guidance readily available.
  • Values can drive and align decision-making, hiring, communication, and other business processes.

Whether you're preparing to launch the Kudos® platform in your organization, or simply looking for a way to improve and align your culture toward your business goals, these four steps will guide you in optimizing your corporate value strategy:

Hint: Depending on your situation, you may already have your values established and can start at step 3, but taking the time to revisit and refresh values periodically is always a good idea.

"MIT found a strong correlation between financial performance and the degree to which employees believed their company’s values were being practiced."

STEP 1: Understand and Define Your Business Strategy and Goals

Every business has a strategy. It’s how your organization plans to achieve success. Do you know what your organization is trying to achieve and how?

Google’s strategy is, for example, based on differentiation, specifically developing unique capabilities fueled by constant cutting edge innovation - basically doing things no one else does. Alternatively, shoe retailer Zappos’ strategy is to be the company with the best customer service - it would make sense for their values to differ from Google’s.

Strategic planning at the highest level should always include a conversation about values and culture strategy. On average, 50-60% of Fortune 500 companies' business spending is allocated to labor – that human capital has to be aligned with your organization’s strategy and goals – and the right values can do that. MIT found a strong correlation between financial performance and the degree to which employees believed their company’s values were being practiced.

STEP 2: Determine Which Values Align with Your Business Goals

Chances are, you already have a set of corporate values described on your company website. But do they truly align to your business strategy and goals?

When outlining values, they should be simple and easy to understand versus overly general or aspirational. Unfortunately, according to research by Gallup, only 23% of employees strongly agree that they can apply their organization's values to their work every day.

Hopefully, your values align with your goals, strategy, and mission, but if they don’t, it might be time to coordinate a strategic initiative to update them. Here’s a comprehensive list of core values for inspiration.

Some companies choose to ignore the title of values altogether. Google refers to its values as “Ten things we know to be true,” which includes statements like “focus on the user and all else will follow.” and “fast is better than slow.” Zappos in turn refers to their values as a “way of life,” with strategically aligned values including “deliver WOW through service” and “create fun and a little weirdness.”

Take the time to choose values that make sense – that's the only way employees will adopt them in a sustainable way and create the culture you’re striving for to achieve your goals.

"23% of employees strongly agree that they can apply their organization's values to their work every day."

STEP 3: Assign Specific Behaviors/Qualities to Each Value

With your strategic core values in hand, the third step is defining what those values look like in action through distinct behaviors or qualities.

Identifying specific behaviors tied to each value allows your team to see your values as their “North Star,” guiding them in making decisions in day-to-day tasks. This can be especially helpful in organizations where employees work remotely, with less supervision or guidance readily available.

In the Kudos® platform, every recognition message sent includes the specific qualities the person being recognized has displayed – all of which are tied back to your corporate strategy (Step 1.)

In continuing with our examples of Google and Zappos, the qualities associated with the value “fast is better than slow” in Kudos® could be “fearlessness,” “bravery,” and “urgency,” and the qualities associated with “delivering WOW through service” at Zappos could be “humility,” “attention to detail,” and “understanding.”

Here are some more examples with more traditional values:

company core values chart

STEP 4: Implement Your Values Strategy Through Recognition

Finally, having strategically aligned values and corresponding behaviors won’t serve you unless you have a plan of action. One straightforward and incredibly effective way to do this is through recognition. Simply put, when employees are recognized for a specific action, they’re more likely to repeat it in the future. Explicitly tying recognition to company values helps sync company and employee principles even further.

But how?

That’s where the Kudos® platform can help.

Tying performance measurement and recognition to your corporate values enables you to build a resilient workforce with a robust culture, laser-focused on what matters most to your organization. What’s more, relating all actions and decisions to your core corporate can improve your business performance.

With Kudos®, specific value-tied qualities must be associated with each recognition message, keeping them top of mind and eventually leading to a culture that supports the behaviors and qualities that drive better performance. If an employee is recognized on Kudos® every time they perform well, they will continue to operate this way. Likewise, when colleagues see that recognition on the Kudos® platform, they will understand what they need to do to be successful at work and grow in their role, and receive public recognition along the way. A culture of recognition built through Kudos® will lead to a high-performing culture. Aligning your values to recognition is a simple, but powerful tool to achieve your results.

Here’s what this looks like in action, using the Google and Zappos examples:

Google Values Alignment
Zappos Values Alignment

Moving Forward with Strategic Values

One benefit of rolling out your values strategy with Kudos® is that if your business strategy changes or you notice issues with your culture, you can easily update your values and begin recognizing employees who are living the new values to quickly affect change.

Identifying values and assigning behaviors and qualities can help you create a happy, focused, and performance-oriented culture. When company culture aligns with core values, remarkable things can happen.

Schedule a call with Kudos today to discover how we can help! Kudos is an employee engagement, culture, and analytics platform, that harnesses the power of peer-to-peer recognition, values reinforcement, and open communication to help organizations boost employee engagement, reduce turnover, improve culture, and drive productivity and performance. Kudos uses unique proprietary methodologies to deliver essential people analytics on culture, performance, equity, and inclusion, providing organizations with deep insights and a clear understanding of their workforce.

Performance

5 min

8 Habits of Great Bosses

8 Habits of Great Bosses

Not every management professional is born with the skills to be a Great boss. Fortunately, with a bit of self-awareness and the desire to improve, almost anyone can become an effective people leader.

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Not every management professional is born with the skills to be a Great boss. Fortunately, with a bit of self-awareness and the desire to improve, almost anyone can become an effective people leader. If you want to get a quick and simple start on being a better boss, follow these eight habits:

1. Great Bosses Communicate Clearly

The best bosses are exceptional communicators. You need to make sure your employees know what to do and when to do it at all times. If they don't, frustration will build — for all parties involved.

Fortunately, you can learn how to communicate clearly if you don't already possess the skill. Keep these things in mind when practicing clear and open communication:

  • Know your employees: Different people process things in different ways. The way you talk and communicate with one employee might not go over well with another. That's why it's important to know the people you're communicating with and adjust your communication approach accordingly. Personality ”test” like Myers Briggs can help customize your communications depending on the traits of each individual. 
  • Meet regularly: Nobody enjoys attending an endless barrage of meetings. But occasional get togethers are necessary — especially when trying to boost your communication abilities. Host team-wide and one-on-one meetings at regular intervals to better connect with your employees and keep them in the loop.
  • Invest in communication tools: Modern technology makes it much easier to communicate with employees. Want to share a bit of news? You have options! You can, for example, call employees on the phone, send them MS Team or Slack messages, or emails, or post announcements in your company's intranet. You can also communicate through an employee experience platform like Kudos.

When you regularly communicate with your employees, they'll feel like valued members of your team. They'll then communicate better with their colleagues and your organization will naturally begin to benefit from greater productivity.

2. Great Bosses Listen to Their Employees

Great bosses don't just communicate clearly, they actively listen to their employees and seek their input. Then, they act on the input received as quickly as possible.

By listening to your workforce and implementing their suggestions, you'll show your team that you value them and their opinions. When employees feel valued, they generally work harder and more productively and are more engaged in their jobs.

It's important to remember that hearing and listening are two different things. Listening requires you to concentrate on what your employees say, rather than simply letting their voices wash over your eardrums without effect.

If, after listening to your team you decide to go in a different direction, make sure to explain to your team why you made that choice. That way they always feel respected.

3. Great Bosses Don't Micromanage

It's incredibly annoying to have someone constantly looking over your shoulder and criticizing your work. It also sends a subtle message that you can't be trusted to perform your job, which is insulting.

Micromanagement is also bad for bosses. If you have to spend all of your time worrying about your staff, how can you be expected to get your own work done?

The key is to hire the best possible employees you can — employees that demonstrate intelligence, integrity, and a strong work ethic rather than just an impressive resume. Then let them do what you hired them to do.

4. Great Bosses Develop Their Teams

If you're in a leadership position, you have an obligation to develop your team and help them reach their full potential. So take time to coach and mentor your staff. When you do, you'll find that your team is better prepared to tackle any and all challenges that arise.

Additionally, you'll see your employees gravitate towards you and become more loyal. This is especially true for those who manage millennials.

Sometimes the best way to develop your team is to help them identify their strengths and passions. Your team will function better when each member enjoys the work they do and can do it at the highest possible level.

5. Great Bosses Are Consistent

Your team members want to know what to expect from you. They definitely don’t want to ride an emotional rollercoaster every time they step into the office. 

In fact, The Academy of Management Journal published a study in 2016 that found that inconsistent treatment caused employees to experience more psychological stress than being treated consistently unfairly.

6. Great Bosses Stay Positive

Positivity is a key leadership trait. As we all know, things don't always go to plan in the business world. When challenges present themselves, your positive attitude will help keep your staff confident and focused on the tasks at hand.

Always look for the silver lining in each and every situation. Not only will this create a more enjoyable working environment for your team, but it will also teach them to think positively as well, which, in turn, will allow them to produce their best work on a consistent basis.

7. Great Bosses Are Trustworthy

Do your employees trust you? If they don’t, you won't be able to lead them effectively.

Your employees should feel that you, as their boss, have their backs, that they can speak openly and honestly with you, that you have their best interests at heart, and that you'll actually do what you say you will.

If you feel that trust in your organization is lacking, look for the reason(s) why. Then admit your mistakes and work to make yourself more approachable. But most importantly, become a person of your word.

8. Great Bosses Recognize Their Staff

Lastly, Great bosses understand that they're nothing without their employees and make a point to regularly recognize their staff for their contributions. 

Recognition can take many different forms. You could, for example, send a handwritten thank you note to a high achieving employee. Or publicly acknowledge their accomplishments at a team-wide meeting. Or give them a gift card to their favorite restaurant.

An employee recognition platform is a great way to make recognition a regular part of your interactions with your team, plus it will create a trackable record of all those “thank-yous” and “good jobs.” Get a guide to the benefits of a recognition program here.

While recognition can take many forms, the outcome of consistently recognizing employees is always the same. Studies show that recognition leads to higher employee engagement, better performance, and less turnover.

Wrapping Up

Make these habits a part of your management style and you'll create a positive working environment for your staff that's built on mutual respect and understanding. The result of this will be greater team productivity and happiness, and less turnover. Good luck!

Performance

5 min

How to Host an Effective One-on-One Meeting

How to Host an Effective One-on-One Meeting

Today we want to talk about one-on-one meetings. We'll share with you three reasons why they're important and four steps to host them effectively.

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You've heard the old saying, "the only certainties in life are death and taxes." Well if you ask us, meetings should be added to that list. Because we've all had to sit through our share of boring, unproductive, and cringe-worthy corporate gatherings. But not all meetings have to be this way!

Today we want to talk about one-on-one meetings. We'll share with you three reasons why they're important and four steps to host them effectively.

By the time you're done reading this article, you'll be a one-on-one meeting master who hosts enjoyable get-togethers that your team doesn't hate. Who knows? They might even look forward to attending your one-on-ones!

Why host a one-on-one?

We get it, you're busy. You already meet with your entire team at least once a week. Do you really need to take the time to meet with each of your employees individually as well? Of course, you don't have to. But doing so has three distinct advantages:

Honest feedback

One-on-one meetings give you the chance to obtain honest feedback from your team — feedback they might not be willing to share in front of their peers. This is a golden opportunity!

The information you receive, whether it's about company policies, workplace culture, the customers you serve, or something else can be used to improve your business. And because the feedback is coming from your employees, i.e. the folks in the trenches and on the frontlines, it should carry extra weight.

Mentorship opportunities

If you are a manager, it's your job to guide your team toward company goals. To do this effectively, you need to help your employees to develop and grow. In other words, you need to mentor them and help them become the best professionals that they possibly can be.

One-on-one meetings are the perfect arena for this. You'll be able to provide constructive criticism in a safe environment.

Lastly, one-on-one meetings help managers build rapport with their employees. When you seek your team's honest feedback, you show them that you care about their opinions. When you take the time to mentor them, you demonstrate a level of care that most managers never display. Both of these things help to build strong, lasting relationships.

A private meeting, whether it lasts for 10 minutes or a full hour, will also give you the chance to "shoot the breeze" and get to know your staff on a more personal level.

4 steps to successful one-on-one meetings

1. Have a plan

We don't recommend "winging it" or improvising during your one-on-one meetings with employees. While you should be prepared to adjust for any eventuality, having a set agenda will help to ensure your meetings are enjoyable and productive. Unfortunately, only 37% of meetings in the U.S actually follow this tip.

How you plan your one-on-ones, though, is completely up to you. You could, for example, start with general small talk and ease your way into business-related topics. Or, you could get right to the point and leave small talk for the break room.

No matter which approach you take — one of the two mentioned above or something completely different — having a plan will benefit your one-on-one get-togethers.

2. Listen more than you speak

One-on-ones are generally most effective when management professionals take a step back and listen to their employees, rather than the other way around.

While it's perfectly okay (even necessary in some instances) to spend time educating your team members, you won't be able to glean valuable insights this way. When possible, ask your employees questions about company processes, workplace culture, their goals and challenges. Anything that will key you into areas of improvement.

After asking these questions, listen intently for the answers. Do your best to really understand what your team is telling you. This will reassure them that you care about their opinions. It will also help you actually do something with the knowledge you gain.

3. Give action items

Before dismissing your staff members from your one-on-one meetings, give them a few action items to work on. Action items could mean training materials to go through, deadlines to hit, skill sets to work on. What you ask your employees to do post-meeting will depend on who the employee is and what the two of you discussed.

By giving your team members things to either work on or accomplish after your meeting concludes, you'll make it more likely that progress will be made.

4. Look for ways to improve

Lastly, always look for ways to improve your one-on-one meetings. Did your last attempt feel awkward? Ask yourself "why?" Was your last one-on-one a smashing success? Dig deep and find out the reason(s) it was so successful.

You can also send out pulse surveys after your solo meetings and learn about how effective they were, directly from the folks that sat through them. This information can then be used to update and improve your one-on-one meeting processes.

Better meetings, better business

One-on-one meetings are a great tool in the manager’s toolbelt. Once you learn how to host them effectively, you'll be able to receive more honest feedback, build rapport with your team, and even mentor them more successfully.

Fortunately, hosting stellar one-on-ones isn't difficult. Just follow the four steps:

  1. Have a plan
  2. Listen more than you speak
  3. Give action items
  4. Look for ways to improve

If you follow this simple four-step process, we're confident that you'll be able to start hosting effective, business-boosting one-on-one meetings in no time. Good luck!

Performance

5 min

How to Collect Better Employee Feedback

How to Collect Better Employee Feedback

In this article, we discuss why employee feedback is valuable and give tips regarding how to collect it effectively. Let's get started!

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Do you want to learn how to better serve your customers, create a better workplace environment, or boost revenue? Instead of turning to a high-priced consultant or management guru, how about simply seeking the opinions and wisdom of your team? We can almost guarantee that you'll be blown away at how much insight they have!

In this article, we discuss why employee feedback is valuable and give tips regarding how to collect it effectively. Let's get started!

The benefits of employee feedback

If you've never collected employee feedback before, you may not fully understand why it can be so useful to companies. The truth is, employee feedback has many benefits. But, in our experience, the following two advantages are the most valuable:

Unique insights

Your employees have insights that you, as a business owner or manager, don't. After all, employees are the ones that deal with customers on a regular basis. They're in the trenches, so they have first-hand knowledge of what your target market needs and the ways in which your company can better serve them.

Employees also have a unique view of company policies. Are the rules you've set in place too restrictive or not restrictive enough? You won't truly know until you ask.

Engaged workers

Collecting employee feedback also creates more engaged workers. According to OfficeVibe, 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once per week, compared to just 18% of staff with low engagement.

When your team feels like their opinions matter, they'll be more invested in their work, which will lead to higher staff retention rates and greater employee loyalty. This is important as staff turnover can cost anywhere from 16% to 213% of a departing employee's annual salary depending on their position. In other words, it's expensive.

5 ways to collect better employee feedback

Great, collecting employee feedback can lead to unique insights and more engaged workers! But how do you actually do it? Here are five tips to help you:

1. Use a suggestion box

It's old school, but it works. It's also incredibly easy to set up: find a box, put a stack of paper and a pen next to it, and let your team write down their thoughts and submit them anonymously. Pretty simple, right?

Notice, we said, "submit them anonymously." It's important for your employees to feel safe when they send in feedback. If they're afraid that they might be hassled for their opinions, or worse, lose their jobs, you'll never get honest, useful insights from them.

Make sure that your team always has a way to submit feedback anonymously — whether via a retro suggestion box or some other means.

2. Send out employee surveys

If you want to glean insights regarding certain areas of your company, send out a survey, such as an NPS, pulse, or comprehensive survey.

  • NPS: Short for Net Promoter Score, an NPS survey separates participants into three groups: promoters, passives, and detractors. A score is then tallied, ranging between -100 and +100. Get more details here.  
  • Pulse: This kind of survey can be sent quickly and frequently. You present a number of statements, and ask team members to rate their agreement on a scale: Strongly Disagree (1 point), Disagree (2), Neutral/Neither Agree or Disagree (3), Agree (4), Strongly Agree (5). Pulse surveys are a great way to get in-depth insight fast.
  • Comprehensive: A comprehensive survey will give you the most information regarding your team, hence the name. While pulse surveys can be sent on a regular basis, comprehensive surveys should be sent annually, bi-annually at the most.

To get your survey to your team, use an online tool like SurveyMonkey. You can also embed a survey in recognition software like Kudos. Of course, you can go old school again and print a copy for each employee and ask them to physically fill it out.

3. Hold regularly scheduled team meetings

You probably meet with your team at least once a week anyway, so all you have to do to take advantage of this tip is to ask your staff for suggestions before concluding your meeting!

While insights and opinions shared in this forum won't be anonymous, it will give your team the chance to collaborate and bounce ideas off of each other.

4. Conduct private one-on-one meetings

This type of setting is much more intimate and will give your staff a chance to voice opinions that they may not be comfortable sharing in front of their colleagues.

And why not host your one-on-one in a location other than your office? Take your team member to lunch or go for a walk outside. The change in scenery and casual setting will help them open up and share honest feedback.

5. Use Glassdoor

You probably know Glassdoor as the website where current and former employees anonymously review companies. Some of the benefits of getting feedback from current employees include increased performance and engagement and diffusing conflicts before they happen. Glassdoor even provides handy email templates that make it easy to request feedback from employees in a variety of roles.  

Act on the intel you receive

However, you gather feedback, be sure to act on the intel you receive from your employees. When your team realizes that their suggestions are taken to heart and even acted on, they'll be much more open to giving feedback in the future.

So don't just ask for employee feedback as a formality. That won't benefit you, your employees, or the company you all work for. Do something with the insights you receive.

Talk to us

Looking for more ways to get and use employee feedback? Kudos helps companies all over the world connect with the opinions and insights of their team members. Use the chatbot at the bottom right to open a conversation. Or reach us here.

Performance

5 min

The Psychological Contract: How Does it Affect Employee Retention?

The Psychological Contract: How Does it Affect Employee Retention?

Beyond feeling secure in the workplace, though, psychological safety is part of a larger concept most businesses are learning to prioritize, and it’s called the psychological contract.

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In the 1940s, American psychologist, Abraham Maslow introduced the world to a theory that all humans have a hierarchy of needs. One of the key tenets of this hierarchy is psychological safety, and today, leaders across all industries and verticals are conscious of how the psychological safety of their employees impacts engagement, productivity, and retention.

Beyond feeling secure in the workplace, though, psychological safety is part of a larger concept most businesses are learning to prioritize, and it’s called the psychological contract. Not so surprisingly, this contract is extremely important in ensuring employees not only understand their roles and responsibilities but actually remain with their existing employers.

Why?

Because this contract encompasses the entire commitment (spoken and unspoken) employees have with their employers. And, when this contract is broken, businesses feel the effects through disengagement, low morale, poor company culture and turnover.

But what exactly is a psychological contract, and why do leaders need to be cognizant of what their contract with their employees means for retention? Let’s dive deeper.

The psychological contract defined

First conceptualized by Denise Rousseau, a Professor of Organizational Behaviour, the psychological contract is an unwritten and, in some cases, unspoken set of expectations between an employer and their employee that includes elements like mutual beliefs and values.

In other words, it’s not a written nor formal contract, but a mutual understanding of sorts.

There are typically three main characteristics of a psychological contract:

The first is subjective – the obligations based on what an employee believes they are expected to give, and what they can expect in return.

The second is implicit – obligations aren’t written down or formally recorded, but are instead mutually understood.

And the third is mutuality – this occurs when employees believe both they and their employer understand and agree on what the employee perceives of what is owed by and to both parties.

Interestingly, the psychological contract is developed over time, which means it’s directly impacted by the everyday communication and relations employees have with their leadership. Even when employers feel they have been clear, explicit, or direct, employees can think and feel differently, and all of this informs the psychological contract.

Now, that may sound as though leaders have zero control over this contract or how employees form their own perceptions of it, but what’s important to keep in mind here is that employees will develop their own perspectives of this contract based on what they do or do not know.

That means that leaders have to communicate their expectations, beliefs and values to their teams to avoid setting misguided or unintended expectations. But more on that later!

Why does this contract matter?

When employees feel the psychological contract is fulfilled - meaning, they feel that you, as a leader, are holding up your end of the ‘bargain’ – they are far more likely to engage in their work, feel connected to their organization, and psychologically safe among their colleagues or peers.

But when employees feel the contract is broken, they can feel betrayed or let down, which inevitably leads to resentment and key issues with employee engagement, like absenteeism or poor performance.

For leaders, the most dire consequence of a broken psychological contract is turnover. If an employee in your organization feels that they are giving what they feel is expected of them, but you as an employer aren’t living up to your end of the unspoken ‘deal,’ they have every incentive to leave your company for one that will provide safety and security.  

Prioritizing this contract makes sense not only from a business perspective but from an employee development one; if your employees trust you as a leader and believe you are doing what’s best for them, they will continue to contribute because the psychological contract is being fulfilled.

As a leader, however, it’s your responsibility to ensure that both you and your employee understand the unspoken contract you both have. Which leads us to our next point.

How can leadership form a clear psychological contract with their employees?

Only 30% of employees feel their leaders proactively involve them in setting expectations, goals, and responsibilities in the workplace.

Lack of communication, understanding and mutual agreeance mean most employees don’t actually know that their perception of the psychological contract likely differs from that of their employer. So it follows that leaders have to openly communicate with their teams and form an understanding of the contract that is both mutual and clear.

Practice consistent communication

By being explicit in the information they provide their employees, but especially new hires, leaders can form a clear and mutual understanding, as the psychological contract evolves constantly based on the interactions and experiences employees have when working with their leaders.

Manage expectations

Go out of your way to give employees as much information as you possibly can regarding their roles, responsibilities, tasks, and what’s expected of them in the workplace. On the same note, however, make sure you’re asking and listening to your employees when it comes to what they need, or what their expectations are.

Constantly engage

Employees crave engagement and open communication with their leaders, but a lack of engagement means your teams feel unsure as to where they stand and whether everyone is proactively fulfilling the psychological contract. Don’t be afraid to talk to your employees, checking in with them consistently and engaging them in their work. Employees that feel they can talk with their leaders are 2.8x more engaged according to a Gallup study.

By being proactive in communicating the goals and expectations you have between yourself and your employees, you can better prepare yourself to fulfil the psychological contract already existing among your teams. And that’s good news for employers, given happy and secure employees will stick with your organization where others experience high turnover.

If you’re concerned about your psychological contract, it may be time to consider engaging your top talent. Organizations that consistently engage their employees not only experience less turnover, but can increase their profitability, sometimes up to 20%. Communication, recognition and a healthy psychological contract can help you retain the talent your organization needs to succeed, and an engagement tool like Kudos can help you do just that.

Performance

5 min

How to Use Employee Feedback for Business Growth

How to Use Employee Feedback for Business Growth

At a time when there are more open positions than there are qualified candidates to fill them, there's a buyer's market for those who are seeking quality work experience. That leads the most talented candidates to become more discerning about where they work.

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At a time when there are more open positions than there are qualified candidates to fill them, there's a buyer's market for those who are seeking quality work experience. That leads the most talented candidates to become more discerning about where they work.

In their minds, you need them more than they need you.

So, what can you do to create a corporate culture that draws the best of the best and makes employee retention almost effortless?

You build a corporate culture that's supportive, makes staff feel valued, and encourages open and honest communication.

One of the most comprehensive and sustainable ways to do that is through employee feedback.

Building a feedback culture into your business model provides a high ROI on your investment in the most important company resource: its people.

What is a feedback culture?

As an HR manager, you want to do everything in your power to create a healthy and productive work environment.

The old method of increasing productivity through incentivizing inter-organization competition can be demoralizing and counterproductive. Threats and punitive actions don't work very well, either.

There's a better way to ignite passion and loyalty in your staff that allows them to feel valued rather than used. You need to move away from a culture that's based on numbers and output to one that's employee-centric and nurturing.

A feedback culture is one that enables staff members at every level to feel free to provide feedback and constructive criticisms regardless of where they rank within the corporate hierarchy.

It provides lower-level staff with the means to improve their work environment and opens the lines of communication between staff and management, management and C-level executives, and so on up the chain of command.

How feedback improves business function

Only 16% of employees feel connected and engaged in their current job. This level of disengagement not only affects morale and leads to lacklustre job performance, but it's also costly.

Companies of all sizes lose about $450–$550 billion each year due to high turnover and restaffing rates, lower productivity, and a host of related issues, according to Gallup.

With a feedback-centric model of corporate culture, staff feel more invested in the success of an enterprise and are more likely to work hard to achieve important business goals. There's also a decrease in absenteeism, fewer work-related injuries, and an improvement in overall morale.

But, in order to reap these benefits, you need strategies that encourage positive interaction - even when the feedback is negative - and a roadmap that ties feedback to measurable improvement.

It's all about how you gather and process feedback as well as where and how it's applied.

Collecting and incorporating employee feedback the smart way

When you imagine employee feedback, you probably picture a suggestion box on the breakroom table with a stack of forms next to it.

That's certainly one way to collect feedback from staff members, but it's not the only or even the best way to get input from your team.

If you want to create a long-term strategy for engagement that allows staff at every level to have agency over their work environment and encourages personal responsibility for outcomes, it has to be woven into the very fabric of your organization in a way that's organic and sustainable.

That may sound like a tall order, but it's doable if you know how to do it. Here are some best practices that have worked for other organizations. Perhaps they'll turn things around for yours.

Employ multiple channels for feedback

No matter how open the culture, some staff members feel uncomfortable with one-on-one discussions or critiques. Providing multiple channels for staff members to participate in providing feedback will ensure broader participation.

This is where the old, reliable, anonymous suggestion box can find a new life, but there are other means of communication, like surveys, team-building exercises, and online platforms.

Normalize feedback culture and processes

The more comprehensive your feedback strategy, the more natural and organic it will feel to you and your staff.

Many employees aren't used to giving feedback, and may even fear the process, so it may make more traditional managers uncomfortable at first. But, when the process is normalized, it becomes as natural as any other part of the job.

For example, you could have an informal session directly after a planned monthly staff meeting where smaller groups of employees provide feedback.

Put an emphasis on personal responsibility

At any enterprise with a hierarchy, the buck stops at the top. Business leaders and HR managers should be accountable for the feedback and show their support by attending sessions and addressing critical issues at the earliest possible opportunity. In turn, employees will be more willing to accept personal responsibility for their role in the company's successes and missteps.

Ask for feedback at every opportunity, and show that you are willing to accept it with an open mind.

Balance the positive and negative

Not all of your feedback is going to be critical. However, if you only pay attention to the positive feedback and become defensive over negative critiques, you're going to create an imbalance that's counterproductive to your aims.

In turn, if the only feedback an employee receives from you is negative, it is demoralizing and leads to disengagement.

Try to balance positive/negative feedback by beginning any discussing on performance with comments on ways the employee excels or adds to job quality.

If any negative issues need to be addressed, they should be communicated in a way that's constructive.

Establish an atmosphere of openness and trust

Your staff will be more willing to provide feedback of any kind if the corporate environment itself is one of trust and openness.

Make sure that it's clear, both in writing and practice, that employees are free to provide constructive feedback without fear of punishment or reprisals.

Make feedback a continuous activity

Employee feedback supports the kind of continuous improvement that put Ford Motor Company on the map and has kept the organization strong for more than a century.

I come from a Ford family. Some of the incentives that benefited us stemmed directly from employee engagement incentives.

One program awarded new cars each year to the staff members who provided the best suggestions for plant or customer service improvement.

There were other giveaways, contests, bonus plans, and continuous ways to engage not only Ford workers but their families.

Rather than annual reviews and other periodic methods of engagement, make feedback a continual part of your business. This can be achieved through frequent, informal gatherings where ideas are shared, performance review protocols that are project-based and having an open-door policy.

Final Thoughts

Creating a feedback culture at your organization helps employees feel more secure and valued. It's a way to let them know they count and that their opinion is important to you.

This type of work environment encourages and supports employee engagement, lowers staff turnover rates, boosts morale, improves business processes across the board, and makes you a better manager.

Happy workers make for happy customers. Getting feedback from your staff doesn't require a huge investment, and the returns are nearly incalculable.

About Ashley

Ashley Wilson is a content creator, writing about business and tech. She is also a movie buff so she has been known to reference epic scenes in casual conversation. She has two cats, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.

Performance

5 min

5 Powerful Ways To Provide Opportunities Beyond Promotions

5 Powerful Ways To Provide Opportunities Beyond Promotions

In today’s modern workplace, it’s common for organizations to be comprised of several generations of workers, ranging from baby boomers to millennials and Gen X’ers.

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In today’s modern workplace, it’s common for organizations to be comprised of several generations of workers, ranging from baby boomers to millennials and Gen X’ers.

Some of these employees may feel they have no opportunity for advancement, while others might be getting ready to retire or move on to a different role, therefore providing promotion and pay raise opportunities for other employees. A widely held belief by many organizations is that employees are motivated exclusively by money.

And yet, whatever the case, it’s not all about money. A recent study by LinkedIn found that 48% of Baby Boomers value making an impact over salary and titles, while 30% of millennials and 38% of Gen X’ers agree.

Gallup also found that 45% of millennials are more likely to prioritize roles that allow for development and advancement opportunities. Ceridian echoes that sentiment, finding that 83% of employees whose organizations provide them with development and advancement opportunities are more likely to remain in their existing jobs.

"Consider organizational culture, recognition, work/life balance, flexible working options, salary, benefits, or learning and development as key elements of a role where employees can still benefit from working with you, beyond promotions and raises."

An employee’s decision to join an organization may not hinge solely on salary, but a lack of advancement and development opportunities could make or break your company’s retention.  

That could explain why 51% of companies are shifting their priorities to develop future-focused people strategies.

What happens, though, when there are no promotion opportunities or an employee has been promoted as far as possible in your organization?

How do you keep employees motivated and engaged to prevent them from jumping ship?

Make them an offer they can’t refuse

If an employee believes a role is a good fit but sees little opportunity to advance, no number of raises or annual bonuses is going to keep them on board.

That’s where a stellar job offer comes in. In other words, you have to make employees an offer they can’t refuse.

While studies have shown that promotions are a highly effective way to motivate employees, not every organization can offer employees regular promotions - or any promotion at all. Some companies, for instance, might be large enough that they can create new roles or offer advancement, while others (like startups or mid-size businesses) may not have the same ability.

If, however, an employee’s role provides the right elements and opportunities for personal and professional development, the promise of a promotion may not be necessary to prevent disengagement.  

Consider organizational culture, recognition, work/life balance, flexible working options, salary, benefits, or learning and development as key elements of a role where employees can still benefit from working with you, beyond promotions and raises.

Encourage employees to master their skills

In his book, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” author Daniel H. Pink relates that we are all motivated by three things: autonomy, purpose, and mastery.

In many cases, employees can build upon their existing skills by working alongside others in their work environment, or when they work on new tasks and projects. That doesn’t, however, indicate that employees are developing new skills, expertise, or knowledge.

If a promotion isn’t a possibility for an employee, consider the three elements we mention above.

Autonomy - employees crave autonomy, control over their own work, and the results which stem from their efforts. By allowing employees to take the reins and work autonomously, leaders can foster a more trusting and productive culture that may boost engagement and job satisfaction, too.

"A widely held belief by many organizations is that employees are motivated exclusively by money"

Purpose - without purpose, employees can quickly become disengaged and dispassionate about their contributions to your organization. The key is to ensure employees are aware of how they contribute to organizational success even without having to be in an executive position to do so.    

Mastery - learning and development is a key motivator in most people’s decision to accept or reject a role. Provide your employees with opportunities to hone their skills, but don’t forget to support them and allow them to apply what they learn to new tasks!

Focus on experiences rather than roles

By nature, many of us aren’t job hoppers but would prefer to find a role in which we can learn, grow, and develop. However, without a shot at a promotion, most employees change jobs and even migrate to different companies in search of greener pastures. A vast majority of companies are thus focusing on experiences when working to attract talent to their companies!

By sharing experiences - training opportunities, remote work options, mentorship, travel, etc. - the perception of opportunity and development with your organization only increases.  

A great way of determining what type of experiences your organization can offer prospective employees is to ask existing ones. Gather feedback while asking for ideas and input from your current teams so you can attract the talent you want and ensure they see the benefit of working with you.

Encourage knowledge sharing and exploration within your organization

While more organizations are offering promotions without salary increases or raises, a more common solution is to provide lateral promotions.

A lateral move or promotion occurs when an employee is offered a role with a similar level of responsibility, autonomy and payscale as their current role involves. Lateral promotions may provide employees with the opportunity to join a new department and learn new skills, but not all employees may not see it that way.

Instead, when a promotion is not an option, offer employees the opportunity to work with different teams in your organization or join special projects with other departments.

In doing so, you’re providing them with the chance not only to share knowledge but also to tackle new tasks and increase their existing skillset for when a promotion is an option.

Knowledge sharing is important for organizations because it encourages collaboration and ideation. If employees can learn from one another, they become exposed to more facets of your organization and expand their knowledge, therefore becoming more prepared to take on additional responsibility for any future promotional opportunities.

Practice recognition every day

Promotions signal to employees that their work, dedication and efforts have been recognized and rewarded, but promotions and pay raises aren’t the only way to motivate employees. When promotions aren’t feasible for your organization, recognition can truly save the day.

Recognition is one of the easiest things to give and can help foster an environment of security and loyalty. When just 15% of employees agree that their leaders make them enthusiastic about their future, recognizing your employees can assist in keeping them engaged and excited about their future with your organization.

"An employee’s decision to join an organization may not hinge solely on salary, but a lack of advancement and development opportunities could make or break your company’s retention."

But that’s not at all.

Recognition can encourage employees to voice their perspectives, opinions, and ideas because it nurtures trust in leadership and colleagues. When employees have a voice and feel their input and honesty is valued, the enthusiasm they have about your company can only grow. In fact, you may find that recognizing your employees fuels them to contribute their best work and take initiative!

BONUS: Make work fun. Yes, fun!

You’ve heard that a thriving organizational culture is key for employee experience and engagement. Part of a strong culture is incorporating a little fun into your everyday operations.

Many startups will incorporate fun into their everyday workplace culture, but not every organization can rely on ping pong tables or slushie machines to make work fun. On the other hand, without a fun-loving culture, many employees may view their jobs as nothing more than something they do from 9am-5pm, five days a week.

There are a few simple ways you can make your workplace fun and contribute to the overall employee experience and culture in your organization!

  • Consider weekly lunches in or outside of the office, where all teams can have a meal together, interact, and spend some time away from their desks or workspaces

  • Let employees participate in weekly team activities, from fitness classes to working from the local coffee shop as a team for a few hours each week!

  • Run quarterly ‘competitions’ at work so employees can flex their skills and work together. For example, challenge your teams to create a new product prototype or create a new service offering, then let the winning team(s) choose their prize

  • Send weekly newsletters throughout your company which incorporate appropriate humour and include tips, tricks, or events submitted by fellow employees


Performance

5 min

The Future of Work Is Flexible

The Future of Work Is Flexible

Let’s face it, no one enjoys sitting for hours upon hours in bumper to bumper traffic. So why commute to work if you don’t have to? For those of you who haven’t heard of flexible work arrangements, it’s a hot topic nowadays. It’s a growing concept and seemingly benefiting both employees and employers alike.

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What’s the deal with flexible work arrangements anyways?

Let’s face it, no one enjoys sitting for hours upon hours in bumper to bumper traffic. So why commute to work if you don’t have to? For those of you who haven’t heard of flexible work arrangements, it’s a hot topic nowadays. It’s a growing concept and seemingly benefiting both employees and employers alike.

To dive into the details, flexible work arrangements aren’t your average 9-to-5, Monday to Friday office job. It’s the idea that employees have the freedom to select different variations of how, when, or where they’d like to work. More commonly, we see organizations offer flexible working hours, also known as “flextime,” or to work remotely.

The common types of flexible work

Flextime: When an employee can alter, either temporarily or permanently, their work schedule and hours. For example, choosing to work 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. instead of 9-to-5.

Work from home or work remotely: Working at own home by communicating with your organization through the internet, email, and/or phone.

Work part-time: When an employee works fewer hours than a full-time employee. Often in shifts.

Work-sharing: A program designed to avoid layoffs during slow business times. If an employee is eligible for employment insurance (EI), the government supplements their wages for the days they’re not working.

Are you considering any of these options for your organization? Let’s understand the most common benefits and downfalls to flexible work arrangements to determine if it makes sense for your organization.

What are some benefits of offering flexible work arrangements?

More boots on the ground

Do you have clients worldwide? Would there be value in supporting remote employees? Offering flexible work arrangements provide you with the opportunity to hire employees worldwide. With employees having more mobility in their work method and location, there’s the opportunity for local support to various clients. This strengthens your client relationships by going that extra mile (pun intended).

Cha-ching! Reinvest that money

Now, that’s music to my ears! Guess what happens when you’ve instilled a full work from home policy? There’s no need for office space. With cost reduction like that, think of all the business opportunities ahead. For example, you can begin to reinvest your earnings into a company-wide trip, increasing employee morale and engagement. Another great example could be adding to your employee's benefits program to leverage your brand for recruiting and increase employee retention rates.

Then, there’s the fact that a work from home policy is often a luxury. Some employees might even opt-into a salary reduction to obtain that benefit. Let’s say you live far outside the city and it costs you loads of money and time to commute to work. Wouldn’t you opt-in to a pay reduction to eliminate all that? That’s an advantage when it comes to your investments.

Stand out from the pack  

What can your organization offer in terms of competitive advantage? What will attract talent?  A flexible work arrangement is an attractive benefit for new and current employees. Surprisingly, in today’s digital age, many businesses still aren’t stepping up to the plate to offer flexible work arrangements. It’s a great way to increases employee engagement by offering something not all organizations instil and continue to increase employee retention by deterring employees to look elsewhere to be provided with this.

Become a well-oiled machine

How do flexible work arrangements keep your organization’s engines running? They speed up your systems with an environment that suits your employee’s needs best. Begin empowering your employees with the freedom and autonomy to perform at their best. Maybe someone is more of a morning person or perhaps the latter, a night owl. Either way, this option lets employees choose the place and time they perform their best.

Help repair the world

Want to contribute to making a positive difference in the world? An easy way to reduce your organization’s carbon footprint is by providing a commute-free option to work. A work-from-home or remote work option is an excellent way to reduce an employee’s commute. Fewer cars on the road equal less carbon footprint. As simple as that.

Work and life is a balancing act. Stabilize it!

Ahh, what to do with free time spared from eliminating your commute? Spend more time on the things that matter. Offering flexible work arrangements allows employees to spend more time with their friends and family, providing them with that perfect work-life balance. Even with strictly offering flex time, employees can rearrange their hours at work to meet their personal life needs. For example, a mother can now choose to design her morning to meet her children's needs and getting into the office at a later hour.

Curious about the other benefits of remote work? Check out these 6 unique facts about remote workers your organization should be aware of!

About Humi

This article was written by Danielle Freedland at Humi, Canada’s leading all-in-one HR, Payroll, and Benefits solution for small to medium-sized businesses. She strives to spread her knowledge in HR through her writing to help organizations spend more time on their greatest asset – their employees.


Performance

5 min

Why Most Hiring Processes Fail And How To Improve Yours

Why Most Hiring Processes Fail And How To Improve Yours

Ask virtually any company what its greatest assets are, and most are bound to respond with, 'our people!'

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Ask virtually any company what its greatest assets are, and most are bound to respond with, 'our people!'

And yet, if this adage were true, organizations around the globe probably wouldn't struggle with recruitment and retention - even in an age where more companies place significant emphasis on workplace culture and employee wellness.

However, despite focusing on organizational culture and creating attractive working environments, companies consistently miss out on top talent or are 'ghosted' by potential candidates. As it turns out, ghosting is no longer reserved just for the world of online dating, but is leeching its way into the world of recruitment!

Nearly half of job seekers will 'ghost' a potential employer during the hiring process, while 54% of employers miss out on qualified candidates due to protracted recruitment processes.

Stats like these are relevant, given that companies around the world are now operating in what can be thought of as a 'buyers market.' Meaning, candidates have more choice and selection when it comes to open roles and companies.  

For example, Zendesk reports that, globally, 45% of employers are struggling to fill open roles, and that number is predicted to rise over the coming years steadily.

Just as recruitment experts and HR professionals have attested for years, the biggest issue facing organizations today, aside from retaining top talent, is the hiring process. Why is it that so many recruitment processes fail? More importantly, how can you improve yours?

3 key reasons why most hiring processes fail

There are many arguments for why recruitment is broken; however, most of these arguments can be narrowed down to a few simple reasons.

The first relates to recruitment itself. Many companies will assign hiring responsibilities to one person in their company, sometimes even from an unrelated department, who is ultimately responsible for sourcing the right candidates. Inevitably, bias will result, which makes it difficult for employees to remove themselves from the equation and focus simply on finding the right candidates.

The key is to ensure that you centralize the process to a hiring manager or professional recruiter!

Secondly, recruitment timelines can be detrimental to hiring the right people. We mentioned above that 54% of employers miss out on top talent due to prolonged hiring processes. Companies like yours may have missed out on the right candidate simply due to poorly structured recruitment timelines!

The takeaway? Reassure candidates by being upfront about your company's hiring process and inform them of projected recruitment timelines.

"Nearly half of job seekers will 'ghost' a potential employer during the hiring process, while 54% of employers miss out on qualified candidates due to protracted recruitment processes."

Last (but certainly not least), transparency is key. Candidates want to know that a prospective employer will go the extra mile, just as they expect their teams to. Organizations have to be honest, open and transparent in their policies and organizational culture!

How, then, can organizations improve their hiring processes?

Rethink your job posting strategy

When hiring a new team member, your first move (or that of your company's recruiter) is likely to create a job description and submit it to popular job search engines, like LinkedIn or Indeed. The next step involves patiently waiting for applications to come through in response to your job posting.

Interestingly enough, companies like Netflix ditched traditional job postings to focus on marketing open roles to candidates using a cultural approach. It's why they created a culture deck to introduce prospective employees to the company as opposed to yet another job posting filled with expected duties, tasks, and KPIs.

In this way, Netflix and organizations like it have proven that the traditional job description is obsolete. When using job postings to attract talent, we're just casting a wide net with a 'one size fits all' approach.

Instead, consider pitching your open role. When companies approach investors, for example, they usually deploy a pitch deck; why not pitch your company and its culture to potential team members? With this approach, you focus less on getting people to 'check' your company's boxes and more on attracting the right talent.

Treat your recruitment process as you would a strategic marketing plan

When companies develop a new product, they often implement a strategic marketing plan, and the same could (and should) be said for your hiring process.

Ultimately, this is how you'll attract and onboard the talent you're looking for.

By approaching your hiring process like you would a strategic marketing plan, you're ensuring that the process is consistent and cohesive with every aspect of your company's overall brand.

Taking a more marketing-minded approach allows you to reach new audiences of candidates you might not have ever targeted, which is good news when looking to attract talent from a unique range of industries with diversity in mind.

Always be as specific and transparent as possible

Whatever method you use to advertise or market a new role with your company, the key to successfully getting the point of the position across is to be as specific and transparent as possible.

Let's say, for example, that you're seeking a Social Media Manager to join your company's marketing team. While most Social Media Manager roles encompass the same nature of duties and KPIs, you would need to be specific in what you expect from the position, the results you expect to see the successful Manager achieve, and the particular skills they need to have for the role.

Additionally, you would also need to be transparent about the role and what the candidate can expect from it. Perhaps they'll work alongside other team members, but they would also need to know the salary, benefits, travel requirements, and other small yet essential details about the role.

Specificity and transparency ensure that applicants have a firm, complete understanding as to your expectations and, further, what they will get from the role.

Ask the right questions

We've all had an interview where we've been asked a pretty unique or interesting question that may or may not be relevant to the role.

Maybe a hiring manager has asked you what your 'spirit animal' is, or they throw you a curveball by asking you to explain what your 'biggest weakness' is.

While these questions may be well-intentioned, often they don't get to the heart of what a hiring manager needs to know about a candidate, nor do they truly represent the person on the other side of the desk!

"Whatever method you use to advertise or market a new role with your company, the key to successfully getting the point of the position across is to be as specific and transparent as possible."

Instead of asking questions for flare, consider asking questions pertinent to the role and the candidate. For example, ask candidates what their career trajectory is, how the role can help them achieve their goals, or why they are interested in your company.

Questions like these provide insight into the goals of each candidate and how they might contribute to your organization.

Make candidates aware of your recruitment timelines

Earlier in this article, we talked about recruitment timelines and how prolonged processes can be detrimental to companies hiring top talent. This ties back directly to our point about transparency, too!

Most candidates will be curious about your recruitment timeline but may be hesitant to ask. A best practice is to make it clear to candidates what your recruitment timeline is to avoid alienating candidates or leave them hanging.

The same can be said for hiring timelines which involve multiple interviews with different team members. By being upfront about how long it will take your side to process an application from start to finish, the more open candidates will be to moving along with their application.

Don't forget feedback!

One of the most effective ways to improve your hiring process for both current and future employees is to ask for feedback. According to LinkedIn, approximately 79% of companies ask candidates for feedback at some point during the hiring process.

To boost the candidate experience while also attracting the right talent, you first need to be aware of what works, what doesn't, and how candidates have felt about their experience. This could entail asking for feedback on elements such as:

  • The ease of use of your application system or software
  • The swiftness of acknowledgment of applications
  • The length of interviews and how you conduct them

This type of feedback gives you insight as to where your hiring process succeeds and where it can be improved to make the candidate experience as positive as possible!

Did you find this article helpful? Take a peek at our article on retention for more actionable tips and insights!

Performance

5 min

How to Navigate Transparency at Work and Align Your Teams

How to Navigate Transparency at Work and Align Your Teams

There is a direct relationship between transparent leadership and increased employee alignment, operational efficiency and customer loyalty.

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Transparency in the workplace can be a double-edged sword, but the benefits of a transparent approach to both work and leadership may just transform your company (both internally and externally). Read on as our Guest Author, Ken Cameron dives deeper into the topic of transparency and how it can align your teams.

Putting transparency to work the right way

There is a direct relationship between transparent leadership and increased employee alignment, operational efficiency and customer loyalty.

When employees can see the bigger picture, they can more easily grasp the company vision. This helps individuals see their role within the strategy and draw a line of sight to how their efforts help achieve company-wide goals. The more that senior leadership continually updates and transparently communicates company strategy the more employee engagement rises.

This transparency then leads to an efficiency gain. When Leaders are transparent about issues and problems facing the business, it can also open up opportunities for team members to contribute to solutions. If the leader is the only one who has all the information then they become the bottleneck. In his book, The Four Hour Work Week Tim Ferris confesses that in the early days of his internet-based nutritional supplement business, he was making almost all customer service decisions. This meant that he was working 16 or even 18 hour days just deciding which orders could be refunded and which could be offered exchange or store credit. When he developed a transparent set of criteria and granted his customer service team discretion for small orders, their productivity increased and his workload diminished dramatically.

Case Study: City of Calgary (Alberta, Canada)

Allowing your team to be transparent with customers and stakeholders improves your brand. Our team at Corporate cultureSHIFT has developed the SHIFT facilitation card deck that highlights 81 different values that employees can use to define the culture they want.


Find the entire deck here

We employed this technique with the City of Calgary's Cultural Transformation Project. When we asked employees in 63 different business units at the City of Calgary which values allowed them to be most citizen-centric, transparency emerged as one of the top. They shared a compelling example with us.

On Saturday, December 8, 2012, a massive water main rupture, one of the largest and most disruptive in City history, sent fluid gushing from a fractured 80-year-old cast-iron underground pipe into the southbound lanes of Crowchild Trail. The city faced a major challenge. They had to inform Calgarians that one of the busiest roads in the city was going to be shut down during Monday morning's commute. The city's Marketing & Communications department provided real-time blog updates, tweets, video updates, Facebook posts, emergency messaging on calgary.ca.

The result was a level of customer satisfaction that any company – let alone a city administration – would be proud of.  In an online survey conducted by CBC, citizens were asked if “The City did enough to keep you informed.” More than 66% responded positively – an astonishing number for a major roadway being shut down, with very little warning, before rush hour.

Is there such a thing as too much transparency?

Transparency has costs, too: it creates uncertainty, which leads to low-grade chronic stress, which in turn inhibits everyone’s performance.

David Rock, author of Your Brain At Work and co-founder of the Neuroleadership Institute has captured five key domains that drive stress behaviour in employees. His SCARF® Model identifies these as Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness. Triggering any one of these domains causes employees to register a social threat and prompts changes in the prefrontal cortex that undermines the ability to collaborate with others and forge trusting relationships. A lack of transparent leadership triggers BOTH certainty and fairness. Certainty is affected because people perceive ambiguity as inherently threatening. Feeling out of the loop causes them to trust management less, feel less company loyalty and be less motivated to succeed. When employees feel that management is withholding information, or that some teams are in the know, it can affect their sense of fairness because individuals tend to perceive a lack of information as social isolation.

There are occasions when more transparency is not better and too much information can backfire.

For instance, transparency runs into direct conflict with confidentiality. When a team member shares a concern with a Leader in confidence it’s vital that this confidence be respected. However, any resulting action needs to be explained with transparency in order to be valued by the team. Navigating the narrow passage between these shoals is the art of Leadership. One way to address this is to check in with people you have discussed the issue with to ascertain their level of comfort in having information revealed.

Transparency also runs into conflict with change fatigue. In an environment where the culture has been undergoing a great deal of transformation, leaders may fear that being transparent with additional information may be counter-productive. But teams often know when something is being withheld, and it rarely has a positive effect. If you’re in this situation you might consider providing a specific date when more information will be made available. But, be careful. Having made the offer you then must honour that commitment.

It’s worth noting that some of the most successful companies practice radical transparency, with un-curated employee-led blogs that are available to the public. Because proactive prospective employees who are considering these companies can investigate the culture in advance, they attract more high performers and experience fewer misfires.

ATB Financial, which has appeared repeatedly on the Achievers’ 50 Most Engaged Workplaces list, encourages employees to log on to Glassdoor and leave anonymous reviews of the company. Most organizations would see only the potential of nasty reviews. However, Lorne Rubis, chief people officer and chief evangelist at ATB for 6 years, told The Financial Post that he sees this radical transparency as a way to keep the company on its toes.

“I’d much rather know [what employees think of their workplace], and have the courage, strength and conviction to allow for the data to be free-flowing than to worry about what kind of governance we put on that.”

Now, that’s transparency in action.

Performance

5 min

How To Provide Feedback Your Employees Actually Want To Hear

How To Provide Feedback Your Employees Actually Want To Hear

Studies of brain scans have shown that, when we are exposed to or perceive a social threat, we react in much the same way as we do to physical threats.

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Studies of brain scans have shown that, when we are exposed to or perceive a social threat, we react in much the same way as we do to physical threats.

Interestingly, those same studies have been applied to the reactions we experience when confronted with negative messages like criticism, indicating that feedback can be perceived as a social threat.

When you hear the term ‘feedback,’ like many of us, you probably think of the feedback you receive at work. Feedback is scientific, habitual, and integral to survival; organisms across a range of lifeforms use feedback to learn from, adapt to, and avoid threats. Think of the type of feedback wild animals, plants, and other organisms use to interact and communicate.

In the workplace, feedback may not seem so critical to your survival. You’re unlikely to require feedback to survive in the same way animals use feedback to communicate threats from, say, predators in the wild! However, feedback is still given, requested, and used daily by companies to improve the health of their organizations and the development of their teams.  

Or is it?

A plethora of research has found that even top-performing employees perceived as open to feedback can be crushed by it and, further, when we receive feedback, we only apply it to our work about 30% of the time.

While organizations use feedback to improve performance and management, more evidence is surfacing that disproves the efficacy of feedback as a tool for motivating employees to do their best work. That may explain why only 26% of employees agree that the feedback they receive helps them do better work.

What’s the problem with feedback?

Feedback is a tricky thing.

Many organizations still disseminate feedback in outdated ways, but nothing (not even advanced notice) can truly prepare us for negative feedback.

There are many forms of feedback - some being effective and productive - and some are employed more regularly than others. While any feedback can be met with trepidation, the most common type is the ‘feedback sandwich,’ an approach that aims at softening the blow associated with constructive criticism.

The feedback sandwich refers to constructive feedback layered between positive compliments. A compliment about an employee's performance or work ethic is given, followed by criticism. Then another positive comment is delivered.

"59% of millennials feel their leaders are unprepared to give feedback during meetings like performance reviews, while 83% of millennials report the feedback they receive from their managers as being unhelpful."

The problem with this approach is two-fold; employees who receive this type of feedback often focus less on the positive and zero-in on the negative, while the feedback itself loses meaning. This type of feedback can also result in bias and inconsistencies in other feedback employees receive. 61% of an employee's performance 'rating' is a reflection of the review conductor (such as a manager) and not the employee.

It also points to why more organizations and their leaders skip performance reviews altogether. In the modern workplace, these types of evaluations are not only too infrequent but foster disengagement and discontent among employees.

For example:

What about the cost?

Studies from Gallup estimate that performance reviews can cost companies up to $35 million each year in lost productivity

Similar research from the University of Minnesota found that the costs associated with time and productivity-waste resulting from performance reviews are significant.

Human Resources teams and leadership have to consider whether these reviews or evaluations are worthy of their costs.

For example, 77% of HR professionals believe performance reviews don’t accurately reflect the performance of employees.

In comparison, 59% of millennials feel their leaders are unprepared to give feedback during meetings like performance reviews, while 83% of millennials report the feedback they receive from their managers as being unhelpful.

Other studies have also found that 87% of employees want to grow in their roles, but only one-third report receiving the feedback they need to do so.

If traditional feedback is ineffective, what can we do to learn and grow?

One approach organizations can take when it comes to delivering feedback is fostering it directly among teams first, as opposed to enforcing the traditional top-down approach.

Companies like Atlassian, for example, employ strategies like sparring, a structured approach to garnering feedback from fellow employees to take advantage of one another's knowledge and experience.

"61% of an employee’s performance ‘rating’ has been found to be a reflection of the review conductor (such as a manager) and not the employee."

Methods or approaches like these involve frequent and consistent conversations about feedback that nurture a safe space for discussing improvement, successes and ‘failures,’ and where/how employees can evolve.

Consider a few interesting stats:
  • Job Satisfaction: 72% of millennial employees who receive consistent and accurate feedback from leadership feel satisfied in their roles
  • Engagement: employees who receive regular feedback from their leaders are 2.7 times more likely to be engaged at work
  • Frequency: 42% of millennials want feedback from leadership every week
  • Structure: when managers or leaders focus on their employees’ strengths, they are 30 times more likely to be engaged

Engagement is inherently vital for the growth and success of any organization. However, engagement isn’t something you do, it’s something you achieve, and your feedback approach has to factor into your engagement strategy.

According to research, 43% of employees who are highly engaged receive frequent feedback weekly, but 98% of employees fail to become engaged when their leaders provide little to no feedback. Conversely, 65% of employees want more feedback, more consistently.

All of this points to the necessity for a strategic yet authentic model or method that leaders can use to provide feedback that their employees not only want to hear but benefit from.

So, how do you provide feedback employees want to hear?

Start with real-time feedback

Annual or semi-regular check-ins and performance reviews were once the norms for delivering feedback, but nowadays, people want more consistency and frequency. They also crave communication from those they’re meant to learn from and be mentored by, which is why leaders should consider practicing real-time feedback.

With this approach, feedback is provided regularly, offered up in a conversational tone and specific to what is happening in real-time as opposed to what happened last week, last month, or many moons ago! By using this approach, both leaders and employees can get on the same page and remain there. It's also a great way of fostering engagement and communicating with your teams directly.

Encourage both employees and managers to ask for feedback

We all know 'feedback' to be something that is freely given but rarely requested. In actuality, employees should feel comfortable asking for feedback rather than waiting for the other shoe to drop. Similarly, leaders and managers should ask their employees for feedback, as well.  You may discover whether your communication methods are effective!

Be direct

Remember that feedback sandwich we talked about earlier? While leadership can feel just as awkward giving feedback as employees do about receiving it, layering feedback in fluff is not only ineffective but can confuse employees. Consider being direct with your teams but in a way that is both transparent and respectful. Research from the Journal of Managerial Psychology found that employees are motivated to improve their performance based on negative or unfavourable feedback' when the "feedback source is perceived to be credible, the feedback is of high quality and the feedback is delivered in a considerate manner."

Create environments of confidence

The more confidence and trust employees have in their leadership, the less likely they are to push back against feedback or constructive wisdom. That’s because trust and mutual respect go a long way in creating environments of confidence where employees feel comfortable with their leaders and colleagues. Studies have found that pushback to feedback is reduced when employees feel there is a respectful leader-employee relationship!

"Only 26% of employees agree that the feedback they receive helps them do better work."

Don’t forget about your delivery

The language we use to deliver feedback, whether it's between leaders and employees, colleague-to-colleague, or interdepartmental, can significantly affect how others perceive, receive and respond to the feedback itself. It's essential always to consider whether the language you're using is effective in getting your message across without being disrespectful or alienating.

Those in positions of power or authority may consider learning more about their communication skills or even updating them! Research from Utah Valley University, for example, found that one-third of organizations fail to provide managers and executives with leadership and communication skills training.

In general, it’s important to start small and work towards a culture of feedback that encourages improvement instead of alienation and disengagement. We're more inclined to view feedback as a habitually negative thing rather than something that can help us grow. How we employ feedback is crucial to the success and health of any organization.

Performance

5 min

26 Surprising Facts Organizations Need to Know

26 Surprising Facts Organizations Need to Know

Between engagement, turnover, recognition, culture, and an increasingly millennial workforce, the modern organization has to be both agile and open to change.

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Between engagement, turnover, recognition, culture, and an increasingly millennial workforce, the modern organization has to be both agile and open to change.

While this is easier said than done, employees now expect more from organizations than ever before, forcing the average company to consistently streamline their practices to focus on what truly matters to their people - chiefly, the opportunity to grow within their organization while being engaged in meaningful work (and recognized for it, too!).

We’ve compiled 26 surprising facts organizations need to know in order to refocus their engagement strategies and bring their practices into the 21st century!

  1. 37% of employees are actively looking for new opportunities
  2. 36% would consider a new position if approached by a potential employer
  3. Only 27% of employees say they have no interest in a job outside of their current company
  4. 51% of employees say they’re actively looking for new roles unrelated to their field and outside of their existing companies
  5. 35% of employees have changed jobs at least once in the last 3 years
  6. 17% of employees leave their jobs within 90 days of starting their role
  7. ‘Warm passives,’ defined by LinkedIn as people who are not actively seeking new employment but would be open to speaking with a recruiter, grow by 16% every 4 years
  8. 66% of employees between the ages of 18-24 decide in the first year of working for an organization whether they’re going to quit
  9. A new hire’s decision to remain with their organization is often made within the first 6 months of their employment
  10. 33% of employees will leave their jobs each year to work for a different organization
  11. One of the top obstacles for prospective employees when considering a role at a company is not knowing what it’s like to work at that organization
  12. 1 in 3 people who change jobs change industries entirely; organizations thus have to be prepared to hire for transferrable skills, experience and needs as opposed to rigidity
  13. A Gallup study of over 7,000 U.S. adult workers found that 1 in 2 had left their job to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career
  14. Managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores, failing to create environments in which employees feel motivated or even comfortable
  15. Focusing less on perceived or assumed weaknesses, and more on the strengths candidates can bring to the table, is far more effective in fostering engagement, according to Gallup
  16. 97% of C-suite executives predict an increase in competition for talent acquisition
  17. Millennials are set to make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025
  18. Millennials do care about salary, but 1 in 2 millennials report they would take on a new role for a pay increase of 20% or less
  19. Research by Gallup reveals that ‘millennials who are engaged at work are 26% less likely than disengaged millennials to say they would consider taking a job with a different company for a raise of 20% or less’
  20. Engagement is highest among employees who have some form (face to face, phone or digital) of daily communication with their managers
  21. Employees who went through a structured onboarding process with support from their company were reported to be 58% more likely to remain with that organization for at least 3 years
  22. More organizations are beginning to shift from top-down, bureaucratic management styles and are instead promoting more agile, flexible work cultures in order to attract the best teams
  23. 67% of job seekers report diversity in the workplace as an important factor when evaluating job offers and companies
  24. Companies which hire with inclusivity and diversity in mind report 24% greater annual revenue gains
  25. More organizations are using analytics and insights to develop better approaches for talent recruitment, developing improved understandings as to what draws prospective employees to companies and what keeps them invested in their organization
  26. Research suggests that organizations using some form of a recognition system are able to recruit and retain higher quality employees
Consider your own organization!

What do these facts mean for your organization? Are your leaders invested in their human capital, or is retention an afterthought? Given that employers pay roughly $600 billion in turnover costs, and can expect that number to rise by 2020, paying close attention to what employees truly value can help organizations keep their people from jumping ship!

Discover what drives your organization and its teams forward with our deep analytics and insights!

Performance

5 min

Can Your Workspace Improve Productivity and Engagement?

Can Your Workspace Improve Productivity and Engagement?

The ability to motivate and engage employees determines the level of success as new dynamics emerge. But the philosophies regarding employee engagement and motivation are shifting; people are no longer attracted by the highest salary or company benefits alone!

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The nature of the modern organization is evolving as technology enhances interactions, and multi-generational teams form. The ability to motivate and engage employees determines the level of success as new dynamics emerge. But the philosophies regarding employee engagement and motivation are shifting; people are no longer attracted by the highest salary or company benefits alone!

Research emphasizes intrinsic motivators being more effective in stimulating employees. Paul Marciano, a thought leader on employee engagement, explains that "engaged employees work hard for the sake of the organization and because it gives them a feeling of fulfillment". The challenge for organizations is to tap into the psychological aspects that promote happiness, collaboration and productivity.

Some of the world's most profitable companies are succeeding because they understand that investing in employee happiness isn't something they have to do, it's something they should do. For example, Google provides effective employee wellness programs, focusing on subsidized meals and snacks, having on-site physicians, and providing transportation with WiFi for employees. Apple employee benefits start immediately, even for part-time employees, and they have regular company events to encourage interaction and collaboration between teams.

In his book, The Best Place to Work, Friedman describes different techniques for creating an extraordinary workplace. He explains that "the more invested and enthusiastic people are about their work, the more successful their organization is on a variety of metrics."

Here are a few methods to consider when developing your employee engagement strategies!

Encourage your teams to play more

Ever wondered why high performing organizations have foosball and pool tables in their offices? Research tells us that playing is vital to innovation, change and learning. When play is introduced into the workplace, it encourages creativity, freedom, unconscious thinking and opportunities to energize.

  • Unconscious thought allows people to process large amounts of information more effectively and gives the mind the freedom to discover associations between concepts. It also supports creative problem solving, which can lead to better decision making.

  • By putting ourselves into a child-like mindset, it creates room for alternate ways of thinking and exploring new possibilities.

  • Engaging in play allows employees to take on challenges to practice problem solving, explore new options and encourages risk-taking in a safe environment. These all lead to increased curiosity and interest, which benefits work and levels of engagement.

  • By encouraging employees to be more curious and take risks, it can help in overcoming the fear of failure. Friedman explains, "when your attempt rate is high, each individual failure becomes a lot less significant," and as learnings are reapplied, it creates a more reliable path to success.
Consider your workspace design

Highly successful companies such as Google and Cisco invest in smart office designs to inspire thinking, allow for creativity and collaboration and demonstrate care for employees. Here are some of the techniques they employ:

  • The office space can be used to communicate with employees and can convey important messages related to the company's goals or leadership expectations. A possible option is to include employees in the design decisions to create a personal connection to the space

  • Friedman states that the use of colour can affect people's thinking, as we have been conditioned to associate different meanings with various colours. For example...
  • Red is associated with alarm bells and warning signals – when we see red, we are more alert and vigilant.
  • Blue is more tranquil and calming, and could be used in "quiet rooms"
  • Yellow represents happiness and inspires creativity
  • Having a view of the outdoors has been found to improve productivity in the workplace. The addition of spaces that allow us to step into or be close to nature can help restore mental reserves and provide a distraction for unconscious thought
Set the example

Leaders set the culture and expected behaviours within the organization. One person can make a difference by setting an example, and it starts with  our leaders.

  • Know when to recognize publicly versus privately: Acknowledging hard work and contributions is essential to keeping employees engaged, however, these actions should be recognized differently. Friedman suggests using "public recognition to draw attention to behaviours that are consistent with the culture that you are trying to promote, and that you'd like others to mimic". Private recognition could be used for other actions worthy of acknowledgement but which may not align fully with the workplace culture.

  • Facing an employee with a bad attitude? Shake up their network: Employees are often influenced by the people around them, and this could be a useful tactic to change behaviour. For instance, guide underperforming employees by assigning them to new projects or new workmates. This approach can reset errant practices and align them with the desired result.

  • Distance yourself from colleagues with a negative influence: Continuing from the previous principle, emotional cues, body language and expressions are influenced by the people and actions around them. Limit the exposure to "negative Nellies" or those who drain much-needed energy; instead, try to mingle with those who encourage and inspire new thinking.
What happy workplaces can learn from a casino

Friedman explains that casinos use subtle techniques to shape our thinking, sway our moods and create a euphoric environment to encourage risk-taking. "When we're feeling good about our lives, we connect with others more easily, think more optimistically, and free up valuable mental resources to focus on novel ideas." What can be done to create happiness in the workplace?

  • Small, frequent pleasures can keep us happy longer than large, infrequent ones: Schedule smaller and more frequent positive events to boost employee morale. For example, instead of throwing a big holiday party, opt for scaled-down seasonal get-togethers. Also, inexpensive office perks demonstrate care for employees, e.g. the flexibility to work from home or a fancy coffee machine in the break room. Employees are motivated to work harder when they feel cared for.
  • Experiences are more rewarding than objects: The thrill of life experiences like a vacation or a group outing tend to have a more lasting effect than a physical reward, like a new TV. These experiences encourage growth through exposure to new environments and foster intellectual curiosity. They can also boost the level of engagement and collaboration between teams.
  • Unexpected actions deliver a bigger thrill: Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky states in her book, The Myths of Happiness, that a continuous stream of surprises helps to keep people engaged. One tactic could be to surprise employees with unusual or unexpected treats. For example, decorate the office with balloons in preparation for a holiday or have a massage therapist come in for a day to provide some stress relief.  

Gallup's global studies indicate that only 13% of employees worldwide are actively engaged at work. Leaders have the power to turn this around and improve productivity for employees and organizations. Being innovative and seeking new options to engage the workforce creates opportunities for employees to adopt the same mindset. The winning combination of innovative leadership and engaged employees is the key to unlocking future potential.

Performance

5 min

How Effective is Your Onboarding Strategy?

How Effective is Your Onboarding Strategy?

Successfully onboarding a new hire is top of mind for most companies, and it’s easy to understand why - losing employees to poor onboarding can result in high employee turnover, damage to an organization’s reputation, and significant costs!

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Successfully onboarding a new hire is top of mind for most companies, and it’s easy to understand why - losing employees to poor onboarding can result in high employee turnover, damage to an organization’s reputation, and significant costs!

While welcoming new employees is part of the excitement of running a company, watching them walk out because they had little to no support during their first few months is far less exciting.

That’s why companies face staggering losses when employees jump ship. Surprisingly, 31% of employees leave a job within their first month, and the cost of that turnover can range between $3,000-$18,000 for one employee alone.

If that weren’t alarming enough, the cost of losing a company executive can be even greater - up to 213% of that exec’s annual salary.

When companies lose, on average, 25% of their employees within their first year of employment, it’s understandable that organizations would work arduously to ensure their teams want to stay.

So where, exactly, do companies go wrong?

It may just start with the onboarding process.

Onboarding can be hard, but what about no onboarding at all?

Would it surprise you to learn that 35% of companies report spending $0 on onboarding, while most spend less than 2 months onboarding a new hire?

Sadly, it’s true.

It’s often assumed that companies will have some sort of onboarding process in place and, further, that this process will include training for the role, assimilating into the work culture, and educating a new hire on the company, in addition to their tasks and the organizational values. But we may be jumping the gun making such assumptions; many companies are, in fact, without an effective onboarding strategy.

Top-level executives and HR managers agree. Globally, 32% of executives rate their company’s onboarding experience as quite poor or nonexistent.

Further, 76% of HR leaders feel their organization’s onboarding strategy is underutilized.

Meanwhile, only 12% of employees feel their organization does a good job with onboarding new hires, and only 21% are satisfied with the onboarding experience they’ve had.

Onboarding sounds like a simple task, so why aren’t more companies getting it right?

One answer could be that companies fail to look at onboarding as more than just paperwork and processes.

Take, for example, the standard onboarding procedure. Traditionally, onboarding has gone something like this…

  • Hire a new employee
  • Have little to no contact with the employee until their first day
  • Introduce the employee to your team(s)
  • Hand them paperwork, give them an employee handbook, sit them at their desk
  • Wait with bated breath (and high expectations) to see how the new hire thrives in their first 1-3 months (a typical probationary period)

Today, most companies still use similar onboarding structures but to their detriment. They focus on paperwork, handbooks, and days spent filling out forms as the totality of an onboarding procedure. According to HCI, 58% of companies report their onboarding process still revolves around outdated paperwork and procedures.

Yikes!

Organizations that succeed with onboarding new hires do so because they recognize that a poor onboarding strategy is as effective as having no onboarding strategy at all.

Okay, but is onboarding really that important?

Well, yes!

If we think of onboarding as the first step in an employee’s journey with their company, then we have to consider how crucial of a role onboarding plays in employee retention.

A global study by McKinsey found that the number one challenge leaders face is retaining quality employees after hiring them.

What happens after getting hired? Onboarding!

More than ¼ of top-performing employees are considered high-retention-risk, meaning they’re more likely than other employees to leave their company. Onboarding could help mitigate this risk, as it ensures employees have the right foundation they need to thrive, from day one, onward.

That’s not to say organizations should stop supporting employees once they’ve onboarded them. It takes new hires an average of 8-12 months to gain proficiency in their role, and 69% of employees who have had a positive onboarding experience are more likely to remain with their company for three years or more.

It’s fair to say, then, that an employee’s onboarding journey lasts longer than the traditional 1-3 month period during which most new hires are expected to acclimate to their work environments.  

What are the benefits of an effective onboarding strategy?

Aside from increased employee retention and higher productivity, having an effective onboarding strategy in place has a myriad of benefits!

Studies have found that an effective onboarding strategy can result in up to 50% new hire retention and 54% higher productivity in new hires.

Take the cost of recruitment as an incentive to develop an effective onboarding approach. The average employer in the U.S., for instance, can spend up to $4,000 and 24 days to hire a new employee, which means higher productivity and increased retention of new employees truly pays off.

And that’s not all.

Other studies that look at the financial advantages of proactive onboarding have concluded that organizations with a structured onboarding process see a 60% year-over-year improvement in revenue.

When done effectively, onboarding can boost productivity and bolster a company’s reputation as a good place to work - something organizations should care about, given that poor onboarding means 1 in 5 employees are unlikely to recommend their company as an employer to others!

What can your company do today to improve its onboarding process?

Here are 5 simple ways companies can improve their onboarding processes starting with their next hire!

  1. Engage with new hires before day one - an onboarding process begins long before a new employee joins your team, but most companies don’t proactively onboard a new team member until their first day (and some stop onboarding past the first month). It’s important to stay in touch and provide guidance for that new hire from the moment you extend a job offer to their first day (and beyond)!

  2. Set expectations but don’t overload - new hires have an average of 54 activities/tasks assigned to them during the onboarding process. While it’s key to set expectations for a new employee and their role, it’s doubly important not to overload them with tasks right out of the gate - especially before they’ve even started! Provide the pertinent information but allow new hires to acclimate to your organization and its culture before frontloading too many tasks.

  3. Automate your paperwork process - by getting the paperwork out of the way prior to their first day, new employees can focus more on settling into their new role and often experience increased productivity when they’re not hampered down by forms and paperwork. Using an HR system or platform, you can automate your paperwork process to save time and better streamline your onboarding.

  4. Consider an onboarding buddy system - 87% of organizations say that providing new employees with an onboarding buddy helps boost new hire proficiency, while 51% of employees show more passion for their work and engagement with their company when they have a friend at work. An onboarding buddy can help a new hire feel welcome, settle into their role, and acclimate to your company more proactively! Consider assigning new hires an onboarding buddy; one who knows the company and is familiar with the onboarding process themselves.

  5. Set them up with what they need, not what you want - Many leaders are tempted to offload work, set high expectations, and expect results right away, even when a new employee has yet to settle in. That’s why it’s key for organizations to provide new hires with the materials, resources, and support they need, as opposed to what leaders or companies want the new hire to have (like immediate tasks). When they experience both an operational and cultural onboarding process, 92% of new hires feel that they are more productive and contributive to their organization!
What if you’re in HR?

One critical mistake HR leaders can make is to ignore the results of their organization’s onboarding process. Knowing how employees are performing and thriving, especially when new to a company, can provide valuable insight into company processes and future onboarding. More than 55% of companies don’t measure the effectiveness or results of their onboarding processes, creating a virtual ‘blindspot’ for HR and hindering accountability!

With Kudos, you can measure both employee and company performance while gaining insight into what your teams truly value with our deep analytics and KQ features. HR leaders love Kudos for its ability to show, in real time, how both existing and new hires are doing in their company. Make us a part of your onboarding strategy and request a demo today!

Performance

5 min

How to Prevent Your Employees from Jumping Ship

How to Prevent Your Employees from Jumping Ship

2 in 5 employees are likely to leave their organization within 12 months. The question is not one of when they’ll leave, but why they’ll leave. So what, exactly, makes people quit?

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2 in 5 employees are likely to leave their organization within 12 months.

The question is not one of when they’ll leave, but why they’ll leave.

So what, exactly, makes people quit?

For the most part, when joining an organization, many prospective employees will carefully consider a company’s value proposition- the very thing or things that make an organization different from others they’ve come across.

Traditionally, that value proposition has been shaped by what organizations believe will make an employee choose them over others, but more leaders are shifting their focus to what will make an employee stay.

At its core, employee retention revolves around experience, engagement, and connection; an organization’s people need to feel inspired by and connected to the values, visions and culture of their company, and organizations are paying more attention to this. That’s critical, given that 33% of employees don’t believe their personal values align with those of their organization!

Perhaps that’s also why 51% of companies are shifting their priorities to develop future-focused people strategies - the initiatives that incentivize employees to stay rather than jump ship.

Why, then, do people voluntarily leave their current companies?

Surprisingly, it’s not all about money

89% of employers assume that employees quit their jobs because of money.

Though still one of the more prominent reasons for employee turnover, salary and pay scale is no longer the deciding factor in an employee’s decision to exit their company.

For example, job satisfaction and meaningful work, especially among millennials, are critical drivers for turnover; according to Hays, 71% of millennial workers would take a pay cut for their ‘ideal job,’ while 44% of millennials are unhappy in the roles and work they perform.

Add that to the growing number of people who can’t envision staying with their company for longer than one year (approximately 15% of employees), and organizations are mitigating turnover on a more consistent basis. Even in roles where employees are happy, only 25% report being willing to commit up to 3 years (max) to their current company.

If it’s not all about money, why would an employee choose to quit their job? What about raises, workplace relationships, or development opportunities?

Employees expect more from their organizations than just a paycheck

Several studies and reports point to engagement, recognition, relationship and encouragement as reasons why people choose to remain in their roles, regardless of the pay scale.

Why is that?

Any employee will crave recognition for their work, and beyond that, most will also desire development opportunities that can help them grow (personally and professionally) while having a genuine relationship with their fellow team members and leaders.

According to a study by Mercer, recognition for contributions, and opportunities to work on meaningful projects are two key ways of helping employees thrive at work, globally. By providing teams with the chance to shine and showcase their skills, organizations can foster more engagement and confidence in their employees - 15% of employees are less likely to quit if given the room to grow and spread their wings!

Spreading one’s wings may not always come easy, however. Leaders have to be willing to provide a foundation on which employees can build their confidence and add to their existing skill set, which speaks to one aspect of employee engagement: development.

Learning and development, for example, is often cited as a notable incentive for employees to stay with their current company. Ceridian found that 83% of employees whose organizations provide them with learning & development opportunities are more likely to remain in their existing jobs. Similarly, 45% of millennials report that career development opportunities are very important when it comes to considering a role with a company.  

Let’s not forget about the employee relationship

While the opportunity to learn, grow, and perform meaningful work is essential, employees also seek more than just the basics of a thriving organizational culture.

Consider the employee relationship.

Here at Kudos, we focus on the relationship employers build with their teams to help them thrive. This relationship will differ based on each organization, but the base of it must include trust, recognition, and communication.

As it turns out, we’re hitting the nail on the head with this approach!

28% of employees cite positive working relationships with leaders and colleagues as a top reason for staying with their companies. Contrastively, 32% of employees have to wait an average of three months to receive constructive feedback from their leaders, while 31% wished their leaders would communicate with them more consistently. A lack of communication from their leaders can hinder teams from building a rapport and positive relationship with those who must guide and mentor them.

Part of nurturing this relationship includes trusting employees and empathizing with their needs, their struggles at work, and their desires to advance. 82% of employees, for instance, would leave their current organizations for more empathetic ones, while 72% of employees would be willing to work longer and harder for empathetic leaders. If leaders can effectively and consistently communicate with their teams, build authentic relationships with them, and voice their support of their employees, they’ll be well on their way to winning the race to retaining high-performing team members.

Where does leadership accountability come into play?

Leaders have the significant responsibility of retaining their top-tier talent for the simple reason being that employees don’t have to stay.

There is no ‘rule book’ which requires an employee to devote x number of years to their organization, but leaders have to recognize which patterns and practices lead to high turnover, employee disengagement, and job dissatisfaction. You may be surprised to learn, for example, that leaders and managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores, failing to create environments in which employees feel motivated to stay.

In other words, leaders have to take accountability for their role in employee turnover.

Every organization will, at one point or another, face a people risk or human capital risk - both generally refer to the value an individual brings to an organization through their skills, knowledge and expertise, and the ‘risk’ comes into play when companies have to consider the cost of the loss of that value.

Only 1 in 3 executives feel their company’s ability to mitigate people risks (like turnover) is ‘very effective,’ and only 29% of HR professionals feel their leaders prioritize human capital risks. Those statistics don’t exactly inspire confidence, given that managers and HR leaders are tasked with retention and keeping employees engaged.

Under such pressure, it’s no wonder that the failure to attract but also retain top talent is the number one concern for most C-suite executives!

Interestingly, Gallup found that managers and leaders can influence at least 75% of the reasons for employee turnover. What this means is that leaders can play a proactive role in incentivizing employees to stay rather than jump ship.

Can leaders foster retention and relationships?

You may be wondering, “How can leaders tell when an employee is about to jump ship?”

Where do leaders or HR teams turn when employees leave consistently, or when turnover rates begin to increase? Without relying solely on tactics like exit interviews or employee satisfaction surveys, how are leaders supposed to know how their organizations are performing and thriving?

It begins with listening to what employees are, and aren’t, saying. Not every employee will voice their concerns, issues, or pain points with their leaders, which is why leaders have to take note of how employees are doing beyond traditional means of communication.

Kudos, for example, uses deep analytics and insights which provide organizations with a better understanding of how their people perform, what they value most, where improvements in company culture could be made, and how engaged their teams are.

That information is incredibly valuable to organizations and their culture; however, just 33% of companies go beyond listening to their teams by actually analyzing the key drivers of both engagement and disengagement in their organization. Moreover, only 1 in 4 HR professionals uses analytics to understand why their employees leave their company!

By paying close attention to what employees value, what drives their performance, and the overall health of the organization (or Culture Biorhythm™, as we call it here at Kudos!), leaders will not only nurture engagement but can also pinpoint the key reasons for turnover in their company.

How can organizations keep their employees from jumping ship?

  • Provide development opportunities - 83% of employees view skill and knowledge updates as their own responsibility, rather than their company’s. On the contrary, organizations should be encouraging their employees’ professional growth, supporting their desires to increase their skill sets and expand their areas of expertise. Not only do employees benefit professionally and personally, but organizations can also benefit from these new skills and highly engaged teams.

  • Make wellness a priority - Employees who are thriving in their organization with well-being at its center are 70% less likely to miss work. Prioritizing a healthy work environment where employee burnout is low and engagement is high is an excellent way of incentivizing teams to stay.

  • Communicate with your people - 65% of employees seek clarity when it comes to the expectations of their roles and responsibilities. The simplest way for leaders to validate their employees’ concerns and encourage productivity is to communicate what they expect from their teams and how they’ll help them achieve their goals.

  • Encourage initiative - 57% of employees feel their organizations make it easy or accessible to explore projects and opportunities that go beyond their typical job scope. And people want the opportunity to spread their wings! Giving people the chance to try their hand at new projects, create new initiatives, or contribute in more significant ways incentivizes them to stay and broaden their skills.

  • Hold ‘stay’ interviews - Unlike exit interviews, a ‘stay’ interview is one in which leaders reassess why they initially hired an employee, reiterate why the employee chose the company, and discuss their goals, needs, and how well their expectations are being met!

  • Focus on engagement - Engaged employees are 59% less likely to seek out a new job or career in the next 12 months. That’s terrific news for organizations who prioritize engagement, but how do they go about doing so? At Kudos, we believe in recognition as part of a broader engagement strategy. Simply thanking your teams today for their hard work, contributions and dedication can begin to foster engagement. Want to take your engagement strategy to the next level? Let’s chat!

97% of c-suite executives predict an increase in competition for talent acquisition. What is your organization doing to retain its amazing people and encourage top talent to jump on board?

Performance

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How to Hire the Best Fit for Your Organization

How to Hire the Best Fit for Your Organization

Hiring is one of the more significant challenges that HR teams and hiring managers face. And hiring the right fit? That may be the biggest challenge of all.

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Hiring is one of the more significant challenges that HR teams and hiring managers face.

And hiring the right fit? That may be the biggest challenge of all.

However, no one truly knows what the ‘right fit’ is, and just when leaders think they’ve found the perfect candidate, they may be surprised to learn there’s more to that person than their resume.

The hiring process is no longer as black and white as it once was. Whereas traditionally, employers sought prospective employees whose skills matched the needs and expectations of a role, nowadays organizations recognize they have to hire for fit or, at the very least, hire beyond a list of skills or experiences.

Which begs the question: what is ‘fit,’ exactly?

‘Fit’ is more about a work culture than a person’s working skills

More organizations are moving away from hiring based purely on resumes alone; that’s because skills, knowledge, hard and soft skills, and experience don’t always account for how an employee contributes to, performs, or thrives within an organization.

That’s where culture comes in.

84% of recruiters believe that culture has become a prominent factor in the selection process of prospective employees. When we say ‘culture,’ we’re referring to organizational culture, the shared set of beliefs, values, visions and behaviours that make up an organization.

When a company seeks out potential employees for specific roles, chances are those in charge of hiring (like an HR team) already have a predisposed list of qualities, characteristics and skills they expect a candidate to have - and that’s normal! After all, any role will require certain skills and knowledge to fulfill it and perform it well.

However, employers have to look beyond skill sets to determine if an individual is indeed a great fit for their company. That means looking at job applicants as more than just prospective team members. Leaders or hiring managers have to ask critical questions, such as:

  • Does this individual share our company’s values and vision(s)?
  • Are they passionate about what we as an organization do and achieve?
  • Do they want meaning and purpose from their work or just a paycheck?
  • Are they interested in what the role asks of them?

It also requires companies to showcase to prospective team members what they can expect when working for that organization.

Interestingly, LinkedIn found that one of the top obstacles for job seekers when considering a role at a company is not knowing what it’s like to work at that organization, making it doubly important for companies to present their culture, values and vision.

That may be why more businesses are moving away from rigid, top-down operational practices and focusing on building more agile, flexible work cultures to attract the best teams.

Culture is essential, but what about the company itself?

Part of developing such a culture includes fostering an environment where potential employees know they could accomplish their goals and flourish in their role. 45% of millennials report that having advancement or career development opportunities is very important when it comes to considering a position.

Despite salary expectations, most millennial workers are also likely to choose a job that allows them to grow, develop, and flex their skills over a career that supplements their income. These types of opportunities are often the number one reason why employees change jobs!

When hiring for fit, then, organizations need to bear in mind whether they can offer top-tier talent both the opportunities and culture for which they’ve been searching. You may feel your company ‘has it all,’ but what if job seekers think differently?

Does this impact whether those job seekers are a good fit for you?

While we make decisions based on both reason and emotion, more often than not, people will lead with feeling, which is why organizations have to present to prospective hires how they’ll be able to contribute to and grow within the organization.

Turns out, reputation matters

36% of job seekers admit that the reputation of a brand or company is one of the critical factors they take into account when evaluating a potential job.

Companies have to consider relevant job experience, career history, and soft skills when looking to hire the right candidates, but those same candidates are also evaluating the company.

It makes sense, then, that the reputation of that company would play a significant role in whether someone wants to work there.

For example, 78% of millennials are strongly influenced by how innovative a company is when deciding which organizations they’d like to work for, but that’s not all.

Diversity is also a deciding factor. 67% of job seekers report diversity in the workplace as an important factor when evaluating job offers and companies, which means a company’s hiring process needs to take into account inclusivity.

Not only do employees benefit from diverse work environments, but companies do, as well. Great Place To Work reported that companies that hire with inclusivity and diversity in mind report 24% greater annual revenue gains.

Wait...hiring the right employee doesn’t sound that simple!

Well, that’s true.

It’s actually kind of difficult.

People are complex; we all have different traits, strengths, personalities and goals. That both benefits and hinders the hiring process because hiring managers have to consider more than just skills - they have to consider what makes someone unique, and how that uniqueness can benefit their organization.

Netflix’s hiring approach is a perfect example of that.

More executives are following Netflix’s lead, moving towards fostering a ‘talent culture’ to build relationships, nurture engagement, and encourage knowledge sharing as well as inclusion. It’s no longer all about hiring based on skills, but hiring based on how an individual will thrive and help grow an organization.

With this in mind, it’s vital for leaders and/or hiring managers to look beyond necessary skills or role requirements and engage those that are passionate about their company, the role itself, and what they can contribute.

Consider these three simple tips when looking at potential candidates:
  1. Dive beneath the surface - don’t rely solely on an applicant’s resume to tell you everything about that individual! Ask them about their interests, what drew them to your organization, what their overall career goals are, and what unique skills they have that may not be apparent contributors to the role itself.

  2. Recruit outside your comfort zone - you may be surprised to find that many candidates from industries outside of your organization have a myriad of skills that could greatly benefit your working teams and organizational goals. Leaders should consider looking beyond their industry or network for potential hires.

  3. Engage your teams - instead of delegating the screening process to just one specific individual, consider engaging your teams in the process, as well. For example, if you’re hiring a new member for your marketing team, ask your existing marketers what they need help with, where they feel a new addition could contribute, and how they could help with the onboarding process.

Remember what fit is, and what it isn’t

It’s tempting to hire people based on cover letters and resumes or previous experience. It’s even more tempting to hire someone because you feel they’d get along with your other employees.

But that’s not why you should bring someone new to your team.

The average person will change jobs at least 12 times during their career. So, chances are a potential employee has already experienced various company cultures and operations by the time their application lands on your desk or in your inbox.

‘Fit’ is not strictly about your company’s values or a person’s skills, however. As a leader, you’re in a unique position to hire those who will benefit your organization, and who can benefit in turn through development, growth, learning opportunities and more.

‘Fit’ is more about finding individuals who are passionate about your company and appreciate its values. Fit is not:
  • An oversight of someone’s personal values - just because someone doesn’t embody every value of your company doesn’t mean they can’t contribute or bring value to your organization.

  • A willingness to devote their lives to you - it’s quite rare for people to devote their entire career to one organization (in the US, for example, the median tenure of an employee with one organization hovers around 4.2 years), so hiring someone based on whether they’re willing to devote every waking hour of their life to your company will rarely yield positive results (did someone say ‘employee burnout’?).

  • A belief in leading similar lifestyles - a critical mistake that leaders can easily make is hiring someone based on a perceived lifestyle; just as you cannot judge a candidate on skills or resumes alone, hiring (or not hiring) based on what you believe their lifestyle to be, or how that lifestyle agrees with that of your own or your company’s, can be a detriment to onboarding the right fit for your team.

So, how can organizations ensure they’re hiring the right fit?

First, think of hiring a ‘match’ instead of a ‘perfect fit’

The perfect fit doesn’t exist, but a candidate may have skills, knowledge, and valuable insight which matches those of your teams, or the values of your organization.

Make your organizational culture & values as transparent as possible

Make it easy for your hiring teams or managers to find the best talent that believes in your organization by clearly presenting the culture and values which make up your company. This helps to narrow down a search to those candidates that actually care about your organizational goals and vision.

Look beyond resumes and job applications

You’ll never truly know someone and how they’ll thrive in your organization if you ‘judge’ them based solely on their resume or the contents of their job application. Ask questions, get to know the real them, and dive deeper into their goals and why they want to work for you!

Explore other industries

Do you run a tech company but have never considered applicants with banking or teaching backgrounds? They may have unique skill sets that could help grow your company, provide valuable insights, or benefit your existing teams. Don’t stick to your industry alone; consider looking outside of it for the best candidates you never knew existed!

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