Discover insights on employee recognition and engagement, workplace culture, performance management, people analytics, and more.
The role of Human Resources (HR) has never been more vital – in fact, HR-related job postings have grown by 87% since 2020. HR professionals are the backbone of any organization, driving the growth and success of their company through their expertise in talent management, employee development, and strategic workforce planning.
"It's not just about being a people person - that’s only one part of the equation. For me, it's also about helping the business. I'm interested in solving business problems, and my worldview is that in order to solve them, you need to lean into the people side of things, because ultimately, business is done by people,” says Rebecca Lee, Director of People at Kudos.
Choosing a career in HR brings many possibilities – HR professionals empower individuals to reach their full potential, driving overall organizational success.
The concept of Human Resources Management (HRM) can be traced back to the early 20th century when organizations began recognizing the importance of employee welfare and productivity. In the early 1900s, personnel management emerged as a discipline focused on administrative tasks such as hiring, training, and payroll.
HRM gained prominence in the 1970s and 1980s, emphasizing a strategic approach to managing employees, aligning HR practices with organizational goals, and focusing on employee engagement. In recent decades, HRM has evolved into Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) and talent management, focusing on attracting, developing, and retaining top talent to achieve competitive advantage.
More recently, we’ve seen the integration of technology into HR processes, with the emergence of HR technology solutions, such as applicant tracking systems, performance management software, data analytics tools, and employee recognition and culture solutions like Kudos.
Among many other responsibilities, HR professionals are the champions of organizational culture. With their expertise, they create and nurture a positive work environment that embraces diversity, fosters inclusivity, and nurtures company culture.
HR professionals take on many responsibilities and are put at the forefront of building thriving workplaces that drive employee satisfaction, business growth, and much more.
HR professionals play a crucial role in shaping and nurturing a positive company culture. By fostering an inclusive, diverse, and engaging work environment, they cultivate a sense of belonging, which enhances employee morale and productivity.
“Culture is about aligning people's behaviour to what you want the organization to drive in terms of results and strategy,” says Charlotte Collett, VP of Human Resources at NorthRiver Midstream.
Recruiting and retaining top talent is a top priority for every organization. HR professionals are responsible for attracting skilled individuals who align with the company's goals and values. By implementing effective recruitment strategies and designing comprehensive employee benefits and retention programs, HR ensures the organization has a competitive edge.
HR professionals facilitate continuous learning and growth within the workforce. Through training and development programs, performance evaluations, and coaching initiatives, they help employees maximize their potential, boosting individual and organizational performance.
Staying on top of labor laws, regulations, and compliance requirements is crucial for businesses. HR professionals ensure that companies operate within legal boundaries, mitigating risks and safeguarding the rights of employees.
In the world of HR, not everyone aspires to become a Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). Many professionals develop a passion for specific HR disciplines and choose to specialize in areas such as:
If you're considering a more focused career path within HR, there are many exciting areas to explore:
HR Coordinators support various essential functions within the department. They assist with recruitment and onboarding processes, coordinating employee benefits and payroll administration, maintaining employee records and databases, and ensuring compliance with HR policies and regulations.
HR Generalists have a broad range of responsibilities across all aspects of HR. They handle recruitment, employee relations, training, performance management, and policy implementation. This versatile role provides a solid foundation for those starting their HR careers.
Recruitment or Talent Acquisition Specialists focus on attracting and hiring top talent. They utilize various sourcing strategies, conduct interviews, and evaluate candidates to identify the best fit for the organization. This role requires strong interpersonal skills and an ability to assess candidates effectively.
“First and foremost, you need to be extremely people-oriented. You need to be comfortable having conversations about anything with candidates and clients left, right and center. I think authenticity is also really important, “ says Niki Murphy, Canadian Talent Acquisition and Talent Advancement Lead at ABB.
These professionals design and implement training programs to enhance employee skills and knowledge. They assess training needs, develop curriculum, and deliver engaging learning experiences. A Training and Development Manager needs a strong grasp of learning principles and a knack for instructional design.
Compensation and Benefits Analysts are responsible for designing and managing employee compensation packages and benefits programs. They conduct market research, develop salary structures, and ensure the organization remains competitive in attracting and retaining talent.
As an HR Director or VP, you serve as the driving force behind the development and implementation of human resources strategies that align with the company's overall goals. They are usually responsible for the creation and execution of HR policies and procedures, ensuring compliance with labor laws and regulations while fostering a fair and inclusive work environment.
“My favorite thing is working with people and the interconnectivity between people and business. How, if you put people in the right positions, and give them the right tools, you can build an organization from nothing to something successful. It’s an amazing thing to see,” says John Odike, Vice President of Human Resources at Wesley Enhanced Living.
HR Business Partners align HR strategies with overall business objectives. They work closely with department heads, providing guidance on workforce planning, organizational development, and employee engagement. This role requires strong analytical skills and the ability to drive change effectively.
HRIS Specialists manage and optimize HR technology systems, such as human resources management software. They ensure data accuracy, streamline processes, and leverage technology to enhance HR operations, reporting, and analytics.
There’s no secret formula when mapping out a career – everyone's career paths are different and even with the same starting point, two people can end up in very different careers. The good news is the possibilities in an HR career are endless.
Career mapping can be a daunting task, but we’ve broken it down into five simple steps to help you map out your ideal career:
For more in-depth career mapping, use our downloadable career planning worksheet to help establish your career goals, reflect on where you’re currently at in your career, and helpful questions and conversation tips to discuss with your manager.
The importance of Human Resources in today's dynamic workplace cannot be overstated, and it is certainly not an area of business that is going away any time soon. HR professionals contribute significantly to creating a harmonious, engaged, and high-performing workforce. There are endless HR career paths – think about choosing a specialization that aligns with your interests and strengths, and what will make you feel successful in your journey.
Remember, whether you are an aspiring HR professional or an HR veteran seeking growth opportunities, investing in your HR skills, staying up to date with industry trends, and continuously expanding your knowledge will propel your career forward and make you an invaluable asset to any organization.
HR leaders are busier than ever. Between a competitive job market, layoffs, discussions around remote vs. hybrid vs. return-to-office, recognition & rewards and more, they need all the help they can get. Recently there’s been quite a bit of discussion around AI’s potential in supporting HR professionals, and much of the focus has been on ChatGPT
In simple terms, Forbes describes ChatGPT as a tool that “enables users to ask questions or tell a story, and the bot will respond with relevant, natural-sounding answers and topics. The interface is designed to simulate a human conversation, creating natural engagement with the bot.”
Is there a better source to determine ChatGPT’s capabilities in HR than ChatGPT?
If you ask ChatGPT how it can be used in HR, the model generates a response like the following:
Of course, you can ask ChatGPT more creative questions like: what should I, an HR professional, ask you? Here's the response we got:
As an HR professional, you may have several questions related to recruitment, employee relations, compensation and benefits, and more. Some questions you could ask me include:
ChatGPT produces accurate, precise, and well-written feedback for any of your industry questions, yet many industry leaders don’t feel threatened.
In an article for SHRM, Tim Sackett wrote “here's the differentiation between ChatGPT and HR professionals: While you will no longer be needed as the creator of a work product, HR professionals will still be needed to narrate to ChatGPT what they want to create.”
A recent research article explains some of the shortcomings of earlier GPT models, some of which may help assuage concerned HR team members. [Note that OpenAI intends to troubleshoot with each new version]:
The shortcut of ‘self-attention’
All communicative AI is reliant on the ‘human labor of understanding.’ In other words, tools like ChatGPT may create the illusion of agency, but each response is just an extraction of something we, the people, have already said.
In this way, ChatGPT understands and responds to prompts by pulling from the database–human conversations–it’s made up of.
This is important for HR professionals to flag as concerns about AI take-over rise. Yes, ChatGPT is a powerful tool we can use to save time and act on strategy, but it will never be able to replace the source of its own “intelligence.” Functions like HR will always be uniquely human at its core.
“Human sense-making is constantly required to keep up the appearances of autonomous or semi-autonomous machine behaviour” - Artificial intelligence and the affective labour of understanding: The intimate moderation of a language model
Allocational and representational harms
When an automated system gives credit unfairly, for example, this is considered allocational harm. On the other hand, representational harm occurs when systems misrepresent or fail to acknowledge groups. For example, InstructGPT and ChatGPT offer vastly different histories about Christopher Columbus.
If you ask ChatGPT how it can assist HR leaders, it may respond with an answer like this: ChatGPT can offer advice on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Relying on a system with entrenched biases to develop DEIB initiatives is counterintuitive enough, these initiatives need to be taken on thoughtfully and with empathy.
Small and large worlds
‘The communicative performance of an AI system in a small world is often misconstrued as indicative of its potential performance in a large one’ - Artificial intelligence and the affective labour of understanding: The intimate moderation of a language model
According to the article, small worlds represent subsets of large worlds. To make a (hopefully) helpful comparison, if a small world is an eBay print of the Mona Lisa, then a large world is the Mona Lisa itself.
So, even though ChatGPT may perform incredibly well in isolated decision-making situations, that doesn’t guarantee general success.
Here at Kudos, we’re keeping an eye on all things ChatGPT and how it can further support HR Leaders in building culture and engagement. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest HR news and insight direct to your inbox.
For managers, career planning can be one of the most challenging things to do well. Often, employees will look to their managers for guidance on how to learn and grow in their career – and in a world where it can feel impossible to find the time to stop and find the time to think about what’s next for someone else, it can be easy to let career planning slide... until it’s too late.
Prior to the pandemic, according to Indeed.com, three of the top six reasons that people left their jobs were related to career progression:
While the pandemic has resulted in a tectonic shift that has brought workplace culture, recognition, and other factors to the forefront, it has not changed the fact that employees wanting (1) to be challenged, (2) higher pay, and (3) career progression remain a deficiency in many organizations.
Career planning can be looked at as an advanced method of employee recognition. It requires understanding, along with strong and open communication and trust.
Of course, if your organization suffers from workplace culture issues, or lack of basic employee recognition, those issues should be addressed first and foremost. Creating an environment where employees feel safe and seen is a critical first step to helping them envision their longer-term future with your company. Once you’ve nailed down the basics, if you want to engage your employees, it’s important to think about how your managers are running career planning sessions.
Author of Radical Candor, Kim Scott and her Candor Inc. Co-Founder Jason Rosoff provide an excellent foundation for career planning which follows this approach:
Every step in this process is vital, but the most challenging part is the second step. It’s easy to ask an employee what they want to achieve in their career – they probably answered that question during their job interview. The thing is, ambitions change, and often there are deeper goals and objectives that your team members might be holding back.
To help you perform a discovery meeting with your team members, we’ve put together a simple list of questions that you can use to discover what your team’s ambitions are, what excites them and what scares them. Get your copy of the worksheet below.
Once you’ve fleshed out a clear understanding of each team member’s goals and ambitions, it becomes 1000x easier to come up with a career action plan that aligns with their goals. Does your team member want to become an executive one day? Maybe give them more opportunities to speak in front of audiences and to present department results. Do they want to start their own consulting business? Try encouraging them to study and take the certifications that they’ll need to someday go out on their own.
There’s no need to sugarcoat it. One day your team members will probably move on from your organization in search of new challenges and new adventures. Your job is to ensure that when they leave, they feel like they have had the greatest career growth while working with you. They might even decide to come back to your company in the future! Career planning is as much a necessary factor in employee engagement, as it is for your employer brand.
Ultimately, by doing the work, discovering what your people aspire to, and accelerating them towards those goals, you’ll increase the value that they deliver while they work at your company, and they’ll be an advocate for you and your business well after they move on to the next step in their career journey.
As a manager, you have the opportunity and responsibility to help people thrive and contribute to your organization’s goals in a meaningful way.
A great manager fosters relationships to build trust with their team. Marcus Buckingham, author of two of the best-selling business books of all time, explains that truly getting to know your team can make a world of difference.
“Learn what motivates them, and their unique styles of learning, be it by watching, doing or analyzing.” –Marcus Buckingham
Gallup reports that only 10% of people are born with the right skills to be a great manager. But here’s the good news: anyone with the right mindset who follows these tips, can become a great manager.
Hiring is where great management begins. You can provide potential hires with a clear picture of what it will be like to work at your organization. In addition, a great manager will focus on hiring employees that can balance their current team – hiring for cultural-add vs cultural fit. As Marcus Buckingham said, knowing your employees’ strengths and weaknesses can make a world of difference. As a manager, you can maximize the hiring opportunity and bring someone on with complementary skills to build a well-rounded team.
Great onboarding is so important – first impressions matter! While the interview process might be the first point of contact, onboarding is where employees really take in your culture and approach. As a manager, ensuring your employees are set up for success with everything they need, from equipment to resources, goes a long way. Intentionally scheduling time for casual conversation also helps with relationship-building and making your new hires feel welcome. Recognizing onboarding milestones can also help build motivation and engagement fast.
This isn't something that can happen right away; it takes time to know a person well. It takes showing genuine interest in their life, their routine, and even their struggles. Marcus Buckingham explains that managers can only succeed when they learn to communicate and work with each of their employees as individuals. . This allows you to use their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses to accomplish organizational goals. In order to facilitate this familiarity, managers need to be approachable first. According to Gallup, 54% of employees who feel their manager is approachable are also engaged at work.
Great managers take time to get to know their team, but delivering great work matters too. Setting weekly 1-1 meetings with your employees will help foster a stronger relationship and clear any doubts or roadblocks.
Weekly check-ins that are collaborative and growth-focused will increase top talent retention. These check-ins build trust and can increase the employee's sense of belonging, which is another significant factor that differentiates the average manager from the great one. One important tip is to be consistent - try your best to keep this meeting and show up on time. It can sometimes feel easy to cancel or postpone, but remember that someone on your team might be waiting for that time to ask an important question or share concerns.
A great manager understands that each employee has their own personal career goals. Here is the problem, 63% of employees left their job in 2021 due to a lack of opportunities for advancement. Engagement and productivity can be affected if employees don’t see a future at your organization. Once employees share with you where they see themselves in the future, support them by providing opportunities to gain the experience needed to achieve their goals. Have these career conversations early and often.
Studies have found that recognition reinforces a team’s sense of meaning and purpose, among many other benefits. According to Gallup, 74% of employees that receive praise at work report feeling that what they do is valuable and useful. A recognition platform like Kudos can help you here. The platform allows managers to recognize their team publicly while reinforcing the company’s values and vision. Simply put - recognition matters!
Celebrating your employees boosts morale by helping employees feel seen and recognized. A work anniversary, birthday, and other meaningful events in employee’s lives are opportunities for managers to celebrate achievements and growth. Automated platforms make it simple to stay on top of important dates so no one ever gets missed.
Plain and simple - great managers practice what they preach. Think back to your interview, did you emphasize work-life balance and no work on evenings and weekends? If so, don’t contact your team outside of working hours. Also, don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and help when your team needs it. Be open to the fact that you might not always have the answer to every problem. Sometimes knowing where to point your team for the right support - rather than trying to solve everything yourself - can stop you from becoming a bottleneck.
Becoming a great manager requires a great deal of trust from your employees. But for trust to mean anything, it needs to be reciprocated. Servant leadership encourages leaders to put the well-being of their employees first, and showing employees that you trust them to do their job effectively is key to fostering that well-being. Servant leadership also encourages employee success by providing a positive environment where employees can feel supported.
Great managers don't focus on fixing employees' weaknesses but rather leveraging and fostering their strengths. Today managers can also use data to better understand employees' behaviours and relationships. Whether it's people analytics collected from your recognition platform, engagement surveys or business results, pay attention to trends and changes to flag engagement and performance challenges before it's too late.
Great managers build healthy relationships with their teams by understanding how unique each employee is. They listen to what their team needs and provide tailored solutions, so the employee feels supported and happy at your organization.
Great managers don’t focus on the past or any weaknesses, they care about the future and strengths of their people.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout is an occupational phenomenon that results in stress not being properly managed. The symptoms of burnout, however, can differ from person to person. Some might experience exhaustion in the workplace; some might develop a negative feeling toward their job. Regardless, burnout isn’t something your employees can just shake off.
Why are your employees’ showing signs of burnout? Identifying the root of the problem is essential for organizations wishing to remedy the issue. Unfortunately, employees often choose silence, or hope that the situation will just resolve itself.
By fostering resiliency, you can create a team that will adapt and recover from tough situations. This is something you can start working on right away, and yes, it begins with the person in front of the mirror – but with some work, it can resonate with the entire organization.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
In the last quarter of 2020, Tim Cook spoke in the earnings call for the technological giant. That day, Cook gave his employees’ praises. One word he used to describe his team that year was resilient. Despite several challenges, his team came together and achieved a 6% growth over the previous year, higher than Wall Street’s prediction.
Cook explained that a shared sense of purpose between his employees was what made everything possible. Cook’s empathy is nothing new. However, it was his resilience that trickled down to his employees, inspiring them to keep going. This is key in a post-pandemic world – the modern leader must be resilient and empathetic to inspire those qualities in their teams.
Bob Chapman, Chairman and CEO of Barry-Wehmiller
The Chairman and CEO of the $3-billion corporation Barry-Wehmiller spoke about how he faced the 2008 recession without making any layoffs. He attributes that to resilience. Chapman explained the importance of designing a resilient business model. A model that is designed to take on the shocks of the economy.
In a conversation with thought leader Simon Sinek, Chapman explained the similarities of parenting and leadership. Listen to the entire conversation here.
Chapman built resiliency by creating education programs that his employees can take, where one of the primary skills they are taught is listening. Chapman believes the best way for people to understand each other, is through empathy and listening to one another.
1. By Listening: Bob Chapman learned that the best way for people to understand each other is to be empathetic listeners. Burnout doesn’t develop overnight. This is a state-of-mind that grows over time, and without the right approach, employee’s mindsets can crumble. By listening to what your employees have to say, you’ll be helping your organization build resilience, reducing the chance of burnout.
According to Gallup, employees with managers who listen to their work-related problems are 62% less likely to be burned out. In an ever-changing working environment, listening will help clear any roadblocks your employees encounter. On top of that, employees who feel valued and heard will face difficult situations with more confidence knowing they are supported.
Tip: Create an intentional, positive and safe environment for listening. Being a boss or manager is not the same as being a leader. Focus on your onboarding, your one-on-ones, even exit interviews. Any interaction you have with your employees is an opportunity to learn more about them and their experience in your organization.
2. By Recognizing: Frequent recognition gives your employees motivation to go the extra mile. Recognition recharges resilient teams. According to HubSpot, almost 70% of employees say they would put more effort into their work if their efforts were better recognized. Moreover, recognizing employees for their hard work can foster a sense of belonging in the workplace – which in turn, According to Harvard Business Review (HBR), can bring down absenteeism due to sickness up to 75%.
When you add more positive interaction at work through frequent recognition, your employees feel more confident, get more work done, and really look forward to being at work each day.
Tip: Focus on building a culture and a habit of recognition. When you recognize your employees often, you’ll have more productive teams.
With Kudos’ simple but effective recognition approach, staying on top of your team’s achievements has never been easier. The platform allows you and your team to send a personalized recognition message in seconds. The platform also offers deep analytics that help you measure employee engagement, which is essential for employees at risk of burnout.
3. By Being Proactive: Your chances of fighting burnout are much higher when you take the time to apply tips like these. As a leader, you have the enormous responsibility to modelling resilience and continuously adapting to current employee needs. You would do it for your clients, why not do it for your employees? Becoming a servant leader is something you can learn little by little; but your employees will notice instantly.
Burnout occurs when employees don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. An empathetic servant leader can help this by listening, and offering clear guidance and direction. By understanding your employees’ experiences during stressful situations, you can direct them better and help them regain their confidence. Additionally, your empathetic approach will boost employee retention and reinforce their working relationships.
Tip: While we think it’s amazing that you’re thinking of a recognition solution, don’t forget to do what’s best for your organization and employees. One way is to align your recognition strategy by incorporating your core values. According to Gallup, only 27% of employees believe in theirs. With Kudos, you align every recognition message to your organization’s unique values. This is key for employees and organizations because it will create a better sense of belonging and alignment.
As a leader, you have the tools to build a resilient team. You can directly impact your team and adapt to new challenges. Don’t wait until your best employees leave from burnout and discouragement – act now to prevent it.
Do you know your company’s core values? Do your employees? Do your clients? If you’re honest, I imagine most of you answered “no” to at least the last two questions. You might have also struggled to remember your core values. Am I right?
The reason for that is simple. Most companies treat core values like a task they need to complete when building their organization. They also don’t make their core values easy to remember, promote, reinforce, revisit, or celebrate. At best, most publish the core values on their website, in the employee manual, and only refer to them now and then in a team meeting or annual report. The sad truth is that most organizations and employees rarely give them a second thought, much less know how to identify them or apply them in their day-to-day decision-making and interactions.
Organizations that are successful and do not have their core values at the center of what they do, often have an inconsistent corporate culture that differs by department, location, and manager. That is what we refer to as a culture by default, and that has many unintended and avoidable challenges. Does this sound familiar?
Organizations that are purposeful in their core values development, deliberate in the application, and dedicated to weaving them into every aspect of their operation have a culture by design. These organizations are much more focused, resilient, cohesive, successful, and, I would argue – happier. Is this where you want to be?
The seminal book Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras started the core value revolution in 1994. They did a six-year study on organizations that they considered to be visionary. What set those organizations apart was their focus on being a core value-driven organization, and as a result, they outperformed their peers and the market by 16x over six decades. The primary item that differentiated these organizations from the field was not capital, markets, or products but company culture grounded in their core values.
More recently, in the book Start with Why, thought leader Simon Sinek focuses on similar immutable truths around purpose. His message resonates so deeply; it is today the second most-watched Ted Talk. In that talk, “How great leaders inspire action,” he focuses on “Purpose” or your “Why,” which is your personal vision and mission. Sinek believes the “How” is embodied in your principles, core values, and processes. Finally, he talks about your “What” or product or service. Unfortunately, the reality is that the “What” is where most organizations start and spend most of their efforts.
Sinek highlights how organizations we view as visionary achieve extraordinary success because they start with their “Why.” But truth be told, your success will depend on how you hyper-focus your “How,” putting your vision and mission into action, and using your core values to drive actions and decisions.
In both books, the writers highlight that all of the visionary companies they featured would have been successful no matter what they chose to do because they led with their purpose and core values. In fact, HP and 3M started their companies not knowing “What” they would do as an organization, and both continue to lead their categories today. Warren Buffett recently revealed his massive HP investment, and he is notorious for focusing on value, which is driven by purpose and core values.
Collins and Porras defined Core Values as inherent and sacrosanct; they are not compromised for convenience or short-term economic gain. I would add that they are the ingrained principles that you live everyday. This is rooted in the shared vision, code of conduct, and ethos of a company.
Once you identify and define your core values, they should be at the center of your actions and decisions, from hiring to strategy. They should be expressed, captured, and shared widely and often to inspire, align, and attract employees and clients.
The movie Jerry McGuire is a very entertaining but memorable way to see this in action. His infamous memo “The Things We Think But Do Not Say” was so important to him that he was willing to lose a lucrative career and leave a company he helped start versus compromise his values. While this is a fictional story, the movie then and today still resonates with many because that is the kind of company motivated people want to work for. The story demonstrates how living your values can guide you to success and the person you are meant to be. Google’s “Ten Things We Know To Be True” is an excellent example of sharing your vision, mission, and values in the real world in a similar but less rambling way.
A great place to start your core value journey – developing, refining, updating, or discovering your company's core values is to think about your own core values and why they matter to you.
Your personal mission statement and core values should reflect who you want to be at your very best. Consider these things in a simple exercise by answering these questions:
Values can be aspirational, but they should be who you already are and what matters most to you to be truly authentic.
There are a few great resources to help you discover your core values. The Center for Value-Driven Leadership has resources and insights that are a great place to start. Other sites such as PersonalValues.es and Barret Value Centre self-assessment allow you to take quizzes to help you discover what core values already guide you.
When you set out to develop your company's core values, they should be authentic, unique, memorable, and come from a small group of individuals, likely your founders and possibly a small group in leadership, representing what the company strives to be, and do.
Creating values is not a consensus team-building exercise. That is a bad idea for two reasons. It will integrate suggestions from people that should not be at your organization and others that will not be at your organization in the near future. The median tenure for workers between twenty-five and thirty-four is 3.2 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018.
The core values should be developed by a core group of people that truly know the organization's personality and what type of company they want it to be. They will be the ones who will be there to live them in the long term. They will be the ones that will use the core values to lead by example and use the core values to drive performance and make critical decisions. There should be little daylight between what leadership says and what they do for the core values to be successful and adopted companywide. There should be no "Say-Do" dilemma for your team.
The book The Core Value Equation by Darius Mirshahzadeh describes in great detail how to develop and employ your core values. He outlines four key elements of a well-designed and communicated core values:
Concepts to consider when you are developing your core values:
To become a core value-driven organization, you need to weave your core values into everything you do. Getting team buy-in and a commitment to live by your/their company’s values is critical and should be part of your processes or “How.” Everything from job postings and onboarding to recognizing team members and having team core values discussions, to individual performance reviews should be based on your process as outlined below:
The proof of being a core value-driven organization will be in several key measures that you should review monthly, quarterly, and annually. And if you take the time, you should be able to correlate company performance and profits to achieving high scores and participation using these three measures.
Why is this important? Bain& Company proved a strong correlation between a company's growth rate and its NPS and eNPS score.
Why is this important? Gallup was able to show through their research that organizations that consistently score high in the Q12 survey outperform their peers.
Why is this important? Kudos positively affect the organization's NPS, eNPS, Q12 scores, and Glassdoor ratings. That translates into better employee recruitment, retention, productivity, and overall corporate performance.
For more insights and information on becoming a core value-driven organization and living your values, watch our Webinar – How to Drive Employee Performance Through Core Values.
I would love to know your thoughts, observations, and results if you put some of these ideas into practice.
You can find me on LinkedIn @wtshort.
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. That’s why values are such an integral part of the Kudos employee engagement and recognition platform. But to get there, you must align your corporate values to your strategy and demonstrate them daily.
When values are distilled from broad, aspirational statements to clear behaviors or qualities, employees gain clear expectations of which behaviors will help them work in a meaningful and valued way.
Why Should HR Professionals Care about Values?
Why Should Organizational Leaders Care about Values?
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. That being said, 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."
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 based on differentiation, specifically developing unique capabilities fuelled 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 makes sense for their values to differ fromGoogle’s.
At the highest level, strategic planning 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.
Chances are, you already have a set of corporate values described on your company website, but do they truly align with 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.”
In turn, Zappos refers to its 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.
"23%of employees strongly agree that they can apply their organization's values to their work every day."
With your strategic core values set, the third step is defining what those values look like in action through distinct behaviors or qualities.
Identifying specific behaviors tied to each value guides your team through daily decision-making. 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 specific qualities the person being recognized displayed – all of which are tied back to your corporate strategy(Step 1.)
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:
Finally, having strategically aligned values and 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.
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 can improve 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. A culture of recognition built through Kudos® will lead to a high-performing culture. Aligning your values to recognition is a simple, yet powerful tool to achieve your results.
Here’s what this looks like in action, using the Google and Zappos examples:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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 valuable 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. Feedback from those working day-in-day-out for your company should carry extra weight.
It’s a manager’s job to guide their team toward company goals. To do this effectively, you need to help your employees develop and grow. In other words, you need to mentor them — help them reach their full potential.
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. Consistent, one-on-one communication builds 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 amore personal level.
4 steps to successful one-on-one meetings
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 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, having a plan will benefit your one-on-one get-togethers.
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 their goals and challenges, company processes, and workplace culture — 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 do something with the knowledge you gain.
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, and 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.
Giving your team members personalized action items not only improves productivity, but shows that you value the unique skillset each brings to their role.
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.
One-on-one meetings are a great tool in the manager’s tool belt. 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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
If you want to obtain insights regarding certain areas of your company, send out a survey, such as an NPS, pulse, or comprehensive survey.
To get your survey to your team, use an online tool like SurveyMonkey. Environmentally friendly solutions like this one will save you the cost of printing plus it helps the planet. You can also embed a survey in recognition software like Kudos.
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.
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.
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.
Once 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. Taking action with the insights you receive will set you apart from other organizations.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 almost 3 times 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.
When there are more open positions than qualified candidates to fill them, the most talented candidates become more selective about where they work.
In their minds, you need them more than they need you.
So, how do you 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. Employee feedback is a comprehensive and sustainable way to do so.
Building a feedback culture into your business model provides a high ROI. Invest in your company’s most valuable resource — people.
HR managers, want to do everything in their power to create a healthy and productive work environment.
Old methods of increasing productivity can be demoralizing and counterproductive. Rather than working together, everyone is competing against each other. Threats and punitive actions don't work very well, either.
There's a better way to ignite passion and loyalty in your staff; to make them feel valued, not 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.
It provides lower-level staff with the means to improve their work environment and opens the lines of communication between staff, management, C-level executives, and so on.
Only 16% of employees feel connected and engaged in their current job. This level of disengagement not only lowers morale and job performance, but it’s 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. Absenteeism and work-related injuries decrease, while overall morale greatly improves.
To reap these benefits, you need strategies that encourage positive interaction, and a roadmap that ties feedback to measurable improvement.
It's all about how you gather, process, and apply feedback.
What does employee feedback look like to you?
Maybe, you picture a suggestion box on the break room 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 way.
A long-term strategy for engagement allows staff at every level to have agency over their work environment, and encourages personal responsibility for outcomes. This strategy must be woven organically and sustainably into the very fabric of your organization.
Here are some best practices that have worked for other organizations; perhaps, they'll turn things around for yours.
No matter how open the culture, some staff members feel uncomfortable with one-on-one discussions or critiques. Providing multiple channels for staff members can help everyone feel comfortable participating.
This is where the old, reliable, anonymous suggestion box can find a new life, but there are other means of communication. For example, surveys, team-building exercises, and online platforms.
The more comprehensive your feedback strategy, the more natural and organic it will feel.
Many employees aren't used to giving feedback, and may even fear the process. It may make more traditional managers uncomfortable at first, but the process becomes natural.
For example, you could have an informal session directly after a monthly staff meeting where smaller groups of employees provide feedback.
Business leaders and HR managers should be accountable for feedback, show their support by attending sessions, and address 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.
Not all of your feedback is going to be critical. However, only paying attention to positive feedback and getting defensive over negative feedback is counterproductive.
That said, if the only feedback an employee receives from you is negative, they may feel demoralized and disengaged.
Try to balance positive and negative feedback by beginning any discussions 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.
Your staff will be more willing to provide feedback of any kind if the corporate environment itself is one of trust and openness.
Make clear, both in writing and practice, that employees are free to provide constructive feedback without fear of punishment.
Employee feedback supports continuous improvement.
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 idea-sharing gatherings, project-based performance review protocols, and open-door policies.
Creating a feedback culture at your organization helps employees feel more secure and valued. It's a way to let them know they count — that their opinion is important to you.
This type of work environment supports employee engagement, lowers staff turnover rates, boosts morale, improves business processes, 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 invaluable.
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.
In today’s modern workplace, many organizations are made up of several generations of workers: baby boomers, gen x'ers, millennials, and gen z’ers.
Some employees may feel they have no opportunity for advancement, while others may be getting ready to retire or take on a different role.
According to the study, 48% of baby boomers value making an impact over salary and titles, and 30% of millennials and 38% of gen x’ers agree.
Gallup also finds that 45% of millennials are more likely to prioritize roles with 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. These are all 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. A lack of advancement and development opportunities could drive them away.
51% of companies are shifting their priorities to develop future-focused people strategies.
So, what happens when there are no promotion opportunities?
How do you keep employees motivated and engaged to prevent them from jumping ship?
If an employee believes a role is a good fit but does not see room for growth, no number of raises or annual bonuses is going to keep them on board.
You have to make employees an offer they can’t refuse.
While studies show that promotions are a highly effective motivator, not every organization can offer employees regular promotions – or any promotion at all. Some companies are large enough that they can create new roles or offer advancement. On the other hand, startups and mid-sized businesses may not have the same capacity.
If an employee’s role has the right elements and opportunities for personal and professional growth, the promise of a promotion may not be your only chance to keep them on board.
Consider organizational culture, recognition, work-life balance, flexible working options, salary, benefits, or learning and development. These are all key elements of a role where employees can still benefit from working with you – beyond promotions and raises.
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 improve their skills by working with others in their environment, or on new tasks and projects. But that doesn’t indicate employees are developing new skills, expertise, or knowledge.
"A widely held belief by many organizations is that employees are motivated exclusively by money"
If a promotion isn’t possible, consider the three elements mentioned above.
Autonomy - employees crave autonomy, control over their own work, and the results of their efforts. By allowing employees to take the reins, leaders can build a more trusting and productive culture. This may boost engagement and job satisfaction, too.
Purpose - without purpose, employees can quickly become disengaged and dispassionate about their work. The key is to remind employees of how they contribute to organizational success.
Mastery - learning and development is a key motivator in someone’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.
By nature, we aren’t job hoppers. We would prefer to find a role we can learn, grow, and develop in. But without a shot at a promotion, most employees change jobs. Some even migrate to different companies in search of greener pastures.
Now, a vast majority of companies are focusing on experiences to attract talent to their companies.
Sharing experiences like training opportunities, remote work options, mentorship, and travel only makes promising candidates more interested in your offer.
Determine what type of experiences your organization can offer prospective employees by asking existing ones. Gather feedback from your existing teams, so you can attract talent that will be a good fit.
A lateral move or promotion means the employee is offered a role with a similar level of responsibility, autonomy and pay-scale as their current role. Lateral promotions may provide employees with the opportunity to join a new department and learn new skills, but not all employees may see it that way.
When a promotion is not an option, give employees the opportunity to work with different teams in your organization or join special projects with other departments.
In doing so, you’re giving them the chance to share knowledge, tackle new tasks, and improve their skills. When a promotion is available, they’ll be ready for the challenge.
Knowledge sharing is important for organizations because it encourages collaboration and ideation. Employees can learn from one another, be exposed to more elements of your organization and expand their learning. Knowledge sharing prepares your employees to take on additional responsibility.
Promotions signal to employees that their work, dedication and efforts are 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 a simple act that helps foster security and loyalty. Only 15% of employees agree that their leaders make them enthusiastic about their future, but recognizing your employees can improve this statistic.
"An employee’s decision to join an organization may not hinge solely on salary. A lack of advancement and development opportunities could drive them away"
Recognition encourages employees to voice their opinions and ideas because it builds trust in leadership and colleagues. When employees feel their input and honesty is valued, they grow more enthusiastic about your company. You may find that recognizing your employees fuels them to contribute their best work and take initiative.
A thriving organizational culture is key for positive 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 to make work fun.
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:
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 beneficial for both employees and employers.
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 remote work.
Flextime: When an employee can either temporarily or permanently alter their work schedule and hours. For example, choosing to work 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. instead of 9 a.m.to 5 p.m.
Work from home or work remotely: Work in your own home by communicating with your organization through the internet, email, and 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 outline the most common benefits and downfalls of flexible work arrangements to decide if it makes sense for you.
What are the benefits of flexible work arrangements?
Do you have clients worldwide? Would there be value in supporting remote employees? Offering flexible work arrangements provides you with the opportunity to hire employees worldwide. When employees have mobility in their work method and location, there’s more opportunity for local support to various clients. This strengthens your client relationships by going that extra mile (pun intended).
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 reinvest your earnings into a company-wide trip, increasing employee morale and engagement. Add to your employee's benefits program and leverage your brand to improve recruitment and retention rates in the process.
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 work from the comfort of their homes. 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 obvious investment advantage.
What competitive advantage can your organization offer? What will attract talent? A flexible work arrangement is an attractive benefit for new and current employees. Even in today’s digital age, many businesses are not stepping up to the plate to offer flexible work arrangements. It’s a great way to increase employee engagement. Simply, you’re offering something not all organizations are willing to.
How do flexible work arrangements keep your organization’s engines running? They speedup your systems by creating an environment that best suits your employee’s needs. Empower your employees with the freedom and autonomy they need to perform best. Maybe someone is more of an early bird, or a night owl. Either way, this option lets employees choose the place and time they perform their best.
Want to make a positive difference in the world? An easy way to reduce your organization’s carbon footprint is to provide a commute-free option to work. Provide work-from-home options instead. Simply, fewer cars on the road equal less carbon footprint.
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 while strictly offering flex time, employees can rearrange their hours at work to meet their personal life needs. For example, mothers can now design her morning to make sure her children's needs are met, and get 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.
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.
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.
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?
There are many arguments for why recruitment is broken; however, most of these arguments can be narrowed down to a few simple reasons.
Recruitment Process: 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!
Recruitment Timelines: 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!
Takeaway - Reassure candidates by being upfront about your company's hiring process and inform them of projected recruitment timelines.
Transparency: 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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
This type of feedback gives you insight as to where the hiring process succeeds and where it can be improved to make the candidate experience as positive as possible!
Transparency in the workplace can be a double-edged sword, but the benefits of a transparent approach to both work and leadership will transform your company.
Our guest author, Ken Cameron dives deeper into the topic of transparency and how it can align your teams.
There is a direct relationship between transparent leadership, increased employee alignment, operational efficiency, and customer loyalty.
When employees can see the bigger picture, they can easily grasp the company's vision. This helps individuals see their role within the strategy, and how their contributions directly impact company-wide goals. Simply put, employee engagement rises when senior leadership transparently communicates company strategy.
Transparency leads to an efficiency gain. When leaders are transparent about issues and problems facing the business, it opens up opportunities for team members to help problem-solve. 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 the customer service decisions. This meant that he was working 16-18 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.
Transparency has costs, too: it creates uncertainty, which leads to low-grade chronic stress and 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. Our brains register a social threat when any of these domains changes. When we feel socially threatened, the prefrontal cortex of our brains redirects its attention to the perceived threat, and away from collaboration and trust.
A lack of transparent leadership impacts both certainty and fairness; generally, people are afraid of the unknown. Feeling out of the loop causes people to lose trust and loyalty for the company. In turn, they’re less motivated to succeed.
When employees feel that management is withholding information, or that only select teams are in the know, it can affect their sense of fairness; individuals tend to perceive a lack of information as social isolation.
In some cases, 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. Yet, any resulting action needs to be explained with transparency in order to be valued by the team.
Navigating the conflict between transparency and confidentiality can be difficult for leadership. To avoid any possible conflict, simply check-in with people and ask if they’re comfortable with you sharing the information.
In an environment where the culture is undergoing a great deal of transformation, leaders may worry that more transparency is counterproductive. But, teams can sense when you’re holding something back from them, and it rarely has a positive effect. If you’re in this situation, try providing a specific date when you’re prepared to share more information. And be careful; once you make the offer you have to honor that commitment.
It’s worth noting that some of the most successful companies practice radical transparency. Un-curated, employee-led blogs can give prospective employees a peek into your company’s culture. This kind of up-front transparency will attract more high-performers.
ATB Financial, which repeatedly appears on the Achievers’ 50 Most Engaged Workplaces list, encourages employees to leave anonymous reviews of the company on Glassdoor. Many organizations only see the potential of nasty reviews, but Lorne Rubis, chief people officer and chief evangelist at ATB for 6 years, told The Financial Post that radical transparency keeps 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Remember that feedback sandwich we talked about earlier? 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!
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.
Nowadays, the modern organization is expected to be both agile and open to change. While this is easier said than done, employees now expect more from organizations than ever before. Employees want 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!
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!