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Performance

Performance

5 min

5 min

Lead with your Core Values

Lead with your Core Values Lead with your Core Values

Why values-driven organizations drive the performance that delivers results.

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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. 

Why Core Values Matter

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.

Discovering and Developing Your Core Values

 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:

  • What matters most to you? 
  • What makes you proud of yourself? 
  • What do you want to be remembered for? 
  • What do you value in others? 

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:

  • Themes. Themes are core values such as integrity, caring, and customer service, which define the company’s personality.
  • Headers. Headers are memorable words, sentences, or catchphrases that are easy to remember that represent several grouped themes and sub-themes like “WOW Service.”
  • Descriptions. Descriptions are the four to eight sentences that are the nitty-gritty details that precisely describe what you expect and how your team should deliver on the themes.  
  • Policy/Producers. Your manuals and living documents outline how the core values are employed tactically in everyday processes and activities. For example, if one of your themes is “Default to Action,” explain that team members are encouraged to take the initiative instead of waiting for direction.

 Concepts to consider when you are developing your core values:

  • Core values don’t need to be generic or “nice.” Your values should make you unique, distinct, and attractive to your ideal employees and clients.
  • Make your core value themes/headers easy to remember. Following Miller’s Law, you should keep your core value themes and headers between five and nine words.
  • Leverage your subthemes. Subthemes highlight the more expansive qualities and behaviors that are critically important to defining who you are as an organization and how team members should act and interact.

Becoming a Core Value Driven Organization 

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:

  1. Hire people based on core value alignment. 
  2. Evaluate your team based on living your core values.
  3. Recognize team members regularly for living your core values.
  4. Communicate your core values to your team like you market your product or services to your clients.
  5. Celebrate your people, culture, and values at every opportunity. 
  6. Reflect on your core values when faced with difficult decisions.

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. 

  • NPS® scores. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) was developed by Bain & Company in 2003 to measure how well an organization treats the people whose lives it affects and subsequently how well it generates relationships worthy of loyalty. This straightforward question allows you to easily track clients (NPS) and employees’ (eNPS) sentiments towards your company. 

 Why is this important? Bain& Company proved a strong correlation between a company's growth rate and its NPS and eNPS score. 

  •  Q12® Survey. The Gallup organization developed the Q12 survey to give managers a framework to address critical areas directly correlated to employee engagement. The questions are written and ordered in a specific way that measures the essential elements that determine overall engagement. The results can help you narrow down critical areas in your employee experience that require improvement. 

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.

  •  Kudos®. Kudos’ social peer-to-peer recognition and company communication system allows organizations to keep their core values front and center. Every recognition message sent and received reinforces core values, qualities, and behaviors. The quantity and quality of the Kudos messages is a barometer of daily and weekly employee engagement levels. Kudos helps build a strong foundation for promoting and celebrating team and corporate goals. 

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.

Performance

5 min

5 min

Choosing Strategic Core Values and Assigning Qualities

Choosing Strategic Core Values and Assigning Qualities Choosing Strategic Core Values and Assigning Qualities

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

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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?

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

Why Should Organizational Leaders Care about Values?

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

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

Hint: Depending on your situation, you may already have your values established and can start at step 3. 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."

Understand and Define Your Business Strategy and Goals

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

Google’s strategy is 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.

Determine Which Values Align with Your Business Goals

Chances are, you already have a set of corporate values described on your company website, but do they truly align 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."

Assign Specific Behaviors and Qualities to Each Value

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:

Implement Your Values Strategy Through Recognition

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.

But how?

That’s where the Kudos platform can help.

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

Moving Forward with Strategic Values

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

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

Performance

5 min

5 min

8 Habits of Great Bosses

8 Habits of Great Bosses8 Habits of Great Bosses

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

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

1. Great Bosses Communicate Clearly

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

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

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

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

2. Great Bosses Listen to Their Employees

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

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

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

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

3. Great Bosses Don't Micromanage

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

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

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

4. Great Bosses Develop Their Teams

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

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

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

5. Great Bosses Are Consistent

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

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

6. Great Bosses Stay Positive

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

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

7. Great Bosses Are Trustworthy

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

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

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

8. Great Bosses Recognize Their Staff

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

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

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

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

Wrapping Up

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

Performance

5 min

5 min

How to Host an Effective One-on-One Meeting

How to Host an Effective One-on-One MeetingHow to Host an Effective One-on-One Meeting

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.

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You've heard the old saying, "the only certainties in life are death and taxes." Well, if you ask us, meetings should be added to that list.

We’ve all had to sit through our share of boring, unproductive, and cringe-worthy corporate gatherings. But not all meetings have to be this way.

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

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

Why host a one-on-one?

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

Honest feedback

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

Mentorship opportunities

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

1. Have a plan

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

How you plan your one-on-ones, though, is completely up to you. You could 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.

2. Listen more than you speak

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

While it's perfectly okay (even necessary, in some instances) to spend time educating your team members, you won't be able to glean valuable insights this way. When possible, ask your employees questions about 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.

3. Give action items

Before dismissing your staff members from your one-on-one meetings, give them a few action items to work on. Action items could mean training materials to go through, deadlines to hit, 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.

4. Look for ways to improve

Lastly, always look for ways to improve your one-on-one meetings. Did your last attempt feel awkward? Ask yourself "why?"

Was your last one-on-one a smashing success? Dig deep and find out the reason(s) it was so successful.

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

Better meetings, better business

One-on-one meetings are a great tool in the manager’s 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.

Performance

5 min

5 min

How to Collect Better Employee Feedback

How to Collect Better Employee FeedbackHow to Collect Better Employee Feedback

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

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

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

The benefits of employee feedback

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

Unique insights

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

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

Engaged workers

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

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

5 ways to collect better employee feedback

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

1. Use a suggestion box

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

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

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

2. Send out employee surveys

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

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

To get your survey to your team, use an online tool like SurveyMonkey. 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.

3. Hold regularly scheduled team meetings

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

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

4. Conduct private one-on-one meetings

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

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

5. Use Glassdoor

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

Act on the intel you receive

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.

Talk to us

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

Performance

5 min

5 min

The Psychological Contract: How Does it Affect Employee Retention?

The Psychological Contract: How Does it Affect Employee Retention?The Psychological Contract: How Does it Affect Employee Retention?

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

The psychological contract defined

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

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

There are typically three main characteristics of a psychological contract:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why does this contract matter?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Practice consistent communication

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

Manage expectations

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

Constantly engage

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

Performance

5 min

5 min

How to Use Employee Feedback for Business Growth

How to Use Employee Feedback for Business GrowthHow to Use Employee Feedback for Business Growth

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

Read Article

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.

What is a feedback culture?

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.

How feedback improves business function

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.

Collecting and incorporating employee feedback the smart way

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.

Employ multiple channels for feedback

No matter how open the culture, some staff members feel uncomfortable with one-on-one discussions or critiques. Providing multiple channels for staff members 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.

Normalize feedback culture and processes

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.

Put an emphasis on personal responsibility

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.

Balance the positive and negative

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.

Establish an atmosphere of openness and trust

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

Make clear, both in writing and practice, that employees are free to provide constructive feedback without fear of punishment.

Make feedback a continuous activity

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.

Final Thoughts

Creating a feedback culture at your organization helps employees feel more secure and valued. It's a way to let them know they count — 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.

About Ashley

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

Performance

5 min

5 min

5 Powerful Ways To Provide Opportunities Beyond Promotions

5 Powerful Ways To Provide Opportunities Beyond Promotions5 Powerful Ways To Provide Opportunities Beyond Promotions

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.

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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.

A widely held belief by many organizations is that employees are motivated exclusively by money, but a recent study by LinkedIn finds this is not the case.

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?

Make them an offer they can’t refuse

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.

Encourage employees to master their skills

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

In many cases, employees can 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.

Focus on experiences rather than roles

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.

Encourage knowledge sharing and exploration within your organization

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

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.

Practice recognition every day

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.

Make work fun

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:

  • Consider weekly lunches in or outside of the office to have a meal together, interact, and spend some time away from the desk    
  • Plan weekly team activities like fitness classes, or co-working at the local coffee shop for a few hours    
  • Run quarterly ‘competitions’ at work so employees can flex their skills and work together. For example, challenge your teams to create a new product prototype or create a new service offering. Let the winning team(s) choose their prize  
  • Send weekly newsletters with appropriate humour and include tips, tricks, or events submitted by fellow employees

Performance

5 min

5 min

The Future of Work Is Flexible

The Future of Work Is FlexibleThe Future of Work Is Flexible

Let’s face it, no one enjoys sitting for hours upon hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic. So, why commute to work if you don’t have to?

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What’s the deal with flexible work arrangements anyways?

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

More Boots on the Ground

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).

Cha-ching! Reinvest that Money

Now, that’s music to my ears! Guess what happens when you’ve instilled a full work-from-home policy? There’s no need for office space. With cost reduction like that, think of all the business opportunities ahead. For example, you can 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.

Stand Out from the Pack 

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.

Become a Well-Oiled Machine

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.

Help Repair the World

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.

Work and Life are a Balancing Act

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.

About Humi

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

Performance

5 min

5 min

How To Improve Your Hiring Strategy

How To Improve Your Hiring StrategyHow To Improve Your Hiring Strategy

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

Read Article

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 key reasons why most hiring processes fail

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

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.

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

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?

Rethink your job posting strategy

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

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

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

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

Treat your recruitment process as you would a strategic marketing plan

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

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

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

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

Always be as specific and transparent as possible

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

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

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

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

Ask the right questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make candidates aware of your recruitment timelines

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

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

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

Don't forget feedback!

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

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

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

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

Performance

5 min

5 min

How to Align Your Teams With Transparency

How to Align Your Teams With TransparencyHow to Align Your Teams With Transparency

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

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Transparency in the workplace can be a double-edged sword, but the benefits of a transparent approach to both work and leadership will transform your company.

Our guest author, Ken Cameron dives deeper into the topic of transparency and how it can align your teams.

Putting transparency to work the right way

There is a direct relationship between transparent leadership, 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.

Is there such a thing as too much transparency?

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 statuscertaintyautonomyrelatedness, 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.

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

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.”

Performance

5 min

5 min

How To Provide Feedback Your Employees Actually Want To Hear

How To Provide Feedback Your Employees Actually Want To HearHow To Provide Feedback Your Employees Actually Want To Hear

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

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

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

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

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

Or is it?

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

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

What’s the problem with feedback?

Feedback is a tricky thing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

For example:

What about the cost?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Start with real-time feedback

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

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

Encourage both employees and managers to ask for feedback

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

Be direct

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

Create environments of confidence

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

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

Don’t forget about your delivery

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

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

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

Performance

5 min

5 min

26 Surprising Facts Organizations Need to Know

26 Surprising Facts Organizations Need to Know26 Surprising Facts Organizations Need to Know

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!).

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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!

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

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

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

Performance

5 min

5 min

How to Improve Productivity and Engagement at Work

How to Improve Productivity and Engagement at WorkHow to Improve Productivity and Engagement at Work

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encourage your teams to play more

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

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

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

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

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

Consider your workspace design

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

  • Having a view of the outdoors has been found to improve productivity in the workplace. The addition of spaces that allow us to step into or be close to nature can help restore mental reserves and provide a distraction for unconscious thought.
  • The office space can be used to communicate with employees and can convey important messages related to the company's goals or leadership expectations. A possible option is to include employees in the design decisions to create a personal connection to the space.
  • Friedman states that the use of colour can affect people's thinking, as we have been conditioned to associate different meanings with various colours.

For example:

  • Red is associated with alarm bells and warning signals – when we see red, we are more alert and vigilant.
  • Blue is more tranquil and calming, and could be used in "quiet rooms".
  • Yellow represents happiness and inspires creativity.

Set the example

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

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

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

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

What happy workplaces can learn from a casino

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

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

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

Performance

5 min

5 min

How Effective is Your Onboarding Strategy?

How Effective is Your Onboarding Strategy?How Effective is Your Onboarding Strategy?

Robust onboarding is top of mind for most companies. Losing employees to poor onboarding can result in high employee turnover and damaged organization’s reputation.

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

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

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

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

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

So where, exactly, do companies go wrong?

It may just start with the onboarding process.

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

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

Sadly, it’s true.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yikes!

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

Okay, but is onboarding really that important?

Well, yes!

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

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

What happens after getting hired? Onboarding!

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

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

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

What are the benefits of an effective onboarding strategy?

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

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

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

And that’s not all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What if you’re in HR?

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

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

Performance

5 min

5 min

How to Prevent Employees from Jumping Ship

How to Prevent Employees from Jumping ShipHow to Prevent Employees from Jumping Ship

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

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

The question is not one of when they’ll leave, but why they’ll leave. So, what exactly makes people quit?

For the most part, many prospective employees will carefully consider a company’s value proposition before joining the organization — the qualities that make an organization different from others.

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

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

Even more, 51% of companies are shifting their priorities to develop future-focused people strategies — the initiatives that make employees to stay, rather than jump ship.

Why do people voluntarily leave their current companies?

Surprisingly, it’s not all about money

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

Although salary and pay scale is no longer the deciding factor in an employee’s decision to leave their current position, it’s still one of the leading reasons for turnover.

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

Approximately 15% of employees can’t envision themselves with a company for longer than a year. And even when employees are happy in their roles, 25% say they’re only willing to commit up to 3 years to their current company.

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

Employees expect more from their organizations than just a pay check

Several studies find that engagement, recognition, relationship and encouragement are reasons why people choose to remain in their roles — regardless of the pay scale. Why is that?

Any employee will crave recognition for their work. Beyond that, most will want personal and professional development opportunities. Most will want to grow while maintaining genuine relationships with their team members and leaders.

According to a global study by Mercer, recognition and meaningful project opportunities are two key ways to help employees thrive at work. By providing teams with the chance to shine and showcase their skills, organizations can foster more engagement and confidence in their employees. In fact, 15% of employees are less likely to quit if given the room to grow and spread their wings.

Spreading your wings is sometimes easier said than done. Leaders have to provide a foundation for employees to build their confidence and add to their existing skill set. Development is a key aspect of employee engagement.

For example, learning and development is often cited as a notable incentive for employees to stay with their current company. Ceridian finds that 83% of employees whose organizations provide them with learning and development opportunities are more likely to remain in their existing jobs. Similarly, 45% of millennials consider the career development opportunities of role before accepting an offer.

Let’s not forget about the employee relationship

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

Consider the employee relationship.

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

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

28% of employees cite positive working relationships with leaders and colleagues as a top reason for staying with their companies. In contrast, 32% of employees have to wait an average of three months to receive constructive feedback from their leaders; 31% wished their leaders would communicate with them more consistently. A lack of communication from leadership can hinder teams from building meaningful, positive relationships with their mentors.

Part of nurturing this relationship includes trusting employees and empathizing with their needs, struggles at work, and desires to advance. For instance, 82% of employees would leave their current organizations for more empathetic ones. And 72% of employees would be willing to work longer and harder for empathetic leaders.

To sum it all up, leaders that regularly communicate with their teams, build authentic relationships, and voice support for their employees are well on their way to retaining high-performing team members.

Where does leadership accountability come into play?

Leaders have the significant responsibility of retaining their top-tier talent because employees don’t have to stay.

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

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

At one point or another, every organization will face a people risk or human capital risk — both generally refer to the value an individual brings to an organization through their skills, knowledge, and expertise.

Only 1 in 3 executives feel their company’s ability to reduce risks, like turnover, is ‘very effective.’ Even more, only 29% of HR professionals feel their leaders prioritize human capital risks.

Those statistics don’t exactly inspire confidence; given that managers and HR leaders are tasked with retention and keeping employees engaged.

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

Interestingly, Gallup finds that managers and leaders can influence at least 75% of the reasons for employee turnover. Meaning, leaders can play a proactive role, and give employees a reason to stay.

Can leaders foster retention and relationships?

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

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

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

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

This information is incredibly valuable to organizations and their culture, yet only 33% of companies utilize it. Even more, only 1 in 4 HR professionals uses analytics to understand why people leave their company.

By paying close attention to what employees value, what drives their performance, and the overall health of the organization, leaders nurture engagement and pin-point the key reasons for turnover.

How can organizations keep their employees from jumping ship?

  • Provide development opportunities - 83% of employees view skill and knowledge updates as their own responsibility, rather than their company’s. Organizations     should be encouraging their employees’ professional growth, supporting their skill-growth, and expanding their areas of expertise. Not only do employees benefit, but organizations also benefit from these new skills and highly engaged teams.
  • Make wellness a priority - Employees thriving in organizations with well-being at its center are 70% less likely to miss work. Prioritize a healthy work environment where employee burnout is low, and engagement is high.  
  • Communicate with your people - 65% of employees seek clarity on the expectations of their roles and responsibilities. The simplest way for leaders to validate their employees’ concerns and encourage productivity is to communicate what you expect from your teams, and how you will help them achieve their goals.    
  • Encourage initiative - 57% of employees feel their organizations make it easy to explore projects and opportunities beyond their typical job scope. Giving people the chance to try new projects, create new initiatives, or contribute in more significant ways motivates them to stay and broaden their skills.  
  • Hold ‘stay’ interviews - Unlike exit interviews, a ‘stay’ interview reassess why the employee was initially hired, and reiterates why the employee chose the company. In a ‘stay’ interview, discuss their goals, needs, and how well their expectations are being met.      
  • Focus on engagement - Engaged employees are 59% less likely to seek out a new job or career in the next 12 months. This is terrific news for organizations who     prioritize engagement, but how do they go about doing so? At Kudos, we believe in recognition as part of a broader engagement strategy. Simply thanking your teams today for their hard work, contributions, and dedication can foster engagement. Want to take your engagement strategy to the next level? Let’s chat.

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

Performance

5 min

5 min

How to Hire the Best Fit for Your Organization

How to Hire the Best Fit for Your OrganizationHow to Hire the Best Fit for Your Organization

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s where culture comes in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Culture is essential, but what about the company itself?

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

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

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

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

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

Turns out, reputation matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consider these three simple tips when looking at potential candidates:

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

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

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

Remember what fit is, and what it isn’t

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make your organizational culture & values as transparent as possible

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

Look beyond resumes and job applications

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

Explore other industries

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

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