Discover insights on employee recognition and engagement, workplace culture, performance management, people analytics, and more.
Organizations where managers recognize and praise employee performance not only see a boost in individual employee engagement but according to Gallup, also benefit from an increase in productivity and loyalty to the company, leading to higher retention. The impact of employee recognition on an organization is undeniable.
Many companies have one or more initiatives for recognizing or rewarding employees which are typically manual and focus on length-of-service, nominations, and spot awards. These traditional methods are time-consuming for HR, lack impact and reach, and do not translate well into the post-COVID-19 remote world of work. Traditional rewards and recognition programs also suffer from not being cost-effective, nor scalable. By far, the largest issue with these antiquated programs is that they do not offer any true insights or ways to measure employee engagement in real-time. Based on these shortcomings, you may want to consider investing in a modern employee recognition software system.
Given the many software options, you might be wondering how best to choose the right program and partner for your company. Here are the top factors you should consider when choosing your next employee recognition program:
Our guess is, the number one thing your organization wants is to drive performance by aligning your teams’ efforts to the organization’s goals. That’s often closely followed by a need to reinforce the company mission, vision, and values at every opportunity to amplify your organization’s key differentiators. This can only be accomplished by reaching all your people with frequent positive feedback that celebrates them for the individual contributions and efforts. People working in your organization have different skills and habits. If you want to have an effective employee recognition program, you'll have to understand all these differences and ways you can recognize your team for their contributions.
Your employee recognition software should emphasize and inspire behavior associated with your company's core values, mission, and vision. It should further meet your employees' needs by considering all aspects of their job.
Questions to ask:
Choosing an employee recognition software that integrates with some or all your existing software has several benefits. First, it reduces the amount of time your HR or people team will need to spend administering the system. Second, it can make a massive difference in driving adoption within your organization. There are three broad categories of integrations that you’ll want to look for:
User Provisioning: These types of integrations usually hook into your existing HR software like ADP or BambooHR and save time by automatically keeping your employee data synced between all your systems.
Single-Sign-On: These integrations make it easy for your employees to log into your employee recognition software without needing to remember or create a brand-new username and password combination.
Productivity: This integration type is a client favorite at Kudos! These integrations enable your employees to send and receive recognition from their existing software (like MS Teams, Outlook, or Slack) without needing to log into the employee recognition software. These integrations have a big impact on adoption within many organizations.
You’ll want to make a list of your various software solutions and work with your vendor to identify which integrations make sense for your organization.
Questions to ask:
Everyone loves a reward, but when your employees tell you that they want more recognition at work, they don’t mean more rewards. They mean meaningful, memorable recognition for the work that they’ve done.
Be sure to look for a solution that emphasizes quality recognition above the rewards aspect. This will ensure that your chosen solution drives the right behaviors and is less prone to being gamed by its users.
Keep in mind that, in addition to the software subscription fees, some software vendors make profit by taking a commission from the rewards your employees redeem in their software, reducing the overall impact of your investment.
Questions to ask:
Organizations have a responsibility to protect the personal information of their employees. Your software provider should have the necessary policies and background in place to show their commitment to providing enterprise-level security. Your vendor security audits will go quicker and smoother working with vendors that have a track record for meeting the demands of enterprise data security requirements.
Questions to ask:
Will the software you choose to accommodate your growing business? If you plan to expand your recognition program to divisions or business units in other countries or regions, you’ll want to choose a platform that can provide service to those areas and in those languages.
And remember, when shopping for your employee recognition software, you’ll want to factor in the future costs of rewards as you expand the program through your organization.
Your employees will be eager to interact with a program that feels exciting, so your chosen vendor should provide detailed launch plans to create a splash at your organization.
With millennials turning 40 this year, a large part of the workforce is ready to interact these types of social programs. If you're going to appeal to this category of employees, the software you choose should have core capabilities like commenting and liking as part of the social recognition activity. Employee recognition can even support inclusion in your organization if you roll out the program in the right way.
The relationships between teams and people in your organization can improve when you use the ideal employee recognition software. With the number of programs available, you’ll want to do your due diligence on your chosen software option. It should have a straightforward process of recognition and the latest software features for improved efficiency.
Ensure that your software vendor is reliable. Partnering with a provider who has industry-leading knowledge of employee recognition programs will be a resource for you.
Are you in need of employee recognition software for your company? Kudos is the platform that builds high-performing workplace cultures and increases employee engagement. Request a demo today to see how Kudo works.
In the last decade, there has been a massive shift in employee expectations. The best companies in the world have adjusted to this shift by realizing the power of creating people-first cultures that value the happiness of employees as much as the bottom line. Here's why becoming a people-first organization makes good business sense:
The business benefits are clear if your team is engaged. Kudos is designed to take your engagement to the next level with our platform. With over 300 clients globally, we have seen organizations of all types achieve high-performance cultures. Here are a couple of stats that highlight how our clients, that follow our best practices, are benefiting from Kudos:
The benefits of a highly engaged team are clear when you compare organizations that focus on strategies and tactics that win them "Best Place to Work” awards. Organizations that pursue and win these awards consistently outperform theirs peers and the market. Here is the proof:
The business outcomes and cost savings associated with high employee engagement paint a clear picture of why forward-thinking organizations are focusing on implementing a variety of programs and tools that are designed to create sustainable employee engagement.
What distinguishes the winners of Fortune 100’s Best Places to Work or Glassdoor’s Best Place to Work comes down to four common best practices:
This tells us is that leading organizations focus on frequent communication with their people to reinforce what they stand for. Frequently recognizing and celebrating successes (both large and small) and encouraging teams to reach for their potential is the key to winning the hearts and minds, achieving higher employee engagement which results in best-in-class corporate performance.
As showcased, there are many positive business outcomes to activating a high-performance culture. In order to achieve and measure these positive outcomes we focus on these seven measures at Kudos:
The last two measures are areas that you can easily measure the return on investment (ROI). Below we'll focus on reduced turnover costs; this is usually where the largest and most visible impact to the bottom line can be seen:
To calculate the ROI you will use the following equations:
ROI = [Savings from Reduced Employee Turnover – Cost of Program] / Cost of Program
Savings from Reduced Employee Turnover = [Cost to Replace Employee + Cost to Onboard New Employee] * # of employee exits that were avoided
If you don't have these numbers for your organization, feel free to use these benchmarks you can use when calculating this for your organization:
Did you know? Kudos clients typically see an ROI between 2.5 - 7x (ie between 250% to 700%).
As one of the first organizations to bring social recognition to the market, Kudos is now the first company to take the promise of peer-to-peer recognition to a more strategic and effective level. We are helping organizations drive individual and corporate performance in over 80 countries around the world and look forward to supporting your efforts to develop a High-Performance Culture.
If you would like to learn more, give us a shout at email@example.com or drop us a line at 587-955-9191. We’re here to help!
With many teams now working remotely, the traditional ways that organizations celebrate work anniversaries are no longer viable. Even so, work anniversaries are still an excellent opportunity to celebrate your employees.
By recognizing them for their service to your company, you can boost team morale, happiness, and retention — all important things to the success of your organization.
If you want to celebrate your team members’ big milestones, but don't know how in the age of working from home, we're here for you! Keep reading to discover five creative work anniversary ideas for organizations of all kinds.
For companies with more than a couple hundred employees, writing a personal note for every work milestone quickly becomes too time consuming to be practical. At this point, many companies start looking for ways to streamline the process of recognizing milestones — usually publicly and in real-time.
By the way, recognizing your employees’ work anniversaries publicly isn’t just about the individual — you’re creating an opportunity for everyone in your organization to join in the celebration. There are plenty of ways to do this. Here are a few examples:
At Kudos, we take a hybrid approach with our employees. Everyone receives a Kudos Award® on their work anniversary — with tons of comments and congratulations from the rest of the team. But we also like to do a little something extra and hold a monthly virtual “Birthdays & Anniversaries” party just to get everyone together and have a little fun.
Pro Tip: If you’re using Kudos, your managers will receive automated reminders about employees who are about to celebrate a milestone or birthday. Use it to get a head start on your planning!
In 2020, the average worker changes jobs every four years or so. There are many potential reasons for this — better pay, more amicable boss, shorter commute. Oftentimes employees get bored and simply want to embark on a new adventure.
But here's the thing: employee turnover is expensive. Replacing quality workers every few years isn't a great way to build a high-performance culture or a successful company.
That's why a virtual career-planning session can be such a great way to recognize a work anniversary!
Employees get to learn about ways to level up in the company, discover new roles that might interest them, and explore potential income-boosting opportunities that could become available to them in the future.
At the same time, your company sends a clear message that it values its employees, and enjoys the benefit of keeping its best team members engaged while increasing their value to the organization.
Instead of giving your employees a generic, one-size-fits-all piece of SWAG, or a plaque or trophy that just sits there taking up space, consider highly personalized items that not only name the person, but also calls out the values and qualities that they’ve displayed on the job. This level of personalization gives your team members daily reminders of why they’re valued in your organization.
Pro Tip: In Kudos, you can easily identify the qualities and values that are highest in each employee’s KQ. Here’s an example of a mug that highlights both the qualities that were represented, as well as the qualities that were recognized by this individual:
Your employees also have personal values and causes they want to help further. That's why supporting an employee-chosen charity in recognition of their loyalty to your company is one of the best work anniversary ideas out there!
Show your team that you recognize and support their values (and help make the world a better place in the process) by donating to a charitable cause on their behalf.
Forget the glass trophies and autographed photos of your CEO - when an employee has reached five, ten, or more years of service, they’ve probably created a lot of great memories. The thing is, over time a lot of those great moments become hazy, and the feeling of success and joy that comes from them becomes distant. Remind them! For a key milestone, create a memory book for a fantastic way to celebrate your employees, and remind them of the memories and success they have shared with your company.
If you’re already using Kudos, then you have an advantage here. Pop over to your employee’s Kudos profile and look for any “Impressive” and “Exceptional” Kudos message that has been received by the employee — those make for great memories! Next, hop into Albums and find any photos from company events with your all-star employee in them. You’ve now established a treasure trove of content for a meaningful book of memories.
Once you’ve designed your book, you can deliver it virtually via PDF, or have a printer ship it directly to your employee’s home. For extra credit, have your employee hold it up during your next virtual team party!
Work anniversaries are important milestones and should definitely be celebrated. We encourage you to get creative and really make this moment special for your team members! Whether you celebrate them publically or offer to support their favorite charity, the gesture will definitely be appreciated and help boost team morale and retention. Good luck!
Texas' Uvalde Memorial Hospital may have a small HR team, but they're helping to rack up some big achievements, including placing on Modern Hospital’s “100 Best Places to Work” three years running and scoring in the 90th percentile on employee engagement surveys. How do they do it?
We’ve got the answers in this interview with Charla Garcia, the CHRO at UMHRO. It’s a condensed and edited version of our very entertaining webinar featuring Charla in conversation with Tom Short of Kudos. Read on to Charla's tips on creating a better workplace and keeping teams happy and engaged in their work — even when problematic situations arise.
How were you able to raise your employee engagement score from the 67th percentile nationwide to the upper 90th percentile?
First, a new CEO was brought in who had a completely different philosophy than the previous executive. He came from a nursing family so he was very relationship-oriented, which led us to start asking our staff, "Do you have the tools and equipment to do your job?"
When we received 'No' responses, we worked hard to remove the barriers our staff were facing so that they could better serve our patients. Everything became easier after that.
Our staff began to open up more because we were having frequent conversations, they began to ask for the things they needed because they knew they could, and they brought up process issues so that we could become more efficient.
Once our employees were taken care of and felt safe expressing their ideas, our hospital's level of patient care went up as well.
What goals and/or metrics have you put in place to measure employee engagement?
Patient satisfaction is our ultimate measure. We have a saying, "Happy employees equal happy patients." Because we focus on supporting our staff, they are free to support our patients. The local community then does an amazing job of supporting us in return.
In fact, the community has supported us so well, we were able to raise five million dollars to build a new cancer center in our area!
But it's important to remember that there's a difference between employee engagement and employee satisfaction. When employees already like what they do, HR just has to remove barriers. I can streamline communication and invest in better tools for my staff. But I can't make them love their jobs.
Have the “top 100” rankings and other accolades you've received helped in recruiting or provided any other benefits to your team?
It has! We actually just hired a very experienced OR tech from San Antonio. These kinds of professionals are very hard to find in our small town and we usually have to train up our own OR techs, (AKA scrub techs).
During the orientation process, I showed this professional the accolades our hospital has received and examples of our staff's teamwork and camaraderie. At the end, he asked for a copy of the presentation so that he could show his wife why he wanted to move away from the big city and work at Uvalde Memorial Hospital.
It's so important to be aligned with the values of the organization you're employed by. When you believe in the mission of your company and know that you'll be treated with respect by management and your colleagues, engagement is much more natural.
How do you build community and what have been some of your most successful employee engagement initiatives?
We do a lot of community activities that involve our whole families. We also do Hospital Week where we invite the community into the hospital to teach them about what we do. We try to make it really fun and let them see our air ambulance transportation and EMR bus.
This helps the community realize how advanced our hospital equipment is and how talented our staff and physicians are — even though we're a very small town.
Of course, we also do the dunk tank! We ran a contest to see who would get put in the dunk tank – our hospital's CEO, CFO, COO, or me, the CHRO. The whole hospital got really into it and couldn't wait to see who would get dunked.
It can be very beneficial to host events and activities that are fun and not necessarily business related. It allows people to get to know each other better.
Was it difficult to get leadership buy-in for all of the employee engagement initiatives you've implemented?
In 2004, a new CEO took over who was the catalyst for all of these initiatives. In 2015, our current CEO took control of the organization and just wanted to support what we were already doing. So, for the most part, it hasn't been difficult to get leadership buy-in.
But I will say that leadership first opposed us using Kudos, just because they thought we were fine doing everything by hand. We were eventually able to convince them to give the software a try by highlighting the announcement feature in Kudos, which allows us to get important information to each of our employees in a timely manner.
Kudos has been a tremendous tool for us! It's so easy to use and it's a lot of fun watching our staff tag each other, make jokes, wish each other happy birthday, and recognize their colleagues in a public forum for exceptional work.
What's been your experience like when measuring employee engagement versus satisfaction and how do you demonstrate success in these areas?
The questions on our employee surveys speak to both engagement and satisfaction. For example, we ask questions like:
We always ask our employees to be completely honest in the surveys because that's the only way that we can improve our organization.
Do you have specific advice for someone just starting their journey to a more engaged and satisfied workforce?
First I would say, listen to the people doing the work. If you're in a management position, you need to be open to hearing their voices and acting on their input. Clear communication is the foundation of employee engagement and satisfaction.
The worst thing you can do is say you'll do something, and then fail to do so. When this happens, your team will stop giving you their opinions, communication will come to a standstill, and engagement and satisfaction levels will plummet.
Second, reward and recognize the successes your team has. It's the little acts of kindness that show everyone else how important your staff is to your organization.
Crafting excellent employee experiences that both engage staffers and leave them feeling satisfied is crucial. Fortunately, doing so isn't rocket science. By listening to your team and recognizing them for their contributions, you'll be able to build a winning organizational culture that people are excited to be a part of.
Looking for a tool to help you enhance the employee experience? Give Kudos a try! Our award-winning platform is used by organizations in 80 different countries around the world.
Not every management professional is born with the skills to be a Great boss. Fortunately, with a bit of self-awareness and the desire to improve, almost anyone can become an effective people leader. If you want to get a quick and simple start on being a better boss, follow these eight habits:
The best bosses are exceptional communicators. You need to make sure your employees know what to do and when to do it at all times. If they don't, frustration will build — for all parties involved.
Fortunately, you can learn how to communicate clearly if you don't already possess the skill. Keep these things in mind when practicing clear and open communication:
When you regularly communicate with your employees, they'll feel like valued members of your team. They'll then communicate better with their colleagues and your organization will naturally begin to benefit from greater productivity.
Great bosses don't just communicate clearly, they actively listen to their employees and seek their input. Then, they act on the input received as quickly as possible.
By listening to your workforce and implementing their suggestions, you'll show your team that you value them and their opinions. When employees feel valued, they generally work harder and more productively and are more engaged in their jobs.
It's important to remember that hearing and listening are two different things. Listening requires you to concentrate on what your employees say, rather than simply letting their voices wash over your eardrums without effect.
If, after listening to your team you decide to go in a different direction, make sure to explain to your team why you made that choice. That way they always feel respected.
It's incredibly annoying to have someone constantly looking over your shoulder and criticizing your work. It also sends a subtle message that you can't be trusted to perform your job, which is insulting.
Micromanagement is also bad for bosses. If you have to spend all of your time worrying about your staff, how can you be expected to get your own work done?
The key is to hire the best possible employees you can — employees that demonstrate intelligence, integrity, and a strong work ethic rather than just an impressive resume. Then let them do what you hired them to do.
If you're in a leadership position, you have an obligation to develop your team and help them reach their full potential. So take time to coach and mentor your staff. When you do, you'll find that your team is better prepared to tackle any and all challenges that arise.
Additionally, you'll see your employees gravitate towards you and become more loyal. This is especially true for those who manage millennials.
Sometimes the best way to develop your team is to help them identify their strengths and passions. Your team will function better when each member enjoys the work they do and can do it at the highest possible level.
Your team members want to know what to expect from you. They definitely don’t want to ride an emotional rollercoaster every time they step into the office.
In fact, The Academy of Management Journal published a study in 2016 that found that inconsistent treatment caused employees to experience more psychological stress than being treated consistently unfairly.
Positivity is a key leadership trait. As we all know, things don't always go to plan in the business world. When challenges present themselves, your positive attitude will help keep your staff confident and focused on the tasks at hand.
Always look for the silver lining in each and every situation. Not only will this create a more enjoyable working environment for your team, but it will also teach them to think positively as well, which, in turn, will allow them to produce their best work on a consistent basis.
Do your employees trust you? If they don’t, you won't be able to lead them effectively.
Your employees should feel that you, as their boss, have their backs, that they can speak openly and honestly with you, that you have their best interests at heart, and that you'll actually do what you say you will.
If you feel that trust in your organization is lacking, look for the reason(s) why. Then admit your mistakes and work to make yourself more approachable. But most importantly, become a person of your word.
Lastly, Great bosses understand that they're nothing without their employees and make a point to regularly recognize their staff for their contributions.
Recognition can take many different forms. You could, for example, send a handwritten thank you note to a high achieving employee. Or publicly acknowledge their accomplishments at a team-wide meeting. Or give them a gift card to their favorite restaurant.
An employee recognition platform is a great way to make recognition a regular part of your interactions with your team, plus it will create a trackable record of all those “thank-yous” and “good jobs.” Get a guide to the benefits of a recognition program here.
While recognition can take many forms, the outcome of consistently recognizing employees is always the same. Studies show that recognition leads to higher employee engagement, better performance, and less turnover.
Make these habits a part of your management style and you'll create a positive working environment for your staff that's built on mutual respect and understanding. The result of this will be greater team productivity and happiness, and less turnover. Good luck!
You know that a quality employee recognition program could do wonders for your company.
But how do you convince the leadership at your company – especially if they’re looking closely at ROI? It's not always easy to draw a correlation between positive company culture and a boost in a company's bottom line.
The answer: point your leaders towards these eight stats on the numerous benefits and immense value that an employee recognition program can provide.
Let's dive in!
According to Job Seeker Nation, a big portion of your team is either actively looking for a new job, or at least open to the idea of working for a new employer right now. That is bound to include some key people who are crucial to your organization. It’s a good thing to remind your leaders. And then, to really make your case, also remind them ...
Replacing employees isn't cheap. The costs of advertising for open roles, screening resumes, interviewing candidates, and training new team members really adds up. And we haven't even factored in the dip in productivity and employee morale your company will experience when an employee decides to move on.
According to PeopleKeep, it can cost 16% of annual salary to replace low-wage workers and 213% of annual salary to replace highly-educated executives. This translates to anywhere from $3,328 to $213,000 dollars on average.
A proper employee recognition program that boosts team engagement won't just help you save money, it'll also help you make more of it.
Harvard Business Review tells us that, of the companies they surveyed, ones that were committed to providing top-notch employee experiences rather than simple perks were able to increase annual profits by an average of 400%.
Additionally, many of the companies surveyed who had achieved these amazing results were 25% smaller than those who didn't. This leads us to believe that engaged employees are also more productive and innovative than their disengaged counterparts.
The Wall Street Journal tells us that when your employees are happy and enjoy the work they do, they'll be much less likely to call in sick. Additionally, they'll stick with your company for twice as long and spend twice as much of their on-the-clock hours focused on what you're paying them to do. Win, win, win!
One of the best ways to create happy employees is to simply recognize them for the contributions they make. (In other words, implement an employee recognition program.)
Nobody wants their employees to suffer an injury while working for their business. And maintaining a stellar safety record is crucial to the success of your company. Organizations that don't maintain safe working environments are subject to bad press, low employee morale, and the extra expense that stems from on-the-job injuries. By prioritizing employee engagement, you'll take a practical step towards reducing harmful accidents.
Companies that excel at employee engagement are 17% more productive, on average than companies who don't. Imagine how many more projects you'll complete with this level of added efficiency!
Productivity is directly related to team member satisfaction and greater revenue, making this benefit of employee recognition one of the most powerful.
If the other stats listed in this article don't convince your leadership to adopt an employee recognition program, maybe this one will: recognizing employees can increase sales by as much as 20% according to Gallup. That should get their attention!
Engaged employees generate more sales because they're willing to work harder and care more about the customers they serve, which often leads to repeat business.
At the end of the day, greater productivity and employee satisfaction wouldn't matter as much if it didn't affect your company's bottom line. Fortunately, a proper recognition program that successfully engages employees has been shown to increase profitability by 21%.
A proper employee recognition program can give a big boost to your company, enabling it to achieve greater productivity levels, better team morale, and higher profitability metrics. Hopefully, the above stats are more than enough to convince your leadership of these facts.
If you're looking for an employee recognition tool that will allow you to easily and effectively recognize your employees for their contributions, give Kudos a try. Our award-winning software is used by hundreds of companies in 80 countries around the world. Talk to the bot below (it’s pretty smart) to arrange to see Kudos in action.
Diversity and inclusion programs, and the progressive thinking behind them, are essential to organizations – influencing their values, culture, policies, and procedures. While the diversity side of these programs deals with who gets hired and why, the inclusion side is about creating and maintaining workplaces where every person feels welcome, safe, and valued for who they are. Both are vital, but here we will look at the inclusion side.
Our thesis is simple: while often overlooked, a recognition program can help organizations make important strides in creating an inclusive workplace. Here’s how:
One of the great innovations and insights of modern recognition programs has been to democratize recognition by making it peer to peer. This is a major advancement over the previous “top down” style of workplace recognition that only gave voice to senior managers according to their (no doubt narrower) criteria of which actions and which people should be recognized.
When you democratize recognition, everyone has a voice: the people (your team) decide which actions, tasks, accomplishments, attitudes and values get recognized. That means more diverse viewpoints that not only create a culture that is better at innovation and problem solving, but that also spreads the good feelings and empowerment that come with recognition to a wider range of people. When everyone is heard, everyone feels valued.
The pillars of a company’s culture are the values they promote. A good recognition platform lets a company choose the values or behaviors they want to encourage in their organization. When you use a typical recognition platform, you can check off the qualities or behaviors you want to recognize your team members for. To give you some idea of the range, the list of qualities you can select to recognize their colleagues could include: attentive, communicative, compassionate, creative thinking, execution, gratitude, intentional, positive, supportive, teamwork, timely, passion, professional, accountable, and agile.
Having a wide range of qualities to choose from encourages us to think more broadly about the qualities and values that matter to us. This leads to more people getting recognized for more actions – spreading the feeling of belonging more widely across the company. And perhaps more importantly, we are inspired to appreciate and value the different strengths and capabilities that make us all individuals.
A well-designed recognition program can also lead team members to think and act in inclusive ways. Recognition in a business can be thought of as coming in two forms: appreciative and performance based. Both are important but appreciative recognition can sometimes get overlooked or at least take a back seat. A well-designed recognition program can help an organization get the balance right.
Appreciative recognition honors team members for everyday actions. Delivering someone’s documents when we go by the printer (when we used to be in the office together!) could earn someone recognition for being “Attentive.” Making sure everyone is heard at meetings would be “Compassionate” and “Supportive.” Contributing to group activities in a video call: “Teamwork.” Raising morale with a well-timed joke: “Positive.” Especially when shared, these simple gestures are the building blocks of a culture that creates a sense of connection and belonging.
And, of course, recognition is a great way to support and encourage team members who are consciously supporting a respectful, compassionate, inclusive, and diverse workplace.
Recognition platforms typically include dashboards, reports, leaderboards, and the ability to see the messages people are sending. The first, and perhaps most important benefit is that you can see if any individuals or groups are being left out and take action.
You can also see and track which values people in your organization are living and expressing. If you see a lot of recognition for qualities like compassion, positivity, being supportive, and teamwork, for example, you’re probably on the right track at encouraging an inclusive workplace. If all of the recognition being sent in your organization is for more performance-based qualities, you might have some work to do.
When you actively encourage recognition and make it easy – as recognition platforms are designed to do – you are more likely to see people connecting with and appreciating people outside of the groups they normally interact with. This is especially valuable in the era of remote work where a recognition platform can supplement the usual “physical” interactions that you expect around the office are not available.
Hopefully, you’ll find these ways recognition programs can support inclusion initiatives helpful. Along with your other initiatives, we think you’ll find a recognition program a powerful tool in creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace where every team member feels welcome and valued for who they are.
Kudos® is an employee recognition and engagement company that supports companies in a wide range of market sectors in 80 countries. Our easy-to-use SaaS recognition platform helps organizations by supporting employee inclusion, reducing turnover, increasing employee engagement, strengthening culture, and boosting morale and productivity.
We had the honor of having Cornell Verdeja-Woodson, a Diversity Business Partner for Google Cloud, as a guest on our Work From Home Show podcast. Cornell has a very original and thought-provoking take on what the remote work era can teach us about privilege and diversity and inclusion. Hear the podcast. Read the blog.
2020 has been quite the year so far – to say the least. And we’re only six months in… A pandemic has driven us into our homes and changed the way we work, causing many companies to worry about presenteeism and productivity. But showing up for the workday and not being checked in and engaged can cause more than just a productivity issue, it may be a sign of a burnout problem. In fact, a pre-COVID survey found that 82% of remote tech workers in the U.S. felt burnt out. (Just because our beds are just in the other room, doesn’t mean we workaholics won’t overwork ourselves.)
So, we thought we would share some suggestions on how to prevent burnout in this virtual, work-from-home era.
Did someone say staycation? Yes, you are working from home, and yes, your vacation buddy is probably your five-year-old, or the roommate you found on Craigslist, but you were given vacation time… so don’t be afraid to use it! It’s time to detach from work, it’s time to reset and recharge so you can be your awesome productive self!
We understand pressure can come from your leaders, but that’s why we talk about the importance of communication below.
According to a report by Robert Half, 57% of employees sometimes go to work while sick and 33% always go to work while sick.
Sheesh, that’s 90% of workers who have admitted to this. This is no joke. And presenteeism is just as likely to occur remotely as well. If we are willing to overwork our bodies when we are unwell, burnout is inevitable. So, this is a reminder that even though you may already be at home, taking that time to rest when we are sick can ensure that you stay in the game for the long haul.
As it is often said, there is no such thing as over-communication. If you are at risk of burnout, get ahead of it by talking to your leader or team to make them aware that there may be a problem. Then work out a solution to distribute your workload or, potentially, get time off. Being proactive is key.
Along with communication comes setting boundaries. To reduce the pressure of working into the evening, let your team know when your workday ends. Just because we are at home, does not mean we always have to be online. Closing your laptop for the day is the same as leaving the office, and it’s okay to let people know.
Yes, I know I just preached communication, but sometimes those Zoom calls every hour on the hour can drain us and contribute to burnout. And we all know some of the calls could be emails. But if your calls are mostly with your team, find ways to discuss reducing the number of video calls with them and your leaders. And try to reduce call time by setting a clear agenda for each call.
If that isn’t possible, the Harvard Business Review gives us some tips on how to reduce video call fatigue. From avoiding multitasking on calls to reducing screen stimuli (including staring at your own beautiful face... I’m guilty), these are sure to help your eyes from doing the inevitable glaze-over every once in a while.
The pandemic and our new work environment have a lot of companies pausing and reflecting on productivity and engagement. If you are finding yourself disconnected from your team or you are finding your employees are not as engaged, it might be time to discuss and rethink your engagement strategy.
We talk about a lot about employee engagement strategies here at Kudos (get seven awesome engagement tips here, for example). And many of the strategies we advocate – like letting employees own their tasks, communicating regularly, setting clear but realistic goals, and making it clear that your organization cares about the well-being of your team members – seem especially relevant in the present circumstances.
Our own Kudos platform also seems especially relevant in the remote work world. (We couldn’t talk employee engagement without a quick shout out to ourselves, right?)
Kudos encourages positive and proactive behavior, and alignment with your core values, through real-time peer-to-peer recognition. It also enables efficient and effective communication, which is especially vital right now.
Focusing on employee engagement can help your remote employees stay connected to one another, realize their work doesn't go unnoticed, and keep everyone on the same page and aligned towards company goals – even when you’re apart.
When you have a solid engagement plan, it is more likely presenteeism and burnout will become things of the past.
We are all going through unprecedented times. We are dealing with a pandemic while multitasking our involvement with movements of social justice (well, I sure am). But if you are feeling disengaged from work... well, I would be surprised if you weren’t! And that is okay. Using those personal days, being honest with your employer and employees, and recognizing when things get to be a little too much can help ease the load you feel both physically and mentally. Ultimately, your health comes first, and we must remember to check in with ourselves.
AND... leaders, now is the time to show compassion and empathy. We all want that well-oiled productive machine that is on point all the time, but that machine can’t function properly when its parts are burned out and disengaged.
To learn more about employee engagement, check out our other resources, or connect with us in the chatbot below!
When we started Kudos, we wanted to bring a diverse group of smart, respectful, and committed people together in an inclusive manner to help us change the world. Admittedly, we are not perfect. We need greater diversity in our board and leadership profile, and we can always be more inclusive. For us, making the world better entails fostering cultural unity within organizations, and enabling individuals to realize their potential. Our plan is to increase global purpose and happiness.
Last Tuesday Kudos went silent on social media, as many people and organizations did. Giving Black people the space to be heard and amplify their voices is important. We also wanted to ensure we were being intentional, purposeful, and empathetic in our actions – so we listened, we are still learning, and today we have decided to break our silence, to openly commit to our path forward.
Creating meaningful and sustainable change is not easy. It only happens with commitment, growth (open and evolutionary learning), and stamina. This is not a race. This is our long-term commitment to make sincere, positive changes. These are our commitments:
Kudos stands in solidarity with the Black community.
We condemn racism in all its forms.
We will create a safe space for our employees, clients, partners.
We will reflect on and amend our own diversity and inclusion policies.
We will openly discuss, learn, and educate.
We will collectively show compassion if we make mistakes.
We will not be passive. We will not be silent. We will do better. We will not stop.
Black Lives Matter.
How did we come to our commitments and our action plan? We involved our team in the process and we focused on using our core values to guide us. Very quickly, concepts around transparency, inclusion, collaboration, compassion, and accountability became our focus. It was also important to us that our commitments represented a plan for both internal and external change because cultural change is all-encompassing.
We encourage other organizations to develop their own commitments and share them publicly. We need to hold each other accountable if we expect this world to see the change it needs.
We were very lucky to have Cornell Verdeja-Woodson, a Diversity Business Partner for Google Cloud, on the WFH podcast. The following is an abbreviated version of Cornell’s conversation with our host Nikki Weisgarber. Hear the complete podcast.
Please tell us a bit about your background.
I actually just moved to California, so I'm new to tech. My background is in education. I have a master's degree in higher education. I did diversity-related work for over 10 years in education and moved to tech about a year and a half ago, helping tech organizations really develop their diversity initiatives in order to be able to impact the world in a larger way.
How does working remotely foster greater workplace diversity and inclusion?
It's really opening people's eyes to the things that they take for granted every single day. It’s so important because there are folks who don't have the opportunity to do a lot of the things that some of us are used to, like to go out to brunch, for example. I work from home most of the time anyway, but I really miss being able to go to brunch – being able to get out there.
However, what people are witnessing, is that brunch is far from what most people are concerned about. There are a lot of people who don't have a job anymore because their work can't be done from home. There are some people who still have to go to work and risk catching COVID-19 because if they refuse to go to work, it means they’ll lose their job.
This is really impacting people differently. And I think for many of us, it's really opening people’s eyes to the ways in which other people navigate the world – and where privilege really lies, and how some people can benefit from their class, their socioeconomic class, their race, their gender, and things of that sort. A lot of people are having “aha” moments (which my work is so steeped in) by being forced to work from home and not being able to go outside and do the things that they want to do.
I have found myself overcome with emotion because I was so selfish in that first week of remote work. And then I thought, "What's the problem here? Other people are experiencing much worse circumstances.” I've reflected on that, and I am going to act differently going forward.
You really hit on something good, right? I'm finding that most people, when it comes to DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) stay away from those aha moments out of fear of what that means. Maybe they are thinking that before "I wasn't a good person," or, "I wasn't a humble person, or someone who thought of others." But no, you had a certain vantage point. You had a certain way of living that you understood. And it's hard to know how other people live until you're presented with an opportunity to be educated. So, the fact that you're thinking, "Whoa, I'm taking that information. I'm going to do some things differently now that I know." That's what we're working towards. That's what makes this an amazing experience.
Tell us about how you make sure that all your employees are engaged during this time, especially those that are from backgrounds that are often overlooked in meetings or events or just in their daily lives?
Absolutely. When it comes to these kinds of things, it's really important to note that everyone needs something different when it comes to engagement. So, we need to ask what the different groups that exist within the organization on our teams are, and what might each of those groups need.
Folks who struggle with mental health, what might they need in this moment? Folks who have children, folks who take care of aging parents, or things of that sort. We need to ask what they need in this moment to make sure they know that we're here for them.
We're encouraging our managers to be patient, to be kind, and most importantly, to ask questions. We find that most of the time folks from underrepresented and marginalized backgrounds aren't going to advocate for themselves. They're not going to say, "Hey, I have four children, and I'm a single parent," or, "My spouse actually has to go to work, so I'm home with the kids." They're not going to advocate for themselves out of fear of how that might look on them. Women, in particular, will not advocate for themselves for that reason, especially if they're in engineering roles or sales roles, because they don't want to be seen as the weakest link.
So, it's really important for managers to step up and say, "Hey, I know you have needs. Let me know what those are so I can be here and show up for you and create the space for you to take care of what you have to take care of, so you can show up in a major way at work knowing that personal things are being taken care."
Do you have any advice for employees with those needs on how they can communicate to their managers – especially if their managers aren't reaching out to them?
First, I want to acknowledge how difficult that can be – depending on the culture and climate of your organization. If you're in an organization where you have one-on-ones with your manager (and go ahead and request one if they’re not pre-scheduled), use that time to just say, "Hey, I really want to be able to do my best work. And right now there are some things outside of work that are really pressing for me, that are going to inhibit my ability to really be successful in the work that I have to get done." And then outline what is it that you need – and be very specific, because most times your manager is going to ask, "Okay, thank you for telling me. What do you need?" Be ready to provide what that looks like.
But I think that a lot of times managers want to know, "How are we making sure that the work still gets done and you still get what you need?" So, as the employee, a great way to approach it is to say, "Hey, I want to do my best work. Here's what I need in order to be able to do that."
I’d like to talk about the neurodiverse community. According to the CDC, 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls in the US are autistic. So how do we manage a remote workforce that is inclusive of those who are neurodiverse?
Neurodiversity is an under-discussed opportunity within diversity. Knowing that we potentially work with a lot of folks who fall under that umbrella, it's necessary for us, first, to know what neurodiversity even means. What does that look like? And then, from there, we're able to figure out how we create processes and systems of support to be able to allow them to function well and get the support that they need to do their job.
Understanding and awareness are always critical. Diversity education always gets a lot of flak. There are tons of articles that say, "Diversity training doesn't work." And, it's like, "Yeah, they don't work by themselves." So, awareness is super critical because the more I know, the better I can do – and the better decisions I can make. So, being able to understand and create space for people to self-identify as neurodiverse is vital.
We don't want people out there diagnosing others as neurodiverse because they learned about it through a magazine article. We need to create space for people to be able to say, "Hey, I'm someone who really needs this kind of support because of my neurodiversity, and here's what that looks like for me." Opening up the communication for people to be able to advocate for themselves is the best way you can support a large portion of people.
With organizations starting to see the viability of remote work, it opens doors to a larger talent pool. Let's talk about how this creates a greater opportunity to diversify our companies.
I think this is my favorite question, and my favorite topic coming out of this conversation around working from home. There are so many industries that really did not see working from home as a viable way to build teams and manage people and to get work done. But COVID-19 has really forced us to see that working from home – when done strategically and intentionally – can be a viable option for many people.
This opens our workforce to different people. For example, there are folks who don't have the resources to be able to travel back and forth into work or may not want to. I think of my time working in higher education, where we were trying to recruit people of color to some smaller towns that were usually predominantly white. And many people of color, particularly with children, don't want to move to a small town where it's predominantly white because they don't want to raise their kids in spaces where they're the one of five. And there are certain cultural things that people need in their town in order to feel at home. And so, if we open our workforce up to being more open to work-from-home options, now your talent pool opens up because people can live where they need to. Not to mention that remote work can limit the high price tag of relocating employees. Those factors can hinder where you can hire from and who you're willing to hire because you can't afford to help them move. But now, work-from-home options allow us to really connect with different demographics and people from all over the country to be able to maximize the talent that's really out there.
Does the transition to remote work impact diversity initiatives?
It definitely does. For example, training. When it comes to diversity, training is often face-to-face. Many people will tell you that doing it virtually is not the best option because there are so many emotions that come out of talking about diversity. You want to be able to be there in a space with someone, to support them in that moment. But now we're being forced to really rethink, "Wow. We’ve got to get more creative and think about how diversity training translates in a virtual world – using the resources and the technology that are out there to make it just as engaging virtually as it was face to face."
The other thing is that we're helping people develop new skills. So, we're helping managers develop new skills of how to deal with conflict virtually. You know that 85% of our communication is nonverbal. If we're all on Zoom or Google Hangouts and folks have their cameras off, there's much more room for people to misinterpret or misunderstand what someone said. So now we're helping managers to really focus on conflict management skills, making sure that folks who traditionally are talked over in face-to-face meetings don’t also get talked over in virtual meetings.
We know that women often get interrupted and left out of conversations by their male colleagues. So how do we make sure that in a virtual world (where it's very easy to hide under the radar), managers are being very mindful of who's not talking? They should be asking "Who haven't I heard from?" and saying, "Hey, I want to open up this space for people who I haven't heard from already."
n I think the other thing from a DEI perspective of what will change is, unfortunately, that many companies will have to reprioritize their business goals and really pivot to something different. And, unfortunately, diversity initiatives can get pushed to the back burner when more pressing issues arise. For DEI professionals, it's really going to be important for us to make sure that we are making leaders aware that diversity is just as important, if not more important, today as it was before COVID-19.
I've been telling people I think that COVID-19 will be a test for whether or not the business case for diversity conversations actually worked. Will leaders think on their own that, "Yes, we’ve got to get diversity in on this"? Or will they push us to the back, requiring us to really step up and say, "Uh-uh. You need us, and here's why"?
Have you experienced that?
No. So far, not at all. If anything, you see the messaging from other companies, and even my own, steeped in diversity. If anything, they recognize how inclusion is even more important for the reasons we talked about earlier, that people with significant identities of privilege are now going, "Whoa, this is what it feels like to be excluded." So now we're ramping it up, even more, to say, "This is the time to show up, to empathize, to be humble, and to be there for each other."
Everything that I've been reading on diversity and inclusion during this time says this is not the time to cut out any of these initiatives. This is the time to enhance them so that when we come out on the other side of all of this, it's still something that we're working on.
Exactly. And I think working from home will require new systems. And if we build those systems from the ground up with inclusion at the center, we're going to build it in a way that is equitable for all the people who need to be impacted by it.
And it's part of your culture, and your foundation too, right? If you don't have that foundation, it's going to crumble.
Exactly. And it's going to make it harder to fix down the line.
What might be the long-term impact of COVID-19 on diversity work?
I think the big thing is whether diversity work has the reach that we want it to have. I think this is the opportunity for diversity to expand its reach. And what I mean by expanding its reach is that, oftentimes, the best way to implement diversity initiatives is when they touch every aspect of the company: the product, human resources, the facilities, promotion, hiring, all of that. I think that this will be an opportunity for diversity, long term, to naturally seep its way into all those areas – and for us to not have such a hard time getting into those areas.
This could be a natural way for the professionals who are ready with the data, ready with the information, to say, "Look, here's why we need to be at that table having those conversations in those rooms. This is an impact that can really uplift diversity and inclusion initiatives in a major way."
The other thing is specifically around companies who are going to be laying people off. DEI professionals need to be a part of those conversations about how we do that equitably. We know that it has to be done, right? The money isn't there. We've seen some companies where, instead of laying people off, they've asked everyone to decrease their salary to make room for everyone else to be able to keep their job. So how are we a part of those conversations and how are we impacting how we make those decisions? Those are two big things that I think are really going to be top of mind for many companies and how DEI will be impacted in the long term.
Do you have any sort of final thoughts or takeaways that you'd like to leave our audience with?
I think this is a big opportunity for people in diversity roles to get ready to really center diversity around everything that's happening. We have to be ready for that. We have to be ready and have the courage to step up and say, "Hey, do not forget these DEI initiatives. And here's how they're connected, even as you pivot to different priorities because of COVID-19."
But if you're someone who's like, "I'm not in a diversity role, but this matters," or, "I'm just learning about this," I think that this is a really great opportunity for allies to step up and recognize the differences in how COVID-19 has impacted different people. It’s time to say to your company or organization, "What are we doing for this population?" Allies are so important for this conversation, and we need them now more than ever to use that identity privilege to step up and say, "Hey, we're not doing this right," or, "We could be doing this better. And let's do it now before it gets too bad and we can't fix it."
At Kudos, we strive to bring insights from a wide spectrum of leading experts, both from within our company, and the wider community. This week we partnered with HR expert, Jerry Gratton of Trailblaze Partners. Jerry has also been a guest on our podcast, The Work From Home Show.
How has remote working been for your organization?
Did you realize you are a part of the greatest workplace experiment of all time?
Think about it, a vast infrastructure (encompassing huge swathes of our cities all around the world) and a whole way of working and gathering (hundreds of years in the making), abandoned in a matter of days.
And from what I’ve heard from the majority of business leaders and their teams I’ve spoken with, we made it work.
Yes, there have been stumbles. It has not been ideal. Too few lunches out. Too many days in sweatpants.
But we’ve learned just how resilient our organizations (and all of humanity too, frankly) can be.
Here are some thoughts on what we’ve learned and actions we can carry forward to create an even better workplace – no matter where that is.
Lesson: The WFH era has shown organizations which aspects of their culture really matter. Those organizations where the cornerstone of their culture is ping-pong tables and salad bars (those are perks not culture, btw), are probably suffering more than those that were built around common values, aligned goals, a sense of belonging, and recognition from leadership and peers.
Action: Identify and foster the aspects of your culture that you know are driving alignment and engagement. Ultimately, your people want to feel that they belong, know that their work matters, and that they will be recognized for it.
Lesson: I’ve been pleased by how many leaders have changed their opinion on this. Yes, WFH can mean WORK, from home. (I have been leading remote teams for decades, so this is no surprise to me. In fact, purposefully led remote teams can actually be more productive than onsite teams.)
Action: We’ll need to adjust our parameters of when and how often employees can work from home and what the approval process will be. More flexible work arrangements will be the new normal. If you hadn’t addressed this pre-pandemic, there is no excuse now. You’ll also have to think about what sort of physical and technological conditions (high-speed internet, etc.) you require and what sort of support (for tech, etc.) you’ll need to provide.
Lesson: The lower than expected infection rate during COVID has taught us how effective social distancing can be.
Action: Gone are the days of toughing out a cold or the flu at the office. The best sick policies will encourage, not penalize employees for making the decision to keep their germs to themselves. The best will also blend WFH and sick policies together to ensure we’re trusting our employees to decide what’s best for them and the organization.
Lesson: Ditto what I said above about social distancing, but applied to how we are when in the same physical space.
Action: When it comes to office layout – including workspaces and meeting rooms – think carefully about what it will take to make your employees feel safe and meet physical distancing regulations in your jurisdiction. At a minimum, you may need to look at staggering workdays (so not everyone is out/in on the same days). Hint: don’t stagger based on department, the last thing you need is for your entire finance team to be off sick because one member of the team tested positive, or just came in with a cold. Also, you may even need to think about eliminating desks
Lesson: If your team can work from anywhere you can hire from anywhere.
Action: Issues like having team members in different time zones mean you’ll have to think about things like work hours/schedules that allow for collaboration across the whole organization.
Lesson: The best way to know if you can trust someone is to trust them. The WFH era has forced this paradigm on us; we’ve just had to trust our team members. And from what I’ve seen the results have been overwhelmingly positive.
Action: Capture that momentum – don’t lose it! Now is the time to implement changes in reporting and 1-to-1s that move towards managing results, not activity or facetime.
Lesson: Weirdly, many people feel more connected as a result of the glimpses into each other's lives via video meetings.
Action: We can ensure that connection doesn’t go away when we are collocated again. It can be as simple as starting your 1-to-1s with a check-in that includes non-work topics. And, for managers, showing vulnerability – that you're human, that you get nervous, you get excited, you sometimes procrastinate – can put team members at ease and increase that connection. Oh, and the best leaders show their vulnerabilities first.
Can we create a better workplace – one that will marry the best aspects of the lessons from the WFH era and the traditional in-office experience? That will be the next big experiment – and I, for one, am very optimistic. I just hope we get to test it soon!
This week’s blog is by Jane Whitton, Director of Culture Strategy at Kudos. Jane and her team leverage their expertise in organizational culture, change management, and employee engagement to provide practical, results-oriented strategies for businesses around the world.
When the pandemic took hold in mid-March, we heard one urgent question: how do we engage our employees through this?
Amongst the logistics of ensuring physical distancing, enabling work-from-home technology, and re-evaluating operating budgets and annual goals, came a question about people – not their achievements, which is a common theme in recognition conversations – this question was about supporting people’s mental health.
Of course, our clients are concerned about a loss of productivity. And we all know that a mentally healthy individual is more productive. In some cases, our busy HR clients who are typically asked to prioritize everything, are now being urgently required to focus exclusively on employee engagement, freeing up more time to develop exciting engagement programs that work for their businesses.
But as we dove into discussions, we found that most of our clients were looking for ways to support their staff through this uncertainty. To create happiness. To help people transition to a work-from-home routine. To support them while they balance their work and parental duties. To remain connected – however different that feels now. It was less about achievements and points, and more about in-the-moment appreciation. And hope.
Our most popular programs since COVID-19 took hold, have been around connection and mental wellness.
Many clients have introduced a gratitude practice across their organization that encourages people to take a few minutes to focus on a positive interaction between colleagues. And anything goes! From checking in on each other, to making a child laugh during a meeting or helping them solve a work problem – our Kudos users are a grateful bunch!
Some have kicked off this gratitude practice by having their president or CEO send recognition to all staff to show their personal gratitude for the team’s resiliency during this time. These leaders will provide examples like those noted above to illustrate that everyone feels seen and supported through this change.
Other organizations use the new Spaces feature in Kudos to collect work-from-home tips, ways to connect with loved ones, or suggestions on local businesses to support.
Some encourage their employees to share a picture of their workspace, the new “colleagues” they now work/teach alongside (2- or 4-legged versions!), or a screenshot of the co-workers they are virtually connecting with.
In all cases, we recommend that businesses recognize team members who participate in supporting each other and building a culture of resilience in a way that was never required of them before.
We encourage them to highlight – through their leaders or existing communication practices – messages that articulate the types of behaviours they want to encourage across their business, now, and after the pandemic has passed.
Over time, the above-mentioned practices will evolve into “normal” program planning that combines appreciation with performance management, and includes values and behaviours, and contests and prizes. We want to make sure our clients and their employees are ready for the “new normal.”
We will also be offering additional programs to help our clients transition back to office work – whenever that may be, or whatever that will look like – so they can continue to build and maintain their culture of resilience, appreciation, and performance.
The world, and how we work within it, may be different after COVID-19 has passed, but for businesses who encourage activities like the ones mentioned above, the change will be worth recognizing and celebrating.
This one: Over the past few weeks on our podcast, The Work From Home Show, we’ve had the opportunity to talk with some awesome HR pros from a variety of companies, including Google, Drift, and PandaDoc. At the end of every episode, Nikki, our Work From Home Show host, asks our guest the same question: "What is your number one tip for working from home?" And here are the answers!
Over the past few weeks on our podcast, The Work From Home Show, we’ve had the opportunity to talk with some awesome HR pros from a variety of companies, including Google, Drift, and PandaDoc. At the end of every episode, Nikki, our Work From Home Show host, asks our guest the same question: "What is your number one tip for working from home?" And here are the answers!
-Cornell Verdeja-Woodson, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Google
I would say that one of things that helps me is getting up at the same time I would have when I was going into the office. Then I would map out what my day looks like. I have a list of the things I need to accomplish, and I get those done. So make sure that your day is still structured. It's very easy to be watching TV on the side – and that’s OK, but have it structured so you know that from 1 pm to 2 pm you can take a quick hour break to watch that latest episode of Judge Judy, and then come back.
-Robin Corralez, Global Vice President for Human Resources at Pandadoc
My number one tip is to start your day with a transition into work. Find something to do before you begin the workday. For example, I go for a walk with my daughter each morning. We bust out either a bike or a stroller and we go for a walk to decompress between getting out of bed and getting on the computer. There have been times where I roll out of bed and go straight to my computer, and I feel like there's no transition. Find a way to ease yourself into working; whether it's doing something physically active or mentally active. It's a good way to help you maintain your mental attitude and be refreshed each day. Hear the podcast.
-Dena Upton, Chief People Officer at Drift
Set a schedule and have a space where you go to work that is separate when you’re off the clock. Find somewhere you can go, mentally, to say “I'm in work mode right now,” or “I'm off right now.” It doesn't have to be a huge space, but even if it's just moving over to one section of the house. This means you're still bringing those routines and rituals into remote working that you would normally do if you were going to the office. Hear the podcast.
-Anette Ceraficki, HR manager for Getty Images
You have to figure out how to structure each day. It might look different if you have a family or if you have other commitments, but without structure you might work all day long. On certain days, I build in two hours to focus on specific projects because work time like that needs to be planned when we don't have a “work” environment to support it. Hear the podcast.
-Jerry Gratton, Founder and CPO of Trailblaze Partners
My number one tip would be to make a make a schedule. The day can just sort of “go by” when you're at home. So, make a schedule and make sure that there's a lot of time for connecting with your team members. For those of us that like to be around people, that's the stuff that makes work actually work.
Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you have to be isolated. In your calendar, build lots of check ins with team members – and not just your leader. You have conversations at people's desks during the day when you're at the office, use video chat to do those kinds of things face to face. Hear the podcast.
-Michelle Berg, CEO of Elevated HR
Set boundaries. I feel guilty if I'm not giving enough time to work or I'm not giving enough time to my family. So, make sure you're still setting those boundaries when you're working from home. I tell my kids I'm working 8:00am to 5:00pm - after that, you have my full attention.
As a mom, don't forget to set time for you. Because it's not just about work, and it's not just about being a mom, self-care is so important right now and it's OK to be selfish. Hear the podcast.
-Tom Morin, speaker, author, coach and consultant at Work Feels Good.
I have worked from home for a long time. It wasn't uncommon for me to not move from my computer for four or six hours, and when I get up to move, I would be in pain and stiff. I started setting alarms on my phone that go off every half an hour. Then when an alarm goes off, I’ll stand up – even if I have nothing to do. I'll go get a drink of water. I’ll bring in the garbage bins from the street. I’ll sweep off my deck. The number one work from home tip for me is to keep moving. Hear the podcast.
We hope these tips were useful. I mean, these people know what they are talking about! We know we enjoyed chatting with all of them and plan on implementing many of these tips ourselves! As we all go through this together, we are all discovering how to navigate these times both personally and professionally, and we hope these tips can help make this navigation a little smoother.
If you are interested in hearing more from these and other awesome HR pros, check out The Work From Home Show. We dig deeper into the challenges and benefits of working from home, and the strategies companies are using. We also talk about “what’s next,” to help you be ready for how the workplace may change in the post-COVID-19 world. Not to mention, you'll find out which shows these HR pros say are binge-worthy!
Jerry Gratton is the Founder and CPO of Vancouver-based Trailblaze Partners, Management Consultants. He has 25 years of experience building high performing teams across a variety of industries. Jerry has held key leadership roles at some of the most successful companies in western Canada, including 1-800-GOT-JUNK, Crystal Decisions, Aritzia and O2E Brands.
We spoke with Jerry for an episode of the Work From Home Show podcast. The following is an abbreviated version of that conversation. Click here for the full podcast.
Tell us about your experience talking with organizations over the last few weeks.
When I’ve been talking to companies about how to transition to remote work, one of the things that I remind them is that even though many of them have been thrust into this, the good news is many companies have been doing it for years. I remind them that it can be done, and that teams can be super productive even when team members can’t see their leaders.
Should expectations of team members change when they’re working remotely on a consistent basis?
I think we should expect everything of each other that we expect when we're together. It's just different. And probably one of the biggest differences is people are used to having their leader around. So one of the biggest things that I think we should expect from each other during this time is how do we take that public part of working together in an office, and intentionally translate it to the remote environment.
But, we have to lead with a lot of empathy at this time, because it's very different and very new. So maybe don't just switch those expectations overnight. You have to say that you're going to still expect things of team members, but that you're going to figure out what’s appropriate, and what's not, together.
How does that affect workloads?
There's an adjustment period. But what we do know – and this is good news – is there have been many studies about remote work versus co-located people in an office, and generally, the studies show that people can actually be more productive in remote work environments.
But don't expect that of your newly minted work-from-home teams right away. People can be more productive if their leader allows for flexibility in when team members work. We have to reimagine the workday because many of us are at home now with kids and dogs and lists of to-dos – things we can park at the door when we go to the office and not think about.
So if we still think of the 9 to 5 paradigm, productivity will be reduced because we just can’t get as much done with all those distractions. So we have to be okay with deadlines stretching and people being able to work when they've got the time. If you can't get something done right now, do it later. And maybe later is Saturday morning when everyone's sleeping in.
So, I think we can expect people to still be productive, but we have to change the way we see them being productive, and be flexible about the timeframe in which productivity happens.
Can you tell us about the performance meeting and how it might have to change with remote teams?
A lot of organizations have a regular cadence for coaching meetings, or “get stuff done” (GSD) meetings. I would say continue those, but probably change up the frequency. The most common is the weekly one-hour meeting where you check in with your team members and find out what they've done and where they were blocked. I would take that and half it and double it. So, twice the frequency half the amount of time. That's just a rule of thumb. Do what feels natural for you, or as often as that individual needs.
As a team though, I think we really have to be intentional. Since we’re missing “working out loud” and working publicly, we have to schedule daily huddles with your team where you go around the table and do a “top one” check-in with each other. And then hold them accountable to that. And be sure to check in on how everyone is feeling too.
What are some of the strategies and best practices you can recommend around recognition?
I love the daily huddle. That’s a practice we honed really well at 1-800-Got-Junk. It became part of the DNA of the company – we were known for it.
The daily huddle is an opportunity to provide recognition not just from leader to team member, but team member to team member. But it takes time. You don't just say, “okay, now we're gonna recognize each other,” and it just happens. As a leader, you have to be a role model.
In these uncertain times, it's imperative of leaders to dig down deep into that barrel and pull out the good news from the previous day or the good news from that morning, if it's an afternoon meeting.
And I would encourage leaders to model public recognition and also individual recognition. You should know your team members and know who likes to be carried out of the room on everyone's shoulders, and who wants to just be quietly recognized for the work that they did.
I would also say that now's the time to pull out goofy awards and trophies. With one of my teams, we had a “Golden Gnome Award.” We found an old garden gnome and we awarded it to the team member of the month. And it became the most coveted award. If you could get the Golden Gnome, you had bragging rights for the next month. So, do things that make it fun – especially now when not everything is really fun.
What advice are you giving your clients about the opportunities that might arise when COVID-19 is over?
As we move past the vital question of, “how do we survive?” there are some really serious conversations that organizations are having where they are asking “what can we do?” And the best ones are doing it as a team. They’re asking, “Is this an opportunity? What didn't we do before that we can do now? And that we can carry forward into the future?”
The best companies are not being opportunistic in a way where they’re going to make money off of COVID-19. They’re being opportunistic by asking what strengths and skill sets they have as an organization? They’re thinking about how they can pivot on those, and be helpful to other businesses and individuals.
I hope these conversations around remote work don’t just end when we go back to the office. I hope we can think about how this translates into more flexible workplaces for team members. And how these practices increase your employee value proposition and your talent pool. If you can get used to remote work, your talent pool just grew from wherever you're situated, to the world, potentially.
Those are the kinds of really exciting conversations to have – while being respectful of what we're all going through right now and how serious this situation is.
What’s your number one tip for working from home?
My number one tip would be to make a schedule. And build your calendar with lots of check-ins with team members, not just your leader. You have conversations at people's desks during the day when you're at the office; so do those kinds of things virtually. Don't feel alone.
Originally published in 2019, we thought this blog would provide great value – and positivity! – to businesses navigating the current situation.
Sure, remote work is mandatory for most of us in the time of COVID, but did you know that many people actually prefer working remotely? And people working away from the office are often more productive – and even happier!
That’s a mighty big leap for a working style that was once relegated to freelancers and those mysterious people in coffee shops hunched protectively over their laptops. It turns out they weren’t just writing the next great American novel - they were working remotely!
What is remote work, exactly? Put simply, it's a working style that allows employees and teams to operate outside of traditional workplace settings, with an emphasis on working from any locale or destination.
Whether part or full time, remote workers can execute their tasks and achieve goals without having to be in one specific place with their office counterparts. More employees are pushing for remote work opportunities, making it a key driver of recruitment and retention for many organizations.
According to Regus, increased productivity and improved work/life balance account for nearly 70% of employees’ reasons for wanting remote work opportunities!
Remote work may not be suitable for everyone, but there’s no denying the need for remote opportunities. While it’s easy to assume that remote workers may be unproductive, this working style is only growing in popularity.
There are six things organizations need to consider regarding remote work before deciding whether they should implement this working style and remote opportunities into their operations.
Organizations can no longer ignore the modern workforce’s demands for remote work opportunities.
51% of employees would willingly change jobs or companies for those which offer more remote options and flexibility, and companies have little choice but to adapt to the realities of how people want to work.
Millennials are perhaps the biggest proponents of remote work, where the opportunity for more flexibility takes priority over other benefits associated with their jobs. Studies have found, for example, that 69% of millennials would trade other work benefits for more flexible work options!
It’s not just existing employees that want more flexibility in their work styles, either. More people are searching for roles that allow for remote work! On job search engines like Indeed, for instance, in Canada alone, searches for remote roles have increased by 19% since 2017.
Flexible work styles are also one of the foremost considerations for millennials when pursuing a career opportunity, with 75% of millennials wanting remote work options at least part of the time.
Moreover, in a survey conducted by Buffer, an overwhelming 99% of respondents said they would like to have the opportunity to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers!
It may surprise leaders to learn that remote work has its benefits for more than just employees and remote teams!
44% of companies don’t allow any form of remote work, but those that do often experience significant increases in productivity and retention when providing their teams with remote opportunities.
Surveys have indicated that companies that allow some form of remote work experience 25% less turnover, but that’s not all. Agile workers, such as remote employees, are 36% better equipped to meet changing customer demands; provide organizations with 34% more access to a broader range of skills and specialized talent, and offer 36% more general skills and expertise to organizations!
Productivity is also an incentive for organizations when it comes to remote work. OwlLabs conducted a study in which they found that fully remote workers are twice as likely to be individual contributors to their organization than their managers! Similarly, a study by Stanford University points to the benefits of remote work, which include, among others, improved job satisfaction, higher productivity, and an increased sense of autonomy.
Which brings us to our next point…
It may be hard to believe that remote workers can be just as engaged, or even more so than their office-bound counterparts.
However, research shows that employees who have the opportunity to work remotely are not only engaged and connected but sometimes even more productive!
Gallup studies have shown that approximately 35% of those who work remotely at least 20% of the time are more engaged. Meanwhile, 60% of an employee’s time spent working offsite results in higher engagement rates, and 58% of employees feel more motivated when working remotely versus in-office.
Those who have the opportunity to work remotely at least a few times each month are also 24% more likely to feel happy and productive in their roles versus those who have no opportunity to work remotely or from home.
Remote work may also promote the opportunity to do what employees do best. For example, Gallup reports that employees who work remotely are 31% more likely to strongly agree they have the chance to do what they do best, every day!
Remember we mentioned remote work and productivity? Well, it turns out that remote employees are not only engaged but also productive! In a 2018 study of Canadian remote workers, Indeed found that 90% felt they were more productive when working remotely.
In that same study, 65% of Candian employers agreed that their employees were more productive when able to work remotely!
Other studies of Canadian remote employees support these stats for productivity. As of 2017, for instance, approximately 47% of Canadians work remotely, with 54% reporting they work remotely to improve productivity.
From a global perspective, organizations can expect similar results and benefits regarding remote productivity. Udemy performed a study in which they found that 40% of employees report more flexible or remote work options would help with work-related distractions, while 52% find remote work allows for more productivity.
Further, though work/life balance remains a critical factor in employees’ desires for remote work options, the number one reason is productivity and focus, according to recent studies of global remote workers!
At the outset of this article, we mentioned that remote work is steadily on the rise, evolving from a trend to a mainstream practice for a range of companies across a myriad of industries.
Many organizations are moving towards remote working styles to provide their employees with the freedom and agility they need to accomplish their tasks outside of common work environments.
Randstad predicts that, by 2025, approximately 32% of company work models will include remote work. Looking even further into the future of the workplace, other studies like those from Upwork predict that, by 2028, 73% of all working teams will be working remotely!
Remote work can be advantageous to many organizations and their teams, but we may be inclined to think of remote work as a practice relegated to startups or mid-size businesses. On the contrary, remote work can be employed by enterprise companies, as well! Global Workplace Analytics has found that employees working for Fortune 1000 companies around the globe are working away from their typical office environments 50-60% of the time.
That’s a significant amount of time spent working remotely!
It’s not just millennials that seek out more remote or flexible work options. Remote workers also include those considered to be ‘Baby Boomers,’ meaning employees over the age of fifty. Both younger and older generations of the workforce are demanding more remote opportunities from their organizations, and those same organizations are employing millennial teams to recruit and plan how their working environments will function with this working style in mind.
Upwork discovered that, as hiring managers grow increasingly more millennial, 69% of these young managers are more likely to allow their teams to work remotely. Those same millennial managers are 28% more likely to utilize remote employees than leadership from the Baby Boomer generation.
This may not come as a surprise, however, to those with their finger on the pulse of workplace trends and planning. The World Economic Forum has frequently reported on remote work as one of the biggest drivers of transformation in business operations of companies around the globe.
That may be why more managers and leaders are focusing their attention on retention and the future of their workforces; in particular, 52% of young managers rank future workforce planning as a top priority, especially in regards to managing remote and flex teams.
By proactively designing their organization’s workplace operations with remote work in mind, managers and leaders are taking into account the engagement and productivity of their teams! Engagement is critical for remote teams; overall, 60% of employees feel that managers and leaders are responsible for implementing engagement strategies.
Aside from the obvious benefits of remote work, such as agile teams and increased productivity, a myriad of research also showcases how job satisfaction, well-being, and overall work ethic improve when employees can work remotely.
A National Institute of Health study, for instance, revealed that remote workers report feeling less stressed and more satisfied with their jobs and thus less likely to quit - good news for organizations concerned with retention! Studies from PGi indicate much the same, where 82% of remote workers feel less stressed by work-related tasks and responsibilities.
That stat, in particular, is notable, given work-related burnout is one of the more significant drivers of turnover. Deloitte’s research has found that 84% of millennials experience frequent burnout while at work, while half of millennial employees have left jobs due to burnout.
Yet, when working outside of traditional workplace environments, 70% of employees report feeling healthier. Remote work may be the answer to many organizations’ ‘prayers’ for retaining top-performing yet burnt-out employees.
There’s also something to be said for the connection between healthier, happier remote teams and how they feel about their organizations. For example, 87% of remote workers feel more connected to their organization thanks to remote tools and practices and are 27% more likely to agree they have the materials and equipment they need to do their work versus office-bound employees. Moreover, a study from Harvard showed that 87% of remote workers actually felt more connected.
Thanks to collaborative tools, remote teams can remain connected with both their leaders and colleagues, anywhere, anytime. Regus notes that 86% of remote workers use instant-messaging tools like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Slack, while 50% of employees use platforms like Google Drive and 60% use tools like Skype.
Not every organization or employee will find remote work compatible with their needs or working styles; after all, remote or flex work is not a one-size-fits-all style. However, companies would be hard-pressed to find an employee who isn’t even remotely curious in remote work opportunities.
By taking into account how your people work, and how it impacts their productivity, leaders and organizations as a whole can make more informed decisions about the implementation of remote work possibilities!
Reacting to the current situation, Nathan Di Lucca, a developer here at Kudos, offered up some tips to our team facing working from home. Based on a 7-month stint he had working remotely, we thought this was must-share content. Hope it helps!
If we are required to work from home for an extended period of time, it is important that we take care of ourselves and stay productive! From having a routine, to managing online meetings – here’s a list of tips that will help you avoid cabin fever when working remotely.
Set your alarm to a specific time every day. Get up and get ready as if you are going into the office. Set a lunch time! Make sure to have lunch the same time you usually would. Having a schedule will help you to stay on track.
We know… They are so comfy! But you can still wear comfy clothes, just make sure they are different from what you slept in.
Don’t work somewhere you normally associate with relaxing, as that could trick your brain into not being as productive. If you don’t have an office or an available table, then even the dining table, or kitchen counter can work! When the day ends, close up your “home office” to separate work from the household.
Normally this is where I suggest walking to a local coffee shop every day at the same time, but that is probably not advisable under current circumstances. The next best thing is to take a walk around the block to prevent feeling like you are trapped inside.
With remote work, it is important to be in regular communication with your team. Use chat systems, email and video conferencing. There is no such thing as over-communicating, as it keeps you and your team engaged! See below for some tips for managing online meetings
Background noise can be quite disturbing during larger conference call meetings. You never know what background noise is going through your mic, and sometimes applications such as Slack and Zoom will actually try to increase the volume of the background noises as it thinks it is just you speaking quietly. Make the mute button your best friend!
Everyone has dealt with people speaking over each other during in-person meetings, but it can be more difficult to manage during online meetings. You’ll find it useful to have one person lead the meeting by keeping an eye who is trying to speak and then passing the “talking stick.”
And we’d like to add…
There are ways to take advantage of working remotely that can bring you some real benefits, like the opportunity to really focus on your work and yourself.
And remember that self-care is really important if you ever feel isolated when working from home. Make sure to always check in with yourself and others who may be working remotely as well.
In addition to email, chat and video calls, Kudos® is also a great way to connect with your team. Kind words of peer-to-peer recognition go a long way in troubled times – boosting morale, increasing engagement and inspiring much-needed smiles! Want to learn more? Use the chatbot below to start the conversation!
We hope these tips can help you stay engaged, productive and less stressed (and maybe even happy!).
You've heard the old saying, "the only certainties in life are death and taxes." Well if you ask us, meetings should be added to that list. Because we've all had to sit through our share of boring, unproductive, and cringe-worthy corporate gatherings. But not all meetings have to be this way!
Today we want to talk about one-on-one meetings. We'll share with you three reasons why they're important and four steps to host them effectively.
By the time you're done reading this article, you'll be a one-on-one meeting master who hosts enjoyable get-togethers that your team doesn't hate. Who knows? They might even look forward to attending your one-on-ones!
We get it, you're busy. You already meet with your entire team at least once a week. Do you really need to take the time to meet with each of your employees individually as well? Of course, you don't have to. But doing so has three distinct advantages:
One-on-one meetings give you the chance to obtain honest feedback from your team — feedback they might not be willing to share in front of their peers. This is a golden opportunity!
The information you receive, whether it's about company policies, workplace culture, the customers you serve, or something else can be used to improve your business. And because the feedback is coming from your employees, i.e. the folks in the trenches and on the frontlines, it should carry extra weight.
If you are a manager, it's your job to guide your team toward company goals. To do this effectively, you need to help your employees to develop and grow. In other words, you need to mentor them and help them become the best professionals that they possibly can be.
One-on-one meetings are the perfect arena for this. You'll be able to provide constructive criticism in a safe environment.
Lastly, one-on-one meetings help managers build rapport with their employees. When you seek your team's honest feedback, you show them that you care about their opinions. When you take the time to mentor them, you demonstrate a level of care that most managers never display. Both of these things help to build strong, lasting relationships.
A private meeting, whether it lasts for 10 minutes or a full hour, will also give you the chance to "shoot the breeze" and get to know your staff on a more personal level.
We don't recommend "winging it" or improvising during your one-on-one meetings with employees. While you should be prepared to adjust for any eventuality, having a set agenda will help to ensure your meetings are enjoyable and productive. Unfortunately, only 37% of meetings in the U.S actually follow this tip.
How you plan your one-on-ones, though, is completely up to you. You could, for example, start with general small talk and ease your way into business-related topics. Or, you could get right to the point and leave small talk for the break room.
No matter which approach you take — one of the two mentioned above or something completely different — having a plan will benefit your one-on-one get-togethers.
One-on-ones are generally most effective when management professionals take a step back and listen to their employees, rather than the other way around.
While it's perfectly okay (even necessary in some instances) to spend time educating your team members, you won't be able to glean valuable insights this way. When possible, ask your employees questions about company processes, workplace culture, their goals and challenges. Anything that will key you into areas of improvement.
After asking these questions, listen intently for the answers. Do your best to really understand what your team is telling you. This will reassure them that you care about their opinions. It will also help you actually do something with the knowledge you gain.
Before dismissing your staff members from your one-on-one meetings, give them a few action items to work on. Action items could mean training materials to go through, deadlines to hit, skill sets to work on. What you ask your employees to do post-meeting will depend on who the employee is and what the two of you discussed.
By giving your team members things to either work on or accomplish after your meeting concludes, you'll make it more likely that progress will be made.
Lastly, always look for ways to improve your one-on-one meetings. Did your last attempt feel awkward? Ask yourself "why?" Was your last one-on-one a smashing success? Dig deep and find out the reason(s) it was so successful.
You can also send out pulse surveys after your solo meetings and learn about how effective they were, directly from the folks that sat through them. This information can then be used to update and improve your one-on-one meeting processes.
One-on-one meetings are a great tool in the manager’s toolbelt. Once you learn how to host them effectively, you'll be able to receive more honest feedback, build rapport with your team, and even mentor them more successfully.
Fortunately, hosting stellar one-on-ones isn't difficult. Just follow the four steps:
If you follow this simple four-step process, we're confident that you'll be able to start hosting effective, business-boosting one-on-one meetings in no time. Good luck!
Employee Appreciation Day is right around the corner, on March 6th, 2020. Your team deserves to be recognized for the hard work they do for your company, so if you forget to celebrate them on this day, you might have a few unhappy campers on your hands!
While we believe that employee appreciation shouldn’t be relegated to a single date, here are some tips on how to make this Employee Appreciation Day memorable for your whole team.
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. If you sit down and think about it for a minute, we're sure you'll be able to come up with a ton of amazing ideas. Once you do, let us know about them in the comments!
Knowing how to celebrate your team on Employee Appreciation Day is one thing, actually doing it effectively is another. Be sure to keep these three best practices in mind as you gear up for your big celebratory event next week:
While planning an epic Employee Appreciation Day celebration might sound like a lot of effort, it's definitely worth it! Recognizing your staff's contributions with a fun office party can boost engagement, which has been proven to reduce turnover and improve performance.
Plus, a platform like Kudos will enable you to plan your event quickly and easily. Here's how our platform can help:
Kudos makes it a piece of cake to get the team on board. Here are a few tips:
Employee recognition is Kudos' bread and butter. So, our platform includes many ways for management to recognize employee achievements, and for employees to reward and celebrate the accomplishments of their coworkers.
During your Employee Appreciation Day celebration, you can use Kudos to award your team points. If you use rewards on your Kudos site, they can then redeem their points for physical rewards like gift cards or other benefits like a half-day off or a better parking spot.
Kudos also has real-time feedback capabilities. This feature can be used pre-event to get answers from your team regarding questions like who's the "Top Coffee Connoisseur?" Then you can award Kudos points to the winner, as we mentioned above.
Employee Appreciation Day is right around the corner. But don't worry, you now know how to celebrate your team effectively and ensure they feel valued for the hard work they do. Whether you decide to extend lunchtime, hand out awards, or something else, make an effort to recognize your team on March 6th. They'll appreciate it, guaranteed!
Don’t forget that Kudos can not only assist you in creating buzz around this special day but it can also make every day feel like employee appreciation day. Click on the chatbot at the bottom right to get the conversation started.
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