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What Does Hybrid Really Mean?

In the past few years, the standard work environment has seen changes. Prior to the pandemic, the majority of companies had their roles in-person at their corporate offices. It wasn’t uncommon for employees to relocate to new towns, cities, and even states for their job. However, something changed. During the pandemic, companies were faced with the unique challenge of keeping their employees safe while remaining in business and successful. To do so, a lot of employers switched to a work from home model. Technology had to be updated, expectations were adjusted, and a new work environment was taking shape. After two years of little to no in-person collaboration, employees have started to show interest in returning to the office. That’s where the hybrid model comes in, a mix of both remote and in-person to balance the best of both worlds. 

Hybrid Defined 

A hybrid work environment can be different depending on the industry, role requirements, or your current technology capabilities. Some companies have a set number of in-person days built into their team’s schedule per week, others have quarterly onsite gatherings to get the team together and collaborate. In general, a hybrid work environment is one made up of both working from home and working in-office for a period of time. Each version has its set of pros and cons and it’s up to you to decide which model works best for your team. 

How To Execute 

It can be challenging going from a fully in-office model to employees scattered throughout the country. One of the most important pieces to switching over is communicating expectations company-wide. As important as it is that employees feel empowered, it’s just as important that everyone is on the same page. To keep up with the progress, send out a company poll and ask managers to discuss the change with their employees. It will only further the trust between employees and their managers.

The Benefits of a Hybrid Model 

There is a reason 74% of companies in the United States are currently using or plan to implement a permanent hybrid work model. The best part about a hybrid model is that employees are able to experience both a remote and in-person environment. A remote environment brings more flexibility, fewer distractions, and even increased productivity. An in-person environment brings increased collaboration, an opportunity for team bonding, and access to office resources. Statistics show that 83% of companies say that collaboration has been as good or better after switching over from a full in-office model to a flexible environment. Additionally, employees are more willing to stay at their jobs when it’s less controlled. Plus they’re able to save money without a daily commute. 

Today’s employees are seeking flexibility with where they work. With 44% of employees preferring a hybrid work model, it might be time to reconsider your current work environment. You might be surprised at the increase in productivity and retention you see when you make the change!

Interested in investing further in your employees? Check out our E-Book, “5 Focus Areas For Building a Better Workplace” to find out how you can create a better working environment for your team.

Scaling Your Culture While Keeping Employees Engaged

people at table scaling their culture

When your organization is growing fast, it’s an exciting thing! New clients, new opportunities, new employees – and often new culture brought with them as your organization adapts. But fast-paced growth also comes with its own set of unique challenges; as organizations become bigger and more difficult to manage, more apathetic employees can easily dilute an energetic company culture, tanking employee engagement – and morale with it. Keeping an increasingly large roster of unique employees actively engaged in company culture is a huge challenge. For a growing enterprise, strong, positive cultures are vital for productivity and retention; so you’ll have to tackle the daunting task of scaling culture.

Bring New Employees Into The Conversation

Organizations of any size, even those with codified values, are filled with unspoken norms. These small quirks and daily standards can’t be communicated in onboardings, but they form the most basic building-block of culture. It’s essential that new employees feel a part of these minor daily routines! An excellent way of achieving this is through a monthly meeting where newer employees can discuss the company’s culture. Alternatively, you can assign newer employees a veteran buddy to talk candidly about your ins and outs.

Use Benefits Levers To Provide A Universally Attractive Foundation

Certain traditions, such as monthly gatherings of all staff, may become logistically unfeasible as your organization grows. To replace them, you can leverage digital tools to instead offer benefits with universal appeal. While attractive benefits are no replacement for bottom-up culture, using levers like PerkSpot’s discount program can help engage growing cultures by giving new employees attractive reasons to approach the office with the same enthusiasm of their veteran colleagues. 

Be Flexible to New Quirks

With any influx of new employees, or even just a growing scope of your enterprise, it’s important to remember that the organization is never going to be exactly the same as it was – and that’s okay. Scaling your culture is the perfect time to codify your organization’s core values. You’ve got the unique chance now to really identify what makes your culture strong and successful. These core values should be your guiding torch to handling company-wide decisions and day-to-day interactions alike. With confidence in your example-setting, you can help maintain your organization’s positive cultural traits while also allowing new employees to add a piece of their own to the tapestry of your workspace.

Find Ways For Leadership To Engage Organically

It’s true that it’s a bit more difficult to do water-cooler talk over Zoom. Still, whether remote or in-person, it’s important that your organization’s leadership is accessible and engaged. Encouraging lower-pressure get-togethers, lunches, or similar events for teams or individual offices creates an environment where teams and leadership can come closer together. It’s also the perfect setting to reinforce a positive organizational culture!

Growing any organization is an exciting and fast-paced time to be involved, but it’s also a high-pressure environment. While one side of ensuring employee engagement is to provide enjoyable interaction opportunities, the other is to prevent burnout and disengagement through proper support and resources. As long as you can supply both sides of that equation to your employees, old and new, you’ll find any sort of cultural transition a breeze.

 

The Importance of Trust in The Workplace

The relationship between employees and their managers is often a complex one. With different working styles, communication preferences, and work environments there can oftentimes be disagreements. In addition to the already existing responsibilities as a leader, how do you create an environment where employees feel inspired and engaged? It all comes down to trust. When there is mutual trust, there is increased empowerment, more open communication, and higher success of employees. So, how do you show your employees you trust them? 

What is Trust? 

Trust can look a lot of different ways in the workplace. It’s when a manager feels that they can count on their team to meet their responsibilities and be honest in their progress. It’s allowing for flexibility and letting teammates work where they are most comfortable whether it’s remote or in the office. Trust in the workplace means your employees enjoy a culture of honesty, psychological safety, and mutual respect. In addition, it’s being able to predict that someone will act in specific ways and be dependable

How To Build Trust 

Building trust can be easier said than done. For example, statistics show that people trust each other less today than they did 40 years ago. With it being difficult to achieve, how do you find success with your employees? We’ve laid out a few tips. 

Listen Frequently 

When your employees feel empowered to have their ideas be heard, they will be more willing to speak up in the future. One way to set aside time with your employees is to set up recurring weekly one-on-one meetings. This way you have dedicated time to talk directly with your team and gather feedback, both positive and negative. 

Embrace Vulnerability

We all are human and face hardships outside of work. It’s important to embrace your employees’ true self and also be vulnerable when you can. By creating a safe space, your teammates will feel more willing to open up in the future. 

Show Appreciation 

Appreciation goes a long way. Whether it’s a simple “thank you”, a written note showing your gratitude following a large project, or celebrating a career anniversary. When employees’ feel appreciated at their job, they are more likely to meet deadlines and be honest with their managers.

Be Honest 

Honesty is key to trust. If you’re honest about how things are going in and outside of work, your employees’ will be more willing to be honest going forward. Even if what you’re sharing might not be the best information, it’s better to communicate the truth than not at all. 

Coach Before Discipline  

One mistake a lot of leaders make is reacting to mistakes with discipline instead of coaching. Research has shown that authentic leadership can cultivate trust and improve employee engagement and performance. Not only that, but it’s been shown to improve work relationships company wide. 

Transparency Over Everything 

It all comes down to transparency. The more open and honest you are with your team, the better. Be open and transparent with your feedback and keep your employees’ in the loop. You’ll foster an environment based on trust in no time!  

The Results

Trust has impactful results from improved engagement, efficiency, and productivity. According to research, disengagement costs U.S. companies approximately $450 billion to $550 billion annually. With trust impacting engagement alone, it’s a no brainer why trusting your employees is so important. 

Interested in continuing your efforts to make your workplace a great place to work? Read our E-Book, “5 Focus Areas for Building a Better Workplace” to see how you can create a better place to work for your employees.

Flexible Benefits – What to Know

Woman enjoying her Flexible Benefits on phone by Bruce Mars

Watch out, traditional options plans, because flexible benefits are making big strides. While traditional benefit models provide specific, flat advantage is extended to the employee by their organization, ‘flexible’ or ‘personalized’ benefits challenge this entire hierarchical structure. These flexible benefits employees with stipends, allowing them to actively pick and choose the benefits they want to engage with. 

Building Custom Benefits for Your Workplace

But before we get to asking if flexible benefits might be right for your workplace, we should first figure out just what exactly these ‘personalized’ benefits look like. The most common type of flexible benefit is a benefits spending account. Instead of a direct benefit, employees receive specific stipends in their spending accounts that can be spent across a range of lifestyle benefits. A great example of this is a Lifestyle Spending Account. As opposed to hosting regular mandatory training sessions, employees with an LSA might receive a stipend to attend trainings and seminars that they find interesting or useful from a broader list. Employees might even receive stipends to build their own home office, fitness supplies, or maybe even just groceries! 

What makes flexible benefits so special – and so often highly well-received by employees – is right in the name; the tremendous level of flexibility they offer. Increasingly diverse workforces have similarly diverse needs, so a ‘flat’ benefit that might be a great boon for one employee – for instance, paternity leave for a new parent – isn’t going to help an employee with no plans of having a kid. By offering flexibility and personalization in benefits through stipends, your new parent might be able to spend his benefits on childcare supplies, while the child-free employee instead books a vacation!

Flexibility and Discount Programs

Although stipends are the most common, discount programs also fall into the category of highly customizable flexible benefits. Much like how a lifestyle stipend gives employees complete flexibility to purchase new gym equipment, bird-watching binoculars, or anything in between, having access to thousands of discounts means that employees have the freedom to pick out just the savings that matter to them – no matter their hobbies, situation, or identity.

Diversity and flexibility go hand in hand; diverse workplace situations require flexible mindsets, whether it’s in accounting for the needs of both in-person and remote employees or offering benefits attractive to individuals at entirely different life stages. By their very nature, no matter how unique your industry or employees, flexible benefits can fit right in.

That’s why you might want to consider PerkSpot for your company’s benefits suite. Not only does PerkSpot offer the adaptability of flexible benefits so that every employee can find something they’ll love – it’s also a no-cost solution, being completely free to add to your organization. Whether you’re looking for a cost-effective way to beef up your benefits or just a perk that everyone can enjoy, let’s talk about how PerkSpot’s discount program could be just the thing you need.

How To Achieve Work-Life Balance

Finding a balance between your career and your personal life is a challenge that is often faced across industries and professions. But what does it really look like to balance both successfully? With the pandemic, work environments have changed and there has been an increase in remote work. Employees have enjoyed the added flexibility but there is a new challenge of knowing when to disconnect. We’ve laid out a few ways you can encourage your employees to balance their work and play. In return, your employees will have increased productivity, improved overall happiness, and fewer health issues

Encourage Meaningful Breaks 

It can be draining to work a full day without time to decompress. That’s where breaks come in. A break can range from a 15 minute microbreak at your desk to an hour-long walk with your dog during lunch. It can be tempting to work through the lunch break when you’re behind or simply want to get ahead, but it’s crucial to take the time for yourself. It’s important to break up your work day and encourage your employees to do the same, especially when they work remotely.  

Set Boundaries and Communicate Them Company-Wide

It can be challenging to truly unplug from work. That being said, it’s not only important but it’s necessary. Encourage employees to utilize their calendar to block off when they will be unavailable and stick to those commitments. If your company uses Slack, Microsoft Teams, or any other communication tool, have your teams mute their notifications past working hours and update their status if they are away. If your employees have access to email on their cell phone, it’s also a good idea to mute notifications when not working. 

Offer A Flexible Working Environment 

When an employee feels valued and trusted at their company, it’s proven that they will perform better and stay longer. Employees who have the freedom to manage their time will feel less burnt out and use their time more efficiently. For example, employees who feel unable to complete outside of work responsibilities such as a doctor’s appointment during the workday will feel an added stress trying to fit everything into their day. If your employees are unable to step away during the day, allow for flexible scheduling and hours. Set the expectations early on and allow your team to perform where and when it works best for them. 

Lead By Example 

Leaders play a big role in the workplace. As important as it is for your employees to have a work-life balance, it’s just as important for managers and leadership to as well. With heavy workloads and busy schedules, there are times when it is necessary to work extra hours. But, that doesn’t mean breaks and boundaries shouldn’t exist. Set an example for your employees by utilizing your time off, setting working hours, and communicating flexibility. Not only that, but ensure your team’s are aware that they are not expected to respond to any messages or emails sent after their working hours. You’ll see that with time, employees feel more trusted and engaged when you lead by example

It is challenging to balance your employees’ workload and their everyday life effectively. As an HR leader, there are plenty of ways to encourage a balance and set expectations at a company-wide level. By promoting work-life balance, your employees will be less stressed, more engaged, and a lot more content. 

Interested in taking your efforts further? Download our E-Book “Building Culture in the New Normal” to see how to start building or rebuilding culture in our changing world and workplace.

Five Tips for Onboarding Remote Employees

Laptop Remote Onboarding

Remote work has rapidly transitioned over the last few years from a rare form of employment to the global norm for countless industries, and that’s caused big changes in onboarding. Remote employees are often looking for a completely different set of resources than their in-person counterparts; and since successful onboarding is a major factor in employee retention, it’s important to set up stable systems for onboarding remotely on a permanent basis.

 

The additional flexibility of remote work is great, but it also creates a need for managers to provide structure. Remote employees need strong online resources and clearly defined goals to make the best use of their digital schedules. Start off on the right foot when bringing in remote employees and retain your top digital talent with these tips!

 

1) Get Incoming Employees Looped In Right Away.

A remote employee’s toolkit, from company messaging apps to website logins, will functionally be the digital equivalent of their office. It’s important to make sure they have access to these tools and time to get comfortable with them right away. Ideally, you should aim to get everything set up with IT during their first-day orientation.

2) Give a Warm Welcome.

A simple welcome package can go a long way! Treating new employees to a virtual lunch with some time to socialize can help cultivate a sense of belonging. Orientation can often be daunting for employees not physically there, so a quality orientation is sure to leave a big impression. 

3) Build Strong Online Resources.

Sourcing your relevant resources alone isn’t enough; you also have to make sure they’re easily accessible! An employee handbook and guide to company values are important for all employees. For more creative-oriented positions, you’ll want to consider having a formal brand guide and style guidelines as well. Most important is building best practice guidelines for the specific position that you’re onboarding; that way, new hires have easy access to clearly stated expectations and responsibilities for both the wider company and their specific position right from day one!

4) Provide Clearly Defined Goals and Regular Check-ins.

Flexible schedules can make it more easy to get distracted, so immediately provide remote employees with a sense of structure by setting up clear 30/60/90 day expectations. Regular one-on-one check-ins with HR and management can set remote employees up for success; ensuring they’re always on the right track! 

5) Integrate Remote Workers into your Culture.

Many new remote workers can feel isolated from the wider company. Plan remote-focused events at least monthly, and make sure that new employees feel comfortable at them. If they aren’t, work with your remote employees to draft some events that sound fun to them. Bridging the gap between in-person and remote employees ensures a successful hybrid team.

Nearly half of all employees report feeling as though they’d messed something up on orientation day, whether it’s in meeting new co-workers or finding the right resources. The key is to be understanding, empathetic, and patient with your new employees, giving them the resources and direction they need to become remote rockstars!

The Benefits of an Employee Discount Program

When it comes to benefits and perks, it can be difficult to find solutions that employees not only engage with but also find value in. With financial stresses high due to inflation and other economic factors, it is an especially crucial time to offer a perk that stretches your employees’ paycheck. An employee discount program could be the benefit you’ve been searching for, with exclusive discounts for your teammates on the things that matter most. We’ve laid out a few reasons why you should join the thousands of employers taking advantage of steep discounts. 

What is an Employee Discount Program? 

An employee discount program is a marketplace of exclusive discounts, negotiated by a team of experts, from top brands and local businesses. Employees can access their discounts through their Discount Portal and browse deals, search by brand or category, discover curated and personalized discounts relevant to their interests, and enjoy savings on a variety of products and services.

No Impact on Your Budget

Employee discount programs are often an affordable way to provide financial benefit to your team. Not only that, but it’s much more than exclusive access. With PerkSpot, you’ll get an easy-to-use portal, optimized for all devices, that ties in with your company’s unique branding, creating a one-stop shop for employees’ perks and discounts. The best part? It’s free. What’s the catch? There isn’t one. It’s a no cost solution to help stretch your employees paycheck. 

Easy to Maintain 

One of the best parts about an employee discount program is the low maintenance. The portal is managed for you and discounts are regularly updated. Leslie Sells, Benefits Analyst at Humana, shared, “It’s always been easy. This is one of the programs that almost runs itself. It’s not one I have to spend a whole lot of time on.” With a dedicated Client Success Manager, we are here to create a communication plan that builds program awareness and helps employees maximize their valuable benefit.

Exclusive Savings

Another great benefit of an employee discount program is the exclusive access to meaningful savings. With PerkSpot, employees save from 25+ categories including electronics, travel, home goods, cars, health, and so much more. In addition, savings with PerkSpot are personalized. In comparison to other discounts available, these savings are tailored and relevant. It not only saves time for your employees, but also provides discounts your employees may not be aware of. Another great benefit of PerkSpot is the access to Premium Perks. Premium Perks are verified to be the best available discounts on the market by your PerkSpot team

Exceptional Employee Retention and Engagement 

It’s estimated that turnover costs employers over $1 trillion annually. So, how do you minimize these costs and setbacks? It all starts with the employee experience. With PerkSpot, you can lend your employees a hand with their financial wellness by offering exclusive discounts on tax services, loans, mortgages, and more. Not only that, but we’ve built our platform to encourage engagement by allowing employees to save when and where it matters to them by showing the most relevant and meaningful offers. 

With a multitude of benefits and perks to choose from, offer a solution that is affordable, easy to maintain, exclusive, and engaging. Not only that, but it’s valuable for your employees. With a potential of $6k in savings, you’re not only offering impactful discounts but you’re providing a financial wellness benefit. Ready to start the savings journey for your teammates? Sign up for a demo today

PerkSpot’s 2022 Midyear Digest

January Through June Client Success Roundup

It’s hard to believe that 2022 is already halfway over. But even so, the blazing summer skies here in Chicago are perfect for PerkSpot’s sunny entrance into the year! The first half of this year has had more amazing partnerships than ever before for this midyear PerkSpot Digest. In total, twenty-five new clients partnered with PerkSpot across Q1 and Q2 2022, offering best-in-class discounts to their employees. Following over a dozen industries, our new clients range from mid-size enterprises to universally known top brands. Regardless of size or industry, we’re proud to provide our easy-to-use, white-glove service for all our new clients!

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In 2022, we added new major clients in the fields of manufacturing, retail, healthcare, food and beverage, transportation, and more. We’re especially proud to highlight a few examples of the diverse clients PerkSpot’s personalized discount programs can add value to. So take a look at some of our newest success stories in the making:

 

Wow Bao logo for PerkSpot Digest

Wow Bao – Offering Asian street food in over five hundred locations across the country, Wow Bao is an American food industry staple with their distinctive steamed buns.

Forever 21 PerkSpot Digest Logo

Forever 21 – Based out of Los Angeles, Forever 21 is a top American retailer offering fast fashion options for American shoppers across the country. 

 

3M Club PerkSpot Digest Logo

3M – A multinational innovation powerhouse, 3M sports over 100,000 manufacturing patents including adhesives, PPE, medical equipment, office supplies, and more. 

 

MoneyLion Logo

MoneyLion– An innovative new way to bank, MoneyLion offers thousands of customers easy options to borrow, save, invest and earn in one all-inclusive financial app. 

 

Sanford Health PerkSpot Digest Logo

 

Sanford Health – Sanford Health is the largest health system in the Rural United States, a nonprofit headquartered in Sioux Falls.  Sanford operates a global healthcare presence with an emphasis on pediatrics, cancer, heart, sports medicine, and women’s health.

Michaels Stores – Michaels is one of North America’s largest providers of arts, crafts, framing, floral and wall décor, with over one thousand arts and crafts stores across the United States and Canada.

 

We’re excited to serve our newest clients; always with the same attention to detail and enthusiastic, human-centric approach that PerkSpot has become known for! And especially if your organization could benefit from exclusive, custom discounts, we’d love to have you schedule a demo today to start the conversation!

 

The Importance of Pride Month in the Workplace

 

Pride Month is a time for LGBTQ+ communities and allies to come together to celebrate the freedom to be yourself. With decades of struggles with prejudice and acceptance, this month is crucial. It is a time when cities hold parades, celebrations, rallies, parties, workshops, and much more to recognize the fight for equality. As important as it is to celebrate Pride Month outside of work, it’s just as important to celebrate this monumental month in the workplace. We’ve gathered a few different ways you can raise your rainbow flag and join the movement today. 

A Brief History

In 1969, police stormed into the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwhich Village, New York. Customers were being removed from the bar but tensions quickly rose. Patrons began resisting arrest and bystanders started throwing bottles and coins at the officers. Following the incident, the gay community was fed up after decades of harassment and took to the streets to riot for three days straight. After the riots, the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance were formed. One year later, the nation’s first Gay Pride parades were held. 

Why Celebrate? 

There are many reasons why diversity is important in the workplace. A few include differing perspectives, new ideas, improved creativity, and better problem-solving. As the leaders in your organization, it’s critical to showcase the stories that make people unique and celebrate the diverse voices throughout the company. It is important to remember that the first Pride was not a celebration, it was a riot led by queer people of color. 

How To Recognize In The Workplace

There are plenty of ways to show your allyship and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community in your workplace, whether you’re remote or in-person. A few of our favorites are below! 

Support LGBTQ+ Causes 

There are dozens of different organizations and causes you can donate to. It’s important to mention, it doesn’t have to be a monetary donation. Donating your time, voice, and energy is just as important! 

Update Your Company Branding 

Businesses around the world have shown their allyship in different ways. For example, you can update your Zoom background, add your pronouns to your email signature and LinkedIn page, and send out some pride swag for your employees to show off. 

Educate Your Employees 

A lot of employees are familiar with Pride Month, but they may not know the history behind it. Use this month to sit down with your teammates for an open discussion or provide resources for employees. 

Pride Month is a time to celebrate how far we have come with LGBTQ+ rights, but it’s also a time to continue to fight for equality and recognize the struggles the community has faced. This month, take the time to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of the gay rights movement and the brave LGBTQ+ advocates and allies standing up for equality. 

Additional Resources: 

Providing Benefits to a Multigenerational Workforce

Younger/older workers discussing multigenerational benefitsHaving a wide diversity of ages in your organization comes with a lot of benefits. As with many other kinds of diversity, a wide range of generational representation is a driver of innovation, offering varied perspectives on issues by combining older generation’s specialist knowledge with younger professional’s innate understanding of modern technologies and changes. Benefits aside, a multigenerational workforce multiple generations represented in the workforce is a near unavoidable reality as baby boomers begin to step back from top-level positions.

But multi-generational workforces also come with their own challenges, including:

  • A wide range of values and beliefs can cause differences in priorities
  • Significantly disparate communication styles and preferences
  • Wide gaps in desired perks and benefits

Diverse Generations with Diverse Values

Differing perspectives and values means different needs, and what a young professional is looking for from their benefits package is vastly different from what more senior employees need; knowing the difference and being able to account for the diverse needs of multiple generations of employees is key to crafting an employee-centric benefits experience.

The benefits valued by older generations tend towards traditional cornerstones such as 401k matching and supplemental health insurance. Younger generations, such as Millennials and Gen-Z, tend to value wellness initiatives and benefits that give them time back in the day. But there’s a surprising degree of overlap between emerging benefits that workers of every age are pining for, such as flexible work options, training and development opportunities, and smaller, personalized perks, from shuttle services to discounts on dry-cleaning. 

The generation gap isn’t as steep as it might appear. When you get right down to it, it’s about people.  Your employees are distinct individuals with individual needs that simply can’t be standardized.

The Employee-Centric Benefits Experience

Fortunately, you don’t have to standardize at all. Instead, account for differences by focusing on benefits personalization. Employees of all ages agree that flexible work options that allow them to work on their own schedules are critical; and you can take your multigenerational benefits a step further by partnering with PerkSpot. Our breadth of potential savings is uniquely positioned to cater to diverse workforces, with thousands of discounts available across dozens of industries!  We offer meaningful benefits targeted at and personalized to the unique needs of every individual employee.

And that’s the core of an employee-centric benefits experience; offering the perks that each individual really cares about, no matter how unique! By focusing on perk personalization, you can provide an employee-centric experience. Personalized offerings will help celebrate the rich diversity of your workforce – generational or otherwise. From flexible work options to regular wellness initiatives, you’ll want to target your benefits around your workforce’s distinct concerns. As you do, PerkSpot can help get started with a benefits experience centered that’s unique to your equally unique employees; Request a Demo to learn more today!