In a previous post, we explored the notion of the Four Day Work Week. But recently, we’ve been reading up on a similar phenomenon known as the Five Hour Work Day.

It all started with this Fast Company article about Stephan Aarstol, CEO of Tower, a beach lifestyle company. Aarstol made a shift not only in the amount of hours employees worked per day, but also in how they were compensated. The results? Over 40% higher revenue annually.

So how did he do it? And is this something every company can implement effectively?

five hour work day

Execute carefully

Aarstol knew that this shift wasn’t something he could enforce overnight. He started by introducing the idea of “summer hours”. By making the change temporary, he put himself in the position to be able to switch things back around if the hours didn’t work out or hurt productivity. Lucky for him (and his employees), productivity soared and the 8-1 work day is now permanent.

Explain the whys

For Aarstol, the key to the success of the Five Hour Work Day was having a clear mission behind the change. He not only switched the hours, but also the compensation structure by offering employees a 5% profit share. By doing so, he enforced the importance of productivity, not just presence. He asked more of his employees in a shorter amount of time knowing that the rewards would be greater. He also knew this lifestyle might not serve everyone, and was therefore prepared to lose employees that might not fit into this new way of work. By keeping his mission at the forefront of the change, he was able to not only increase profits, but also increase compensation for his employees. Talk about a win-win.

Explore the change

While you may not work for a beach lifestyle brand, the Five Hour Work Day doesn’t have to be a far-off reality for all of us.

But how can we make the switch?

  • Start at the top: Most managers think that employees who show the most “face-time” are also the most dependable. Make sure your management is rewarding and recognizing employees based on their output, not their time-clock.
  • Provide concrete goals: Again, make it very clear why you’re making the switch and how you’re measuring productivity. Put measurable goals in place so employees know exactly what’s expected of them.
  • Be flexible: Aarstol knew that this change would be difficult during certain busy seasons. He gave employees the freedom to leave after 1pm, understanding that special projects may require more time and attention. However, making this adjustment meant that 12 hour days became the exception, not the norm.

Could the Five Hour Work Day work for you? What hesitations would you have for implementing this change?

gig economy and hr

The gig economy is defined by Google as “a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.” From Lyft to Amazon, an increase in the number of freelance and contract workers adds new challenges for talent management and it’s vital that HR remains agile in response.  In fact, Adobe’s 2016 “Future of Work” report stated that one in three office workers has more than one job.

With the growing gig economy, here are a few ways Human Resources can respond to the challenges of a growing industry:

Increased Emphasis on Technology

As more workers work remotely, technology has become increasingly valuable to HR experts. From sourcing workers for a job to providing feedback to virtual reality tools for team collaboration, there are countless ways human resources professionals are relying on technology to respond to the needs of their freelance and remote workers. HR’s agility and independence from traditional tools will make all the difference in engaging this new workforce.

Increased Engagement Challenges

Distance makes the heart grow fonder, right? In the case of remote workers, this might not always be true. Engaging employees in their cars, homes, or other locations has proven to be much more challenging than HR might have anticipated. Agility expert, Nick Horney, says “that HR leaders should think about their workforce more broadly, using a “talent portfolio” that includes traditional and nontraditional employees.” Be cautious of “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome, and continue to focus on the whole of your talent, not just the employees you see on a daily basis.

Increased Evaluation Needs

Along with engagement is also the need for continuous feedback. Gone are the days where an annual performance review was enough. Revamp your reviews to fit with your workforce. Again, consider different technologies that can make this process easier. By providing continuous reports on performance and also asking great questions, HR can help these workers feel more engaged, valued and informed whether they’ve been part of the company for a month, a year or a decade.

What are some challenges you’ve faced with a mixed workforce? How are you responding to the gig economy?

equal pay day

Today is Equal Pay Day, which symbolizes how far into the year women would need to work in order to make the same amount as men the previous year. In 2017, that date is April 4th, meaning women would have to work 15 months to make the same as men did in 2016, just 12 months.

 

Women have been fighting for equal rights for a long time, but these statistics show that the fight is not over. Unfortunately, the wage gap still exists for many women in the workplace.

The Facts:

  • Women on average lose out on over $400,000 over the course of a 40 year career. 1
  • One in eight women are poor. If they were paid the same as men, poverty would drop from 8.2 to 4.0 percent.2
  • Men are 85% more likely than women to be VPs or C-Suite Executives by mid-career. 3
  • There are four states (Alaska, Delaware, Michigan and Washington) in which the most relatively common job for men has a median income of over $100,000. There are no states in which the most relatively common job for women exceeds $77,000.4

 

While the problem often seems overwhelming, there are companies who are taking a stand.

The Problem-Solvers:

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers, a tax and financial services firm, went public with their gender pay gap. After all, admission is the first step to recovery.5
  • In 2015, Salesforce performed a comprehensive analysis of 17,000 employees that led to salary adjustments for 6 percent of their workforce. The result? A 33 percent increase in the number of women who were promoted that year.6
  • More women, like Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Watson, are taking a stand and demanding raises.7

 

It won’t be an easy battle. For women, it starts with doing your research and fighting for what you deserve. But men aren’t exempt. There are plenty of ways to get involved and be a catalyst for changing the way we view compensation in the workplace.  One step at a time, we are excited to see people taking a stand and making leaps towards closing the gender wage gap.

 

leadership life skills positivity grace humility
It’s amazing how three simple words can carry such huge implications. Sometimes work can be… not so fun. Even working in the most amazing of environments, your workload can still be stressful, overwhelming and difficult.

In those moments, we are faced with the reality that humanity is at the very center of human resources. So when work seems overwhelming or you’re faced with a tough situation, consider these three traits that will make you better: as a leader and an individual.

Grace

Grace flows both inward and outward. It’s important not only to show grace to others when they screw up, but to also give it to yourself when you need it. Accept recognition when it’s given to you, forgive yourself when you make mistakes, and give yourself credit where credit is due.

Positivity

As obvious as it might be, positivity is often one of the hardest traits to foster. Positivity manifests itself in the smallest moments, but with huge consequences. While we would all rather be around people who encourage and uplift us, it’s often easier to feed into workplace gossip and criticism. Whenever you’re faced with an opportunity to criticize, consider the impact on your own attitude and on those around you.

Humility

C.S. Lewis once said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less”. While leaders should still assert themselves and fight for their voice to be heard, they also have a responsibility to the people they are leading. Remember who your decisions are affecting. Oftentimes you may be surprised at how many people are impacted by a seemingly small decision, but by thinking of others more often, you’ll develop stronger relationships and deeper respect from those around you.

Give yourself grace, cultivate a positive spirit, embrace humility and you’ll be amazed at the influence you can have on the people around you.

The madness is starting. Today marks the official beginning of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and according to global outplacement firm, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, this year could cost employers over $2.1 billion in productivity. They also estimated that approximately 23.7 million workers are filling out brackets… most likely on company time.

So does the old saying hold true, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”? Or should we put a stop to the madness?

march madness doesn't have to kill productivity

A survey by Office Team reported that 57% of managers feel that while they don’t encourage watching games or participating in office pools, they are ok with these activities in moderation. 32% said they should not be allowed at work and a mere 11% actually encourage this behavior.

Let’s be honest, though. Would you rather work with these 11% of employers who embrace the insanity of March or with the 32% that shun this type of behavior? Odds are you’re in favor of the former.

But, March Madness doesn’t have to kill productivity. Here are a few ways to have your cake and eat it, too:

Embrace the Competition

A great way to celebrate March Madness at work is to embrace the competition. This can be awesome for team bonding and office morale. Keep pool minimums low or consider offering a “free pool” option where you give away company swag or other small prizes to the winner.

Keep it Playful (and Respectful)

While some friendly competition can be great for office morale, it can also get into slippery territory when office fanatics find themselves facing a losing streak. Make sure to manage expectations around the office and keep conversations light-hearted. Smack talk is fun but can turn into bullying quickly. Steer clear of anything that could be offensive or disrespectful.

Manage Expectations

While streaming the games during lunch may be totally acceptable, there still needs to be an expectation of office performance during these crazy few weeks. Make sure expectations are clearly communicated during this time. Consider offering extra incentives for high-performers by letting them leave early to catch a game or providing some team gear. By celebrating wins both on and off the court, you can enjoy the season while still reinforcing productivity standards.

You can make the most of the Big Dance while still staying productive by preparing strategically and being transparent about the impacts of the tournament. Celebrating and staying productive is easy… picking your winning bracket is not.

Today is a day to celebrate the women in our lives and in our businesses and acknowledge both their accomplishments and challenges.

We are thrilled to celebrate the women at PerkSpot and to see so many of our clients supporting Women’s Day through their own efforts.

Here are a few of our favorites:

H&M

h&m international women's day
H&M is raising money at their registers for Girl Up, a United Nations Foundation which supports education, health and safety for girls in developing countries.

Southwest Airlines

southwest airlines international women's day
Southwest has been supporting women all month long by supporting various non-profit organizations geared toward women. Ellen Torbert, VP of Diversity & Inclusion for SWA, states “Many of the nonprofit organizations we work with provide women the resources and opportunities necessary to achieve their career goals. Through education and leadership, Southwest, with our nonprofit Community Partners, is building a pipeline of talented women with bright futures in career fields of their choice.”

Snapchat

snapchat international women's day
We all love those snap filters. Snapchat is celebrating International Women’s Day with filters of Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie, and Rosa Parks. Time to get your game face on.

Spotify

spotify international women's day
Support women all month long by listening to the Women’s History Month playlist on Spotify. They are also running banners where listeners can donate to Girls Rock Camp Foundation at the click of a button, which goes to support girls developing their musical and creative abilities.

There are so many ways to get involved so wear your red and say thanks to a woman who has made a difference in your life!

Today is Employee Appreciation Day!

To commemorate this special day, we’re giving you a few ideas on how to appreciate your employees and introducing you to a few of the PerkSpotters who make the office a better place to work.

Celebrate Birthdays

celebrate birthday employee appreciation day

Not only is today employee appreciation day, but it’s also this guy’s birthday! Dan currently holds the record for most years at PerkSpot (and most push-ups). He is the ultimate idea man, always cooking up a new way to make us better and keep the office exciting. So today, with breakfast sandwiches and candles, we’ll celebrate Dan and let him know that we’re glad he was born 21 years ago (don’t worry, DB, the real number is our little secret). If you’re thinking about celebrating birthdays at work, we say GO FOR IT! Here are a few things from our friends at SHRM that you’ll need to know before you roll out a birthday program.

Share Their Story

share stories employee appreciation day

Hands-down one of the hardest working PerkSpotters is our Client Service Lead, Karla. From bestowing exotic treats on us to filling the office with her laughs to completing more customer service calls than we thought humanly possible… Karla is basically superwoman. Actually, she’s so awesome, we thought everyone should know. So when the Chicago Tribune approached us to highlight an employee, we immediately thought of her. Being able to celebrate her life in a major outlet was such a thrill for us and a great way for Karla to see how much we value her contribution to our team. She’s kind of a big deal, and we thought the world should know.

Embrace Life Changes

embrace life changes employee appreciation day

So much is changing around the PerkSpot office, including introducing our first PS baby into the world. We were so excited to congratulate Anthony on the birth of his daughter. He recently rejoined our team after three weeks of paternity leave and we were anxious to hear how he filled his time with his family. Anthony is a major force behind the PerkSpot wheel, bringing in new and exciting clients, so it was an easy choice to give him the well-deserved break from office life to embrace this new change. Plus, Fast Company studied California organizations implementing paternity leave and saw that 89% reported increased productivity and employee morale and a decrease in turnover. So while being out the office was not only great for Anthony’s well-being, we’re also excited to see what he brings to the table with his refreshed energy. Welcome Back, Anthony!

 Allow for Flex Schedules

work from home policies employee appreciation dayOne of the biggest perks at PerkSpot is the ability to flex our schedules and work from home. Our masterful designer, Evan, graciously takes on so many projects for us and we all know Wednesdays are Evan’s day to work from home. We are so appreciative of the attention to detail and creativity that goes into each of his designs. Thursday he comes back with incredible work to show for his time spent away from the office distractions. In fact, we think he might have magic pajamas. Magic pajamas or not, a Stanford University study reported a 13 percent performance increase in workers who had the ability to work from home one day a week versus not at all. This could be the easiest employee appreciation tactic for your company to boost morale and get ahead.

Treat Them to a Night Out

work perks employee appreciation day

Our master appreciator, Leia, is constantly spending her efforts at PerkSpot recognizing others. After planning our anniversary party last fall, Leia definitely deserved some R&R. Boss’s orders were to take a week off and enjoy a nice dinner on the company. Just a small way of saying we see all the many, many things she does to make our office a better place to work. Whether it’s a gift card to their favorite restaurant,or just a day of rest, small tokens of appreciation mean more than you might think.

What makes your employees worth celebrating? Consider ways to recognize them today!

Stop Saying Culture Fit

Culture Fit is so last year.

We recently read an article that resonated with us about the idea of culture fit. The author explains the tension between finding a candidate that “fits in” and is able to hit the ground running, while still fulfilling the need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Coining a new phrase “culture add”, she states “you are looking for candidates to bring in new ideas, a different point-of-view, and bring out different traits in others in a collaborative, positive way.”

As you look to hire new people this year, consider these few things before begin conducting interviews to ensure you find candidates that don’t just fit in, but who add value and a new edge to your culture.

culture fit

Start With the Basics

When hiring any candidate, the first thing you should do is go back to your mission and vision as a company. Consider where you are and where you’d like to be, and determine how this particular role will enable you to get there faster.
Here are a few questions to consider:

    • How does this role tie into the mission and vision of the company as a whole?

Be as specific as possible about the job function and how this fulfills your mission. If your job description is functioning as it should, this should be fairly obvious.

    • Attribute their future responsibilities and past experience with your company values.

For example, at PerkSpot, one of our values is people, so for a customer service role we would be looking for a candidate who has experience demonstrating how they consider others, whether clients or colleagues, when performing specific tasks.

Examine Current Strengths

Think about your current culture. We don’t just mean looking around and seeing what race, ethnicities, or genders surround you. Instead, consider where most of your employees come from, what they like to do in their free time, and any natural “cliques” that might have formed. By examining your current culture, you’ll get a great idea of your strengths and weaknesses.
Consider these questions to help you get a feel for your culture:

  • Are most of your employees thoughtful or more aggressive?
  • Does your company sway with having more doers or thinkers?
  • Are your employees more aspirational or pragmatic?

You may even want to take it a step further and do personality tests at work to see which personalities are currently represented and which ones you may be missing. Plus, it will help your current teams work better together by understanding what makes them tick. Win-win.

Determine Areas of Growth

Once you’ve determined how your current culture is leaning, this should give you a good sense of where you need to grow. Take what you’ve learned and think about where you want to go.
These questions can help you get started:

  • What viewpoints are currently not being represented (or underrepresented)?
  • Are there any types of experience you are missing on your team? For example, if most of your employees have worked at a large corporation, maybe you could benefit from hiring someone from a start-up environment.
  • Are there any client demographics you are struggling to reach and how do they compare to your office culture? This is huge for not only improving your culture, but increasing revenue as well!

Create Your Process

Once you’ve determined what you’re looking for, it can be easy to fall into the hiring bias trap. Make sure that you conduct interviews in a methodical way that levels the playing field for candidates. By having a set of five to ten questions that you ask each candidate, this ensures you’re giving everyone a fair chance to express how they fulfill the needs you’re looking to meet. Here are a few staple questions to include:

  • What about their previous company culture did they like or dislike?
  • What are some ways they’ve dealt with problems in the past and how did they come to a solution? This gives great insight into how they process information and develop solutions based on personality and past experience.
  • What most excites them about the role and the company?

Hire Well

Hiring isn’t about finding your new best friend or a clone of your most successful employee. Every candidate has unique experiences and backgrounds, and it’s important to find the one that can add the most value and meet your needs. Don’t just hire for culture fit, hire someone who will push you and your team to step outside your comfort zone and see the world through a different lens.

 

Want more insights like these? Click here to subscribe to PerkSpot Culture. 

generation z

2017 marks the first year Generation Z will enter the workforce. These Centennials will bring a new culture with them, known for being more diverse, resilient and open than their Millennial counterparts.

While 37% of Centennials fear they will not find a job that fits their personality, this presents a new challenge for human resource professionals to understand this new demographic and reach them with strategic content that is relevant to them.

Here are a few things HR needs to know about this new generation of workers:

The Perk Generation

Gallup recently released a report on the State of the American Workforce. In the report they state that “the benefits and perks that employees truly care about are those that offer them greater flexibility, autonomy and the ability to lead a better life.” Millennials are more likely to change jobs due to perks, and the Centennial generation is no different. They are seeking out more independence and flexibility as the world becomes more mobile.

The Entrepreneur Generation

Along the same lines of independence, it should not surprise us that Generation Z is also more entrepreneurial. In fact, 37 percent of Generation Z said they are interested in starting their own company. This could be due to the Millennial generation paving the way with startup technology companies popping up left and right, plus an increased access to educational resources on sites like Udemy, Skillshare, and more.

The Happiness Generation

Millennials have been known to seek growth opportunities over salary. As Generation Z enters the workforce we are finding the same trend. A staggering 77 percent see job satisfaction as equal to or more important than salary. Again, this ties into perks and an overall compensation package that includes more than just the standard healthcare and retirement packages. Centennial employees want a place that makes their life a little easier.

The Mentor Generation

A surprising fact about Gen Z is that they don’t always prefer to communicate via social media and other technologies. 51 percent actually say they prefer in-person communications with managers as opposed to emailing or instant messaging. This also ties into their need for mentors. While they don’t want a micro-manager breathing over their shoulder, Generation Z does have a strong need for leadership and mentorship. They seek opportunities for growth over salary increases, craving feedback and direction from their managers. If they don’t find these opportunities, well, then they are not motivated to stick around.

Generation Z and the Millennial generation may not be all that fundamentally different, but finding ways to appeal to their needs and wants will ensure your company has the competitive edge in the war for talent.

It’s officially February. Which means, most of us are officially OVER winter. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is real and it affects workers all over the U.S.. In fact, one Chicago teacher filed a discrimination lawsuit against her school district in 2009 when they refused to accommodate her Seasonal Affective Disorder.

working with seasonal affective disorder

When temps are below freezing, most of us want to stay in the comfort of our own home with a hot cup of coffee, which makes going to work not so fun.

If the season’s got you down, here are a few ways to fight back against SAD this winter.

Exercise

There is arguably nothing better for your mental health than exercise. When the winter blues kick in, hit the gym or take a yoga class. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has found that people who regularly exercise have lower levels of tension, more stable moods, and even sleep better. Plus, you might even shed a few pounds while you’re at it. Win-win.

Invite Distractions

One of the best ways to combat SAD is to stay busy. Make plans with friends to work out or grab dinner after work. By having something to look forward to, you’ll distract your brain from thinking about the winter weather and focus on all the fun you’re having. Plus, plans with friends mean you have someone holding you accountable to get up and get out of your sweatpants.

Upgrade Your Environment

If your work space feels a little drab, consider ways to liven it up. Add some greenery to your space or pick up a light box to revamp your work environment. Planning a vacation? Print out pictures to keep you motivated and remind you that these few months are only temporary.

Consult a Professional

While these hacks might work for most, if you find your symptoms aren’t going away, it could be time to speak with a professional. In fact, one in five Americans suffer from some form of mental illness, while less than half of these are actually seeking help for their condition. No matter how mild your depression may seem, if it isn’t showing signs of fading, consider speaking with someone so you can get back to being your best self.

Are you finding ways to fight SAD this year? Tell us about it in the comments or subscribe for more insights!