If your office is anything like ours, then your January is off to a strong start, as well as a busy one! The first month of the year can be a strenuous one for any HR professional – your to-do list is filling faster than you can cross things off. So here are our secrets to productivity you need to adopt if you want to make your January the most productive month yet!

secrets to productivity

The key to your productivity is saying NO.

It might sound strange, but saying no will actually boost your productivity levels, especially when you need it most.

Why you need to say no

It’s natural to say yes to things. You want to be a committed employee with a reputation for helping out fellow colleagues when they’re feeling swamped, or when they want your expert input. But all those yeses will start to add up and put so much pressure on yourself and your list of to do’s that you find yourself unable to accomplish the important things. Instead, focus on time management and prioritization.

How to start saying no

The people pleaser in you is probably feeling a little stressed just thinking about it. But we’re not telling you to exclusively say no, or to do so in a rude or offensive manner. We’re simply reminding you that your time and energy are precious resources, and you should use them wisely. Ask yourself these two questions next time someone asks you to do something for them.

1. Do I have the time?

Is your schedule full of meetings? Planner full of to-dos? Keep in mind, there are only so many hours in a day, and so many days in a week. Filling each and every one of them is neither healthy nor conducive to your productivity. Take a step back and decide whether you have the time for this task.

2. Is it a priority?

Prioritization is one of the most important things to remember when you’re trying to be your most productive. It’s natural to put an easy task on your to-do list, especially since you get the satisfaction of quickly crossing it off – we’re talking simple things like making an appointment or sending an email. But in reality, those small tasks steal away your focus from the larger tasks at hand, and you end up losing time and effort in completing them. Set aside a specific time of day to handle them instead of letting them draw focus and attention from more important tasks.

Saying no to a fellow coworker is hard, and it might not feel natural or comfortable, especially in the beginning. But your time and energy are just as important as those who are asking for your help. Trust us – your productivity will thank you!

If you’ve been in the workplace for a decent amount of time, you’ve probably noticed that all managers are not necessarily leaders. In fact, sometimes the strongest leaders in the office are not in management at all. Why is that? What are these hidden characteristics that define leaders versus managers?
HR leaders and managers

These are the five ways managers are different than leaders:

1. Leaders inspire others with vision.
2. Leaders practice humility.
3. Leaders trust others to carry out tasks to completion.
4. Leaders are confident, but not overbearing.
5. Leaders think larger than their own point of view.

1. Vision

One differentiating factor between a manager and a leader is that leaders inspire others with their vision. Management requires only that you mandate tasks and ensure that your team is completing them quickly and efficiently. Leadership, on the other hand, means you inspire others to think beyond the task at hand and focus on the overall mission. They inspire employees not just to do the work, but to love it by casting vision passionately and articulately.

2. Humility

Quite possibly the most important trait of a strong leader is humility. That’s why it’s one of our core values here at PerkSpot. We believe a great workplace cannot exist without it. The strongest leaders are ones who aren’t afraid to admit when they’re wrong. They possess the humility to share the spotlight with others, recognizing their achievements and pushing them to be the best version of themselves.

3. Trust

It’s 2019. No one micromanages anymore, right? Unfortunately, micromanagement is still alive and well in our workplaces. Leaders, on the contrary, do not micromanage. True leadership means trusting others to carry out responsibilities. In fact, the best workplaces are those which empower employees to use their strengths. Even the best leaders can’t be good at everything. That’s why it’s important to build a strong team around you and trust them to work together towards your mission.

4. Confidence

Confidence is a common trait among leaders, but not every assertive person in the workplace is a great leader. Any manager can be confident, but leaders are careful not to exhort their confidence over people. Instead, they speak their mind while also listening to other opinions. This trait goes hand in hand with humility, as it takes the perfect balance of both to create great leaders.

5. Perspective

Many managers get lost in their own personal point of view, or even their team’s. Great leaders are able to step outside of their own agendas and look at the greater good. They are able to (confidently and humbly) unify everyone towards a common goal. This is perhaps the most difficult trait to learn, but it’s what truly differentiates a manager from a leader.

Do you manage a team or are you working on your leadership skills? Tell us what you think makes a great leader in the comments.

According to an article by Entrepreneur, January marks the beginning of a highly active hiring season. Job seekers are putting the finishing touches on their resumes and signing up for every career fair and job alert under the sun to find their perfect position. But what are you doing to find the perfect candidate?
hr recruitment strategy
If you’re an HR professional, you probably know it’s shaping up to be a tough season for those filling job openings. If you want yours to be a success, here’s the resolution you should be making this new year:

This year, HR professionals should be thinking like marketers.

How can you do this? Here are a few ideas for finding the marketer within:

1. Use Social Media

We all know that social media can be a great tool for communicating with clients and customers, but it’s beginning to make its way onto the recruitment scene as well. Almost 60% of employees said they found their current position with their company through social media. And why not? It’s a cost-free and effective method of finding candidates for a position that you might have never encountered otherwise. If you aren’t using social media platforms to seek out new hires, make 2019 the year when you start!

2. Find Employee Advocates

A great recruitment strategy should let your company culture shine from the inside out. Your company most likely already markets the products or services they offer. This year, up your game by having employees act as brand ambassadors, speaking on reasons why they love working at your company. Create a strong network of individuals who will both fit into your company’s culture, as well as add to it. Place a strong emphasis on your values and mission statement in the job description.

3. Reach out

You can’t expect job applicants to do all the work. In 2019, we aren’t posting a job opening and waiting for applications to pour in. Instead, we’re putting in the work to find the candidate that is just right. Just like marketers use their content to engage potential leads, you can do the same for potential job candidates. Do your research and understand exactly what individual candidates are looking for in their future role, and then show them why you can offer those things.

In 2019, put your efforts towards attracting the top talent. Get in touch with your inner marketer, and it’ll be a breeze!

As we cross off another day on our calendar and inch closer to the end of the month (and year!), we’re taking some time to look back on 2018 and beginning to prepare for 2019. We saw quite a bit of change this year in the HR world. A new year means new trends we can use to guide our projects and plans in the workplace. Check out some of the trends we’ll take with us from 2018 and the ones we’ll leave behind.

Leave: Employee Engagement

Take: Employee Experience

In 2018, we spent hours developing programs and testing approaches for engaging our employees – and for good reason. A study found that companies with highly engaged employees outperform their lesser engaged counterparts by 202 percent! We know that engagement is a vital part of productivity for our employees, but in 2019, we’re kicking it up a notch. Engagement should be only one element of a larger concept: the employee experience. This is not just engagement levels, but how companies do culture, benefits, dynamics among employees, and rewards and recognition. (Hint, hint, we can help with that one!) In a year where the employee has the control, create a fantastic employee experience for them and you’ll see the reward.

Leave: Physical Wellness Programs

Take: Holistic Wellness Programs

Any type of wellness program you’ve created for an employee will be appreciated, but in 2019, we’re leaving wellness programs specifically for the body behind. Instead, we’re replacing them with a more holistic approach, which gives equal mention to mental, physical and financial wellness, all of which are vital to creating a wholly healthy employee. To do so, have some meaningful conversations with your employees. Take time to understand what they want out of a wellness program and commit time and effort to find the ways you can fulfill their requests.

Leave: 9-5 Schedule

Take: Flexible Schedule

The 9-to-5 schedule trend has been on its way out for a long time, but in 2019, we’re giving it the final boot. As we ring the new year in, we’re saying hello to flexible schedules, a trend which is here to stay. This means giving new mothers and fathers the time off that they need to welcome their little ones to the world, and then recuperate from doing so. It means creating work-from-home opportunities for those who prefer to work from the couch every once in a while. It means being flexible and adaptable to your employees’ needs, which in turn can reduce turnover, absenteeism, and tardiness for the employer! According to a 2018 Global Talent Trends study, 71% of thriving employees say their employers offer a flexible work schedule. In 2019, expect this number to rise. (And make sure you’re one of those employers!)

Leave: Culture Fit

Take: Culture Add

In 2018, we talked a lot about company culture. What it is, how to create and improve it, and how to find employees that fit into it. In 2019, we’re not worrying about employees that are a culture fit; instead, we’re focusing on finding employees who add to our culture. It’s natural to feel an inclination towards those who are similar to us. However, in only hiring employees who fit into an already established culture, we lose the opportunity to diversify and evolve our culture. A better workplace seeks out employees who can bring along new ideas and beliefs that will stand to enhance a company’s culture. Doing so will a unique viewpoint that wouldn’t have been present otherwise. Keep this in mind in 2019 as you begin the recruitment and hiring process!

2018 was a great year – we opened our minds to new ideas and possibilities in the HR landscape, and they paid off. It’s time to close the books on this year and begin preparing for the next. Make sure to take these new trends with you, and it’ll be another successful year!

We’ve been diving into what makes a better workplace. In fact, we even wrote a book about it. But, we get that you’re busy. That’s why we’ve put together our top five statistics you absolutely need to know to build a better workplace in 2019.

5 statistics to build a better workplace

80% of Employees are Motivated to Work Harder When They Receive Appreciation

Not only that, but they’re also more motivated to stay at their company. We’re no strangers to recognition and in 2019, you shouldn’t be either. Employees are moving to places where they feel appreciated, and they’re staying there.

By 2025, 75% of the Workforce Will Be Millennials

Tired of hearing about millennials? While this is not a new topic, it’s important to think about how we develop this generation into the future leaders of our workforce. Now, more than ever, it’s time for us to start training and mentoring millennial employees in preparation for a new generation of managers, directors, and executives.

45% of Managers Don’t Receive Formal Training

Most of the people leading our offices and developing younger employees have never actually received any type of formal training themselves. This statistic should really wake us up. It’s time to provide real opportunities for professional development, especially for our leadership.

Almost 70% of Sexual Harassment Cases Occur in the Office

The #MeToo movement isn’t going away any time soon. In 2019, it’s imperative that every organization has a plan for handling sexual harassment.

48% of Employees Are Worried About Their Finances

You may think it’s not your responsibility to help employees with their personal finances. However, studies show 70% of employers would disagree with you. In order to maintain a competitive edge in today’s workplace, employees want to work somewhere that values them. This means providing education and resources around financial health and well-being.

These are our top five stats, but you can find these in more in our e-book, How to Build a Better Workplace.
the ultimate guide to a better workplace

As we explore what it means to build a better workplace, we can’t help but dedicate some time to employee recognition. Recognizing employees should be an integral part of any workplace, so here are some tips for employee recognition that are quick and easy to implement.
tips_for_employee_recognition

Get Social

One of the easiest ways to recognize employees is by utilizing your social media channels. There are 2.62 billion people in the world who use social media. Chances are, the majority of your employees are included in this number. What better way to show your appreciation than by posting it publicly in the channels that they already visit throughout the week? Celebrate your employees on your social channels – it’s free and easy.

Stretch Their Paycheck

At PerkSpot, we love being in the business of stretching paychecks. Of course, you might be thinking we do this in the form of exclusive discounts, but we’ve also launched a recognition program that makes recognition practical and meaningful. Managers or peers can send an email recognizing an employee for a job well done along with credits to spend at our Gift Card store. It doesn’t have to be a million dollars to be meaningful. Even $5 can make someone smile and enjoy their favorite cup of coffee in the morning.

Recognize Their Strengths

As we state in our Ultimate Guide to Build a Better Workplace, 60% of employees believe that working for a place that enables them to use their strengths is very important to them. At PerkSpot, we understand the value that comes with recognizing an employees’ strengths. That’s why one of our milestone recognition programs comes in the form of sabbaticals. After an employee reaches a three-year tenure at PerkSpot, they get two weeks off and a small stipend to grow professionally and advance their skills. This may not be the most obvious form of recognition, but it’s definitely impactful.

Embrace Your Culture

Each Friday at PerkSpot we celebrate the week with beers and cheers. It fits our culture and reminds us all that one of our core values is to “Have Fun”. As a bonus, we also choose one PerkSpotter as a “PerkSpot Super Star” where they are recognized for their achievements that week and given a gigantic blue trophy along with some extra cash to spend in our R&R platform. This casual atmosphere works really well for our culture and makes recognition easy to remember. Find what works for your company and make sure your recognition aligns with your values and your culture.

What are some ways you’ve implemented recognition at your company? We’d love to hear your tips for employee recognition.

the ultimate guide to a better workplace

Our mission at PerkSpot is to inspire employees to love where they work. But sometimes, it’s the employees themselves who are inspiring us. We asked a few PerkSpotters to share a few ways they try to make a difference.

Here are our favorite quotes from inside the walls of the PerkSpot:

Office Snacks

“I like to try and pick up a snack or treat once a week so people can get a break in the afternoon. It’s a small gesture, but a great way to bring everyone together.”
– Thomas B., Account Manager

Water Cooler Chat

“I try to follow up on things posted by coworkers on Slack to get to know people better and reinforce that their messages weren’t just sent out into the void – we care about it! Plus when people ask about my puppy it automatically brightens my day, so I like to try to do the same!”
– Kelly R., Account Management Associate

Neighborhood Treats

“I’ve always been a raised to share and give to others. It’s something my parents instilled in. So sharing stuff with PerkSpot has always made me feel like I’m sharing a piece of my childhood. Whenever I can, I bring delicious stuff from my neighborhood. PerkSpotters always ask ‘where did you get this’. It’s my way of sharing a piece of my neighborhood and the south side of Chicago.”
– Karla B., CS Lead

Positivity

“Attitudes are contagious – I always try (don’t always succeed, but try) to project a positive attitude, regardless of how stressed or anxious I am, with the hope that it spreads to my coworkers.”
– DJ E., Sales Operations Executive

Musical Favorites

“I like to find a person’s music and queue it up on the office stereo system. Unless it’s that one Mariah Carey Christmas song. I just. No.”
– Jace M., CEO

PerkSpotters are pretty great (and clearly we really love snacks), but we know it takes an army to build a Better Workplace. That’s why we’ve literally written the book on it.

We’re excited to announce our e-book, The Ultimate Guide to a Better Workplace where you can learn more about what it takes to make each place a better place to work.

the ultimate guide to a better workplace

There is no one size fits all approach to development. Each company comes with its own challenges and objectives. The important thing, however, is that we seek to develop employees, no matter where we work. At PerkSpot, we believe a large part of success can be contributed to the ongoing training and development of our employees, both professionally and personally.
how to develop employees

Why do we develop?

We go to great lengths to ensure that each employee feels that he or she has room to grow at PerkSpot. Not only does this align with our company culture, but it’s also beneficial to our business. According to a Gallup poll, 70% of American employees don’t feel they’re working to their full potential. Employee development programs can improve upon that number. As an employee gains new skills, companies will see an increase in motivation, productivity and pride among employees.

How do we develop?

As we mentioned, employee development plans should be unique to your business. PerkSpot offers various ways for employees to learn and develop and we do it the right way. We strive to make employee development fun and beneficial – it should never feel like a chore. When done properly, employee development programs should feel like a great perk! For some suggestions on how to boost growth that’s right for your business, we recommend one of these tried and true ideas:

Interdepartmental Training

Did you know that only 31% of the US workforce receives formal training when they begin their job? Not only do we make sure a new employee feels comfortable in his or her new role when they start, but we also put an emphasis on training in other departments. In doing so, an employee can gain a full understanding of the company they’re working for. This makes their job easier, as well as the work they’re doing better. Everybody wins!

Peer-to-Peer Mentoring

Sometimes, an informal approach to mentorship is preferable, especially in a smaller company like ours! During the onboarding process, we assign each new hire a coffee buddy from a different department. The two employees will schedule a couple of coffee dates, preferably within the first few weeks. Even after an employee has settled into their new role, having a coffee buddy to chat with can be nice. Sometimes, we discuss projects we’re currently working on. Other times, we take up subjects like current hobbies and skills we’ve been enjoying. Not only does this allow employees to get to know each other outside of the office place, but it can also be a source of professional and personal inspiration for a fellow employee.

On-site Education

At PerkSpot, there’s only one thing better than the chance to learn – free food AND learning! We PerkSpotters love our Lunch & Learns, where we can gain useful insights into important projects our coworkers have been working on. Sometimes, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own tasks that we forget how vital each of our colleagues is to our company’s success. Lunch & Learns exist as a great reminder of this. Plus, PerkSpot provides lunch! How can you go wrong?

Professional Development Opportunities

Perhaps the most unique of our development offerings at PerkSpot is the professional sabbatical. Any employee who has been with PerkSpot for three years is given the opportunity to take two weeks of paid leave and a small stipend. Within that two weeks, the opportunities are endless! Anything you can find that will help you to develop skills and improve performance, both in your career and your personal life, are encouraged by PerkSpot. All we ask is that you return to the office refreshed and full of stories for us!

We work hard to cultivate a community of employees that are excited and motivated to improve on all facets of their life, and with the development programs PerkSpot offers, it’s not difficult! We hope these tips have inspired you to provide more avenues for employee development in ways that work for your business.

As much as we love to talk about great company cultures, the truth of the matter is that not every company is going to live up to these standards. Chances are at some point in your career you’ll be faced with some form of a toxic workplace. Hopefully, it’s just one or two people, but in extreme circumstances, it can be a systemic problem.

how do you manage a toxic employee perkspot culture

Signs of Toxic Employees

First of all, we need to know the warning signs of toxic employees. While many of the signs are obvious, some can be fairly nuanced and it’s important to keep your eyes and ears open.

Greta Gossip

“Did you hear…” This one is pretty obvious. Gossip and negatively is extremely contagious. Catch this before it gets out of hand.

Procrastinating Paul

“I’ll do it later…” Someone might be hopping into your head immediately. While this doesn’t always signal toxicity, it’s definitely something worth keeping an eye on.

Ellen Excuses

“I would do that but…” This is not only toxic, but it’s also annoying. Employees who are full of excuses can be hard to trust and rely on.

Michael Martyr

“I’ve been here until 9pm every night”. Sometimes our culture is quick to reward these over-achievers, but maybe it’s time to examine why they are staying in the office so late and if their work really merits the long hours.

Loner Larry

“I can do this myself”. Sometimes your highest achievers can also be the most toxic. Examine how the people around them are feeling and if they’re able to collaborate to achieve great results.

How to Manage Toxic Employees

Now that you’ve determined where toxicity might be living in your company, it’s time to do something about it. As HR leaders, managers, or individual contributors, there are a few ways to manage toxic employees (even if it means managing up).

Ask Honest Questions

While you may think it’s none of your business to dive into an employee’s personal life, if it’s affecting work, it’s time to find out what’s going on beneath the surface. Meet with this employee one-on-one and ask honest, direct questions to find out where they might be struggling. They don’t have to go into detail but having an idea of where they need more support will get you both back on the right track. Offer counseling resources if that’s an option, or find other ways to get to the root of the problem.

Lay Out Potential Consequences

Unfortunately there is a time when you have to start talking about the “or else” consequences of their actions. If the toxic behavior continues, the employee needs to know what actions you’ll take to prevent them or eliminate them all together.

Make a Plan for Follow-Up

You’ve gotten to the root of the issue. You’ve laid out the consequences. Now it’s time to put a plan in place for follow-up. This means scheduling regular one-on-ones to monitor their progress and support them on their journey. Hopefully, you already have one-on-one times in place for your employees, but if not, this is a great opportunity. Weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly – whatever works for you, but make sure they’re consistent and you don’t cancel when other responsibilities vie for your time.

Determine Next Steps

Best case scenario is that your employee does a 180 and becomes a star in your organization. However, it’s unlikely that will happen. That doesn’t mean it will result in termination, but it could mean switching the employee into a different role or changing up their responsibilities for the time-being. Keep a careful eye on their progress and be open to making moves in the future.

If you’re fighting toxicity in your workplace, we hope these tips are helpful for identifying and managing toxic employees. Have advice for someone fighting toxicity? Leave us a note in the comments.

There are endless benefits to creating an employee survey to understand satisfaction levels throughout your workplace.
employee survey tips
A survey allows you to discuss employee benefit plans, improve satisfaction and productivity, and increase employee retention rates. An employee survey can make an employee feel as though they are being given the opportunity to voice their opinion, and that you, as an HR professional, care about what they have to say. Here are five tips for getting the best results from your employee surveys!

Communicate and Encourage

An employee survey won’t be successful if it’s just an email sent to employees’ inboxes, without an introduction or explanation. Use your company’s communication channel to inform employees about the upcoming survey. Furthermore, impress upon employees that their responses will be valuable in helping to effect change within the company. Pre-survey communication will guarantee much higher numbers of participation, according to numerous studies.

Emphasize Anonymity

In conducting your employee survey, you want the most honest responses from employees. The only way to receive them is through an anonymous survey. Your employees may not feel comfortable openly sharing their opinions for fear of backlash. Not to mention, an anonymous survey puts all employees on a level playing field. With anonymity, no employee feels uncomfortable because of their age or position in the company. This means they will be more likely to offer opinions and suggestions for improvement. In reviewing responses, there is no bias coming from your end, so the results are more reliable. It’s a win-win!

Make it Easy

Your employees have a lot on their plates, so motivating them to complete a survey can be difficult. Keep this in mind when writing your survey. Don’t make it unnecessarily long – the whole point isn’t to distract employees or keep them from completing other work. The National Business Research Institute says 60 questions is the perfect length for your survey. Not so long that employees feel tired or bored, but long enough to give you the answers you’re looking for!

Ask the Right Questions

Make your questions simple. According to Inc., it’s a lot easier for an employee to answer a close-ended question versus long-form, written responses. Providing close-ended or multiple choice options makes quantifying results easier for you as well! Make your questions clear and understandable. Have a fellow colleague take a look at your survey and review it for readability. Another set of eyes is always a good idea, and it will ensure you have created the best survey for your employees.

Use the Results

A Forbes article reported a 30-40% average response rate for employee surveys. One of the main causes of this disappointing statistic? Employees believe that their responses won’t be considered or utilized to execute changes in their workplace. Reverse that belief by using employees’ feedback to make actual changes where you can. Share the results of the survey and any plans you may have developed for the future. This is a great way of showing employees that you’re taking their thoughts into account, and it will increase the response rate for later surveys.

An employee survey can give you insight into employee engagement, office culture, and job satisfaction among employees. Use these 5 tips to create an employee survey that is sure to deliver the best results!