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3 Reasons Company Culture Is So Important Amidst COVID-19

Company culture has transformed from a popular HR buzzword to an important element that companies give serious consideration to. As COVID-19 continues to impact how companies manage their employees and their business, culture is more important than ever. Check out a few reasons why keeping up with your company culture is so important right now!

woman at computer

1. Recruitment, Hiring, and Onboarding

During the early stages of the coronavirus, things like recruitment and hiring came to a halt for many companies as they worked to navigate the rough waters of the pandemic. However, it’s become increasingly apparent that we can no longer put important processes like hiring on hold. Instead, we must focus on transforming them, just as many companies have done with other facets of their work.

Company culture has always been an important part of recruitment and hiring. It’s a wonderful way for candidates to better understand the inner workings of the company they’re applying and interviewing at. This is why it should be at the forefront of all HR professionals’ minds while determining a new hiring process.

For example, how do you utilize social media to convey company culture? This is especially important given candidates often can’t meet with you or experience your workplace in person. Consider the interview process, especially for the companies and employees deemed essential. How do you show candidates what steps you’re taking to ensure employee health and safety? Upon hiring, do you have a carefully thought-out and prepared plan to onboard an employee who may have to work remotely for the foreseeable future? All of these are questions that will reflect your company culture. Therefore, you should be considering each one as you develop a new hiring plan amidst the coronavirus.

2. Communication

For many companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, communication has become vital. As a company with essential employees, communicating new health guidelines or changes in hours should be done in a timely manner. As a company whose employees have remained remote, online communication has become one of the only ways to transmit important messages and information.

No matter what your business is, you likely know the importance of communication. But what many don’t realize is how communication and company culture are connected. Remember, company culture isn’t just about weekly happy hours or interesting amenities at your workplace. It’s also about how you value your employees’ health and wellbeing, and how you transparently demonstrate that to them. To keep your company culture strong during the pandemic, reinforce your support of employees by keeping communication constant and educational, and offering a space for them to respond if needed. Work to quickly develop new guidelines based on the information you’re receiving. Then, communicate them to your employees in a way that is digestible and concise. Use different communication channels to send out messages with varying degrees of importance. This way, employees can quickly understand the gravity of a given situation.

For example, PerkSpot leverages a few different communication channels. We rely on Slack to communicate more casual notices, like a fun company-wide initiative or virtual event. We depend on email to send out important messages, like new in-office guidelines or rules for quarantining. Plus, we hold a regular cadence of company-wide meetings, creating a forum in which employees can get updates on other departments and ask questions about future plans or team developments. This effective and transparent system of communicating helps employees better fulfill their roles and responsibilities, thus creating a culture of connected and engaged employees!

3. Productivity and Engagement

Speaking of engagement, there’s no doubt of the connection between company culture and a productive and engaged workforce. A study by Queens School of Business and the Gallup Organization found disengaged workers showed 37% more absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and 60% more errors. Plus, that disengagement translated to 18% lower productivity!

A positive company culture, on the other hand, typically produces more engaged employees. This is because it promotes general employee wellness, support, and respect. If leaders or management put too much of an emphasis on working long hours or being overly productive, without mentioning the value of daily breaks or acknowledging employees’ hard work, a stressful and negative culture can quickly emerge. So, how can you promote a culture of employee wellness and support? Encourage employees to take breaks away from their work, especially if they’re remote. Offer resources that foster both physical and mental wellbeing and motivate leaders in your company to set an example by doing so as well. Recognize your employees going above and beyond to produce great results, which promotes a more engaged workforce and a culture of workplace appreciation.

For example, as an employee discount provider, PerkSpot employees receive all of the benefits that we offer our clients! That means PerkSpotters have access to discounted mental health apps, home workout products, and more. Plus, we add and highlight new discounts that are relevant to the wellbeing of employees regularly so employees are aware of them. These perks are a great way for leadership to demonstrate how they prioritize the health of their employees which, in turn, leads to a more productive and engaged workforce!

For many years, company culture has been a way for companies to highlight their values to current and potential employees. But amidst an unprecedented pandemic, company culture also offers the opportunity to help promote stronger engagement and more informative communication. Plus, it’s the perfect way to attract potential employees when so many other resources aren’t available. As we all work to navigate COVID-19 and its impacts, be sure you continue to prioritize and adapt your company culture!

HR and Marketing: A Match Made in Heaven

At first glance, the human resources and marketing departments of a company seem like opposites. Marketing works primarily with customers of a company, while HR is more preoccupied with the company’s employees. Yet, they have more similarities than meets the eye.

hr and marketing

Both departments are entrenched in the brand of a company, and how to convey it appropriately for others to consume. For marketing, it’s customers, and for human resources, it’s fellow employees. It makes sense for the two departments to come together and work together for a collective goal. Check out these three situations when HR should consider collaborating with their marketing department!

1. Recruitment and Hiring

Human resources has long owned the recruiting and interviewing process of any company, and that shouldn’t be changing anytime soon. However, a shakeup in your hiring might not be a bad idea for your company. Recruitment marketing is a rising trend in HR, which can mainly be attributed to the growing importance of social media, a more competitive job market, and the entry of the millennial generation in the workforce, according to a recent survey by HR.com. So how can you utilize your company’s marketing department to the best of your ability? Depending on the size and scope of your company and recruitment, options like employee referrals and brand advocates, a personalized career page, and targeted ads are all ways you can improve the quality of your hiring. Keep in mind, no two companies are the same, meaning their recruitment and interviewing process won’t be either. Some companies might not have the bandwidth or the budget to support all of these initiatives, so open up a conversation with your marketing department to come up with ways you can individualize your recruitment process so it fits your company well.

2. Onboarding

Once you’ve found that perfect new hire, it’s time to onboard them! But if you’re relying on the same onboarding process you’ve had in place for years, it might feel stale. Once again, this is a fantastic opportunity for your marketing department to help breathe life into your onboarding process. A study by Jobvite found that almost 30% of employees leave their new job within the first 90 days of employment. The main reason? Their day-to-day role wasn’t what they expected it to be. Make sure you fix this problem with your new onboarding process. Explain in clear detail not only what you expect of your new hires, but how they can succeed in their role and how you can assist them in doing so. While HR is the expert on the information that needs to be conveyed during onboarding, look to your marketing department to offer insight on the best way to convey that information, making it an effective and informative onboarding process for each new hire.

3. Company Culture

We know how important company culture is.  A company’s culture speaks to the values it upholds, the environment employees get to work in, and the goals they work toward. This is perhaps the best instance in which marketing and HR can work together. Not only do both departments have a holistic view of the company that other departments might not possess, but they’re also stakeholders in the two most important elements of company culture – the brand and the people. Marketing has a deep understanding of a company’s brand, and HR works closely with employees. Combined, it’s a match made in company culture heaven. Using HR’s know-how and marketing’s creativity, brainstorm to design unique strategies for implementing a company culture you know your employees will appreciate and enjoy. This can range from something simple like a company outing to a more extensive learning and development program tailored for your employees.

Sometimes, the best ideas come from where you least expect them. If your hiring, onboarding, or company culture could use some TLC, it’s time to join forces with your marketing department! What unexpected ideas have you come up with when working with a different department? Let us know!

Pre-Boarding: Onboarding Before Day One

A recent report showed that 22% of employee turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment. Perhaps they misunderstood what the job entailed. Maybe the culture just wasn’t the right fit. Either way, we know that these first few days are critical for employee retention.

In fact, we could argue that this starts before they even step foot in the office. Our first day in a new office is a lot like the first day of school. You feel awkward, you aren’t sure who to eat lunch with, and you just kind of fumble through the day trying to warm up to this strange environment.

So what’s the answer to this phenomenon? Pre-boarding.
Pre-boarding refers to the time period before your new hire starts but after they’ve accepted the offer. Think about the anticipation and excitement when you sign your offer letter: you are pumped about this new opportunity, but you might not have any idea what to expect. While it may only be a week or two, making the most of this the before day one can make all the difference.

Here are a few ways to make “pre-boarding” a part of your onboarding process:
• Send a letter from your team.
• Give them company swag.
• Answer any FAQs.
• Let them know who to reach out to if they have any questions.
• Prep a new hire document.

pre-boarding onboarding before day one

Send a letter from your team.

Whether it’s an email or a hand-written note, sending over a quick note of excitement before your new hire starts can be a breath of fresh air for your new employee. We love what career experts at the Muse say about this: “The best thing a boss can do between the moment an offer’s accepted and a new hire’s start date, then, is to ensure their new direct report knows this: ‘You’re the one we want on the team and we’re really happy about it.’”

Give them company swag.

We all know the power of employer branding, and this extends to your onboarding pre-boarding process. As your new hire shares their excitement about their new role with friends and family, give them some swag to show off your company brand. This is the peak time to get them excited about being a part of your business. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even share their excitement on social media and bring in other potential candidates or clients!

Answer any FAQs.

This should be a given for any onboarding process but it’s worth reiterating. Make sure you’re providing answers to all the questions they might have about their first day or week. Will they need a key card to get into the building? Do they need to ask for someone at the reception desk? Should they bring their lunch, or will you take them out? These small questions make a big difference in easing their first day anxieties.

Provide a point of contact for other questions.

Maybe it’s an onboarding contact or their manager, but make sure your new hire knows exactly who to reach out to if they have questions prior to their first day. But don’t just do lip service – be available! Check your email the night before their first day in case anything last minute comes up. Better yet, be proactive and send another note a few days before to make sure they’re prepared.

Prepare a new hire document.

This is up to you to share beforehand or on their first day, but you should absolutely prep an onboarding document for your new hire and have it ready for them on day one. It shouldn’t be an exhaustive list of responsibilities or even a detailed agenda. A new hire document gives your new hire a baseline for their role and even some achievable goals for them to achieve in their first 30 days. At PerkSpot we create a “30-60-90 Jumpstart Document” with goals for the first 30, 60, and 90 days. Things can change, so we like to keep this flexible, but it’s a great jumping off point to know what is expected of them.

We could talk at length about the onboarding process because it is such a crucial time for your employees. Make the most of the time before day one with pre-boarding.

Click here to learn more about how to retain and develop high potential employees.

Is There a Difference Between Diversity and Inclusion?

….And Do We Really Need Both?

Diversity and inclusion are two of the most popular buzzwords in HR today. But, let’s be honest. How many of us have truly spent the time to break each of these down and what they mean? Do we know the difference between the two? Plus, if they aren’t the same thing, do we really need both?

We’re breaking down Diversity and Inclusion and what these two mean for our businesses

  • Definition of Diversity and Inclusion
  • The Difference Between Diversity and Inclusion
  • Why Diversity Matters
  • Why Inclusion Matters
  • The Case for Both Diversity and Inclusion

difference between diversity and inclusion

Defining D&I:

First, let’s get our definitions straight with Merriam-Webster:

Diversity:

The condition of having or being composed of differing elements. Try thinking of diversity outside of human resources. Really, it’s just adding variety to something. You could have a diverse palate by enjoying foods from different cultures, or a diverse wardrobe that contains all the colors of the rainbow.

Inclusion:

The act of including; the state of being included. For inclusion, maybe it’s helpful to think in terms of membership of a group or club. All the members actively decide to include someone on the outside. This is the act of inclusion.

The Difference Between Diversity and Inclusion

There’s a well-known quote by D&I expert, Vernā Myers, that puts it perfectly, ”Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”. Diversity is great because it brings more ideas and perspectives to the table. Inclusion complements diversity by embracing those differences and finding ways to make every perspective feel welcomed and every voice heard.

Diversity Matters

Did you know that more CEOs in America are named David than are women? That’s powerful stuff when you think about the impact on these businesses’ bottom line. In “Diversity Matters” by McKinsey, they surveyed 366 businesses in Canada, Latin America, the U.S., and the U.K. to find out the effect of diversity on financial returns. The findings were significant: Companies in the top for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians, and companies in the top for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have higher returns.

Making your workplace more diverse isn’t guaranteed to be easy, but it’s definitely worth it.

Inclusion Matters

Diversity isn’t the only initiative producing high returns. In fact, in a study by Deloitte Australia, reported that when employees felt included, companies saw an 80% uptick in business performance. If this isn’t a case for inclusion, we don’t know what is! Employees who experience inclusion are more motivated to work harder, making a huge impact on the business.

You Need Both Diversity and Inclusion

So what good is a party without a little dancing, right? Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand in building a stronger workplace. Bringing in a ton of new perspectives and ideas is the first step. However, if employees don’t feel comfortable voicing these opinions, it’s a moot point. On the other hand, with nothing but a homogenous group, inclusion loses its power. That’s why diversity and inclusion are two sides of the same token. We have to seek out a diverse workplace. Then, we have to work to make each employee feel included and respected.

We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long road ahead of us. What are some ways your business is making a difference for D&I?

the ultimate guide to a better workplace

Onboarding 101

It is hiring season here at PerkSpot! We are super excited to bring on some new talent, but with that, comes the challenge of onboarding new employees well and integrating them into our culture.

onboarding-101

As you look to attract, recruit and onboard new talent, here are few tips that we’ve learned along the way.

Before They Start

In order to make the first day/week run as smoothly as possible, it’s important to start this process before day one. Make sure you have sent out all the necessary paperwork for them to complete, think through all the tools they might need (both tech and otherwise), and maybe even implement a little fun. You could have their favorite breakfast waiting for them when they arrive or maybe their favorite snacks to munch on throughout the day. These small gestures go a long way in making your new employee feel welcome.

Day One

All your ducks in a row and now you’re anxious and waiting for your new hire to start! There should always be some flexibility built into your onboarding plan, but it’s important to start with a clear agenda and expectations for your new hire. Their manager should outline a plan for their first 90 days and sit down to walk them through the role and how to be successful. And don’t forget about the big picture! Sometimes we can dive right into the nitty gritty without discussing how their role plays into the overall mission of the business. Discuss how they’ll play a part in making your company successful so they’ll feel empowered to make a difference.

Week One

The first week is a great time to start with a team meeting and key introductions for people they’ll be working with the most. For many of our new hires, we start their first day with a team meeting to discuss what we’re working on currently, schedule job shadowing sessions throughout the week so they can get a feel for each department, and arrange one-on-one time with the key contacts they’ll be working alongside. While knowledge is important, getting to know the people on their team and in the company will ensure that they feel comfortable reaching out when they need help.

Month One

Onboarding doesn’t just begin and end in their first week. Depending on the role, it could take months to truly feel up to speed and comfortable. Make sure you plan a check-in at least after the first 30 days (we rely on weekly check-ins at PerkSpot) to stay in the know on where they’re struggling or excelling. You should have established some expectations on the first day for where they should be at this point, so revisit that plan and make adjustments as needed. You may discover the need for additional training or resources or find that they are able to tackle projects more quickly than anticipated. Either way, this is a great time to course correct and plan for the following months.

What are some tips you’ve found helpful for onboarding? We’d love to hear from you!

Creating Development Plans That Work

Professional development plans can make a huge difference when it comes to retention and engagement for your employees. If your company hasn’t invested time in creating plans for each of your employees, stop what you’re doing and make this a priority.

development plans that work
Here are our steps for creating and implementing a meaningful professional development plan for your employees.

Where Do You See Your Business Going in the Next Year?

It makes sense to start with this question because if your employees’ goals aren’t aligned with the business’s, it’s a recipe for disaster. Consider all the objectives you want to accomplish in the next year and how each department fits into these goals. Determine what skills, knowledge or competencies your employees need to obtain to support where your business is headed. By spending time on developing your current employees, you’ll save valuable resources on recruiting and onboarding.

What Do Your Employees Want?

The next step is to consider what your employees want. It’s important to remember that just because an employee is great at X project or skill doesn’t always mean they love working in that particular area. Take time to chat through areas they want to grow and improve and items they would rather not be working on. Providing an open space for vulnerability will go a long way. You may discover they have interest in an area you were looking to expand. This is a great opportunity to explore what that might look like.

What Do Your Employees Need?

Just as you ask them to explore their interests, also ask them to share resources or knowledge they might need to make this possible. Many people may be afraid to speak up (we’re talking about you, introverts) and discuss areas where they are feeling overworked or lack support. Think through how this aligns with your business goals and objectives. Additional training for existing employees may outweigh the costs of recruiting and hiring someone from the outside. Since they know your business well, they may be able to add more value than an outside hire.

How Do Their Desires Align With Your Business Objectives?

You know where you want to take your business. You know what your employees want and need. Now it’s time to put goals in place that satisfy both of these objectives. Of course, your customer service rep may want to learn graphic design, but it doesn’t make good business sense. You can’t always bend over backwards to satisfy these hopes and dreams, but you can listen and give good feedback, especially if you find your employees in need of some motivation. Set goals in place that will provide a development for your employees that make sense. Use SMART goals to make sure they are measurable and can be easily evaluated in their next review.

The Power of Storytelling

In human resources, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our interview process in order to hire great talent. And by great talent we don’t just mean qualified candidates, but individuals who provide an addition to our culture that we’d either been looking for or didn’t even realize we were missing.

But maybe the reason we’re not succeeding is because we’re conducting interviews like stuffy questionnaires and expecting to understand the intricacies of a prospect’s personality and previous experiences. Perhaps the answer to our interviewing woes comes through approaching the process like a journalist, rather than a hiring manager or recruiter.

storytelling interview tips

When a journalist sits down with their subject, they are trying to find something that makes them stick out. They want to hear what makes their story unique and different from all the other people they’ve researched before. It’s the same way when we interview a candidate. We want to find something that makes them different, whether in their previous careers, education, or just life experience.

The next time you sit down for an interview, consider the power of storytelling. Use these tips to hear their story and consider whether or not they’d be a good fit for your company and the role in question.

There is no right or wrong answer.

Best-selling author, Cal Fussman, puts it this way: “It’s more like you’re casting a movie and you know the part you need to cast for, and you know the traits that person’s going to need to make that job work for you and for that person. And so, it really isn’t a matter of this person’s bad or this person’s good. If you treat it like a casting director in a movie, you would say that’s the perfect person for that role.” Remember that there are multiple ways a candidate can answer your questions, or at least if you’re asking the right questions, that’s how it should be…

Ask the right questions.

We all know the tried and true “What’s your biggest weakness?”. Candidates have most likely pored over different responses trying to find the perfect one. Instead of asking something that they’ll hear in their other 20 interviews, consider asking questions that cut more to the core of your company culture. For example, if you’re hiring for a sports agency, ask them about the best game they ever played or witnessed. This is a great opportunity to not only gauge their passion for the industry, but to get them to tell a story. You’ll learn so much about their personality not only by the content that they share, but the way they share it.

Think outside the box, or at least, the office.

You might think conducting an interview has to happen within the four walls of your office or conference room, but that just isn’t true. If you conduct a lot of meetings at the nearby coffee shop, why not try it in your interview? Of course, find a place that’s still conducive for conversation, but a cup of coffee will definitely put you and your candidate at ease compared to the glare of fluorescent lights. In this way, they’ll feel more comfortable opening up when it’s time to share their story.

How do you get candidates to share their story? What are some questions you would ask?

Getting Personal with Personality

should hr use personality tests

According to SHRM, about 60 percent of workers are now asked to take workplace assessments. These personality tests help boost understanding and improve collaboration among teams. We do the same here at PerkSpot, but a recent colleague brought to my attention that specific personalities don’t always dictate how you work. Using her as an example, Alissa is an introvert through and through. However, when it comes to her work, she enjoys building relationships with new people and engaging with clients over the phone and in person. Being an account manager is not a typical role for most introverts, but Alissa shared how this experience has been challenging and rewarding, while also being a natural fit for her. Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar within your own organization. Maybe an extrovert is great at crunching numbers and heads-down work, while your introverts thrive in sales roles.

Does this mean we are overestimating the power of personality? Should we allow personality tests to dictate how we collaborate on projects? Are they still valuable to the hiring process?

Mixed Reviews

Some of the most common tests include Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, StrengthsFinder and DiSC. HR professionals hold mixed views about the accuracy of personality assessments and how seriously we take the findings. Some of the positive results include gaining a deeper understanding of a candidate’s (or colleague’s) strengths and weaknesses, their communication styles, and how these play into their overall role within their team. While personality tests are great at viewing commonalities among personalities, but remember that these tests should be taken in broad scope, just as you would a horoscope. The flip side is that they often don’t take into consideration motives, values or even working styles. The way a person interacts inside the office could be very different from how they function socially. It will take more than a piece of paper to prove that.

Get Personal with Personality

If you’re on the fence about whether a personality test might be right for your team or as a new addition to your hiring process, consider what other pieces of the puzzle might be missing. Personality tests are great, but they cannot stand alone as a tool for assessing candidates. When hiring, look for candidates who not only fulfill your requirements, but also add value. When assessing a team member, use personality tests alongside other team building exercises to understand how each person functions on an individual level. The key is to get personal with personality and treat each person as an individual, not an answer to a quiz.

Do you currently use personality tests in your hiring process or among your team? Share your experience in the comments.

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.

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Leadership Beyond the Office

When you think about leaders who inspire you, chances are you aren’t thinking about their job title or their corner office. You think about the inspiring words they spoke when you needed to hear it, the efforts they took to make a change, and the lives they impacted.

leadership-beyond-office

I recently spoke with the Director of Human Resources for a start-up located here in Chicago. She shared insights into what makes their office culture truly unique and hands-down it was the leadership. In fact, part of their on-boarding process for new employees includes a goal-setting session with the CEO. While this might not seem out of the ordinary, the goals are not strictly professional. With a strong financial background, the CEO helps each employee set savings goals such as taking a vacation with their family or paying off student loans. With a high percentage of part-time employees, many do not have the ability to hire a financial planner and chances are, have never received financial advice from an expert. By understanding their needs and using her skills, their CEO helps employees achieve things they never thought possible.

From the human resources department to the CEO to the marketing managers, every leader in an organization is tasked with an overwhelming responsibility to make a difference in their employees’ lives. So while not all of us can become financial advisors, there are plenty of ways we can lead well no matter your job title or area of expertise.

Learn.

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
– John F. Kennedy

True leaders never stop learning. It’s easy to be mediocre, only absorbing information as we need it, but great leaders know that “knowledge is power”. With humble attitudes, they are proactive in seeking out advice and expertise. It can also be said that great leaders should push their employees to seek out knowledge as well. By offering a continuing education program or professional development courses, you and your employees can learn more, together. In fact, many companies offer a “Lunch and Learn” each month where employees get together to learn something new over a meal. They bring experts on everything from financial advice to html coding to business skills. Leading means learning, and pushing others to do the same.

Listen.

When people talk, listen completely.
– Ernest Hemingway

One of the most obvious ways we can lead people well is by listening well. It’s easy to assume as leaders that we know best, but every person has a unique story and perspective. By taking time to first understand and get to know their personalities, their struggles and their strengths, we can push them to be the best version of themselves. Leadership expert, David Marquet, describes listening as using “not only your ears, but your eyes and heart as well.”

Lead the Change.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

We have unlimited vacation days at PerkSpot. I know what you’re thinking, “But do people actually use them?”. The answer is yes and the reason is our leadership. While many offices claim to have great employee perks, what makes the difference at our company is that our executive team lives out these values. We take vacation days because the leaders do, we participate in charity because our leaders volunteer, and we congratulate each other on successes because our leaders model this behavior. It’s nothing new and nothing crazy, but having leaders pave the way  makes all the difference.

Let Go.

The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.
– Ronald Reagan

Great leaders are the ones who are okay with relinquishing control. While many feel that giving up control is a sign of weakness,  it actually is a great testament to the strength of your leadership. “Control is about power – not leadership. Surrender allows a leader to get out of their own way and focus on adding value to those whom they serve.” Again, humility is key to being a successful leader. By focusing more on who your employees can be and what they can accomplish and less on making a name for yourself, your team will grow to respect you and your authority.

 
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