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4 Key Strategies to Boost Your Employee Experience

employees experiencing post it notes

Businesses in the United States lose productivity worth about $300 billion a year due to disengaged workers.

But the good news is that you can increase employee engagement by boosting employee experience. Employees who have a positive experience are likely to be more engaged than those with a negative experience. And creating a positive experience is simple. Let’s take a look at how you can do it.

1. Improve Internal Communication

Ask any HR expert- strong internal communication in the workplace is a huge factor in the employee experience.

Effective communication leads to better collaboration which helps develop employee relationships. It boosts the morale, engagement, satisfaction, and productivity of your employees. Plus, increased communication in the workplace promotes a sense of community and creates cohesion in the organization. This is especially important in a remote or hybrid work environment.

Start by making your workplace a safe space where employees can share accomplishments in their personal and professional lives.

Here are a few other tips to open communication lines:

  • Schedule regular 1:1 sessions. Use this time to learn about any concerns they may have before they turn into bigger problems. It’s also a great time to address their happiness at work.
  • Schedule weekly team meetings as well. It helps members know what others in the team are working on and find opportunities to collaborate. Members can share any setbacks they may be experiencing and get help from teammates.
  • Always give the ‘why’ behind every action you take. It helps create a more transparent atmosphere. 
  • Give constructive feedback. Instead of criticizing, help them learn from their mistakes. This can boost the morale of your employees, which would otherwise drop if you keep criticizing them.
  • Use communication channels to openly recognize employees’ contributions. It’s a great way to motivate them as they’ll see their work being recognized.

2. Act on Feedback

Collecting feedback to understand your employees’ job satisfaction and assess the dynamics of the workplace is great. 

But do you act on this feedback?  If not, you’re losing out, and this inaction can make employees lose trust in you. They are likely to stop giving feedback if they feel unheard. To build employee confidence, first ensure your feedback surveys are anonymous.

This will empower employees to be candid about the issues affecting them in the workplace, and help you implement the changes they want to see.

Once you collect the feedback, communicate your action plan in relation to the issues they raise. If, for instance, your sales and marketing team raised an issue on inefficiency in lead generation, highlight the growth software you’ve adopted in response to this feedback. It’ll go a long way in improving employee experience.

3. Create Growth Opportunities

About 22% of employees cited ‘career issues’ as the number one reason they left their jobs in 2021, largely seeking opportunities for growth and promotion. This concern even comes ahead of other major issues like work-life balance.  

 graph of employee experience

Image via Work Institute

This means having opportunities for growth in the workplace can keep your employees happy and content. It’s one of the main ways to boost employee experience in your company.

Good growth opportunities should:

  • Be accessible to all employees
  • Cater to the different experience levels and needs of your employees
  • Center around short-term and long-term objectives

Instead of hiring externally for leadership positions, promote your employees. Empower them to qualify for these promotions by helping them expand their skills. You can:

  • Use the online course creation platforms to create job-specific training. This Thinkific review can get you started
  • Create mentorship programs
  • Help employees expand their skills through cross-training and stretch assignments
  • Create leadership development programs
  • Set up a tuition reimbursement program. Or if you’re looking to control business spending, encourage them to take up massive open online courses (MOOCs)

Discuss long-term career goals with each employee and create a development plan that gets them there.

4. Create a Strong Company Culture

Company culture encompasses what’s acceptable and applauded in your organization. It’s what the company stands for and the key values that define the organization.

Positive work culture creates an environment where employees are happy to be with each other, committed to the company goals, and engaged in their work.

Create policies that curb barriers to positive company culture, such as:

  • Uniform framework for annual reviews
  • Diversity and inclusion policies
  • Adopting remote and hybrid communication tools and policies
  • Flexible working hours and leave policies to improve work-life balance
  • Placing a cap on the number of work hours to ensure workload management

You can make a video collage that demonstrates the mission, goals, and values your company holds dear. Using this or a similar tool in your onboarding process can help get new employees accustomed to the tone of your work environment from the get-go.

What Next?

It’s time to put these strategies into action to boost your employee experience.

Start by leveling up communication in your organization. It’ll make it easy for employees to build workplace relationships.

Additionally, implement the right changes by paying attention to employee feedback.

Finally, create an environment your employees want to stay and work in by opening up growth opportunities and building a positive company culture.

Once you put these into practice, you’re sure to experience higher employee productivity and retention rates!

 

Contributor Profile:

Gaurav Sharma is the founder and CEO of Attrock, a results-driven digital marketing company. He regularly contributes to top publications such as HuffPost, Adweek, Business 2 Community, TechCrunch, and more. Connect on Socials: Twitter, LinkedIn

Why You Need Voluntary Benefits

girl at computer voluntary benefitsEmployee benefits are, by their very nature, a highly personal thing. Few things are more important than having reliable health and vision benefits, for instance, across a huge range of varied personal situations. That’s why it’s critical that any competitive benefits package allows for meaningful customization for the things that matter, so employees can opt-in towards retirement, time-off, or whatever else is important to them. In other words – you need a benefits structure that works around the unique needs of your unique employees!

Ideally, your voluntary benefits should be more than just “skin deep”.  The kind of benefits program that attracts top talent is the kind that offers meaningful solutions to major hurdles experienced by your employees – like, for instance, providing financial well-being tools such as financial education resources or 401k guidance as part of an employee benefits package. It makes a huge difference to the growing number of employees concerned about their financial health. But even something as simple as separate voluntary benefits for commuters and motorists getting to the office can make a big difference in the positive cultural impact of your program.

Productivity, Loyalty, and Voluntary Benefits

Studies show consistently that incentive programs have a strong positive impact on productivity and loyalty. For example, a recent Incentive Research Foundation study indicated that a well-run incentive program can improve loyalty by up to 44%, showing that employees want to be recognized as individuals for their work. Providing voluntary benefits functions just the same; when employees feel like their efforts are being recognized and rewarded on an individual basis, it acts as a strong productivity driver. That’s because personalizing your benefits demonstrates that you care about your employees – and there’s nothing that ensures employee loyalty more strongly than showing you’re loyal to them right back. 

From parking vouchers to cutting-edge telehealth benefits, giving employees a comprehensive and customizable benefits suite is among the top ways to stand out from competitors and attract fiercely competitive best-in-class talent. That’s how PerkSpot helps you build loyalty and reduce turnover; providing your employees with discounts tailored around their interests. Through the hundreds of national brands who work with us, PerkSpot is able to selectively highlight the programs and discounts most applicable to individual employees; whether it’s a frequent traveler in need of cheaper car rentals or an amateur gardener looking for new tools, we’ve got the deals to help your employees save on the things that matter to them. That’s why PerkSpot is such a powerful employee productivity driver.

The Value of Personalization

When you recognize your employees as individuals and format your programs around individual needs, it never goes unnoticed. In many cases, even if the monetary benefit is the same, giving employees the choice to opt-in to relevant programs instead of a “one-size-fits-all” approach improves productivity and loyalty metrics. As far as benefits go, it pays to realize that one size does not fit all; and the more you can provide employees with benefits that match their individual needs, the happier they’ll be. That’s what makes PerkSpot different; our wide range of discounts has something for everyone, no matter how unique. Catering to that uniqueness is our priority.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of a customized discount program? Request a demo for a free overview of how PerkSpot can help your organization!

How to Boost Employee Morale in a WFH Environment

The workplace is changing. If you are running a business, you probably know this too well. Today, many organizations are doing away with the traditional office – in favor of a remote environment. In recent years this trend has accelerated, 52% of global employees now work remotely at least once a week.

It’s not hard to see why. Remote workers don’t have to worry about costs of commuting or delays due to travel disruptions. Businesses can save money by renting small office spaces, meaning they can focus funds on growth.

With the right technology and an application of integrations, a remote worker can be just as effective as an in-office counterpart; as long as you pay attention to their morale.

But despite these benefits, remote work isn’t always a walk in the park. Remote workers can feel isolated socially, and if you’re not careful, people can feel out of the loop. It all negatively impacts the morale of employees. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some simple ways to boost the morale of your remote employees.   

Check in On Your Team

It’s easy for workers to feel a disconnect remotely. In a traditional office environment, leaders will get many opportunities to spend time with team members. Employees must trust leaders and vice versa. Regular meetings provide useful opportunities for teams to get to know leaders.

But in the remote environment, ensuring contact is harder. If leaders don’t work hard to ensure communication, there will be a lack of coherence within teams. But what can be done to avoid this problem?

Ensuring regular meetings is a good first step. Try to find a time that fits with the schedule of all members to avoid creating frustration. Ultimately, you want communication to be as natural as possible. That’s why it’s a good idea to prioritize video calling over audio calls, as this offers more common face-to-face communication.  

It’s best to choose work from home tools that have a track record of reliability, especially for communication purposes. You can’t ensure solid dialogue if your phone keeps dropping calls.   

Make Mental Health a Priority 

employees who feel work from home has negative impact on moraleThe topic of mental health in the workplace has been given more and more attention in recent years. Today, people are less reluctant to talk about their problems and more willing to seek help. But despite this, studies have shown that nearly 1 in 4 workers meet the criteria for ‘clinically relevant symptoms’ of anxiety and depression.

 

In the remote work environment, these problems are only exacerbated. What’s more, people are more reluctant to come forward to talk about their problems. So, what’s the solution? Start by leveraging emotional intelligence

Alongside group calls, it’s useful to hold regular one-to-one sessions with members. By doing so, you can offer the chance for workers to express their issues in a confidential, judgment-free environment.

To provide better support in sessions, it’s a good idea to take note of what employees are saying. Otter AI is a good option if you’d rather transcribe notes (although there are some Otter AI app alternatives if you’re looking to save money).

So, if you haven’t already, get in touch with workers and organize some drop-in sessions. 

Take Regular Breaks 

​​A key element of working in a standard work environment is a daily schedule. Loss of routine is one of the reasons that many remote workers struggle. Many remote employees overlook a fundamental element of working: taking a break.  

The idea of employees doing more work might seem appealing to some (cold-hearted) team leaders, but breaks are necessary. Without taking the occasional rest, workers risk being burnt out. Ensure you encourage your team to step away from the screen and take time for themselves.

Additionally, why not set up a virtual break-out room that employees can join on their breaks? Regular chats are a great way for workers to bond and feel part of a team. By encouraging breaks, your workers will feel more rested; you’ll notice a boost in motivation. It’s a win-win! 

Have a Virtual Night Out 

Not everyone likes the idea of spending a night out at work. But there is no denying the importance of social events in terms of teamwork and morale. Sharing drinks with your team can be a great way of recognizing successes and building stronger bonds. But how do you replicate this experience when your team is remote?

There’s no denying that virtual festivities are harder to orchestrate. There’s a good chance that you have workers spread across the globe. This means you will have to work across time zones to find a time that works for everyone. Obviously, standard activities like going for a meal aren’t possible, so you have to think creatively.

But if you keep these factors in mind, you can have a fun virtual night out. Here are a few fun activities that you can try out:

work from home virtual zoom meeting

Share Drinks – This is probably the simplest solution. While you can’t go to a bar, you can all gather in a conference call and share a drink together.

Cook Together – Again, you can’t go out for a meal, so why not share one together? You can even all work on the same recipe and then share the results of your work!

Start a Book Club – Not everyone likes reading. But for those that do, a book club can be a great way to bond over a shared interest. If reading isn’t an interest, why not all agree on a movie to watch together?  

Adapting Is Key

The switch to remote work can be a learning curve. Don’t worry if it takes time to adjust to this different environment. You will need to be flexible with time zones and even schedules.

To keep morale high, you need to put communication at the heart of everything you do. By adapting to new technologies and putting workers’ needs first, you’ll have a happy and productive workforce. With the right approach, your business can out-compete your rivals. So make sure you’re getting the most out of remote working! 

This guest post was authored by Grace Lau.

Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud mutlichannel call center platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Grace Lau also published articles for domains such as Tapfiliate and Easy Affiliate. 

Infographic: What Your Employees Need For Success

In the past few years, employees’ needs to achieve success have shifted with financial wellness making its way to the top. In addition, employees are seeking improved appreciation, emphasis on diversity and inclusion, hybrid or remote work environments, and a company culture that aligns with their values. With high turnover rates, what can you do to attract and retain top-notch talent?

Employees are looking for more out of their employer. What options do you have to improve morale, retention, and success? Listen to employees needs, have direct conversations, and consider additional benefits. PerkSpot could be the perfect solution.

Interested in learning more about the value of an employee discount program? Sign up for a demo today. Your employees will thank you later!

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!

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!

How to Save Your Employees Money

A recent report by Willis Towers Watson discovered that almost a quarter of surveyed employees fell into the “high-stress” category when it came to dealing with their finances. Unfortunately, that financial stress tends to pervade nearly every aspect of an employee’s life, including – obviously – their work. And the stats don’t get any better. Employees who are struggling financially will lose 41% of work time compared to their less-stressed counterparts. Plus, they’re more likely to have low engagement and productivity levels. Whether we like it or not, an employee’s financial struggles can easily become an HR problem. Want to fix that? Check out the top 4 ways you can easily help improve your employees’ financial wellbeing by saving them money!

1. Flexible Schedule

HR professionals already know the importance of a flexible schedule. Not only does it provide the opportunity for a better work-life balance for employees, but it can actually improve productivity and engagement. But there’s another unexpected upside to allowing your employees a bit of flexibility in their scheduling: it saves them money! The option to work remotely or choose your own hours means employees don’t always have to commute into work, so they can save on gas or public transportation costs. What’s more, the necessity for child or pet care, which is more often than not a costly expense, is dramatically reduced. If you’re looking for an easy way to help your employees save, consider implementing a flexible scheduling option!

2. Financial Advising

Many employees develop their financial stress simply because they don’t feel educated enough on the topic. When this is the case, the best thing you as an HR professional can do is offer them as many resources as possible. To begin, get a good understanding of the kind of financial advice your employees want with a survey. From there, you can find a myriad of options that will provide financial education to your employees. Depending on your employees, this can range from budgeting advice, saving tips, investment suggestions, or retirement plan help. Not only can these lessons benefit your employees’ financial wellness, but a less financially stressed employee will be more productive and more engaged.

3. Referral Bonuses

As an HR professional, you probably know the importance of acquiring talented employees for your open roles. But did you know that the most effective way to recruit talent is through your current employees? Not only do employees understand their employer’s brand, culture, and needs, but they also know whether their referrals are equipped to fill open roles. Incentivize your employees to refer the best possible candidates by offering a referral bonus and encourage them to put it towards something important, like monthly payments or a savings plan. You can help put money into your employees’ pockets and find fantastic candidates all in one fell swoop!

4. Perks and Discounts

One of the best ways to help your employees save money is to offer them discounts in the places they spend the most money. But that can be difficult when you have a diverse workforce with different needs. Some employees may want to save on big-ticket items like automobiles or insurance. Others may want savings on smaller, everyday items like groceries, electronics, and other categories. That’s why an option like a perks and discounts program is perfect. Employees can search for the discounts that apply best to them and use them as they see fit.

Everybody knows how difficult it is to concentrate on work and other responsibilities when financial stress is weighing heavily on their mind. Therefore, it’s important that an employer takes the necessary steps to relieve employees’ stress when they can. If you don’t already, try implementing these different suggestions in your company to improve financial wellness, engagement, and productivity!

How to Keep Your Employees Productive During the Summer

As HR professionals, we know how hard it can be to keep employees motivated and productive during the summer months. In fact, Business Insider reported that employee productivity drops as much as 20 percent as spring turns into summer. With the Fourth of July coming up, it’s difficult not to worry about employee motivation dipping even further. Here are three great tips for keeping your employees productive, despite the distraction of summer.

Go Outside

Every office worker knows how hard it can be to sit at their desk while they see the sun shining outside. Let your employees enjoy the nice weather by suggesting managers arrange for outdoor or walking meetings, which gives you a good chance to stretch your legs and feel the sun. If your office location permits, create an outdoor break area, or open the windows and let the fresh air in. Not only does a breath of fresh air improve the productivity of your employees, but studies also report it can help cognitive function, decision making, and overall health!

Set Summer Goals

Summer isn’t a typical time of year to set goals for your employees, but when done right, it can seriously improve motivation throughout the workplace. Putting incentives into place gives employees a good reason to buckle down and remain engaged in their own work. If you want to have more fun with it, look at your company culture and create goals based around that. Here at PerkSpot, we host an annual summer event that gets the employees outside and enjoying the great weather. Plus, all the proceeds that come out of the event are donated to a local charity of our choosing. Each summer, this event allows us to give back to the community, and have fun doing it!

Encourage Vacation Time

Did you know that 64 percent of employees say they feel refreshed and excited to get back to work after a vacation? Not only should you encourage employees to actually use their allotted vacation time, but take it one step further. Remind them of the importance of “logging off” during their vacations – 41 percent of vacation takers say they still check on work while away, which means they aren’t able to fully decompress from the stress that may come with their position. Instead, create a system at your workplace that ensures others can fill in when their coworkers are out on vacation. This can provide a sense of relief for your traveling coworkers, and a better sense of teamwork and togetherness in general.

Summer can be a difficult time for employee productivity, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, you can increase motivation among your employees by trying out these easy tips! How do you improve employee productivity during the summer? Let us know!

A Guide to Setting Your Remote Employees Up for Success

In 2005, 1.8 million US employees said they telecommuted for at least half of their scheduled working hours. The same study said in ten years, that number increased by 115%. That’s almost 4 million American workers who report telecommuting for work at some point in their week! The trend has only continued to grow, and there’s no reason to assume it will be going away soon. If you’re currently hiring, onboarding, or working with remote employees, here are some tips to set them up for success!

During the Interview

Ask the Right Questions

Hiring for an employee that will work remotely is vastly different from hiring an employee who spends all of their time in the office. Because of this, you’ll need to look for different qualities and characteristics than you would with an in-office employee. For example, remote employees should be highly self-motivated and remain engaged and productive, despite the lack of an office setting. During a prospective employee’s interview, make sure to ask questions that reveal those qualities, such as past successes during a remote work experience that demonstrates the employee has the ability to stay focused. If you know this position works closely with other employees in a team, ask how they stay communicative with fellow teammates even though they aren’t working in the same office space. Questions like these not only help you better understand the candidate and their working style, but it can also help prepare them for the position and what it entails.

Clearly Communicate Expectations

Candidates interviewing for a remote position often have prior experience working remotely. However, that doesn’t mean the standards in place with their last job were the same as the standards you set. During the final stages of an interview process, ensure that you clearly communicate what you expect from the employee. This could concern hours they work, tasks they complete, or something else entirely. Make sure they feel confident in their ability to fill this role to the best of their ability. They can’t feel completely confident without knowing everything that it entails, so it’s your responsibility to keep them informed.

During Onboarding

Ensure Proper Tech Requirements

Technology is one of the most important components in preparing for a remote worker. There are a number of different technological requirements that need to be acquired to set up a remote employee for success. After all, it’s impossible for them to properly communicate with their team and manager if they don’t have access to reliable internet, but this is only the beginning. Typically, companies will also want to invest in a shared file system (like Google Drive), a communication platform (like Slack), and a video conferencing application (like Skype) to ensure good communication among in-office and remote employees.

Design a Check-In Calendar

When you onboard your new employee, sit down and design a check-in plan that works for both of you. In the beginning, more frequent check-ins, like once a week, are recommended. After the employee settles into his or her role, decrease this to once every two weeks or once a month. During check-ins, ask questions about their current projects and challenges they are facing, but also remember to create a space for personal interaction. Remote employees still have a desire for the camaraderie that occurs more naturally in office atmospheres.

Beyond Onboarding

Create Face-to-Face Opportunities

21% of remote workers cited loneliness as their biggest problem. One of the best ways to combat this is by scheduling recurring face-to-face opportunities to meet with your remote workers in person. Some companies will designate regular “in the office” days in which all employees come in, perhaps for a team gathering or an all-company meeting. Others will schedule a monthly lunch or coffee date where an employee and his or her manager can meet to discuss the past month and plan important projects and deadlines that will come up in the future month.

Keep Up Communication

As an HR professional, good communication with employees should always be something that’s at the forefront of your mind. With remote employees, this is even more important. A remote employee can’t stop at your desk and chat about a question or concern that’s on their mind. They rely on other communication methods, like email or Slack, to discuss important topics. That being said, make sure to monitor those platforms closely and respond timely to your remote workforce. That way, they know don’t feel ignored or pushed to the wayside.

Research says remote workers actually tend to be more productive in their flexible schedules. However, with all that freedom comes some challenges as well. As an HR professional, take these steps to make sure you’re helping your remote employees avoid those pitfalls and instead, set them up for success!

Is March Madness the Morale Boost Your Office Needs?

If your office is anything like ours, then the topics of busted brackets and buzzer beaters have probably taken over. That’s right – It’s March Madness!

It’s a popular myth that March Madness is a productivity killer for office places, but a large majority of employees said they didn’t believe they were any less productive during the three weeks of beloved basketball games. Plus, we learned last year that we can actually learn a lot of lessons from the tournament, like a sense of teamwork and pride in one’s accomplishments. But what if we told you there’s a way to make March Madness a morale booster at your office? It’s possible, and all you have to do is follow these 3 simple steps.

1. Wear Team Apparel

Everyone’s got their favorite team they love to root for (or against). Encourage employees to show their colors during the tournament. Maybe it’s your alma mater, the school you rooted for as a young child, or maybe you just really love the mascot – we’re looking at you, Peter the Anteater. No matter what you wear, this is a great way for employees to get a glimpse of a more personal side of one another that isn’t always seen in the office. Plus, it can inspire conversation among employees who might usually not interact as often. After all, nothing brings people together like their shared love (or hate) for a team.

2. Host a Competition

There’s nothing better than a little bit of friendly competition throughout the office, so consider creating a competition that employees can participate in. Fun ideas like a bracket or office pool that’s open to the entire company can garner lots of excitement. Not to mention, 89% of employees said taking part in a competition like this makes them more excited about coming to work each day. Before you get too far, be sure that any competition you manage in the office abides by all state and federal laws, as well as your own company policy. Avoid monetary prizes and sweeten the pot in other ways. Office swag, a paid lunch, and of course, bragging rights until next year are all great prizes!

3. Organize an Activity

As much as we don’t want to admit it, March Madness might mean an employee spends a few minutes each day checking the scores or following a game here or there. But there’s also a great opportunity with an event like this to drum up a sense of camaraderie among employees. Try organizing an activity or two outside of the office that brings all the employees together and gives them a chance to bond over something other than work. This can create stronger relationships between coworkers, which in turn leads to better engagement and productivity in employees.

Dealing with the event of March Madness can be a struggle for HR professionals. It’s a delicate balance between creating an enjoyable work environment for employees while also making sure their work gets done. But it’s also a fantastic opportunity to boost morale, productivity, and engagement. Give this guide a try and bring the madness to your office this year!

A Fresh Take on Smart Goal Setting for HR Managers

Have you already set your goals for 2019, either personal or corporate? This year we’re taking a fresh look at goal setting for HR Managers and giving some new tips on making the most of your professional development plans.

We’ll discuss:
• What is Goal Setting?
• Why is Goal Setting Important?
• How to Create Meaningful, Effective Goals

What is Goal Setting?

Most people think about goal setting in terms of professional success. What am I hoping to achieve and what kind of results do I want? While these are worthwhile questions, author James Clear offers a fresh perspective. He says you should ask yourself one question before setting your goals: “What kind of pain do I want?”.

Clear goes on to say, “It’s easy to sit around and think what we could do or what we’d like to do. It is an entirely different thing to accept the tradeoffs that come with our goals. Everybody wants a gold medal. Few people want to train like an Olympian.” When determining your goals for the upcoming year or quarter, ask yourself what you’re willing to sacrifice.

Why is Goal Setting Important?

Have you ever decided to find your own way to a location only to realize you didn’t actually know where you were going? You step outside and start confidently walking in one direction, but a few minutes later you’re in unfamiliar territory and you’ve walked five blocks in the wrong direction. These moments are frustrating, not only because you now have to retrace your steps, but because by simply taking the time to map your course first, you could have saved yourself a lot of extra time and effort.

This is why goal setting is so important. Without a clear course mapped out in front of you, you might end up wandering aimlessly and struggle to hit your target. Don’t let arrogance or even prior knowledge influence your decision not to set goals. With proper goal planning, you’re more likely to take the most efficient, effective route.

How to Create Meaningful, Effective Goals

Step One: Goal Selection

Inspirational speaker and author, Seth Godin says “You don’t need more time, you just need to decide.” When we think about our ambitions for the year, we don’t always think about the sacrifices we need to make to get there. Often it’s not about choosing to do more, but choosing to do the right things. Make goal selection the first step in your process. Determine what’s realistic for you to accomplish and what you’ll need to give up in order to get there.

Step Two: Make SMART Goals

Unless you’re living under an HR rock, you’ve probably heard of this before. That’s because setting SMART goals is an essential part of making a successful development plan.
Specific – What do you want to accomplish? Who does this include?
Measurable – What metrics will you use to define success and determine when the goal is complete?
Achievable – Do I have the necessary resources to accomplish this goal? What will I need to give up in order to achieve this? Why is this goal important to you?
Relevant – How does this goal align with my overall success or vision? Why am I setting this goal now?
Timely – What is my deadline and is it realistic?

After answering these questions you should be able to articulate your goal and understand what needs to happen in order to achieve it.

Step Three: Take Baby Steps

If you go on to read James Clear’s advice on goal setting, you’ll find tons of great, actionable methods for achieving goals. One of our favorites is to “Stack Your Goals”.

Research has shown that you are 2x to 3x more likely to stick to your goals if you make a specific plan for when, where, and how you will perform the behavior. For example, in one study scientists asked people to fill out this sentence: “During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME OF DAY] at/in [PLACE].”

We love this advice because it’s such an easy rule to follow but helps break down goals into actionable, everyday elements.

Step Four: Check Your Attitude

Our last step in the goal-setting process isn’t really a step at all. It’s just a gentle reminder to stay positive! Chances are you will get discouraged on your journey. Try writing out your SMART goals and reasons why you’ve chosen to tackle this particular objective. Put it somewhere visible as a tangible reminder. This will help you stay positive and motivated when the going gets tough.

What goals are you setting for this year? Use these tips to make the most of your goal-setting process, either for yourself or your team.