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Should HR Make Friends at Work?

Human Resources and friendship have a complicated relationship. If you come from a more corporate environment, you may be thinking that HR professionals should keep employees at arm’s length. On the other hand, a more informal environment like a tech or start-up company may view HR as just another one of the crew. So, what’s the right choice? Should HR make friends at work… and how?

The answer is… there is no one answer that’s right for everyone. At PerkSpot, one of our core values is “We Value People”. Our culture naturally lends itself to a strong sense of community, so for us, the answer is yes. However, we know this may not work for everyone and that’s ok, too.

If you’re an HR professional thinking about embarking on friendships at work, here are three main things to keep in mind:
• Choose Your Friends Wisely
• Don’t Play Favorites
• Know Your Culture

Make Friends, but Make Them Wisely

HR can absolutely make friends at work, but these may not look like the best friends you’ve had all your life. Work friends generally know a little bit about you, but they aren’t the ones you’d call up when something goes terribly wrong. They may even be more of an acquaintance than an actual friend. However, finding someone who shares similar interests, that makes you laugh, and all-in-all makes work more enjoyable is extremely valuable for all employees, and HR is no exception.

Make Friends, but Treat Everyone the Same

One of the dangers HR can run into when having friends at work is being accused of favoritism or bias. It’s important that even if you “click” with someone at work, you treat others fairly and kindly. You should make each employee feel valued in their own way. It’s only natural to connect with some more than others. However, that should never affect how you interact with them professionally.

Make Friends, but Know Your Culture

Every workplace is different so it’s important to know what’s appropriate for your office. At PerkSpot, we are fairly casual so it would be of no surprise to see our head of HR mingling with a beer during our Friday afternoon cheers. This is appropriate because it’s a part of our culture and helps to create an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect. However, this is unique to PerkSpot and one size definitely does not fit all. Find ways to gain the trust and respect of your coworkers in a way that’s appropriate to your culture.

Do you think HR should make friends at work? We’d love to hear what you think!

Bring Some Madness Into Your Office

The frenzy of March Madness is alive and well in our office and it’s got us thinking about the dynamics that make these teams thrive. From recruiting top talent to honing players’ skills, there are a lot of factors that go into building a championship team.

In the spirit of the season, here are our favorite ways for developing great teams from March Madness.

Selecting Your Players Well

You know what they say – “You’re only as strong as your weakest link”. Selecting and recruiting the right candidates is essential to building a strong team. While it may take more work up-front, all the research and time invested will pay off as you build a solid foundation to support what lies ahead. Start off by investing in recruitment and make sure you’re adding people who will complement your culture, not just blend in. Determine your weaknesses and find players who will fill in the gaps.

Play to Their Strengths

According to Gallup, employees who use their strengths are SIX TIMES more engaged than those who don’t. Once you’ve attracted the star talent, now you have to keep them! Start by defining your employees’ strengths. A strength should be defined as “consistent near perfect performance in an activity.” Strengths should be invigorating, not draining and produce clear, effective results. You may find that one employee produces several great results but are on the edge of burnouts while another employee is bored. Developing your employees helps them stay passionate and forward-thinking, while creating a balance on your team.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

It’s a lot easier for basketball teams to stay focused on the goals ahead of them – win the game, win the championship, don’t get injured! In the office, however, it’s not so cut and dry. As a leader, it’s important to help lead your team to success by keeping them focused on your goal. Whether it’s a short term goal to accomplish for the week or a long-term goal for the year, find ways to track and measure progress towards your goals to keep employees motivated and united.

Spend Time Together Off the Court

David DeBusschere, named one of the greatest players in NBA history, once said “The best teams have chemistry. They communicate with each other and they sacrifice personal glory for the common goal.” The same is true in our workplaces. The best teams are the ones who spend time getting to know each other. Spending time outside the office can create a stronger, loyal, and happier team. When they have each others’ backs, they become unstoppable.

Celebrate Your Wins

No team leaves a championship game with a quick high five. They celebrate with loud cheers and celebrations. The same should be true of our wins in the workplace. When your team accomplishes a milestone, remember to take time to celebrate and acknowledge their achievements. After all, this is what all the work is for!

What are some ways you’re building strong team cultures in your workplace this year?

Benefits of Stand Up Meetings

benefits of stand up meetings

There is one routine we can always count on here at PerkSpot. The Tech Team’s daily stand-up meetings.

 

What is a Stand-Up Meeting?

Also called a Scrum, a Stand-Up Meeting is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Usually between 5 to 15 minutes long, the team discusses the day’s most important tasks while standing to remind them to keep it short and sweet.

 

Why hold a Stand-Up Meeting?

There are so many benefits to stand-up meetings, but here are our top five:

1. Encourages Collaboration: A great benefit to these meetings is that they encourage employees to work together to finish projects or solve problems. They can also produce follow-up conversations that can be a jumping-off point for further collaboration.

2. Eliminates Roadblocks: Oftentimes projects stall because we don’t have the time to brainstorm solutions with our teams. By communicating daily on various issues you may face, it can diminish problems by allowing the entire team to collaborate and problem-solve together.

3. Improves Communication: The most obvious perk of stand-up meetings is that they improve communication among the team. Instead of wondering the status of certain projects or who is responsible for a particular task, the entire team stays up to date on basic information, ensuring everyone is on the same page.

4. Defeats Hierarchies: One of the possible benefits of a stand-up meeting is that it puts everyone on the same level. Directors can hear from interns and vice-versa. It’s a rare opportunity to let newer employees shine and more senior participants share their wisdom.

5. Saves Time: You may think having a daily meeting would create inefficiencies and headaches, but when done correctly, these meetings actually save tons of valuable time. Some employees may be waiting on quick responses that can be addressed in the meeting without stalling projects. As communication and collaboration improves, projects will run smoother and problems are solved faster.

While stand-ups might not be right for every team, if you find yourself struggling to communicate efficiently, consider incorporating a daily scrum into your office life.

Transparency, Inclusion & The Executive Team

transparency inclusion executive team

Right after college, I stepped into a role at an international company with thousands of employees. Given the size of the company and its various locations, there was a major divide between the executives and the entry-level employees like myself. In fact, the CEO was someone I had only seen from a distance in a boardroom with other executives.

Coming to PerkSpot, the interaction between the executive team and other employees is drastically different than what I had previously experienced. Transparency is a value we promote and work to make a part of our culture and it was evident from day one. At PerkSpot the CEO is no longer this distant figure, but someone who knows each of us on a personal level. The Executive team is not a group that spends time in secret meetings behind closed doors, but who gathers input from employees in order to make informed and inclusive high-level decisions. Transparency is part of our everyday life here, and it makes all the difference.

After experiencing the difference transparency makes, I know firsthand how important it can be. But, this isn’t unique to my personal experiences. In a 2014 report by the American Psychological Association, one out of three employees stated that their employer was not always honest and truthful with them. The need for transparency is obvious.

Here are a few reasons why transparency should become a part of every culture:

Transparency Solves Problems

Whether your company is undergoing a major change or looking to improve performance, transparency can help you solve problems faster. Transparency around the issues you face help employees learn to trust their leadership and gain ownership in solving problems. Forming a more inclusive culture brings a fresh approach and a new set of eyes. Therefore, leaders solve the problem faster than if they had just kept the facts among executives.

Transparency Makes Things Personal

Nothing brings people closer together than solving problems. As the world becomes more interconnected through digital media, this is becoming increasingly more important. Employees want leaders who will connect with them beyond the professional and into the personal.  By providing opportunities for executives to interact with other members of the organization, relationships can form authentically.

Transparency Improves Culture

A 2016 survey of more than 1,200 employees, managers and executives discussed a major chasm in company culture. It discovered the more seniority a person has in an organization, the more positively they viewed company culture. This proves how vital it is that the various levels within the organization are interacting. It’s important not only to uncover any negative feelings the employees may be harboring, but to also reveal the positive outlooks senior management may have due to a greater access of information.

As Generation Z enters the workforce this year, transparency is becoming all the more important. Whether you’re the CEO, a manager, or an intern, find ways to be more transparent about the problems you’re facing.

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Team Building Activities Just in Time for Summer!

The sun beams down warming your face through the window. You can smell the fresh air peeking through as you take a sip of your iced tea, relaxing in your chair. Your eyes wander and your mind is clear. Summer is here.

But, unfortunately, this isn’t you on a tropical vacation. This is the distraction of summer making its way into your office. As the temps warm up, our minds tend to dream of greener pastures.

Don’t fight the feeling: take your work and your team outside and engage in some fun team-building activities.

team building activities perkspot culture employee engagement

Fox Business states, “When the global marketing firm McCann WorldGroup surveyed 7,000 Millennials in 2011, it found more than 90% of those surveyed rated “connection and community” as their greatest need.”

I know what you’re thinking, but we aren’t talking about blindfolding someone and leading them through a maze or practicing trust falls. These age-old activities are outdated and more likely to make your team groan. True team-building happens when you have fun, laugh and share an experience together.

Here’s a few ways to build up your team this summer:

Give Back

Take some time this summer to give back. Encourage employees or coworkers to volunteer in the community. Find ways to give back at volunteermatch.org or catchafire.org. In fact, when employees spend their time on other people, they often feel like they have more time to spare!

Ready, Set, Sports

There are many ways to use sports to bring your team together. Grab your colleagues and join a city league. David W. Ballard of the American Psychological Association says this of teams who practice physical activities together, “Employees have lost weight and report a higher awareness of wellness issues, strengthened sense of community, improved morale, and increased motivation.”  For the observers, check out a baseball game or cheer on your company athletes as they go for the gold.

Strap On Your Fanny Packs

Summer is the perfect time to explore your city. Visit famous monuments, tour a museum or hop on a Segway tour. You’ll create memories and learn something along the way.

Learn Something New

For many offices, summer is a slow season. Take the opportunity to learn something new together through professional development courses or attending a conference. This will leave your team rejuvenated and impassioned upon returning to work.

Save money on your next office adventure with exclusive tickets, entertainment and even local discounts through PerkSpot!