It’s finally springtime, so spring cleaning is probably on your mind. However, you can put back the mop and sponge and place your household chores on the backburner, because we’re talking about a different kind of cleaning. It’s time to break out your employee handbook and evaluate whether it needs some cleaning of its own!
spring cleaning employee handbook
Your employee handbook should be assessed at least once a year and reviewed for any necessary changes. But how can you tell whether your employee handbook is in need of some sprucing up? Here are some common cases in which it’s smart to evaluate your policies:

  • Adding Employees
  • Changing Office Spaces
  • Updating Benefit Plans
  • Remodeling Company Culture

Adding Employees

According to Top Resume, January and February are typically the most popular months for bringing new employees on board. If you just wrapped up your hiring season, it’s time to take a look at your handbook. As your company grows, it’s important to make sure your policies are growing with it. You may be dealing with different employees than you’ve experienced before, like new parents or remote workers, and your handbook should reflect their situations and the code of conduct they should follow, just as it does your full-time, in-office employees.

Changing Office Spaces

Here at PerkSpot, we know a thing or two about this one! As a company that’s recently moved office spaces, we know the time and effort that goes into relocating. But after the dust has settled, take a minute to refresh your employee handbook for the new office. Every office space is unique, so the policies you have in place for employees will most likely be unique as well. At the very least, make sure to include your new location’s address, updated hours, and any other important information employees need to know.

Updating Benefit Plans

When you are dealing with a modification to your company’s benefit plans, you’ll most likely communicate the change with your employees in a number of ways, like email, a company-wide meeting, or in-person communication. But it should still be reflected in an updated employee handbook, so there is always an easy and convenient place employees can look to for any details they’re curious about.

Remodeling Company Culture

Any HR professional knows the importance of culture in their company, and if you’ve recently undertaken an overhaul of your company culture, an update to your employee handbook should follow. This might be an adjustment to your time off policy, dress code, or proper social media usage. Keep in mind, your employee handbook is one of the first things new hires will read about your company, so illustrating your culture properly will start everyone off on the right foot.

The season is changing and your employee handbook might be in need of some changes as well. Even if you’re not dealing with one of these cases, take some time out of your day to evaluate where your company is, and whether your employee handbook appropriately displays that.

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!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!

It would come as no shock to most people that there is a substantial amount of gender disparity in the workplace. Unfortunately, the statistics back this up as well.
HR managers support gender diversity

Women are less likely to be hired into entry-level jobs than men, and that number has barely budged for the last four years. Women are even less likely to be hired and promoted into management roles, leaving the pool of women who can be hired or promoted into senior-level positions practically minuscule. But there is one role that can actively participate in shrinking that inequality in the workplace: HR managers.

Here are three ways that HR managers can support women in the workplace.

1. Re-examine hiring tactics
2. Find them a mentor
3. Be an example

1. Re-examine Hiring Tacts

We can begin tackling gender inequality in the workplace at the very beginning, which is the hiring process. So take the time to examine yours. Does your hiring committee include both men and women? Does your job description list traits and qualities that are primarily associated with men? Do you make assumptions about a potential hire based on their name, experience, or large gaps in their resume, which are often due to family-related situations? Checking your biases and making improvements is the first step.

2. Find a Mentor

For employees beginning their career, a mentor who can provide advice and insight is absolutely invaluable. As an HR manager, there’s a good chance that your company already offers a program like this for new hires. When pairing a mentor and mentee, many feel inclined to match based on gender just as much as a similar career path. However, this often leaves female employees out to dry, as the pool for female senior-level employees is much smaller than their male counterparts. Instead, simply seek out employees who you feel will learn from one another and offer each other a unique perspective and guidance.

3. Be an Example

Whether you are a male or female HR manager, make it your responsibility to be an example for fellow coworkers. Give your female colleagues a voice, and let them know you hear and appreciate their opinions. Create a policy that ensures an environment of respect, and make sure each employee upholds that policy. This will allow other employees to feel more comfortable following your lead.

It has been proven time and time again that having a diverse workforce is better for your company’s bottom line. A 2015 study reported that companies with more women board directors had a higher return on equity, sales, and invested capital. A 2016 study confirmed that more women in leadership positions help to advance a firm’s financial performance. And perhaps most telling, 86% of women said they see senior-level positions as more attainable when they see other women already filling them. Take an active role in creating and improving gender diversity in your workplace by trying one of these tips!

March is Women’s History Month, so we’re taking a good look at some powerful women – past and present – who can teach us important lessons about how to be the best HR professionals we can be.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg & Ethics

You may know her as Notorious RBG, or that really fit Supreme Court justice, but Ruth Bader Ginsburg is best known for her strong beliefs, which she holds while serving as the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court. When you think about Ginsburg, ethics is one of the first words that should come to mind. Similarly, it’s a quality often associated with HR professionals. Many like to say HR professionals serve as the conscious of their company, and that isn’t far off the mark. It is your responsibility as an HR professional to uphold your company’s values and policies, and to make sure each employee practices them properly – much like Ginsburg does each day she dons her Supreme Court justice robe.

Serena Williams & Confidence

The field of HR is bound to challenge you at many points throughout your career, and there’s one thing you’ll need to get you through it: confidence. That is something Serena Williams knows a thing or two about! Williams is a record-breaking tennis star, mother, and businesswoman, and she is unapologetically proud of all of those accomplishments. But that confidence is something many women struggle with. Yet, as HR professionals, it’s absolutely vital. During the course of your career, you will experience things that will test you. Maybe your company is taking a risk with a new venture, maybe you’ve just accepted an exciting (but scary) promotion, or maybe you’re creating and implementing a brand new program that will shake up how things are run in your workplace. Whatever challenge you’re facing, channel Williams’s inner confidence and believe in yourself and the work you’re doing.

Madeleine Albright & Conflict Management

One of the most important qualities in any position, especially that of an HR manager, is conflict resolution. No one knows this quality better than Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as US Secretary of State. During her tenure, she became a renowned negotiator and conflict manager. To do so, she placed a strong emphasis on putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, a lesson many HR professionals should take to heart. Whether your responsibility is to conduct conflict resolution between two fellow employees or negotiate a specific policy or contract, understand what your peer wants as well. Once you reach this understanding, you can find a solution that satisfies both parties.

Oprah Winfrey & Development

As an HR professional, you should always be seeking out new ways to learn and develop, both for yourself and for your employees. Developing personally and professionally will allow you to continuously grow in your career. Who better to learn this important lesson from than Oprah Winfrey? Born in rural Mississippi, Oprah began co-anchoring the local news in Tennessee at 19 and took a low-rated Chicago talk show to number one by age 29. Two years later, The Oprah Winfrey Show, an hour-long talk show, was being broadcast nationally. But Winfrey never rested – she went on to be an actress, producer, author, and philanthropist. She is the epitome of someone who is never satisfied. Take a page out of Oprah’s book and begin focusing on new ways you can develop yourself!

These women are all incredible examples of people who worked hard each and every day. They are the embodiment of some of the crucial qualities any HR professional should possess. What powerful women inspire you? Leave a comment and let us know!

Here at PerkSpot, we were so excited to welcome back our Director of Marketing, Whitney Sattel, who recently returned to work after her maternity leave. Her return encouraged us to dive deeper into what it takes to create a successful transition back into the workplace, ensuring that women who want to stay are supported in doing so. It often goes unrealized, but a good plan that helps working moms return to work is absolutely crucial. When a plan like that is lacking, the results can be devastating to a company. In fact, a study by the Maven Clinic says 75% of new moms are excited to return to work after their maternity leave – yet 43% of them report that they ended up leaving that job in the end.

working moms

It was important to all of us PerkSpotters, but especially our HR team, to assist Whitney in transitioning back as smoothly as possible. Here are 4 things we learned about how HR managers, and all coworkers, can help new moms who are returning to work.

1. Communicate Effectively

Make things easier by creating a timeline and sharing it with your returning employee and her team well in advance. Make sure that you collaborate with the expecting mom to create this as well, so you can take her preferences into account. Some will want and even look forward to monthly check-ins with the team or their manager while on maternity leave. Others will prefer time to themselves to recuperate and spend time adjusting to motherhood. Use this timeline to explain expectations for the returning mother as well. This transparency will be helpful for them as they plan their return.

2. Re-board

Do you remember how it felt to be a new employee at your company? A returning mom can tend to feel the same way, so re-boarding them is an important step. Whether your teammate was gone for 6 weeks or 6 months, remember that they aren’t up to date on everything that happened during their absence. Take the extra time to stop and explain what they missed. “Yes, they will quickly get up to speed,” confirmed Whitney. “But allotting time to help them do so will make the transition smoother on both ends.”

3. Offer Flexibility

Many new moms find it extremely difficult to jump right back into their old work routines, and it’s important for HR to acknowledge that difficulty. Offer the chance to design a schedule different from the one they used to have. “I’ve recently begun working from home one day a week,” said Whitney, “and I really like the flexibility that creates for me. Not only do I get more time with my baby by getting rid of my commute, but I actually find that it tends to be my most productive day of the week!”

4. Ask Questions

It’s not easy for a new mom to return to work, especially in the beginning, and it’s even more difficult when they feel like they can’t share their exciting developments! Whitney said, “When I returned to PerkSpot, I was so happy to be greeted with hugs and questions all about the newest addition to our family.” By encouraging your coworker to share stories and fun pictures, they feel more comfortable about stepping back into their role as an employee while still keeping their new role as a mother.

It’s important to take a hard look at the plans you have in place for each expecting employee. By developing a maternity leave program that creates a smooth transition back to work, you can retain your new mom’s talents while still making her feel comfortable and welcomed.

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.

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

goal setting for hr managers perkspot culture

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.

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?

should hr make friends at work

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!

Back in 2016, Glassdoor predicted that employee perks would be a huge job trend for the year. Well, they weren’t wrong. Three years later, perks are still one of the leading trends throughout the country in workplaces that are looking to offer their employees more than just run-of-the-mill benefits. We know that perks work. (In fact, we like to think of ourselves as perk experts.) But why do they matter?

why perks matter

Here are the ABCs of why perks matter:

  • Show your Appreciation.
  • Foster a sense of Belonging.
  • Create an atmosphere of Consideration.

A is for Appreciation

First, it’s no secret that employees appreciate being recognized for their work. But, for an employer, it can feel difficult to recognize each employee for their contribution in a way that feels meaningful and impactful. That’s where perks come in. Implementing perks as an added bonus for employees sends a message to each one that says, “I see you and I appreciate you.”. Just like you enjoy small acts of kindness from a friend or family member, it feels the same to experience small gestures from your workplace that show you are being thought of and cared for. If you want to go one step further, consider a rewards & recognition platform for your workplace!

B is for Belonging

Twenty years ago, most workplaces looked the same. Fast forward to 2019 and it’s all about making your company stand out for job-seekers and creating a strong sense of identity for your employees. Perks are a great way to make your culture meaningful. Perhaps it’s having a pet-friendly office space that makes every day “Bring Your (Fluffy) Friend To Work” Day. Maybe it’s offering a paid sabbatical for your employees to develop their professional skills. (Cough, cough, we’ve got both!). Whatever it is, perks like these help illustrate the values and culture of a workplace and create a sense of belonging for your employees.

C is for Consideration

One of the great things about perks is that one size does not fit all, and it doesn’t have to! Offering an option like an employee discount program (we can help you out here!) allows an employer to provide perks to each employee that they can then customize for their own personal preferences. A wide variety of perks, all under one umbrella, means your employees get to choose how and when they want to enjoy their them. Through meaningful discounts, you’re not just checking a box, but providing perks that matter to them.

These days, it’s not just about offering your employees perks that you think might momentarily spark their interest. Instead, we’re focusing on finding perks that actually mean something to them. In doing so, you’re demonstrating your gratitude to each employee, plus setting yourself apart from the rest!

What perks do you offer your employees to illustrate culture and show your appreciation?

Jessica Herrin, the co-founder of Stella & Dot, said “Shaping your culture is more than half done when you hire your team.” Here at PerkSpot, we agree – culture is one of the most important elements of our company and an incredibly crucial part of our hiring process. But how do you impart your culture to a potential job candidate in a small amount of time, when it’s so important? Try one of these great tips!
culture
We believe there are 4 easy ways to highlight company culture during an interview:

  • Use Social Media
  • Introduce Core Values
  • Involve Other Departments
  • Give an Office Tour

Use Social Media

The average internet user has at least 5 social media accounts. Odds are, the candidate you’re interviewing has at least one, and they’ve used it to scope out your company before even firing off an application. Use this knowledge to your advantage, and show off your culture on social media. Upload fun pictures of company events and outings to your Instagram or post interesting blogs and articles illustrating your company culture. This will give candidates an inside look at the company so they know what to expect.

Introduce Core Values

At PerkSpot, we take our core values seriously, because they are one of the main motivators for what we do and how we do it. Chances are, you created your company culture with your core values in mind, so why not put them on display during the interview process too? If a potential candidate doesn’t feel that they will align with the values you hold dear, there’s a good chance they won’t enjoy the culture you’ve created either.

Inter-Departmental Interviewing

One thing we’ve learned recently is the importance of hiring to add to company culture. Keeping this mentality when recruiting and hiring employees has allowed us to create a diverse and fresh workforce. We are proud of what we’ve created and love to demonstrate this during the hiring process! Be sure to bring in different employees from different departments who you think can both challenge and excite a potential job candidate. Not only will this help you see whether that candidate will work well with your current employees, but it gives the candidate a good idea of the way each employee contributes and adds to your company culture.

Office Tour

You know the popular adage, the eyes are the window to the soul? Well, we believe that the office is the window to the company – and its culture. A potential candidate can learn a lot from surveying the future office he or she could be working in. Before or after the interview, offer a quick tour. Point out interesting decorations, where each department sits, and where employees enjoy hanging out or eating lunch. You put a lot of thought and effort into creating a great environment for your employees to work, so you should show it off! Plus, a quick tour can stir up excitement in a candidate and give them great insights into how your company and its employees interact on a day-to-day basis.

Culture is important to your company, and it should be important to job candidates as well. Each company’s culture is unique – by displaying it for a job candidate, it helps both of you get a better idea of what the other is looking for!