There’s a reason why instagram handles like @animalsdoingthings and @dogsofinstagram have 1.4 million and 4.1 million followers, respectively. People love their pets. And specifically, millennials love their pets.

pet perks

Over the years we’ve seen that millennials are delaying parenthood in order to maintain independence and focus on their careers. But, with a delay in parenthood comes an increase in pet ownership. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA), 44% of Americans own a dog, while 35% have a cat.

If you think pet ownership isn’t affecting the workplace, think again. Here are few reasons to consider offering benefits for pets in the workplace and where to start:

Pets are Part of the Family

According to a survey by Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, 89% of pet parents exercise with their pet regularly, 70% sleep with their pet and 14% manage a Facebook or Instagram account for their pets. As pet owners intertwine their lives more and more with their pets, it should come as no surprise that providing space for pets in the workplace is of high value to these employees.

Pets are Expensive

While pets are a much more affordable alternative to children for many, they still come with a price. Fifty-five percent of pet parents told Healthy Paws they spend over $75 each month on their pets. Employers who choose to help with the burden of these expenses will definitely stand out among job seekers.

Implementing Policies for Pets

PerkSpot client, Banfield Pet Hospital, reported that 7 out of 10 employees and Human Resources decision makers said that allowing pets in the workplace made a positive impact on workplace morale and office dynamics. And while 56% of HR decision makers who don’t currently offer these perks forsee a difficult implementation, only 25% of those who offer pet-friendly policies reported difficulty with implementation. It seems the idea of implementation is scarier than the reality.

While it seems most people love pets, there are always exceptions to this rule. What can be a great perk for some employees might be another’s worst nightmare due to allergies or trauma. Start by hosting a “Bring Your Pet to Work Day” and gauge results using employee surveys and feedback. It’s important to be considerate to those who aren’t pet lovers while still offering benefits and perks for pet parents. One easy way to provide benefits to pet parents, without affecting the non-pet lovers of the world, is by providing pet insurance. This is still a highly coveted perk, requested by 23% of employees in Banfield’s survey. Affecting only those who opt-in to this perk, it’s a great way to determine interest and set your company apart with pet-friendly policies.

Does your company currently offer benefits for pets? Perhaps this is the next move for 2018.

Building Your Network

If your January was anything like ours, your resolutions might have already gone out the window. But wait. Take a deep breath and start February off on a better foot.

building your network

You might have a million goals you’re hoping to accomplish this year, but there is one thing we’re putting at the top of our list. So, if you do nothing else this year, do this.

Network, Network, Network

Too often our goals revolve around being more productive, finishing a project, or asking for a promotion or raise. While all great things to reach for, there is one thing that can set your career off on the right foot like nothing else can – meeting new people. More importantly, meeting the right people. In fact, 80% of professionals, according to a LinkedIn survey, said that networking is important to career success and another 70% were hired at a company due to their connections.

Whether you’re hoping to move up the ladder or find a new position elsewhere, here are five ways to conquer networking this year:

1. Get over yourself.

Yes, networking is awkward. Yes, you’re going to be tired and not want to put on your happy face. But chances are you’ll never regret bumping elbows and learning something new. Some people struggle with the idea that they’re inconveniencing someone, but remember that most people are GLAD to help and will be flattered at your outreach (if you do it the right way – here are a few tips).

2. Be genuine.

Don’t just go into every conversation thinking about what you can get out of it. Remember that these are real people and engage them just like you would at any other social event. Be personable and authentic, asking them questions and… LISTEN. Absorb what they’re saying and repeat it back to them. Plus, if you do it right, you might even make a new friend along the way.

3. Follow up.

This is key to making the most out of every connection. Send a follow-up email. If they were interested in an article you referenced, send them the link! Or maybe they told you about a friend who was struggling with something similar at work… ask them to connect you! If they were helpful in person, they should be more than happy to follow through, so don’t be afraid to ask. And of course, don’t be afraid to help either. Find ways to thank them for their time or assist them in something you may have discussed over coffee or a drink.

What are your favorite tips for networking? We’d love to hear from you!

2018 HR Trends

2018 is in full force and we’ve been doing our research to see what’s trending this year for Human Resources.

2018 hr trends

Here are some hot topics we have ahead of us in 2018:

Bring Your Dog to Work Day, Every Day

According to Gallup, six in ten Americans own a pet. As HR looks to attract high quality talent, offering a pet-friendly workplace could be the next sought-after perk for those who don’t want to leave Fluffy at home.

Wellness is Out, Well-Being is In

You may have noticed the trend towards focusing on the whole being, including our mental health, in the last year. Expect more focus on well-being in 2018, as we explore more ways to practice self-care.

Taking a Stand

Nope, we’re not talking about politics. We’re talking taking a literal stand in the office. Ergonomic chairs and exercise balls are taking a back seat to the standing desk trends and more employers seek to offer this option to their employees.

Stay at Home Dads are the New Fad

New tax incentives have made it easier for companies, like Starbucks, to offer more paid leave options for their employees, including paternity leave for new dads. We anticipate they won’t be the only ones offering more paid leave in the upcoming year.

Equal Pay is Here to Stay

Iceland started off the New Year by announcing their new equal pay law that makes it illegal for men to make more than women. Expect more laws, not just policies, to come in 2018.

What else do you think we’ll make history in 2018? Leave us your best guess in the comments!

Hygge at the Office

If you’re into wellness you may have heard about a new trend called Hygge. According to the Oxford Dictionaries, Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)”. What is a seemingly simple word has become a lifestyle for many as they seek to incorporate this sense of balance in their everyday life.

As we start 2018, it’s fitting to start off on a note of positivity and balance. What better way to do that than by adding Hygge into our mantra for the new year.
Here are a few ways we’re cultivating Hygge at work:
Make your space your own.
Whether you’re always on the go or sit stationary in a cubicle, make your workspace your own by adding pictures of loved ones to your dashboard or adding plants to your desk. PerkSpotter Frank added a cactus to his desk, which is proven to reduce stress, increase productivity, improve air quality and more.

hygge at the office perkspot

Make your lunch break count.

It can be easy to get caught up in your endless list of to-dos, but don’t forget that moments of space and rest can provide meaningful restoration for what’s ahead. Take time to break. Savor your food and enjoy the moments of stillness. Our fellow PerkSpotter, Karla (@eatingwithkarly) takes pride in every meal she creates and even posts her food prep on instagram to share. We love seeing the detail she takes in making her lunch every day. Just one of many ways Karla inspires us here at PerkSpot.

A post shared by Karly (@eatingwithkarly) on

Make meditation part of your day.

You’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again: practice mindfulness. Take two minutes to stop and breathe. Maybe you start a routine every hour on the hour. Maybe it’s just once in the morning and once in the afternoon. But by taking time to stop and clear your head, you’re on your way to a more positive frame of mind. Nick and Dan, pictured below, are taking time this morning to stop and breathe. They said they already felt more Zen.
hygge at the office perkspot

Make moves.

Try sitting in different areas of your office or walking around the neighborhood. Moving around, especially in the colder months, is vital to keeping your blood flowing and your mind working. Take a moment to try out different spaces whenever you can. PerkSpotter Zach B. loves stealing time in the lounge to focus on the latest tech project up his sleeve.

hygge at the office perkspot

These are a few simple ways we’re incorporating Hygge at PerkSpot. How will you find balance in 2018?

Looking for more tips for the workplace? Subscribe to culture to get insights delivered directly to your inbox each month!

Should I get my boss a gift? Do I have to participate in my company gift exchange?

We’re continuing our Holiday Office Guide. If your office is hosting a gift exchange or you’re answering questions about holiday gift etiquette, here’s your guide to keeping things appropriate:

holiday office gift exchange

Should I get my boss a gift?

Generally speaking in the office gifts should come from upper management and not the other way around so you are absolutely not obligated to get your boss a gift. Of course, if you and your boss have a great relationship and you want to show your appreciation, it’s not inappropriate to give something small and meaningful like a card or homemade treats.

Do I have to participate in my company gift exchange?

Gift exchanges are generally optional, although highly encouraged. If you’re opting out because of budget constraints, consider creative ways to participate like baking homemade treats or offering to take over kitchen duty for someone else (this is a real thing in our office, and trust me, that gift would be a hit).

Can I spend more than the spending limit for the gift exchange?

Buying a gift that’s over the spending limit is frowned upon. There are limits for a reason and giving an overly expensive gift can make others uncomfortable. Stick to the limit.

Is giving alcohol or gag gifts inappropriate?

This totally depends on the office. Because some offices crack open beers on Fridays, giving a six-pack wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary. But if your office doesn’t usually engage in activities that involve alcohol consumption, you might not want to go that route. Same with gag gifts – it depends on your culture and your work environment. But, no matter where you work, make sure your gifts cannot be seen as obscene or derogatory.

How does your office handle gift exchanges? Leave us a note in the comments!

Oh, the holiday party. Everyone’s favorite time to make HR cringe.

It’s week two of the Holiday Office Guide and we’re discussing answers to your favorite holiday party questions.
holiday party etiquette

Do I have to go?

First of all, yes, it’s completely legal for companies to require you to attend an event outside of office hours, so if your holiday party is mandatory, it’s time to put on your party pants.
For you optional attendees, it’s not required but definitely encouraged as a way to network and boost company morale.
Dreading it? Here are some tips for surviving.

Should I bring a date to the holiday party?

If you’re given a plus one and you want to bring a date, go for it. Bringing someone is a great way for your co-workers to learn more about you and for your significant other to learn more about your work. Just be prepared to ask questions about your date after the party as people will likely assume you’re serious. Although, you reserve the right to keep the answers to yourself.

Do I have to show up on time?

This completely depends on the event, but anything past 30 minutes is probably not a good idea. This isn’t your brother’s frat party. It’s still a work event and you’re still expected to be there on time.

What should I wear?

Again, depends on the event. Pay attention to the dress code and make sure you stick to it. Cocktail party? Keep it classy and steer away from anything too revealing and consider leaving the jeans at home. At PerkSpot, bowling has been a tradition in years past, so casual tends to be the way to go. But of course, casual doesn’t mean a license to wear your sweats. Keep it appropriate for the workplace, and don’t forget your socks!

Leave us a comment with your favorite holiday party stories or questions!

It’s time to deck the halls and prep for those holiday questions that often leave us stumped. From gift exchanges, party etiquette, and PTO, the holidays are full of HR conundrums that leave us wondering, “What Do I Do?!”

Over the next few weeks, we’ll discuss the most common questions surrounding the holidays and how HR can address these issues without (hopefully) stepping on any toes.

Handling Vacation Requests

How should I handle holiday requests? Should we base it on seniority or first come, first served?

handling holiday vacation requests

The holidays are an emotional time and this especially gets tricky when it comes to the coveted week off between Christmas and New Year’s. When planning for holiday vacations, there are a few different ways you can address this.

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. The most important thing to do when it comes to holidays or PTO is to communicate with plenty of notice. Let people know in advance when they are expected to be in office so they can plan accordingly. Setting expectations are the first step to ensuring everyone is on the same page.
  • Ask employees to submit their PTO preferences, including first and second choices. This is a great way to eliminate all or nothing situations when you need to make tough decisions about who stays in the office.
  • Be a human. As frustrating as this time is, remember: your employees are still real people who probably look forward to this time all year long. Be compassionate, empathetic and understanding when denying requests for PTO and ensure them that you’ve done your best to accommodate them.
  • Bring the holidays to the office. If people are forced to work during this time, make it as enjoyable as possible. Shut down early if you can or allow them to work remotely. When you’re stuck in the office, have someone order snacks, lunch or holiday treats to show your appreciation. A little bit goes a long way.

Are you dealing with a PTO crises? Tell us your stories in the comments!

Coupons, deals, discounts! These three words might not be ones you normally think of when it comes to employee happiness… but science says, you might want to look closer.
discount science Discount science is an understudied topic, but we think it’s an important one! From keeping employees’ happy to saving them valuable time and money, the evidence is clear.

The History of Coupons

But let’s start from the beginning. Have you ever wondered where coupons started? According to TIME, Coca-cola introduced the first coupon in 1887 with a hand-written ticket offering customers a free taste of their new drink. The success of this campaign is evident in how vast Coca-cola’s reach has been over the last century. Fast-forward to today and more than 700 corporations offer discounts on some type of product or service. It’s no secret that coupons work. But what makes them so successful? And why is it relevant? Only discount science can say!

Discount Science

The Happiness Factor

According to a study in 2012 by Coupons.com, coupon recipients were 11% happier than those who did not receive a coupon. Scientists measured oxytocin levels in participants, the same hormone we experience when we kiss or hug someone. They found that consumers who received a coupon had higher levels by 38%. Scientifically, you could say they were in love with the savings!

The Time Factor

Unfortunately, according to media company Valassis, time is (literally) money for many of today’s employees. In their recent survey, 53 percent of respondents said they spend over two hours a week searching for deals and savings, while 25% of millennials and moms invest over four hours into their search.

The Employer Factor

We believe this is where, as an employer, we can make lives a lot easier for our employees. Employee engagement has gone from a hot topic to a make or break for attracting and retaining top talent. In fact, 4 out of 5 employees would rather receive benefits or perks over a pay raise. By providing discounts, you’re not only putting money back in your employees pockets, but you’re saving them valuable time and energy as well.

It’s easy to offer perks, but are you offering the right ones? Providing discounts can improve happiness among your employees while saving them valuable time and money. The best part is that our discounts are easy to access and easy to use! We’ll save your employees hours each week and put smiles back on their faces.

Contact our team to learn more!

In light of the recent Harvey Weinstein allegations, you may have noticed your social feeds filling up with #metoo. This hashtag movement is raising awareness of sexual harassment, and as usual, we’re left asking the question… what does this mean for HR? What is HR’s response to #MeToo?

HR's response to #metoo

It may not shock us to hear experiences of sexual harassment or abuse in Hollywood. However, if you saw #metoo appearing on your social network, it may have come as a surprise how prevalent sexual harassment is among our social circles and our workplaces.

Sexual harassment is not new to the workforce, nor is HR ignorant to its existence. However, just like any other workplace issue, the fight is continuous and constantly changing.

If you’re a human resources professional, here are a few questions you should be asking yourself about sexual harassment, and some hard truths we found based on a 2016 report from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

How can we create an environment of trust, versus fear, in our workforces so our employees feel free, and safe, to come forward when facing harassment?

Hard Truth: A 2003 study reported 75% of employees who spoke out against workplace mistreatment faced some form of retaliation.

 

How can we redefine what sexual harassment means in 2017 and ensure our employees know their rights?

Hard Truth: One in four women (25%) reported experiencing “sexual harassment” in the workplace when the term was not defined. Whereas, when “sexual harassment” included example scenarios, the rate rose to 50%, and when defined as “unwanted sexual attention or sexual coercion” along with examples, the rate rose to 75%.

 

How can we educate employees on company policies and procedures in response to sexual harassment?

Hard Truth: 90% of workers who have experienced harassment never formally reported it.

 

How can we not just perform preventative measures, but instead foster a culture of respect and civility among employees?

Hard Truth: Both male and female employees who observed hostility directed toward their female coworkers, not even dealing with the harassment directly, were more likely to experience lower psychological well-being.

 
The workplace is ever-evolving and our policies and preventions for Sexual Harassment need to keep up. It’s vital to the life of our businesses, to the bottom line, and to our employees’ well-being.

There are occasional advantages to being more outgoing at work. And while this post doesn’t assume that all extroverts are assertive and all introverts are not, it’s safe to say assertiveness does not often come natural to those of us who tend to keep to ourselves. In fact, research shows that 4 out of 5 introverts believe that having more extroverted traits would help them advance in the workplace.

assertiveness for introverts

Introverts, there is hope for you yet. It’s very possible to stay true to yourself and still assert yourself in the workplace. Here are a few pointers.

1. Listen and prepare.

One super strength of introverts is that they are more likely to listen first, then speak. Take advantage of this strength and prepare for your next meeting or project. Nothing will help your confidence levels like a well-researched plan, so take time (alone! yay!) to think through possible questions that might come up and rehearse your responses.

2. Be mindful.

Have to give a presentation but feel like puking? Take a moment to center yourself and release any doubts that are passing through your mind. Or, do a power pose in front of the mirror before you step into the conference room. Yes, we’re being completely serious. This can boost your confidence levels and give you a rush of adrenaline that you might need to conquer your next task or difficult conversation.

3. Explain your needs.

Whether you’re communicating with a coworker or your boss, learning to explain your needs can seriously impact the efficiency of your communication. Don’t expect them to read your mind. Clearly communicate which needs are not being met and how they can fulfill them. If you’re struggling to get to this step, make a list and think through possible scenarios before you meet with the person. Again, preparation is the key to confidence.

4. Use a communication method that works for you.

Some of us need to look the person in the eye when we’re dealing with a conflict. Others of us would prefer the written word. Whatever your style, just make sure you’re communicating clearly and appropriately. If you’re upset, write it out and wait before you hit SEND. Come back an hour later and revisit your draft. If you decide to meet in person, give the other party a heads up that you need to talk to them about something important. That will give them time to prepare and they’ll appreciate not being bombarded with a conflict.

5. Ask for advice when you need it.

Enjoying alone time doesn’t mean we should work like we’re on an island. This isn’t good for you or your team. Remember that you have resources all around you to tap into. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

For more advice on assertiveness, here’s an awesome read.