Today’s world of HR focuses a lot of time, effort and money on fancy employee engagement systems. While obviously it’s important to develop a clear strategy and invest in your employees, there are also simple ways to focus on employee engagement right now.

everyday employee engagement tips

Here are six everyday employee engagement tips:

Revise Your Onboarding Strategy

Employee engagement starts on day one. Maybe you work in a small company (like PerkSpot!) that doesn’t have a full-blown onboarding program for new hires. For many employees, stepping foot into a new office can feel like stepping out of a plane into a foreign country. Be sure to include them in team activities, cross-departmental meetings, and explain any concepts that may be unique to your business or brand. This will ensure they feel included and as a result, engaged!

Listen and Respond

This is a complete no-brainer, but so many times we go through the motions without stopping to take a moment to listen to our employees. Think about the last time you had a one-on-one with one of your employees. If it’s been over two weeks, it’s time to schedule another. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s super important to keep up with your employees. Whether it’s a five-minute check-in or an hour-long chat at the nearby coffee shop, take time this week to learn how you can serve them a little better.

Talk About Something Other Than Work

As managers or HR officials, it’s often difficult to engage with employees on a more personal level, but when it comes to employee engagement, this might be the missing key. We aren’t telling you to spill your deepest, darkest secrets to your employees, but maybe take a moment this week to ask them about that movie they saw recently or that restaurant they just visited. Spend time getting to know them. You may find yourself understanding more about their work habits as a result and they’ll appreciate your interest.

Recognize Their Efforts

Again, a complete no-brainer when it comes to employee engagement, but why is it that only a third of U.S. employees say they’ve received recognition in the past week? It’s easy to forget to say “thank you” or “job well done”, but it’s so important. Consider ways to recognize your top performers this week and show your appreciation.

With PerkSpot, we make it easy to acknowledge employees with real-time recognition and rewards.

Be Transparent

Do you sit on a board that receives inside information? Are you part of the C-Suite? If you’re privy to info that the rest of the company might not know, consider opportunities to share these insights with your employees. Obviously, some information is sensitive and can’t be shared, but where there are opportunities to be transparent, make sure you are taking advantage. Share different challenges leadership is facing or exciting new directions where the company is looking to grow.

Evaluate Responsibilities

One of the quickest ways for employees to get burnt out or bored is to fill their lives with checklists, not responsibilities. In the chaos of work, it’s easy to get lost in millions of to-dos, without taking time to be strategic. Consider ways your employees can step up and own projects, not just simple tasks. Give them ownership and responsibility and find ways to push them to grow. This will ensure they stay engaged and motivated throughout their career.

What are some ways you’ve found to keep your employees engaged every day?

2018 has proven to be an exciting year for employee engagement. As we ramp up our efforts to engage and retain more of our workforce, how are we doing?

shocking-statistics-state-of-the-workplace-2018

Here are a few shocking statistics we think you should know about the state of the workplace in 2018 and a number of ways to combat them:

The Shocking Stat:

80% of workers feel stressed on the job.

The Solution: Implement Professional Development Opportunities

While it may seem counterintuitive to add more to an employee’s plate, 48% of employees say that investing in professional development is one of the highest-impact strategies to combating stress that their company can do. Providing opportunities for employees to learn and grow and investing in them as individuals can do wonders for their overall well-being.

Think this seems obvious? Maybe it is, but only 30% of employees say they have someone who encourages their development at work which could be a reason why we’re seeing 80% of the population pulling out their hair.

If you want to do more to encourage professional development at work, start here.

The Shocking Stat:

Of the 5 billion people on the planet, only 1.4 billion have a good job, and just 16% of those are engaged.

The Solution: Offer Competitive Benefits and Perks

Start by considering what makes a good job in the first place. According to 21% of Millennials, a good work environment is defined as one that offers incentives and perks.  Are your benefits competitive? Do your employees constantly stress about their physical or financial health?

Find ways to ease the burden by offering competitive benefits plans and/or a perks program to help employees stretch their paycheck.

The Shocking Stat:

89% of bosses believe employees quit for more money. The truth? Only 12% of employees actually leave for more money.

The Solution: Empower Leadership

If it’s not salary, what is the problem? Studies show that 75% of employees leave their job because of their boss. This could be because 58% of managers today have not received any form of management training.

Professional development should not be limited to lower level employees. Make sure you’re empowering your management teams to lead well. This means focusing on transparency and mentorship among your leaders and again, creating those opportunities for them to learn and grow as well.

The Shocking Stat:

12% of businesses are happy with their current level of employee engagement.

The Solution: Recognize, Reward, Retain

Although 90% of leaders think an engagement strategy would help, less than 25% actually have one. How can we expect to improve employee engagement without setting a real strategy in place?

One of the biggest ways to impact employee satisfaction and retention is with a simple “job well done”. It’s easy to forget to recognize employees’ achievements, but doing so can make or break employee happiness. In fact, 47% of employees say they would like to receive rewards spontaneously.

Creating strategies to reward and recognize employees, like PerkSpot’s recognition program, means making a difference for your employees and your business.

Want to find more solutions for your employee engagement strategies? Chat with us today about how PerkSpot could change the state of your workforce.

If you’ve ever led a group of employees, you’ve probably had one or two that stood out from the rest. They were eager to take on new projects and were consistently adding value to the team. These employees are known in the HR space as High Potential Employees, or “HiPos”.

high potential employees hipos

If you’re new to management or HR and are looking to provide more for the HiPos in your organization, here are a few tips to develop and retain high potential employees.

Recognize the Difference between Potential and Performance

The first mistake that many organizations make in developing HiPos is forgetting what the “P” really signifies. Replacing the “P” with performance puts the emphasis on the wrong metric. According to Forbes, “performance is what you do, potential is what you could do.” For this reason, it’s important to not just focus on the output you’re getting from employees, but their leadership skills. While an individual may break sales records year over year, they might not necessarily inhibit the traits needed to manage and lead the team (or even want to). It’s important to gauge their potential in order to know exactly where their skills can take them.

Unveil Their Potential for Growth

Once you’ve identified your HiPos, it’s important to let that be known to them. Too often employees feel undervalued because their managers don’t tell them the potential that they see or opportunities for which they are being considered. If you have employees on your team that you plan to invest in for the future, let them know your intentions and how you view them.

Act on What You’ve Said

It’s one thing to let employees know you “see something in them”. It’s another thing to support these words with actions. HiPos should be rewarded with more opportunities and responsibilities. Invest in their training and development and if possible, create a clear path for success. Show them where you see them leading in the future and the skills they need to develop in order to get there. If you can’t provide a mentor for them within the company, find an outside resource. Too often organizations shy away from providing any opportunities outside of their four walls, afraid that candidates will run. However, the opportunities are always there for them to find. It’s much better to show that you are confident in them as an employee and provide those opportunities for them, and in turn, increase their loyalty to your company.

Recognize Achievements and Reward Accordingly

By now you’ve recognized your HiPos and unveiled their potential. You’ve also provided opportunities for training and development through mentorship and increased responsibilities. The last step is crucial in solidifying everything you’ve done thus far. Recognize their achievements and reward them accordingly! These employees are ambitious and driven, but they also need to stay motivated. Consider a formal recognition program to reward them, bump up their pay, or simply write them a note of gratitude. However you choose to recognize and reward your HiPos, make sure it’s meaningful.

HiPos represent the future of your business. Finding ways to support, engage and retain these high potential employees is vital to the success of your company and the future you are creating. How will you encourage your HiPos this week?

Employees today crave trust and independence and shake their heads at micro-management. With this new trend comes a greater emphasis on professional development in the workplace. Through a mentorship program, you can provide the guidance many of these employees need and want.

keys to developing a mentorship program perkspot culture

Why Mentoring?

There are a number of ways mentoring can have a positive, lasting impact on your workforce.

  • Mentorship trains new employees or employees stepping into new roles efficiently.
  • Mentorship builds junior employees into leaders.
  • Mentorship provides opportunities for employees to work cross-departmentally, helping them to work more collaboratively and openly.
  • Mentorship contributes to a dynamic company culture.
  • Mentorship improves employee loyalty and satisfaction.

Getting Started

There are a number of benefits that can come from a mentorship program. For that reason, it’s important to identify which of these objectives is the most valuable to you and your business. Perhaps it’s the focus on cross-department collaboration to improve processes. Maybe you’d like to focus on developing junior employees to step into higher roles. Whatever you’re looking to achieve with your program, make sure you define this goal from the start to ensure success.

Not sure of where to start? Try an office survey to poll your employees on where they see the potential for improvement.

Possible Programs

Most of us probably think of one-on-one sessions from a superior to a lower level employee. However, there is more than one way to implement a mentorship program in your office:

  • Group mentoring: one mentor leads multiple mentees.
  • Peer mentoring: people in the same job function mentor one another.
  • Reverse mentoring: junior employee mentors a senior employee (a great initiative for diversity and inclusion efforts)
  • Team mentoring: similar to group mentoring, but with multiple mentors contributing ideas and experience
  • Supervisory: the traditional superior mentor leads junior mentee.

Consider a combination of these different types of mentoring for your workforce. Some of these work better in casual environments and others work better in more structured workplaces. Whatever method you choose, find what works best for your employees. When in doubt, just try it! Your mentorship program should always be evolving, so don’t be afraid to fail.

Market Your Program

Once you’ve established the type(s) of mentorship program you’d like to implement, it’s time to get the word out. Because some people may feel awkward participating, it’s important to cast a clear vision for how the mentoring will work. Make sure leaders in the company are participating and sharing their interest as well. Again, office surveys are a great tool to kick-start the program, whether that means using it to pair people up or even surveying interest in different types of programs.

Collect Feedback

As we said before, mentorship programs should constantly be evolving. Gain feedback after the first month or so and find out where your pain points are. Obviously, no one should feel forced into this relationship and should have a clear way out at any time. There should never be any pressure to participate and if employees aren’t enjoying the process, find out why and make some changes.

It may not be an easy process, but investing in and developing your employees should be a top priority for any business. A mentorship program may be the tool you need to ramp up your employee happiness.

We throw the word around a lot but many of us don’t really spend time thinking about what company culture really means. You may think of unlimited vacation days, ping pong tables, outings with coworkers, or fun office events. These things may be a part of your culture, but is that all there is to it? What makes a company culture good or bad? How do we define what culture is (and isn’t)?

company culture is perkspot blog

Culture Is… the Feeling Before Work in the Morning

We all get the Sunday Scaries so we’re not talking about a total escape from the actual work aspect of your job. But, the way you feel before work in the morning does speak a lot to your company culture. Do you dread seeing people when you get to the office? Are you overwhelmed with pressure from your boss? A great company culture knows how to motivate you to be your best and gives you work that challenges you in the right ways. It means waking up in the morning with an excitement for what lies ahead and anticipation for your future at the company.

Culture Isn’t… All Play and No Work

Sure, ping pong tables and beer on tap are great and can be a piece of your culture, but they aren’t the true meat behind what makes a company a great place to work. Perhaps you notice that more people seem to be extending their lunches but the number of new projects is slowly dwindling. If that’s the case, you might be in danger of having a sinking culture. What started off as an opportunity to motivate employees has become a distraction and there may be something deeper going on beyond the surface. Maybe these perks are nothing more than workplace traps.

Culture Is… Freedom to Express Ideas and Concerns

True company culture values transparency and honesty in the workplace. You should have open forums to discuss ideas and opportunities to ensure employees are heard. Great company cultures don’t pretend like everything is going well when it isn’t. Great cultures embrace the challenges and find ways to create solutions. They know how to include employees in solving problems and moving the business forward.

Culture Isn’t… Meaningless Perks

There are some crazy perks out there. From breast milk shipping to helicopter rides, not all perks are created equal. That’s why it’s important to provide benefits and perks that will apply to every employee. Culture doesn’t mean adding to your long list of (unused and unwanted) company perks. Provide perks that matter to everyone. Because 48% of employees are worried about their current financial state, providing an employee discount program that puts cash back in your employees’ pockets is a great way to add perks that make an impact for any employee.

Culture Is… Saying Thank You

One of the best ways to create a great company culture is by saying two little words: thank you. In fact, 80% of employees said they are more motivated to stay at a job longer and work harder when they receive appreciation for their work. Cultures with built-in recognition programs know how to reward employees the right way.

How would you define culture and what makes your company culture great?

We love birthdays at PerkSpot. Maybe it’s because we genuinely love the people we work with and want to celebrate them … or maybe it’s the free donuts. If you’re looking for ways to celebrate your coworkers on their birthdays, we’ve got just the thing for you.

fun ideas for work birthdays

Here are 5 fun ideas for work birthdays:

Sweet Treats

Did we mention that we love donuts??? A classic PerkSpot celebration will always include these sweet treats the morning of the honoree’s birthday. If you work in a smaller office this is a great and simple way to show your appreciation for your employee. And since 66% of employees said they would leave a job if they felt unappreciated, this is no small gesture.

Decorate Their Workspace

Crepe paper streamers and colorful balloons can make any space feel like a party. If you lead the charge for work culture, purchase a few supplies for every team at the beginning of the year with a list of their team members’ birthdays. By delegating, you don’t have to spend every day decorating and you’ll give each team an opportunity to give back to their coworker in a meaningful way.

Send Them Something Special

Wouldn’t it be great if you could give every employee a raise or a bonus on their birthday? For most businesses, that is simply not a reality. But, you can send them something monetary that is both meaningful and timely. PerkSpot’s Rewards and Recognition Program enables clients to send credits to employees for birthdays and anniversaries (or just because) that they can spend on the gift card of their choice. With over 200 brands to choose from, you don’t have to guess at what your employee wants or needs, and can send these credits along with a meaningful note.

Give Them The Day Off

While only 84% of employees actually get paid time off, 32% of them are actually afraid to use it. Give them the day off to spend with friends, family, or just relaxing at home. This is a great way to show your employees that you see how hard they work and know that they deserve a break. They’ll come back refreshed and energized with a new appreciation for where they work.

Make It Personal

Remember the days when people would actually write in birthday cards? Take it old-school and write a special note to the employee, or have your CEO or an executive write one. Spend 5 minutes to think about your employee and their contribution. You’ll be reminded of what a great workforce you have and they’ll be rewarded with lots of fuzzy feelings.

Do you celebrate birthdays at your office? Tell us your method in the comments or share it on Facebook!

We all want to keep our top talent. We want to see our companies thrive and grow while rewarding and incentivizing the right people to stay.

But sometimes this simple goal is not that easy to accomplish.

In fact, if you’ve done one of these five things this week, you could be costing your company valuable talent:

5-things-not-to-do-for-employee-retention
Here are five things not to do for employee retention:

Balanced Recognition

It’s easy to recognize the loud, outspoken extroverts for their achievements because they pretty much make themselves known. Although many of these employees may be very deserving of the recognition, introverts are also equally deserving, and in many ways require even more acknowledgement of their success in the workplace. Peer to peer recognition is a great way to help these quiet performers feel valued in the workplace. So the next time you hear someone saying great things about one of these employees, make sure they also say it to their face.

Empty Promises

A sure-fire way to annoy your employees is to promise something and not deliver. This could be as simple as “I’ll set up a meeting to discuss” and not following through. Consistently promising things and not delivering will leave your employees disappointed and will cause them to lose trust in your management or organization. Understanding that things happen, make sure you’re communicating clearly when plans change or you don’t have an answer in the time frame you expected. And, of course, make sure you’re not promising too many things you can’t deliver on in the first place.

Unrealistic or Inaccurate Expectations

Maybe this week an employee completed a project that was NOTHING like you wanted or expected. Again, constant and clear communication is vital to making sure you’re both understanding what is expected for your employee’s role. Make sure if they aren’t delivering, you speak to them and figure out where the misunderstanding happened. Approach the situation with an open mind, being willing to hear their perspective and figure out how you can improve. Of course, if this happens repeatedly, it may be time to evaluate their performance overall.

Unspoken Apologies

We’re all human. Including managers. If you realize you have fallen short for your employee this week, find a way to make it right. This could mean not carving out enough time to chat with them about an issue they were having, responding negatively to a certain situation, or not communicating expectations properly. If you screw up, own it, and make it right before your employee begins to harbor bitterness and resentment.

Constructive Criticism

Did you find a way to challenge your employees this week? One of the greatest ways to improve employee retention is to consistently provide feedback on their performance and make sure they are being challenged. Needless to say, not every week is going to be challenging. We all have weeks when we have to focus on the mundane, but necessary tasks at hand. However, if this is becoming the norm for your employee, you can believe that they won’t stick around for long. Give feedback, push them harder, and make sure they are doing work that challenges them in the right ways.

Which of these did you do this week? What will you strive to do better in the future?

Managing Up

This summer, we’ve held weekly “Lunch and Learns” with our interns where one of our executives chats with us about their career journey: their current role, their past mistakes and everything in-between.

Yesterday, our VP of Sales shared some great advice about “Managing Up”. He spoke to the importance of aligning your projects with your manager’s goals. No matter if you’re an intern, a Human Resources Manager or a VP of Sales, this advice rings true for all of us.

managing up perkspot culture

Let’s unpack what “Managing Up” looks like:

Know Your Mission and Values

A great way to know if your goals are aligned with your manager’s goals is taking a step back and focusing on your company’s mission and values. Examine if your priorities reflect your business objectives. If it’s not, it might be time to re-evaluate.

Your Manager is a Person, Too

Sometimes it can be easy to think that your boss is a cog in the machine. But your manager is a real person with real life stressors and emotions. By understanding even a small portion of how they tick, what’s happening in their personal lives, or even their educational or professional background, you’re more likely to develop a positive working relationship.

Know Their Goals, Anticipate Their Needs

This is both spoken and unspoken. Ask your manager what their priorities are for the next month, 3 months or 6 months. Make sure your goals are aligned with what they’re trying to accomplish and touch base to see how you might be able to problem-solve or push past obstacles that are standing in their way. This is a great way to take ownership, prove your dedication and show your initiative.

Teach Them How to Manage You

Your manager will never know your hopes and dreams unless you tell them. Dying to work on that project? Tell them where you can add value. They’ll be thrilled to have someone fill in gaps and work on tasks they may not have time to do. You’ll get the experience you’re looking for all while adding value and marking things off your boss’s to-do list. Win-win.

Whether your boss is amazing or a textbook micro-manager, “Managing Up” can do wonders for your career and help you maintain a great working relationship as a direct report.

Is your office “perky”? In 2018, it can be hard to stay competitive when it comes to perks. Beer on tap, pet-friendly offices, and travel stipends are among some of the great perks companies are offering these days. Here’s a look at some of the most unconventional office perks we’re seeing in 2018:

uncoventional-office-perks

Free Ice Cream!!!

Need we really say more? Ben & Jerry’s employees can take home up to 3 pints of ice cream PER DAY. This sugar rush might be the best way to beat the afternoon slump.

Egg Freezing

You read that correctly. Spotify gives its employees $10,000 worth of egg freezing. Considering the U.S. still doesn’t even have a mandate for providing paid maternity leave, this is pretty amazing.

Bereavement Benefits

Not a benefit we love to think about, but powerful nonetheless. Google gives the surviving spouse or partner of a deceased employee 50 percent of his or her salary for the following 10 years after his or her death.

Gender Reassignment Surgery

Perhaps the most shocking part of this perk is the company that provides it: Goldman Sachs. You may think that this financial mogul wouldn’t be this progressive, but they’re proving us wrong.

Co-Presidents

At the Nerdery, they take job equality very seriously. They award each employee with a secondary job title as “Co-President”. This perk is to show that every employee’s opinion matters; in a way, everyone is co-president.

What are some unusual perks you’ve seen or offer to your employees? Looking for a new addition to your perks program? Consider offering an employee discount program. We know a great place to start.

2018 is one of those unfortunate years where Independence Day falls on a Wednesday. Is there anything sadder? While most of us stayed local to enjoy the fireworks in our own neighborhood, here are some reasons why you might want to consider finally using your PTO in 2018.

pto in 2018

Project Time Off has some shocking statistics on the State of American Vacation in 2018.

52% of Americans left vacation days unused in 2017, resulting in over $255 billion lost in total spending.

The good news? This number is up from 54% in 2016, which is estimated to produce 217,200 jobs and boost the American economy by $30.7 billion. It’s great to see this number going up and there are many ways we can still improve.

24% of Americans haven’t taken a vacation in over a year.

Many employees don’t take time off because they fear the impact this has on their appearance at work – 61% saying they would appear less dedicated or replaceable. Others feel their workload is too heavy (57%) or that no one else could do their job while they’re out (56%).

While 84% of employees believe it’s important to use vacation days to travel, only 47% actually do so.

While more employees are taking a vacation compared to 2016, this might not necessarily mean they’re taking time to truly disconnect and recharge. Employees who travel report a higher chance of receiving a raise, bonus or both compared to those who don’t (86% compared to 81%).

How can you encourage employees to take advantage of their PTO?

1. Set an example.
We have a very flexible PTO policy here at PerkSpot. There is no limit to the number of days as long as you get proper approvals. While many offices have reported the idea of “unlimited” vacation days unsuccessful, it works for us. Employees are often seen roaming the streets of Cancun or spending time away with family. The reason it works for us is that it starts from the top down. Our CEO recently went away to recharge in the mountains of North Carolina. By setting an example for all of us on the importance of getting time away, we all feel more comfortable and empowered when it comes to taking the time ourselves.

2. Create a backup plan.
We are a small team at PerkSpot. With less than 40 employees, it can be hard to get away and not feel like you’re leaving a hole in your team. Recently, however, we’ve been finding ways to cross-train within our departments so everyone can have the freedom to truly get away and unplug. This has huge benefits not only to using PTO but also protects our office in the case of emergency or when an employee might decide to move on.

3. Make it part of your culture.
PerkSpotters love to travel and are constantly sharing photos of their recent adventures. It’s a fun way to encourage employees to get out and see the world. By embracing this shared interest and pushing others to pursue these opportunities, we’ve fostered a culture that values time off and flexibility.

These are just a few ways you can encourage employees to take PTO. Whatever you do, make sure you’re empowering employees to take time to recharge. Your bottom line will thank you.