One of the best things we’ve done this year as a company is to bring our core values into the forefront of everything we do. As we seek to build our employer brand and focus on recruitment, these company values have become an integral part of our daily lives.

core values employer brand company values recruitment

In many ways, core values are how we present ourselves to the outside world.

Here’s why they matter for your employer brand:

They foster employee advocacy.

In a Gallup report, 41% of employees said they don’t know what their companies stand for and what makes their brand different from their competitors. Creating core values is crucial to bridging the gap between the day-to-day grind and the overall purpose and mission behind what you do. If you’re just starting to identify your core values, try polling your employees on what drives them to come to work everyday. You should notice some common themes. We asked PerkSpotters to come up with one word to describe PerkSpot and overwhelmingly heard “fun”. Today, “We Have Fun” is one of our values we live by, and it’s doesn’t hurt our recruitment efforts either!

They strengthen consistency.

When the whole company is aligned on the same values, it makes consistency easy. One of the values that drives us and holds us accountable is that “We Aim High”. Think about how your core values align with specific tasks. For us, this means asking different questions: Does this project represent aiming high? Are we aiming high in our team meetings or priorities? By building consistency through core values, outsiders will gain a sense of what your company is about and want to be a part of what you’re doing.

They cultivate a competitive edge.

You might not be the only company who does what you do. But, your company values should represent what sets you apart. We’ve all heard the story of how PerkSpot founder, Chris Hill, started this business in his apartment, eating ramen noodles everyday. While we’re grateful for our growth and success, “We Stay Humble” remains a core value in our business today. Make sure visitors can sense what you’re about right when they walk through the door. Make your values unique to your business and evidence of how you’re different than the competition.

They create a sense of humanity.

Core values, if done well, bring your business to life. They should go beyond just a catch phrase or a slogan painted on your walls. Our values all start with “We”, with our last value being “We Value People”. So much of what we do is centered our the people-element of our business. Who is your business serving? How are you making a difference in the lives of others? Remember who you serve and bring that humanity into your core values.

How does your company use core values to build your employer brand? What are some ways you live out these values in your day-to-day?

We talk a lot about compensation and how gender plays a role. It’s become even more evident that the gender pay gap is real, meaning that women often earn only 90% of what men earn with the same experience, or in many cases even less.

But before compensation discussions usually come performance reviews, and gender bias is creeping in here as well.

gender bias in performance reviews
A recent study showed that women were 1.4 times more likely to receive critical feedback than men. The study goes on to say that in many instances there is a double standard for men and women:

In one review I read, the manager noted, “Heidi seems to shrink when she’s around others, and especially around clients, she needs to be more self-confident.” But a similar problem — confidence in working with clients — was given a positive spin when a man was struggling with it: “Jim needs to develop his natural ability to work with people.”

While the nuances of the language may seem insignificant, these small differences can affect employees in a major way when it comes to promotions and pay raises (someone who lacks self-confidence vs. a natural ability to work with people).

So how do you make sure biases aren’t coming into play in performance reviews?
Here are three easy suggestions for keeping your management in check.

Ask specific questions.

By removing the ambiguity of open-ended questions, you’re allowing less room for subjective answers. Provide multiple-choice opportunities that allow one to gauge the overall performance of an employee.
An example might be: “If Angela was given the opportunity to spearhead a new project, how confident would you feel in her ability to handle the task?

  • Very confident: she requires little supervision and always exceeds expectations.
  • Confident: She excels at new projects with a little guidance.
  • Not confident: She would need lots of supervision and support.

By providing answers without the subjectivity of an open-ended response, you can evaluate all employees fairly.

Align feedback with goals.

Another finding from the study was that women are more likely to receive vague feedback about their performance than men.

For example, such feedback might be, “Stephanie, your replies to partners about client matters are often not on point” rather than “Stephanie, you have missed important opportunities to provide clear and concise information, such as X. I have some thoughts on how you could prevent that from happening again, such as Y.”

An easy solution to this is to align your feedback for employees with company goals and objectives. Instead of “You exceeded our expectations this year!”, talk about the how and why. “You exceeded our expectations this year by increasing your sales by 25%. In the future, we’d like to see you improve your retention rate by 10%”. By aligning company goals with your feedback, they will have actionable ways to improve in the future and measure their success.

Expand the review process.

Bring more people into the review process to get a 360-degree view of the employee. Have men and women from inside and outside the department assess their performance to eliminate the chance of gender bias. An example could be bringing in a CMO to review an account manager because they have previously worked together on a case study. Make sure you’re choosing reviewers who have worked with the employee enough to make accurate judgments. Also, keep in mind that this isn’t fool-proof. This should be used in conjunction with specific questions and goal alignment.

Gender bias creeps into many aspects of the workplace, but by using these three methods, you can eliminate the opportunity for them to affect your performance reviews.

As today’s world becomes more and more interconnected, working from home and hiring remote workers has become part of almost every office life. As you seek to find workers who can provide value, even from a distance, our recruitment strategies also need to evolve with the ever-changing workforce. When recruiting for remote workers, here’s what to look for:

recruiting for remote workers

Where are they?

EVERYWHERE. The tricky thing about remote workers is that they aren’t limited to the local area so it can often be harder to mine through candidates. Start with your website and blog. These will be people who are already obsessed with your company and would be happy to apply or recommend someone that would be a great fit. You can also try sites like FlexJobs or WeWorkRemotely.com that provide listings just for remote opportunities.

Who are they?

There is a big difference between someone who likes the idea of working in their pajamas, than a worker to thrives in a quiet, private environment. Look for workers who prove they have what it takes to handle the unique challenges they’ll face from working remotely. Ask them about past experiences where they have been productive working alone or collaborating across offices. Forbes says you should ask these candidates two questions:

  • Tell me about a time you’ve made an important decision without the help of a supervisor or boss?
  • Could you tell me about a time you got tough feedback from a boss?

These questions provide great insight into how they problem solve and can handle feedback when they don’t have the luxury of meeting face to face.

What do they want?

It’s obviously important to know what you’re looking for, but it’s also super important to keep in mind what these employees want. Fast Company has a great article that explains what most remote workers need from their bosses. Think: advanced technology, open door policies, and of course, great communication skills. When you’re recruiting or interviewing remote candidates, be sure to talk about your communication structure and process. Highlight expectations and focus on how they’ll be supported to meet these goals.

How do we get them?

You’ve found your perfect remote employee, but now it’s time to let them know why they should choose your company. While they won’t be in office to access the free snacks or comfy lounge chairs, there are awesome perks you can provide to workers near and far. Did someone say Employee Discount Programs? Obviously, we’re a little bias, but PerkSpot is a great recruitment and retention tool for employees scattered all over the U.S.. We even offer a plethora of local discounts so they can find deals right in their own neighborhood! Other ideas for perks could be ample time-off, sabbaticals, or an annual stipend for continuing education.

Finding great remote workers can be difficult, but with these tips, you’ll be staffing up in no time!

Employee engagement has become far more than just a buzzword. It’s a way of life at most of our offices today. We provide fancy coffee, lounge areas, and beer on tap, all for the sake of keeping our employees happy.

work that matters

But what if in all the noise we’re losing sight of what’s important? Employees doing work that matters. Work that matters to them and to the company.

Focus on Transparency and Communication

Provide a community of support for your employees and make sure they have a safe space to make their wishes known. When you conduct performance and goal reviews, make sure you’re asking employees about their happiness. In fact, according to Gallup, 86% of employees find their performance reviews uninspiring. Ask your employees how much time they spend on tasks they love. How much time is spent on things that really aren’t important or could be done more efficiently? These simple questions can make all the difference to a struggling worker. Employees who find a sense of community and an open space for communication are more likely to be happy and more engaged.

Focus on Mission

At PerkSpot, our mission is to inspire employees everywhere to love where they work by providing meaningful savings and recognition to their workplace. When we send emails or write proposals, we might not be thinking about this mission at hand, but each and every move we make gets us closer to this end goal. We took some time this year to think through how each department encompasses this mission and the various ways we achieve our company goal. Each person, from interns to the CEO, had an opportunity to participate and see how their work matters for the business.

Focus on Culture

After we’ve identified strengths and passions of our employees and tied them to our company mission, then it’s time to look at culture. What are the ways we can foster an environment that lends itself to engagement? Are you providing opportunities for employees to develop meaningful relationships? Do they trust their colleagues or is there a weak link? Making changes can go a long way in making your employees feel heard and valued, and in turn, trusting that their work matters.

Keep your focus in the right place to ensure your employees are doing work that matters.

Professional development plans can make a huge difference when it comes to retention and engagement for your employees. If your company hasn’t invested time in creating plans for each of your employees, stop what you’re doing and make this a priority.

development plans that work
Here are our steps for creating and implementing a meaningful professional development plan for your employees.

Where Do You See Your Business Going in the Next Year?

It makes sense to start with this question because if your employees’ goals aren’t aligned with the business’s, it’s a recipe for disaster. Consider all the objectives you want to accomplish in the next year and how each department fits into these goals. Determine what skills, knowledge or competencies your employees need to obtain to support where your business is headed. By spending time on developing your current employees, you’ll save valuable resources on recruiting and onboarding.

What Do Your Employees Want?

The next step is to consider what your employees want. It’s important to remember that just because an employee is great at X project or skill doesn’t always mean they love working in that particular area. Take time to chat through areas they want to grow and improve and items they would rather not be working on. Providing an open space for vulnerability will go a long way. You may discover they have interest in an area you were looking to expand. This is a great opportunity to explore what that might look like.

What Do Your Employees Need?

Just as you ask them to explore their interests, also ask them to share resources or knowledge they might need to make this possible. Many people may be afraid to speak up (we’re talking about you, introverts) and discuss areas where they are feeling overworked or lack support. Think through how this aligns with your business goals and objectives. Additional training for existing employees may outweigh the costs of recruiting and hiring someone from the outside. Since they know your business well, they may be able to add more value than an outside hire.

How Do Their Desires Align With Your Business Objectives?

You know where you want to take your business. You know what your employees want and need. Now it’s time to put goals in place that satisfy both of these objectives. Of course, your customer service rep may want to learn graphic design, but it doesn’t make good business sense. You can’t always bend over backwards to satisfy these hopes and dreams, but you can listen and give good feedback, especially if you find your employees in need of some motivation. Set goals in place that will provide a development for your employees that make sense. Use SMART goals to make sure they are measurable and can be easily evaluated in their next review.

Money is a powerful thing, and unfortunately, can be a leading cause of stress for many Americans. Willis Towers Watson released an infographic last year detailing the financial state of employees and the statistics might shock you. Here are a few of the highlights.

  • 48% of employees are worried about their current financial state, while 54% worry about the future of their finances.
  • 51% of employees experienced a significant financial event in the last year.
  • 29% of employees borrowed money from family or friends.

While you may think that employees with well-paying jobs and stable careers don’t worry about their financial status, the statistics couldn’t be further from the truth. Which begs the question.. Where do we, as employers, fit into this puzzle? How can we alleviate financial stress for our employees beyond compensation?

Educate Employees

“70% of employers think they should take an active role in encouraging their employees to manage their personal finances better.”

Unfortunately, there is a major gap in educating students on how to manage their finances. Even the most prestigious schools often neglect to discuss money management in the classroom. Which means, although Americans may be wealthy, they are uneducated when it comes to finances.

As the saying goes, better late than never, for employees living paycheck to paycheck. As employers, we can step in and help meet this need.  Offer programs that provide opportunities to learn how to manage their personal finances, invest wisely, and plan for their future. If your company isn’t already doing this, start now. However small, you can help alleviate the financial burden for your employees. If your company uses PerkSpot, employees can sign up for our weekly newsletter “theLOOP” where, in addition to health and wellness and career advice, they’ll also find tips for financial wellness.

Alleviate Anxieties

“Over a third of employees believe their financial problems are negatively impacting their lives.”

Help alleviate the stress that many employees are facing day to day by easing the burden of their everyday expenses. This is where PerkSpot finds its purpose in serving some of America’s top employers. By providing discounts on everything from monthly cell phone bills to mortgages to cars to electronics, we help employees save on the things that matter. Therefore, they can spend less time stressing and more time focusing on the job at hand.

Survey Satisfaction

“Only 35% of employees would say they are satisfied with their current financial situation.”

Do you know how your employees would view their current financial state?  sensitivity and privacy are essential when it comes to your employee’s finances.  However, you can ask general questions and take anonymous surveys to gauge their interest in financial assistance programs and education. You may be surprised at what you’ll find.

Financial wellness is not an easy topic and as employers, it would be easy to ignore and not claim responsibility. However, the impact we make on our employee’s happiness is crucial not only to their job satisfaction but on productivity, retention, and ROI. By educating employees, alleviating their stress and understanding their needs, you’ll be on your way to a better workforce. Need help getting started? Reach out to us!

It’s finally summer here in Chicago and we are so excited to see employees biking into work, enjoying lunches on the roof, and signing up for 5ks together.

Summer can be a great time to revamp your Health and Wellness initiatives at your workplace and we’ve got a few ideas to get you started.

Promote Healthy Eating

One of the great things about this season is that you don’t mind getting outside the office to grab something fresh and healthy. A small, but effective and practical way to help your employees stay healthy is to provide a list of healthy meal options close to your office. You can even create your own map on google maps and share it with the office.

Provide Meaningful Discounts

Gym memberships and healthy food options are often expensive. Lighten the load for your employees by offering these great initiatives at a discount. Enter PerkSpot. We’ve already done the negotiating so all you have to do is contact us to get started!

Coordinate Running (or Walking) Clubs

We have several people in our office who love hitting the pavement, especially in the summer. While others may need some extra incentive, walking or running clubs can be a great way to get everyone moving. Pick a day after work and promote the club around your office. You can even finish your run with a fun get-together after.

Hold a Healthy Potluck

Potlucks are a fun way to get everyone to mingle around the office and show off those cooking skills! Hold a potluck where everyone makes their favorite healthy recipe and brings it in to share. Employees will break out of the routine and maybe learn some new recipes while they’re at it.

What are your tips for keeping your office healthy? Share them with us in the comments!

There are a million articles written about employee engagement and ways to keep employees happy and passionate about their work.

But, there is one word that doesn’t usually come to mind when we think about employee engagement: vulnerability.
vulnerability impacts employee engagement, sense of belonging

Brene Brown, New York Times best-selling author and speaker of one of the most popular Ted Talks in history, defines vulnerability in her book Daring Greatly as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure… the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.”

While it’s obvious that vulnerability plays a major role in our personal relationships, there is also significance to being vulnerable in the workplace. If being vulnerable opens the door to more belonging, courage, creativity, and empathy, imagine how this will affect our employees.

Here are few of the ways vulnerability impacts employee engagement.

Vulnerability Impacts Employee Engagement by Creating a Sense of Belonging

One of the most crucial aspects of employee engagement is helping employees find a sense of belonging in their workplace. They need to know their work is valued, and employees who develop meaningful friendships at work are said to be more productive and loyal to their company. In fact, according to a Gallup survey, 50% of employees who had a best friend at work also feel a strong connection to their company. Vulnerability creates a sense of belonging as it enables people to be true to themselves in the workplace. Unnecessary stress and tension disappear when people feel known and accepted for who they are. This includes acknowledging both victories and short-comings and pushing employees to be their true, and best selves.

Vulnerability Impacts Employee Engagement by Provoking Courage

In the same way that vulnerability enables employees to feel a sense of belonging, this also stirs up courage in the workplace. Vulnerability is not an easy task, and while we aren’t talking about spilling your deepest darkest secrets, there are elements of vulnerability that are crucial to a productive workplace.
Examples include:

  • Asking for help
  • Saying no
  • Speaking up in the face of resistance
  • Admitting ignorance or fear
  • Accountability for mistakes
  • Being able to walk away from projects or people that aren’t working out

Each of these aspects of vulnerability requires an act of courage. For some people, asking for help doesn’t come naturally, while others struggle to make their voice heard. By the same token, perhaps you’re a manager realizing an employee simply isn’t happy and needs to move on. Each of these examples pushes us to make the workplace a better place to be. Managers and executives should lead by example by pursuing these elements of vulnerability and in turn, create an open, judgment-free space for employees to do the same.

Vulnerability Impacts Employee Engagement by Stimulating Creativity

Finally, vulnerability can also do wonders for stimulating creativity. When you think about creatives, you may think about how raw and transparent they are with their emotions. Many creatives, including Graphic Designer Marina Willer, believe that vulnerability is essential to their creative process. “[Feeling vulnerable] makes you face the experience fully and almost embrace it,” she says. “Those moments can bring a lot of creativity and make ideas flourish.” Vulnerability can stimulate a part of our minds and emotions that we may not tap into on a daily basis. Imagine what your employees can accomplish if they aren’t afraid to speak their minds about what they really think; if their ideas are able to flourish, instead of being suppressed.

Thinking about offering an employee discount program but not sure if it’s worth it? In the world of endless perks, it’s overwhelming trying to pick and choose which offerings to make available to your employees.

From perks for pets to sabbaticals to remote work, it can be hard to keep up! Plus, what are the real benefits to offering all these perks anyway? Some of them leave people out, while others are costly and difficult to maintain for human resources.

why employee discount programs work

That’s why we wanted to take some time to focus on why employee discount programs work! But we know we might be a little biased, which is why we’re focusing on feedback from employees themselves who use PerkSpot and vouch for the benefits of discount programs.

We work with over 600+ employers all over the nation (Walgreens, Southwest, United and Chipotle to name a few) and are constantly hearing about how employees are using PerkSpot to improve their lives. It’s such good news we didn’t want to keep it to ourselves!

Here are a few of our favorite quotes and what they mean for the workplace:

It’s Money in Their Pockets

“Date nights are forever changed and day-cations are much more common now! The savings and discounts make everything so much more affordable, the idea of going out doesn’t seem so bad on the wallet. Love the perks so much!” – DSW Employee

According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 78% of U.S. employees live paycheck-to-paycheck, even those making $100,000 or more. There is only so much you can provide in terms of compensation for your employees. While you may not be able to give everyone a raise, you can help their money go a little farther. The most compelling reason employee discount programs work is because they help employees stretch their paycheck. No matter how great your office is, it is hard for employees to stay positive when they struggle to make ends meet. Provide ways for employees to save on the big things (like cars and insurance) and the small things (flowers for mom)! These savings will help their money go just a little bit further every month. Plus, they’ll have a new affection for their employer.  Put money in their pocket and smiles on their faces!

It’s Meaningful

“It has made every family memory possible. I really value family time and great rates make it possible for our family of four to stay close.” – Chipotle Employee

“I had no idea that I can save money on family vacations because money is tight. Also, there are so many other categories like health, electronics, and household goods I can save on. Who doesn’t want to save money?” – Walgreens Employee

Pet perks aren’t meaningful if you don’t own a pet. Snacks in the breakroom aren’t useful if you are on a restrictive diet or have an allergy. One thing that’s great about an employee discount program is that it’s great for everyone! From discounts on electronics to travel to apparel, every employee can take advantage of this perk! When it comes to providing meaningful and personal perks, this is a great place to start!

It’s Motivating

“It’s helped me work harder, knowing I work for a company that appreciates their employees enough to have a discount program. Kind of awesome!!” – Columbia Bank Employee

When it comes to wellness, we are quick to think about diet and exercise but spend little time focusing on finances. A 2017 PWC survey on Employee Financial Wellness shed some light on the current state of employee financial health. The survey stated one in three employees say issues with personal finances have been a distraction at work. Another 46% say they spend three hours or more each week thinking about these issues. Imagine the amount of time and energy employees are spending worrying about everyday expenses. While there are many ways to motivate employees, a discount program is one of the best! Employees who are stressed about paying their bills can hardly focus on the job at hand. Employers who alleviate this stress can help motivate their employees and improve their view of their workplace.

From stretching their paycheck, providing meaningful perks, and alleviating financial stress for employees, discount programs just work! If you haven’t thought about providing a simple, easy program like PerkSpot, we hope these points will push you to take the leap. Contact us to get started!

Retaining employees seems to be a never-ending topic of discussion. In a survey of 614 HR leaders, 87% said improving retention is a high or critical priority. Not surprising considering over 3 million Americans quit their job every month.

perkspot culture four ways to improve employee retention

There is plenty of work to be done when it comes to improving retention rates among these employees, and it all starts with culture.
Here are four ways to improve retention rates that won’t cost a fortune.

Focus on Training and Development

According to a Gallup poll, 93% of Millennials left their job to seek a new role. It seems today’s job seekers feel they need to move on in order to move up. We face similar obstacles at PerkSpot given the small size of our company. One way of combating that was to provide sabbatical opportunities for employees with a small stipend where they can pursue additional training and development opportunities. Employees not only come back refreshed and recharged, but they also have a renewed sense of passion for the work at hand and a few new skills added to their toolbelt. This has been a win-win all around for employee retention and development.

Compensate Fairly

We’ve made another exciting change at PerkSpot this year to improve employee satisfaction and retention. After hearing various feedback from employees, our executive team got together to put a more thorough compensation plan, including individual goals for each employee. Quite possibly nothing is more important than consistently evaluating what and how you’re paying your employees, and including them in the process.

Another Gallup survey revealed “while just 30% of employees strongly agree that their manager involves them in setting their goals at work, those who do… are 3.6 times more likely than other employees to be engaged.” While compensation may seem like a costly part of a retention strategy, bumping up a salary by a small percentage costs way less than hiring a new employee, where the dollar amount for replacing an employee might shock you.

Evaluate Often

While a great compensation plan will set employees up for success, it’s also important to hold consistent performance reviews. Sadly, only a mere 14% of employees feel inspired by their reviews. Remember to ask employees great questions and listen to their pain points. By finding ways to inspire them in their jobs, they’ll leave happier and be more productive in the long haul. Evaluating their compensation should be an obvious part of this conversation, as stated above.

Recognize and Reward

We’d be remiss not to mention rewards and recognition as part of a successful retention plan. Clive Schlee, CEO of restaurants Pret a Manger, discusses with Harvard Business Review the importance of recognition in this short video: “Each employee makes about 5-10,000 decisions a day… how to squeeze a lemon, how to lay the chicken on the sandwich,… these are all decisions that can be done well or can be done badly and how they feel about the company is absolutely critical.”

Meanwhile, only one in three employees say they have received recognition in the past seven days. A critical misstep for companies hoping to retain their high performers. The same report states that 28% of employees feel that the most meaningful recognition comes from their manager, which is why the PerkSpot Rewards and Recognition platform is setup to do just that. Managers recognize their employees in real time, right when they perform an action that aligns with company values.

There are many things you can do to start reducing your turnover and improve your employee retention. Where will you start?