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The Importance of Trust in The Workplace

The relationship between employees and their managers is often a complex one. With different working styles, communication preferences, and work environments there can oftentimes be disagreements. In addition to the already existing responsibilities as a leader, how do you create an environment where employees feel inspired and engaged? It all comes down to trust. When there is mutual trust, there is increased empowerment, more open communication, and higher success of employees. So, how do you show your employees you trust them? 

What is Trust? 

Trust can look a lot of different ways in the workplace. It’s when a manager feels that they can count on their team to meet their responsibilities and be honest in their progress. It’s allowing for flexibility and letting teammates work where they are most comfortable whether it’s remote or in the office. Trust in the workplace means your employees enjoy a culture of honesty, psychological safety, and mutual respect. In addition, it’s being able to predict that someone will act in specific ways and be dependable

How To Build Trust 

Building trust can be easier said than done. For example, statistics show that people trust each other less today than they did 40 years ago. With it being difficult to achieve, how do you find success with your employees? We’ve laid out a few tips. 

Listen Frequently 

When your employees feel empowered to have their ideas be heard, they will be more willing to speak up in the future. One way to set aside time with your employees is to set up recurring weekly one-on-one meetings. This way you have dedicated time to talk directly with your team and gather feedback, both positive and negative. 

Embrace Vulnerability

We all are human and face hardships outside of work. It’s important to embrace your employees’ true self and also be vulnerable when you can. By creating a safe space, your teammates will feel more willing to open up in the future. 

Show Appreciation 

Appreciation goes a long way. Whether it’s a simple “thank you”, a written note showing your gratitude following a large project, or celebrating a career anniversary. When employees’ feel appreciated at their job, they are more likely to meet deadlines and be honest with their managers.

Be Honest 

Honesty is key to trust. If you’re honest about how things are going in and outside of work, your employees’ will be more willing to be honest going forward. Even if what you’re sharing might not be the best information, it’s better to communicate the truth than not at all. 

Coach Before Discipline  

One mistake a lot of leaders make is reacting to mistakes with discipline instead of coaching. Research has shown that authentic leadership can cultivate trust and improve employee engagement and performance. Not only that, but it’s been shown to improve work relationships company wide. 

Transparency Over Everything 

It all comes down to transparency. The more open and honest you are with your team, the better. Be open and transparent with your feedback and keep your employees’ in the loop. You’ll foster an environment based on trust in no time!  

The Results

Trust has impactful results from improved engagement, efficiency, and productivity. According to research, disengagement costs U.S. companies approximately $450 billion to $550 billion annually. With trust impacting engagement alone, it’s a no brainer why trusting your employees is so important. 

Interested in continuing your efforts to make your workplace a great place to work? Read our E-Book, “5 Focus Areas for Building a Better Workplace” to see how you can create a better place to work for your employees.

Five Tips for Onboarding Remote Employees

Laptop Remote Onboarding

Remote work has rapidly transitioned over the last few years from a rare form of employment to the global norm for countless industries, and that’s caused big changes in onboarding. Remote employees are often looking for a completely different set of resources than their in-person counterparts; and since successful onboarding is a major factor in employee retention, it’s important to set up stable systems for onboarding remotely on a permanent basis.

 

The additional flexibility of remote work is great, but it also creates a need for managers to provide structure. Remote employees need strong online resources and clearly defined goals to make the best use of their digital schedules. Start off on the right foot when bringing in remote employees and retain your top digital talent with these tips!

 

1) Get Incoming Employees Looped In Right Away.

A remote employee’s toolkit, from company messaging apps to website logins, will functionally be the digital equivalent of their office. It’s important to make sure they have access to these tools and time to get comfortable with them right away. Ideally, you should aim to get everything set up with IT during their first-day orientation.

2) Give a Warm Welcome.

A simple welcome package can go a long way! Treating new employees to a virtual lunch with some time to socialize can help cultivate a sense of belonging. Orientation can often be daunting for employees not physically there, so a quality orientation is sure to leave a big impression. 

3) Build Strong Online Resources.

Sourcing your relevant resources alone isn’t enough; you also have to make sure they’re easily accessible! An employee handbook and guide to company values are important for all employees. For more creative-oriented positions, you’ll want to consider having a formal brand guide and style guidelines as well. Most important is building best practice guidelines for the specific position that you’re onboarding; that way, new hires have easy access to clearly stated expectations and responsibilities for both the wider company and their specific position right from day one!

4) Provide Clearly Defined Goals and Regular Check-ins.

Flexible schedules can make it more easy to get distracted, so immediately provide remote employees with a sense of structure by setting up clear 30/60/90 day expectations. Regular one-on-one check-ins with HR and management can set remote employees up for success; ensuring they’re always on the right track! 

5) Integrate Remote Workers into your Culture.

Many new remote workers can feel isolated from the wider company. Plan remote-focused events at least monthly, and make sure that new employees feel comfortable at them. If they aren’t, work with your remote employees to draft some events that sound fun to them. Bridging the gap between in-person and remote employees ensures a successful hybrid team.

Nearly half of all employees report feeling as though they’d messed something up on orientation day, whether it’s in meeting new co-workers or finding the right resources. The key is to be understanding, empathetic, and patient with your new employees, giving them the resources and direction they need to become remote rockstars!

How I’m Contributing to a Better Workplace

Our mission at PerkSpot is to inspire employees to love where they work. But sometimes, it’s the employees themselves who are inspiring us. We asked a few PerkSpotters to share a few ways they try to make a difference.

Here are our favorite quotes from inside the walls of the PerkSpot:

Office Snacks

“I like to try and pick up a snack or treat once a week so people can get a break in the afternoon. It’s a small gesture, but a great way to bring everyone together.”
– Thomas B., Account Manager

Water Cooler Chat

“I try to follow up on things posted by coworkers on Slack to get to know people better and reinforce that their messages weren’t just sent out into the void – we care about it! Plus when people ask about my puppy it automatically brightens my day, so I like to try to do the same!”
– Kelly R., Account Management Associate

Neighborhood Treats

“I’ve always been a raised to share and give to others. It’s something my parents instilled in. So sharing stuff with PerkSpot has always made me feel like I’m sharing a piece of my childhood. Whenever I can, I bring delicious stuff from my neighborhood. PerkSpotters always ask ‘where did you get this’. It’s my way of sharing a piece of my neighborhood and the south side of Chicago.”
– Karla B., CS Lead

Positivity

“Attitudes are contagious – I always try (don’t always succeed, but try) to project a positive attitude, regardless of how stressed or anxious I am, with the hope that it spreads to my coworkers.”
– DJ E., Sales Operations Executive

Musical Favorites

“I like to find a person’s music and queue it up on the office stereo system. Unless it’s that one Mariah Carey Christmas song. I just. No.”
– Jace M., CEO

PerkSpotters are pretty great (and clearly we really love snacks), but we know it takes an army to build a Better Workplace. That’s why we’ve literally written the book on it.

We’re excited to announce our e-book, The Ultimate Guide to a Better Workplace where you can learn more about what it takes to make each place a better place to work.

the ultimate guide to a better workplace

 

5 Tips for Creating the Best Employee Surveys

There are endless benefits to creating an employee survey to understand satisfaction levels throughout your workplace.

A survey allows you to discuss employee benefit plans, improve satisfaction and productivity, and increase employee retention rates. An employee survey can make an employee feel as though they are being given the opportunity to voice their opinion, and that you, as an HR professional, care about what they have to say. Here are five tips for getting the best results from your employee surveys!

Communicate and Encourage

An employee survey won’t be successful if it’s just an email sent to employees’ inboxes, without an introduction or explanation. Use your company’s communication channel to inform employees about the upcoming survey. Furthermore, impress upon employees that their responses will be valuable in helping to effect change within the company. Pre-survey communication will guarantee much higher numbers of participation, according to numerous studies.

Emphasize Anonymity

In conducting your employee survey, you want the most honest responses from employees. The only way to receive them is through an anonymous survey. Your employees may not feel comfortable openly sharing their opinions for fear of backlash. Not to mention, an anonymous survey puts all employees on a level playing field. With anonymity, no employee feels uncomfortable because of their age or position in the company. This means they will be more likely to offer opinions and suggestions for improvement. In reviewing responses, there is no bias coming from your end, so the results are more reliable. It’s a win-win!

Make it Easy

Your employees have a lot on their plates, so motivating them to complete a survey can be difficult. Keep this in mind when writing your survey. Don’t make it unnecessarily long – the whole point isn’t to distract employees or keep them from completing other work. The National Business Research Institute says 60 questions is the perfect length for your survey. Not so long that employees feel tired or bored, but long enough to give you the answers you’re looking for!

Ask the Right Questions

Make your questions simple. According to Inc., it’s a lot easier for an employee to answer a close-ended question versus long-form, written responses. Providing close-ended or multiple choice options makes quantifying results easier for you as well! Make your questions clear and understandable. Have a fellow colleague take a look at your survey and review it for readability. Another set of eyes is always a good idea, and it will ensure you have created the best survey for your employees.

Use the Results

A Forbes article reported a 30-40% average response rate for employee surveys. One of the main causes of this disappointing statistic? Employees believe that their responses won’t be considered or utilized to execute changes in their workplace. Reverse that belief by using employees’ feedback to make actual changes where you can. Share the results of the survey and any plans you may have developed for the future. This is a great way of showing employees that you’re taking their thoughts into account, and it will increase the response rate for later surveys.

An employee survey can give you insight into employee engagement, office culture, and job satisfaction among employees. Use these 5 tips to create an employee survey that is sure to deliver the best results!

The One Thing HR Leaders Do Every Day

You might be in the middle of Open Enrollment Season. You could also be working on some new initiatives for 2019. Maybe you’re ramping up for annual performance reviews. We get it. As HR professionals, you are busy.

 

In the midst of the chaos and day-to-day tasks that inevitably take over, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s truly important. That’s why we’re taking a time-out to discuss the one thing great HR leaders do every day, no matter what might come their way.

The one thing great HR leaders do every day is build relationships.

You’re in the business of humans, which means building deep, authentic relationships should be at the very core of what you do. According to Jim Mitchell, an executive coach, “Most leaders have been so busy building empires, they forgot to build relationships. Most think their job is to fix everything that is presented to them as a conundrum. But that’s not the job.” Beyond hiring and developing talent, improving retention, and creating strategies for engagement, there exists a very real need for true connections in the workplace.

Here are a few ways we can foster these relationships in practical ways:

Go beyond the surface.

Think about your relationships at work for a minute. Do they look and feel similar to your interactions at the grocery store or the gym? What do you know about your colleagues beyond what their calendar says? It’s easy to think that, as HR representatives, we should keep a safe distance from our colleagues. However, there is a healthy way to engage and interact with the people around us to improve employee engagement. In fact, in SHRM’s 2016 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report 77% of engaged employees said their relationships with coworkers was a top priority for them. Don’t be afraid to participate in non-work chatter and learn a little about the people around you. It can mean more than you know.

Listen.

How often do you utter the phrase “how are you?” without actually listening to the answer? Better yet, what about the non-verbal cues your colleague expresses? Do they actually seem “fine”, or is there looming anxiety beneath the surface? One of the best ways to engage in authentic relationships at work is to listen well. Listen to understand. Listen with purpose and intention. Listen with compassion and curiosity. You’ll be amazed at what you’ve missed in the past.

Be vulnerable.

While much of fostering great relationships involves paying attention to the other person, it is also important that we live by example. Practice vulnerability by being open with those around you. When someone asks how your day is going, don’t be afraid to tell them the truth. Obviously, as leaders, we have the responsibility to maintain positivity so we aren’t giving you permission to unload all your complaints. However, there is a way to be vulnerable, honest, and transparent that creates a safe space for your employees to share. Tell them how your project is going and what challenges you’re facing. You may appreciate the sounding board and they’ll start to view you as a little more human.

Recognize their achievements.

If you think about your relationships outside of the workplace, we know the value of saying “thank you” when your friends bring over a gift or when your spouse makes dinner. So why is it that inside the workplace, we view recognition as an after-thought? As you seek to foster meaningful relationships, we cannot leave out this key component for great relationships. While it all starts by listening and paying attention to your employees and colleagues, you should also remember to recognize their efforts. Just because they’re taking home a paycheck doesn’t mean they don’t need to hear a thank you every once in a while.

As you’re making your to-do list or wrapping up a project, remember that being an HR professional is not possible without also being human. Engage with the people around you and work to build better relationships this week.

Are Your Employees Actually Engaged?

Increased productivity, better retention, happier employees … do we have your attention yet? These are all things managers and HR officials should strive for, and they can all be achieved with one simple word – engagement.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is vital to any company, large or small. It creates a network of employees that are more than just happy or satisfied, but who are genuinely committed to their company. Not only do engaged employees have a deep understanding of their company’s values, but their own personal values align with them. When you can achieve a strong compatibility between company and employee, you have reached peak engagement in your employees!

Why is it important?

Companies that report having engaged employees outperform those that report low engagement numbers by 147% in earnings per share. Employee engagement doesn’t just benefit your workers, but your company as a whole! If you’re hoping to get your numbers up as you finish the quarter, consider improving your engagement numbers first, and revenue will follow.

Studies show highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their company than those feeling less engaged with their work. Yes, you read that right! An increase in employee engagement is just the thing to fix those retention numbers that keep dipping.

70% of workers don’t feel engaged at work, according to career experts at the Muse. Yikes! Reflecting on all the benefits of an engaged workforce, that’s a concerningly high statistic. Perhaps you’re thinking about your employees, and maybe even worrying about their engagement levels. Keep reading, because we break down how to measure and improve your employee engagement.

How do you know if your employees are engaged?

Here are some tell-tale signs that you can look for:

Proactivity
Engaged employees are proactive. Instead of sleepwalking through the first few hours of their morning, they jump into a new work day. These kinds of employees don’t wait for managers to give them tasks; they are self-motivated, seeking out ways to be productive and helpful throughout the office.

Communication
Engaged employees love to talk, and we don’t just mean water cooler chatter. (Although, that’s important too!) They keep managers and employees updated and informed with progress reports. They are open to both giving and receiving feedback. Eventually, an engaged employee can even become a great mentor for other employees, helping them step into their roles and improve their own levels of engagement.

Career Advancement
Career and company advancement is important to an engaged employee. Remaining stagnant at one level isn’t enough for them, and they will continue to look for ways to improve their output, as well as general company success. This is because they’re invested in the company, which is the most important sign of an engaged employee.

Engaged employees are essential to the wellbeing of a company. They help to create an environment that inspires other employees. If you’re concerned about the engagement levels of your employees, check out our recent post about everyday employee engagement tips that can have a big impact on your business.

6 Everyday Employee Engagement Tips

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.

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?

Shocking Statistics: The State of the Workplace in 2018

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?

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.

What Culture Is (and Isn’t)

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)?

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?

Fun Ideas for Work Birthdays

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.

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!