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Providing Benefits to a Multigenerational Workforce

Younger/older workers discussing multigenerational benefitsHaving a wide diversity of ages in your organization comes with a lot of benefits. As with many other kinds of diversity, a wide range of generational representation is a driver of innovation, offering varied perspectives on issues by combining older generation’s specialist knowledge with younger professional’s innate understanding of modern technologies and changes. Benefits aside, a multigenerational workforce multiple generations represented in the workforce is a near unavoidable reality as baby boomers begin to step back from top-level positions.

But multi-generational workforces also come with their own challenges, including:

  • A wide range of values and beliefs can cause differences in priorities
  • Significantly disparate communication styles and preferences
  • Wide gaps in desired perks and benefits

Diverse Generations with Diverse Values

Differing perspectives and values means different needs, and what a young professional is looking for from their benefits package is vastly different from what more senior employees need; knowing the difference and being able to account for the diverse needs of multiple generations of employees is key to crafting an employee-centric benefits experience.

The benefits valued by older generations tend towards traditional cornerstones such as 401k matching and supplemental health insurance. Younger generations, such as Millennials and Gen-Z, tend to value wellness initiatives and benefits that give them time back in the day. But there’s a surprising degree of overlap between emerging benefits that workers of every age are pining for, such as flexible work options, training and development opportunities, and smaller, personalized perks, from shuttle services to discounts on dry-cleaning. 

The generation gap isn’t as steep as it might appear. When you get right down to it, it’s about people.  Your employees are distinct individuals with individual needs that simply can’t be standardized.

The Employee-Centric Benefits Experience

Fortunately, you don’t have to standardize at all. Instead, account for differences by focusing on benefits personalization. Employees of all ages agree that flexible work options that allow them to work on their own schedules are critical; and you can take your multigenerational benefits a step further by partnering with PerkSpot. Our breadth of potential savings is uniquely positioned to cater to diverse workforces, with thousands of discounts available across dozens of industries!  We offer meaningful benefits targeted at and personalized to the unique needs of every individual employee.

And that’s the core of an employee-centric benefits experience; offering the perks that each individual really cares about, no matter how unique! By focusing on perk personalization, you can provide an employee-centric experience. Personalized offerings will help celebrate the rich diversity of your workforce – generational or otherwise. From flexible work options to regular wellness initiatives, you’ll want to target your benefits around your workforce’s distinct concerns. As you do, PerkSpot can help get started with a benefits experience centered that’s unique to your equally unique employees; Request a Demo to learn more today!

7 Steps for Returning to Your Office After COVID-19

After months of getting accustomed to remote working, many companies are now beginning to consider how they will return to the office, while still keeping their workforce safe and healthy. We outlined 7 basic steps to take that can help you develop a plan for a post-COVID-19 workplace.

1. Create a Team

Getting started on a plan of attack? To understand the needs of your employees, you should enlist the help of those who know them best! Start a team that includes leadership, as well as employees from your human resources, technology, legal, and operations departments. Include employees from other departments as well. They can offer fresh insight into the general concerns and needs of employees planning to return to the office. This team will be instrumental in developing the guidelines and policies you put in place for your office’s return—but more on that in step 3!

2. Ensure a Safe and Clean Office to Return To

As we all know, hygiene is a top priority as we consider how to return to the office. Make sure there are no concerns about your office’s initial cleanliness. Bring in a professional team of cleaners who know the best way to rid your office of the germs left there and armed with the right tools to do so. If you have cleaners regularly come to your workplace, it might be prudent to increase the cadence of their cleaning, as well as which areas they’re focusing on. For example, regularly disinfect individual employees’ desks, as well as common areas employees congregate in for lunch, breaks, or meetings. To learn more about properly cleaning and disinfecting your workplace, check out these recommendations by the CDC.

3. Develop and Enforce Strict Hygiene Standards

So, your office is sparkling clean, and you’ve got a team brainstorming methods for helping employees return to the office. It’’s time to start thinking about what rules you want to create and enforce. This may vary from workplace to workplace. However, guidelines like washing hands properly, using hand sanitizer, taking employees’ temperatures daily and logging them, creating a flow for moving throughout the office, and adding distance between employees’ workstations are great places to start. Communicate with managers that they should practice these guidelines well, to act as an example for others. Be sure to communicate the rules your team creates often and in multiple places. A slack channel, intranet forum, or the like dedicated to returning to the office, signage on the walls of common areas and employee restrooms, and a company-wide email that compiles all of the new practices are the perfect way to kick off communications.

4. Update Your Handbook and Other Documented Policies

After your team finalizes and implements the rules adhering to your office’s new hygiene standards, be sure you document it properly by updating your handbook, as well as any other documentation where important policies are kept. This way, both HR and employees have a point of reference for the new guidelines. This makes it easier to uphold and follow them. When updating these, consider a response plan for employees who suspect they have or have come into contact with someone who has had COVID-19, as well as the possibility of changing your sick leave and your remote working policy, either temporarily or permanently, to account for those employees. Once you update, communicate it with employees and encourage them to read through the new policies carefully!

5. Seek Out Ways to Keep Up Employee Morale and Company Culture

Amidst all of your planning and preparations for returning to your office, it’s important you keep in mind employee morale and your company’s culture, two things that are vital to a satisfied workforce. You may not be able to carry on with your normal team outings or weekly happy hours. However, there are still ways to incorporate employee morale and culture into your return! For example, offer a service (or a discount for one!) that provides employees who struggled during quarantine mental health support. Encourage employees to stay social with their coworkers, albeit from a small distance. Continue to host virtual hangouts or happy hours if you were doing so during quarantine. Additionally, offering recognition for employees’ hard work is a known way to improve morale, and monetary recognition can be especially helpful for those employees who were financially impacted by the pandemic.

6. Continue Monitoring and Approving

You know what they say: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” This holds true for your plans to return to the office as well! Understand that you’ll never be fully finished in refining the guidelines you put into place for your employees as they transition once again, this time from remote working to being back in their workplace. Create a forum or another type of space for employees to offer feedback. They can report on how they feel the return has gone so far and ideas for improvement and enhancement. Your employees are the ones most impacted by the rules you and your team have created, so it’s crucial that you listen to their responses and work to incorporate them into your new workplace practices.

7. Be Flexible!

This last step is less of a step and more of an attitude that you should always display throughout the course of the return to your workplace. Flexibility will be key in these next few months as you work with employees who may not feel comfortable returning to work this early, who may have conditions that prevent them from doing so, or ones who are excited to return but have responsibilities like childcare or older family members to address. Offer options like flexible hours or help with childcare, transportation, and other hindrances that keep employees from returning to work.

Returning to the workplace will be no easy task! However, by following these simple steps, you’ll ensure you’ve created a safe and healthy workplace to return to for employees.

Building Your Network

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

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

Network, Network, Network

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

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

1. Get over yourself.

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

2. Be genuine.

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

3. Follow up.

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

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

Why You Should Factor in Discounts

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

The History of Coupons

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

Discount Science

The Happiness Factor

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

The Time Factor

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

The Employer Factor

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

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

Contact our team to learn more!

The Returnship

Have you seen the movie, “The Intern”? You know the one. Robert DeNiro comes out of retirement to work for a thriving start-up in the fashion industry run by Anne Hathaway. Funny, heart-warming, and inspiring, it’s a film that not only highlights the new “Lean In” culture with corporate feminism at its core, but also focuses on the generational gap that exists between DeNiro and his fellow co-workers. Returning to the workforce after a tech boom caused DeNiro’s character to face many new obstacles he might not have anticipated.

returnship

Don’t worry. We’re not writing a film review here. But “The Intern” got us thinking about this relatively new trend called the “Returnship”.

“Returnship” was a phrase coined by Goldman Sachs in 2008 when they developed an onboarding program specifically designed for people who had taken a break from the workforce, either to raise kids, serve in the military, or just simply, to take a break and reevaluate. Similar to an internship, their purpose in this program was to sharpen skills that they may not realize they need after taking an extended time off and to help these employees land a job, either at their firm or elsewhere.

But Goldman Sachs isn’t the only firm providing this service. In fact, you can find returnships from many other companies such as Deloitte, PwC, Ford, Johnson&Johnson and more!

If you’re thinking about a Returnship or offering the program to your employees, here are a couple of the benefits you can find:

Returnships Provide Tech Training

Technology is constantly changing. Whether you’ve taken 2 years off or 10 years off, chances are you have a few things to catch up on. By participating in a Returnship program, you have an opportunity to sharpen your skills, without neglecting your job responsibilities. Returnships can provide the support and training needed to do the job successfully: a win-win for both employees and employers.

Returnships Provide Equal Opportunity

43% of women take time off to raise families. This fact alone has made it difficult in the past for women to have equal opportunity in the workforce. Returnships are changing that. No matter the reason for taking a break, Returnships provide equal opportunities for men and women to step back into the workforce when they are ready while gaining the necessary skills and growing their network.

Returnships Provide Launching Pads

Many people returning to work may not be 100% sure what type of job they’re looking to fill. For some their previous job may not exist, while others might be considering a career switch. Returnships can be a great launching pad for experimenting with various types of roles and understanding the various nuances and changes of each. After completing a returnship, employees will be better informed and prepared for the role they’re stepping into.

The internet is full of mixed reviews when it comes to returnships. Are you thinking about implementing this program at your company? What are the obstacles you think you’ll face?

Motivating the Unmotivated

An article was posted a few days ago that posed the question: “Can You Teach Work Ethic?”. Whether you are a Talent Management Director, a Human Resources Manager, a CEO, or just starting out in your career, you’ve probably come across employees who lack that special something.

Call it work ethic, gumption, motivation, or engagement. There are plenty of words to describe that characteristic that makes good employees, well… good.

motivating unmotivated employees

So is it possible to instill work ethic in the unmotivated? Is it a question of engagement or is it intrinsic?

Here are a few ways you can motivate even the most unmotivated of employees:

Talk it Out

First things first, you might need to get to the root of the problem. There could be many reasons why an employee is not putting their best foot forward: personal reasons, boredom, unclear expectations, etc. Schedule time to chat with the employee and keep an open mind about what they may be experiencing. Maybe they need more work on their plate or maybe they need a vacation. Figure out what they need from you and see how you can make that happen.

Empower Them Through Goal-Setting

After your conversation, make a plan for you and your employee. Set goals that help your employee feel empowered, not micro-managed. You can do this by making the goals a discussion, not a demand. By empowering them to take ownership of these expectations, they are more likely to stay motivated to follow-through.

Give Them Freedom to Make Mistakes

A lot of employees don’t take initiative because they’re afraid of failure. When setting goals, make sure they’re aware that the expectation is not perfection, but completion. As they work to complete a project or achieve a goal, ask questions along the way that let them know you’re in it together. Mistakes are inevitable and while you don’t want to encourage sloppy work, it’s important to create a forgiving environment for employees to take chances and risk failure.

Rinse and Repeat

Keep in mind that engaging employees should be an ongoing process, not a once a year thing. Schedule a monthly touch-base. Walk around the block for five minutes to get out of the office and help your employee feel comfortable opening up about where they’re struggling. Take this opportunity to point out where they succeeded and where they could improve. For particularly troublesome employees, let them know your expectations for the future if they continue to fall short.

Keeping unmotivated employees engaged is not easy, but it’s essential to cultivating the work culture we all desire. Follow these steps and if you don’t see improvement, it may be an issue of poor culture fit or the wrong position. Again, ask questions to get to the root of the issue. In the end, you’re after what’s best for the company and for the employee and sticking around when they’re unhappy isn’t good for either.

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

I was chatting with a couple of friends the other day and each were sharing their unique experiences at work. There was one thing they each shared, however, which was their struggle with comparison. Each of the girls have just started new positions in the last year and as they strive to prove themselves at work, the natural tendency to compare themselves and their work to those around them has slowly creeped in.

But they are not alone in their experiences. Social comparison is so common that there is even a theory based around its effects.

stop comparing yourself

Whether you’re starting a new career or you’re a veteran in your role, here are a few ways comparison can rob us of joy and how you can counteract these feelings:

Comparisons do not show the full picture.

You might have heard the expression “You have the same number of hours in the day as Beyonce”. While true and motivating, Beyonce was also blessed with opportunities that many of us will never have. Comparing yourself to others is unfair because we each have unique backgrounds, skills, and passions.

Gratitude reveals the whole story.

Instead of comparison, consider ways you can be grateful instead. Make a list every day of five things you are thankful for. Whenever you start comparing yourself to others, reach for the list and remember that what you have experienced serves to make you the person that you are and put you on a career path that’s uniquely yours.

Comparisons put the focus on the wrong person.

“He’s so smart.” “She’s so successful.” “His life is perfect.” Notice the subject of these sentences is not YOU. Comparisons have the power to put your focus on other people instead of on your own accomplishments.

Pride redefines the meaning of success.

Instead of focusing on what other people achieved, consider your own successes. It can be as small as finishing a report to larger achievements like a promotion or a raise. No matter how insignificant, tracking our achievements can be a great way to put the focus back on ourselves and our goals.

Comparisons build resentment.

One of the most harmful effects of social comparison is the resentment that can build over time. We can not only become bitter about our own shortcomings, but also resent others’ success, harming our relationships and creating walls between us.

Humility brings happiness.

This is probably the most difficult to achieve, but when we turn comparison into admiration, the results can be extremely beneficial. Instead of harboring feelings of jealousy, ask questions of the people you respect. Determine how they got to the place that you admire. You may find that things are not quite as simple as they appear, or find ways to reach your own goals that you might not have thought of before. It might not be easy to put away those jealous feelings, but in the end, you’ll build stronger relationships and learn a lot along the way.

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms.” Don’t think about what the other flowers are doing… just bloom.

Conquer the Sunday Night Blues

sunday night blues

An awesome article in Fistful of Talent recently discussed the “Sunday Night Blues”. Well-written and well-researched, the author describes the misery many people experience before returning to work on Monday morning. He dives into why this might be true of the 76% of Americans who say their Sunday Night Blues are so bad they want to look for a new job.

While you can read the article for a more in-depth view of the “Sunday Night Blues” and their sweep across America, let’s discuss a few ways we can conquer the blues by providing employees with a better place to work in the first place.

Give Them Something to Look Forward To

Think about your team and the weekly activity they enjoy doing the most. Maybe it’s a meal you share together or a fun team building activity. Whatever it is, try moving it to Monday to engage your staff right from the get-go. Start incorporating a daily stand-up as part of your Monday routine to encourage your team by celebrating wins and highlighting star performers. Just make sure to save any constructive criticism for later in the week when morale is higher.

Take Advantage of Fridays

When the end of the week rolls around most of us check out for the weekend. But often that can make Monday even more painful. Ending your Fridays well and setting you and your team up for success is essential for a productive and pleasant start to your week. The Muse provides a helpful worksheet for ending your week by celebrating accomplishments and assigning tasks for the week ahead. Using this sheet can help you feel more successful and less overwhelmed on Monday morning.

Let Them Flex Their Schedule

One of the greatest benefits at PerkSpot is the ability to flex our schedules. This could mean working from home when it’s storming out or working later hours to catch up on some Zzzzs. Providing flexible schedule opportunities for employees can help improve productivity and has even made a difference in closing the gender pay gap. Telecommuting is becoming all the more popular, so it will not only satisfy your current employees but also help you stay competitive when recruiting new hires.

Lead by Example

Nothing is worse than walking into the office on Monday morning to hear your supervisor or coworker moan and complain. On the other hand, Gallup reports that “Positive leaders deliberately increase the flow of positive emotions within their organization,” and can lead to greater engagement and improved performance. If the leadership is not staying positive, it’s highly unlikely their employees will maintain a positive attitude.

Combat the “Sunday Night Blues” by providing a better workplace for our employees, starting with our own attitudes.

Millennials: The Resilient Generation

We’ve said it before and it’s no secret – Millennials get a bad rap. Many have characterized this generation as selfish, entitled and lazy. But there’s one word that perhaps summarizes them better than the others and that we don’t often hear:

Resilience.

millennials resilient generation
From 9/11 to Katrina to Sandy Hook, the Millennial generation has not had it easy. In “Managing Millennials for Dummies”, the author states “In response to all of this bloodshed and uncertainty, Millennials, despite the typical rhetoric, have become resilient…They’re determined to make the best of the here and now and, in the face of change, roll with the punches the best they can.” And while tragedies and hardships aren’t strangers to previous generations, the inundation of social media has changed how this affects us on a daily basis. “Older generations were able to some degree, to disconnect from the news and all the atrocities flooding the media… For younger Millennials, the news is always there and always in their face (or in their pockets).”

As Millennials become more resilient to the increase of violence and hardship, there are many ways this plays out in the workplace:

  • “You Only Live Once” is the motto of this generation. They want to make the most of every moment and are quick to move on if they are unhappy or unsatisfied in their work. With tragic daily news, millennials are faced with the reality that life is short and should not be wasted.

 

  • Millennials seek to make a change in the world and desire to have meaning behind their work. They pursue ways that businesses can affect the social and political issues they face.

 

  • Millennials have a more personal relationship with their managers. Consequently, they desire a coach or mentor relationship versus one of power and position. They need to know their boss has their best interest at heart.

 

  • Millennials are more innovative and quick to try something new. Because they’ve become resilient in the face of failure, one mistake or downfall does not leave them defeated. They can quickly pick themselves up and try again.

 

  • Millennials need to unplug and recharge. They deal with news on a constant basis, while checking emails or browsing the internet. This constant connectivity means it’s more important they have time to get away from office stress.

 

Whether you work with Millennials, manage Millennials, or are a Millennial, find ways to acknowledge their (or your) resilience. It’s no small thing to bounce back from the hardships we’ve all experienced over the last 10-20 years. Let these experiences empower us to be better and do more.

 

Embracing Seasonal Office Changes

One thing we love about Chicago is that the city really comes alive in the summer. Patios open up and flood with people, baseball season is in full swing, and weekend trips to the beach are an absolute necessity. But with warmer weather and longer days, it can be hard to stay motivated behind the four walls of your office.

perkspot seasonal office changes

That’s why many companies are offering perks that change with the seasons. From cutting down your hours to taking a day off to volunteer, here are a few of our favorite ways office leaders can help employees stayed engaged and productive, while still finding time to enjoy the sunshine.

Flexible Hours

While this is not the newest trend out there, summer fridays are still amazing for boosting office morale. Chances are your employees are daydreaming out the window around 3pm on Friday afternoon anyway, so why not reward them for hitting their sales goals or nailing that project by allowing them to head out early. Plus, there are tons of reasons why flexible hours are great for company morale and ROI.

Seasonal Events

Summer is a great time to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether it’s a beach day or heading out for a baseball game, grab your employees and head outside for some seasonal fun. Last year at PerkSpot, a few of us participated in a 5k together. It really brought the team together for a great cause and motivated us to stay in shape!

perkspot 5k seasonal office changes

Spice Up Your Recognition

Looking for a new way to recognize and reward employees? Summer can be the perfect time to pre-purchase tickets to concerts or sporting events to give to your company’s overachievers. Not sure what to offer? Take a survey to see what events your employees are planning on attending this summer to make sure your prize offerings are relevant and truly incentivizing.

Do Good

There are so many volunteer opportunities available in the summer. From building a house with Habitat for Humanity to serving at your local food pantry, explore options to give back with your office while the weather is warm and your employees are itching to get outside. According to a survey of corporations that encourage employee volunteering, employees who volunteer are 60% more likely to feel loyal to their company than those who do not.

Sun’s out, fun’s out. How is your office incorporating the summer season into your corporate perks?