Posts Tagged ‘Employee Satisfaction’

4 Ideas to Show Your Employees Appreciation During the Summer Months

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Summer activityThis Friday marks the first day of summer and calls attention to all of the activities that go along with warmer weather. Many of your employees will plan vacations during this time period.  For your staffers who elect to stay in the office, treat them to some summertime fun. Show them you appreciate the contributions they make to your organization by coordinating activities that are most enjoyable in the summer. Reminding employees that you value their efforts is helpful in increasing a number of metrics, such as engagement, satisfaction and morale.

Try some of the following fun ideas at your organization:

Company picnic with family and friends

The warm weather season is a perfect time for a company picnic. Encourage your employees to invite their friends and family to make the event more memorable for them. By allowing your employees to bring guests, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with the people who are the most important to them. Rent a picnic shelter from a local park, provide food, and make sure you plan activities that cater to all of the age groups that will be present.

Refreshing treats

The summer months provide plenty of opportunities for fun, but they also bring a long supply of blazing hot days. Help your employees get some relief from the sun. Stock your company fridge with popsicles or mini containers of ice cream. If you purchase these items in bulk at a warehouse, such as Costco or Sam’s Club, you won’t break your budget to provide your employees with nice refreshments.

Relaxed Dress Code

If your employees wear business casual or business attire each day of the week, let them enjoy a more relaxed dress code during the summertime. Giving them the option to dress more comfortably during the hottest months of the year will show your employees that you care about their happiness while they are at work. Whether you implement casual Fridays throughout the summer or allow your employees to sport sandals instead of loafers, this gesture will show them that you appreciate them.

Parking lot tailgate

Everyone loves a good tailgate! You don’t have to be celebrating a particular sporting event to incorporate some of the fun aspects of getting together before a big game. Utilize the resources you have by hosting the tailgate in your company’s parking lot. Set up cornhole, ladder ball or play Frisbee to create some bonding moments for your staff. Treat your team to traditional tailgating foods and drinks like BBQ, hamburgers, hotdogs, lemonade and sweet tea.  If you decide to provide alcoholic beverages for your staff, make sure they are of age and limit them to two drinks each for their safety and yours.

For more ways to raise employee morale at your organization, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-9222.

Photo Source: Rob Boudon

Help Your Employees Achieve and Maintain Work/Life Balance

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

 

Balance

The uncertain economy has caused many employers to maintain a lean workforce.  As a result, employees are often working additional hours to get their jobs done.  The expanded workweek may prevent employees from attending children’s events, socializing with friends or taking quality time for themselves.

As an employer, it is important to know the negative effects associated with an improper balance between work and life. People who spend most of their waking hours working are much more likely to suffer from exhaustion, stress and poor sleep habits. The side effects from frequent overtime hours could spiral into business hazards, such as regular absenteeism, decreased retention and poor work performance.

Taking steps to help your staff members achieve work/life balance will provide your organization with a number of benefits. The following are some of the positive changes companies that value and incorporate work/life balance initiatives have seen:

  • Improvement in productivity
  • Increase in employee satisfaction
  • Reduction in tardiness and absenteeism
  • Greater company loyalty and teamwork
  • Decrease in stress, sickness and exhaustion

There are a number of ways that an organization can ensure that their employees are maintaining work/life balance. Depending on the size of the organization, the staff members and the budget, implementing some of the ideas below could be helpful in reaching work/life balance for the entire company:

  • Childcare and eldercare assistance
  • Flexible work hours
  • Company wellness programs with onsite workshops
  • Reduced cost for fitness memberships
  •  On-site and off-site professional development opportunities

Employees can also make an effort to improve their quality of life. Encourage staff members to take ownership of their work/life balance by asking them to speak up if they receive too much work or feel strained to keep up with a project deadline. They can also utilize some of the practices below to make the most of their time inside and outside of work:

  • Set deadlines for projects to help maintain the amount of time spent working on them
  • Prioritize tasks by their importance and work to complete the more pressing assignments first
  • Take breaks between long periods of work to help regain focus
  • Exercise, eat well and sleep at least seven hours each night to sustain energy
  • Avoid discussing work when spending quality time with family and friends

Organizations that emphasize work/life balance improve their bottom line and create a positive environment for all of their staff members. To discuss various approaches for accomplishing a work/life balance initiative at your workplace, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: lululemon athletica

Are You Communicating Effectively?

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

How your organization communicates is a good indicator of how well your business is performing. With statistics revealing that the majority of American workers are dissatisfied with their current positions, companies cannot afford to make communication errors.Talk

Businesses that communicate effectively reap many benefits. Employees perform quality work and complete assignments by deadline. If a problem occurs, workers address it immediately to diffuse the situation. Communicating effectively provides managers with more time because they do not have to repeat explanations or micromanage to help their employees finalize tasks. Additionally, turnover is reduced and companies’ bottom lines increase.

Organizations that lack effective communication put themselves at risk for many negative scenarios. Inadequately explaining a project can lead to missed deadlines, poor client service or lost business deals. Pitiable communication skills can cause employee frustration, which can lead to a decrease in productivity or an increase in employee turnover.

Because the number of unhappy workers is growing steadily, it is important for companies to evaluate their current communication practices. Below are a few strategies to help your organization communicate effectively:

  • Start with Management:
    • Managers have multiple responsibilities. In addition to their own assignments, they relay information and projects to their subordinates. Problems occur quickly when managers are not communicating their requests effectively.
    • Employees should not have to guess what their managers expect them to accomplish. Expectations should be communicated clearly and repeated if necessary. Creating an action plan with specific timelines, employee roles and final due dates will eliminate the probability that staff members misunderstand assignments.
  • Encourage Open Communication:
    • No one wins when there is only one line of communication at an organization. Employees do not perform at their full potential when their managers are only allowed to give feedback. Encourage all staff members to ask questions, discuss concerns or suggest ways to problem solve often.
    • Management and senior leadership should try to uncover any communication concerns employees might have. Company leadership also should ensure that employees do not feel as though revealing unfavorable information could jeopardize their positions. Anonymous employee opinion surveys can serve as an option to find answers to assessing your current communication style.
  • Listen and Respect:
    • In addition to allowing employees of all levels to express their opinions on company decisions or policies, it is also important to actively listen to their concerns or suggestions.
    • Do not talk over them or dismiss their viewpoints. All employees, including management and senior leaders, should respect the opinions of their colleagues. Before passing judgment on an idea or concern, take time to understand why they are addressing the issue.

Following these guidelines will help your organization create a positive work environment. With these strategies in place, workers will be happier and take greater pride in their work, which will increase productivity. Relationships on every level will also improve—managers to subordinates, coworkers to coworkers, and employees to clients.

For more information on utilizing effective communication techniques, please contact CAI’s Advice & Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Aaron Friedman

Happiness: The Productivity Booster

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Unhappy WorkerRecent surveys from reputable sources, including The Conference Board, Mercer and CNNMoney, reveal that American workers are the unhappiest they have been in more than two decades. Statistics that highlight workforce unhappiness include:  84 percent of employed Americans are unhappy at their current jobs (CNNMoney), only  45 percent of workers are satisfied with their current jobs (the Conference Board) and one in three American workers is serious about leaving their current job (Mercer).

These gloomy statistics leave company leaders searching for strategies to keep their employees content and productive. It is a fact that retention rates increase when employees are satisfied with their jobs, and their job satisfaction is influenced by many factors, such as the work they do, the support they receive and the people they work with. Another key indicator for job satisfaction is the level of happiness employees have when they are working.  Research shows that creating a positive work environment increases productivity and overall health in employees.

There are multiple reasons why happiness is an instant productivity booster for workers. Here are a few:

  1. Employees who are happy relate better with others, including their coworkers and clients. This helps improve teamwork and customer service.
  2. People who are happy tend to be more creative and are open to different ideas. Increased creativity also helps employees problem solve more effectively.
  3. People who are happy at their jobs enjoy what they do, so they have more motivation to perform well.
  4. Those who are happy tend to get sick less frequently. Being sick instantly decreases productivity, and employees who dislike their jobs are prone to stress, making them more susceptible to catching a cold or getting ulcers.
  5. People who are happy are also more likely to be optimistic. Optimists are more successful and productive and complain far less than those who are unhappy.

Happy Face

Although not every employee will become happy, companies can encourage employees to participate in activities and make choices that will promote happiness. Organizations have several options of exercises and tasks to give employees the opportunity to increase their happiness, and ultimately increase overall company productivity. Happiness coaching is spreading through business culture—large companies are hiring happiness coaches to train their staffs, and graduate schools are now offering classes that promote workplace happiness.

Try implementing some of the simple, yet highly effective strategies below to boost the happiness of your employees:

  1. Have staff members evaluate their strengths and utilize them to work more effectively. They will become more engaged and happier over time.
  2. Encourage employees to write positive emails to colleagues that praise them on work they have recently completed. This will help promote good employee relations.
  3. Allow workers to take multiple breaks during the workday. Studies prove that short time away from work reenergizes individuals and helps them increase their productivity.
  4. When appropriate, suggest that employees use their vacation and sick time. Ample vacation or recovery time will help them return revitalized and productive.
  5. Help staff members take advantage of training and educational opportunities when available. Learning new information or skills will help them achieve greater success and will increase their happiness.Meditate

There are also a number of steps employees can take on their own to help increase their individual happiness and health. Below are several tips to help your staff members improve their outlook on work:

  1. Exercise for at least 20 minutes three times per week .
  2. Take time to meditate for a few minutes each day.
  3. Make your self-talk positive to work through stressful situations or errors. For example, instead of saying to yourself, “You idiot.” Try, “How can I work to make this better?”
  4. Focus on issues or situations that you can control, instead of worrying about factors that you cannot.
  5. Plan a routine for your daily activities to establish a productive week. This can include choosing specific times to wake up or listing projects you want to start.

For more information on how to promote happiness in your workplace, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Bark, Jessica Tam, Big Mind Zen Center

Why Employees Stay Long-Term

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Granted, some reasons employees leave a company are out of your control. People may quit a job for reasons as varied as having a bad commute, a deterioration of their community, an industry downturn, a desire to be closer to family or even to escape from unpleasant weather. However, most employees leave a company because of factors directly connected with their job.

 Like the Rolling Stones’ song, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” people leave a company when they are dissatisfied and decide they can only achieve their career goals somewhere else. To combat this, you need an armload of information relevant to your company in particular.Meeting

 Find Out Why Employees Leave and Why They Stay

 It’s important not only to have exit interviews in which you find out an employee’s reason for leaving, but also to ask those who have stayed with the company the reasons why they stay. A simple employee survey could open your eyes (and those of management) to all sorts of useful insights.

 Studies have shown that the longer employees stay with a company, the more likely they are to continue to stay. Research company Blessing White’s Employee Engagement Report 2011 shows that engaged employees stay longer and provide more value to the company (http://grenell.com/cms/index.php/how-engaged-are-your-employees/ ). So the big question is, how does a company engage its employees?

 Engage Your Employees

 There are many ways to effectively engage employees. Here are a few ideas: 

  1. Implement a strong career development program.
    This involves many aspects of management, from the creation of job descriptions and career ladders with clear advancement steps tied to job performance, salary and status, to the time set aside for coaching and mentoring. Providing training to employees is a major part of any career development program. Some employers fear that if they train their employees, the employees will leave—but it is most often the other way around. Fail to train your employees, and they will leave.
  2. Monitor the company benefits constantly for improvement.
    Having great benefits is a strong factor in retaining employees. Offering top wages is not enough, as employees make career decisions based on company benefits such as 401(k)s, profit sharing, sick leave, vacation, and health plans—especially as health insurance premiums continue to rise. The Department of Health and Human Services just released its guidelines to states for the creation of affordable insurance exchanges on July 11. Monitor your statMeetinge’s efforts to carry out the new federal health care law and keep your employees informed.
  3. Make employees feel valued.
    This is where job satisfaction begins and ends. To keep up morale and make people feel appreciated, you must create a workplace environment where managers are respected for their competence and fairness, and employees are recognized in multiple ways for their contributions. Develop creative employee incentive and reward programs, and you will affect employee productivity and company profitability. People have a strong need to feel valued.
  4. Empower your employees. Personal autonomy in completing tasks is important to employees because no one likes to feel powerless. Giving people some control over their workplace environment and schedule is often a wise move on the part of management, but so is delegating authority and trusting employees to follow through. Accountability and responsibility for results are essential for empowerment, so the benefit works both ways.

For additional information about how you can improve employee retention, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: Alan Cleaver, Voka-Kamer van Koophandel Limburg

Help Your Employees Save Money in a Down Economy

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

The cost for almost everything—gas, food, insurance, etc.—is currently rising. Unfortunately, due to the economic recession and other business factors, employees’ paychecks are not increasing at a rate to offset the higher cost of living. As an employer, there are several ways to help your workers keep money in their wallets. Helping employees save money will increase their job satisfaction and the company’s retention rate.

Here are a few tactics to help staffers cut down their expenses:Carpool

1. Carpooling

  • Today’s gas prices are fluctuating around $4 across the country. Help workers save money at the pump by encouraging them to carpool with their coworkers. Put a signup sheet in the office break room to make others aware of those interested in carpooling.

2. Flexible Schedule

  • Thanks to technology there are several ways to adjust the traditional “9 to 5” work week. To help employees avoid traffic, allow them to come in earlier or later and leave earlier or later. Additionally, agreeing to let employees work from home at least one day of the week could help them save a few hundred dollars in gas per year. Some organizations are even implementing 4 day weeks with longer work days to combat gas prices.

Lunch3. Staff Lunch

  • Although your organization might be unable to provide daily lunch for all staff members, offering a free meal a couple of times per month will be appreciated. Ordering in for your workers will help them save money on lunch and on gas.

4. Pre-Tax Accounts

  • Health Saving Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) allow employees to put money away in pre-tax accounts for health care services and goods. Offering this benefit will assist employees in the long run because it will help them take advantage of their earnings and increase their savings.

5. Retirement Plans

  • It is never too late to help your employees invest in their retirement. If a 401(k) p401(K)rogram is available at your organization, ensure that all eligible staff members know the advantages of opening an account. The contributions made for 401(K)s are pre-tax dollars, and the interest on the accounts are compounded to make greater profits.

For more information on helping your employees save money, as well as strategies to retain your top talent, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Richard Drdul, Matt Seppings, Calita Kabir

Creating a Successful Mentorship Program

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Mentoring is a tool to grow employees and accelerate their career development. Companies that offer mentorship programs enjoy many benefits, including retaining top talent, increasing company loyalty and keeping employees engaged. Overall company productivity is also improved when mentorship programs exist.

Employees who are mentored gain critical company knowledge, learn new skills and receive feedback on their career growth and goals, which help them to succeed in their positions. Senior staff members who mentor prosper from the experience, too. Researchers found that their work productivity increases, they have less stress and they feel revitalized in their careers.

Benefits are achieved only if the mentorship program has a strong structure and committed participants, so follow these guidelines to create a successful initiative:

Define the Goal and Structure

To make sure the mentorship program flourishes, it is important to have a strong program goal. Whether it is to help new hires acclimate faster or to cultivate potential manager candidates, one focus will help the program triumph.

Establish an end date as well. More people will participate if there is a specific time frame, and an end date gives a new set of employees an opportunity to experience the process.

Facilitating and Participation

A good mentorship program has a designated facilitator, often called the Mentoring Program Manager (MPM). The MPM creates the mentoring program and works to align the initiative with company goals. The point person sets clear expectations for both the mentors and mentees, which include the time commitment and level of engagement needed from all participants.

Ensuring all staff members are involved in some way or are aware of the program will help the initiative obtain good results. High-level executives should partake in the process—either to offer suggestions to the program facilitator or to serve as mentors themselves. Their participation will help others see the program’s value.

Mentees, Mentors and Managers

Specify criteria for those being mentored. Mentee candidates will help define the qualities needed for mentors. In addition to having excellent communications skills and a strong ability to relate with others, experts suggest that mentors should be at least two levels above the mentee. This requirement guarantees that they can offer great company information while understanding their mentees’ roles. This format eliminates competition for jobs or promotions as well.

Managers provide information similar to what mentors offer, but they have different objectives and job requirements when working with their employees. Managers want employees to grow and perform to help company productivity, and unlike mentors, managers can assign projects, conduct performance reviews and recommend raises or promotions.

Companies should avoid staff members mentoring people they directly manage because they act as key decision makers for their employees. Mentees might feel as though they cannot freely talk about their frustrations and weaknesses with their managers. Mentors who are not managers provide employees with a safe environment to discuss various topics.

Follow Up, Evaluation and Results

Facilitators should make a great effort in following up with participants throughout the process. Encouraging open communication and constant feedback will help the MPM get a gauge on the program’s progress.

Because it might take months to years to see direct results, patience is required when launching a mentorship program. Making sure you get feedback from participants is important when measuring its effectiveness. Surveys and interviews help evaluate success, and final results received will help your company determine if the program was a good investment and if there are improvements needed for a future initiative.

For more information or tips on successful mentorship programs, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Components of a Successful Interview

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

The interview process – it’s what some refer to as the “make it or break it” moment of careers. The face-to-face time with potential employers is the one opportunity job seekers have to sell themselves, leave a lasting impression and give reason to why they are most fitting for the job at hand.

With most interviews, employers tend to ask the same question across all industries:  What questions, if any, do you have for us?

Don’t miss this opportunity. This is the last chance before the selection process to stand out among the competition. By not asking a question, or asking the wrong question, you could possibly close the doors altogether. Consider the following as you prepare for your next interview.

Responsibilities – You have seen the job description and are aware of the basic skills and responsibilities required for the current position. Take time during the interview to decipher the day-to-day expectations and uncover what is of most importance. Out of all the roles this position fulfills, what makes it vital to the long-term health of the company?

Management – To perform well, employees must comprehend the type of leadership the organization employs. Discuss the management styles within the given department and consider how they match with the kind of communication you work best under. Employers will respect your desire for clear communication and working under a team-oriented mindset.

Culture – A majority of interview discussions are centered on the required tasks and functions of a position, but take the opportunity to redirect the close of conversation toward corporate culture. People most often remain loyal to an organization because of its culture, and employers will be pleasantly surprised to know that you value the work environment just as much as the job you fulfill.

Vertical growth – Most people aren’t satisfied with performing the same job for the rest of their career. If your personality is one that is focused on growth, it’s important to inquire about the internal advancement process. Are there any formal processes in place and is internal advancement a common occurrence within the organization? Discussing advancement doesn’t mean you won’t be focused on the current position, but shows employers that you desire challenge, additional responsibility and a long-term relationship within the organization.

For additional information, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: TenSafeFrogs

Employee Recognition: Top Ways to Recognize Employees In the Workplace

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

In Somebodies and Nobodies: overcoming the abuse of rank, Robert W. Fuller discusses the importance and impact of employee recognition in the workplace, by saying that “eliminating deficiencies of recognition in the workplace is proving to be as good for the bottom line as eliminating nutritional deficiencies were in the past for the productivity of day laborers.” Because of the current economic shift, the focus for most organizations has turned toward maintaining continuous workflow, and keeping the company, its clients and employees intact. With the day-to-day impact the economy has left on organizations, employee appreciation may often be forgotten. But can organizations really afford to place employee recognition on the back burner?

Employee recognition can easily be linked to employee engagement and company morale, potentially determining internal performance and results. Overlooking the importance of employee recognition may cause negative impacts to spill through the workplace and company culture. The reality is that all staff members work hard and want your organization to succeed and thrive through this challenging time. Now is the time to take a step back, recognize the value of the individual and show your appreciation. Yes, the stable paycheck is more than enough, but small gestures of recognition go far, and help employees remember they are a valued and integral part of the team.

Highlight employee successes – When customers or clients speak to the performance and service of your employees, do you make them aware? Publicly recognizing the efforts of your staff, and acknowledging the work they are committed to, is appreciated and respected.

Facilitate peer-to-peer recognition – Positive feedback from management is valued and always welcomed, but the recognition that comes directly from peers is often a true reflection of an individual’s performance and contribution. Coworkers who work together on a consistent basis see the moments of excellence that management may overlook. Find a way to allow employees to acknowledge each other. Do you have weekly staff meetings? If so, try and include this recognition by allowing staff to highlight the achievements of a teammate.

Take a break from e-mail communication – In a society that moves at such a fast pace, it’s rare that we take moments to handwrite our appreciation. This simple gesture goes further than you may realize. By taking time to write your thanks through penmanship, you remind your employees they are worth more than a quick “click and send” e-mail praise.

Food always does the trick – No one ever turned down a surprise staff breakfast, group lunch or gift certificates to dinner. Food is always a fan favorite and is a great way to gather employees for conversation that doesn’t involve the ongoing to-do list.

Celebrate the special occasions – Birthdays, engagements, wedding and baby showers – they all encompass the monumental moments of your employees’ lives. Organizations are able to connect with staff outside of a professional relationship if you celebrate the special moments of an employee’s personal life. As you begin to incorporate these celebrations into your culture, your company will feel less like a business and more like a family.

For additional information, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo source: CCL Staff

Top 10 Reasons Employees Stay with an Organization

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

If employee retention is a focus area for your organization, you may want to consider asking this question during the discussion phase when giving your next employee performance review:

“What would it take for you to leave?”

In fact, you may want to do it sooner.  You might be very surprised at the responses you hear. Many of your employees will not be able to think of a reason they would leave, which says a lot about your organization.  And those that do respond with reasons they would consider leaving your company provide valuable insight into how you can make improvements to retain your most valued employees.

Why wait until an exit interview to determine why an employee decided to leave? Engage your good performers when the opportunity presents itself and find out what might cause them to leave before they really do leave.

Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans surveyed more than 17,000 employees with various organizations for their book Love ‘em or Lose ‘em about reasons why employees stay with an organization. Below are the top 10 reasons from their survey:

  1. Exciting work and challenge
  2. Career growth, learning and development
  3. Working with great people
  4. Fair pay
  5. Supportive management/good boss
  6. Being recognized, valued and respected
  7. Benefits
  8. Meaningful work and making a difference
  9. Pride in the organization, its mission and its products
  10. Great work environment and culture

It’s often assumed that pay is the chief lure for an employee to jump ship.  However, that is clearly not the case.  Even if you’ve had to freeze salaries over the past couple of years, if you can provide your employees with challenging work, give them the opportunity to learn and grow, and have created a work environment of support and camaraderie, you have a very good chance of being able to retain your top performers.

But, of course, the best way to find out where you stand is by asking your employees directly.  Take some time to find out from your employees why they stay with your organization and, more importantly, why they might leave. If you have questions regarding employee retention, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Shuttleworth Foundation