Our Favorite 6 Books from 2020

Part of growing your business is growing yourself. Educating yourself on the latest trends, historical insight, and learning from the greats is one of the best ways to grow your business. We take education seriously around here by encouraging our team to read one book each month and discussing how those concepts can be applied and implemented both personally and professionally. If you’re looking for your next business book club read, here are a few of our favorites from 2020. 

5 Disfunction’s of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Written as a fictional tale turned non-fiction business book, the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team is a gem from Patrick Lencioni. The tale with a fable of a woman who, as CEO of a struggling Silicon Valley firm, took control of a dysfunctional executive committee and helped its members succeed as a team. From here, Lencioni gives step-by-step guidance for overcoming the human behavioral issues that ruin teamwork. 

  • Spoiler Alert: The five dysfunctions discussed are absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results. Lencioni breaks each of these down in a pyramid style, similar to Maslow’s Heirarchy of needs to clearly explain why your team isn’t functioning as well as it could. 

It’s an easy, entertaining, and quick read filled to the brim with useful information. Lencioni is no stranger to business reads, previous titles include The Five Temptations of a CEO and Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive. He presents business topics in a way that is captivating and entertaining, not dry or boring. At the end of the book, he even provides a questionnaire and applicable exercises to help create real change in your company. Patrick Lencioni is president of his own management consulting firm. 

As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

If you’re interested in seeing how you may be standing in your own way and how to overcome your own negative thought patterns, this is the book for you. James Allen is one of the pioneers of self-help. He was born in 1864, well before self-help was a thing. Back then, he was known as a British philosopher who wrote inspirational books and poetry.

He writes about the effects of our own thoughts and how that can change our body, health, purpose, achievement, growth, and success. Today, As a Man Thinketh is still his most popular title. We love this classic work that has been in print for well over 120 years. It is truly an amazing source of wisdom and peace, and serves as the grandfather of many more modern self-help authors and speakers. 

Outside In by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine

If there was a textbook on customer service, this would be it. Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine beautifully carve 14 years of research into one succinct roadmap for nailing customer service. As a Man Thinketh, explains the innovations that brought billions of investments to Fidelity while other companies suffered. It shows how a misunderstanding prevented Home Depot from achieving its true potential. It dives into what makes the Mayo Clinic so special.

 Using real-world examples makes this a relatable resource to customer experience and explains how to drive your business forward. Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief of Forbes said, “This eye-opener gives you a comprehensive, need-to-know look at how smart companies achieve sustainable success in dealing with customers.  Hint:  It involves the entire organization, not just those on the ‘front lines.’ The GPS-like guidance provided here is invaluable.”

We love this book because it’s applicable to everyone. Some business books are only applicable to leaders or executive-level minds, but Outside-In is something that any level of business can benefit from. It shows us how each piece fits together and how each one is essential to scaling your business. 

3D view of book

Scaling Up by Verne Harnish 

If you’re looking for a book that the entire team can benefit from reading, this is it. Scaling Up is a revision of the business classic, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. When it was released over 10 years ago, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits soared in popularity. The Rockefeller Habits Checklists is used by more than 40,000 firms to scale their companies successfully.  Now, Scaling Habits is Mastering the Rockefeller Habits 2.0 includes everything you loved about the first version, in a more succinct, applicable, and updated format. 

As winner of 8 major international book awards and winner of the Readers’ Favorite International Book Award for Non-Fiction Business, this is a clear winner. This book is written for everyone from frontline employees to senior executives. It is designed to get your entire team aligned in contributing to the growth of a firm.

  • Spoiler Alert: The book focuses on four main areas – People, strategy, execution, and cash. It also includes several one-page tools including the updated One-Page Strategic Plan and the original Rockefeller Habits Checklist. 

If you haven’t read the original Rockefeller Habits book, don’t bother. This one is bigger and better than ever. It includes everything from the first version, but so much more. Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), founder and CEO of Scaling Up, a global executive education and coaching company. She is also a private investor in many scale-ups.

Switch (how to change things when change is hard) by Chip Heath and Dan Heath 

Whether your looking to pivot your business, drop some weight, or make a major move – Switch is all about the study of change. This is a compelling, story-driven narrative, which makes the text more compelling to read than other research-heavy books. Chip and Dan Heath are brothers and the best-selling authors of Made to Stick. In Switch, they sift through decades of research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to study why change is so hard and how we can make it easier to get the results we want.  

“In our research, we studied people trying to make difficult changes: People fighting to lose weight and keep it off. Managers trying to overhaul an entrenched bureaucracy. Activists combatting seemingly intractable problems such as child malnutrition. They succeeded–and, to our surprise, we found striking similarities in the strategies they used. They seemed to share a similar game plan. We wanted, in Switch, to make that game plan available to everyone, in hopes that we could show people how to make the hard changes in life a little bit easier.” – Chip and Dan Heath 

We loved this book because it provides insight to changing your business, but also to motivating family members to embrace change. The authors use relatable examples in all areas of life from the cycle of domestic abuse to rebranding Target. It’s entertaining and educational, which makes it a must-read on our business bookshelf

The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly

This is the ultimate mash-up in self-help and business books. The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly begins with this important thought, “…a company can only become the-best-version-of-itself to the extent that its employees are becoming better-versions-of-themselves.” 

In an entertaining prose, a fictional company created by Kelly grapples with real-world problems every business faces. As the managers discover the secret to disengagement, turnover, and motivation, Kelly shares his insight and teaches valuable lessons. He looks at the connection between personal dreams and professional achievement at work to see how one affects the other. Matthew Kelly is the New York Times bestselling author of The Rhythm of Life…and twenty other books that have sold more than 15 million copies. 

We love this one because sometimes we forget what it’s like to dream. We get caught up in just finishing the to-do list of the day that we fail to recognize what we actually want. When we find a book that aligns with our views of positivity actually transforming business, we can’t recommend it enough.  

Built To Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

If you’ve never read a busines book before, this is a good one to start with. James Collins is a household name in both the business world. He researches why some companies work and other don’t. In Built to Last, Collins and Porras look at 18 truly exceptional and long-lasting companies. They look at their beginnings, growth and success in direct comparison to one of its top competitors. 

The only question the authors ask is, “What makes the truly exceptional companies different from the comparison companies and what were the common practices these enduringly great companies followed throughout their history?” They answer this question with hundreds of examples from companies like General Electric, Wal-Mart, Walt Disney and Hewlett-Packard and Boeing.   

We love this book because it’s an inspiration to executives and entrepreneurs everywhere. It’s filled with relatable information and provide practice concepts that can be applied to start-ups and multi-national corporations alike.  

The 10 Behaviors that Make Great Managers

manager in meeting

Over the years, Google has become the gold standard in valuing your employees. Google’s company culture places a premium on employees’ happiness and it shows. The tech giant is always topping the list of the best places to work in the U.S. and 86 percent of their employees say they are satisfied with their job. 

Clearly, Google is synonymous with happy employees. 

Back in 2008, Google launched Project Oxygen. This internal team focused on researching great managers. For Google, this research started because much of the leadership believed that managers were not important to success. In the end, this research was the key to developing the best management in the industry while, increasing performance and employee retention. 

manager in meeting

Initially, they found 8 key behaviors that made great managers, and caused better employee outcomes. Ten years later, in 2018, the study was revisited and revised to match the newly evolved company.  They added two new behaviors and slightly three others. Since then, these standards became the gold standard for creating a strong company culture: 

  • A good coach 

A great manager is a good coach. This means they don’t just solve problems on the spot. They have a future focus to help their team grow and develop rather than just put out fires all day long.  This requires managers to trust their team.

  • Empowers the team and does not micromanage

Great managers know the power of autonomy. They give their team the ability to manage their own environment and meet their objectives on their own rather than stepping in and taking over. They show their employees appreciation by giving them the power to work. 

  • Creates an inclusive team environment

When you have a manager that shows genuine concern for your success and well-being, it creates a safe and motivating environment. No one feels embarrassed to give a crazy idea or ask a question. Each member feels genuine employee appreciation. Team members reflect new ideas the same as the manager, so be the example to entertain all ideas and spitball them around.

  • Productive and results-oriented

They are willing to actually get to work right alongside their team and do the tough jobs. They don’t get bogged down with issues and instead, they focus on results. When your manager is willing to do the same work you’re doing, it does wonders for employee retention and employee appreciation.  If your team is behind on a deadline, or short-staffed, jump in and sacrifice your regular tasks to work alongside them. This can also benefit you to see the procedures and communication of team members on a new level.

  • Good communicator

A great manager is a good communicator. They aren’t the ones doing all the talking. Instead, they listen and are empathic. They are transparent and share information to grow their team.  They communicate regularly, and effectively.

  • Supports career development and discusses performance

It’s motivating to work with someone who supports you and your goals. Good managers show employee appreciation by sharing praise, and also point out when performance is lacking. Both of these contribute to employee retention because their manager is supporting their goals. 

  • A clear vision/strategy for the team

It’s important to have a leader who knows where they are going and what it takes to get there. They have a strategy and a direction and are ready to implement their plan.  They think long-term and reinforce company values often.

  • Great Technical skills

A great manager has key technical skills to help advise the team. Most of the traits of a great manager are soft skills, but a truly great leader must also have the technical know-how. They must understand the job as well as their employees do.  If you haven’t had the training required for these skills, consider taking a few months and immerse yourself into the job to really understand what is required and is effective in your field.

  • Collaboration

This means they can work with other teams, people, and departments across the company. They show their team how to do this as well, so everyone works together in a more productive way.  They believe everyone has something to contribute and that the best team is a diverse team.

  • Strong decision maker 

They must be decisive. When the team is split or when a decision must be made, they consider each side carefully, but they make a decision and stand behind it. 

The work at Google is inevitably demanding, and that empire needs an army of people to keep things running smoothly. However, the attention at Google is on the individual. Creating and supporting great managers allows each employee to succeed individually. 

Implement Your Own Manager Feedback Survey 

Wondering how you’d rank as a manager at Google? Take the time to find out. Google gathers feedback from employees on a semi-annual basis. The survey is sent electronically and the answers are completely confidential. Managers receive a report of anonymized, aggregated feedback only. The survey itself is short and is published for others to use.  It’s roughly a dozen statements using a “agree” or “disagree scale. Each statement is based on one of the ten behaviors of successful managers at Google. The following questions are taken directly from Google at www.rework.withgoogle.com you can use them as is or tweak them to fit your company culture. 

  1. I would recommend my manager to others.
  2. My manager assigns stretch opportunities to help me develop in my career.
  3. My manager communicates clear goals for our team.
  4. My manager gives me actionable feedback on a regular basis.
  5. My manager provides the autonomy I need to do my job (i.e., does not “micro-manage” by getting involved in details that should be handled at other levels).
  6. My manager consistently shows consideration for me as a person.
  7. My manager keeps the team focused on priorities, even when it’s difficult (e.g., declining or deprioritizing other projects).
  8. My manager regularly shares relevant information from their manager and senior leadership.
  9. My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about my career development in the past six months.
  10. My manager has the technical expertise (e.g., technical judgment in Tech, selling in Sales, accounting in Finance) required to effectively manage me.
  11. The actions of my manager show they value the perspective I bring to the team, even if it is different from their own.
  12. My manager makes tough decisions effectively (e.g., decisions involving multiple teams, competing priorities).
  13. My manager effectively collaborates across boundaries (e.g., team, organizational).

On the questionnaire, there are also two open-ended questions: 

  • What would you recommend your manager keep doing?
  • What would you have your manager change?

The process of uncovering the traits of a great manager has had surprising effects across the workplace. In a New York Times article, Laszlo Bock, former senior vice president of people operations at Google acknowledged that the company had historically hired managers based on technical expertise. “It turns out that that’s absolutely the least important thing,” Bock says. “It’s important but pales in comparison. Much more important is just making that connection and being accessible.” 

Google’s quest to find a better boss can uncover the keys to help all of us to become the better boss that our employees, our company, and our future needs. 

Sources: 

https://rework.withgoogle.com

https://www.businessinsider.com

21 Business Goals for 2021

social media goal

It didn’t take very long into 2020 for your big audacious goals to turn into something more like “survive, stay safe, and keep the business alive.” So far, 2021 is continuing the trend of uncertainty, but it’s time to come out from beneath the fear and panic of 2020 and start making some real plans. 

Many business owners didn’t even bother making goals for 2021 because there was too much unknown. By now, we understand that although this year may be unique, it’s not an excuse to lose focus on the biggest picture.

Here’s a list of 21 business goals perfect for 2021 Whether you’re looking to expand or simply regain stability, you can use these to grow your business to new heights this year. Pick 2-4 to focus on this year and break them down into quarterly, monthly and then weekly actionable items. 

office goals

1) Cut Costs  

This is usually at the top of the lists every year for every business. But if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you don’t want to have any unnecessary company debt or overarching overhead. Make sure any costs you cut aren’t those that will come back to haunt you. 

2) Work on Your Website 

Online is king. If you don’t have valuable content marketing now is the time to get on the bandwagon. Work with a marketing team and give your website a refresh and create valuable content you can share on social media. 

3) Improve Customer Service  

This is one of those things that can always be improved. In 2020, we saw what happened when customers disappeared. Instead, this year focus on catering to those customers, gather feedback, change processes and make improvements to please the people that matter most. 

4) Review Your Finances  

Take a good hard look at how COVID-19 impacted your finances. Decide what you’ll do if you get shut down again and how you can recoup lost cost.

5) Increase Productivity  

Make sure this one is a goal, not a wish. Productivity is always nice, but transform this one into an actionable goal by making sure you have actionable plans in place to help increase productivity. (Don’t just hope your employees work harder.)

6) Decide What Changes to Keep 

2020 required all businesses to make some changes, but some of those might actually help you thrive into the future. Perhaps you implemented a new reservation system, outdoor seating, work from home opportunities, or reduced meetings, be intentional about your changes in 2021. 

7) Reduce Your Paper Use  

This is a great way to save money. We learned a lot of things in 2020, and how to eliminate paper waste was just one of them. Embrace a greater shift to digital to save money and boost productivity.   

8) Increase Market Share  

Any successful campaign to increase market share starts with good market research.   

9) Audit Your Marketing Activities  

See what you could do better this year to get customers in the door. Marketing is an essential business activity that we take for granted when things are going well. Perhaps consider a new or lower cost marketing strategy this year. 

10) Step Up Your Networking  

If you missed your annual conference, or networking event last year, make an effort to network individually this year. You can also research more virtual networking events for your industry and go from there.   

11) Research New Markets 

Perhaps you can take your current product or business and offer it in a different way or to a different market. If you can pivot rather than drown, it may save your company completely. 

12) Get on Social and Get Seen   

If you have been pretty quiet on social media, 2021 is the year to change that. Get out there and put your business where your customers will see it on the regular. If you already have social media, take stock of your analytics. Review your data for insights on engagement, and focus future efforts based on these insights.   

social media goal

13) Offer a New Employee Incentive  

If you’re hiring, offer new employee incentives like a referral program, additional PTO, paid lunches, etc. These are a great way to boost productivity and overall positivity in the workplace, no matter what happens in the future.

14) Boost Your Employer Brand  

Make this the year more people want to work for your organization. You can do this by taking care of your employees, offer flexible benefits and unique opportunities just to show you care. 

15) Develop a New Product  

Sure, this may sound scary, but adding a new product is one of the most successful things any company can do. Especially when we’re just getting to open the doors again, give people a reason to come back. 

16) Engage with Customers Personally 

Make sure your customers know that you appreciate their loyalty. Create relationships with those you see on a regular basis and give them an exceptional experience. 

17) Offer More Flexibility  

Help your employees manage this year by offering them more flexibility. Allow them the autonomy they may need to support their family needs and encourage creativity to meet company goals. 

18) Address Staffing Needs  

Look at your current staffing needs with a fresh pair of eyes. Do you have too many employees? Do you need to add to your team? Be clear about your goals so you can ensure you’re being as efficient as possible.

19) Connect to the Community  

We’ve all been through a lot this last year, step into your community and look for ways you can contribute through community outreach efforts. 

20) Provide Customer Resources   

Just as it’s important to be flexible with your employees, be flexible with your customers as well. Offer more payment plan options, layaway, or lower cost alternatives to help meet them where they are with limited budgets this year. 

21) Address Mental Health Concerns 

Make sure your head is in the right place, and you’re paying attention to the mental health of your employees so you’re ready to tackle 2021 with optimism and renewed energy. 

https://www.entrepreneur.com

www.nsc-tech.com

ONE ON ONE MEETINGS THAT DON’T SUCK

meetings with boss

Managers and employees often are reluctant to actually schedule a one-on-one meeting and it’s easy to see why. Some managers are not comfortable dealing with one-on-ones while employees see them as punishment or ineffective. So, what’s the point? And is it worth the time? We say absolutely, positively yes. 

There are a thousand statistics and reasons why a one on one meeting should be on your monthly to-do list, but we can sum it up in one word: connection.  

One on ones meetings are critical for managers to build productive working relationships with each member of the team. It is a way to provide an uninterrupted private time to talk about project status and personalized feedback and mentoring. Research has shown that focusing on building a relationship with your direct reports can actually change their brain to be more open to new ideas and innovation. 

If you’ve never had a one-on-one with your employees, or it’s been a while, here’s a quick guide to get you started on the right path. 

one on one meetings

Know the purpose: 

This is not a performance review or a disciplinary meeting, this is a chance for connection. The purpose is to understand the individual needs of each of your staff. Know what they like, dislike, where their interests are and what they care about. One-on-ones can help in gaining insight about their perspective on the company and the work that they are involved in. 

Create a Schedule: 

Regular one-on-one meetings will remind your employees they are part an important part of organization. Set a realistic schedule and stick with. Keep your meetings as consistent as possible. Do not cancel meetings according to your mood. Post the schedule so everyone knows when their turn is and they aren’t surprised when they get called into your office.

Prepare, but don’t have an agenda  

As the leader, prepare for this meeting as you would any other. Make a list of topics that you want to discuss, but this is about your team members having the opportunity to bring their concerns and questions to you as well. You may want to have a loose outline in case your employees don’t have much to say, but the goal is to have a free-flowing discussion.  Here’s a very simple 4-step outline that can help get the ball rolling: 

meetings with boss

·      Step 1: Start With Excitement 

Ask them what they are working on right now, what they are excited about, what tasks they prefer doing, etc. This gives you the chance to assess their current workload and assess their level of motivation. To get the most of your one on ones ask them about their interests and if they actually enjoy what they are doing. This allows you to efficiently allocate employee resources and use everyone’s skills and talents.

·      Step 2: Ask For Their Feedback, Don’t Give Them Yours 

This is your opportunity to listen and learn. Ask how you can be a better leader without getting defensive or critical. For example: 

o   Is there anything I can do to help employees be more successful?

o   What are the challenges you face at work?

o   How are the team members working with each other?

o   What is the best and worst part of your job?

o   What do you think about the new plan that we discussed?

o   What would you want to do for making work fun?

o   What change you want in the organization?

o   Ask them what you can do to help make their job easier. 

·      Step 3: Give Them The Opportunity To Speak Privately

Ask them if they have anything else they’d like to speak about privately. This may give them the opportunity to share personal information with you that may provide valuable insight into the lives of your employees. 

·      Step 4: Express Gratitude

It does not always take expensive gifts to show your employees you appreciate them. Simply tell them. Employees thrive at work when they know their efforts are meaningful and their contributions have meaning. Tell them how important they are for your organization, talk about something they’re doing well, be specific rather than a general, “oh yeah – thanks for all you do”. When you share with your employees your gratitude, they will never forget you and will return to you many times. 

DO’S AND DON’TS OF ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS: 

Do: 

Be present and positive

Do not take these meetings as just another item to tick off on your to-do list. Consider it as a precious moment for making a connection. Turn off your phone and be fully present with just one person for a few minutes. Give them your full attention and drive the conversation with positivity. More positive the things turn, the more will they be inspired and productive. 

Mix Up the Location

Whenever possible, get outside of the conference room or the office. Consider walking while you talk – go outside, grab a cup of coffee or a snack in the afternoon. A change in the environment will often invigorate the discussion and allow for you both to speak your mind in a more casual environment.

Coach

Back in 2008, Google launched Project Oxygen, to determine what makes a manager great. They found 8 common behaviors among top performing managers. The number one behavior was being a good coach. This is not someone who is critical or demanding, but instead someone willing to mentor and help. Use your one-on-one as an opportunity to coach, not to reprimand. 

Respond with Action: Walk away with a definitive plan and next steps to take so that in your next meeting so that neither of you is in doubt as to what is happening next.

meeting online

DON’T: 

Blame

Constructive feedback is OK, blame is not. Your employees will speak up only when they know they won’t get in trouble. Playing the blame game will close down communication very quickly and ensure nothing useful will be derived from the meeting.  

Cut it short

It can be tempting to cut the meeting short if there’s work to get back to and your employee seems resistant to the conversation. Resist this temptation and take advantage of the time. Even if it’s a rather quiet walk, finish the walk – open up yourself about obstacles you’re facing and perhaps they’ll be more willing to open up as well. 

Gossip

You might be tempted to use this time to gossip about office politics. Avoid doing this at all costs. This only spreads negativity and leave a bad impression. Don’t get into the mud, keep the conversation pointed in a positive direction. 

Drag it out

We don’t want to cut the meeting short, but there’s no reason to make it drag on either. Try to keep each one-on-one to 30 minutes.  Split the time so that both of you are able to share your messages and be listened to. Take five minutes at the end to decide your action items moving forward and finish up. If they are consistently taking longer than 30 minutes, you may need to schedule them more often. Some prefer a monthly check-in, while others think weekly is best. Decide what works for you and what schedule is most effective.

With these guidelines, you can really drive meaningful positive change in the lives of your employees. Consistent one-on-one meetings allows the relationship between managers and their direct reports to continually grow and develop through meaningful connection. 

Sources:

payscale.com

Untapped the Creativity You Hired

creative employees
How to find the talent and creativity in your existing employees

One of your biggest company assets is creative employees. The creativity from top employees allows your company to innovate, build, expand and grow in new ways. This is why employers pay millions to recruit top talent.

However, you might be missing the bigger picture.  No matter how creative an organization’s workforce might be, if employees are unwilling to speak up and express their innovative ideas to the organization’s leaders, that creativity remains an untapped resource. 

Luckily, there are steps both leaders and employees can take to use the creativity that is there, empower the employees you have and create new ideas that will change the world.

For Leaders:

If you are wanting your employees to contribute and be willing to come forward and share their best ideas, create an environment to foster that. Sometimes the best thing to do is lead the way yourself. 

employer listening to employee

1. Ask

Research shows one of the primary reasons employees refrain from speaking up is because they don’t believe their leader wants to hear their concerns or suggestions. So, start by asking. Ask for thoughts or suggestions to help the organization grow and succeed. Ask for new ideas for marketing, giveaways, or customer service. This shows that you value their input and are an active leader, engaged in growing the company. 

2. Praise (and reward)

It’s about fostering an environment where it’s safe to speak up, take risks, and promote ideas. Openly recognize and commend those employees who do come to you with ideas and suggestions. When employees see other members of the work group safely voicing their opinions, they are more likely to do the same. You can even go as far as to make creativity a contest or offer employee recognition gifts for ideas that are implemented company-wide. It’s not called bribery, it’s called motivation.  

3. Provide Resources

Some of the best ways to make sure your employees are equipped to contribute their own innovative ideas is to regularly share relevant information with them. Let them know what is going on and what direction the company is headed. Allow them opportunities for increased responsibility, a place at the “big kids table”, experience gifts to expand their skills, and the ability to think outside of their normal day-to-day responsibilities. 

give resources to employees

4. Allow Them to Struggle 

When an employee presents an idea that isn’t fully developed, don’t take it over and solve it for them (thus turning it into your idea). Let them wrestle with it, and bring it to you when they’ve worked out the kinks. Push them to figure out how to get what they need—on their own.

5. Create a Mentorship Program 

There’s lots of ways to mix individuals from different parts of the company and create a more creative culture. Perhaps you start a book club where you read a book on marketing or management and then discuss. Maybe you team up individuals for a task that don’t usually work together or ask several members of leadership to mentor new employees. Whatever you choose, find opportunities for your employees to get outside their comfort zone and learn from one another.

For Employees:

1. Seek out opportunities for growth

If you want to be a leader, you must find opportunities to lead. Look for opportunities for problem-solving, communication and persuasion. Volunteer to take on additional responsibility when it’s available, especially those that will increase your ability to build a relationship with your leader.

2. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it 

Don’t hastily pitch a radical idea and then get upset that you’re not being taken seriously. Instead, start small. Research shows that people are much more willing to comply with a large request if an initial, smaller request is made first (also known as the foot-in-the-door technique). Break down your idea into more easily digestible suggestions that can be implemented in stages. 

3. Develop resilience

Even in an environment where creativity is fostered, not all of your ideas will be implemented. You must have thick skin when your idea wasn’t as practical, feasible or brilliant as you originally thought. Rejection and resilience is part of the creative process. In order to get a few good ideas, you’re likely going to have some terrible ones first.  

4. Learn how to Network

Stop dreading networking events, and embrace them. Learn who the creative minds of your industry are and go talk to them, learn from them, and create a connection. These are key skills for leaders at any level, but can be important when you need a brainstorming buddy or a sounding board for a new idea. 

Give (and take) Ownership 

Sure, you teach your employees how to make smart, informed decisions. But if you still require that they run every idea by you before they’re allowed to make a move, you just destroyed the empowerment you worked so hard to create. 

Office creativity won’t come unless your employees feel like they are a trusted, valued, and impactful part of the company. This starts with trusting your employees and giving them authority to make decisions. It also requires those employees to take ownership of their choices, own the failures, and fix their own messes if necessary. 

When you make your employees feel like an integral part of the company, they will naturally rise to the occasion and emerge as creative leaders.

Sources: 

https://journals.aom.org

https://www.entrepreneur.com

https://www.themuse.com

How To Measure AND Boost Employee Satisfaction

employee retention

Satisfied employees are people who are excited to come to work, motivated to do a good job, and open to changes and collaboration. However, this is sort of the unicorn of employees. In fact, only 40% of employees are happy with their job. The other 60 percent are showing up because they have to, looking for something better, or doing the bare minimum. 

This is a BIG problem.

When your employees love coming to work, you get a happier staff. You get a motivated team who is more productive, has fewer absent days, better collaboration, and will stick with you for the long haul. Ultimately, satisfied employees make your company grow into the best place it can be. Oh, and the best benefit, your employee retention is high. They say for years, perfecting their skill and thinking deeper.

But how do you measure employee satisfaction? How do you boost the bad days and make improvements? That’s where we come in. 

Measuring Employee Satisfaction 

First, you have to know where you are in order to know where you need to go. We must first measure current employee satisfaction and keep this measurement going on a consistent basis. Here’s a few ideas to get you started: 

Hold 1-on-1 conversations 

This is the best way to see how the individuals are doing both in and out of the office. Enter this conversion seeking to understand your employee, not to change their opinion. JUST LISTEN! Follow up with them later, once you have had time to consider any changes that may or may not need to be made.

Post a survey on a regular basis. 

Surveys also help you get quantitative data that is completely honest and anonymous. To help you gage how you’re doing instantly.

Do some research

Stay informed of current salaries in your area or industry, make sure your benefits are competitive and look into what you can do to go above and beyond for your employees. Offer employee experience gifts or employee rewards that are unique and actually useful rather than the age-old pen or certificate no one wants. 

employee satisfaction

Boosting Employee Satisfaction

Once you have a good idea of the current level of contentment at your company, the real work begins. Commit to improve your employee’s satisfaction and support their careers.  By using the following tips, your employee retention will soar, productivity will increase, and your company will thrive.

Start In-House 

Think about the simple things you can do in-house to boost the mundane of everyday work. Hosting fun events, have a food truck show up for lunch, hire a local car detailer to detail the vehicles in the parking lot while they work. A little employee gift can go a really long way and doesn’t have to break the bank. 

Encourage Traditions 

Sure, the company summer barbeque is fun but get a little more creative in your company traditions. Volunteer at a community event, create unique “company holidays” of your own, allow your employees a day off or a unique employee gift on their work anniversary. 

Host an Annual Awards Ceremony

By treating your best employees to a yearly bash on the boss’s dime, you’ll encourage generosity, inspire performance, and incite a little competition. This is a great opportunity to give unique employee gifts and showcase the talents of your team. 

Help Them Help You. 

Give your people the freedom to get creative, to come up with their own ideas and run with them. This can be difficult to do if you like to keep a strong sense of control, but it can pay off in the long run. 

employee retention

Let Employees Vent

Amy Balliett, of Killer Infographics, points out that not every employee is comfortable speaking up.  That’s why she uses software called TinyPulse which lets her employees let her know when things are off, anonymously.  “It keeps it from something that will fester.  Festering makes an angry employee who will leave.”

Get a Mascot

This lighthearted mood-booster can be easy to adopt in any office. Choose a mascot (or let the employees vote) Whether it’s a goldfish, a stuffed animal, a concrete lion, or even a robotic BB-8, it really doesn’t matter. Having something iconic that can roam around from department to department to boost performance is a way to keep spirits up and create a little healthy rivalry.

Take care of the family

Your employees are working to provide for their families, support that effort. Pay attention to whose kid is going to the football championship, whose wife just had a baby, or who has a parent in the hospital. Acknowledge these, and offer things like a house cleaning service, childcare, or meal delivery to support your employee when they get home. 

Give Personalized Gifts

Take a moment to find out what the individual is “into.”  It could be cars, wine/beer, concerts, video games, anything really.  Then tailor an employee reward just for them.  A bottle of the best, tickets to a local concert, a massage after work, a gym membership or even just the next book in the trilogy they’re reading. It’s the personalization that matters. 

Attack the Real Issues

Employees can get on fine without snacks and parties, but they suffer when they feel they are undervalued, underpaid, and overworked. You can’t cover real problems up with a pizza party. If employees feel overworked, to find a way to create a more balanced workload. If they feel underpaid, figure out a plan to increase salaries. Acknowledge their concerns and find a way to make it right or you’ll lose out on your biggest assets. 

You may need to make large changes to improve employee satisfaction. Don’t be afraid to take risks to make it happen.

Bring in a Consultant

You’re a leader, not a mind reader. If you can tell there’s a problem but are lost on how to fix it, company psychologists and executive coaches can see things you can’t– and it might be worth bringing in back-up help. They can host a workshop for your company, take surveys, and help you come up with a plan for improvement. 

As a leader and manager, it’s on you to work to improve employee satisfaction. You need buy-in from your team to make real change. Make it light and positive, remind your employees that you’re doing this so you can create a better place to work. Ask for sincere honesty and participation to make the process easier. Ultimately, you’ll create a better work environment for them – and you’ll probably enjoy your job a whole lot more as well. 

Sources:

https://wheniwork.com

https://www.shrm.org

https://blog.hubstaff.com

https://www.gallup.com

Turning Resignation into Retention

retain employees

Americans tend to work longer hours and more days than any other culture in the world. Still, employee retention is a constant struggle. Today’s workforce isn’t interested in just getting a paycheck. They want to experience something more, and they are willing to make the sacrifice to get it. Simply having a job is no longer enough, your employees want to know that they are valued, appreciated, and making a difference in the world. Nobody wants to go to a job only to feel worse about themselves when they get there. 

Approximately 3 million U.S. workers leave their job each month. Yes, every single month 3 million people are leaving their company to find something different, something better, something more. If a job isn’t giving them the validation, appreciation, and motivation that they are looking for – they will leave and find somewhere that does. Sometimes turnover is unavoidable, (in fact, 80% of turnover is due to poor hiring) but some turnover can be avoided by changing your company culture to one focused on employee retention and support. 

retain employees

When an employee feels like their company cares about them, it is a game-changer. A positive work environment leads to decreased stress levels, an increase in confidence, and an increase in employee retention for the company. An impressive 55% of workers said that if they feel their employer cares about their well-being, they would want to stay at that company for 10 years or more. Simply put, take care of your people and they will take care of you.

So where do you start and how to you turn those resignation letters into retention numbers? We have a few ideas to get you started:

1. Start with Recognition 

This is the first step in employee retention. A little recognition can make a big difference, especially when it’s immediate and sincere. Employees need to know their efforts are recognized and valued. In fact, according to an analysis by Gallup, more than 80 percent of employees included in the analysis say recognition motivates work performance. In that same study, Gallup found employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to quit. This doesn’t require any addition budget, planning, or time. It only requires you to look for the good that your employees are doing and acknowledge it when you see it. It sounds so simple, but doesn’t happen as often as it should. This is a great place to start changing the company culture and turning more resignations into retentions.

  • Simple Ways to Increase Recognition:
    • Send out a companywide or teamwide email to congratulate an employee for a job well done.
    • Always be willing to take the blame and deliver credit to someone else. 
    • Look for the good throughout the day and point it out when you find it. 
    • Compile a list of wins across the company to highlight at your next company meeting.
    • Spend a few minutes at the top of each meeting recognizing the good before diving into company problems or plans. 

2. Building Trust

retention

Appreciating your employees and recognizing their contributes builds trust and increases employee retention. Trust increases employee retention. It is imperative to have employees that trust in their leadership and in the company as a whole. In his book Trust Factor, Harvard Researcher Paul J. Zak states that compared with employees at low-trust companies, those at high-trust companies report 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement and 40% less burnout.

  • Simple Ways to Build Trust:
    • Grab a coffee with your employees to discuss their unique goals so they know you’re invested in their personal and professional success. 
    • Keep as much transparency as possible with your team at all times to keep them in the loop about what is going on at work. 
    • Keep your office door open. 
    • Don’t play favorites and avoid badmouthing others at all costs. 

3. Increase Engagement 

Employees need to feel valued, recognized and know that their role has real meaning. nobody wants to feel like they are working a dead-end job that is useless and without any meaning. Increased engagement and meaningful contribution can be directly tied to a deep connection and sense of purpose at work. When you have engaged employees who feel like they’re making a real impact on the business, they also feel more valued and your employee retention increases. Employees who see the results of their hard work and are reminded just how important their work is, ultimately work harder to reap further rewards. In turn, this drastically effects employee retention. Studies show when employees feel supported by their employer, they’re 17 percent more likely to still be there in a year. There’s no reason to leave when they feel like they are engaged in making a difference.

  • Simple Ways to Increase Engagement
    • Design jobs that are fulfilling and provide ongoing support.
    • Offer growth opportunities to increase their skills. 
    • Put one or two less experienced employees on a big project or involve them in strategic decisions whenever possible. 

4. Show Appreciation and Put Your People First 

In a study conducted by Harvard Business School, researchers found that workers are distressed when managers don’t say thank you or express appreciation for their work. Recognition for achievements doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes it’s the simple gestures for doing well that reinforces employees’ accomplishments and motivates them to do more. This is a very simple step that can significantly increase employee retention. It’s important to note that this is separate from simply recognizing their efforts. Showing your appreciation is more about doing something for your employees, putting action behind your words of recognition.

employee appreciation
  • Simple ways to show appreciation: 
    • Encourage employees to take an extra-long lunch break
    • Offer work-from-home days
    • Encourage and support personal or professional development
    • Offer a free financial session or yoga class with a professional. 
    • Make home services like meal delivery, house cleaning or pet sitting available for employees. 

Your employees are the bedrock of your company’s success. Better employees mean better business. While your customers need to believe in your products or services, your employees need to believe in YOU and in each other. If you are looking for ways to turn resignation into retention, this is a great place to start. Cut down on costly turnover and increase employee retention and create a team you can build an empire with. 

https://blog.bonus.ly

https://builtin.com

Having Defined Purpose as a Business

engaged employees

What makes Wal-Mart different from their rivals? 

How did Procter & Gamble conquer longtime rival Colgate? 

How was Motorola able to move from a battery repair business into cellular phones?

Why didn’t Zenith become dominant in anything other than TVs? 

How did Boeing become the world’s best commercial aircraft company? 

These are the questions Jim Collins answered in his book, “Built to Last”. Collins looks in depth at landmark companies that stood the test of time and came out on top.  Collins and Porras looked at eighteen companies with an average age of 100 years. The goal was to see what made these companies truly exceptional and how they have surpassed their competitors from 1926 to today. 

By looking at successful companies over several decades, Collins and Porras are able to go above and beyond management buzzwords and fads to discover timeless qualities and create a master blueprint for building organizations that will prosper long into the twenty-first century and beyond.

Products Don’t Prosper

“Concentrating on products—or services, if that’s what you sell—is a trap.” – Jim Collins.

What you do, make, or sell is completely irrelevant. Some products become obsolete almost as quickly as they’re created.

Zenith and Motorola are a great example of this. These two companies were both known for making TVs. Zenith stayed there; Motorola did not. Year after year, Motorola changed products and continued to make jump after jump to keep up with the market. The difference was Motorola defined its core purpose as “applying technology to the benefit of the public,” not “making television sets.” This allowed them to give up what it made and keep its core purpose.  Zenith, on the other hand, couldn’t because they were only focused on making TVs.

You must clearly define who you are as a company, and you focus not on what you do but on what you could do. Once you have a very clear picture of what you stand for and why you exist, you enhance your ability to adapt to change.

Define what you Stand For

“It’s more important than ever to define yourself in terms of what you stand for rather than what you make, because what you make is going to become outmoded faster than it has at any time in the past.” -Jim Collins

Here’s how Collins and Porras describe an organization’s core purpose:

[It’s] the organization’s fundamental reason for being. An effective purpose reflects the importance people attach to the company’s work—it taps their idealistic motivations—and gets at the deeper reasons for an organization’s existence beyond just making money.

A core purpose is bigger than any one person. It’s not defined by a charismatic leader, product, service, team, or technology. Don’t look for a cliché or a mission statement. It’s so much more than that. It’s about what you believe. And it should drive everything you do.

More than a Tagline

“Leaders die, products become obsolete, markets change, new technologies emerge, and management fads come and go, but core ideology in a great company endures as a source of guidance and inspiration.” -Jim Collins.

The whole point of your core purpose is to motivate and lead your people, not to drive sales. Your core purpose should be something meaningful that continuously anchors your employees. The core is the reason they come to work every day. People fundamentally want to know that what they are doing serves a greater purpose.

A true core purpose will endure throughout the lifetime of your company. It won’t have to sound impressive or be used as a tagline. In fact, it’s probably better if it isn’t even in your marketing messaging. It does, however, have to be extremely meaningful to your business. 

Purpose Creates Engagement

A well-communicated core purpose results in a workforce that is more engaged. When your employees understand how their job contributes to the company’s reason for existing, it is a powerful emotional connection. A job is no longer just a job, it is a shared common purpose, which promotes engagement. In turn, engaged employees work with more passion and dedication. That passion creates a connection to your company which drives customer growth. 

Companies with a highly engaged workforce improved operating income by 19.2% over a period of 12 months, whilst those companies with low engagement scores saw operating income decline by 32.7% over the same period. – 2010, Towers Watson Strategies for Growth Study. 

In simple terms, it is more thrilling to share a common purpose than complete a job.

engaged employees

Identifying Your Core Purpose in 3 Steps: 

Defining your core purpose is all about clarity, genuineness, and alignment. Collins identifies five important characteristics of a company’s core purpose:

  • It’s inspiring to those inside the company.
  • It’s something that’s as valid 100 years from now as it is today.
  • It should help you think expansively about what you could do but aren’t doing.
  • It should help you decide what not to do.
  • It’s truly authentic to your company. If it’s not authentic, your company will struggle to stand for anything meaningful. 

Bear in mind, your core purpose is not a strategy or a differentiator. In fact, multiple companies may have the same or a similar core purpose. That is OK as long as your core purpose fits the criteria. Not sure where to start? Here are 3 steps to help you determine your core purpose:

Step 1: What are you doing beyond just making money?

Ask yourself these few questions, consider doing some writing, journaling, or open up a Google Doc and start typing as you consider the following: 

  • Why does our organization’s existence matter?
  • What is your most important reason for being here? Why?
  • What would be lost if this organization ceased to exist?
  • Why are we important to the people we serve?
  • Why would anyone dedicate their precious time, energy, and passion to our company?
core purpose

Step 2: What core values do you believe in now that you will STILL believe in 100 years from today? 

This is not about wordsmithing the perfection mission statement. This is about identifying your true, honest, core values. You cannot “set” organizational values, you can only discover them. Nor can you “install” new core values into people. Instead, the task is to attract and then retain the people who are already predisposed to sharing your core values. Let those who aren’t predisposed to sharing your core values go elsewhere. 

Jim Collins said, “The founders of great, enduring organizations like Hewlett-Packard, 3M, and Johnson & Johnson often did not have a vision statement when they started out. They usually began with a set of strong personal core values and a relentless drive for progress.” 

“3M, for instance, has always had a sense of its core values—sponsoring innovation, protecting the creative individual, solving problems in a way that makes people’s lives better. These defined the organization and gave it a soul.” 

Core Values aren’t something you can jot down and then forget about. They are, in fact, everything. To identify core values, Collins suggests starting with the individual and proceed to the organization. Here’s a few poignant questions Collins gives to get you started on identifying your core values: 

  • What core values do you bring to your work—values you hold to be so fundamental that you would hold them regardless of whether or not they are rewarded? 
  • How would you describe to your loved ones the core values that you hope they stand for in their working lives? 
  • If you awoke tomorrow morning with enough money to retire for the rest of your life, would you continue to hold on to these core values? 
  • Can you envision these values being as valid 100 years from now as they are today? 
  • Would you want the organization to continue to hold these values, even if at some point one or more of them became a competitive disadvantage? 
  • If you were to start a new organization tomorrow in a different line of work, what core values would you build into the new organization regardless of its activities? 

Step 3: What are your goals?

No, we aren’t asking for your projections, or your 5-year plan, think bigger. What are your huge and audacious aspirations for the future of your company? What is the BIG picture, the outlandish, perhaps even embarrassing vision for what could be possible? 

When you have completed these three steps, you have created alignment within your company to preserve your core values, reinforce its purpose, and to stimulate continued progress towards big goals. 

Alignment

Once you have identified your core purpose, the hard part begins. This is where you must align your company, practices, innovations, marketing, sales, and teams to the company purpose. This is where the magic happens. Without it, you just have a visionary idea with nothing to back it up. 

For example, one of the core values at 3M is sponsoring innovation. They put this into practice by allowing their scientists to spend 15 percent of their time working on whatever interests them. They also require each division to generate 30 percent of revenues from new products introduced in the past four years. They have an active internal venture capital fund to support promising new ventures and provides a dual career track to encourage innovators to remain innovators rather than become managers. They even give prestigious awards for innovations and entrepreneurial success. They don’t just have a mission statement; they practice the values they preach. 

Move Forward with Purpose

Most companies never define what they stand for; some never even build an accurate picture of what they’re good at. What these companies are left with is being driven only by what people will pay for. This isn’t a sustainable business model. Instead, spend the time defining what you stand for. 

The first step is to understand your true purpose, identify your core values, and pinpoint your big goals. Spend only a tiny percentage documenting that understanding, and the rest of the time building a company that aligns with your purpose. 

In short, worry about what you do, not what you say.

Sources:

https://www.jimcollins.com/article_topics/articles/aligning-action.html

https://www.jimcollins.com/article_topics/articles/its-not-what-you-make.html

Gift Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day

employee appreciation

If you manage people, you should know that Friday, March 6th is Employee Appreciation Day. This day is employer branding gold because it gives you an opportunity to showcase your company culture, show how much you appreciate your employees and brag about how great your people are. This is your time to shine and really show how fun it is to work at your company.

Sure, parties are nice. But you can do better than a giant sub or an anniversary plaque. It’s about going beyond surface-level appreciation, dropping the mask of formality and create a positive relationship. 

Recently, Workhuman asked employees across industries, “What is the one thing you would change about your organization’s culture?” The top response was that people want appreciation. People just want to be appreciated and have the same level of respect from the top to the bottom. 

employee appreciation

Turns out, appreciation helps the company grow and thrive in ways you may not have realized. Companies that invest just 1% of payroll into employee recognition see significant returns in not just retention, but also productivity. Workhuman customers show an average increase in employee productivity of $1,737 per employee. For a 15,000-person organization, this equals an annual benefit of $26 million.

Here’s a few of the ideas on how to implement or celebrate Employee Appreciation Day that will really make a difference in the lives of your employees. 

1. Pay Attention

What’s going on in your employees’ lives outside of work? Who just bought a house or became a first-time parent? Who just ran their first marathon or completed a degree? If you’re not sure – ask around, get to know your people and find ways you can support them in their lives outside of the office. 

Work is a relationship, not a contract. If you want that relationship to thrive, you must give more than one celebratory day of appreciation. It’s about recognizing and appreciating the whole human continuously throughout the year. Virgin founderRichard Branson famously said: “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” 

employee appreciation day

2. Consider Service

Research by Deloitte found that 70% of working Americans believe “volunteer activities are more likely to boost employee morale than company-sponsored happy hours.” Put together a volunteer opportunity for employees in your community. Don’t make it mandatory, but offer it as a company benefit. Even better, make it possible for them to bring their families, children, and friends as well. 

3. Play Games & Socialize

Take a few hours off of work and enjoy team games. You can set up a ninja course in the parking lot, bubble balls, or sumo suits in the conference room. These can be great opportunities for teams to know each other better in a fun setting while introducing healthy competition and encouraging innovative thinking. 

4. Gifts

Create a ‘swag’ bag with fun company gifts. Include some treats, add gift cards, and share experiences at local restaurants, massage centers, or coffee shops. Include things they can share with their spouse and children. Remember to appreciate the whole family, not just the employee. 

employee appreciation for family

5. Provide a Lunch Experience

Have a food truck (or two) in the parking lot on Employee Appreciation Day, or provide a catered lunch for your employees with an activity afterward like an afternoon concert or ride around town on segways or scooters. You can ask your team to vote or look into local venues and events that could be a good fit.

6. Take a Field Trip

Get out of the office and take the whole team on a field trip for the day. Consider a local museum, garden, or amusement park. Use this opportunity to get to know your community and learn about your employees. 

7. Help with the Everyday 

Sometimes, the best reward is taking care of the everyday stuff that employees deal with after work. Remember that your employees are individuals with their own needs, families, pets, children, and hobbies. Perhaps rewarding them with a car detail service in the office parking lot, a housecleaning service, or DoorDash after a long day at work would be the best employee gift idea. 

8. Exciting Experiences

Consider special events, experiences, tickets, or travel vouchers as valuable employee gifts. Not only do employees tend to value experiences over accumulating more stuff, but they’ll also relate the positive experience with YOU, the company, and their boss. Thus strengthening their bond and loyalty. 

9. Help at Home 

Remember that your employee is supporting a family at home. Providing help at home can be an invaluable gift for employees and allow them to be more focused at work. This could be childcare, a home housecleaning service, Christmas light installation, yardwork services, handyman or professional home organizing services.

employees appreciated

10. Take Care of the Car 

If your employees drive private vehicles to work, employee appreciation day is a great time to surprise them a vehicle care day as a gift for employees. This could include a detail service that details all of the cars during the work day, a gift card for gas, an oil change voucher, tire rotation or other car services that keep your employees ride in tip top shape. 

The feeling that your work is important and that your contribution is valuable is a great motivator for anyone. Everyone wants to feel valuable and important. According to a SHRM study, 48% of employees reported that management’s recognition of their job performance was very important to their job satisfaction. This is what Employee Appreciation Day is all about. Make this the year that you truly make an effort to care for your employees, build confidence in individuals, and strengthen your company relationships. 

Some Gifts Don’t Have Envelopes – Why Cash Bonuses Don’t Work and What to Do Instead

employee recognition

We all want motivated, loyal, and productive employees. We know it’s important to incentivize and empower them to go the extra mile, but do we really know what our employees want? Studies show, probably not. 

For decades, money has been the answer. Pay them more, give them cash, increase the bonus. But the truth is, those big bonuses don’t really motivate or encourage performance. Today’s workforce wants less stuff, not more. They are more interested in the intrinsic value and motivation rather than cash. To motivate employees today, you must provide something that money can’t buy – which is why experience gifts are king.

Why Cash Doesn’t Work

When an employee receives an incentive gift of cash, it’s not all that different from their regular paycheck. That lack of distinction between a reward their salary means they are less likely to remember it (or appreciate it). Additionally, cash bonuses are taxable, which means when you’re trying to reward your employees – you’re really giving them less. Third, employees don’t really want more money. They are looking for something more. 

The 2015 Participant Study conducted by the Incentive Research Foundation shows that, if given a choice, more employees would actually prefer a non-cash incentive award. This is especially true for women. A recent study of attendees at the Conference for Women found that nearly 80% of the respondents would rather have a job with meaning and success than receive a 20% pay increase.

So, if not money – what do employees care about? What is the currency? 

What To Do Instead: 

The answer is two-fold: something meaningful and something memorable. Chances are, one year after a big bonus – employees won’t even remember what they spent it on, and they’ll be expecting the next one. On the other hand, if you give your employees a tailored and life-changing experience gift, it is likely to stay with them for quite some time. They will talk about it for years and remember it fondly. These may be special events or experience gifts that employees can earn, or be given as a gift of recognition. 

employee appreciation

A Harvard University psychology professor conducted a survey of purchases made by individuals and whether or not buying something made them happier. Approximately 57 percent of respondents reported they were happier after making an experiential purchase, compared to only 34 percent of respondents after making a material purchase. This is especially true with Millennials (who are the majority of the workforce right now). When it comes to this group, a whomping 72 percent of them would rather pay for an experience than for material goods.

Not only do employees tend to value experience gifts over accumulating more stuff, but they’ll also relate the positive experience with YOU, the company, and their boss. Thus strengthening their bond and loyalty. 

Include Everyday Experiences 

employee appreciation home

When companies take the time to recognize and reward employees’ hard work, they are rewarded in turn with happier, more productive employees. However, employee recognition is no simple and straightforward task — especially when it comes to experiences. 

You can’t always just give someone a kayaking trip to Hawaii or tickets to Disneyland every time they do something good.  Sometimes, the best reward is taking care of everyday experiences. Employees are individuals with their own families, pets, children, and hobbies. Perhaps rewarding them with a dog grooming service in the office parking lot, free dry cleaning, a house cleaning service, or DoorDash after a long day at work is more effective than you may realize. 

What all employees want is an experience gift that is memorable, personal, and shareable. It doesn’t always have to be a huge, life-defining experience in an exotic location. It can also be helpful for the everyday stuff, and of course, a little personalization to different tastes and personalities goes a long way. 

Sure, the chance to go skydiving might be one employee’s thrill of a lifetime, but they also need to get the grocery shopping done and find time to get a haircut. Experience gifts can provide both.

Better for Them, Better for You:

Employees will value experiential gifts more than cash bonuses, but they are also more beneficial for the company. When employees are at work, they tend to talk. They share their experiences both good and bad. In the age of social media, employees are chattier than ever and if their boss gives them a skydiving voucher or sets up a car detail in the parking lot while they work, it’s likely to end up on Facebook or Instagram. This is good news for your company both internally and externally. 

employee recognition

Internally, other employees will see their colleagues having a great time and motivation can be contagious. Externally speaking, others will see how well you treat your employees and be motivated to land a job with you.

Best of all, experience gifts can be customized to suit your budget. Whether you’re running a global conglomerate or a brand-new startup, you can invest in some form of experiential reward to show your employees they are valued members of your team. Your investment will pay off HUGE in the long run in a hardworking, motivated, and dedicated team of talent.

Here’s a quick list of both large and small experience gifts to get you started (This can be customized to fit with whatever Beny offers): 

  • A paid trip to an exciting travel destination
  • A free oil change offered while they are at work. 
  • A six-course tasting menu at a Michelin-starred restaurant
  • Tickets to a local theme or amusement park 
  • A creative class such as acrylic painting or pottery
  • Meal delivery service at home
  • A relaxing spa experience for the employee and their spouse
  • Tickets to a concert or sporting event
  • Kitesurfing, kayaking, or skydiving

Employees will appreciate that you have taken the time to get to know them and have given them an experience gift they genuinely care about. When you give experience gifts right, employees will be motivated and work harder because they will know the payoff is worth it.

Sources:

https://www.recruiter.com

https://hbr.org

www.prepaid-usa.com