How To Make the Most of Your Employee Engagement Survey

Employee Engagement SurveyConducting an engagement survey is a proven method of gathering actionable feedback. Hiring a professional to assist is always a good move, but if that’s cost-prohibitive for your company, you shouldn’t avoid it altogether. Instead, start small with a DIY survey and use the insight you gain to justify more in-depth data gathering in the future. When your data is used effectively, engagement and employee satisfaction increase dramatically, reducing the likelihood that team members will seek alternative means of resolving their concerns – unionizing, for example.

Far too many HR professionals begin the engagement survey process with the best of intentions, then find their strategy backfires because no meaningful change results from employee feedback. Remember: failure to take action is more discouraging for employees than passing on the engagement survey altogether.

Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting an Employee Engagement Survey

The first step in the engagement survey process is developing your strategy. Based on your population, does it make sense to conduct short, frequent surveys or to develop a comprehensive questionnaire that is administered quarterly, semi-annually or annually? In many cases, a combination of the two strategies is an effective option, if your budget allows.

Next, consider how you can best pinpoint specific, actionable engagement information. While general questions like “Do you expect to be with the company in one year?” are helpful on a longer form, right now it is better to know, “If you could change one thing about your work environment, what would it be?”

Once you know what you want to ask and how often you want to conduct surveys, select your survey application. This can be overwhelming as there are an extraordinary number of applications on the market.

Determine which software will best meet your needs by keeping an eye on your budget, the number of questions you plan to ask, the number of employees you will survey, and the type of analytics you want to see in your results display. Some of the most popular options include the following:

  • TINYpulse is specifically designed for short, frequent anonymous surveys, so you can compare results over time.
  • Culture Amp offers a larger suite of survey options, as well as comprehensive analytics and benchmarking reports.
  • Qualtrics has all of the survey features you expect, and if you need additional support, take advantage of Qualtrics’ consulting and support teams.
  • 15five has pulse surveys and weekly check-ins, which are helpful in monitoring employee engagement in real-time. In addition, recognition tools are incorporated into the application, making it easier than ever for management to provide real-time feedback.

Finally, communicate with staff members to ensure they understand the purpose of the survey. Emphasize that their identity will remain anonymous and encourage honest participation.

Creating Meaningful Change Based on Engagement Survey Results

While your first impulse may be to focus your limited resources on items that received the most attention in the survey results, this isn’t always the best philosophy. A single individual might mention a policy or compliance violation that could – if not addressed – lead to serious legal and regulatory issues down the road.

In some cases, a small number of individuals offer feedback on a particular concern, and it can appear that the problem isn’t pressing. However, this group may represent an entire team that is poorly managed, or it could be a few folks who are feeling powerless and disenfranchised within the organization. In both cases, these individuals are very likely next in line for jumping ship.

employer branding
Take specific action in response to survey results, and communicate the action and the feedback that prompted it. The communication is your opportunity to assure employees their voices are heard and valued, leading them to stick around through tough times.

High levels of employee engagement cement your status as an employer of choice. The positive impacts of a strong reputation are hard to measure. From increased productivity and employee retention to an ability to attract top talent for vacant positions, you can be sure that an engaged workforce will improve your bottom line.

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Are Webinars Still Essential for Training New Employees?

WebinarsStillEssential_BillboardWebinars are still considered a winning tactic for countless companies. In fact, recent polls have shown that two-thirds of B2B marketers in the United States consider webinars effective marketing tools. Whether for brand promotion, product introduction or real-time presentations, webinars are only second to videos when it comes to effective content marketing. With this in mind, are these online tutorials still essential for training new employees or engaging with clients? Recent polls and studies say absolutely yes, and e-learning platforms such as Projections continue to soar in global popularity.

Webinars Are Still Vital

According to Percolate, 20 percent of U.S. marketing executives stated that their companies created webinars the previous year. While these video presentations were mainly based on product integration and client fulfillment, a number of webinars were dedicated to training in-house and remote employees across the globe.

According to industry experts, the advent of Internet technologies has made it easier to connect employers and staff for timely and optimal training sessions, through the use of tools such as the following:

  • Voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) communications
  • Live or pre-recorded videos
  • Online presentations
  • Product demonstrations and text chats

Training webinars also incorporate lectures, workshops and e-learning tools that help employees understand a company’s directives and goals. Similarly, client webinars are designed to showcase new products and services, as well as discuss annual reports with existing and potential investors. These interactive services also serve as crucial networking platforms for clients and employees. In fact, webinars can even be used for team-building events that foster greater collaboration between departments.

BYOOrientationbannerThe Benefits of Employee Training Webinars

There are several benefits to using webinars and virtual seminars for training staff. First, companies can save money on face-to-face training sessions for employees. Second, employees are able to freely communicate with all departments, as well as fellow workers. They can ask questions about policies, and share ideas and suggestions to increase productivity and performance. Third, webinars allow in-house and remote employees to access all training materials and documents anytime, and anywhere. Other benefits of employee training webinars include the following:

  • Flexibility: Webinars are perfect for new employees that need to get better acquainted with a company’s goals and objectives. Similarly, these virtual meetings can extend to clients, investors, seasoned executives and shareholders.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Webinars help employees and staff save money on commuting costs. Instead of going to in-office training sessions and meetings, employees simply need the right software and hardware components to access these virtual meetings from any location.
  • Interactivity: Webinars offer the perfect platform for employees, staff and executives to interact. This saves time and allows everyone to be on the same page, which is especially important when launching new projects or products.
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5 Innovative Ways to Connect with Employees Outside of Social Media

Connect with EmployeesFor a little more than a decade, Human Resources and Employee & Labor Relations departments across the country have been on a mission to figure out how to connect with employees on social media — and it’s proven to be a very difficult task. Employees sometimes aren’t as open to corporate communications on Facebook and Twitter. Even on LinkedIn, reaching employees can be challenging, and sometimes even fruitless. Nevertheless, employee engagement is key to union avoidance, as well as a healthy and happy workplace culture.

Luckily, there are other more powerful ways to connect with employees that don’t involve social media and can help with limiting vulnerability to union organizing. Here are a few innovative ways to engage employees and foster meaningful connections.

1. Learn to Love Online Video

Online video is quickly becoming the most popular and most consumed form of media. It’s even been estimated that video traffic will account for 82 percent of internet traffic by 2020. And it’s easy to see why — video is both incredibly popular and highly affordable. Plus, the possibilities with video content are endless. Host a live Q&A session, create a mini-series of training videos or share interviews with executive leadership to keep employees tuned in and motivation turned up.

2. Send Out Surveys

With plenty of free services like Survey Gizmo, Google Forms and Survey Monkey, it’s never been easier to create employee surveys and analyze the feedback. This can be a powerful tool when you’re looking to craft positive relationships with your employees. Keeping a pulse on how your employees feel about your workplace can help you overcome culture challenges and anticipate potential problems. But be aware of anonymous feedback when giving surveys, as they could encourage unproductive conversations and skew the facts.

3. Take a Walk Around!

Sometimes the best way to create positive employee relations is to unplug. Walking through the office to chat with employees a couple times a week is the most simple yet most powerful way to connect. Personal, face-to-face interactions remind employees that you’re a resource to them and create a bond that can’t be made over SnapChat. Taking five minutes to check in once in awhile might be just what your employees need to feel supported and connected to your company. Plus, you’ll be able to gauge the energy in the room, something digital platforms can’t measure.

4. Host Tandem Training Courses

Ask managers and supervisors to take the same online training classes so they’re reviewing identical material at the same time. The process of learning collaboratively will give them an opportunity to connect among themselves, online and off. Follow up a week of training with a group discussion to reinforce the lessons. It will reinforce your company’s values of continual learning, foster a culture that supports growth and remind your teams that you care about their professional development.

5. Schedule Regular Social Events

After the end-of-the-year seasonal parties, employees are usually feeling connected and energized, having just made new memories together. This is why you shouldn’t limit the fun to just once a year. Host quarterly or bi-annual parties that bring people together to do nothing but have fun and bond as a team. The relationships developed over a hamburger at a cookout in the summer will translate to stronger relationships in the office. And stronger relationships in the office will translate to happier, more motivated and more fulfilled employees.

Make your company an employer of choice by driving meaningful connections in person, not just on social media. When you’re looking to improve your employee engagement practices, remember that there are plenty of innovative ways to connect offline as well as on. However, one size does not fit all. What works best for one company might not work at another, so it’s important to find the most effective methods of reaching your employees. Try one, two or all five of these tips to see which work best for you, your team and your culture.

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6 Ingenious Uses for Your Old Training DVDs

6 IngeniousDVD_BillboardThe days of training your employees with DVDs are long gone, which means you’ve likely got a collection of them saved up from over the years. As you switch over to online access and e-learning, bring new life to your training DVDs with these repurposing projects!

1. Smash Them to Make a DIY Mosaics

Consider breaking up those training DVDs and create something beautiful — like a mosaic bird bath, table top or picture frame. If you’re feeling retro, glue DVD fragments to a large Styrofoam sphere for a do-it-yourself disco ball. Either way, you’ll get more use from your new piece of art while still accessing all your employee communications online.

2. Create a Unique Office Art Installation

If you’ve developed an attachment to your training DVDs and want to leave them whole, consider creating a large-scale art installation in your office that pays homage to the technology that’s brought you this far. Impress your team with your cultural appreciation and artistic awareness, and say you were inspired by this artist who takes other irrelevant media, like VHS and cassette tapes, and turns them into something more beautiful.

3. Make Crafty Coasters

Coat your old DVDs in fabric or decorative paper and top that with a thin layer of waterproof sealant for a customized coaster. They’ll stick up to scratches, dents and dings better than they ever did as DVDs. Then enjoy sipping on a cocktail by the pool as you reminisce with friends, swapping stories about the good ol’ days when DVDs were the best way to connect with employees.

4. Recycle Them

A company called GreenDisk will take care of all your “obsolete accessories” with full-service “technotrash disposal.” You can even rent a box from them for your office so your whole team can get rid of their own outdated disks, drives and non-digital remnants. They’ve been irrelevant for a while — give your training DVDs one last time to set a trend, they’ve had a good run.

Some specialized recycling companies can even grind and repurpose used DVDs into plastics for automotive parts and office equipment, so your training DVDs might end up back in your office, but in the form of something you’ll actually use.

5. Make a Chandelier

Create a show-stopping ceiling light by stringing anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred of your old training DVDs together and affixing them to a circular metal ring with fishing line. Run a simple light kit into the center and hang your art piece from the ceiling. Your new chandelier will reflect both the light in the room and how far technology has come since you last used your training DVDs.

6. Relieve Some Stress

You’ve got a lot of pent up frustration from your training DVDs; they’ve been difficult to access since you bought them a decade or two ago, they’re not always available and you’re fed up. Show them you’ve had enough by smashing them with heavy objects or throwing them off tall buildings (and picking up and properly disposing of the remains, of course — see #5).

Whatever you decide to do with your old training DVDs, it’s time to toss them and access your training tools online, anywhere you want, anytime you need, 24/7/365. ProofBox provides videos, websites and eLearning in one simple package, available instantly to you and your employees in your go-to e-library. It’s the most powerful, practical and engaging way to train your employees and improve employee communication. Plus, you won’t have to buy any more external DVD drives as they phase out.

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11 Positive Employee Relations Strategies that Haven’t Jumped the Shark

JumpedTheShark_billboardCompanies are realizing the critical connection between employee engagement and factors like retention rates, productivity and profits. As employees seek out work-life balance, many major companies are making unconventional cultural changes. Smaller business owners might feel constricted in their ability to keep up and offer competitive, quirky employee benefits; however, there are ways to transform those over-the-top perks into affordable, effective employee benefits and remain an employer of choice in your industry.

1. Work When You Please

Netflix reportedly keeps little watch over their employees’ work hours, with no 9-5 schedule. For small business owners, how do you ensure employees are available during periods of high volume? This extreme approach can be made more practical by creating flexibility outside of “core hours.” In this case, employees would have a set of mandatory hours in their week, while the rest could be altered to fit, thus providing a guilt-free option for employees who need to leave early or arrive late.

2. Vacation Anytime!

Netflix has also gone above and beyond with vacation time, offering employees free rein over their days off. Management simply doesn’t track or control how often or when employees take time off, trusting them to make reasonable decisions. While you may trust your employees, you know a “vacation anytime” approach could lead to short-staffed situations. Instead, employers can close for the day or reduce holiday hours of operation, eliminating the resentment that often comes with working on holidays.

3. Onsite Healthcare

Google provides its staff with onsite doctors, chiropractors and therapists. Undoubtedly, most businesses cannot afford this pricey endeavor, but any company can invite simple programs that benefit employee health. For example, midweek, half-hour office yoga sessions, taught by an affordable instructor, would help break up the week and refresh employees.

4. Fresh Flowers

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition employees receive fresh flowers on their desk each morning. What can regular companies do to boost the mood and atmosphere with a simple touch? Give your staff free rein to decorate their personal spaces or rearrange furniture to suit their work needs. Dedicating one day to this project each year can strengthen employee communication and serve as a fun break.

5. Paid Education

Every employee dreams of having college tuition paid for in full, which is just what Starbucks does for those staff members who want a bachelor’s degree. Unfortunately, education isn’t cheap and most young employees will change jobs several times in their early professional life. However, you can offer relevant employee training for leaders and supervisors through abetterleader.com.

6. Surfing Through the Workday

Taking advantage of its beautiful California location, Patagonia encourages its employees to take a surf break during the day. Retail Marketing Coordinator Danielle Egge says the luxurious break improves her daily productivity dramatically. While most businesses aren’t stationed by the beach, managers can coordinate running or cycling groups to encourage daily activity during or after lunch breaks.

7. Trips to Disney World

Education technology company 2U knows how to spoil its employees — with free trips to Disney World, of course. Coordinating and financing such a trip is a huge undertaking, especially for a larger staff, but simply inserting a bland employee picnic in its place won’t cut it. Instead, managers can poll the office to determine what local destinations employees want to visit. From outdoor parks to great local restaurants, employee trips will be appreciated for the time, money and effort involved in a fun day/night out.

8. Foreign Travel

What better way to inform your employees about different cultures and build stronger teams than by traveling abroad? Epic does just that, even offering paid sabbaticals to countries like New Zealand and Germany. Your employees may not have the time to skip off into the sunset, but you can bring other cultures into the workplace. Consider inviting unique speakers with topics that appeal to your employees, or even hiring caterers for an ethnic mini food festival. As you mix up their regular environment, your employees will feel as though they’re receiving mini vacations throughout the year.

9. Tech Cash

AnswerLab answers tech nerds’ dreams by offering a $400 allowance for employee devices or apps. Even with a small staff these allowances add up fast, but not all apps and software are expensive. Businesses can consider holding monthly meetings in which managers introduce a new tool that can help make employees’ jobs easier. These tools can be low cost or even free, provided directly to employees or offered as an option.

10. Vacation Cash

A step up from simple vacation time, Full Contact offers to pay $7500 toward its employees’ getaways, as long as they disconnect and actually travel somewhere. This perk, dubbed “Paid Paid Vacations,” is in addition to employees’ already paid 15-day vacation. Companies can mimic this perk by notifying employees of discount travel packages and programs throughout the year.

11. Bring Your Dog to Work

Real Estate software company BoomTown allows employees to bring their dogs to work, calling dogs an “important part of the workforce.” Depending on your business, you might not find it safe or practical for pups to roam the workspace. However, companies can arrange a day in which the space is opened to friends and family, allowing employees to proudly show what they do. This event can also generate employment interest and help identify potential candidates.

You don’t have to break the bank to connect with your employees and provide them with meaningful experiences they can appreciate. Ultimately, employees will recognize and value sincerity over flashy employee perks, and be more inclined to remain union-free — because it’s respect your staff truly desires.

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