Category Archives for Benefits & Wellness

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.

5 Benefits You Need to Offer to Recruit Millennials

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By 2020, millennials will make up 46 percent of the workplace. And even though they have more student-loan debt on average than any other generation by far, they’re motivated much more by non-monetary and intangible work benefits. Consider adding these benefits to your roster to improve your millennial recruitment efforts.

1. The Benefit of Flexibility In Work Environments

For millennials, the days of working in cubicles from 9 to 5 are unstimulating and inefficient. They know great ideas aren’t the result of staring at white walls, and they don’t frame work within the confines of an eight-hour day. Get them on board by offering the freedom they crave. Allow remote work days, even if only twice a month, and create collaborative working spaces where they can mix, mingle and generate ideas with other colleagues.

2. The Benefit of High-Quality PTO

Millennials are willing to put in the hours, and they expect to be rewarded for it. Offering robust vacation packages and unlimited sick time tells them you care about their holistic health, happiness and well-being–something critical when they’re selecting an employer. It’s also crucial they feel you respect their time off, so avoid calling and emailing millennials while they are on vacation. Consequently, you’ll also improve retention.

3. Extend Your Wellness Benefits

Millennials are looking for more than health, vision and dental. They know they’re more engaged and productive at work if they’re active and healthy, and they expect you to understand that, too. A monthly stipend for a gym membership or a work-sponsored exercise program can go a long way toward bringing them on board.

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4. Provide the Benefit of Growth Opportunities

The quickest way to lose millennials is to let them grow stagnant. Millennials are eager to learn and want to be coached along the way. Give them opportunities to learn by having them attend workshops or conferences out of the office, or participate in a one-on-one mentoring or coaching program at the office. They’ll be more fulfilled, and as a bonus, they’ll keep getting better at what they’re doing for you.

5. Benefit Them by Showing Them They Matter

Millennials have a desire to understand how they make a difference. A recent study found that millennials value producing meaningful work more than receiving high pay. Make it clear their work makes an impact by having executive leadership transparently and regularly share company updates. Then, ask managers to follow up and tell their millennial team members exactly how they helped the company achieve its goals.

 

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3 Things You Need to Consider Before You Adopt an Unlimited PTO Policy

UnlimitedPTO_billboardWhile fewer than 1 percent of employers currently offer unlimited paid time off (PTO), many companies are considering the flexibility and freedom that come with untracked policies. How do you know if adopting an unlimited vacation policy is right for your company? If you want your new policy to last longer than a few days, take the time to ask yourself three important questions.

1. Is the Policy Clearly Defined?

Defining an unlimited vacation policy might sound backward: Isn’t the point of unlimited vacation time that it’s not defined? However, in order to be successful, the policy does need guidelines. Define the processes for requesting time off, and what is and isn’t allowed. For example, you might deem four-day work weeks an alternate work schedule, not vacation. Alternatively, taking four months off might be considered a leave of absence and not allowed within the policy. Finally, consider nomenclature. The terms “discretionary time off” and “unlimited paid vacation” might mean the same thing at the core, but they have different connotations. Consider what’s right for your team.

2. How Will You Ensure That Employees Actually Take Time Off?

Taking time off is vital for employees’ health and productivity, and even for the economy. Yet unlimited PTO providers are finding employees take less time off than they did when their vacation was structured and measured. To counter this problem, Evernote pays employees $1,000 annually to take a vacation lasting five or more days. Consider ways you can be sure employees are taking off time before it becomes a problem.

orientations_bannerad23. Does Management Trust Their Teams?

If trust isn’t at the center of your employee-management relationship, one of two extremes will happen: Employees won’t take any time off, feeling pressure to perform and worrying over the negative backlash of being away from the office, or they’ll abuse the system and take off too much time, letting their performance slip as a result. Either way, these problems are symptoms of a greater issue: lack of trust. Consider whether you encourage a culture of trust before implementing a major policy change.

If you decide to move forward with implementing an unlimited PTO policy, internal communication is key to the program’s launch and long-term success. Make sure you’re thoughtful and intentional with the ways and methods that you communicate about the policy change to keep morale high and maintain meaningful connections between employees and employers.

STOP! You’ve Been Communicating About Your Benefits All Wrong!

Communicating About Company BenefitsAccording to a recent study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an employer benefits package accounts for 30 percent of an employee’s total compensation for the year; communicating the intricacies and components of that package is both incredibly important and mind-numbingly complicated. Every year, while your employees try to get their work done, you interrupt their day to explain this complicated but vital component; odds are, they are tuning out. If you rely on the tools of the past, you won’t get the best employees in the future. Let’s take a look at how you can change the situation.

The Failure of Benefit Statements

The benefit statement has always been a vital tool when discussing company benefits, yet these dense, complicated documents filled with legal terms in small print have glazed over the eyes of many an employee in the past, and they are almost impossible to comprehend without a legal degree or 10-years experience in the benefits industry. Very little of the report will be retained; in fact recent studies have shown people can only focus for seven minutes at a time.

Meetings With HR Professionals Are Ineffective

The typical American worker is overworked and distracted; in the digital era, employees check their emails and cell phones 150 times a day and work longer despite wanting to work fewer hours. You might think sending an HR rep to discuss benefits will seize your employees’ attention, but you may not get the reaction you seek; even if employees attend the meeting, they’ll probably be thinking about the report that is due, their Facebook status, or one of a dozen other things. These meetings simply waste time, money, and add yet another distraction to your employees’ day.

Take Your Benefits Presentation Online

Your employees are always online; if you want to educate your staff about employee benefits, you need to engage them digitally. By creating a dedicated website for your employees to learn about their benefits, you accommodate their schedule, not the other way around. Additionally, you reach the secondary audience at home who appreciate the benefits you provide to their family. You can post custom-created videos that explain the benefits in plain language and speak to the pride of being a member of your team, all of which makes your employees and their families feel secure and appreciated. Then, when they are prepared to make their choices of benefits, they’ll find the all the links and information they need to guide them through the process, minimizing stress and mistakes.

Creating a site like this is effective, but it can be costly, time consuming and difficult to achieve in-house. Turn to the experts, instead. Projections has decades of experience creating dedicated sites that truly connect with employees. Reach out to Projections by clicking here, and stop letting 30% of your compensation package go in one ear and out the other! Becoming an employer of choice is easy when you have the tools to demonstrate all your Company offers.

3 Shortcuts Every HR Department Should Avoid

HR Shortcuts to avoid

Don’t Sabotage Your Engagement by Ignoring Other Areas

Your HR department is vital to building the best company possible. It ensures that your employees are at their best and receive the support they need. While there are so many things that your HR department has to do that it might be tempting to take a few shortcuts, there are a few areas where you absolutely must use HR best practices or face negative long-term consequences in the future.

1. Don’t Cut Corners in Employee Orientation

New employee orientation is vital, as it sets the tone for the rest of an employee’s experience with your company. Within the first week, it is important that you describe the basic work processes that the employee will be using every day. This can include everything from job-specific tasks to the basics that everyone uses, such as email protocol. It’s also important that you keep the information you share with your employees consistent. So it’s a good idea to create a series of orientation videos that you can share during the orientation process. It ensures everyone gets the same information and, if done right, can be more engaging than a manager rushing through the process.

Employee Orientations2. Don’t Make Annual Benefits Enrollment a Chore

After their salary, your company’s benefits package is arguably the most important element for your employees. To ensure that your benefits communication is outstanding, you need to go beyond the norm. Approximately 80 percent of companies still rely on printed materials regarding benefits sent to their employees’ homes. In a digital world, that’s not nearly enough. Your employees need to be engaged with the process. That means annual videos that are available online for your employees to review and interactive websites that help them find the best plans. These tools can be invaluable for smoothing out the annual benefit enrollment process.

3. Don’t Ignore the Possibility of Unions

Unions can be destructive for businesses. Unions can devalue seniority and employee effort, make it difficult for your business to compete, and also exploit your employees. This can lead to your business becoming unprofitable and to your employees losing their jobs. Union avoidance is in everyone’s best interest and you need to communicate this to your employees. Take the time to investigate the best union avoidance strategies and then implement them for the sake of your company and your employees.

33 ways to union proof your companySo, don’t cut corners when it comes to employee engagement! If you need help connecting with your employees, whether it’s during orientation, harassment training, wellness programs, annual benefits enrollment, or just to communicate important facts, contact Projections. Your message will reach your audience and create the change you need to grow. We make it so easy, you’ll find no shortcuts needed!