We’ve all been there. Business is good, the work is flowing, the team is collaborating and then you hear it: an employee complaint. Maybe they feel the workload isn’t fair. Maybe they’re frustrated with the communication, or feel a lack thereof. Whatever it is, your first instinct may be to put on the boxing gloves and come back on the defensive. However, what if you can turn that complaint into what it likely is: an employee’s desire to make the company truly great? By doing this, you just may begin to see those complaints as opportunities instead.
Let’s clear this up right off the bat: complaints are good, because they mean that employee engagement is good. A complaint is a sign that your employees are so actively engaged in their jobs that they want their company to equal their passions and their contribution. They want to make a suggestion for improvement and see that they have a voice in how they spend those 40 hours every week. If your business doesn’t have a clear and effective avenue for these suggestions, they may just turn into complaints.
To prevent suggestions from turning into complaints, your company needs to have a way for employees to communicate their desires. The first and easiest way is to advertise an open-door policy. Include language in your employee handbook that you welcome feedback as a tool to constantly improve your program for all those involved. Schedule open office hours for employees to express any concerns or share new ideas. Foster positive employee relations by demonstrating that not only are you open to the contributions of your team, but that you will actively try to make changes within your power when they fit with your mission and your company’s needs.
Of course, no amount of open doors and feedback-based policies will prevent the occasional complaint from squeezing between the cracks. When this happens, don’t be disheartened. Nobody is perfect, and every company can find room for improvement. To handle complaints constructively, start the conversation by giving your employee the power to find a solution. For example, if your employee is complaining about a lack of opportunity for professional growth, ask them what areas they would like to develop and what suggestions they have for fostering these skills. If they complain about a long commute, have them propose a plan that outlines how they can get the job done from home occasionally — and be willing to give it a trial. If an employee has a suggestion to make, don’t feel it is all on your shoulders to make those changes. Rely on the strength of your team and the skills of your employees — you hired them for a reason, of course — to come up with constructive solutions as well.
Whether your employees have been with the company for decades or — perhaps even more importantly — are millennials just out of college, having an open and transparent organizational culture will ensure that all workers don’t just feel heard, but are heard. In order to minimize employee unrest and complaints, you need to make a clear and obvious effort to communicate openly in an effective way about employee concerns — not just what they are, but how your company is going to address them. Show that you are willing to put yourself out there and make a mistake in order to improve employee engagement and satisfaction. In this way, your employees can work with more passion and more trust in the company they support.
Most important of all is for the company to communicate that employees are being heard. Whether that takes the form of live meetings, regular video messages, or even an online resource, regular communication fosters understanding. This is particularly true when feedback from employees involves something systemic that may take some time to address. Creating custom training resources to address employee concerns can go a long way toward addressing the opportunities employees present to you. By fostering an environment of feedback, action and communication, you can create a culture that rewards growth and provides job security for every team member.
There is an old adage that declares, “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Gamification is a new way of proving that old wisdom to be true in more corporate environments than ever before. Incorporating “game” components to what employees do every day has proven successful for motivating sales, improving communications and engaging consumers with brands. These enterprise strategies work equally well for small businesses. Every day, in fact, more small businesses are engaging customers and employees using gamification.
Gamification is defined as bringing game elements into any non-game environment. In the business world, gamification refers to the game-related strategies used to motivate and encourage employees and engage customers. Gamification strategies are always evolving, but traditionally include a focus on elements of gaming that include rewards, achievement markers, contests and even rules for winning.
Rewards for collaboration are often more effective than rewards for competition. As small businesses rely more heavily on portable communication and electronics for information sharing, opportunities to include gamification increase with each virtual platform. Virtual meetings that are actually fun and cost effective are now very possible for small businesses. Replacing the next team building meeting with an afternoon of slow pitch in the park or an hour at the pool hall takes gamification beyond the office and out of the virtual world
How do we make work fun today? That’s where honest corporate communication is essential. While the old-school Pavlovian-inspired bells and whistles are still there, modern applications of gamification include giving employees more artistic and unique rewards, and using fully interactive and personalized computer interfaces when communicating with customers.
Shared corporate goals are the number one factor in hiring and retaining the best employees in your field, and gamification can play an essential role in communicating and reinforcing that shared corporate vision. It can also transform the performance of your employees. For instance, it is important to do more than take an ‘Employee of the Month’ photo. Instead, that strategy can become more modern when that photo is shared with various offices through multiple social media channels. Similarly, including motivators and virtual rewards for collaborative team interaction will help strengthen small business teams, while the gamification strategies already inherent in the social media channels will motivate employees and consumers to communicate with one another in more creative ways.
Gamification integrated with staff training can help motivate employees to learn. Modernized approaches to gamification are proving to increase consumer engagement, create strong dynamic work teams, and facilitate cheerful and appropriate professional communications.
According 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So, 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!
For many companies, shaping a professional development program is a key component of human resources strategy for 2016 and beyond. Research indicates that for seventy-six percent of employees, opportunities to advance their skills are among the top three non-financial motivators. Bersin reports how companies are spending fifteen percent more on professional development today than they did just one year ago. It’s clear that strengthening your staff’s skills can yield a significant competitive advantage. Whether your goals are to attract a better caliber of employee, retain your best talent or close critical skill gaps, you can benefit from recent advancements in employee learning strategies and yield better outcomes.
Developing an in-house certification program can create a level playing field that allows motivated workers to shine. In a Forrester case study of travel brand Maritz, the organization saw a number of benefits by having custom certification-driven eLearning courses developed for technology workers. These benefits included:
Creating transparency in your professional development programs can facilitate healthy competition and move your organization toward a culture of continuing education. Maritz realized many common approaches to skill assessment were faulty. By implementing “competition and code judging” among their developers, the organization improved their skills assessment and culture of learning. Transparency in your professional development programs can facilitate small learning groups, higher achievement and better self-awareness among your staff.
IBM is an organization that has taken a particularly community-driven approach to growing talent. Per Training Mag, IBM’s community-based learning resources include:
Today’s talented workers need more than learning programs to improve skills and competencies, although these programs are critically important. Facilitating community-based learning can allow organizations to transfer context-based knowledge between the older and younger generations of workers. By including mentor programs in your professional development strategy, your organization can foster positive decision-making, industry-specific knowledge and relationship-building qualities critical to shaping tomorrow’s business leaders.
Twenty percent of the American population will be 65 or older by 2020. Human resources professionals are acutely aware of the pending “silver tsunami,” or a wave of retirements among baby boomer employees that will leave many organizations with significant skill gaps and difficulty recruiting technology and leadership roles. By establishing a strong professional development strategy for 2016, you can facilitate a culture of learning for years to come.