As a human resources or labor relations professional, you probably see your fair share of employee complaints. Issues that need resolution… and those that just seem like the employee is “overreacting.” How can you tell the difference? How can you address employee concerns and maintain high engagement levels?
Complaints range from an immensely irritating colleague to what seems to be an unbearable supervisor. You’ve likely heard about workplace behaviors that disregarded basic decency or courtesy or even went against rules, policies, and norms.
This is exactly what the new tool called Warble was designed to do – help companies identify and address employee concerns, before those employees turn to an outside third party.
First, we need to understand what happens when employees don’t feel heard.
Terrible managers can cause a lot of damage to employees and the company culture. Bullying co-workers cause their share of trouble, too. These workplace villains create unnecessary tension in the workplace and affect job performance. Worse, that bad behavior can be contagious and have a negative impact long-term on company culture, leading to unionization.
This creates is what experts call a toxic work environment. Stress levels and attrition rates increase; employee well-being, productivity, and retention rates decrease; and eventually the company’s reputation becomes tarnished, making it difficult to hire the best people.
Unfortunately, fear of retribution, bullying or isolation can keep your employees from feeling like they can report such incidents. When team members feel helpless, they either leave – or look to outside, third parties (attorneys, unions, government agencies) to try to solve their problems, costing the company money and time.
Feelings of mistreatment often lead to employees looking to a union to solve their problems. Similarly, employees who feel they’ve been discriminated against but have no outlet to express their challenges may file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) leading to increased cost and time commitment, in order for the Company to solve the issue.
This kind of helpless feeling is what Carolyn Holliday experienced, and it is why Warble came into existence.
Holliday founded Warble Inc. to help companies detect and manage employee problems before they become detrimental to work culture and revenue. Warble is an online tool that provides employees with a direct channel to report bad or illegal behavior.
Employees submit warbles regarding issues they may have with managers or co-workers. Similar to (but often more accessible than) an Alternative Dispute Resolution program, Warble then alerts those who are responsible for taking care of employees and addressing harassment (including bullying) or discrimination claims.
Because they can be submitted at any time (not just during employee surveys), Warbles provide important feedback about the health of the company. But unless you respond by addressing employee concerns with additional leader training or other appropriate action, employees won’t trust the Warble system any more than any other measurement or reporting tool. Employees will feel reassured and appreciated when they see appropriate responses to their warbles.
Now more than ever, your employees are highly sensitive to harassment and discrimination.
Putting in place the tools of a UnionProof culture, such as Warble for ADR, means that you’re fostering an environment of open communication and employee engagement. That culture means that issues can be identified and addressed before they negatively impact your organization. Providing an outlet like Warble for alternative dispute resolution means creating a reputation as an employer of choice – a powerful thing in today’s tight labor market.
With the start of a new year, there are always countless predictions about what lies ahead. This is no exception when it comes to the world of Human Resources. While already an ever-changing field, be sure to watch for these transformative trends in the workplace in 2018:
With an ever-increasing number of millennials entering the workforce, the employee experience is more important than ever. In 2018, many workplaces will shift their focus from employee engagement to the employee experience. Similar to the approach that customer service reps employ, HR professionals are already beginning to focus on creating a more engaging and enjoyable environment for their employees. As a result, it is likely that employer loyalty and overall morale will drastically improve in many companies.
Dubbed the “gig culture,” more people are enjoying the freedom that comes along with working on their own schedule. While the employee title certainly won’t be going anywhere in 2018, more employers will take advantage of hiring independent contractors for short-term projects or specialized tasks. This method proves beneficial to both parties as the independent contractor retains freedom from an employee title while the employer does not have to pay for a full-time employee.
In the past, position titles and duties were often clear and to the point. In 2018, these titles and duties will become less fixed. Instead, assignments and duties are likely to be given based on an employee’s strengths versus their official job title. This allows employers to get the most out of top talent while allowing employees more variety in experience and education in the workplace.
Millennials are unlike the generations that have come before them in a number of ways, but the most crucial is their focus on maintaining a work/life balance. This is forcing many HR departments to reassess policies that they have in place. To meet the demand, companies are beginning to offer more flexible schedules, paternity leave and remote work opportunities in efforts to provide a better work/life balance .
Performance reviews have drastically decreased in popularity in the last five years. While many companies phased these reviews out in 2015, those who have not will likely do so in 2018. To replace these traditional and ineffective reviews, employers are instead offering real-time feedback to employees. This allows employees to understand their strengths and weaknesses and adjust accordingly as issues arise, instead of learning about it months later.
By staying on top of the emerging trends in the HR community, you can ensure that your workplace remains competitive and up-to-date in 2018 and in the future.
In consumer markets over the past few years, companies have faced a growing demand for customized experiences. This trend is now appearing with far greater frequency in the realm of employee engagement, where human resources staff attempt to implement technology and changes in practice sensitive to individual workers’ talents, needs and preferences. Personalization of the employee experience can take many forms — from individually tailored learning platforms to employee choice of work spaces.
Forward-thinking companies are taking a personalized approach to employee engagement, development and training, adapting lessons, available offerings and learning experiences based on each employee’s learning style, competencies and retention. Personalized training allows targeting of areas in need of improvement, challenging the employee without overwhelming them and saving the company both time and money thanks to elimination of unnecessary training or training that employees don’t retain. Personalized learning, whether through provision of tailored content or the giving employees their choice of curated content according to their interests, increases motivation, engagement and retention.
Employee-facing self-service apps, chatbots and communications not only better engage staff through the provision of relevant information, but also help human resources departments better use resources. For example, one company developed an app that offers fast, personalized information on questions frequently directed to human resources staff related to vacation policy, benefits administration or basic processes, such as requesting time off.
People excel in different work environments, and different environments are preferred for different work purposes. Workers are significantly more engaged at work when they have control over where and how they work. Human resources departments are beginning to collaborate with facilities and real estate departments within their organizations to design spaces that give employees choices of where to do their work based upon the activity they are working on, such as collaborative work with teams or tasks requiring a high degree of focus.
Want to tailor your communications to your unique workforce? Projections offers completely custom video production, websites and eLearning programs that engage workers and keep them productive. From concept to writing, shooting to post-production, create the message your employees need. Then, deploy your final product in in-person meetings, online, or even in-home with personal mailings.
Most peoples’ experience or knowledge of augmented and virtual reality involves entertainment – for example, the Pokémon GO augmented reality app and the uber popular Epcot attraction Soarin’, which takes “riders” on a realistic virtual journey around the world.
Virtual reality (VR) has obvious entertainment value. And, as forward-thinking companies are discovering, it also has unlimited potential to revolutionize recruiting and training. Savvy human resources professionals are tapping into this technology to woo top talent, overcome geographic recruiting and training constraints, and cement their firms’ position as technologically advanced. The millennial and Gen Z workforces are drawn to cutting-edge technologies, and the “cool factor” of joining a workplace that embraces VR shouldn’t be underestimated. As the following five companies have discovered, VR is more than a gimmick: it’s a genuinely useful tool.
Most college students are familiar with on-campus recruiting events. Typically, they show up wearing their Sunday best and stroll from one table to the next meeting recruiters and collecting pamphlets or brochures. It’s necessary, but not necessarily exciting. General Mills has stepped up its recruiting game in a huge way. Candidates visiting with General Mills recruiters may be invited to don a headset and goggles and – thanks to a 360-degree GoPro video – take a VR tour around corporate headquarters and the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. They feel what it’s like to be an employee and experience the corporate culture first-hand. That recruiting approach is certain to leave an impression – a very positive one.
Like General Mills, General Electric has discovered the benefit of using virtual reality in its recruiting efforts. For example, candidates can don a virtual reality headset to journey to the bottom of the sea and explore the company’s oil-and-gas recovery machines.
Lincoln Electric has discovered that combining traditional and virtual training is a win-win for the company and employees. The company offers students the ability to practice on a virtual reality arc-welding trainer in addition to receiving traditional hands-on training. Studies show the combined approach leads to better communication and significantly higher certification rates.
Boeing runs an Immersive Development Center in which its engineers test new parts and products, and pilots train in virtual reality flight simulators. Additionally, Boeing occasionally invites engineering students to the center so they can explore the company’s technologies, thanks to VR. All of Boeing’s engineers began as students, and the company’s recruiters hope that visiting students will one day return as employees.
With a realization that many people are visual learners, Fidelity Investments has created a prototype VR app to explain employee benefits. Users who don the headset are transported to a virtual boardroom populated with employees. Some employees are green, meaning their 401K investment strategy is sound. Other employees are red, indicating that it may be time to revise their strategy. The motivation behind the app is that viewing data in a three-dimensional matter makes it easier to digest.
Clearly, there’s widespread potential for human resources departments to embrace virtual reality. Companies are already using VR to recruit top talent, train existing employees and onboard new hires. How do you think these kinds of applications will change the way your HR and recruiting teams manage the future of your company’s talent?
For a long time employees joined a company, contributed to a retirement plan, and stayed for decades, slowly moving up the corporate ladder. That depiction no longer reflects the modern workplace or the modern workforce. Millennials have different needs and expectations, but if you are willing to adapt, you can ensure you continue to attract the talent your business needs.
Millennials crave feedback, far more often than managers are willing to provide. At most companies, managers conduct an annual review with direct reports to evaluate their performance. Some well-known companies now provide bimonthly feedback sessions to better engage younger employees that aren’t comfortable having that conversation once a year. Millennials are tech-savvy, and it is often necessary to use a variety of channels such as videos, websites, and interactive tools to better track progress and provide feedback. Firms must clearly communicate near-term goals along with the intermediary steps necessary to reach those goals, and it’s often beneficial to work with outside partners to help craft those messages.
Millennials want to know how they are performing, and they also want to know where that performance will take them. The timeline for career advancement has shrunk considerably; millennials expect a promotion every one to two years. This is of course not feasible for your entire workforce, but for top performers, granting an extra title or other recognition could stave off headhunters looking to capitalize on any dissatisfaction. According to some studies, 60 percent of millennials will leave a job within the first three years; with a workforce that fickle, a little extra spending now could save significant hiring costs later.
It’s not enough to just offer a paycheck; employers also have to offer a sense of purpose. According to one study, two-thirds of millennials won’t take a job offer from a company that doesn’t have a strong corporate social responsibility program. Hiring managers need to make sure that they emphasize opportunities for engagement as part of the total compensation package when recruiting top talent. From a logistical perspective, companies need to build programs to provide service opportunities or partner with service organizations that can provide that infrastructure.
Millennials comprise a steadily growing portion of the workforce, and companies that want to compete for the best talent will need to adapt to that reality. While some of the demands of millennial employees may seem taxing or silly to managers, failing to adapt to those demands in time could mean a significant slowdown in hiring, and in turn, competitiveness. The good news is that making these changes, and using comprehensive communications solutions to connect can boost morale not just among millennials and new hires, but throughout your entire workforce.