Saturday November 23, 2019

Why hire a health coach? It cuts costs, keeps employees healthy

Are wellness programs or health risk assessments enough to help employees get healthier, or should more companies hire a health coach to drive participation and achieve company goals?

More and more companies are experimenting with hiring health coaches to encourage engagement in wellness programs. This also helps employees stay on track with their health goals.

And it’ll save your company money too. Employees who work with health coaches gain 70% less weight. They also save employers, on average, $586 a year, according to a Health Fitness study.

10% reduction in health risks

At the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds, employees meet about once a month with a health coach. This ensures they’re on track to meet their goals.

Since 2017, participation rates more than doubled and there’s been a 10% reduction in health risks.

Another employer, Reliance Steel and Aluminum in Los Angeles, chose to hire a health coach through wellness program provider Staywell in 2016.

“Those who participate in the program have a higher rate of success, versus participants in the program who don’t participate,” says Reliance’s wellness director.

“Health coaches engage employees and meet them where they are so they are more successful at making healthy behavior changes,” says Melissa Dupuis, director of wellness, Wellable.

According to Dupuis, a coach will help to:

  • increase productivity, lower presenteeism (by encouraging workers to talk about problems and creating an action plan for healthy behaviors)
  • decrease stress (by helping to identify stressors, find solutions), and
  • promote healthy behaviors (by quickly identifying unhealthy behaviors and focusing on them one at a time).

On average, a health coach can cost $140-$165 per employee, according to wellness provider WellSteps.

The post Why hire a health coach? It cuts costs, keeps employees healthy appeared first on HR Morning.

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Employee recognition programs deliver real-world ROI

The research is clear – employee recognition appears consistently near the top of things that motivate employees to do their best work.

For many workers, it means more than even a financial
reward. And research indicates that cash rewards can actually be
counter-productive if they aren’t combined with other ways of recognizing hard

A Wharton School study showed that relying solely on cash
rewards encourages:

  • resentment from hard-working
    staffers who wind up earning less
  • workers who cut corners, and
  • a lack of unity, as most employees are only
    interested in taking part in activities that directly contribute to them
    earning more.

The study found organizations get better results when they:

  • provide more autonomy to employees who’ve proven they can manage themselves
  • offer the opportunity to earn certifications or attend seminars, trade shows and/or conferences, and
  • hold public recognition ceremonies.

And that’s good news — every HR pro knows how tough it can
be to find the budget and leadership buy-in for even occasional cash rewards.

But it’s still a challenge keeping recognition and reward programs fresh. So how do you keep your workforce engaged and committed to your organization’s goals?

Here are five great ideas straight from HRMorning’s readers.

Peer recognition

We put a lot of effort into making our new hires feel
welcome, but we also knew we needed to focus on keeping our current employees
happy to hang onto them.

So we formed a “Fun Raising” team, dedicated to creating fun employee-recognition and appreciation activities.

The team puts on events like pop-up escape rooms, free ice
cream days and company spirit weeks.

The program got a terrific employee response, but we wanted
to help our workers show appreciation toward each other as well.

Kudos for colleagues

We launched “Kudos for Colleagues” with a huge kickoff event
and an all-day drop-in party in the HR department. But the Kudos Cards were the
most important part.

Employees fill out the cards with the name of a co-worker
and what makes them awesome at their job.

A pleasant surprise

A randomly-chosen monthly winner receives a trophy and prize
to share with their department.

We profile the winner in our employee newsletter and post
their photo on a “wall of fame”.

And everyone who receives a nomination gets the card with
their co-worker’s compliment.

Fun, but effective

Since starting Kudos for Colleagues, we’ve received at least
40 nominations each month. Sometimes, we’ll get as many as 100 out of an
employee pool of about 500.

With employees recognizing and complimenting each other, our
workplace is really supportive and positive.

Managers report morale and enthusiasm are strong and that they are seeing employees going above and beyond in providing customer service.

And we can measure the results in concrete terms, too: retention
is vastly improved since we started the program.

(HR manager, Champaign, IL)

Power to the people

Studies show that employees want to work in an environment
where they are being recognized regularly for their significant achievements
and strong performance.

But our annual employee engagement survey scores for employee recognition were consistently lower than we wanted. We needed a new, unconventional way to reward and recognize our employees for extraordinary performance.

Superheroes and superheroines

Realizing that our top performers demonstrated many of the characteristics/behavior
of famous superheroes and super heroines, we came up with The LOOT Awards
(a.k.a. The LOOTies), which stands for the League of Overachieving Talent.

The LOOTies allow employees to reward and recognize anyone
for anything anytime, irrespective of the person’s level, seniority, or

If someone witnesses extraordinary performance, great collaboration,
or anything that reflects our company culture, they can log into the secured
site and, in a matter of 5 minutes, recognize those extraordinary efforts for
all to see.

There are three different ways we recognize employees, two
of which must be approved by our leadership:

  • P-Cubed (Powerful Performance
    Points) Award:
    Employees can be nominated to receive a certain
    number of powerful performance points or PPPs that can be redeemed for
    merchandise, VISA gift cards, or donations to charity (some of which we match).
  • P-Squared (Performance Perks)
    Award: E
    mployees are nominated to receive a specific perk, such
    as days off, a dinner for two or an iTunes gift card.
  • Chants & Cheers (C &
    C) Award:
    These awards don’t require approval. They give peers
    and managers the chance to say, “You rock,” “Job well done,” or “Way-to-go!”
    right when an employer earns that recognition.

The program was a hit from day one.

(Senior VP, People and
Culture,  San Francisco)

Individual attention

We had a serious turnover problem – and we didn’t know why.

When we had turnover problems in the past, companywide
morale boosters usually seemed to right the ship.

But those employee recognition ideas weren’t working anymore, and we were losing staffers at a rapid clip.

Looking at the type of employees who were leaving, we
realized that the majority were younger – Millennials, Gen X, Gen Z.

That gave us an idea about how we could tackle the problem.

Brought it to a smaller scale

The solution: Instead of trying to prevent turnover at a company-wide level, we instructed managers to focus more on individual young employees and how supervisors can help them stay engaged in their jobs.

For one employee, the solution was to allow him to start
projects from scratch and see them all the way through to completion.

Another worker said her job satisfaction rose considerably
when she had the opportunity to mentor a new staffer who was just learning
the ropes.

The goal – to keep staff members challenged – worked

The proof is in the numbers: That extra attention has slowed
turnover considerably.

(HR manager, Atlanta)

4.   Monthly employee recognition reports

We wanted to improve our company culture by promoting daily successes of our

Previously, we used a private Twitter feed for employee recognition. We were
looking for the next step beyond our homegrown employee recognition program.

Our strategy: We wanted to produce monthly reports on top-recognized
employees and send those out from within Yammer, our in-house communication

We found an employee recognition app that was easy to use and allowed us to send employee “shout-outs” through Yammer.

To personalize the experience and incentivize corporate behavior, our vendor
helped us come up with custom badges that represent our values, such as Hero
Maker, Ducks in a Row and Knowledge Whisperer.

These values can be tracked and promoted through the app. Plus, the app
helps staff send and track recognition.

Corporate well-being and staff attitude continue to be high.

Best month ever

Within the first month of using the app, we reported our best month ever in revenue. Even with a remote staff, company culture is going strong.

We now send over 200 recognitions a month – double what we sent out before.

Not to mention, our sales have increased by 40% since we started our

(COO, Jenkintown, PA)

An experience bonus instead of cash

In years past, we’d given out holiday bonuses or gifts to our employees, but we really wanted to do something more meaningful in terms of employee recognition.

One of the core values of our company is customer experience, and we wanted that to be reflected in what we offered our employees.

We came up with an “experience bonus” program to give our employees the opportunity to cross something off their bucket lists that they might otherwise never do.

All employees who’ve been with us for more than a year get the annual bonus.

There are no guidelines other than the money can’t be spent on an item, it can only be used to pay for an experience.

They let us know what they plan to do and when they are
doing it, and we deposit the bonus into their accounts.

The hardest part was coming up with the amount of the
bonuses. It had to be financially comfortable for the company but enough that
employees could do something truly special. We settled on $1,500.

After that, it was as simple as getting the word out about
the program and transferring money into accounts.

Variety of experiences

When we said the experience could be anything our employees wanted, we meant it, and it’s been fun to see what people do with their $1,500.

An avid skier fulfilled a dream of going to a ski resort in

Another employee traveled to East Africa and helped launch a
charity that has raised over $4,000 for a local orphanage.

A third bought front row tickets to take family to a Justin
Timberlake concert.

Defining company culture

Employees come back from their experiences excited to share
their adventure. We constantly hear people discussing what they did with their
bonuses and what they plan to do next.

And not only is it a morale booster, but it’s also helped us attract new talent.

Younger workers are a huge part of the workforce now, and many of them value experiences over material things. The experience bonus is a unique employee recognition benefit that also gives candidates a preview of our company culture.

(Head of global insights, Provo, UT)

The post Employee recognition programs deliver real-world ROI appeared first on HR Morning.

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Five key steps to becoming a true ‘People Company’

Businesses spend billions convincing customers their brand is better than the rest. But what about the employee experience of working for the company?

much does your business spend attracting and keeping employees?

Employees are the most important asset in any
company. Yet barely a fraction of the amount invested on optimizing the
customer experience is spent on creating a workplace that makes employees proud
and privileged to be part of the team.

I call businesses that put their workers first ‘People
Companies.’ These are companies that truly understand their people are
paramount to success, and show them this in actions, as well as in words,
creating great workforce experiences that attract and retain the best.

But how can you start the journey toward creating great employee experiences that do this – and why is this such an urgent priority?

Employee experiences matter

The “war for talent” is proof it’s never been
more important to reappraise the relationship between workers and employees. The
rise of social media and the advent of websites like Glassdoor make it easier
than ever for disgruntled employees to share their poor work experiences, and
this can have a devastating effect on recruiting and retaining the skills a
business needs to achieve its ambitions.

The employee experience is often misunderstood. In fact, an individual’s experience at work is the foundation for engagement. For example, 95% of employees who had a positive experience at work said they’d go the extra mile for their customers and their company, according to a study by IBM.

Research by my organization, Sage People,  found that only 37% of employees see themselves as highly productive. That’s a damning statistic, especially in our era of stagnant productivity.

There’s a big difference between declaring
yourself people-oriented and actually putting meaningful practices into place.

Our research has already identified a major disconnect within businesses with 55% of senior executives believing their company is people-orientated, against only 29% of employees.

So, what can businesses do to become People
Companies, and put their employees first?

Here are five steps any business can take to
creating great employee experiences:

1. Show your appreciation

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make a great difference to the employee experience. Our research found that two-thirds of respondents say it’s important to feel valued in the workplace. That’s why businesses need to review their existing processes, so employees are given recognition, praise and rewards for the great work they do.

This can sometimes be just a simple “thank you”
for work well done. The important thing here is it’ll be different for each
employee. True People Companies ask their employees what motivates and engages
them and create tailored experiences for them that reflect this as a result.

2. Provide flexible and remote working

More than four in five employees we polled said they value flexible or remote working. Insisting employees keep certain hours or refusing to grant them opportunities to work from home is a recipe for resentment.

In an ultra-competitive candidate marketplace,
providing flexibility – and, just as importantly, trust – is an excellent way
to foster great relationships with your workers. It empowers them to manage
their own time and gives them much-needed flexibility in today’s world of work.

After all, why shouldn’t employees work from 7am and finish
earlier if they’re more productive in the mornings, or have international calls
first thing? Why should parents have to miss the school run just to be seen to
be in the office, when they may be working long evenings, too? 

3. Make rewards meaningful

Our research found that employees don’t want
ping pong tables or office perks. Instead, incentives need to be linked to
individual performance and tailored to each person’s preferences. Rewards could
include promotion, more varied experiences, pay increases, more opportunities
for remote working, but they’ll differ from employee to employee. This requires
HR and People teams to engage with each worker to discover how to build bespoke

4. Support worker well-being

Two-fifths of respondents said they believed HR
and People teams could do more to improve wellness at work. Whether its
offering subsidized gym membership or improving mental health support,
businesses must demonstrate they take employees’ health and well-being

5. Engage and iterate

It might seem obvious, but if you want to build
a great workplace experience for all, you need to engage with employees. Yet
only 12% of employees we spoke to are regularly asked what would improve their
experiences at work, and almost half (47%) had never been asked at all.

It’s impossible to become a People Company if
you don’t listen to workers’ concerns and make the necessary changes in light
of what you’ve learned.

Put people at the heart of what you do

A third of employees saw their HR or People team’s role as creating positive experiences at work – so HR and People teams need to lead this cultural transformation. However, they can’t do it alone. The entire top table needs to be responsible for delivering positive experiences across the workforce.Why? Because it matters. The better an employee’s experience at work, the more engaged they are, the more productive they can be, and the more the business benefits. It makes economic sense – as well as being the right thing to do for your employees.

The post Five key steps to becoming a true ‘People Company’ appeared first on HR Morning.

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In the age of legal weed, new breath tests show promise for employers

Employers have never had accurate drug testing options to determine when an employee might have ingested marijuana and, therefore, if they are likely to still be impaired. So most employers have policies that impose a maximum penalty for any positive test for the drug.

New “breathalyzer” tests slated for release in 2020 use advanced tech to measure whether an individual has recently smoked, vaped or eaten marijuana products.

Quick drug testing results

The devices return results immediately, so employers can figure out in real time whether an employee is impaired and should be kept from working.

Current tests detect cannabis use as long as 30 days before
testing, so they can’t show whether someone is high right now or used the drug
while off duty.

Employers are most concerned when it comes to safety-sensitive activities, including operating dangerous equipment or driving.

And, with marijuana use now legal in 33 states and Washington DC, employers have to find a balance between safety concerns, zero-tolerance drug policies and both medical and recreational drug use.

Drug testing standards lacking

Two recent announcements highlight the new tests’ capabilities and their potential shortcomings.

Both tests, one under development at the University of Pittsburgh and one from startup Hound Labs slated for commercial release in 2020, measure the amount of THC, pot’s primary psychoactive compound, in an individual’s breath.

Both products share a problem, however – unlike with alcohol, there is no legal standard for impairment based on the amount of THC detected by the testing technology.

Hound Labs says its product will still let employers make a call about whether an employee is fit for work by indicating how recently they ingested a THC-containing substance.

Doug Boxer, Hound Labs’ chief of policy and strategic partnerships told Business Insurance that its breathalyzer detects use within two to three hours before testing.

He said that research shows that’s when users are most impaired.

The results of Hound Labs’ test are available within 12 minutes, according to the company, which is quick enough for employers to decide whether an employee can be allowed to work.

The post In the age of legal weed, new breath tests show promise for employers appeared first on HR Morning.

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Turn good employees into great entrepreneurs – and solve your toughest business challenges

When we think of innovation, we think of big ideas, sharp skills, thinking outside of the box and pursuing unique challenges.

Even more often, we associate these events and habits as acts of great entrepreneurs or expert technologists, and not applicable within a defined position or previously chosen career path.

But by limiting our thinking, we also limit our employees.

Innovation does not necessarily need to happen in a new
space or by a person with a particular title. The ability to think outside of
the box is always possible, regardless of environment or role.

Great entrepreneur-ship is often stifled, or even discouraged in the workplace when creative freedom comes with rank. When employees feel stuck within the specific responsibilities of their job description, they are hesitant to do more.

With the rise of gig work and “side hustles”, it is clear
that employees are not only able to apply a creative twist to professional
challenges, but they also desire the chance to do so.

To survive in the changing business landscape, businesses
need to retain creative employees, foster and encourage the entrepreneurial
spirit within them and create an environment where inventive thinking is
promoted at every level.

Where do great entrepreneurs come from?

The idea of being an entrepreneur is appealing – everyone has daydreamed about disrupting the status quo, bringing the next best idea to market and pursuing their self-written path. However, this ideally successful career is quite risky, leading many to a more secure position.

What can be easy to forget is that secure doesn’t need to be
boring. Great entrepreneurial thinking is critical for businesses to stay
relevant in the ever-changing world of work.

Unfortunately, in many organizations fresh ideas are only proposed by a small fraction of employees: those required to do so via their job description. Although this kind of work is skillful, this small percentage of employees aren’t the only ones with good ideas. So, how do employers get more employees involved?

New ideas don’t have to be grand, entrepreneurial concepts.
They could be changes to internal processes, employee experiences and corporate
culture – like a fix to the buggy system that employees are regularly aggravated
by, or an upgrade to the slow, lagging procedure that stagnates workflow.

Who better to revamp these routines than the employees who
do them every day themselves?

Instead of employees going home to complain about their work frustrations or vent their ideas on social media, encourage them to pitch them to their upper management or internal teams. With open communication, one idea could grow from another and a new solution may be found.

Creating the right environment

For employees to recognize their ability to share new ideas
with their teams or management, they need to know that doing so is encouraged
and supported. Creating this safe working environment is recognized as “psychological

In psychologically safe workplaces, employees can share
thoughts or opinions without the fear of being criticized, ignored or even
reprimanded. To make this environment possible, it’s important for employees to
understand that failure brings improvement, and that’s okay.

Additionally, this environment will cultivate respect, inclusion
and trust. Promoting these ideals as central pillars of workplace culture
should naturally create an environment of psychological safety.

This is successfully done when managers and leaders encourage employees to speak up – even if it’s a “bad” idea. A transparent communication style and supportive work environment opens the door to new ideas, challenges and more confident employees.

Making creative thinking a normal practice

Once workplace communication is fluid and employees are
encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas, employers need to work to make
doing so a common practice. Encourage employees to think like intrapreneurs—those
who apply great entrepreneurial thinking inside the existing organizations for
which they work.

The clearest way to receive ideas and communications from
employees is simply by asking them. Employees regularly receive feedback on
their performance, both formal and informal, but how often do employers ask for
feedback in return?

As part of regular check-ins or one-on-ones, ask employees,
“What can we do?” By making it clear that feedback is welcome and wanted,
employees will start to share their opinions on the workplace, potentially
sparking great ideas.

On a larger scale, these feedback sessions could occur in a
team or group setting, brainstorming and openly discussing what needs
improvement and how to do so.

Further, feedback could even be incentivized, offering recognition or a monetary reward for any ideas that are successfully adopted by the company.

However you choose to motivate employees, it’s important to
start with creating an environment that supports feedback, critique and change.
Creativity should be fostered from all employees, not only those that are hired
to do so.

Innovation should never be kept from someone because of
their job responsibilities and allowing it is doing your business a disservice.
You never know where the next big idea will come from, so ask for it.

The post Turn good employees into great entrepreneurs – and solve your toughest business challenges appeared first on HR Morning.

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Why great workplaces begin with great onboarding

It all begins with great onboarding. It really does.

The most efficient organizations aren’t necessarily those that have the best procedures. Instead, organizations that do great onboarding in the first 90 days can get people to work together more productively and get each member of a team to do his or her best more often.

Getting employees to give their best is an effort that
starts on Day One. It’s important to build rapport, which in turn, builds

Trustworthiness is essential to any successful social
network, especially work. Getting people from a variety of backgrounds to
interact and trust each other is crucial to achieving and maintaining increases
in productivity.

Organizations with a track record of success do a better job of making the most of their new hires. That’s due to a better understanding of what people’s skill sets are, which is probably the easy part, as well as how their behavior fits the job.

People don’t change

Managers should avoid trying to change people into
something they have no hope of ever becoming. People don’t change that much.

Managers would be much better off trying to figure out
what their people are really good at and playing to those strengths, instead of
forever trying to correct people’s deficiencies.

Experts in behavioral and workplace psychology have identified six dumb ways in which companies, through their managers, destroy morale and productivity. Most of these negatives occur in the first 90 days.

Here are six mistakes to avoid in those critical first
90 days of onboarding:

Mistake No. 1 is the failure to set clear
expectations. What’s expected in the first 90 days? What’s expected in the
second 90 days, and then, thru the end of the year?

Good people want to do well in a job. As long as they
know clearly what’s expected of them, good hires will try hard to meet those

Mistake No. 2 is the failure to focus employees on the
key issues. Managers too often assume employees know what they know. Or
managers may have done an inadequate “selling” job to their employees to make
the company’s priorities and key issues their own priorities as well.

Mistake No. 3 is a failure to find the positive. Many
people in leadership roles have too many things on their plate. Old-school
managers still may be tempted to “fix” everybody, but this always involves
criticism and reinforces negatives. All managers would do better figuring out
what people are good at and play to their strengths.

Mistake No. 4 is the failure to exchange ideas in a
positive, open forum. In an environment of empowerment, command and control
doesn’t work. It can’t just be management telling people what needs to be done.
Managers are wise to learn what’s going on at the grassroots level, because
those are the people who are dealing with the company’s customers. Listening
skills are an essential ingredient of successful management.

Mistake No. 5 is the failure to recognize and reward good performance. When people really do well, managers need to be sure to recognize it. When they don’t, it creates a negative environment, with negative consequences for morale and productivity. This applies not only to the individual employee whose outstanding contribution isn’t acknowledged enough, but to all those around that employee as well, who see that the extraordinary effort is merely taken for granted. It kills their morale as well, and makes them think: “Why bother?”

Mistake No. 6 is the greatest challenge for most managers. It’s the failure to understand the unique behavioral strengths and challenges of each individual. Managers who play to people’s strengths do a better job of making new hires work. The easy part is to identify skill sets. It’s much harder to identify the behavioral nature that fits the job. People do things more because of their own intrinsic nature than because of any lack of expertise or intelligence.

4 key workplace personality traits

There are plenty of examples in everyday life
situations of the four basic behavioral traits that people in the workplace
exhibit. They are:

1. Dominance, the so-called control trait. This is the
person who pushes his or her way into an already full elevator.

2. Extroversion, the so-called social trait. This is the
person who tries to get to know everyone in the same crowded elevator.

3. Patience. This is the person who will wait calmly for
the next elevator.

4. Conformity. These people excel when there is structure
and detail. This person will check the elevator’s inspection certificate to make
sure the load capacity hasn’t been exceeded.

Great managers play to the strengths of their people and fill square holes with square pegs. They understand what any position needs and fill the positions with people who fit those needs, then provide guidance and encouragement to help people meet the position’s specific requirements.

And they recognize the entire process starts on Day One.

The post Why great workplaces begin with great onboarding appeared first on HR Morning.

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11 pro tips for the best corporate holiday party – ever

Looking to wow your employees with a unique and exciting corporate holiday party that will be the talk of the company into the New Year?

If corporate holiday party planning is in your purview, never fear! Even the most novice event planners can look like seasoned pros by following a few universal rules for hosting an unforgettable company event.

Creativity and planning are the keys to your festive fun, as well as a hearty dose of good cheer! It’s never too early to plan!

Read on for some pro tips to blow your staff away this
holiday season and keep the office buzzing into the New Year.

1. An Oscar Moment – Everyone likes to be recognized and feel appreciated. Consider establishing an informal awards ceremony where the staff are creatively thanked for their specific contributions. Make it light-hearted and humorous. And not too long!

2. Venue Menu Ask around the office regarding the team’s top choices for party locales. Picture a dynamic venue that is bound to create lively competition, authentic interaction and some well-deserved down time after a busy year. Make sure there’s something for everyone—activities and fun for those seeking to get out and move around and a relaxed space for those looking for chill.  

 3. Think Outside the Christmas Box – Plan your holiday party with imaginative flair. Book a popular cover band that really gets the crowd energized. Or if your budget permits, hire an up-and-coming local band to provide the music. Or how about a whimsical holiday selfie station? Or a trendy slow motion booth? Karaoke is also a proven crowd-pleaser, particularly later on in the evening when people are feeling the most comfortable and festive.

4. Embrace the Unconventional – Pick a setting that’s unique and groundbreaking. Seek out a trailblazing site that ticks all the boxes when it comes to a bold venue that will generate excitement within your office. Get your employees pumped in advance by creating teams, different holiday-themed events, and interactive competitions for the big day.

5. Power Hours – What better way to genuinely say thank you to your team than having a bash during work hours? The holiday season is filled with fun and festivities, but it can be exhausting as well. Close the office for the day and you’ve already created an employee-friendly feel. This also motivates your team to finish the year strong, wrap up projects with enthusiasm and at the same time, have a cool and engaging party where they can look forward to celebrating.

6. Flashback Fever Consider adding more festivities to the atmosphere with a rockin’ theme. Your choices are vast—from past decades to a zombie apocalypse. Who wouldn’t want to go-kart in 80’s garb?!?!

7. We Are Family – Think of supporting a local charity and ask guests to bring donated canned goods or a holiday gift for a needy family with them to the event. Be sure to have the proper festively decorated storage bin for collecting. Then be sure to have the company match any donations made by the team. And the holiday topper? Ask the chosen venue if they support a local charity. What better way to share the holiday spirit? It’s a proven fact that engaging companies in giving back encourages a team to perform more efficiently.  Everyone goes home feeling happy.

8. Swag Bag – Depending on your budget, consider sending your guests home with some fabulous bling.  Exclusive door prizes or an automatic entry raffle are always a party hit. Explore options that will have your staff feeling extra cheery this holiday season. Gift cards to a luxury spa, popular restaurant, upscale boutique or a gourmet cooking class are sure to please. Or how about tickets to a popular music concert, well-known comedy act or mainstream sports event? Pampering baskets with high-end skincare products are always a crowd pleaser. Premium chocolate? Yes, please! Lastly, your team will absolutely be seeing stars if you offer them extra paid days or half-days off.

9. Food Mood – We all know that the food and drink choices can make or break a party. Depending on the unique venue you choose, make sure you check out their paddock lounge, food and drink menu, food vendor list, etc. to make sure the grub will meet the standards of your epic night.  

10. Don’t Guesstimate the Budget – Create a detailed, itemized budget for your event. Consider extras, hidden costs, tax and make sure to cover all costs. Be organized in your preparation. Your accounting team will thank you. Set up a team for expense planning and give them an incentive—perhaps a fab thank you gift.

11. Team building Nation – Let’s face it. Team building is trending. Recent studies by Google and Apple prove that integration is the future model for a productive working environment. Office members who respect each other and have common goals are more likely to help the company succeed. A relaxed, vibrant corporate holiday party is the perfect opportunity for mingling and networking. A fabulous locale reinforces the effective notion of team building, inclusion and merry entertainment. Your office mates have your back!

Let us be clear in our cheer. Team chemistry and morale is
more important than ever in today’s hyper-competitive business climate.

Topping off a strong year with a holiday party that will be
remembered for years to come is a fantastic reward for the hard work and
perseverance of your exceptional team.

Now get ready to eat, drink and be merry!  

The post 11 pro tips for the best corporate holiday party – ever appeared first on HR Morning.

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Tap the talent pool of youth with ‘impact hiring’

The quest to hire entry level employees – and retain them – is one of the toughest recruiting challenges HR professionals are facing.  The current unemployment rate is at an historic low, and with more than 7 million job openings across the U.S., far too many positions are going unfilled.

At the
same time, there is a sizable segment of the population that remains unemployed
or significantly underemployed. Called “opportunity youth,” this group of young
people between the ages of 16 and 24 are neither in school nor gainfully
employed—and they comprise a significant pool of 6.7 million potential workers.

7 million open jobs at the same time there are 6.7 million potential entry
level workers is a tremendous opportunity that, if missed, will have
long-lasting consequences.  Youth who are
unable to launch gainful careers face a lifetime of lower earnings and
financial instability.

This creates
a negative domino effect, impacting not only the individuals who fail to
achieve sustainable employment, but their families and communities.

the while, the inability to find employees stifles the growth of companies and
potentially the economy, too.

“opportunity youth” represents a potential triple-win: for employers,
employees, and economic health.

how can companies best connect with opportunity youth — and how do you train
and retain them to contribute on a long-term basis?

is an answer. A growing initiative known as Impact
offers a promising, data-driven approach.

Impact Hiring Connects Opportunity Youth with Employers

The Rockefeller Foundation has embarked on a far-reaching impact hiring initiative to increase opportunities for disadvantaged workers in the U.S. The goal is to address entry-level hiring challenges of employers, while preparing opportunity youth to overcome hurdles and start on the road to sustainable employment.

A key element of impact hiring is to take the guesswork out of hiring — to make decisions based on data rather than relying on intuition.

approach uses predictive talent analytics to match youth with job openings
based on their potential and innate talents. On the employer side, hiring
managers can use analytics to identify applicants who might lack experience on
their resumes but are well-suited to succeed in available positions.

practice opens up doors for both sides to a huge and mostly untapped talent pool.

3 Ways to Use Impact Hiring Tools and Strategies

  • Partner with a nonprofit organization: It’s difficult—and unnecessary—for employers to go it alone when working on hiring initiatives with alternative populations. Nonprofit organizations such as ours, Generation USA, streamline the process by helping employers recruit, train, and place opportunity youth.  With programs in 14 cities, we see across-the-board cost savings when companies partner with Generation, with a successful placement rate of more than 80%. Addressing the all-important question of retention, follow up data shows that 76% of our placements are still in their jobs one year after hire.
  • Define and refine your hiring costs and challenges:  We recently partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation to develop a ROI Estimator tool that helps employers evaluate hiring costs, define “pain points,” and take steps to make the process more efficient. You can try this tool free of charge to glean valuable, applicable information regarding where and how you can improve your hiring process.

  • Explore the Opportunity Navigator: Another useful tool is the Opportunity Navigator, a collaboration of Talent ReWire and Grads of Life. This tool helps employers and HR managers understand and implement impact hiring best practices, including strategic investments that build diverse entry-level and frontline talent pipelines.

Once you have gathered the data on your hiring and employee retention
challenges, you can use this information to create a tailored series of
“interventions” to avoid your usual detours and start on a fresh course of
expanded hiring practices. It’s also crucial to define ahead of time exactly
how you will measure progress and return on investment for your impact hiring

Finally, you need to be ready to adapt. Ask employees and hiring managers for feedback and adapt your selected tools and interventions accordingly as you progress. Ongoing assessment and fluidity are key. These strategies will enable you to bridge the employment gap with a wider and more inclusive pipeline of motivated employees.

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Big Four accounting firm called to account for sexist ‘training’ seminar

Women looking to make their mark in leadership roles at Ernst & Young (EY) were given jarringly sexist professional advice during a training seminar the Big Four accounting firm sponsored last year in New Jersey.

With the #MeToo movement in full swing, the women who attended the June 2018 event were told the female brain is 6% to 11% smaller than the male brain, according to an exclusive report from the Huffington Post.

“Women’s brains absorb information like pancakes soak up
syrup, so it’s hard for them to focus,” according to the slide show at the accounting
firm’s new office in Hoboken, NJ, according to HuffPost.

The training seminar went on to compare men’s brains to waffles: “They’re better able to focus because the information collects in each little waffle square.”

Hmmmm. This from a multinational consulting firm that presents itself as an award-winning leader in fostering a culture that promotes inclusion and a strong sense of belonging for all.

EY called the presentation Power-Presence-Purpose training. Other highlights sure to draw your ire:

  • Women were encouraged to “signal fitness
    and wellness” by getting manicures and wearing flattering clothing — yet were
    told not to “flaunt their body.”
  • Attendees had to rate how “masculine”
    or “feminine” they were before the training. Masculine adjectives
    included “ambitious” and “has leadership abilities”;
    feminine adjectives included, you guessed it, “shy” and
  • Women were told to sit cross-legged and not to
    make face-to-face contact with men at work.

There were even grooming instructions in the 55-page manual
passed out at the conference, advising that women be “polished,” with a “good
haircut, manicured nails, well-cut attire that complements your body type.”

The approximately 30 female executives who attended also
learned that women “speak briefly” and “often ramble and miss the point” in
meetings, whereas a man will “speak at length ― because he really believes in
his idea.”

GROAN! You get the point.

The accounting firm told HuffPost that the June 2018 event
was the last time that version of the seminar was held at EY. But it declined to
say if or how the seminar was changed.

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5 steps to help employees adjust to technology changes

New technology changes can have a positive impact not just on how people work, but on your office culture as well.

But sometimes technology
changes can intimidate and alienate employees who are comfortable working in
traditional systems and procedures, and have trouble adjusting.

It’s normal for workers to at first be apprehensive to big
changes when they’ve grown used to the way things have been done for years.

That’s why it’s important to see things from their point of view and understand that change is tough, especially when it upheaves years of doing things with traditional processes.

1. Help them see the value

When introducing new tech solutions to your colleagues, it’s important to help them understand why you’re implementing it and what it will do for the business.

Explain not just how it will benefit the business in
general, but how it will benefit their specific roles and what the impact will

If it’s a tool that’s meant to streamline a certain process,
be sure to impress on them that the time saved will allow them to focus on more
and grow their roles.

If it’s a solution that’s meant to free up more resources,
discuss with them how they now direct that saved budget and labor to more
productive things. If they can see the value it will bring to them as an
individual, you can make them excited to learn more about it and look forward
to its implementation.

Document management solutions represent a big shift in how
businesses interact with their documents, especially if you’re transitioning
from a mostly paper-driven structure. However, it’s a technology that vastly
improves business processes by introducing tools like automation and
intelligent organization.

 2. Keep them informed

Most big technology changes requires time for implementation and onboarding. It rarely happens overnight, so having a road map for implementation is essential to make sure it all goes smoothly.

More importantly, staying transparent with your employees on
this roadmap is helpful in easing them into the new system. Letting them know
what they can expect during the implementation period can give them ease and
let them know that they have time to get used to the transition rather than
just diving in.

3. Give them time

New technology always has a learning curve, and this is
especially true for those who aren’t used to working with it as part of their

 While some are quick
learners and early adopters, there is an equal number of those who have more of
a struggle learning how things work. They won’t get it overnight, so it’s
important to be patient and encouraging.

A transitional period where they’re still allowed to get
their job done the old way while learning the new way is encouraged if
possible. As long as they’re willing to learn and not resistant, it’s worth it
to let them grow at their own pace, all while providing the necessary support
such as additional training and mentoring.

4. Incentivize

If some employees are more resistant than others to adopt technology
changes, it doesn’t hurt to throw out some incentives to encourage them to
embrace the change.

Offering perks such as free lunch with training will make those employees a little more enthusiastic about attending those meetings.

Get creative with tying small rewards to the use of the new
tech solution as well as implying bigger forms of recognition for demonstrating
proficiency and enthusiasm for the new system.

Letting them know that the skills learned from training will
reflect across their entire career and showcase their adaptability.

5. Listen

Taking in feedback is an important part of any business
decision, not listening to your employee’s opinions and concerns about adopting
a new tech solution.

Encouraging an environment where your colleagues can discuss freely their experience with the current processes and how introducing a new factor that will impact those processes will help inform how you build out your implementation roadmap and how you go about training.

Being open to their ideas of how to transition and
addressing their concerns will make them feel part of the process and not feel
like it’s being forced upon them.

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