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Nurturing Employee Wellness in Uncertain Times

Two years ago, a report by Gallup found that nearly a quarter of the 7,500 full-time employees they surveyed felt burned out “very often or always” with another 44% who reported feeling burned out some of the time. You’re probably aware of the massive costs, increased risk, and decreased health of both individuals and organizations that suffer from burnout. It’s not something you want in your business in the best of times.

But what about when your company, community, and economy is under immense pressure from an external source you can’t control? Do you double down on what you believe most critically demands your attention and put things like employee wellness aside?

Although you may be feeling pressure to cut down on extraneous programs to conserve effort, time, and money, it’s critical to remember that your employees are going to make or break your success during this trying time.

The ability of your employees to successfully navigate particularly stressful situations is deeply influenced by the ability of your company to support them. It wouldn’t be a reach to suggest the interaction and experience employees have within their role in your company has a significant impact on their quality of life. Especially now, when employees are struggling to find a new balance of working from home, often with children, and isolated from their communities.

Assess the tools available

As a leader during a challenging time, it’s crucial to take stock of what resources are available. Now is not the time to get tunnel vision. Keep your mind open to new and different solutions than you may be used to. Employee wellness isn’t just built from having enough time off or fair compensation. Wellness is a multifaceted thing, with many different aspects your business can focus its influence on.  

Outsourcing employee wellbeing programs

There are several organizations whose sole focus is to help businesses develop and nurture their employees’ wellbeing. Here are a few examples:

  • Thrive Global offers a multi-pronged approach to improving employee wellbeing and productivity through behavior change programs, educational content and resources, and digital solutions designed to help individuals make positive changes.
  • Whil is a platform that provides goal-based resilience training for individuals through targeted courses focusing on twelve aspects of employee wellbeing.
  • RestoreResilience provides stress-reduction and lifestyle improvement programs targeted to specific groups of employees. Their programs use a combination of smart technology and individualized coaching outreach to help employees make small meaningful adjustments and improvements in their lifestyle.

Getting creative

If your company isn’t set up to incorporate larger programs, there are numerous ways you can make smaller, yet still impactful changes to your employee experience. To help, let’s break down employee wellness into a few categories with examples for each.

Nutrition

  • Consider helping your employees boost their nutritional health by working with meal delivery services like Blue Apron or Sun Basket to offer food at a discounted price.
  • Offer discounts to online cooking classes and resources from services like the NYTimes Cooking subscription and ChefSteps.
  • Purchase gift cards from local restaurants (a great way to support your local community) to give to your employees. If you’re a local business, promote this idea to employers in your area and provide incentives. (i.e., purchase $1,000 of gift cards and receive $100 free!)

Mental Health

  • Remote counseling services have skyrocketed recently. Consider working with companies like Talkspace and BetterHelp to provide your employees with mental health services that will help them navigate this challenging time.

Fitness

  • Consider reaching out to local fitness instructors and yoga teachers to offer virtual training sessions and classes to your employees every week.

Financial

  • Consider implementing a program like Compt to provide your employees with a monthly stipend they can use towards their wellness. This is a great way to find something that fits your specific budget while providing employees with the freedom to choose what they will spend it on. This increases the chance they will actually use what they purchased. A win-win!

Their wellness is your wellness

However you choose to help your employees maintain their wellness during this challenging time, be sure that you are doing something. Even the smallest acts make a difference. Remember, how you treat your employees now will influence their relationship with you for the rest of their employment. By giving them what they need now, you’re ensuring their long-term loyalty, engagement, and productivity. Think healthy employees = healthy business. It’s good for everyone.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by racorn

Fostering Emotional Wellness for Your Remote Workforce

Whether you’re new to managing remote employees, or you’re an old hand at it, understanding how to meet the individual needs of newly remote workers is central to ensuring your team is functioning successfully. Now more than ever, it’s critical that employers take extra steps to help their employees navigate the fear and uncertainty posed by COVID-19.  

With many businesses just becoming acquainted with the ins and outs of remote work, its too easy for business owners to get wrapped up in smoothing out the wrinkles in functionality and forget that their workers are facing an exceptionally challenging time.  

Chances are, your company and employees are facing some of these challenges yourselves. It’s important to remember that it’s going to be your employees who get your company through this. By supporting your employees, you’re supporting the very foundation your business sits on. Plus, it’s just the right thing to do.  

Start with care 

It’s easy to laugh it off, or insist that you don’t have time, but first things first: take care of yourself! If the leaders of your company are tired, stressed out, and suffering, your teams are going to feel it.  

Connect with your leadership team often and check in with them repeatedly. You may have to ask how they are doing more than once. Their first instinct may be to brush off their anxiety, doubt, or frustration. But if you follow up your first “How are you?” with “So how are you, really?” you may get a very different answer. The same goes for the teams they manage. 

These conversations may seem daunting but go into them recognizing you don’t have to have solutions to their feelings. Often just a listening ear or some words of encouragement is all they need to feel relief from their stress.   

Listening to these answers can be draining, too. If you checked in with five people today and four of them expressed anxiety and doubt to which you had to respond, it can quickly burn you out. So have a way to take care of yourself as well. Meditation, exercise, or peer discussion groups can be a great release for your own built-up anxiety and stress.   

Remote work is touted as a great solution that can raise productivity and employee engagement. Still, for some employees, it’s exceptionally challenging, and to most people who are new to working remotely, it takes time to adjust. The stress of navigating a new working situation compounded with the anxiety of dealing with the pandemic may be putting employees in a particularly challenging position.  

Acknowledging this is the first step to supporting your employees. Working remotely can cause feelings of isolation, so ensuring they don’t feel alone in their struggle or experience is a vital part of helping them navigate the change.  

Connect, connect, connect 

Connecting through check-ins and one-on-one meetings in an employee-manager relationship is a great place to start. If you usually have monthly check-ins, consider bumping it up to a weekly occurrence.  

Manager-to-employee check-ins are essential, but making sure your teams are connecting as well is also critical to helping them combat feelings of isolation and encouraging team building and engagement.   

  • Consider setting up weekly group happy hours where the only thing on the agenda is connecting with peers and catching up. Keep them casual and encourage people to eat and drink. Bring your employees together by sharing funny stories from the previous week and celebrating successes.  
  • Be a source of reliable information for your employees to depend on. At the beginning or end of each week, provide them with local resources and information that may help them address personal challenges brought on by the virus.  
  • If your teams are substantial, consider setting up a buddy system, or support groups of up to three employees. Encourage them to meet with each other throughout the week. Encourage them to work on challenges together and to keep leadership informed of any particular needs that arise.  

Take the lead 

Remember, your workforce is a living, breathing animal. It needs connection, encouragement, and time to care for itself. If you want to ensure your team is prioritizing these needs, you must lead by example. If your productivity or work quality drops, respond with care and understanding.  

A steady hand and even voice now will mean a more durable and healthier workforce later. The whole world is in this together, and we must be patient as we find solutions to the challenges we face.  

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by luckyguy123

5 Ways to Attract and Retain Young Talent

It’s becoming increasingly imperative that companies do everything in their power to keep up with the needs and expectations, not just of their customers, but of their employees. To attract a workforce that views you as an employer of choice and feels committed to your company is becoming more and more difficult as the demographics of the workforce grows and evolves. This year, over a third of the workforce will be Gen Z, meaning that all the work you did to try to attract millennials is going to need to be reviewed and adjusted.

But that isn’t such a bad thing. Your company should always be working to improve its culture to be the most attractive to new talent. It’s just part of the game. Thankfully, there are large trends that you can follow to help guide you to the best decisions around what benefits and perks you should offer, personalizing them to the distinctive needs of your company.

Personal Development

The lifecycle of a typical career has evolved dramatically over the past 40 years. Where an employee used to stay with the same company for decades and work their way up the ladder, employees now are viewing their career as happening in a series of waves, not linear steps in a ladder. With more and more people expecting to work longer than their predecessors, there is a natural expectation for more variety within a career, with more frequent breaks.

Younger generations are continuing to evolve by prioritizing jobs that offer opportunities to grow and develop their skillset, which will widen their career options moving forward. Four out of five employees consider the opportunity to develop new skills a critical factor when considering employment options.

Giving your employees opportunities to attend classes, conferences, and access learning opportunities is a great way to get the most potential out of your hires while building loyalty and engagement.

Flexibility 

Younger generations are exceedingly interested in employment that allows them to have greater control over their schedules. Consider implementing flexible work schedules, offering flex time, or even fully remote positions at your company. You may find that you can actually save money while increasing productivity by providing remote working opportunities.

Wellness

It’s common knowledge that Gen Z and Millennials have put a stronger emphasis on the importance of a healthy work-life balance, and as an employer, it’s important to factor this into your attraction and retention plans. Younger generations are seeking employers who offer wellness programs that support their needs and show that the company values their health. There is a large selection of wellness perks and programs to choose from, so you can select the perfect-fit programs for your company and staff. Here are a few ideas:

  • Provide a monthly gym membership to employees
  • Offer a monthly stipend to be put towards personal wellness (massages, yoga classes, etc.)
  • Provide educational opportunities for employees to learn about nutrition, sleep, and self-care

Whatever you provide, make sure you’ve talked to your employees about what they actually want. That way, when you make the commitment to offer a wellness perk, you know it’s going to be used and appreciated.

Financial empowerment

Young generations face high levels of financial challenges, such as student loan debt, high cost-of-living, and excessive healthcare expenses. The current financial situation employees are dealing with has them expecting to work longer into their lives to be able to survive. You can support these employees by offering 401K programs, student debt matching, and financial coaching.

More employees than ever report being stressed by their financial situation. By offering them a way to find better financial security and relieve their anxiety, you’re showing them you not only understand their needs but are willing to help them meet and overcome their challenges.

Develop a positive hiring experience and company culture

According to a survey, nearly 80% of candidates consider their hiring experience as a top indicator of whether or not the company values its employees. Over 90% of job seekers research at least one resource to determine the employer’s brand before applying. This indicates a strong emphasis placed on company culture and values.

Make sure your hiring and onboarding process is candidate-friendly, accessible, and easy-to-execute. Do your workplace culture and online presence match up? Find ways to communicate the core values of your company through your hiring process and take pains to ensure they align with the experience of a committed employee. You want your candidates to know who you are from the get-go so they can make an informed decision whether or not to apply and aren’t disappointed when they join your team.

Never stop improving

As our world and culture develop, so do the expectations and needs of employees. Carve out time every year to evaluate how well your company is keeping up. Doing so won’t just make you look more attractive to prospective talent; it will help keep the talent you already have happily working for you.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by ammentorp

Empowering Employees Through Financial Wellness

The heightened frustration around the rising cost of living in the US is unmistakable and likely felt in your organization. Extreme healthcare costs, massive student loan debt, and rising housing costs have put an enormous strain on the American workforce. 

In a study on employee financial wellness in 2019, it was found that the leading source of employee stress across generations stems from financial issues. Despite record-high employment, employees are still struggling to meet rising financial demands across the board. Nearly half of all employees struggle to pay their household expenses on time each month.  More and more  people are expecting to work into their retirement to pay for healthcare and living costs.

So what does this mean for employers trying to attract, retain, and care for their talent?

It’s an opportunity to find ways to empower and support your employees financially.

But how?

There are many ways to provide financial support services to your employees, but it’s critical you understand the particular needs of your workforce. What might be right for a start-up tech company may not work for a retail store or small insurance agency.

To identify what services are right for your employees, it’s always a good idea to start by asking them! Conduct an internal survey to pinpoint where your employees need help. You can decide how to best address the needs once you know what they are.

There are a few common financial pain points; however, you can expect to find in most communities. Here are some ideas to address them.

1. Offering 401k plans with matching contribution

It isn’t far-fetched to assume that everyone—really, everyone—wants to retire someday. And with  80% of people expecting  to work during retirement, you really can’t go wrong by providing an opportunity for your employees to get in (or ahead of) the game. Tax breaks are available to businesses offering 401K matching plans to their employees, which helps mediate the overall cost of set-up and maintenance.

To those employees you’re hoping to attract and retain, offering a 401k plan with matching contribution says you care about their future and are willing to invest in it. Doing so will help build loyalty to your company and will play into a company culture that values the empowerment of its employees.

2. Student loan repayment 

It’s widely known in the US that student loan debt has increasingly damaged people’s ability to thrive. It’s common to hear graduates working extra jobs, moving back home with their parents, and living in poverty to pay off their bills. Here’s what the numbers tell us:

Ok, so these numbers are pretty scary. Thankfully, there are ways that employers can help support those employees who are struggling to pay off their student loans. Two options are Student Loan Replacement Plans (SLRPs) and student loan matching programs. Do your research on the available options to make sure the benefits program you choose is right for your particular employee population. 

3. Short and long-term disability (STD and LTD)

Statistically, a  quarter of all adults  in the US will live with a disability in their lifetime. Offering long and short-term disability benefits can play a critical part in your employee benefits strategy. However, it’s essential to understand the different programs available and exactly how they provide support. Not all plans are created equal. For instance, STD and LTD programs define disability in a variety of ways. Some follow the definition followed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is more rigid, where some have a broader and more flexible definition, allowing a more comprehensive range of people to access support.

Join the cause

Whatever options you choose for building a financial support system for your workforce, make sure you communicate with your employees about their level of need and interest and do your research accordingly. Providing relevant and easy-to-use solutions will make your employees feel supported and cared for.

Whether you choose a benefits package to help employees with student loans, get the upper hand on retirement savings, or offer financial protection in a time of need, you’re showing employees you’re invested in their well-being and care about their future success.

People want to work for a company that wants to see them succeed. There’s no better way to show you believe your employees are valuable than offering benefits that will provide real value to them. It’s not just good for your company culture and brand image; it makes a positive and lasting impact on the lives of the people working for you. Now that’s real value.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by Wavebreak Media Ltd 

Think Brand Doesn’t Play a Role in the Hiring Process? Think Again.

In today’s world of online expansion, many aspects of business success have changed dramatically, influencing the way companies compete with each other, connect with their customers, and even make sales. Companies have had to adjust their priorities, setting their online presence and customer experience at a much higher bar. It isn’t far-fetched to say that brand image is a major source of life blood to a company, playing a massive role in attracting new customers and filling the pipeline. 

These days, customers have access to an immense amount of information about your brand, from reviews of products to price comparisons between your competitors. People trust each other’s online reviews nearly as much as they trust personal recommendations. More than half of consumers will only purchase from a company with a star rating of four or more. It’s up to your business to stay ahead of the curve and ensure that what’s being said about it online is beneficial to the company.   

There are countless B2B services based on this idea. Marketing agencies, website developers, customer outreach teams, and data analysists all working to build and maintain a healthy brand image. But there’s a whole part of building a brand image that isn’t talked about nearly enoughemployee and candidate experience.  

Everyone matters 

It goes without saying that what people say about you online matters. But when was the last time you checked to see how candidatefriendly your hiring processes are? Have you ever looked up employee reviews of your company on sites like Glassdoor? What about internal surveys to gauge the employee onboarding experience  

Unfortunately, candidates are often the last priority on the long list of people companies are worried about. But this is a mistake, especially now when the employment rate is at a record high. Companies have to compete with each other for talent and stand out as a preferred place of employment to potential candidates. And anyone who comes in contact with your company has the potential to influence your brand image through online reviews. 

So how do you make sure your candidates (whether or not they become employees) walk away feeling good about their experience with your company? 

Call them back 

A common mistake that many businesses make is failing to communicate with candidates. Making sure to call them back, whether or not they’re getting an interview or moving to the next step in the application process, isn’t just polite, it’s respectful.  

If someone has taken the time out of their day to apply to work at your company, they deserve the two minutes it will take to call and acknowledge their effort. Remember, everyone who interacts with your company should have a positive experience. They may be a future customer, or reviewer, or even a candidate for a different position. Treating them with respect by taking the time to call them back and tell them where they are in the process is paramount to ensuring they walk away having had a good experience.  

Be transparent 

An informed candidate is a higher quality candidate. Think about it. If a candidate has to jump through hoops to submit their resumeor doesn’t know if the position is offering the salary they need, or can’t easily find the job description, they’re going to be frustrated at best. 

Being transparent about everything from the application process to the starting salary and benefits allows candidates to ensure they aren’t wasting their time applying for a job they don’t want, or that isn’t right for them. If you provide them with clear expectations around how they will move through the process, you remove confusion and increase ease. Its better for them, and you.

Be Timely  

Just because someone is applying to work for you doesn’t mean you should prioritize your time over theirs. More often than not, candidates are already employed and have to take time out of their workday to come to an interview. So it’s costing them money and/or time to arrive for an interview. Make sure your interview process reflects your understanding of the time and effort needed on their end. Don’t show up late or cancel last minute.   

Additionally, companies often make the mistake of thinking their candidates are only in competition with each other, when in fact, your company is in competition for the best candidate. Don’t make the mistake of waiting too long before reaching out to them. Or you’ll lose them to a company that beat you to them. Plus, there’s nothing worse than to be left hanging. Let them know whether or not they got the job or are being moved to the next round. Even if you call to let them know they didn’t make the cut, at least they won’t be left wondering.  

Take the opportunity 

Every time your company interacts with someone, you have an opportunity to make a positive impact on your brand image. Each person who walks away from your company is a potential brand ambassador, customer, or reviewer. If your company is really about creating a positive experience, then every interaction, internal and external, should play into those values.  

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by grki

The Critical Role HR Plays in Business Success

HR plays an integral part of any organization. The roles of these professionals include much more than recruiting new employees; they also develop strategies geared towards productivity, training, and employee engagement. For the most part, a company’s human resource department oversees and helps facilitate a large portion of business operations. 

HR responsibilities are often comprised of behind-the-scenes work and are not always viewed as playing such a key role in the success of a business. Yet its this department that is dedicated to finding people with the right talents, skills, values, and attitudes to get the day-to-day responsibilities taken care of. They’re responsible for ensuring that once you find the right people, they get to work in an environment that’s welcoming, inspiring, and productive. 

Without HR doing this necessary legwork, how would a business exist?Following are four critical HR functions that contribute to business’s success 

Recruiting and hiring 

Finding the right people to fulfill job responsibilities is not an easy task and companies that fail to see the complexity of the process often end up losing money. Hiring is a big project for just one new or replacement position. When you have ongoing hiring needs, it can be a full time job itself.  

Of course, when there’s an open position, hiring managers want it filled ASAP. It makes sense, but it puts tremendous pressure on HR to not only get it done, but get it done well. It’s difficult and time consuming to sort through the applications, looking for the most talented people who will be competent in the job role.   

And when you find the people with the right skills, you have to continue sorting through during the interviews to find people who will be a good fit with the company culture. A good skill fit does not equate to a good culture fit. And a poor match between employee and company culture can spell disaster. Not only will the employee not be happy, everyone around them will feel it as well. One employee who doesn’t fit the culture well can disrupt the whole company.   

Poor hiring choices can result in lost revenue from lost productivity due to unnecessary distractions, the potential loss of other employees who are negatively impactedand the expense of having to search again and replace the ill-fitting employee. And these are just the revenue issues, not even mentioning the other HR nightmares (social, emotional, reputational, legal that come from a bad hire! 

All in all, there’s a lot to gain and a lot to lose with hiring and it’s in HR’s hands to make sure the process is done successfully. Whew!  

Training and development  

HR has the responsibility to ensure that employees are skilled and working as efficiently as possible. This starts from the very beginning of the new relationship with the onboarding process and continues throughout their lifecycle with the company.  

Conducting ongoing job performance assessments and identifying skill gaps for their teams is a critical role that hiring managers play. This information then gets rolled up to HR to help find the training resources to raise the skill level of the team.   

Company productivity, quality standards, and employee safety are all dependent on keeping staff trained with the knowledge and skills needed to perform their roles at the highest level.   

Employee engagement 

One of the most common reasons for employee turnover is dissatisfaction in a job. So, once again, we turn to HR to help identify the issues and provide the solutions.  

Employees who feel connected to the company, their supervisor, and their teammates are much happier and engaged in the work they do. The culture fit is back as a critical element, and so is the fit for the job. Doing work they enjoy with people they enjoy makes for a happy work day.  

Most people want to excel at their job, and when they receive the necessary direction and feedback about the work they’re doing, they’re much more likely to feel engaged. It’s really hard to do a job without feedback and without coaching help along the way.   

Supervisors may not feel comfortable giving this constructive feedback. But on the flip side, employees are not likely comfortable doing a job blindly and having to wait for an annual performance review to get some nuggets of retrospective advice. While HR may participate in some of these conversations with employees, most importantly, their role is to train supervisors to have these ongoing, constructive coaching/feedback conversations themselves 

As important as the constructive feedback is, recognition plays an important part of the employee engagement equationEmployees who receive recognition for hard work and accomplishments feel valued and are more productive as a resultSo HR to the rescue again, finding ways to keep a pulse on the organization, acknowledgachievements, and encourage and nurture a positive rapport with employees 

Building a positive environment 

The work environment is critical! Not only does HR need to ensure they’re hiring for the right cultural fit from the beginning, but they need to ensure the environment stays positive and productive all year round.  

This starts from the very beginning with candidates and new hires alike, conveying the importance of contributing to a positive environment. The goal should be to create a pleasant work environment where everyone feels appreciated and works together as a team.  

Through documentationongoing discussion, and even training sessions for  company values, ethicsand policies, HR emphasizes the importance of having positive, respectful environmentNot only does this create a safe environment for the employees on the team, but it protects and enhances the company reputation, as well.

The HR department is always developing new strategies to increase performance, find and retain great employees, keep everyone happy, and ensure the budget is metHR professionals could say this is only a fraction of what they do, and they certainly wouldn’t be wrong! 

HR is incredibly valuable to your company strategy and  they could probably use a little extra recognition anappreciation for the difficult work they’re responsible for managing. You never know, they might just be whats standing in between your company and a compliance disaster, or hiring debacle, or budgeting nightmare.  Support your HR team. Celebrate them. It’s well deserved! 

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by langstrup

Social Media for Your Business: Behind the Scenes

Social media is rampant and here to stay. You already get this. You understand that marketing on social media is a big part of building your brand and finding new customers. There are thousands of articles titled things like “Social Media is Here to Stay” and “Why Your Company Needs an Online Presence.”  You’ve probably read some of them. 

You know its importance for establishing your company’s social credibility and promoting your products. But social media channels offer so much more useful stuff than just a space to promote your products. It can become a tool to keep your company ahead of the curve and build the kind of following that pushes you to where you want to go.  

So what are we talking about here? Special secret doors of coding that can lead your company to the pot at the end of the capitalist rainbow? Maybe not. But we can tell you about a couple great uses of social media that can help give you the insight and support your business needs to succeed—beyond just promoting your products.  

Social listening 

Social media provides an opportunity to learn more about your audience and your surrounding community. It opens you up to potential customers near and far and allows for you and your audience to observe each other.  

One key to building a successful customer experience is understanding your company’s ideal customer, creating a buyer persona, and using this partially real/partially constructed personality to guide the way you develop your customer experience, your marketing initiatives, and your products. 

Building a buyer persona is tricky. You want to use a mix of real data and well informed decisions about personality traits, along with buyer pain points, so you can tailor your customer experience to best meet the needs and expectations of your customer. And where better to look for useful data and information about your customers and audience than social media?  

Using social media channels, you can get an indepth look at how your customers interact with and talk about your brand. You can learn about other brands and companies they interact with, and the kinds of common pain points that drive them to look for solutions. You can: 

  • Read review sites that cover your market to identify what people find frustrating about your industry and find opportunities for you to fill gaps in what is available. 
  • Keep tabs on what your competition is doing, how they are approaching their customer base, and where they are excelling and lacking. 
  • Learn about shared interests of your audience, discovering what people in your community have in common (pain points, interests, and methods of communicating). 

Once you begin down this path, you’ll see just how far it goes. There is an endless amount of information and data you can collect to inform your customer experience, your buyer personas, and your company as a whole. 

Market your company to job seekers 

This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often businesses simply post a job on Indeed and call it good. But the statistics say it’s no longer acceptable for companies just to stop at posting a Craigslist ad. This study found that 94% of working Americans would visit a company’s social media before applying to work for them.  

People want to work for (and buy from) a company that aligns with their values and makes them feel good. Especially now that employment is at an alltime high, companies have no excuse not to do everything in their power to attract top talent.   

Using your social media platform to promote your company values, your brand vision, and your culture isn’t just a great way to drive people to have positive emotional responses to your brand, but it will do wonders in driving the talent you need to your door.   

Here’s how you can optimize your social media to help attract talent. 

  • Get your employees involved in company social media. Have them share articles, post reviews, and stay active on the company page.  
  • Promote information about your company culture. Highlight your values, any charitable events you sponsor or participate in, and perks you provide for your employees. 
  • Share educational information for people involved in your industry. This helps build your brand authority and sets you up as a reliable source of helpful and useful information to both customers and workers in your industry.  

More, more, more! 

Do your company a favor and do your research. Find out what you don’t know about the tools social media can provide you. The more you delve into all the ways social media can get your company ahead, the more difficult it is to ignore.   

Social media is a massive resource, and it’s free. The opportunities for what you can mine from social channels and how you can expand your brand’s voice and power are unlimited. And the really exciting thing is that it’s always expanding. So, jump in and take advantage of the opportunity social media can provide, both to your customers and to your company.  

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by ronstik

 

Create a Winning Strategy with Happy Employees

In today’s job market, companies are having to take extra steps to stay ahead of their competition. Prospective employees have more options than ever and are often already employed.

Now more than ever, employees are valuing jobs that support their ability to lead a healthy lifestyle. The Randstad 2019 employer global report found that the demand for employers that support a healthy work-life balance has steadily risen since 2015 and now sits above job security.

Building a work environment that supports a healthy work-life balance and encourages employees to take care of themselves outside of work may sound like a daunting ask for an employer. Here are three ideas to get you started.

Consider a shortened work week

There’s a recent study going around that’s gotten a lot of media coverage—for good reason. Microsoft’s subsidiary in Japan did an experiment over the summer to investigate what would happen to productivity if they cut their work week from five to four days a week. The result was a 40% spike in productivity from the same month of the previous year.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

Employees were given less time to accomplish their duties and more time to focus on their personal lives and the result was a massive increase in productivity for the company. Not to mention the savings they had from decreased electricity usage (down almost a quarter from the previous year) as well as a decreased use in office supplies.

Talk about a win-win for both employees and employers.

This may not be a model that works for your company, but don’t worry! There are other ways to offer employees greater personal control over work hours.

Flex time

While remote working options have taken a huge rise in mainstream economy, it doesn’t work for a lot of people for a variety of reasons. Flex time, however, offers employees greater flexibility for the hours they work without having them work at home.

Often, flex-schedules revolve around a set number of hours that are agreed upon, allowing employees to control what time they begin and end their workdays. Companies that offer flex-schedules often have set hours during the day or week where all employees are required to be at the office, allowing for easier scheduling and promoting collaboration.

Employees with children or family members in their care are able to make work schedules that allow them to run errands, drop children off at school, or take someone to a doctor appointment.

The easier you can make it for employees to work for you, the less stressed out they’ll be. And the less stressed out your employees are, the more likely they won’t call out of work. (Which, by the way, contributes to over half of all the lost working days in a year.) 

Perks

Purchasing a benefits package for your employees can be incredibly expensive and isn’t an option for most small business owners. But that doesn’t mean you can’t provide employee perks that encourage self-care.

Consider getting rid of those beanbags no one ever sits in, and instead, offer perks that encourage employees to take time to nurture themselves.

Providing your employees with a gift certificate for a massage every quarter or offering a sponsored gym membership are great examples. If you can, try putting together a number of options for employees to choose from.

When you offer employees a variety of perks and let them choose which is best for them, you’re contributing to a great employee experience. Offering choices increases the chance they’ll use it, allows you to give them autonomy, and helps personalize the work experience. 

You can even take this a step further and create opportunities for team building and development around fun, recreational activities. Just be sure you select activities that are accessible to everyone in your office for it to be a team morale booster.

Encouraging your employees to take care of themselves, to prioritize their mental, physical, and emotional health not only shows that you value them as individuals, but that you recognize a healthy employee is a good employee. Talk about a good loyalty-builder! 

It’s good for everyone

Work-related stress can cause literal death, but it also contributes to lower engagement, lower productivity, and lower job satisfaction. Having stressed out employees does no good for anyone.

So whatever it is your company does to help, be it increased flexibility, decreased hours, or a free massage every few months, make sure your company is doing something. You’ll nurture trust, loyalty, and engagement in your employees.

Plus, it’s just the right thing to do. Care for them, and they’ll care for you.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by ammentorp

 

 

HR’s Secret Weapon: Marketing Communications

If you were asked what HR’s job is, I’m sure you’d come up with a list of answers. Keeping the company in compliance, managing workplace risk, providing resources and support to employees, payroll, hiring top talent, maintaining a positive company culture… the list goes on and on. But what ties this all together? 

Communication. 

HR has the responsibility to communicate all this and more to company employees, but all too often the tactics fail to actually get enough attention to be noticed. This is where HR can take some pointers from marketing. Because when it comes down to it, marketing is communication. And HR needs high quality communication to do their job well 

Think about it. How difficult is it to get an employee to read (and understand) their benefits package, or the employee handbook, or any other important information HR needs them to have? Difficult enough to be causing HR professionals some frustrating headaches for sure 

So how do you approach this problem? Following are some marketing tips HR can apply to their communication tactics to getand hold, the attention they need. 

Send out a weekly or monthly email/ newsletter  

HighlightsUse this to highlight work events that are coming up, give a shout-out to a team or employee who has gone above and beyond or completed a big project, and talk about things you want the entire company to know about. This could be an upcoming employee survey, a deadline for enrollment for benefits, or a reminder about checking tax withholdings to help employees prepare for tax season.  

PerksOverview the perks you offer to employees such as opportunities for personal development and career coaching, company retreats, and PTO. Keep the resources you make available to employees top of mind 

GoalsReview company goals and how specific teams and departments can help reach them. This is a great opportunity to highlight what different teams are doing to reach the same overarching goal. This can help align departments and keep everyone focused and feeling the team spirit. Plus, if you give a shout-out to a team or an individual, you’re creating a culture of appreciation and recognition! Talk about a good employee retention strategy!  

TeamworkThis also encourages different departments to see how they support each other, further bringing the community together. The more clarity there is about how teams work together and support each other, the higher functioning the company. And the less time HR spends on mitigating interdepartmental disputes.  

Attract the talent your company is looking for  

Marketing works to help guide people from being prospects to customers by meeting them at all the various points of contact they might have with your company. It’s marketing’s job to draw customers in with useful information, content offers, and guidance specifically targeted to where they are in their journey to becoming a customer.  

HR can take the same approach with attracting the type of employees they want working for the company, sometimes even hitting two birds with one stone.  

For instance, you can create a video highlighting your company values, perhaps interviewing aemployee about their experience or covering a recent charitable event your company hosted or participated in. This type of content is not only one of the more successful types of content marketing, but it could also help promote you to prospective employees. People tend to want to buy from (and work for) a company that shares their values and makes them feel good.  

HR can also take a page from marketing’s book by streamlining the process to apply. Just like you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to interact with your company (i.e., providing social icons for sharing and having easy options for answering questions and contacting support) you want to make it as easy as possible for job seekers to apply to work for you. You can: 

  • Keep the process down to five minutes or less  
  • Offer useful information at different points of the application process to help applicants discover more about you and what to expect throughout the application process 
  • Convey your company values and culture through the job description 
  • Highlight the perks and benefits your company offers 
  • Showcase the employee development and training services you offer 

Great communication = trust 

When it comes down to it, HR has a lot on its plate. So make it easier by learning to communicate often, clearly, and with the employee (or prospective employee) in mind. The better you communicate, the more people feel they can trust you, and the easier it is to do your job. It also means you get your message across in a way that sticks. 

As an HR professional, you work so hard to make other people’s jobs easier and to help provide useful information that will support and inform employees. We know how challenging it can be to find successful channels for communicating. So next time you’re looking for an effective way to provide that helpful information, think about how marketing would approach it and try using some of these tactics to help you. It’ll maximize the work you’ve done to provide support, and it’ll help them receive it.  

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners
 
Photo by

alesmunt

HR PSA: Sometimes it’s Not Your Problem

You got into HR because you genuinely like helping people. You care about other people’s wellbeing and you see the value in building systems that are mutually beneficial for both individuals and companies. You take pride in being able to listen, empathize, and help people deal with problems. 

But being a people person comes with its own challenges. You want to be able to help everyone, but in HR (and in life) that doesn’t always mean allowing them to bring all their problems to you. You’ve got to balance the needs of the company with the needs of individual workers. That does not mean you’re supposed to be the company therapist.  

Although playing the role of the listener is often a part of being in HR, it isn’t your job to listen to employees complain about each other. There are more productive ways to deal with those issues. 

Constructive Conversations 

When employees approach you to complain about a problem they’re having with someone on their team, or their manager, do a quick evaluation to see if they should be talking with you or if they should be taking the first steps to addressing the issue. 

  • Have they tried to solve the problem themselves? 
  • Do you get the sense they just want to change the other person? 
  • Are they trying to absolve themselves of accountability? 
  • Do they simply want to vent and aren’t interested in coming up with solutions? 

In these cases, they should be exploring other methods of addressing the problem rather than giving it to you. Coaching employees and managers to have constructive conversations on their own is key for teams to run effectively. People need to learn to approach, talk about, and solve problems within their team in a professional manner. 

It might include coaching on key concepts like active listeningmirroring, and how to create value from a conversation. Unless it is a matter of safety, such as harassment, this should be the first step anyone takes when dealing with an interpersonal problem at work.  

If your company culture pushes people into the arms of HR before they’ve tried addressing the problem themselves, some changes may be in order. Take steps toward adjusting the company culture around internal problem solving and empowering people to address some level of challenges on their own. 

Need extra support? 

Empowering people to manage their own concerns and disputes is a great way to develop a team. However, sometimes employees are dealing with something much larger than an interpersonal issue.  

Problems stemming from mental illness, grief, or trauma are common and can go unknown to teammates. It may be manifesting itself in disagreements with other coworkersnegativity, and decreased engagement. HR may be the right answer to help in these situations, and you’ll need to take the time to uncover the real issue.  

But often personal problems like this need extra assistanceSome companies have employee assistance programs (EAPs) that are designed to help with these issues. Having an EAP and pointing employees to these services may be especially useful if there was a recent event involving workplace violence or harassment.  

There are other resources outside of your company you can tap into to help deal with a problem that is beyond the capacity of HR. It’s important to be familiar with them so you can make informed recommendations for whats needed to help maintain workplace health. 

Here are some supporting resources you can tap into: 

  • Hire a coach to come work with your team 
  • Offer inperson or overthephone counseling options to employees 
  • Have a list of hotlines you can reference for employees struggling with personal issues 

Saying no 

Learning to say no to people approaching HR with the wrong problems can be difficult, especially when your first instinct is to help. But sometimes it’s necessary—although it doesn’t mean that the problem goes ignored. 

When you send someone away to deal with a problem themselves, and you give them the tools to do so, you are challenging them to take accountability for their situation and assume a leadership role in addressing the issue. You are empowering them by teaching them how to deal with future workplace challenges and showing them they have the ability to solve it on their own. You’re also taking a lot of unnecessary work off your plate. It’s a winwin.  

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by Dmitrii Shironosov