Yes, we’ve heard about company perks that big employers like Google and Facebook can offer their employees. But, what can smaller companies do? With limited budgets, it can be challenging, but offering attractive low-cost perks encourages creative ideas that will keep employees engaged and happy.
Some good perks to many employees are flexible schedules, telecommuting, and extra vacation days. Depending on the environment and culture, some employees enjoy the benefits of Take Your Dog to Work Day. There is also job sharing for new parents, or a paid day off per year to volunteer for a favourite charity. These are just some of the benefits that enable employees to work well and live well.
Many years ago, I worked at a company where the Director of our branch office did a lot of corporate travel. He racked up the air miles points, enough to be rewarded a long haul flight, and every year at the staff holiday party he drew a name out of a hat. I remember one year, the winning staff member was our long time receptionist who used the air miles to go on her honeymoon to the Caribbean. Although only one person really benefited from this perk, we all felt great about it. It did wonders for morale.
A tricky thing about introducing a new perk, is the sustainability of it. When financial times are tough, sometimes it’s those little perks that go away first. It can be awfully hard to take back those pizza Fridays that everybody enjoyed for the past year. Outrage may occur, and companies don’t like being the bad guy.
That being said, it can be fun to change things up a bit. Replace one perk with another one. A great morale booster is a peer-led recognition system, whereas the staff nominates one of their fellow co-workers as a star employee for going above and beyond their regular work. The company provides the prize – anything from a paid day off or gift cards. With a values-driven culture, the company should be in tune to their employees’ interests, and the awards can be highly personalized.
While going above and beyond the standard benefits can help boost moral and create a loyal workforce, keep in mind that it is not the dollar amount that matters. Taking a philosophical approach to values and culture, and the thought you put into it will create a culture of happiness and fun in the long run.
Companies are well aware of the cost of replacing an employee. Developing a strong, clear and engaging employer brand and corporate culture will attract the best talent and can make all the difference in an organization’s long term goals and growth.
A company that takes a strategic approach to talent management will see higher results in employee retention and overall superior team performance. This infographic from SAGE shows some interesting statistics about the ROI and cost of employee replacement.
Research shows that people who are happy at work, are better performers, have strong relationships with colleagues, and open communication with their managers. All of this leads to high employee retention, work satisfaction and a healthy corporate culture.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we ask you one quick question…
Companies with strong employment engagement usually have clearly defined employee onboarding programs. The best talent is drawn to environments where effective programs exist resulting in high levels of employee engagement and low employee turnover. While it seems like common sense to invest in creating and maintaining these programs, they are often overlooked.
Imagine a situation where a new hire has started at your company but there is no formal onboarding system in place. The new hire has a very important but sometimes undervalued role in the company as the Office Manager/Administrator. The direct supervisor is a recently new hire themselves so there is no clear direction of what to do. The Office Manager has arrived with a job description in mind but no formal training occurs, nor do they have opportunities to receive weekly or even monthly reviews. In addition, the busy sales company hasn’t had an Office Manager before as everyone just pitched in. It seemed like everyone assumes the new hire was clear on their job requirements and trained by the other team members.
The rest of the employees couldn’t draw upon history to assist the Office Manager in what to do. Frustration is building with the new hire and in a short time the Office Manager quits and everyone is in shock at what has happened.
This situation could create long-term damage to your corporate brand and could be prevented with an onboarding system in place. Ideally, companies need to plan their program before they start the hiring process. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Your company just needs a well thought out plan with a person accountable to see the new hire through a training-feedback process.
Have your new hire’s desk ready with computer log-in, e-mail account and telephone system all up. Don’t forget about business cards.
Assign a supervisor who is accountable for training the new hire.
Assign a buddy for the first month – nothing breaks the ice more than with a person familiar with the company’s culture and core values. Most importantly – to greet them when they arrive on their first day and show them around.
Take your new hire out for lunch on the first day – or coffee at very least
Train the new hire with a concise orientation book about your company
Seek feedback from the new hire- they can tell you where they need more assistance, clarity or direction
Communication is key – use monthly reviews to provide feedback and encourage feedback
Inform your employees in advance of the new hire’s arrival. Onboarding starts as soon as the offer letter is accepted, not simply just the new hire’s first day at the company.
Without an onboarding program, the investment in a new hire is likely to be wasted away. By simplifying the onboarding process, employers can expect new employees to hit the ground running, and be able to contribute more quickly to a corporation’s success.
Employees are a company’s greatest asset or the biggest liability.
It is one thing to hire exceptional individuals it is another to hire exceptional individuals who are leaders and who understand the importance of positive energy and the power of working together as a team to achieve dynamic results.
Positive energy flow and teamwork is vital to the long term growth of any establishment. Be aware that negative energy and ego can contaminate an entire establishment – all it takes is one individual.
Creating a strong positive team environment is important. Each individual plays a significant role in the overall energy force contributing positive or negative energy in the workplace. “Teamwork not only allows a person to do what he couldn’t otherwise do; it also has a compounding effect on all he possesses – including talent. A group of talented people committed to working together is a work of art. – John Maxwell
Understanding each team member’s strengths and weaknesses including varying energy levels and pairing up individuals who balance one another to create a team can be beneficial to all. In addition, hire individuals who are willing to learn from one another and support one another’s growth regardless of their position within the company. Look for the greatness within each individual and pair them with teammates who complement one another encouraging growth, support and teamwork.
A Chinese proverb states, “Behind an able man there are always other able men” The truth is that teamwork is at the heart of great achievement. The question isn’t whether teams have value, the question is whether we acknowledge that fact and become better team players – John Maxwell
One is too small a number to achieve greatness. Nothing of significance was ever achieved by an individual acting alone. Look below the surface and you will find that all seemingly solo acts are really team efforts. – John Maxwell
Both research and common sense tell us it’s wise to invest in preparing employees to be successful at their jobs. Follow up reviews and regular feedback can facilitate a positive relationship between the employer and new hire. Higher engagement equals happy employer and happy employee.
A recent conversation with a local business leader stuck with me. “Ms. Fabulous” shared her philoshophy on new employees: she gives every new hire a Rookie Card. This card allows the bearer to learn, make mistakes and ask multiple questions during the first six months.
As an example, she recently hired someone at an intermediate level with over eight years of industry experience. I enquired how the new hire was adjusting, and Ms. Fabulous’s response was surprising. With a laugh, she candidly explained the employee had made several small mistakes and was having difficulty navigating their complex regulatory system. However, rather than being upset or concerned, she stated she was thrilled with all the progress! Ms. Fabulous could see that this new employee frequently asked questions and was very engaged in learning their complicated systems. As an experienced and adept manager, she understands every company has slightly different rules of play, even in this particular case where she hired someone from a direct competitor. Regardless of seniority, new employees have to be part-student and part-employee. Ms. Fabulous knows from experience that no external candidate can exceed expectations within a few months in every area, as their business is complex and their standards are high.
The industry buzz about Ms. Fabulous is that she is a sought-out leader who manages an exceptional talent group. Due to her philosophy of hiring people with the best attitudes and promoting from within, she rarely hires above junior level. This has a marvelous side-effect of keeping employees motivated and happy. If you have made a recent hire, regardless of seniority, you might want to consider passing them a Rookie Card. This sets them up for success, which ultimately reflects well on your entire organization.
I was at a drug store today in the shampoo section when I happened upon a conversation between a store clerk and a customer. The customer was inquiring about a specific product line that they apparently didn’t carry anymore. She probed further about what other options were available to substitute and without a smile on her face the clerk responded, ‘I don’t know, I haven’t tried any of them.’ and then walked away.
“A moment of truth is anytime a customer comes into contact with any aspect of a business, however remote, and has an opportunity to form an impression.” Jan Carlzon, Scandinavian Airlines
About a month ago I attended a seminar lead on Moments of Truth, Misery and Magic by Shep Hyken, Customer Service expert and author of The Cult of the Customer . Shep spoke of the dynamic when you interact with people that you can either create moments of misery, magic or mediocrity. Moments of misery are those moments of truth gone bad. Moments of magic are those awesome experiences that make you want to go back for more. And perhaps the most hurtful to a business are those of mediocrity or as Shep calls them those of average, as those experiences leave no impression at all and can damage a company just as much as those of misery.
If companies were to repeat my drug store experience in their own particular business version they would most definitely leave an experience of mediocrity. You can really tell when an employee is engaged or interested in the overall good of a company.
Shep’s statement that, “One person can make the company!” is bang on. How often does a moment of mediocrity or misery delivered by a company’s employee scar the company for a long time unless dealt with. With so many other choices why would we go back for a negative or neutral experience.
Shep’s 10 strategies that will create Moments of Magic:
Manage the first impression- make it positive
Be knowledgeable on your service/product
Build rapport when dealing with your customers
Enthusiasm- show your “joy” for what you do!
Communication- be clear and ask questions to qualify what they really want and when.
Mistakes will happen so your goal is to resolve and restore confidence
Quality in every turn- provide great service or a great product
UPOD- under promise and over deliver
Consistency – maintain consistency in delivery of service
I’ve been married for more than a few years but I still remember the joy and trials of the honeymoon part of marriage. In business however, the ‘honeymoon’ period can be far more challenging and can quickly erode team synergy if the road to finding their ‘groove’ is too bumpy along the way. It has been 3 months since we “formalized” our commitment to on-boarding and retention through our complimentary McNak behavioural profile and consultation that all new permanent hires receive when they begin their new role at our client companies. As the key Consultant on Talent Diversification and veteran McNaker, I am excited to share the start of something so very McNak!
We recognize that we can bring smiles (our Wow!) to more people faster the quicker they know each other. Normal work relationships usually develop through an awkward trial and error method that usually takes the better part of a few months. And usually it doesn’t come without some thorns along the way. This period of flux can often have a downward pull on corporate culture and team productivity. I’ve already seen the tremendous benefit of our behavioural profiling and that makes me smile!
Let’s face it. No one likes to be the new guy or the one to work with the new guy. So fast tracking through the honeymoon period is gratefully welcomed by all involved!
Behavioural profiling has such a positive influence to teams. And with the four letters D I S C, I can selfishly say I feel the WOW. FUN. PEOPLE. How McNak is that!