Digital Marketing Strategies to Achieve HR Goals in 2021

Human Resources is one of those departments whose importance and potential many companies undervalue, and many a time, HR goes by as a silo department that handles an occasional dispute and organizes vacation time. In reality, HR can be one of your most powerful tools for business growth and success, but you need to optimize its processes and include it in a variety of mission-critical objectives. When leveraged the right way, HR specialists can help sales, marketing, support, and every other team in your organization achieve better results.

Now, assuming that you already understand the importance of HR in the grand scheme of things, you should focus on achieving higher HR goals throughout 2021. This requires you to invest in HR-oriented marketing strategies that will help reach those goals, whether they are attracting better candidates, improving the employer brand, employee retention, or all of those and more. So today, let’s talk about HR-oriented digital marketing and how best to implement it to achieve your HR goals in 2021. 

Focusing on the right social channels

We live in a world driven by social media, and nowadays every company should have a social media presence. Given the fact that the social media market is constantly growing and that there are billions of people using social networks every day, it only stands to reason that you should use social to boost the performance of HR in 2021 and beyond. However, when it comes to HR, you have to be calculated and careful, because you don’t want to invest in the wrong social channels.

Social media marketing and management require human and financial resources, so it’s important to identify the social networks that are relevant to your HR goals. These will typically include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. You want to position relevant ads on these networks to get the attention of the right candidates, but you also want to publish on your accounts regularly on relevant HR topics. 

Optimizing the website to rank higher

Whether you run a strictly HR agency or you just want to prioritize achieving the HR goals within your organization, there is no denying that your website is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. Before any candidate decides to reach out or act on your ads, they will most definitely research your website. They are not just looking for tangible and concrete information, they are looking to find out as much as they can about your brand, what it stands for, and what they can expect from you in the long run. Because remember, candidates are looking for security more than anything else during these trying times. 

That said, it’s not just about the user experience on the site, it’s also about making sure that your website is ranking high in the relevant search results. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on SEO, so it’s important to optimize your website with new, more relevant keywords and meta tags that will allow job-seekers to find your site easily and inspire Google to rank you higher. This is the kind of exposure you need in order to reach the best of the best. 

Dishing out niche HR-oriented content

Content marketing will continue to dominate the digital marketing realm in 2021 and without a doubt, the years to come as well. Simply put, there is no digital marketing nowadays without optimized storytelling, so it’s imperative that you keep dishing out top-quality content all year round. That said, next year you might want to prioritize an HR-oriented approach to your content strategy.

After all, were you to talk to an experienced marketer or research the best digital marketing agency in your industry and its content creation, you will quickly learn that content is goal-oriented, oftentimes focusing on the specific objectives of various departments. This includes HR objectives, of which there can be many, but all of which require visual and written content. Be sure to diversify your content creation and align it with your HR goals, and make sure to create long-form articles, images and infographics, as well as videos.

Improving your email marketing strategy

Email marketing is yet another powerful digital marketing tool, and you can use it to drive your HR department and your entire company forward in 2021. To achieve your HR goals, you need to optimize your internal and external email communication. After all, you not only want people to open the emails, but also to act on them and make positive decision.

To do this effectively, be sure to incorporate more visuals in your 2021 email strategy. Engage your designers to work with HR and marketers to craft more visually appealing emails that will guide the recipient towards a positive outcome and frame the design. The same rules of email copywriting apply as always, but in 2021 you want to complement that copy with engaging images, CTAs, infographics, and the like. 

Engaging candidates with your company’s culture

Lastly, you should use your company’s culture to paint a picture of your brand for candidates and your digital audience in general. Showcasing your amazing workplace culture through visual content is a great way to convey more information to those who might be interested in working with you, and it’s a great way to enrich your content marketing strategy. You can include authentic employee photos with your job listings as well as short videos of your workplace and your team to help the candidates visualize their potential future as a part of your brand.

Wrapping up

Your HR department has the potential to take your company forward as a whole, but to do so, you need to align it with your marketing team. Use these strategies to achieve your HR goals in 2021 and set the stage for success in the years to come.

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

career

5 Benefits of Technology for Lifelong Learners and Career Advancement

Lifelong learning is one of the healthiest habits any self-loving and goal-oriented woman can embrace. As if learning in itself isn’t a treat, a way to become a more fulfilled human being, and a way to expand your horizons, it serves a very concrete purpose for those among you who have high goals for career development, and want to acquire the skills necessary to become a leader, an inspirational figure, a specialist in a certain field, and more. That said, let’s not kid ourselves, learning takes time, consistency, effort, and usually money, none of which you might not be able or willing to give.

That’s okay, as always, technology is here to lend a helping hand. From those nifty laptops and tablets that make mobile learning a breeze, all the way to amazing new learning platforms that give you access to the world’s knowledge base, technology can help you achieve your goals, become a founder, or get a job at a reputable and responsive company – you name it, learning through tech can help you achieve it. Here are the five benefits of technology for lifelong learners and those seeking to advance their careers. 

Learn on the go

One of the first and most obvious benefits of modern technology is that you can put all of your learning material on your smartphone, Kindle, tablet, or laptop, and take it with you! It’s a mobile world we live in nowadays, and there is no denying that many women are balancing numerous daily tasks and overcoming numerous challenges every single day – so nobody would blame you if you simply haven’t the time to stop, pull out a book, and read for an hour or two.

Instead of missing out on the opportunity to expand your knowledge base, why not use the tech you always have on you to take knowledge with you on your commute to the office, or anywhere else? This type of mobile learning is best reserved for subject matters you can memorize quickly, ones you don’t have to practice on a piece of paper, like math. 

Fit education into your busy schedule

Speaking of the hectic modern lifestyle, learning through smart technology allows you to manage your time more efficiently, consume the material in bite-size pieces for better long-term retention, and most importantly, pick up where you left off easily. This type of learning flexibility is one of the primary benefits of learning apps and innovative platforms, as it doesn’t really matter if you’re working from home or if you’re at work all day long. 

Modern applications and platforms specialize in condensing the material so that you can learn it easily, while giving you the opportunity to delve deeper into the subject matter if you so wish. By creating a profile on the platform, you can track your progress, save data, and receive professional guidance and support. In turn, all of this will allow you to fit education into your busy schedule.

Learn nuanced skills to propel your career

Another powerful advantage of modern learning platforms, one that many people fail to recognize at first, is that they allow you to learn very specific and nuanced things. Sure, general subject matters the likes of developing leadership skills, basic math, or music theory are still there, but what happens when you want to learn about molecular biology, astrophysics, or geodetic engineering? Or what if you want to contribute in the fight against the pandemic? Should you apply for college all over again?

No, you should search for those courses online and delve right in on your own free time. This is one of the best ways to upskill and even develop a new career path. If you’re looking to join the healthcare industry, for example, then getting PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) certified and learning about PALS drugs and pharmacology can be your entryway into pediatrics and a way to join the battle against COVID-19. This is the type of freedom and flexibility that only technology can provide – the type of learning opportunity that can help you take your career in a completely new direction.

Diversify your learning material

Students, established business leaders, stay-at home moms who want to kick-start their own career, it doesn’t matter which group you’re a part of, what matters is that you should always strive to diversify your learning material in order to acquire knowledge from various reputable sources. This will allow you to a) compare and contrast, b) learn more efficiently, and c) retain information easily.

However, you also need to equip yourself with the right tech to make the learning process more efficient and effective. Some of the leading learning platforms will use a dedicated VoIP communication system that facilitates synchronous and asynchronous learning and allows you to communicate more efficiently with educators and other students in a virtual meeting room.

It is especially important to have such systems in place when you’re going over exceptionally difficult subject matter. In such situations, it’s also good to use various review materials, anything from videos, guided tutorials, hands-on projects, open-ended questionnaires, all of which can expand your knowledge and help you retain information faster. And all of that with a push of a digital button.

Access to renowned colleges and teachers

And finally, you’ve probably noticed that e-learning platforms and popular apps are now offering unprecedented access to world-renowned colleges, institutions and businesses, and that they are even partnering up with prominent figures from various industries in order to spread their knowledge across the world. This is your golden opportunity to learn from the best of the best, to consume knowledge that has been cultivated at top universities, and tap into the genius minds of your idols – so don’t waste it by sticking to the outdated learning methods.

Wrapping up

Technology has changed every aspect of our lives, so why shouldn’t it change the way we acquire knowledge as well? With these five tips in mind, go ahead and use technology to take your personal and professional life forward, and make lifelong learning a passion.

survey

9 Employee Satisfaction Survey Questions That Will Reveal A Lot

Exploring employees’ satisfaction can be a daunting task— especially today, when work happiness is related to various factors. Different employees have different needs when it comes to the work environment. Therefore, the survey needs to consider the following: is the job meaningful or challenging enough, is the employee valued as a team member, and is there a balance between professional and personal growth?

When planning a satisfaction survey, consider some of the points below:

  • The goal of the survey – your questions should always support the purpose of the inquiry. Wherever you plan to do a quarterly check-up of the employees’ mood or annual performance review, tailor the query to the goal.
  • Indicators to watch – depending on the goal(s), indicators may vary far and wide. Use ones that translate to data more easily, like a self-assessment scale.
  • Guaranteed anonymity – Many people are uncomfortable with speaking directly, especially if the subject is sensitive. Make sure that answers are recorded confidentially.
  • Appropriate tools – In every job, you need the right tools to do it properly, and surveys are no exception. Use the best possible tools to obtain and keep the data. This is especially important if your company has a lot of employees.

Also, the question should be:

  • Short – long questions tend to confuse participants, and they can lose focus on the subject.
  • Non-implying – you do not need them to nod their heads. It would be best if you had their honest answers. Make sure that questions allow that.
  • Specific – resist the temptation to add several topics in one question. Each one should deal with one subject, allowing participants to stay focused.

What are the questions that will reveal a lot about the current state of your employees? Here are the ones that will offer the most inquiry.

  1. How would you rate your happiness at work on a scale of 1 to 10?

Research shows that happy workers are 13% more productive than the ones not satisfied with their workplace. Leave a possibility for them to elaborate on their choice so that you can get a better understanding of their current state of (un)happiness. If your employees rate their happiness low, use that info to initiate necessary changes.

  1. Would you consider your job meaningful?

Around 32% of people are staying with the company because of a meaningful job. If they perceive their job as meaningless, you will likely lose them even with increased salaries and benefits. Think about using employee engagement software to make it easier to analyze this aspect of work.

  1. How challenged are you at work daily, on a scale of 1 to 10?

Boredom is one of the prime motivation killers. If employees often get assignments that are below their capacity, they will start looking for opportunities elsewhere. Again, offer them the possibility to elaborate answers. For some, this may be a temporary situation if they are between the projects or the team is (re)organizing.

  1. How would you rate your work-life balance?

Rest and recovery are essential for the happiness and mental stability of the employees. Occasionally they may be asked to take overtime and help their team finish the job. Otherwise, there should be a clear distinction between work and rest time.

  1. Is there a space for personal growth?

Challenge is essential because it pushes people out of their comfort zone and enables growth. By acquiring new skills, your employees increase the chance for promotion and increase in salary. Professional development positively influences employee retention, so make sure your employees can learn and improve in the work setting.

  1. Is your team supportive and inspiring?

Cohesion is an important aspect of teamwork. If there is a lack of support from team members towards each other, the group will function below their capacity, and individuals will struggle with their tasks. If the team is lacking inspiration, collaboration, and creativity will also plummet.

  1. Would you recommend our company to your friends to work?

It is not just popular brands that thrive on word-of-mouth. The same goes for businesses, especially if the brand ambassadors are their employees. If they are not sure about recommending the company to others, it may be a sign they are rethinking their future with you. Try to get to the bottom of this to understand their motivation and needs better.

  1. Do you feel at home in our organizational culture?

Every company has its way of life, consisting of relations between employees and the work environment. Employees are expected to fit into it and find their comfort. A negative attitude towards it seriously affects productivity and satisfaction with work.

  1. Hypothetically, if you would quit today, what would be the main reason?

People usually quit because of job dissatisfaction or inadequate salary and benefits. But sometimes, it can be about working hours (the employee may need flexibility because of family issues) or coworkers (a conflict that has been brewing for some time). Make sure to find that one thing that may drive them away.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, so feel free to tailor your plan to help you fulfill your survey’s goal. Just be ready to act on the data you get and introduce change when necessary.

5 Ways Candidate Feedback can Improve Your Recruitment Process

Nowadays, you can’t have an efficient and productive recruitment strategy that doesn’t include gathering feedback from your employees as well as your candidates. Why? Because we live in a modern day and age when people actually want to interact with their favorite brands, and no longer will they want to work for companies that don’t respect them, or have an amazing company culture. But having a positive workplace culture is not the only quality candidates are looking for nowadays, which is exactly why you need to gather relevant insights, listen to what they have to say, and use that information to optimize your recruitment process. 

Do this right, and you’ll be able to leverage that information to take your company forward as a whole. Your HR experts have a unique opportunity here to ensure all employees are treated equally and fairly while at the same time optimizing internal processes to maximize productivity, team cohesion, and long-term success. With all of that in mind, here are the five ways candidate feedback can help you achieve your goals. 

Discover what motivates the best of the best

The top candidate of today is a tricky beast to catch, and if you’re not careful, they will slip out of your hands just when you think the deal is done, and they will take a job at your competitor’s brand if the offer is more appealing. What makes their offer more appealing than yours, you ask? Nobody knows, at least we can’t be certain without the right information in our hands, and that’s why you need to gather candidate feedback and research the market thoroughly in order to find out what actually motivates the best of the best in your field. 

If you think they left for a better paycheck, you might be right, but it’s more likely that the top candidates choose some brands over others because of the additional perks they offer. Perks like more vacation days, flexible work hours, or a better, more wholesome company culture. Keep in mind that they might have uncovered something about your brand from your past employees that doesn’t sit well with them, but you won’t know that until you get in touch and ask them.

Strengthen your value proposition and brand

You can learn a lot about your brand, its strengths, weaknesses, or the unique opportunities you have and the threats you’re facing, by simply talking to the modern job-seeker. Now, it’s important to get the whole picture by gathering feedback from multiple sources, and these include your employees, potential employees, candidates who have applied for a position at your company, and the digital world as a whole. Be sure to monitor your brand’s reputation in the online realm at all times to see in what context people are mentioning your brand.

As far as your candidates go, they definitely have an opinion of your brand, one that they have formed on first contact. Their opinions can prove invaluable in shaping your employer brand and helping you build a better value proposition in time for the next cycle of talent acquisition. If you gather enough feedback from all these sources, you can create a more detailed analysis of your recruitment process and even your entire brand.

Obtaining continuous feedback with VoIP

Nowadays, it’s no longer enough to simply gather some feedback, craft a report, and think that you’re done for the year. Keep in mind that recruitment trends change continuously, and that the things candidates say today might completely change in the following weeks or months. This is why you need to continually gather relevant feedback by using a comprehensive communication system, something cloud-based like VoIP.

Given the fact that voice over internet protocol is a modern phone system with plenty of perks and handy tools, you need to find a VoIP provider that offers call analytics so that you can gather information quickly, but also conferencing tools, surveys, mobile communication, and more. These features will allow you to stay in touch with employees, candidates, and all other important actors on the job market so that you can keep collecting feedback to improve all of your processes throughout the year.

Make your onboarding process more efficient and effective

Onboarding new employees can be a grueling task even when you’re all working under the same roof, but now that you’re most likely hiring remote workers, the task can seem insurmountable. Luckily, you can make onboarding a breeze by adopting smart techniques, one of which is gathering feedback from your current and past employees, as well as candidates to figure out which parts of your onboarding process work well, and which should be improved. 

What you will invariably discover is that there are definitely some areas where your HR managers can make the lives of your candidates and new employees easier. The only way to discover them, however, is by listening to what they have to say.

Learn how to cultivate a winning company culture

Finally, keep in mind that no modern employee will want to work for a company that doesn’t nurture a winning workplace culture. Even if everyone is working remotely, you still need to create and preserve a positive company culture in order to welcome the new employees into your brand. To do this, gathering feedback will prove instrumental, so be sure to ask candidates what they consider to the ideal company culture, and then compare the answers to the feedback your existing employees gave. Collate your findings to craft a culture that works for all.

Wrapping up

Good business decisions are made on relevant, timely, and verifiable data. Instead of following your gut feeling, be sure to start gathering candidate and employee feedback to take your business forward and elevate your recruitment and onboarding processes.

The Challenges of Pursuing Career Development During COVID-19

Image Source: Pexels

There’s no doubt that 2020 hasn’t looked the way we expected when we rang in the new year. However, that doesn’t mean all of your goals have to be set aside. It’s certainly a different world, but it’s still one where you can grow and progress in your career.

The challenge is finding the right opportunities. Discovering high-quality educational and developmental opportunities in this new environment isn’t easy. Fortunately, many organizations have adapted to COVID-19, and there are a variety of options available.

Here are some ideas you can use to pursue career training and development, even as you’re mostly stuck at home during COVID-19.

Determine What Options are Best for You

As we close out 2020, most learning opportunities are still remote. You’ll have access to video classes and online reading. For some professionals, that works well. However, not every learning style is well-suited for remote education.

Think about your style and preferences. Are you someone who can enjoy remote learning, or would you do better waiting until in-person classes and events are available? You know yourself better than anyone, and there’s no wrong answer.

Also, think about what your specific goals are. Are you looking to earn a particular accreditation? Do you want to finish your degree? Are you hoping to achieve an advanced degree, like an MBA or a Ph.D.? 

Depending on your position and career aspirations, you’ll have different aims. The answers to these questions will help you decide where to study, what institution to work with, and more.

Think About Learning Specific Skills

If a wholesale return to school doesn’t make sense for you, consider which individual skills you might enjoy learning. These can be for your personal benefit or to advance your career. Maybe the subjects you choose will do both!

Learning web design and other graphics skills can help you advance in your company or find new professional opportunities. They can also help you build a personal website or blog or showcase your artistic abilities. 

You might think about getting more skilled in specific software, such as Microsoft Suite or Google applications. Which programs your company uses can help you decide where to focus. If you’re planning a career shift, you can learn the skills you need to move forward into a new field.

Review Your Career Plans

It’s common to hit a point in your career where you feel stagnant. Maybe your company doesn’t offer the opportunities you hoped for, or you realize that this field isn’t one you really enjoy.

Don’t be shy about trying new things. You might even get into an entirely new industry. If you’re considering a hands-on field, like physical therapy or massage, be sure you review your educational options and make sure they’re safe in this time of COVID-19. 

There’s nothing wrong with changing course, even dramatically. Perhaps the downtime provided by this pandemic has given you time to rethink your larger goals. Or, maybe you were laid off or lost your job and now have the freedom to choose a new direction. 

If so, don’t be afraid to make a significant change. Having a career-oriented degree can help you land on your feet. You might choose data analysis, business, or a healthcare major. The key is to find a high-quality, reputable, and safe training program.

Take on Extra Projects

One excellent way to develop in your career is to stretch beyond your regular day-to-day duties. Is there a project that needs to be done but no one is stepping up? Why not you?

Taking on an additional project can help you stay busy while also boosting your resume and professional reputation. Perhaps it will move you toward a promotion, or you’ll gain experience that will help you land another opportunity. 

Projects can go hand-in-hand with learning new skills, as you may have a chance to practice doing something outside of your normal scope of work. New design skills? Leadership? Give it a try! 

Watch for In-Person Events to Return

As we move into 2021, there has been increasing talk of a vaccine and being able to return to life as normal. You can expect in-person events slowly to return, although attendance may be low at first.

If you’re someone who enjoys in-person networking and conferences, your opportunities may return in mid-2021. Take advantage of the chance to shake hands, meet people in person, and use your connections to advance your professional goals.

Working remotely can be stressful, especially for extroverts who thrive on human connection. Just keep your eyes looking forward — in-person events will eventually come back.

You Can Still Grow During COVID-19

Don’t let this pandemic cause you to give up on 2020. Instead, reevaluate the landscape and think about what you can do that will help you move forward.

When you’re clear on your goals and learning style, you’ll know if remote learning will work for you or if you should wait for a chance to attend in-person classes. Perhaps you can work on learning a specific skill and take on a project to practice using it in a business environment. 

If you’ve been laid off or lost your job, you have the chance to reevaluate your career and choose a new path. There are a variety of degrees and certificate programs that can help. 

2020 isn’t a bust. In fact, it may be the new opportunity you were looking for. Review your options and move forward! 

5 Ways HR Teams Can Take Advantage of VoIP to Take the Company Forward

In many ways, the HR department influences the growth and long-term success of a modern brand. Whether it’s through building a thriving employee collective and workplace culture, or helping the company attract top talent in the field, or any number of mission-critical processes, there is no denying that investing in HR should be your top priority. Specifically, your priority should be to focus on digital transformation within HR and invest in tech solutions that will maximize productivity, efficiency, and HR success in general.

Why is digital transformation so important, you ask? Simply put, technology is the way of the future even without a global pandemic forcing you to adopt a remote work business model. However, during the COVID-19 crisis and especially in the new normal, relying on cloud-based tech like VoIP will prove paramount to long-term survival and growth. That’s why today we are taking a closer look at VoIP (voice over internet protocol) and how this cloud-based phone system can revolutionize your HR department – and consequently, your business. 

Facilitating seamless collaboration

If there is a challenge that all business leaders are facing right now, it’s how they’re going to maintain the same level of collaboration and productivity through remote work. Now, to facilitate remote work and prevent setbacks, you need two things: good communication and a collaboration tool. Luckily, VoIP provides you with both, plus a few fancy features that will allow your teams to communicate and collaborate however they want, whenever they want. That said, one of the features that HR professionals should be most excited about is the built-in analytics and reporting tools that allow them to gather valuable insights.

Everyone knows that good HR decisions are made on relevant data, and VoIP allows you to use call analytics to gather as much information as possible before turning it into an actionable report. On the other hand, the built-in collaboration tools can replace any PM software you might be using, which is a great way to save money while preserving productivity.

Cultivating a thriving workplace culture

If you think that ensuring collaboration between remote teams is a challenge, try preserving a positive culture when your employees are working from home. Now that your team members aren’t at the office to socialize and communicate face-to-face, they might start drifting apart, and your HR managers might find it difficult to preserve the usual level of employee happiness and satisfaction. To do that, they need to communicate with remote employees regularly, both one-on-one and via team video chats.

It is imperative that your HR staff is able to nurture a thriving culture in the digital workplace, and make your employees feel valued while being treated equally and fairly. VoIP allows your HR staff to communicate with all remote employees via different channels, whether it be phone, video, texting, or email, to easily check in on them and address their needs. 

Managing remote teams on the go

Speaking of communicating with employees easily, it’s important to note that just because people are working remotely now, that doesn’t mean that they are stationary. You can’t expect your employees to work from home all the time, otherwise they might start seeing prancing unicorns on the walls from spending too much time indoors. Instead, chances are that they are working from coffee shops, somewhere in the countryside, the local park, or even while doing chores around town.

Whatever it may be, you need to ensure seamless communication on the go for all employees, allowing your HR staff to stay in touch with them via mobile. That’s something that the leading VoIP provider Nextiva offers as a standard feature in its business VoIP plans, as they realize that having a dedicated app along with various mobile features is essential for managing remote teams. When researching VoIP plans, make sure that you and your HR department get full mobile functionality.

Organizing digital team building events

Another cumbersome challenge, one that can directly impact the team’s culture, is how to organize team building events now that everyone supposed to uphold the social distancing rules. Given the fact that VoIP offers numerous ways to communicate, this challenge suddenly becomes a little less daunting, though. Your HR staff can use its scheduling tool to pick dates and times that fit into everyone’s schedule, and then choose the team building games and activities everyone can enjoy via video. Easy as that.

Making the onboarding process more efficient

Lastly, your HR staff is almost definitely struggling to optimize its onboarding processes for a remote workforce, but VoIP allows them to overcome the challenge. Onboarding remote employees can be a difficult task, however, if your HR professionals use VoIP to establish clear lines of communication and welcome the newcomers into the team, they should have no problem ensuring productivity from day one. What’s more, onboarding is a continuous process, and VoIP allows HR to stay in touch with the new team members on a regular basis to address their every need and help them settle in quickly. 

Wrapping up

Voice over internet protocol is one of those tech investments that help companies reach new heights, but when it comes to HR, VoIP can prove invaluable for long-term growth and success. Now that you know this piece of tech can help your HR department, be sure to use it to take your business forward in the new normal.

Opening the Office vs Working Remotely: Finding a Compromise

There are no two ways about it: the COVID-19 pandemic has brought havoc to hundreds of workplaces around the globe. Many have been forced to send employees home out of health concerns and those that have stayed open have put themselves and their employees at risk. Beyond that, most are dealing with boom-and-bust style business as customers either avoid their stores or buy in bulk to limit their exposure. 

 

To say a company hasn’t been impacted in some way would be naive.

 

Now businesses are under more pressure than ever to reopen. As already limited and confusing federal and state aid expires, most companies are finding themselves forced to decide between paying the bills and putting employees and customers at risk. Finding creative ways to strike a balance between staying remote and opening the doors has become a goal of most successful businesses.   

Staying Remote

Pros

There are certainly pros to staying as remote as possible. The primary one being that you are prioritizing employee safety and encouraging them to look after their and their family’s health. Focusing on taking care of employees and promoting a safe workplace for everyone is a valuable bonus both for employees and customers — some employees even love working from home so much they are hoping to do so permanently

 

Additionally, modern technology allows for employees in many sectors to do their jobs completely online. Likewise, employers can encourage their employees to capitalize on technology to keep track of their mental and physical health. The mental health aspect can be especially valuable when they are stuck working from home.  

Cons

Of course, there are some cons to stay remote as well. The biggest most employers are worried about is a decrease in overall productivity. This can come from several things such as an employee’s inability to easily communicate and collaborate with co-workers and partners. It could also be a problem associated with the many distractions that come from working from home. 

 

Many employers also feel as though their company culture is suffering while employees are working remotely. It can be challenging for employees to feel connected and part of a supportive workplace community. Fortunately, there are some ways to help maintain company culture while working remotely

Opening Offices

Pros

However, for some employees, the ability to get everything done while having employees work remotely is elusive at best. Some jobs simply require in-person service. For businesses that require some level of human interaction, opening up can be the only thing that will keep you afloat. And it might not be a bad thing — many people are eager to interact with their favorite stores in some way, even if it isn’t traditional.  

 

Many of the reasons that business owners are hesitant with continuing to work remotely are also major pros to reopening. You can more easily monitor the productivity of employees and work towards rebuilding company culture. The idea of moving back towards normal is also tantalizing and there are plenty of ways to be successful in reopening

Cons

The big elephant in the room for reopening is the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak in the office space. Forcing employees to come back and having an outbreak could bring all sorts of legal challenges to your business. This is especially true if your employees are completing high-risk jobs without proper protections.

 

Additionally, it can be a real issue for your company’s image down the road. Customers are not itching to go back to businesses that have experienced a COVID outbreak even after the risk has been mitigated. Choosing to open the doors too soon — especially with the massive rise in cases across the U.S. — could spell disaster for the company.  

Making a Decision

Deciding to keep employees working remotely or sending them back to work and reopening your public-facing business is really difficult. There are plenty of pros and cons to each choice, many of which could make or break your company. As you weigh your options, think about the risks, benefits, and needs of your company.

 

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your options either. To keep their businesses running, some companies have altered their products and services to make things that are in demand like hand sanitizer while others have greatly boosted their online services. Striking the right compromise may also involve switching things up for employees such as half coming into the office while half remain working from home. 

 

Weigh the pros and cons, choose what is right for your business and your employees. Sooner or later we will adapt and get through this difficult time and many companies will be better off for it. What have you been considering as a business leader and what has led you to make the decisions you are making?

The Importance of Prioritizing Employee Health

For a company to thrive, it must have a healthy workforce. When employees know that their employer has their best interests at heart, they will feel more motivated to do their part and help their company succeed. With the arrival of COVID-19, the health of your employees is even more imperative today than ever before.

 

Employee health is more than avoiding slips and falls. It means having policies in place that encourage a healthy body and mind, and your human resources team can provide that support. Let’s look at the benefits of employee health and how to get the desired results.

Healthy Employees are Productive Employees

Prioritizing employee health is important not only because folks should feel secure coming to work each day, but also because healthy employees are also productive employees. In general, the happier the employee, the more motivated they will be, and that goes for companies of all types. Even industries as diverse as shipping and trucking are utilizing driver scorecards to view attributes like excessive braking and speeding, and the drivers use this information to try to improve their performance so they drive more efficiently. This change also saves the company money on fuel costs and reduces employee stress.   

 

There are many initiatives that you can make around the office to promote health and productivity. One of them is offering healthy food choices in the break and lunchrooms. In general, employees who eat better often have more energy and improved concentration throughout the day. Not to mention that healthy employees will also call out sick less often.

 

Then there are the positive results associated with exercising in the morning or during lunch. According to studies, those who exercise at least three days per week are 15% more likely to have increased job performance. Consider implementing a wellness program that includes nutrition education, exercise programs, and information for weight loss systems that the employees can access freely.

Don’t Forget Mental Health

While physical dangers are always lurking, it is essential to not forget the mental health of your employees. You want your workers to enjoy coming to work, so they don’t look for a job elsewhere. More importantly, employees who feel that they are treated unfairly, even to the point of discrimination, can sue your workplace and tarnish your public image.

 

Poor mental health can manifest itself in many ways. Some employees may feel sad or lonely while they are at work, which can happen if they feel that they are just cogs in the machine without that human interaction that we all require to thrive. Lonely employees also impact your business as those who are truly unhappy generally call out sick twice as often as happier employees. To encourage a sense of community, consider hosting team-building exercises in the office, or even engage in a larger project like volunteering at a soup kitchen to really enforce that this office is also a family.

 

Human Resources should have an open-door policy and encourage employees to come to them when they are feeling mentally drained. When they do, offer information based on their needs, especially if your company does not offer a health insurance program, or your employees don’t qualify for one. For instance, employees with Medicare may have access to medication or psychiatry appointments that can help them get back on the right track. To all employees, you can also recommend tech solutions like smartphone apps that can help mitigate stress and provide breathing exercises when things are getting a little hard to handle.

Safety During COVID-19

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room, which is the novel coronavirus, and how businesses must adapt to keep their employees from getting infected. First, be open with your employees and tell them to go to HR if they feel that they are getting sick so they can be sent home until they get better. Temperature screenings at all entrances will not only give you an indicator that someone is ill but will also give other employees the sense that their employer cares about their health.

 

On top of that, companies should follow CDC guidelines as they apply to limiting exposure to COVID-19. Social distancing protocols are heavily favored by the CDC with the recommendation to keep people six feet apart. If you have an office with a cubicle layout, your employees may already be separated. However, if you work in a warehouse or overcrowded office where people are generally on top of each other, then you may have to consider making new work shifts where employees come at different times to avoid overcrowding.

 

Also, make an effort to provide the clean and sanitized atmosphere that you and your employers deserve. This may involve hiring a larger cleaning crew that can come in each night and sanitize all desks and refill all soap and hand sanitizer stations, so employees are always able to stay as germ-free as possible. If you have a good employee that just doesn’t feel safe coming to the office, consider the possibility of remote work as a potential solution. 

 

Since our employees are what keeps our businesses going strong, we must keep them as the top priority. Implement some easy safety strategies today, and you could have happier employees tomorrow. 

Ideas for Organizing Team Building Activities

As many experienced HR managers already know, when you have a team that works well together, you also have a team that’s more effective and productive. On the other hand, such teams don’t simply fall from the sky – HR managers work hard to make it happen. For some employees, hearing the words “team building” instantly makes them develop migraines from rolling their eyes over. This is because, even though they should be, not many team building activities are actually fun. We’ve helped put together a few ideas that will help you organize fun and exciting team building activities that employees will enjoy.

Paper plane competition

If you’d like to help your team work better together, throw a small competition in. You can organize a paper plane race, but everyone has to build their own. Luckily, all you need to have is an empty hallway, a bit of tape that you are going to use to mark the launch line, and a measuring stick (or a measuring tape). Alternatively, you can play it outside when it’s not too windy. The trick is to give each team a piece of card stock that they will have to use to build their paper place, and to help them out a bit, make sure to show them several different airplane designs they can try to replicate. The team that builds the plane that will fly the farthest is the winner. Also, everyone should decorate their planes so the judge knows which plane belongs to which team.

Play dare Jenga

For this activity, you need a Jenga set, preferably the one that has extra large blocks. The good side of this activity is that it’s simple to set up and allows players to really test their limits. Each block should have a dare written on it (you can write it on a piece of paper and tape it to each block). Don’t go wild with dares, though – 15 pushups/squats, singing “Baby Shark”, and wearing an ugly sweater or a hat for the rest of the day are funny and mild enough for everyone to accept and enjoy doing them. Make sure each block has a dare, tack them up just like in Jenga, and invite everyone to come and play. Another great thing is that this can easily be done as a relaxing Friday activity and doesn’t require much preparation.

Organize a bike ride

There are only a few things that are more fun than leaving the city and going exploring for a day, so why not use this activity to bring your team closer together? You don’t have to spend a fortune and organize a sightseeing tour of another city – all you need are bikes and a bit of planning. There are probably many interesting places to see around the city, and when you do a bit of research, pick a spot you would like to take your team to. Invite everyone on a biking tour, and see how well they are all getting along outside the office. You can find great Bikes Online if you know that some of the employees don’t have their own bikes, and make sure everyone brings their sunglasses and water bottles. Once you get to the place, throw a picnic and play board games, or just allow everyone to relax and explore the environment.

Do a ‘Zombie escape’

For this activity, you’re going to need a bit more room, a rope, one key, and a stack of clues (you can use anything between 5 and 1, depending on how much time you’re planning to have the team spend on this activity). Before the game start, have one team member volunteer to play the zombie, and encourage them to go all in: arms outstretched, screeching “braaaiiins,” and stumbling around. Invite everyone to an empty room, turn around and dramatically “lock” the door, and after that point out to the “zombie” who is tied in the corner of the room. Even though they are tied, the zombie should have a foot of leeway, and every five minutes they get another foot of rope. In the meantime, the team has to work together to solve the puzzles and find the hidden key so they can leave the room before they get “eaten”.

Take them on a paintball field

No matter how well the team gets along, sometimes the stress of everyday office life and deadlines gets to you. If people are feeling frustrated and overworked, it might be a good idea to take them outside and engage them in an interesting and uncommon activity. Paintball is considered one of the best team building activities because it allows everyone to engage all of their senses and handle all of their frustrations and stress in a healthy way. Divide the people properly: bosses and CEOs shouldn’t be in the same team, but they should stand with their employees. People will love having an ‘excuse’ to shoot their superiors, they will develop their communication and will work much better in a team. In the end, you will have a group of exhausted and happy people who have spent the day outside, shooting others with paintball guns, and having fun.

Walking on eggshells

For this exercise, you are going to have to buy a carton of eggs, and find some simple construction materials such as plastic wrap, straws, rubber bands, balloons, newspaper, some tape, etc. Also, for this exercise, you need to find a place that you won’t mind getting messy (think about parking lots, these are always a good idea because nobody would mind). Divide the entire group into several smaller teams, had them the materials and an egg, and give them about half an hour to come up with a solution that will help protect the egg. They can construct a box, a bag, a carrier, or any other thing they think that will protect the egg. The task is to drop the egg from a certain height (choose the height before you start) and not break it. If you happen to end up with a tie, you can increase the height a bit until there is only one winner. Alternatively, you can boil the eggs first and have the competition inside.

Minefield

If you have an ambitious team on your hands, you can try having them go through a “minefield”. Fortunately, you don’t need much preparation, just an empty room (or even an empty hallway) and some common office items (boxes, desks, shelves, trash cans, fruit bowls, etc). Use these office items to create a set of obstacles (set the mines, so to speak). Group should not be divided into teams but into pairs, and one of the partners should wear a blindfold. The other person is the ‘responsible’ one and they should guide the blindfolded person through the ‘minefield’ without having them bump into or step onto any obstacle. The trick is that the person who is supposed to guide is not allowed to set foot onto the field, but has to only use their voice to help the other navigate. You can start off slowly ad then make it progressively difficult. In the end, the pairs will learn to listen more carefully and give clearer and simpler instructions.

Spider web, spider web…

If you’d like to test everyone’s agility and flexibility, have them play the “spider web” game .for this, you will need to tape a couple of pieces of string across a doorway at different heights. One should be placed at approximately three-and-a-half feet while the other should be put a bit higher, at about five feet. Explain the rules: each string is a dangerous and highly poisonous spider web that melts the flesh of everyone that touches it (or something equally dramatic). Divide the people into two (or more) teams and instruct them to help each other go through the opening without touching the strings. After everyone is on the other side, tape more pieces of string, and make it more difficult.

Online karaoke party

Even if all of your company’s employees are working remotely because of corona virus, there are still some funny games you can play online to help bring them all closer together. Throw an online karaoke party for everyone! You don’t need much – you don’t have to book a place, bring the machine, and negotiate the price of drinks. Everyone should just stay at home and use their computers to try and be the best karaoke singers in the company. If you’d like to take it to the next level, make it into a competition: hand out points, make up rules, and compare everyone’s high scores to find winners.

Whose office?

Another useful icebreaking game you can play remotely is the “Whose office is it?” Everyone should send you several photos of their home office beforehand, and you can use any file sharing tool to show them to the rest of the team. You can spice it up and ask about specific coffee mugs, plants, cushions, and wall décor too. You can send one photo by one or you can send them all at once, mark them with numbers or symbols, and have people guess whose photos is whose. If you want to take it to the next level, try having everyone guess whose desktop background is it, or even compare the views of the office window.

If you’re hoping to have a team that’s going to be successful, work well together, and be incredibly effective, you really have to make sure that your team-building skills are on point. Activities that are meant to bring your team together are many, and just because something sounds great on paper, doesn’t mean it will work in real life. Get to know your team a bit better before you suggest any activities, it will save you a lot of trouble (and some money too). In the end, if you do it right, you’ll help your team connect and function a lot better, resulting in a better workplace dynamic.

How To Ensure Your Employees Are Treated Equally and Fairly

 

 

We often hear a lot about the importance of equality in the workplace. Equal treatment, equal pay, equal opportunities for advancement are all vital to the continued success of not just an employee, but for a business as a whole. However, many employees are also looking to be treated fairly, opening up the discussion of equality in the workplace even further. While fairness and equality might appear to be the same thing, they’re distinctively different and it’s important that companies strive for both at every level of their organization.

 

As managers, leaders, and HR staff, this means employees are expecting you to make the workplace environment one where the office policies are clearly stated and applied equally and fairly across the board. They also expect changes to be made if an individual or group is being treated unfairly. This is especially important as the world has finally started being more aware of what Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)  are forced to deal with at their place of work on a day to day basis.

 

So, how can companies and leaders ensure that their policies are not only providing opportunities for equality, but also fairness?

Equality Isn’t Always Fair

Equality is not always the same as fairness. Equality, while important, can leave out factors that contribute to an employee’s role within the company. Being fair involves considering all of the circumstances and making appropriate decisions based on those circumstances. Employees’ needs differ depending on their circumstances and equality can often leave out specific needs. Equality is like supplying every employee a work laptop, fairness is giving a visually-impaired employee a laptop with braille.

Always Be Prepared for Change

Every employee, wherever they work, wants to be shown by their employer that they’re valuable, their opinions and ideas matter and that they have equal opportunities for professional development and growth. This means that issues such as favoritism in the workplace can wreak havoc on employee morale and can breed resentment toward the company which is another reason why it’s important to treat all employees fairly in the workplace

 

It’s not only important to have policies that promote fairness and equality regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and age, but it’s imperative to enforce those policies equally too. Taking a look at current policies and identifying where improvement is needed is one way to make favoritism less likely to occur. Are there any rules that favor a particular group of employees over the other? Are all employees aware of the company’s rules and policies, including disciplinary actions? Is there any room for questions or different interpretations within the company’s handbook? It’s also necessary to look at who is being hired and who is most affected by injury, job loss, and discrimination within the company. 

 

Being a fair manager means that “When you treat your employees fairly they focus on navigating the challenges in front of them. They feel respected, cared for, and they develop trust in you as a manager. Instead of focusing on gamesmanship or one-upmanship, employees focus on working towards individual and group goals.” When employees are respected and treated fairly, the whole company is often able to operate as a cohesive team with equal responsibilities and better communication. Moreover, fairness and equality not only contributes to better meeting these needs but can also protect vulnerable groups from getting injured on the job. 

 

While certain fields of work are more labor-intensive and thus have more opportunities for severe injuries to occur, it isn’t just the kind of work that is harmful. Oftentimes, there is an unequal amount of pressure to work in unsafe conditions, especially for Hispanic workers and other minorities. When the work environment and policies are centered around equality and fairness, employees are not only likely to be more productive and have higher morale but it can help protect workers from injury. 

Fairness Benefits Everyone

Working towards maintaining a fair and equal work environment is also vital to a business’s clients. Cultural diversity in the workplace not only benefits the company and its employees, but it could potentially save lives. For example, while discussing the dangers of a lack of representation, particularly in healthcare, some professionals explain that “A lack of cultural diversity in healthcare can lead to many problems, including stereotyping and unequal patient treatment — particularly in cases where cultural differences in healthcare expectations lead to poor patient outcomes. Indeed, negative results are arguably inevitable when there is an underrepresentation of cultural and ethnic diversity in leadership and throughout training.” 

 

Cultural diversity can be hard to achieve when a manager is constantly undermining, discriminating against, or holding BIPOC to a different standard than the other employees. A business is likely to have a higher turnover rate if its employees believe they are being treated unfairly. This can also lead to new talent avoiding the company for fear of discrimination. Businesses with such a lack of diversity are likely to suffer losses financially and, in certain fields such as healthcare, could be putting their clients at risk.  

 

One way to ensure that employees are treated fairly is ingraining that importance into the company culture. Make it something so valuable that the company, managers, leaders, and employees are always striving for fairness and equality. This will make the work environment a more welcoming place to report and discuss areas of discrimination or unequal treatment. It will also encourage employees to voice their opinions more to help further improve policies and practices. 

 

It’s never too late to start enacting change that will help ensure employees are being treated both equally and fairly. Having an open, ongoing dialogue on how to improve company policies and how leadership can deliver said policies appropriately can help businesses stay committed to being a welcoming, equal, and fair place for everyone.