10 Simple and Affordable Employee Appreciation Ideas

Check out 10 creative employee appreciation ideas your employees will love.

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Appreciate your employees – if you want to keep them

Did you know that one of the top reasons why employees leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated, according to Gallup’ research?

The message here is clear: If you want to keep your employees, you have to appreciate them! Employee recognition is the key to employee satisfaction.

Of course you appreciate your employees…but how often do you show it and recognize their hard work?

Gallup’s poll has found out that 65% of employees haven’t received any form of recognition for good work in the last year!

OK, so maybe you can’t afford expensive awards…but that isn’t an excuse for not showing your employees that you appreciate them! You don’t have to spend any money to recognize your employees and show them that you appreciate their hard work. Actually, according to Officevibe’s recent study, 82% of employees think it’s better to give someone praise than a gift.

Employee appreciation ideas

Here is a list of 10 great, inexpensive employee appreciation ideas your employees will love:

1. Surprise appreciation celebration

Organize a surprise party for your top performers! Include some cake, confetti and their favorite tunes.

2. Shout out on social media

Post a photo of your employees on social media and brag about their achievements. Don’t forget to tag them!

3. Newsletter

Feature you employees’ success stories in your company’s newsletter.

4. Congratulatory email

Send a company wide congratulatory email and praise your employees for a job well done.

5. Hidden praise

Hide a few notes of appreciation around your employees’ work area.

6. Handwritten note

Send your employees a handwritten note, or just leave a sticky note saying “Thank you” on their desk.

7. Thank you meeting

Call an employee to your office just to say thank you. Don’t discuss any other issue!

8. Ambassador opportunity

Offer your employees to represent your company at an event they typically would not attend.

9. Ask for their help or opinion

Show your employees how much you value their opinion and input.

10. Invitation to an executive meeting

Invite your top performer to join your executive team meeting.

 

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Top 5 Reasons to Start an Employee Wellness Program

Not sure if you should start an employee wellness program? Here are the top 5 reasons why employee wellness programs are becoming more and more popular!

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Employee wellness programs benefits

There are some obvious benefits of employee wellness programs. Helping your employees stay healthy is great – for them. But how about your company? Is it just a waste of your time and resources? Or are there some tangible benefits for your company as well?

Let’s dig into the research and found out!

Top 5 reasons to have an employee wellness program

Here are the top reasons why you should start an employee wellness program at your company:

1. To save money

Implementing a workplace wellness program can help your company save money.

The most comprehensive review ever completed on the financial impact of worksite wellness programs has reported some incredible findings.

Among the 22 different studies that looked at wellness programs and healthcare costs, the average return on investment was 3.27. This means that for every dollar that was spent on the program the company saved $3.27 because of reduced healthcare costs!

2. To improve employee productivity

Research has found that employee wellness programs have a positive effect on employee productivity.

Research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has found that employees who take part in employee wellness programs are more productive than those who don’t.

3. To improve the retention rate

Companies who implemented employee wellness programs report higher retention rates.

Research conducted by an American Psychological Association has found that fewer (only 25%) employees in companies with employee wellness programs intend to leave their job in the next year. In companies without employee wellness programs, twice as more employees (51%) said they intend to leave their job in the following year.

4. To attract top talent

Research has found that implementing an employee wellness program improves your employer brand and helps you attract great candidates:

  • The Virgin HealthMiles and Workforce survey found that 87% of employees said they consider health and wellness offerings when choosing an employer.

5. To improve your company culture

  • A survey by Virgin HealthMiles Inc. and Workforce Management Magazine found that an overwhelming 77% of employees think that employee wellness programs positively impact the company culture.

Conclusion

Research is clear: Keeping your employees healthy is not just good for your employees, it’s also good for your company’s bottom line!

5 Workplace Wellness Statistics You Should Know About

Workplace wellness programs: Yay or nay? Discover the data-based answer!

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Workplace wellness programs: A growing workplace trend

Workplace wellness programs are getting more and more popular. This new workplace trend has gained a lot of attention recently and stirred quite a debate.

Some argue that companies should not be burdened by taking care of their employees’ health. On the other hand, there are voices arguing that in today’s modern world, these programs are becoming a necessity.

Above all, there are questions about the effectiveness and ROI of these programs. To answer these questions, we dug deep into research.

Top 5 workplace wellness statistics

Workplace wellness statistic #1

According to research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 75% of employers indicated that their companies offered some type of a wellness program, resource or service to employees.

Workplace wellness statistic #2

A comprehensive review of the literature has found that the average return on investment of workplace wellness programs is 3.27. This means that for every dollar that was spent on the program the company saved $3.27 because of reduced healthcare costs.

Workplace wellness statistic #3

A new survey by Virgin HealthMiles Inc. and Workforce Management Magazine found that an overwhelming 77% of employees think that employee wellness programs positively impact the company culture.

Workplace wellness statistic #4

Research suggests that employers save on average $5.82 in lower absenteeism costs for every dollar spent on employee wellness programs.

Workplace wellness statistic #5

The Virgin HealthMiles/Workforce survey found that about 87% of employees said they consider health and wellness offerings when choosing an employer.

Conclusion

Research has shown that workplace wellness programs have proven benefits, both for employers and employees. Employee wellness programs can do much more than just keep your employees healthy.

These programs can help you improve your company culture, reduce absenteeism, attract talent and even save money!

 

3 Must-Have Sections of a Great Employee Handbook

Does your employee handbook include these 3 sections? Don’t miss out on these must-haves!

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The hidden potential of your employee handbook

Employee handbook  is the cornerstone document of every company.

This document usually consists of a company’s policies. Unfortunately, too often this valuable document contains ONLY policies, rules and regulations.

While this is useful, an employee handbook has a much greater potential. Instead of a document full of prohibitions, you can easily turn it into an engaging and useful document your employees will read, know and love. Read on to find out how to achieve this goal!

3 main mistakes of your employee handbook

Most employee handbooks make the same 3 mistakes:

Mistake #1:

They are written in a formal tone of voice with lots of legal and technical terms which regular employees can hardly grasp.  

Mistake#2:

Most employee handbooks focus on company’s policies and provide just a brief introduction to the company if at all).

Mistake #3:

Most employee handbooks state only the company’s expectations from employees and not the other way round.

3 main sections your employee handbook is missing

In order to avoid the above stated 3 main mistakes of most employee handbooks, make sure that your employee handbook includes the following 3 sections:

Section #1: Your company’s history, mission, vision and goals

Start your employee handbook with an extensive introduction to your company. Explain why your company was created, by whom and how it went on to become what it is today.

State your company’s mission, vision and goals in an inspiring, relatable and easy to understand language.

Section #2: Your company’s core values and culture  

The second section of your employee handbook should present your company’s core values and provide a glimpse into your company culture.

Include real-life photos of your workplace and your employees and present true stories which illustrate your desired workplace behavior.

Section #3: Employee benefits and perks

Finally, make sure to emphasize what your employees will get in return for following all your company’s policies, rules and regulations.

Accentuate all the benefits and perks your company offers to your employees. Also, present all the types of rewards and bonuses which will be awarded to your most deserving employees.  

The Truth About AIs Impact on Jobs

By Allan Leinwand, CTO, ServiceNow                  

According to a recent report from PwC, AI is expected to raise the global GDP, in 2030, by 14% (approximately US$15.7 trillion). That being said, AI is seen by many as being either a hero or a villain. On one hand, AI is currently driving nearly every CIO’s agenda because it intelligently automates work processes, making it possible to do things that have never been done before. But on the other, many workers are scared of the rise of AI as they believe it is rising from humble beginnings to become a villain that will steal their jobs.

The truth is that some jobs will be lost, but many more will be created. It is important to understand that fundamentally, AI is not strong at creative, interpersonal or physical work. It will be used for “decision support, not decision making.” So lets debunk a few myths.

Reduce and Simplify

As workers, we want to use automation to get our jobs done. AI will free us from having to spend long hours analyzing data and invest that time in achieving a better work-life balance.

Information technology, manufacturing, financial services and human resources will all see significant improvement and productivity gains because of AI. These industries have many repetitive tasks that can be easily automated, helping workers become more productive. For example, AI can streamline the onboarding process of a new employee. It can alert HR when background checks are completed, and aid them with the creation of benefits packages and employment contracts. It can help IT order and provision new equipment. Similarly, it can help the employee complete and send tax forms and direct deposit information to finance.

The Mundane

Workers want to move to more meaningful roles. In fact, according to the Society of Human Resource Professionals, workers, particularly Millennials, want to “create outcomes within meaningful projects and may become impatient with mundane tasks.” AI can automate the more mundane tasks allowing for new jobs to be created that are more fulfilling, strategic and meaningful. AI can help workers be more productive and efficient at their jobs, while learning new skills. In addition, AI can help workers become better organized, reducing stressors, improving productivity and overall job satisfaction.

Financial compliance is a great example of this. Until recently, the creation of expense reports and review of submitted expenses was a very manual, mundane process requiring hours and hours of review. In the cases of expense report review, only a sample of expense reports could be reviewed in order to hopefully identify some patterns of fraud in submissions. Now, not only can AI generate the invoices, but it can sort through the hundreds of expense reports, invoices and other transactions and  identify potential areas of fraud, waste and mistakes by employees, vendors and others for humans to further investigate, saving their companies billions of dollars each year.

Customer Satisfaction

The idea behind AI is to create more satisfied customers. Because workers can focus more on the interpersonal and creative parts of their jobs rather than the more mundane, they will treat customers better. In customer support cases, this will be done by employing AI to identify and provide a solution for the issue and utilizing a human who can react to nuances for interpersonal communications. Customers will develop loyalty because their needs are met and issues are resolved quicker, more efficiently and with a personal touch.

Let me give you an example. Years ago, many companies implemented phone trees to help route support calls more efficiently. All of us have been frustrated to get to the end of the menu realizing that we must press “star” in order to go back to the previous menu in order to talk to the right person. While this is automated support, it didn’t employ a combination of people and AI to do so. Rather than having to press the right button to move forward, imagine answering a few questions at the beginning of the call describing what the issue is or what you want to accomplish, and immediately being routed to the correct person (yes, person) who will help you or to the right menu telling you store hours. This will speed up support, improve loyalty and create better satisfaction for customers.

Convenience

One of the biggest benefits of AI is the convenience to customers. AI allows nearly every aspect of business to occur faster, from identifying and fixing support issues so that workers don’t have to drive into the office on weekends to fix a server, to providing more accessibility to information, services and more.

As an example, there seem to be ATMs on nearly every corner in most major cities and more bank branch locations than ever before. However, bank teller jobs have not been eliminated because of the rise of ATM machines. Yes, there may be less tellers in general, but their jobs are more valuable to customers and their employers. When one walks into a branch at a bank, there are dozens of workers providing better value-added services with shorter lines helping customers to be more satisfied with the convenient service provided. More than likely the work these employees do have higher margins, enabling them to make more money for both themselves and their local branches.


Allan Leinwand - CTO - ServiceNow
Allan Leinwand, Chief Technology Officer, ServiceNow

In summary, while AI might result in loss of certain jobs, it is more likely that the amount of work each worker will need to complete will be reduced and simplified rather than eliminated. Employees will feel more satisfaction in what they do because they can focus less on the mundane and more on the strategic. Customer satisfaction will increase because customers will have more human interactions, faster, with people who know how to resolve issues they have. In addition, customers will have more convenience than ever before.

 

3 Secrets to Reducing Your Employee Churn Rate

Reduce your employee churn rate with these tips.

Replacing an employee can cost as much as 20% of their yearly salary. The higher up their position is, the more expensive it is. That’s because you need to factor in paying recruitment agencies, covering for the vacant position, and the time lost to those responsible for hiring.

A low employee churn rate is key to maximizing your potential and growth.

When you have a lower employee turnover, you can focus your resources on researching and launching new products and services, improving the working environment, and investing in employees’ development instead.

It also boosts your employer brand, which is crucial if you want to win the war for talent. Brands with a strong employer brand lower their cost to hire by 43%.

But how do you reduce your churn rate?

It starts by looking at the employee journey. How can you improve it? What steps can you make to create a more inviting atmosphere for employees whether they’ve been there five weeks or five years?

Let’s take a look at three important parts of an employee’s journey, and how small changes to them can reduce your employee turnover rate.

Plan your onboarding process for early success

Happy employees are loyal employees. To create this sense of loyalty, you need to make them feel valued. This starts from their very first day.

However, not every company manages this – 42% of employees have no computer or device to work from on their first day. Worse, some employees don’t even have a desk on their first day! While this is only part of the onboarding process, it’s an important part of setting your employee up for success, especially when 20% of employees leave within the first 45 days.

Contrast that to the 69% that will still be with a company three years later if they go through a positive onboarding process, and you can see why a good onboarding process is so important.

A negative experience reflects badly on you: it makes you look disorganized, and like you don’t value your employees.

It’s therefore imperative that you you spend time planning the onboarding process for your new employee before they start. Don’t leave it all until the last minute, as you may find that there are some issues – like purchasing new equipment – that will take days, maybe even weeks, to sort.

Also ensure that their company account and logins for any relevant software are set up before they begin. That way, all they need to do on their first day is click to activate their new account. They can then start using the software straight away.

Once they’re all set up, don’t just sit them down and present them with a list of objectives. Include them in the decision-making process. Have some projects ready for them to work on, but listen to them and ask them what they’d most like to work on, too. That way, they immediately feel like their thoughts and opinions are valued.

The objective of an onboarding process is to help the employee get to know the company, its products, and mostly importantly, the culture and their colleagues.

Everyone in the team should be involved in making the new team member feel welcome. This could include scheduling introduction meetings with the new starter, or assigning them a buddy to give them a tour and answer any day-to-day questions.

Group inductions can be intimidating for new starters, so focus on one-to-one sessions instead. This creates more space for the new hire to ask questions.

Efficient scheduling solutions make organizing these one-to-one meetings a breeze, and avoids the risk of two member scheduling a meeting at the same time. Scheduling meetings before someone starts also reduces any awkwardness over the new hire having to approach people to schedule meetings – it’s all there ready for them when they first start.

Invest in training and mentorship

Training and mentorship are crucial parts of an employee’s progress. They can boost their skills and help them to work out which career path is for them.

For mentors and those conducting training, it reinforces their skills. They can even learn from those that they teach. It’s also great networking for everyone – you never know where your next great opportunity will come from.

Despite this, only 44% of companies offer a mentorship scheme.

Mentorship benefits employees at every stage of their journey. Don’t let the fact that someone is already a manager convince you that they already know everything they need to know. No matter how long someone has been managing for, there’s always a new strategy or technique they can try to motivate their team.

Training can be both internal and external, so be open-minded about the best place(s) for employees to build their skills. The best person to train your marketing team may not be someone who’s been there for years – it may be someone who can offer a fresh perspective on your strategy and help you to keep it relevant as algorithms continue to change.

Conduct exit interviews

Exit interviews are an often overlooked but incredibly valuable part of an employee’s journey. They give you the opportunity to examine why employees leave, and identify areas where your company may be failing them. Without this information, you can’t make positive changes to improve the working environment.

Conducting exit interviews using a framework makes it easier for you to quantify results. You can then pick up on reoccurring problems or praise. The more often something is raised, the more important it is to address.

Some questions you could ask include:

  • How employees feel about the working environment
  • What their commute is like
  • What their relationship is like with their manager
  • How well they get on/work with their team

Using this information, you can start discussions with remaining team members about any common threads. You can then make informed decisions about how to better suit employees’ needs and (hopefully) prevent more from leaving for the same or similar reasons.

You can also home in on positive comments that are made, finding ways to further enhance these experiences. For instance, if employees benefit from flexible working hours, you could look into allowing them to work from home if they can’t already. If they like how the team encourages self-development, you could look into courses or events for the team to further develop their skills.

Employees are your business’s biggest – and best – advocates. If they share negative experiences with their social circle it reflects badly on you and may even cause you to lose customers. Leaving them with a positive overall feeling is therefore crucial. Exit interviews are just one part of this. Others include how the rest of the team reacts to their departure, handover periods, and anything else that happens on their final day. While you can’t control all of this, exit interviews help to cement your positive employer brand by showing employees that you care about their wellbeing from the start of their journey with you right through to the end.

When an employee speaks highly of you when they leave, they’re more likely to return for a future position, or even to recommend roles to their friends and family. Since referrals are one of the best ways to hire the right person for the job, this can make a huge difference to your hiring process, and further improving your employer brand.

Conclusion

It’s your responsibility to offer employees opportunities to learn, grow, and be more efficient in their role. Employees will then be more loyal and motivated, and turnover will decrease.

It’s also important to remember that there are many other elements that can impact employee satisfaction. Internal promotions, 360 feedback, and open communications are also key to reducing employee turnover. And don’t forget to make the technology that they need available to them!

These investments and changes to company culture make a big difference. After all, reducing your employee churn rate can be the difference between business growth and stagnation.

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Discover how automation and calendar sync could save you and your team time (and money!) in our new white paper. Download your copy today!

Source: 3 Secrets to Reducing Your Employee Churn Rate | The Cronofy Blog

The Human Side of HR: What Makes a Great Administrator?

Businesses are made up of a multitude of working parts. From upper management down to the mailroom, everyone has a vital role to play. HR managers are an essential part of maintaining a well-oiled machine; they take care of the people who work there and maintain the kind of workplace that inspires people to turn up day after day, year after year. They are the people behind the people. In order to do their jobs effectively, HR managers need to have a variety of skills in their toolbox.

Hire the Right People

Hiring is a major part of HR responsibilities. It’s important to hire the right people; you want them to be engaged, capable, and in possession of a skillset that compliments the current work goals and progress. An experienced HR manager needs to know how to hire the kind of person who fits the company culture and values, and who will assist in reaching long-term goals as well as immediate needs. The wrong person, or hiring a good employee for the wrong position, can be detrimental. The right person can not only fit into your corporate culture but can help that culture grow along with the business.

Effective Training

A good hiring manager can recruit employees with all the skills required to shape the company’s ability to succeed, but they also need to help mold the employee’s skill set into their brand and workflow through comprehensive and effective training. An employee with a wealth of talent needs to know how to apply that talent, not just for best results but also in compliance with legal and labor laws. A thorough training regimen outlines expectations, any company-specific training, as well as what the employee can expect from the company. This communication is vital to ensuring everyone, including the company, can comfortably fulfill their expectations.

Employee Retention and Satisfaction

The link between employee engagement and revenue is well-established. A skillful HR manager is the cornerstone of employee satisfaction — and employee satisfaction is the key to engagement. HR can utilize programs designed to show appreciation for employee work; anything from food to incentive programs can energize employees. Likewise, public praise and spotlighting distinguished employees as well as a culture of positive reinforcement can be effective. HR must also stay on top of employee needs, whether it be in benefits offerings or promotion and salaries. Employees should feel needed, appreciated, and like they have something to work towards.  

Conflict Resolution

One of the more complicated aspects of HR is conflict resolution. An effective HR manager should be patient, even-tempered and able to navigate employee interpersonal and professional relationships (as they apply to the job) with a delicate touch. HR should be attuned not only to the needs of the company but of the employees as they apply to a productive and effective workplace. Conflict resolution can range from small interpersonal spats to the larger legal issues, such as sexual harassment. It is important that HR managers be thoroughly educated and knowledgeable about conflicts of a legal nature, for the safekeeping of both employees and the company.  

Follow Through

Your employees rely on you to make sure their work lives run smoothly. From benefits to paychecks, they need you to make sure the company fulfils their end of the employee contract. Prompt follow-through shows your employees their well-being is important and the company is invested in making sure they are in a safe, productive atmosphere. If employees do not trust HR, they’ll be less likely to seek out solutions to any problems from HR. They will be more likely to become bitter or malcontent, grow stagnant in terms of work or look for employment elsewhere.

*   *   *

An HR manager who utilizes these skills will be able to work effectively and harmoniously with their company and workforce. Their administration skills can help boost productivity and make the workplace somewhere employees look forward to turning up for a long, happy future.

The Secret to Improving the Employee Experience Has Nothing to Do With Quirky Benefits

The Secret to Improving the Employee Experience Has Nothing to Do With Quirky Benefits

The Secret to Improving the Employee Experience Has Nothing to Do With Quirky Benefits

We’re in the midst of a global productivity crisis. The IMF estimates that if productivity growth had followed its pre-2008 financial crisis trend, overall GDP in advanced economies would be about 5% higher than today. However, to blame everything on the financial crisis is misleading. The overall trend in productivity growth is stagnant and has been on a downward trend for the last several years, costing the US a staggering $450-$550 billion a year. These national figures raise concern for business leaders as they battle to achieve growth in an unstable political and economic climate, looking for ways to ensure that their entire business is working as efficiently as possible, from the top to the bottom.

You’d think this would be simple but recent research conducted amongst 2,000 Americans for the report ‘Why your workforce isn’t working’, found that only 37% of respondents think they’re highly productive in their role. There is clearly much room for improvement.

Positive experiences beget productivity

 According to the research, 78% of people say they are more productive at work when their working experiences are positive. This jumps to 92% for younger people or millennials – a generation that will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020. Employers need to stop and listen to them. Clearly, driving positive workplace experiences is important but what does that actually mean?

The workforce experience can be viewed very similarly to the customer experience. It’s the journey an individual employee makes throughout their contact with a particular organization, from initial recruitment discussions, through to being a fully-fledged worker and also their exit should they leave. It’s a fast-moving and evolving journey, with no-one person’s journey being the same as another. It’s vital that organizations can be agile and flexible to these needs, so that they improve the experience and ultimately drive productivity. But how do you go about it?

Quirky benefits don’t yield expected results

 First and foremost, employers need to build a stronger connection with employees. The research suggests that at present there is a large disconnect between the two, particularly about what positive workforce experiences look like. Forty per cent of business owners believe free food, beer fridges, ping-pong tables and bean bags are important to employees. Perhaps understandably given the publicity that high-profile and successful brands like Google, Facebook and Apple get for such ‘quirky’ benefits. But when asked, employees across all age groups said benefits such as ping pong tables (5%) or company outings (9%) add relatively little value to their workforce experience. This disinterest for quirky benefits is even true in cities where ping-pong tables have become commonplace, like San Francisco where only 4.2% of respondents rated it as a valuable addition to their day-to-day workplace experience. In fact, more than half of respondents (53%) felt that having games in the office are distracting and actually decrease productivity.

Are you asking the right questions?

 Instead of making assumptions, employers should be asking their employees directly what would improve their experience and help them be more productive. As it stands, more than half of people have never been asked this by their employer, with just 12% being asked on a regular basis.  Just as there is business value in listening to customers, there is just as much value in listening to employees. And don’t assume that HR’s trusted tool, the annual survey is doing the job. Twenty percent of those we spoke to said it wasn’t a benefit to them or a suitable catalyst for business transformation.

Invest deeply in flexibility and appreciation

 Once employers take the time to engage with their employees, they are likely to find clear recommendations on how to improve productivity. The research found that two key requirements stood out. Unsurprisingly, the first being flexible and remote working, with 81% stating this is very important and highly valued; particularly when it comes to balancing the varying demands of their professional and private lives. The second, being valued and recognized in their role. Two-thirds (66%) of people cited this as the most important aspect of their day to day employment – not pay rises or better benefits which bear a cost, but being valued and having recognition is what’s a high value, cost-free option for companies.

As major economic shifts continue to happen, it’s never been more important focus on productivity. While economic leaders and governments can consider the value of national fiscal measures, individual businesses can play their role too. And fortunately, as this research shows, it doesn’t have to be difficult. The key to success, as in many aspects of business, is to get to know the people you’re trying to target better and to build personalized positive experiences around them. And much like when building a successful customer experience, data and technology plays a clear role when it comes to getting your workforce working.

Engaging Executives: HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives: HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives

When experts talk about employee engagement, most people imagine lower-level employees and middle managers. These workers have minimal authority over their daily tasks, they are the least job-secure, and they tend to receive the lowest pay and worst benefits packages, meaning they are most likely to be disengaged from their work. As a result, the web is filled with engagement solutions to keep lower-level employees around.

Yet, while HR professionals devote the bulk of their energy to engaging this portion of the workforce, executives are suffering. Though they have greater responsibility and greater remuneration for their efforts, executives can still disengage from their work, lowering their productivity, and endangering the entire business – including those workers at lower levels. However, the engagement solutions that work for lower-level employees rarely apply to higher-level business leaders. Therefore, HR professionals need an entirely different strategy for executive engagement.

Understanding Executives

HR typically doesn’t pay much attention to executives for a couple reasons:

  1. Executives already earn high salaries, and they generally have more control over their schedules and tasks. Therefore, the monetary rewards and engagement strategies HR is most familiar with don’t work.
  2. Most HR reps can’t relate to executives.

Most HR professionals have more in common with low-level employees than upper-echelon executives. Most HR reps earn respectable salaries and average benefits; they complete daily tasks that have little bearing on the greater goals and direction of the company; and only the CHRO and similar top-tier HR workers ever interact with executives. Thus, few members of HR comprehend the lifestyle and struggles of working in the higher levels of an organization.

The first step to engaging executives is understanding executives. It is important to consider that although executives might boast different responsibilities, they are still human. As such, they experience stress and concern for their jobs, their subordinates’ jobs, and their families’ well-being. Further, executives have interests and hobbies, they consume media, and they take pleasure in small joys like the rest of us. Remembering this, HR reps should find it easier to empathize with higher-level workers.

It might also be useful to know what executives discuss with one another – which is not nearly as disparate from the lower-levels as HR reps might expect. Alongside infrequent discussions about business direction and organization design, executives lament their full schedules and intrusive meetings, gossip and chat about mutual acquaintances and people within the organization, and generally talk about what work needs to be done. A savvy HR professional will note that their discussions are nearly identical to those of lower-level workers.

HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives

Aside from their wealth and authority, executives aren’t terribly different than anyone else within a business. Therefore, HR reps only need to determine what motivates individual executives to develop effective engagement tactics for the upper echelon. Some common higher-level motivators are:

  • Need. Executives have finely honed talents, and they want to know their talents are integral for business success.
  • Passion. Like everyone else, executives want to like what they do.
  • Chemistry. Workplace culture is important; even executives want to like the people they work with.
  • Challenge. Executives tend to be competitive. If a job isn’t challenging enough, most will disengage.

It isn’t difficult to develop engagement programs around executives knowing how simple and common their needs and wants truly are. To stimulate their need motivation, HR reps can institute a “thank your boss” day, where higher-level employees receive executive gifts. To improve chemistry around the office, HR can organize team-building exercises that are mandatory for the C-suite.

Another useful tactic for engaging executives is to connect them more closely with their subordinates. While some high-level managers are naturally proficient at seeking out and befriending low-level employees, most executives maintain a boundary between themselves and the grunts. HR should strive to coach executives in their behavior toward lower levels, revealing their blind spots when it comes to leadership methods and results. HR should lead by example, placing people first and exemplifying how executives should interact with other members of the organization.

If necessary, HR should encourage executives to enroll in leadership training courses; just because they’ve reached the higher levels doesn’t mean they can’t acquire new skills and knowledge. If an organization invests in its people, its people will invest in the business – even executives understand the value of that.

About the Author:

Tiffany Rowe

Tiffany Rowe is a leader in marketing authority, she assists Seek Visibility and our clients in contributing resourceful content throughout the web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to create and provide high quality content that audiences find valuable. She also enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. With many years of experience, Tiffany has found herself more passionate than ever to continue developing content and relationship across multiple platforms and audiences.


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Overcoming IT Barriers to Digital Transformation

Overcoming IT Barriers to Digital Transformation

Written by Elie Dib, Senior Managing Director, METNA at Riverbed

Overcoming IT Barriers to Digital Transformation

Today, the role of the CIO and IT department is more closely aligned than ever to business operations. This is because, in order to ensure a seamless digital transformation, both CIOs and their IT departments have to be able to ensure that business objectives are at the centre of their strategies. In fact, this is critical if they want to drive innovation, deliver better customer satisfaction levels, increase workforce productivity, and reduce bottom line costs during a new project.

Elie Dib, Senior Managing Director METNA at Riverbed
Elie Dib, Senior Managing Director METNA at Riverbed

There is one element of IT delivery that is however often overlooked within all these considerations. This is ensuring excellence in user experience. It is the most fundamental measure of success, as without measuring this before and after any digital transformation programme, there is no empirical metrics to help validate claims of any clear change in the experience with confidence. And user experience often determines increase of productivity, employee engagement, cost savings and can also result in better customer service being delivered.
There are four common barriers to digital transformation initiatives. Below we explore the steps an enterprise can take to overcome them.

1. Operational In-Efficiency

Business unit leaders and IT professionals, are often summoned to a war-room meetings to explain why an IT-related project or change aimed at improving business productivity or customer service resulted in so much negative feeling toward the initiative. Unfortunately, this is often because all parties are not aligned. More often than not, these situations can easily be avoided by first starting at the vantage point of the end-user experience to see how IT services are being consumed.

Both business unit leaders and IT professionals need to sit down together and map out objectives and KPIs for technology changes. The plan could be tested with a small group of end-users. But ultimately if both parties know what the outcome must be, there is no room for confusion in delivery — and it can help both parties to get back to their respective roles in supporting the business.

2. Sub-Optimal Application Performance

Organisations are using hundreds, sometimes thousands of applications. New applications are constantly being deployed, whether the new version are upgrades or replacements for old legacy applications. This all brings risk. Poor application performance can significantly impact competitiveness, and, in sectors such as healthcare, can directly affect patient care or put sensitive data at risk.

Application upgrades can be a key catalyst for issues that impact productivity. With so much variation in hardware, location, network, and user expectation across the business it becomes an ever bigger and more complex task to thoroughly test every combination of how an application could be consumed by different users. Data centre monitoring solutions are partially helpful in reporting on the availability of centrally hosted applications, backed by reports and dashboards with lots of positive results. However, this information alone is rarely indicative of a positive experience for end-users on the receiving end.

By contrast, effective end-user experience monitoring allows benchmarks to be created over time which clearly show precise historic application performance metrics. Then, upon application upgrade or migration, any positive or negative deviation in performance can be viewed immediately with the analytics to show exactly where the change in response time and experience is occurring.

3. Ineffective  Change Management and User Adoption

Adoption is key to the success of products and services. Within Riverbed’s collective frame of reference, users tend to only embrace change when they feel confident and experience an incremental improvement in their interaction with an application or desktop.

Users need to be brought on the journey of change. Reasoning behind the changes need to be explained, and effective training put in place to make any change in strategy or a transformation as positive as possible. In addition, for future change initiatives, empirical evidence in the form of data from monitoring can prove invaluable. Businesses must be able to measure system performance against end-user productivity over time to ensure there’s no real negative impact, but rather only improvement.

4. Pure Visibility of the End-User Experience

The three previous topics can easily be combined within the one single category of poor visibility of the end-user experience: in other words — the visibility gap. In short, this relates to the lack of insight into how IT services or change initiatives and digital transformations actually impact the experience of users, which ultimately impacts business performance.

The key thing to keep in mind is that any effect on end-user experience can only be measured from the end-user’s perspective of how they are consuming IT services — and with proactive alerting so when there is a deviation in performance, IT is notified directly, and doesn’t rely on the workforce calling their IT team or the CIO to complain.

So what has enables organisations to embrace IT change for the greater good of the business?

Close the Visibility Gap and Overcome Barriers to Change

The bottom line is that no enterprise business can manage or improve until it can measure. Therefore, the recommendation is equally simple. Measure and benchmark your business’ existing user experience and instantly compare any variations when a change is made.

To conclude, whether the business is looking to change a specific IT component or to enable full-scale digital business transformation (in a positive manner) CIOs, IT professionals and their business unit partners need to ensure the experience for their end-users is optimised as part of the project — in effect, treating them like IT consumers.

What’s more, no business can rely on IT end-users as the primary source to the business to problems. To achieve this, the business needs easy access to real empirical user experience data that enables it to easily compare the before and after of changes. So, the first step in this approach, and for your next IT transformation task, is to start with end-user experience to help ensure a successful outcome.


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