How Surveys Can Help Improve Both External & Internal Company PR

Information serves a large variety of purposes in business. Specifically, looking back through annual information can help a business determine where their shortcomings are, as well as their strong points, which can help them decide what areas of their business they should grow or scale back on. There are a few ways to gather this data, but depending on the information you’re looking for, surveys are often the best way to understand both the internal and external perception of your business.

Survey Uses for Management

Company surveys can indicate a lot of things about a company, such as receptiveness to customers and employees, and caring about quality and ambition. When a company holds surveys within their personnel, either for specific departments or general employees, it can sometimes indicate that there is a business practice concern they are trying to work out. Depending on what questions are being asked of their workers, surveys often gives employees the impression that their company cares about them and that if there are concerns they want to bring up, they can be addressed.

If you’re considering using a survey to gain an understanding of employee satisfaction or what employees are looking for in the workplace, make sure you use an effective survey method that follows guidelines for effectiveness to achieve optimal results. This may include a platform that will allow you to ask both open- and close-ended questions, as well as survey channels that are convenient, like SMS. Another important aspect of surveys is to ask the right questions by using careful phrasing in order to receive the type of response you’re looking for.

Employee surveys can help your company come to solutions regarding business structure changes you’re considering making. They are a good way to gauge interest if you’re seeking to begin outsourcing work to freelancers rather than in-house workers. Although these decisions can be controversial, 11 percent of the U.S. workforce get their full income from gig economy, so it’s not uncommon to do so. In fact, there may be a significant number of employees seeking the benefits of gig economy work, such as heightened independence, flexibility, and at times better pay. If you’re gauging employee interest for a change like this, a survey could help your company establish goals surrounding prospective changes.

Improving External Company PR

Surveys can also provide companies with an idea of the areas that your PR team should work to address. A company’s reputation can be instrumental to its success, and if there’s any ongoing speculation about areas of your company, your PR team should be dedicating resources to addressing them. It is then up to the company to make both internal and external changes to get down to the root of the problem.

Although seeking out client reviews is generally a good practice, especially considering that most individuals seek out company reviews before getting involved with a company, surveys allow companies to receive a more thorough understanding of the customer experience. It also gives customers and clients a chance to voice their concerns before any incident that occurred becomes so overlooked that there is no hope in getting their business back.

Although clients are arguably the most important audience for a company, a business cannot succeed without all of the cogs in the wheel that keep the business turning; such as clients, employees and suppliers. It’s important to have a skilled accounting department prepared to handle accounts for your business to ensure suppliers are receiving the attention they need. If your company takes too long to pay clients and vendors, it reflects poorly on your company’s reputation. Therefore, if there are ongoing issues in this field, your company may want to consider adopting accounts payable automation to help facilitate these processes.

If surveys indicate low satisfaction rates due to a lack of innovation or slow growth within the company, consider incorporating some new tech trends that are capable of redefining your business. These can include hiring cybersecurity professionals to limit the number of IT incidents and incorporating AI, chatbots and predictive analytics to help with hiring processes. New technology can help facilitate many steps in business, and by finding small ways to innovate, your company can start to improve its internal and external perception.

Surveys can be helpful in understanding where you company stands to improve and can give you an idea of the ways your clients and employees want to see you innovating. By regularly surveying personnel, as well as clients and other companies you associate with, you can ensure that satisfaction is high and that any ongoing issues are taken care of before they become a PR concern. Internal and external company PR are both almost equally important, and it’s vital to the success of your company to ensure you’re taking care of both.

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How to Recruit Millennials and Keep Them Motivated

There’s no doubt that millennials have transformed the way the traditional workplace functions. Millennial employees bring creative thinking skills and radically different attitudes towards work to the table — aspects that are integral when it comes to organizational success. Recruiting millennials and keeping employees satisfied at work requires a significant shift in thinking as opposed to previous generations. HR professionals play an important role in implementing new strategies to ensure that millennials stay motivated at work. Here are some ways to attract and retain the best of millennial talent:

Market to Millennials

To get your organization’s name out there and attract younger talent, it’s important to market in a way that is suited to a millennial’s lifestyle. Traditional methods of marketing won’t stand out to millennials; instead, they will propagate the image that your organization is old-fashioned, even if it truly isn’t.

To recruit millennials, you first need to reach them. An article on Entrepreneur recommends using high-quality video to get the attention of skeptical millennials. For instance, as opposed to simply posting in the job classifieds, consider making a recruitment video that details what you’re looking for in a candidate, and why your organization is one that millennials would want to work for.

Creative advertising will generally have better results with millennials than standard marketing techniques. As stated in the article, “Millennials are largely fed up with traditional methods of advertising, and while they want information, they want to select it instead of having it forced upon them.” Millennials tend to trust people in their social networks, and so, utilizing social media marketing strategies is a prudent way to get your company’s name out there.

Similarly, using Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  is a great way to make your presence known. As defined by RivalMind, SEO is “a process that helps a business become ‘more search engine friendly’ and rank higher on sites like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others.” This is especially appealing to millennials, who want instant information at the click of a button, and will often not look past the first page of search results.

Create a Culture of Care

Workplace culture is an important aspect of any organization. As stated by experts at Rutger’s University, “Corporate culture plays a huge part in the success of an organization and can profoundly affect its performance, both positively and negatively. An organization’s culture affects employee retention rates, as well as its ability to recruit new talent. Research has found that culture affects productivity, creativity, work-life balance, and even things such as safety, accident rates, and the process of recovery after missteps or mistakes are made as part of the organization’s operations.”

Millennials, in particular, value a great workplace culture and a variety of company perks. The employees of today find benefits like free breakfasts, nap rooms, mini-gaming arcades, and pet-friendly policies very appealing. Furthermore, the physical layout of the office plays an important role in keeping millennials motivated. Thus, you might want to consider utilizing an open floor plan to increase collaboration or even adopting an activity based office design. Office Boy states that “The purpose of an activity-based office fit out is to create different work areas that are best suited to different tasks.” Activity-based office designs are well-suited for millennials, who prefer dynamic workplaces rather than being bound by the four walls of a cubicle. This holistic culture creates a rounded sense of well-being in the workplace that attracts millennial employees.

Provide Ample Learning Opportunities

Millennials value the opportunity to learn different skills through the duration of their jobs. They want to be challenged, and want a career that allows them to develop intellectually. Millennials want to become as marketable a possible, and ironically, the more marketable you make them, the more likely they are to stay at your organization. In fact, according to the Gallup School of Management, 80 percent of employees say that job training is key to keeping them as employees.

To ensure that your young employees feel like they’re continuously learning, consider offering training programs to help them hone various skills. Help them create a personalized career path, with regular check-ups to ensure that they are meeting their own personal career goals, as well as company growth objectives. You could also provide a mentor or coach to ensure that millennial employees are constantly learning something new, under superior guidance.

As we’ve mentioned in a previous article on what millennials really want from work, “Millennials want to be coached: they crave and respond to a good, positive coach. Overall, Millennials want feedback 50% more often than other employees. Their number one source of development is their manager, but only 46% thinks that their manager delivered on their expectations for feedback.” Providing supportive leadership and critical feedback is key when it comes to keeping millennials motivated and satisfied at work.

Allow for an Entrepreneurial Lifestyle

Published findings from Millennial Branding show that 61 percent of current high school students (Generation Z) said they “prefer pursuing business ownership as an entrepreneur instead of working as an employee.” This information is crucial when it comes to millennial recruitment and retainment strategies. To foster an appealing entrepreneurial vibe at work, you will have to incorporate strategies that allow employees to be their own bosses.

One way to do this is to make allowances for remote working, or telecommuting. This gives employees the ability to work from anywhere, make their own schedules, and promote a healthy work-life balance. Today, remote working is extremely popular. In fact, a study released by Zug, a Switzerland-based serviced office provider, shows that about 70 percent of professionals work remotely at least one day of the week, while 53 percent work remotely for about half the week. So if your organization hasn’t yet made allowances for telecommuting, then they’re way behind the curve. Other strategies for promoting workplace flexibility and independence include providing volunteer opportunities, encouraging employees to go out during lunch breaks, and even providing on-site health and fitness classes.

Hiring millennial employees is essential to keeping the workplace current. As stated in an article on Forbes, “Millennials have been transforming the workplace for the past decade or so, emerging on the scene with new attitudes and striking characteristics that inspired excitement and resentment from previous generations.” Although the “excitement and resentment” can be challenging to deal with at times, recruiting millennials and keeping them adequately motivated is absolutely necessary to succeed as a business.

Mountains | The HR Tech Weekly®

4 Common Mistakes Uber Made & How Companies Can Overcome Them

Smith Rock

The recent news that Uber Founder Travis Kalanick will be stepping down as CEO hasn’t come as much of a shock to the public. A number of scandals rocked the hypergrowth company this year, revealing the toxic organizational culture that has grown internally. The scandal that began Uber’s spiral downward came on February 19 when Susan Fowler, a former engineer, wrote about her Kafkaesque experience at the company.

Sadly, this is not an isolated story. The most common reasons cited by women who leave the tech industry are a lack of opportunities for advancement, a hostile work environment and dissatisfaction with senior leadership. In fact, studies show that 40% of women with engineering degrees quit or never enter the profession, with the vast majority leaving due to hostile work environments. But how do so many young tech companies, like Uber, develop these types of toxic atmospheres and what can we learn from cases like these? Here are 4 common mistakes Uber made and how companies can overcome them:

  1. Toxic people

It’s not only technical skills that are needed in a manager, the ability to coach, empower and help employees develop are essential. It goes without saying that there are certain behaviors, including sexual harassment, which are never acceptable. So many tech companies are focused on holding onto their star employees but if you allow toxic people to remain and wreak havoc on your team (especially in management positions) you’ll create an environment in which your workforce will not be able to grow, innovate, share their ideas and ultimately will leave.

Don’t sacrifice your future top performers for current ones who are keeping others down. As Fowler explained, Uber had become a competitive “Game of Thrones” style environment in which people were undermining their superiors, peers and reports to get ahead. When a highly competitive and unethical work environment emerges, it’s even more likely that toxic behaviors will be overlooked or ignored. The fact is that these behaviors start somewhere.

Indeed, according to an article in Harvard Business Review, “It’s better to avoid a toxic employee than hire a superstar”, 46% of employees who have worked with toxic workers had a higher chance of being fired for misconduct. If this kind of behavior is silently accepted, especially when displayed by managers, it can lead others to emulate toxic and unethical practices resulting in the very common instances of “boy’s clubs” we see in the tech world.

This means that not only are toxic managers creating a hostile environment for female employees, they also implicitly encourage toxic norms to develop within the rest of the team.

Keeping on toxic employees can result in $12,500 in turnover costs. When taking into account litigation fees, fines, low employee morale and unhappy customers the resulting cost could be up to $25,000 or even $50,000. Though the study found that toxic workers are often high performers, with star employees only adding an extra $5,300 to a company’s bottom line, the long term consequences of keeping them on seriously outweigh the extra revenue they can bring in.

  1. Checks and balances

In her blog post, Fowler explained that she was given the choice to either be moved to a different team or possibly face receiving a negative performance review from her manager. As we also saw in the case brought by Ellen Pao against Kleiner Perkins in 2015, when women report an incident about their manager they’ll often face backlash in their performance review. If their manager (or managers) is the only one reviewing their performance, speaking out can easily result in the victim being blocked from any future opportunities.

Rather than simply having one top down review, allow each person to receive feedback from multiple perspectives including peers and reports. Having 360 degree reviews allows for checks and balances enabling people to receive a wider range of perspectives on their performance. Upward feedback is another essential and something that should also be taken into account. As Fowler mentioned in her blog post, her’s had not been the first complaint against the manager in question.

  1. Transparency

Another incident Fowler mentioned in her post was the denial of her request for a transfer, despite having two excellent past performance reviews. The first time her request was denied she was told first that there were “undocumented performance problems” blocking her transfer.  After waiting for the next round of performance reviews, she was informed that her review and score had been changed without her knowledge. For the review process to be fair and effective it must be completely transparent. Changing a performance review or including “undocumented performance problems” only creates mistrust and the potential for it to be used as a tool against, rather than for employees.

A number of studies have shown that bias and inequality can often become entrenched through vague feedback and intransparent performance review practices. A number of studies have shown that while men are described as confident and assertive, when women display the same behavior, they are more often described as abrasive, irrational and aggressive. What’s more, women are more likely to receive critical feedback without any suggestions of ways they could improve or develop.

Managers must be trained to give feedback that is truly constructive and objective. This includes basing comments on specific examples and facts, rather than vague character assessments. One way to do this is to focus on verbs rather than adjectives. Furthermore, it must always be actionable. If feedback doesn’t include some way the person could improve, it’s a sign that it could be based on subjective conclusions.

Employees should always be allowed to respond to feedback and be given complete information about the reasons why they were given a particular score. If a manager is genuinely giving their employee feedback that is meant for improvement this will be followed up by regular 1-on-1 coaching conversations.

Each individual’s past feedback and performance reviews should be kept in a documented report that is accessible to both the manager and the employee. This should stand as the official report which HR can reference in the event of an incident.

  1. HR

There should always be a direct way for employees to contact and speak freely with HR, without fearing potential backlash. This case clearly shows the power of the Glassdoor Age, with CEO Travis Kalanick now coming out to say he had no idea of what was going on in his company and calling on the Chief of Human Resources to investigate the claims.

Today employees have the power to bring everything from sexual harassment to unequal pay to the public view via personal blogs, Glassdoor and other platforms. In one day the case was already picked up by the New York Times, Fortune and Bloomberg. Rather than working against individuals, HR should be genuinely helping to stamp out negative practices and create a positive work atmosphere.

Sweeping this kind of behavior under the rug can impact a company in multiple ways: increase turnover (especially of female employees), deter talented female hires, lower engagement and morale, push back talented employees from advancing within the company, and ultimately impact a company’s bottom line with customers becoming disenchanted with the scandal which will sooner or later hit the headlines. Taking these points into account and learning from cases like Susan Fowler’s will help companies create a positive work culture that encourages, rather than undermines diversity.


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