Monday, August 24, 2015

Make your employees your brand ambassadors

Exceptional customer experience is what all companies aspire to deliver, and one of the keys to achieving it lies in having a high level of engagement between their employees and their brand.

How many businesses are aware of just how crucial internal brand engagement is to customer service and satisfaction?

According to research by communications agency Involve, almost half of marketing, brand and customer experience directors believe that their own internal brand engagement programs are ineffective.

While they understand the value of engaging their employees, they see external marketing activities as more prestigious and influential. In fact, many companies are failing to invest or measure the success of their employee brand engagement programs. Read more on

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How to Start Fitting Work Into Life (and Stop Fitting Life Into Work)

Finding work-life balance can be challenging, especially for entrepreneurs. Sometimes, we fall prey to the illusion that personal time is another name for time we can put to better use by working. We might even feel that we'd be more productive if we could only forgo rest to work more. But our bodies will likely overrule us on that one.

And that's a good thing because the truth is, we can’t do our best work if we stay plugged in 24/7. To cite an age-old example, Isaac Newton spent plenty of time working, but he didn’t truly understand gravity until he rested under an apple tree.

What's more, there are benefits to spending time on things other than work and sleep. We don’t just take downtime to distract ourselves from responsibility: Time away from work actually makes us work harder and smarter during the hours we dedicate to working.

Work hard; play hard.

Technology has fundamentally changed the workplace: it's actually difficult to get away from work what with cell phones in our pockets and laptops on our coffee tables. However, to get the full benefits of recharging ourselves (not our devices) during our time off, we have to make sure that that time off truly is "off."

We accomplish this by being fully present in everything we do. That means no cursory glances at email under the table and no quick texts to employees when no one’s watching. Blocking off time for leisure makes this easier.

If I want to eat dinner with family, grab a drink with friends, exercise or read a book, I schedule some uninterrupted time to focus on that activity. Setting parameters helps me eliminate the guilt of not working while getting the most from my personal time.

This is more than just what you “should” do. It’s a complete priority shift. While shifting mindsets sounds like a daunting task, we can make the transition easier on ourselves by following a few simple steps: Read more on Fox News

Friday, August 14, 2015

Survey: Half of Americans worry about work while on vacation, then return stressed

More than one-third of U.S. employees (39 percent) don't believe their bosses encourage them to take allotted vacation days, and almost half (45 percent) say their bosses don't help them disconnect from work while on vacation, according to a Randstad US Employee Engagement Study released this week.

Forty-nine percent of workers who participated in a Randstad U.S. survey say they feel stressed upon returning from vacation.Forty-one percent of survey participants said work-life balance is impossible to achieve.

“Employers who proactively maintain positive relationships with employees and encourage them to utilize allotted vacation time are more likely to boost company morale, reduce turnover and increase productivity, all of which can positively impact a company's bottom line,” Atlanta-based Randstad US said in a statement about the study.

The Employee Engagement Study also found :

Vacations can be stressful: Forty-nine percent feel stressed after they return from vacation. Forty-six percent say they worry about work while on vacation.

Hold the vacation: More than one in three employees (38 percent) believe taking fewer vacations makes them look better in the eyes of their boss.

Change of plans: More than one in three employees (36 percent) have had to cancel vacation plans due to work. Read more on

Imagine that for a second. More than 40% believe that work-life balance is impossible to achieve? How on earth is it possible to engage employees under this scenario? It is any wonder then that employee engagement levels in the U.S. are at all-time lows and job burnout is soaring. But you can’t change what you don’t measure. If you’re not doing some sort of employee survey, whether satisfaction, engagement, pulse, or something else, then you have no idea how to improve things.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

3 Things Bosses Can Do to Support Mental Health at Work

More people are starting to speak out at work about the importance of mental health.


Among them, according to The Wall Street Journal, are members of a new organization called the Stability Network, which is dedicated to promoting professional support for Americans who suffer from mental illness. Another is entrepreneur Indigo Triplett, founder of Careers in Transition, a human resources consulting firm, and an columnist who writes about mental health at work.


Many functioning professionals are afraid to admit to a disability for fear of discrimination. They may struggle to find a workplace where their diagnosis does not define them. They often don't disclose it until they are comfortable that the work environment will be supportive.


Employers are legally required to make accommodations after an employee discloses a mental or physical disability. Mental health advocates are seeking to encourage employers to go beyond mere accommodation and build in proactive, purposefully inclusive workplace policies and procedures.


Here are some best practices for business owners and managers seeking to cultivate a more inclusive and supportive work environment for mental health. Read more in

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Design Your Office to Fulfill Employees' Most Basic Needs


In the war for talent, savvy companies understand that office space is both a key component of their recruiting strategy and a platform they can use to amplify their culture. One way to design a space that will become a competitive advantage is to understand exactly what it is that your employees need to be happy.


And for help on that front, you might think about Abraham Maslow’s 1950s theory about human motivation and his hierarchy of needs.


How can something like office design aid in fulfilling those needs? Answering that question is key to helping companies design spaces their employees love. After all, the same principles that apply to people should also be considered when designing for people. Here are four to consider. Read on


Friday, July 3, 2015

Wishing everyone a safe and happy July 4th.

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.  ~Erma Bombeck

Thursday, July 2, 2015

3 Categories of Employee Perks That Have a Bottom-Line ROI

From free, daily catered lunches to company yoga classes to Friday happy hours, workplace perks are here. And they're great additions to standard 401(k) plans and vacation days. Perks like these break the everyday monotony of the workplace, attract the newest generations of talent and keep current staff happy.


But, that’s not all.


Employee perks also have a strong impact on a company’s bottom line. That’s right -- there’s a quantifiable benefit to taking the team out for drinks.


So what is the return on investment of employee perks? Here are three categories of popular perks companies are providing today and the data-backed ROI that comes with them: Find out here

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

5 Ways to Make Your Employees Happier and More Productive

More millennials work for small businesses with less than 100 employees than any other company size, according to research from Five years ago this may have been less consequential, but this year marked the tipping point where millennials now make up more of the work force than any other generation. The future of the work force is here, and its members are more inclined to work in a small business than larger organizations.


In order to understand how macro forces are driving change in the workplace, like the rise of millennials and the expectations that come along with that, Staples Advantage, the business to business division of Staples and partnered on the Staples Advantage Workplace Index, a new study surveying more than 2,000 American and Canadian workers. The major finding was that more than half of small-business employees report feeling overworked and burnt out, yet 89 percent are still happy at work and motivated to become managers in their respective organizations.


It's no surprise that this data also suggests that small-business employees are working longer hours; a quarter of them spend time working outside of the office and 40 percent work on weekends at least once a month. The research also found that they don't have time to take breaks, they get too much email and they're wasting time in business meetings.


Limited resources and the need to do more with less is a hallmark of small businesses. In many cases, this fast-paced environment and ability to wear multiple hats are a few of the traits that make small businesses so desirable for the new wave of workers. However, it also means that small-business employees are under the constant pressure to manage a growing workload. According to the survey, the "always on" work culture forces employees to complete work they don't have time to do during the day and many have the desire to get ahead for the following day as to eliminate even more burnout. Read more on

Monday, June 29, 2015

How Much Does Employee Turnover Cost You?

There are various ways to calculate the direct and indirect costs of replacing employees. There's no question, however, that it does cost companies much more in both time and money to replace a good employee that it does to keep them happy and engaged (especially long term employees with a great deal of institutional knowledge). Here's a Quora discussion on the topic with a few useful links.

Do you have a Nightmare Boss?

You know the types. The jerk. The one who needs anger management training. The bad communicator. The sexist. The manipulator. The not-so-funny comedian. We've all had them at one point in our careers. Here's how to handle it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Why We Love to Hate HR.and What HR Can Do About It

Recent complaints about the HR function have touched a nerve in a large, sympathetic audience, particularly in the United States. The most vocal critics say that HR managers focus too much on “administrivia” and lack vision and strategic insight.

These feelings aren’t new. They’ve erupted now and in the past because we don’t like being told how to behave—and no other group in organizational life, not even finance, bosses us around as systematically as HR does. We get defensive when we’re instructed to change how we interact with people, especially those who report to us, because that goes right to the core of who we are. What’s more, HR makes us perform tasks we dislike, such as documenting problems with employees. And it prevents us from doing what we want, such as hiring someone we “just know” is a good fit. Its directives affect every person in the organization, right up to the top, every single day.

The complaints also have a cyclical quality—they’re driven largely by the business context. Usually when companies are struggling with labor issues, HR is seen as a valued leadership partner. When things are going more smoothly all around, managers tend to think, “What’s HR doing for us, anyway?”  Read more on

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why Thanking Employees Can Make for a Better Leader

Is gratitude deficit rising in the workplace? When was the last time you sent an employee, colleague or customer a sincere thank-you note or a personalized gift to show your genuine appreciation for what they do? If it has been so long you cannot remember, you may not be alone.

A recent survey of 2,000 Americans found, while almost everyone agreed that thankful bosses would be more successful, only 10% actually reporting acting on their impulse to express thanks on any given day.

Often we take other people’s work and help for granted (“they are just doing their job”). Or, we assume employee-recognition programs are sufficient at rewarding extra effort. But does another company mug really tell someone they are valued?

The American writer William Arthur Ward noted that, “gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” Read more on