Upskilling has become a buzzword echoing around the human resources space right now – and for a good reason! This trend promotes continuous improvement of your current team and employees. Let’s break down exactly what upskilling is all about. 

First, What is Upskilling?

At its core, upskilling is the process of teaching employees new skills or improving existing ones. This can be done through formal training programs, online courses, or simply on-the-job learning. 

The goal is to help employees keep up with the ever-changing demands of the workplace and to make them more valuable members of the team.

Why is Upskilling the Buzzword of the Year?

In 2022, companies are facing a range of challenges – the Talent Gap, The Great Resignation, the Labor Shortage– that all share one solution: a focus on employee retention. 

Improved employee retention leads to higher productivity, performance and company culture: sounds like a win-win-win to us. Upskilling allows employers to enhance the skills of their current employees and focus on retaining their current staff instead of trying to hire new team members. Additionally, employees feel valued, engaged, and excited about work. 

In addition to employee retention, there are a few key reasons why upskilling is so important:

  • It helps employees keep up with the latest technology and trends.
  • It makes employees more productive and efficient.
  • It reduces turnover and saves on new hire training.

What is the Difference Between Upskilling and Reskilling?

The terms upskilling and reskilling are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between the two. Upskilling refers to teaching employees new skills or improving existing ones, while reskilling is focused on training employees for a completely different job. 

For instance, if you wanted to train your current administrative assistant in a new task management software, that is upskilling. If you wanted to train them in sales, that would be reskilling.

What Are Some Examples of Upskilling? 

Upskilling often includes using new tools, programs, and strategies within the workplace. Examples include:

  • Certifications
  • Software training
  • Professional development

However, there are more upskilling opportunities out there than you may expect. Upskilling doesn’t necessarily mean something that will directly impact the business or be considered a hard skill. For instance:

  • Sensitivity training
  • Educational rebates
  • Conferences
  • Training
  • Leadership development
  • and more 

How to Identify the Right People for an Upskilling Program

The first step in designing an upskilling program is identifying which employees would benefit the most from it. There are a few factors to consider when making this decision:

  • Are there specific skills that need to be improved?
  • Are there positions that are hard to fill?
  • Do you have employees who are looking for career advancement?

Once you’ve identified the employees who would benefit most from upskilling, you can start to design a program that meets their needs.

If you’re not sure where to start, try looking for online courses or training programs that focus on the specific skills you want to improve. Alternatively, consider hiring a coach or a fractional HR team to help you out!

How to Implement an Upskilling Program

The best way to implement an upskilling program will vary depending on the needs of your business and employees. However, there are a few key things to keep in mind:

  • Be clear about the goals of the program from the outset.
  • Make sure there is buy-in from management and employees.
  • Design a program that is flexible and can be adapted as needed.
  • Choose a delivery method that works for your team (e.g., in-person, online, etc.).

Once you have a plan in place, the next step is to start implementing it! Upskilling programs can be rolled out gradually or all at once, depending on what makes the most sense for your business.

Remember, the goal is to improve employee retention and make your team more productive – so don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you.

We recommend tracking the progress of your upskilling programs through an HRIS so you can see which programs are working and where there may be room for improvement. 

Upskilling your employees is an ongoing process, but by taking the first steps today, you can set your business up for success in the future. 

Need Help Upskilling Your Employees?

At Culture Works, we value the opportunity to help businesses implement learning and development programs into their company culture. Our team of experts is ready to partner with your team to build greater organizational success. Contact us today to learn how we can help your business implement these programs and contribute to positive company culture.

Interested in more information? Read on to see how learning and development can transform your company culture here.

talent development

Talent development—designed to attract, develop, motivate, and retain productive, engaged employees—is essential to an organization’s success and sustainability.

According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report, 94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if the company invested in their employee learning.

This considered, leaders should prioritize continuous efforts to:

  • Engage talent
  • Identify opportunities for learning and development (L&D)
  • Train for expectations, and
  • Manage outcomes

So, how can you facilitate talent development in your organization? Let’s find out.

Why Is It Important to Develop Talent in the Workplace?

At its core, talent development is the process of building your people in line with your company’s goals and plans (and just a little secret from us: your people are your greatest asset).

Let’s be honest: When organizations are not actively striving to help employees achieve their potential and goals, people are more likely to jump ship and look for something better.

This harsh reality is WHY talent development is so important in your organization!

Talent development can make employees feel seen and supported; therefore, making them more likely to stay and grow within their current organization.

What is the Process of Developing Talent?

The process of developing talent is not as quick as a bi-monthly “learn and lunch,” a set of slides for employees to click through, or a brief meeting before the team heads out for the weekend. 

What does this mean for leaders? It might be time to ditch the idea of leaving new hires to complete courses on computers or grouping the whole team together for all learning and development efforts.

Instead, the process of training and development is continuous throughout the lifecycle of an employee and should be performed on an individual, ongoing basis.

The good news? Leaders can kickstart and maintain talent development in just a few simple steps (and some patience and dedication never hurt anyone either!)

Wondering what these steps are? Let’s dive in. 

What Are the Four Steps of Talent Development in Your Organization?

Engage the Talent

Leaders can access the talent of the team as well as get employees involved with the process. A cookie-cutter approach to developing talent won’t have the same results as a collaborative, adaptable process.

But what does this process look like?

Employees can play an active role in how they want to develop their talent. For example, the skills they want to perfect, career opportunities they may want to pursue down the line, and how the company can help them accomplish these goals (i.e. what learning opportunities will work best for them).

Identify Learning and Development Opportunities

Leaders can take an inventory of current employee skills and identify opportunities for learning and development within their team.

Leaders can do this by asking questions like:

  • What skills are utilized?
  • How can the team improve our soft skills?
  • Are there any gaps in the workforce?
  • Is the team gaining hands-on experience?
  • Is the team lacking any particular KSAs (knowledge, skills, and abilities)?
  • How is the company supporting career development?

Train For Expectations

Leaders can consider company objectives and strategies, effectively training employees to meet these expectations. These expectations can include:

  • Role requirements
  • Role alignment
  • Value alignment, and
  • Culture accountability

Leaders may implement the strategies of upskilling, reskilling, or cross-skilling to meet expectations.

Let’s Talk Upskilling, Reskilling, and Cross-Skilling

What the heck is upskilling, reskilling, and cross-skilling!? Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.


Providing existing employees with new or more advanced skills within their role through education and training. Read on to learn more about upskilling.


Helps employees learn new skills that will be useful in an entirely different role.


Gives employees the skills to perform multiple functions at a company. 

What is the Difference Between Talent Development and Upskilling?

Talent development and upskilling are similar but have a few key differences.

We like to think of it like this:

Upskilling focuses on just that: Skills! Talent development, on the other hand, takes a broad approach to encourage employees to learn and grow.

Moreover, talent development includes skills and upskilling but is not just limited to those attributes. A talent development strategy may include more soft skills, culture, and role alignment than upskilling does.

Manage Outcomes

A talent development strategy should include clear objectives and performance indicators. Leaders can consistently measure progress by utilizing these indicators. 

Need Help Developing Talent in Your Organization?

At Culture Works, we value the opportunity to help businesses implement learning and development programs into their company culture. Our team of experts is ready to partner with your team to build greater organizational success.

Contact us today to learn how we can help your business implement these programs and contribute to positive company culture.

Interested in more information? Read on to see how learning and development can transform your company culture.

wood blocks with core values text

Aligning personal and company values can drive a company towards success. Why? Personal and corporate value alignment helps identify an organization’s goals while improving employee engagement, investment, and productivity.

Purpose defines why your company does what it does; values determine how your company acts in pursuit of that purpose.

Personal and company values are similar in that they both help guide decision-making. However, personal values vary and are for individuals to uncover, whereas company values can be consciously chosen, operationalized, and set across the board.

Let’s take a look at personal and company values before we dive into how aligning the two can drive company success.

What are Personal Values?

Personal values guide an individual’s thoughts, words, and actions. These values help individuals grow, both inside and outside of the workplace.

Examples of Personal Values

Personal values can differ significantly among individuals. Some common examples of personal values include:

  • Loyalty
  • Spirituality
  • Humility
  • Compassion
  • Honesty
  • Kindness
  • Integrity, and
  • Selflessness

How Do Personal Values Impact the Workplace? 

Personal values affect how individuals show up and function in their daily lives, including in the workplace (duh, the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime!)

These personal values indicate what is important to each person and therefore, guide their behavior. These values will affect how employees respond to situations, interact with others, and approach leadership positions.

Further, these principles will influence an employee’s mindset and fulfillment in the workplace.

What are Company Values?

Company values are a set of guiding principles that reflect an organization’s vision, mission, and motivations. These values should drive your team towards common goals, outline priorities, and help them navigate difficult decisions.

Examples of Company Values

Companies should choose unique values that reflect their organization. Here are a few common values that many companies highlight:

  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Drive
  • Communication
  • Sustainability
  • Fairness
  • Transparency
  • Honesty
  • Innovation, and
  • Accountability

How Do Company Values Affect the Workplace?

Company values distinguish the identity of the company, establish a sense of belonging, influence behavior, and shape the future of the company.

Read on to learn why your company’s core values are essential to success.

What Happens When These Values Are Misaligned?

Most often, there is a gap between companies and employees regarding values. According to research from Oxford Economics, 75% of executives stated their organization has defined values that are “communicated and understood.” However, only 33% of employees agreed.

If employees feel that values are not being communicated and understood, they are likely to feel disconnected from an organization. This can decrease employee motivation, engagement, and productivity… But this doesn’t have to be the case!

The good news: Employees and companies often share many of the same values. It all comes down to operationalizing and communicating these values to your team. After all, both the company and employees will benefit from seeing these values in action!

How Can Aligning Personal and Company Values Benefit an Organization?

To bridge the gap between how executives and employees see the implementation of values, an organization should recognize the importance of aligning these values.

Benefits For Employees

Aligned values can help employees feel a sense of belonging, support, and satisfaction in their roles.

Benefits for Companies

Value alignment can improve the cohesiveness of an organization’s branding as well as improve employee retention, engagement, and recruitment efforts (i.e. talent attraction).

Oxford Economics tells us that “public companies with extremely healthy cultures are 2.5X more likely to report significant stock price increases over the past year… and 1.5X more likely to report average revenue growth of more than 15% for the past three years.” 

It’s a win-win; companies want productive employees and employees want to work for organizations that share similar values.

How to Align Personal and Corporate Values Within Your Company

The short answer: Company values should function as more than hyperboles.

Research suggests that value misalignment is not a result of companies and employees having different values, but instead, that employees simply don’t see values implemented in the workplace.

Core company values should be purposefully chosen and operationalized in a way that is productive, efficient, and effective.

What steps can leaders take? Leaders can work to align values by:

  • Giving employees a space to identify their personal values
  • Inviting team members to discuss company values
  • Tying personal goals into professional goals
  • Valuing communication, and
  • Increasing transparency

Need Help Aligning These Values?

This task might seem a little daunting, but don’t worry – we want to help! At Culture Works, our values make us who we are.

We are a trusted resource working with companies to improve their processes, operationalize their company culture, invest in their people through leadership training, and bring purpose into everything they do.

Our services provide the processes to operationalize culture in your organization:

  • Intentional Culture Works for businesses
  • Collaborative Culture Works for employees
  • Healthy Culture Works internally in companies to facilitate organizational change, and
  • Values-Driven Culture Works to make productivity soar and reduce churn

Read on to learn how people partners are the new HR.

HR team tracking HR metrics and KPIs

HR metrics and KPIs help human resources (HR) professionals guide the development of their organization and track its efficiency.

Peter Drucker, management guru, famously stated: “What gets measured, gets managed.”

These measurements show the methods that are working, aren’t working, and where to focus future efforts. But what measurements should HR professionals be tracking to drive their organization toward success? Let’s take a look at some key metrics.

What are HR Metrics?

Human resources metrics, or HR metrics, provide data on a business’s performance.

What are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?

Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are quantifiable measures of performance over time for a specific objective. KPIs clearly articulate what an organization needs to achieve to reach its long-term objectives.

 KPIs provide:

  • Goals a team should aim for
  • Milestones to measure progress, and
  • Insight from team members across the organization

Successful strategic plans may have between five and seven key performance indicators to keep a pulse on how a team is performing.

What’s the Difference Between HR Metrics and KPIs?

While ‘HR metrics’ and ‘KPIs’ are often used interchangeably, there are a couple of important differences.

We like to break it down like this:

Key performance indicators help to define strategy and provide a clear focus for an organization. Metrics are measures of everyday activities that add value to an organization but aren’t the critical measure for achievable goals.

Think of it like this: Every KPI is a metric, but not every metric is a KPI.

For instance, ‘organic inbound website traffic’ is an example of a metric. While this metric is important to track, it is not as considered, or clearly defined as, a KPI.

An example of a KPI would be ‘targeted new clients per month.’

Now that we understand what each of these measurements is, let’s dive into what HR metrics and KPIs you should be tracking.

What HR Metrics You Should be Tracking

HR metrics help HR professionals understand and maintain efficiency in the daily operations of their organization.

While there are dozens of important HR metrics, let’s focus on a few that may be valuable for your business:

Quality of Hire

Quality of hire is an essential metric for evaluating the effectiveness of an organization’s hiring process.

A healthy quality of hire metric shows that:

  • The hiring team brings in good people
  • Managers support retention efforts, and
  • New hires are consistently thriving in their roles

However, attempting to define this measurement can be difficult.

HR professionals may choose to review turnover, performance reviews, and hiring manager satisfaction as proxy measurements. The combination of these results can help indicate if a new hire is happy and performing well in their position.

Demographics and Diversity

Diverse teams are necessary for any company–but they don’t build themselves! HR professionals and hiring teams should be making cognizant efforts to build and maintain diverse teams.

To gain an understanding of their company’s demographics and diversity, HR professionals can analyze data such as the gender diversity ratio and pay gap.

Let’s take a brief look at each of these metrics.

The Gender Diversity Ratio 

This ratio helps HR professionals determine whether there is an equitable or fair representation of different genders within a company. While this metric is most commonly used to measure the ratio of men vs. women, it can also include people who identify as non-binary or other gender identities.

Pay Gaps 

HR professionals can make closing pay gaps a priority in their organization. 

In the United States, the gender pay gap between men and women is approximately 18%. However, this gap varies by race and ethnicity as well.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, white women earned 82% as much as white men, black women earned 85% as much as black men, and Asian women earned just 70% as much as Asian men.

By reviewing these gaps, HR professionals can understand their organization’s culture and how their policies apply to different gender groups.

Absenteeism Rates

Absenteeism rates are important for HR professionals to review because they can indicate poor management, employee burnout, workplace stress, and/or employee disengagement.

If an HR professional notices an employee is taking short absences regularly, they can schedule a 1:1 to check in on their health, well-being, and company satisfaction.

What KPIs You Should be Tracking

Time to Fill

Time to fill is the measure of days a company takes to fill an open position from the date the job is listed to the date the new hire accepts the position.

This metric is often expressed through dividing the total number of days for each position by the number of new hires or positions filled.

Typically, organizations measure time to fill for external candidates because hiring internal candidates includes a different process.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) set the benchmark for time-to-fill at 42 days.

Employee Turnover Rate

High employee turnover can have a range of negative effects on an organization. For example, high turnover can be costly, cause reduced morale, and make it difficult for employers to hire and retain high-potential talent.

To thoroughly measure employee turnover, HR professionals may choose to monitor several different metrics, including:

  • Overall Turnover Rate: The percentage of employees that have exited the company over some time.
  • Voluntary Turnover: Employees who leave a company on their own, whether for an opportunity at another company or to pursue other goals (i.e. going to school).
  • Involuntary Turnover: Employees who are laid off or otherwise terminated.

By analyzing these rates, an HR professional can understand where the organization is excelling and where it may need improvement in terms of employee retention.

What is the Purpose of Tracking These Metrics?

HR metrics and KPIs help HR professionals to address company issues head-on, maintaining a clear understanding of where their company is at using data.

Determining which metrics should be tracked as KPI’s can vary based on an organization’s goals, values, areas for improvement, and needed areas to highlight in reporting. All metrics are important to keep a pulse on, but KPI’s are highlighted to provide a spotlight on those metrics that need focus.

According to the SHRM HR Magazine, HR is held back by the following shortcomings:

  • 46% – Failure to identify shared priorities and strategic goals
  • 34% – Inability to communicate effectively in real-time
  • 27% – Failure to reference the most up-to-date, accurate data
  • 24% – Lack of automation for shared HR/finance processes
  • 21% – Use of different systems to access data

By tracking metrics, identifying high-impact KPI’s, and using data to drive your people-minded decisions, you can align your HR initiatives with your organization’s goals, obtain buy in from stakeholders, and have a clear vision of where to focus your efforts. 

Need Help Tracking Your HR Metrics and KPIs?

At Culture Works, our assessments focus on purpose, values, and leadership alignment that serve as building blocks for creating your company’s culture strategy, goal alignment, and operationalizing culture.
Read on for more information about our culture assessment and other services. Then, check out our article to learn how to bring emotional intelligence into the workplace.

workplace with psychological safety and happy employees

As a leader, one of your main priorities should be to create a safe and productive workplace that helps your employees thrive and succeed in their roles. Psychological safety is a key factor in creating such a workplace for your employees. Never heard of it? That’s okay, we’ve got you covered. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what psychological safety is, its benefits, and how you can establish it in your workplace. 

What is Psychological Safety?

The term was coined by Amy Edmondson, a Harvard Business School professor. Edmondson defines psychological safety as “a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.” 

Forbes simplifies the concept as employees “knowing that the things you say and do won’t be used against you — as long as you mean well.”

Benefits of Psychological Safety in the Workplace

Establishing a climate of psychological safety allows space for people to speak up and share their ideas. Imagine this: You work in an environment where you know your leader has your back, where your ideas will at least be listened to if not implemented, and where the team is open to new solutions.

What kind of innovations do you think this type of environment would lead to? How do you think this would affect the organization as a whole? 

A workplace with psychological safety creates an environment that fosters innovation, teamwork, and productivity. 

How to Establish Psychological Safety in the Workplace 

Leaders can implement a few strategies to establish psychological safety in their organization. 

Welcome Questions and Curiosity

By embracing questions and curiosity, leaders create a space in which their team feels comfortable clarifying concepts and introducing new ideas. 

According to Forbes, just three out of 10 workers strongly agree that their opinions seem to count at work. Employers can improve employee retention and engagement by making an effort to listen to ideas.

Consider Breaking the Golden Rule

Yes, we mean to consider breaking “treat others as you would like to be treated.” Instead, treat others as they would like to be treated. What’s the difference?

Each team is made up of a collection of people with different personalities,  communication styles, and goals. Take the time to ask individuals on your team how they prefer to be treated in terms of communication style, check-ins, feedback, and so on.

For instance, some employees may benefit from frequent check-ins whereas others may feel as if such check-ins suggest leadership doesn’t trust them to get their work done. 

By understanding how your team wants to be treated as individuals, you contribute to establishing psychological safety in your workplace. 

Minimize Negativity

Negativity can be contagious in a workplace, especially when it comes from leadership. This can cause employees to feel uncomfortable sharing their ideas or speaking up, hesitant due to a worry that they will receive negative feedback from leadership or others. 

Include Your Team in Decision Making

Consider consulting your team before making major decisions. Asking for their input can make them feel valued and included. Once a decision is made, leadership can take the time to briefly explain the reasoning behind it and how the employee’s feedback contributed to this decision. Even if the team disagrees with your choice, transparency will be appreciated. 

Be Open to Feedback

As a leader, you likely provide feedback since it’s a necessary part of improving and developing your team. However, you need to be open to receiving feedback as well. Invite your team to challenge your choices or offer opinions on how you can improve. 

Earn and Extend Trust

Employees in high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 40% less burnout, and 50% higher productivity.

Edmondson’s research ties trust to psychological safety: “It describes a team climate characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves.”

Prioritize Active Listening

Active listening is the practice of making a cognizant effort to pay attention and fully engage in a conversation. This can take the form of paraphrasing to show understanding, using nonverbal cues such as nodding and eye contact, as well as verbally inserting short affirmations.

Learn more about active listening and how to bring emotional intelligence into the workplace. 

Interested in Improving Your Company Culture?

Building a healthy company culture, including psychological safety, is often easier said than done. That’s why we’re here to help. We align our purpose to operationalize culture with your people. For more information, check out our culture operations, here.Read on to learn how to build trust with your employees, here.

employer implementing learning and development techniques to their team

Learning and development (L&D) programs are essential to the success of any organization. L&D, also known as training and development, aligns employee goals and performance with the company. The aim is to provide employees with the necessary skills and resources they need to flourish in their roles. 

Unfortunately, many companies may struggle to experience the positive benefits of these programs on a long-term basis. In fact,  Harvard Business Review estimates that only 10% of the $200 billion spent every year on corporate training and development in the United States delivers real results.

The good news is leaders can use purposeful strategies to better implement L&D into their business. These strategies focus on creating an environment where employees can learn, practice, and apply their skills. 

Let’s take a look at what strategies aren’t working and discuss more successful methods of implementing L&D into your business.

What Strategies Aren’t Working to Implement L&D into Businesses

According to research presented by Harvard Business Review, companies face a few challenges in implementing L&D into their businesses. These common challenges include:

Training that Takes Place Outside of the Organization

Learning and development trainings tend to occur outside of the organization. This makes it difficult for the employees to translate the skills learned in the classroom into the workplace. 

When we work with clients to implement L&D programs into their organization, we ensure that these programs are integrated into the workplace. A learning and development initiative should be a main part of your company’s strategic initiatives. 

Training that Requires Employees to Invest Their Own Time

Learning and development training that requires employees to invest their personal time are less likely to be successful than trainings that focus on building these skills during work. When leaders expect their team to fulfill their regular work responsibilities and compromise their personal time, leaders are not setting their employees up to successfully grow these skills. 

Training With Minimal Follow-Up

When leaders implement minimal follow-up after the training, the responsibility to retain and use the new skills is placed on the learner. Leaders should maintain responsibility for learning and development in order to experience the best results.

Successful Strategies to Implement L&D into Your Business

According to Forbes, learning and development training helps organizations to gain and retain top talent, build employee satisfaction, boost morale and improve productivity.  Let’s dive into how leaders can implement L&D to experience these benefits on a long-term basis.

1. Contextualize the Learning

Research has shown that learners are less likely to apply what they learn if it is taught in a different context than it will be applied. Many traditional learning and development programs are held outside of the workplace, which leads to issues translating the skills into the new context. 

One strategy to combat this issue is to create customized training programs. In these programs, instructors target specific topics on a team or individual level. This can help learners to apply and implement these new skills into their daily work.

2. Break Learning and Development Trainings into Portions

Research suggests that dividing training into smaller increments can help learners retain and apply information. Leaders may experience more positive benefits of learning and development programs if they break up training into small, structured portions. 

For example, leaders can encourage learners to participate in short online courses that can be easily integrated into their work schedules. These classes should be prioritized and completed while employees are on the clock to avoid shifting the responsibility of the training onto the learner.

3. Measure Progress and Benchmark Performance

Your L&D strategy should include clear objectives and performance indicators. Leaders should consistently measure progress by utilizing these indicators. In reviewing the performance of the L&D strategies, leaders can review:

  • Employee retention and satisfaction
  • Cohesion among teams 
  • Employee growth 

However, it is important for leaders to remember that learning is an individual process, and each learner may provide different results. While leaders should check in with individuals, they should consider measuring progress based on teams or levels within the organization.

4. Provide Helpful Reminders

Leaders can offer short, helpful reminders for their teams to use the skills from the learning and development trainings. These reminders, which can take the form of an email or push notification,  should be contextual, friendly, and just a few sentences. These nudges can be as simple as “this project would be a great opportunity to try!”

The purpose of these reminders is to keep the ideas from the training at the front of the learner’s mind as they navigate their day-to-day responsibilities. In each reminder, leaders should consider referencing a specific behavior and including a call to action. 

5. Follow Up and Reflect

To effectively employ learning and development strategies, leaders should encourage learners to reflect on how the skills and tools they have learned can be used in the workday. Leaders may also choose to set aside time for learners to reflect after the training and then on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

Leaders can follow up after learning and development trainings in a few different ways. For instance, leaders can check in with individuals during 1:1 meetings or the team during group meetings. Leaders can guide discussion with questions such as:

  • Did you use x skills this week?
  • If so, how did you use these skills?
  • If not, how might you use these skills next time?
  • Are there any tools or resources you need to use these tools in the future?

6. Provide Additional Resources to Support Employee Growth

Employee growth doesn’t have to stop at the end of the training or when they click off that last assigned online course. Leaders can support their employees in growing through reimbursement programs, webinars, books as well as other resources. 

Need Help Implementing L&D into Your Business?

At Culture Works, we value the opportunity to help businesses implement learning and development programs into their company culture. Our team of experts is ready to partner with your team to build greater organizational success. Contact us today to learn how we can help your business implement these programs and contribute to positive company culture.Interested in more information? Read on to see how learning and development can transform your company culture here.

employer reviewing how to perform layoffs the right way

Layoffs are an unfortunate, but often a necessary choice for businesses for several reasons. Some may include an economic crisis, a change in business strategy, or a general reorganization. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2009, during the height of the Great Recession, 2.1 million Americans were laid off. As the American economy is at risk of entering another recession, companies are beginning to take measures to prepare. Companies may turn to layoffs as a means to survive during the economic downturn. 

Company leaders may not realize that layoffs do not only affect only the people leaving the organization, but carry long-term effects on the company culture, such as lowered employee productivity, retention, and satisfaction. 

However, employers can implement specific, purposeful strategies to navigate layoffs and preserve company culture.  Let’s begin by discussing how these changes can affect the team.

How Layoffs Affect the Team

Employees that stay at a company after layoffs experience a 20% decline in job performance, a 36% decline in organizational commitment, and a 41% decrease in job satisfaction. Why? Because layoffs can cause employees to feel as if they have lost control, stability as well as trust in their management. 

 Let’s review some strategies to combat these issues.

Strategies to Navigate Layoffs

While layoffs will never be easy, companies can take steps to make the transitions as smooth as possible for their employees. 

Find a Way to be Fair

One of the most common complaints from employees following a layoff is that it wasn’t fair. By fair, we mean that employees did not understand the criteria or how the leadership decided which employees stayed and which were laid off. 

Company leaders should take the time to create a system for determining who will stay and who will go in the process of making layoffs. These criteria can be designed to clearly identify employee roles, traits, skills, or knowledge that will help the company reach its goals as well as align with company values.

A fair selection process, especially one that is communicated to the team, can help employees better understand the reasons for layoffs and set them up for success moving forward.

Be Respectful

Leaders should approach layoffs with intention, respect, and compassion. This approach can result in significant benefits for your employees and your company.

Layoffs will inevitably cause negative reactions amongst employees. Respect can help to soften these reactions.

For example, companies may choose for leadership to personally speak with employees about the changes. Leaders should avoid impersonal actions such as sending out a generic email detailing the layoff decision. 

Prioritize Transparency: Talk About It

Leaders should consider having an open dialogue about the layoffs. Why? Because after the announcement of layoffs, gossip and hurt feelings are inevitable. By making the effort to speak to their teams, leaders are taking the opportunity to control the narrative of why these changes are happening. 

According to PR Newswire, more than 86% of employees stated that their loyalty would be affected if a company “fails to be transparent regarding slowing company growth, hiring freezes, and layoffs.”

Consistency is Key

Layoffs can cause a workplace to feel inconsistent or unstable to employees. Leaders can prioritize consistency by maintaining consistent expectations, communication and behaviors across conversations. This can help employees to feel more stable in their workplace and help to boost productivity. 

Provide Choices

Employees are likely to feel out of control during the process of layoffs, whether they stay or leave the company. Leaders can combat this issue by providing employees with as many choices as possible, even the little things.

For instance, allowing employees to take select office supplies or select their last date of employment can show care and allow exiting employees to feel more in control. Further, this display of extra care will boost morale and trust for the employees staying with the organization.

Show Extra Care

In the event of a layoff, small actions can make all the difference for both the employees exiting the organization and the employees staying. Leaders can show extra care by providing all employees with information about unemployment resources, job search resources, communication, and support. The care leaders show to exiting employees will matter to those staying with the company.

Is There a Wrong Way to Make Layoffs?

Harvard Business Review defines “bad layoffs” as “layoffs that aren’t fair or perceived as fair by employees and that have lasting negative knock-on effects.” 

For example, companies should avoid performing layoffs with the goal of achieving short-term cuts instead of implementing long-term strategic change. When used as a quick means to support a short-term goal, these choices often prove to cause more issues than solutions. 

Need Help With Your Company Culture?

At Culture Works, we understand that sometimes layoffs can’t be avoided. These changes don’t have to negatively impact your company culture on a long-term basis. With the right strategies and structures in place, we can operationalize the elements of your company culture that drive productivity, retention, and results. 

Learn more about us and what we do, here. 

Then read on to why hiring the right people can help your business in a recession (and prevent layoffs in the future) here.

HR helping company hire the right people to improve company during a recession

For many companies, an initial reaction to a recession (or any significant financial crisis) may be to stop hiring. Employers believe that this will allow them to save money and focus their resources on their existing staff.

However, hiring during a recession is essential to the growth and success of your business. Why? Because hiring the right people can improve employee retention, foster innovation, and save time in the long run.

Before we dive into why hiring the right people is important, let’s discuss why businesses should resist hiring freezes.

Resist Hiring Freezes

While hiring freezes may save money in the short term, they can often be more harmful than helpful to a company. If your business is not hiring new people, it is not progressing and growing.

Freezing hires may have the following negative impacts:

Issues with Retention and Loss of Your Best Talent

Hiring freezes will likely result in your existing staff covering the work that a new hire would be taking on. Many employers depend upon their best talent to pick up the slack in a time of financial crisis.

However, additional work with limited resources can lead to employee burnout and increased turnover. Further, employees will be more likely to leave your organization if there aren’t opportunities for them to grow within the company.

According to PR Newswire, more than 86% of employees stated that their loyalty would be affected if a company “fails to be transparent regarding slowing company growth, hiring freezes, and lay-offs.”

Loss of Revenue

Hiring freezes mean that you don’t fill your revenue-generating positions. This results in a lost opportunity to earn more revenue for your company.

Additionally, if your organization isn’t properly staffed and your employees are stretched thin, you hinder them from doing their job to the best of their ability. Limited staffing can frustrate your employees, affect the quality of the work, and therefore, impact your customers.

Missing Out on Talent Opportunities

Company-wide hiring freezes mean that your organization won’t be able to consider exceptional talent. This means you’re missing out on the positive impact new talent could make on your business. Moreover, if your organization doesn’t use them, another company will!

So, what’s our solution to helping your business in a recession? Focus on hiring the right people.

Why Hiring the Right People is Important in a Recession

Improved Employee Retention

According to PR Newswire, a report surveying over 1,500 employees in the United States found that 57% of employees would actively look for a new job if we enter an economic recession in 2022.

Further, the report stated that over 70% of respondents believe we will be in a recession within six months or less.

So, what does this mean for employers? Employee retention should be a priority during a recession.

The right new hire can improve employee retention by decreasing workloads for your current employees, boosting morale, and showing your employees that there is opportunity to grow within your company.

By decreasing the workload alone, the right new hire can make your team feel supported as well as give them the time they need to complete quality work at an effective pace. This can cut down on employee burnout and give employees the tools they need to flourish within your organization.

Foster Innovation

A new hire can bring a fresh perspective to your organization. Through this perspective, the new hire can introduce innovative ideas, such as how to make current processes more efficient.

Innovation, in addition to helping the team, can also help prevent workflows from becoming stagnant.

Saves Time and Resources

By hiring the right people, you save time in the following ways:

Less Time Spent Hiring

Taking the time to hire the right candidate means you only have to do the hiring process once.

Quicker Onboarding Process

Additionally, hiring the right person will likely lead to a quicker onboarding process. If this candidate is well-aligned with the position, they are more likely to pick up their responsibilities and seamlessly transition into the role.

Improved Efficiency

By hiring the right people, employers make their teams more efficient. When everyone on the team can execute their responsibilities well and support each other, the team becomes more successful as a whole.

How to Hire the Right People

Now that we’ve discussed why to hire the right people, let’s discuss how to do it. Begin with the following steps.

Assess Your Company’s Needs

To recruit the best people, you need to be aware of your company’s exact needs. Consider questions such as:

  • Where could your team benefit from additional support?
  • What responsibilities does this role need to fill?
  • What are the goals of this position?
  • What qualifications will this new hire need to achieve these goals?
  • What mindset are you looking for in this new hire?
  • What experience would be the most helpful for this position?

Create a Detailed Job Description

Creating a detailed job description can define what exactly you want from this role and how it will benefit your organization. Plus, a detailed job description can help draw the best-fitting candidates to your company.

Prepare a Structured Interview

Use the interview to ensure the candidate is meeting the expectations you’ve set for the role. We suggest preparing questions or an itinerary to keep the interview as focused and productive as possible.

Look Beyond the Resume

While the skills and experience listed on the resume are important, it is also essential to review other qualities when selecting a new hire. These qualities can include their values (and if these values align with the company values) as well as their ambitions and their soft skills.

Need a Little Help Hiring the Right People?

Taking the time to hire the right people will have a host of benefits in the long run. Finding the best fit may not be as easy as a gut feeling and a round of interviews. Luckily, Culture Works is here to help.

At Culture Works, our team is focused on value and role alignment. Our team creates processes for your hiring manager to implement that make the hiring process efficient and effective. We carefully review and screen each candidate, administer customized assessments, and deliver value and role-aligned people to fit your needs.

Read on to learn more about what we do. Then, read on to learn how to build trust with your employees.

employees practicing company core values in their workplace

The last two years have brought a slew of changes for employers. These changes include remote work on the rise, the Great Resignation resulting in millions of employees leaving their jobs, as well as an influx of millennials and Gen Z joining the workforce.

Many of these events can cause employers to feel disconnected from their employees. Don’t worry, we have a solution to focus and reconnect teams with their company culture – it’s been on a poster in the HR office this whole time! 

That’s right, we’re talking about your company’s core values. Read on to learn why establishing and emphasizing company values is essential to success.

First, What Are Company Core Values?

By definition, company core values are a set of guiding principles that reflect your organization’s vision, mission, and motivations. These values should drive your team towards common goals, outline their priorities, and help them navigate through difficult decisions. 

What Are Some Examples?

Companies should choose unique values that reflect their organization. Here are a few common values many companies highlight:

  • Integrity
  • Fairness
  • Transparency
  • Honesty
  • Innovation
  • Accountability
  • Respect
  • Drive
  • Communication
  • Sustainability

How Do Company Core Values Lead to Success?

Company core values tell both customers and members of the organization who you are. By communicating these priorities to your employees, you are not only allowing them to accurately represent your brand to customers, but you are showing them what qualities you value in them as well.

Values Distinguish the Identity of a Company

Companies that understand themselves can thrive in a variety of ways. For example, a company with a distinguished identity can excel in marketing its unique brand voice to potential customers, recruiting new employees as well as retaining its existing team members. 

Employees Prioritize Values in Choosing Their Jobs

According to HuffPost, 94% of millennial employees want to use their skills for good. Further, over 50% of millennials say they would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values. 

So what do these statistics tell us about millennials in the workforce? 

They aren’t just clocking into a 9-5 for a salary; they’re interested in contributing to change, upholding their values, and finding a position that means more than just “work.”

If an employee feels as if the company’s core values align with their own, they are more likely to stay with the company and be more productive and satisfied with their work. 

Values Establish a Sense of Belonging

Especially with businesses transitioning to a hybrid or remote work model, companies should be taking extra steps to make their employees feel like they belong. Core values can help employees connect without in-person interactions by giving them a common goal. 

Values Influence Behavior

When values are clearly defined and integrated into company culture, employees can be inspired to meet these expectations. 

Values Help with Hiring

Core values may help employers decide which candidates to hire based on who aligns with or prioritizes the same values. 

Values Shape the Future of the Company

Companies may keep core values in mind when making decisions about the next steps. 

Why Operationalize Your Company’s Core Values

Your company’s core values shouldn’t just be on a poster in your HR office. 

It’s time to build, revamp and operationalize your company’s core values. This will allow you to review if and how your core values are present throughout the daily operations of your company. Additionally, operationalizing your core values can expose where your business could benefit from strengthening and implementing these values. 

Need a Little Help with Your Core Values? 

Don’t worry – this is what we do best. At Culture Works, our values make us who we are, and we are a trusted resource working with companies to improve their processes, operationalize their company culture, invest in their people through leadership training, and bring purpose into everything they do.

Our services provide the processes to operationalize culture in your organization:

  • Intentional Culture Works for businesses
  • Collaborative Culture Works for employees
  • Healthy Culture Works internally in companies to facilitate organizational change
  • Values-Driven Culture Works to make productivity soar and reduce churn

Learn more about us here or read on for more information on leveraging learning and development to improve employee retention.

Team members bringing emotional intelligence into the workplace and having discussions

In a survey of hiring managers, nearly 75% of respondents stated they value an employee’s emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) over their IQ. Why? Emotional intelligence is linked to more productive and satisfied employees… Hello, retention!

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to perceive and manage emotions. This skill can be improved and strengthened as well as brought into different aspects of one’s life – like the workplace!

However, bringing emotional intelligence into the workplace isn’t as easy as a Friday afternoon workshop with acai bowls. (Although, we certainly aren’t against that!). EQ is the building and cognizant maintenance of healthy habits. It takes work.

Read on to learn how to sharpen and maintain these skills in the workplace!

What is Emotional Intelligence?

First things first, what is emotional intelligence? EQ can be broken into four different levels:

  • Perceiving emotions
  • Reasoning with emotions
  • Understanding emotions, and
  • Managing emotions

The term “emotional intelligence” was first coined by psychologists Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer in 1990. Five years later, science journalist Daniel Goleman wrote a best-selling book titled Emotional Intelligence followed by Emotional Intelligence 2.0 in 2019.

In Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Goleman expanded on EQ and broadened the definition of the term. Goleman split emotional intelligence into four crucial areas:

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Self-Management
  3. Relationship Maintanence
  4. Social Awareness

Let’s take a look at how these skills can contribute to success.

How Can Emotional Intelligence Lead to Success?

EQ can help individuals refine communication, increase problem-solving abilities, build relationships, defuse conflict, and improve productivity. Through these benefits, emotional intelligence helps individuals become successful and satisfied in both their personal lives and in the workplace.

How to Develop Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Now that we’ve reviewed what emotional intelligence is and how it leads to success, let’s dive into how you can bring it into your company culture.

Educate Your Team on EQ

How can employees practice emotional intelligence if they don’t know what it is? We suggest educating your team on what EQ is, how they can practice and strengthen their EQ skill set, and how these skills can contribute to their success.

Consider presentations, workshops or classes. Read on to learn more about our culture operations packages!.

Assess Your Team’s Needs

Leaders can focus efforts through investing time in reviewing where the company culture excels and where it can be improved. For instance, leaders may notice that the giving and receiving of feedback can be improved in their workplace. 

Read on to find more information about our wellness resources.

Prioritize Active Listening

Simply put, active listening is the practice of making a cognizant effort to pay attention and fully engage in a conversation. This can take the form of paraphrasing to show understanding, using nonverbal cues such as nodding and eye contact, as well as verbally inserting short affirmations.

Provide Purposeful Feedback

Feedback is an essential part of improving a company and company culture, but can get tricky. To provide feedback using a high level of emotional intelligence, we recommend being in a mindset that the feedback is an opportunity to feed forward. Leaders and teams can get better together, collectively, if they lean into this mindset by using some of the following tips. 

Ask Questions

By opening with a question, those who are giving feedback encourage a discussion rather than a negative statement. This can help those who are receiving feedback feel heard and that they can participate in the conversation; instead of simply being told they’re doing something wrong.

Describe a Specific Behavior

When giving feedback, leaders should discuss specific behaviors or examples to pinpoint where an employee’s opportunity to learn and grow is. If the feedback given is too vague, the employee may not know what to improve or how to improve. 

Provide Context

Those providing feedback should explain the full context of the situation. This gives the individual receiving feedback an understanding of why they are receiving these notes and how they can adjust their behavior.

For example, if an employee doesn’t understand the impact of a particular behavior, they may feel surprised or that they are being nit-picked. When provided with context, an employee can understand why the behavior may not be beneficial; and therefore, be more open to adjusting.

Try To Understand Their Perspective

Feedback should be a discussion. By asking questions and stepping into the employee’s shoes, those providing feedback can understand why the other person made specific choices.

Further, those receiving feedback would likely appreciate the opportunity to explain themselves in an open, safe space, so as to not feel attacked.

Leaders Should Model Behaviors

Leaders can inspire the rest of the team by actively sharpening their own EQ skills. For instance, management can use active listening skills and make an effort to accept criticism themselves and respond accordingly. In addition, leaders who can provide clear direction and articulate the needs and expectations inspire and encourage teams to identify and commit to the needs and wants so collective change can happen. 

Want Help Bringing Emotional Intelligence Into the Workplace? We Got You!

At Culture Works, we provide the processes to operationalize culture and EQ you want in your company and through its leaders.. Our services include culture, talent and HR assessments, culture operations, recruiting, and consulting.

Read on to learn more about us and why we do what we do.