Tag Archive for: employee engagement

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.

a team using people operations and Hr as a resource in their roles

What do you think of when you think of HR? 

The friendly co-worker always sipping lemon tea and bringing donuts? Thursday morning workshops squeezed into the schedule? The adorably decorated office visit to talk about benefits? Some might even think of impersonal conversations about rules and regulations. (It’s okay, you can say it.) We’ll let you in on a little secret: we don’t like those impersonal conversations either. That’s why we’re leaving them in the old HR.

We’ll tell you what we think of when we think of HR: people.

And as much as we love lemon tea, workshops, and decorated offices, we want employees to primarily associate HR with one thing: resources.

How will we accomplish this? We’re so glad you asked. Let’s dive into the new HR. 

What Do We Mean By People Partners?

People partners function as a system of strategic practices that will humanize impersonal processes and prioritize employees. By focusing on employee happiness and satisfaction, people partners improve employee development, engagement, and retention. 

Sounds like a win-win, right? Let’s look into the goals of people partners in greater detail. 

What Are the Goals of People Partners?

Connecting With Employees

The main goal of people partners is to strengthen the connection between HR and employees. At Culture Works, we believe that successful HR practitioners put their people first. 

Making HR a Resource Instead of Policing Employees

Some may associate HR with awkward conversations enforcing rules and policies. People partners shift these impersonal conversations into humanized processes.  The new HR will use these processes not to enable people, but rather to empower them. 

Operating With a Mindset of Growth

People partners place importance on the growth and development of employees. 

Coordinating with Employees of All Levels

HR practitioners utilizing the principles of people partners work alongside co-workers of all levels. Through these collaborations, HR practitioners have the opportunity to learn the business partners from each level of the organization. 

Impact Change through Purpose, People, and Process

We like to think of it like this:

Purpose: HR practitioners assess and identify goals as well as value alignment. 

People: People partners will help integrate, support, and guide performance accountability amongst the team. Further, HR practitioners familiarize themselves with roles and success indicators and align employees accordingly. 

Process: HR practitioners implement humanized processes to connect to employees and create change. 

Learn more about purpose, people, and process, here. 

How Are People Partners Different From the Old HR?

The old and new HR will have many differences, ranging from details in processes to broad responses to problems. Let’s go over a few examples.

  • The main focuses of traditional HR may include enforcing rules and reducing liability. The main focus of people partners, on the other hand, includes valuing employees and contributing to employee growth, engagement, and retention.
  • Old HR often responds to issues as or after they arise. People partners make an effort to proactively prevent issues through people, purpose, and processes.  
  • Old HR fills vacant positions at organizations. People partners place more emphasis on retaining employees.
  • Traditional HR may speak with employees about poor performance. People partners value role alignment and place employees in the best position for success. 

This is the New HR. Ready to Get Started?

Consider Culture Works. Our goal is to work with you for as long as you and your stakeholders need us!  We do this by operationalizing your culture, fostering the development of your leadership teams, and driving HR initiatives.  

We build Quarterly Game Plans that are focused on Culture, Talent, and HR initiatives and real results.

Learn more about our services, here.

Employee Managing Self with time management tool online

How to Manage Time, Wellness, and Self: Part Three

With an increasing number of companies transitioning to a hybrid or fully remote work environment, self-management is an essential skill to have in both personal and professional life. 

Through learning to manage yourself,  you can increase your productivity, flexibility, and quality of work. Additionally, successful self-management can lead to stronger emotional intelligence and self-awareness. 

What Does Managing Yourself Mean?

Self-management is a set of strategies and practices designed to direct your behaviors and emotions into a productive course of action. 

For instance, managing yourself can involve regulating your:

  • Time
  • Motivation
  • Stress
  • Decisions
  • Personal Development 

Let’s review some effective self-management strategies to help you build each of these skills.

Practice Being Self Aware

Practicing self-awareness is an excellent starting point in learning how to self-manage. Observe and access your own characteristics, such as work habits, how long you can stay focused, your most frequent stressors, and emotional responses. Use these observations to recognize your strengths as well as habits that need improvement. 

Organize Your Space

Organize your space to improve functionality and streamline your daily tasks.

By sorting your space, you can help improve your time management as well as prevent a few stressors from appearing. For instance, maintaining updated organizational systems for the files on your computer can result in you taking less time to search for a specific document or resource – isn’t it always in that folder you swear you checked twice already? – and frees your time for a more productive project. 

Other solutions may be:

  • Maintaining an agenda on your electronic devices or a physical planner
  • Trying a time management app or tool
  • Investing time in sorting your desk and workspace (leave digging through your drawers for your charger right before a meeting in the past!)

Create Routines

Design consistent routines that can help you to manage your time and tasks. You can try strategies such as:

  • Blocking your time in by breaking your day into time slots
  • Timing your tasks and adjust your plan accordingly
  • Breaking your tasks into subtasks
  • Identifying priorities
  • Taking the time to write down your schedule

Set Clear Goals

When creating your goals, consider using the SMART goal method. Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 

You can use your current projects to work towards these goals, such as improving how well you navigate on a particular software or becoming comfortable with public speaking in front of your colleagues.

Make Your Own Deadlines

Before you get too excited– we’re not saying to spontaneously decide the presentation due at the end of the week is actually due next week. Instead, we suggest creating your own deadlines within stages of a project or throughout tasks. This can hold you accountable in your time management practices and drive you toward reaching your goals. 

Develop Healthy Responses to Stress

When you start to feel stressed, try to respond in a healthy way, even if it begins with just pausing and taking a breath. 

Find responses that work for you; some find exercising or taking a walk around the block to help relieve stress, some take a few minutes to meditate or do breathing exercises and some may carve out time in their schedule to participate in a hobby they enjoy. 

 Practice Self-Care

Set aside time to rest and practice self-care. Self-care can take the form of eating healthy foods, participating in activities that bring you joy as well as making a cognizant effort to disconnect from work. Through these efforts, you can recharge your energy and will often find yourself more productive when you reconnect to work. 

Focus on What You Can Control

We can plan everything; collaborate with an excellent team at work, set strong objectives, and manage our time well ahead of the project deadline – but things always come up and change the plan. 

In the event something pops up and hinders your current plans, consider pausing, taking a short break, and deciding how to best navigate the situation before proceeding. 

We may not be able to control our circumstances, but we can control our response. 

Evaluate and Adjust 

Consider checking in with yourself on a weekly basis. You can use this time to identify areas you can improve as well as come up with plausible solutions to work towards these improvements. 

For instance, instead of setting the objective of spending less time on your phone, try blocking out “phone time” and “no phone time” in your schedule. 

You’ll be more likely to keep this specific goal instead of trying to avoid going on your phone altogether. 

Additionally, keep in mind that you may have to adjust your practices and goals while you build your time management skills. Be patient with yourself and remember: 

“The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.” – Helmut Schmidt.

Ready to learn more?

Read on to learn how to support your company culture through human connection.
Connect with Culture Works to learn how we can provide the processes to operationalize culture in your organization and why we do what we do.

Woman giving a high five to her colleague

Did you know that employees in high-trust organizations are consistently more productive, energetic, and collaborative than employees in organizations with a lack of trust? In fact, employees in high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 40% less burnout, and 50% higher productivity. Wowza!

However, building trust with employees isn’t always as easy as throwing monthly pizza parties or implementing casual Fridays. While these perks can temporarily boost morale, they aren’t likely to have lasting effects on employees’ happiness.

The good news is that business owners have many options to try and build a culture of trust in their organization. But before we get to that, let’s review what trust means in a workplace and how it can improve a business.

What Does Trust Mean in the Workplace?

In a workplace, trust means that employees:

  • Can connect to their colleagues
  • Contribute to the company, and
  • Are offered opportunities to learn, improve and grow

In a strong culture of trust, employees should trust their leadership and colleagues; and vice versa.

How Does Trust Improve the Workplace?

When leadership focuses on building trust with employees, there are several subsequent benefits–that’s why 96% of CEOs rate trust with employees a high priority.

These benefits can range from increased quality of work to employee retention. In fact, Harvard Business Review found that compared to employees in a low-trust company, employees in a high-trust organization report:

  • 106% more energy at work
  • 13% fewer sick days
  • 76% more engagement, and
  • 29% more satisfaction in their life

Sound good to you? Let’s review a few strategies that leaders can use to build trust with their employees. 

Recognize Successes and Wins

According to neuroscience research, recognition has the strongest effect on trust. Leaders can recognize excellence in a variety of ways. For starters, when providing recognition, positive feedback is the most impactful when it is:

  • Personal
  • Tangible
  • Specific, or
  • Comes from peers

For instance, employees may find a specific comment on their contribution to a particular project more meaningful than a vague “you’ve been doing great!”

Further, leaders publicly addressing successes not only celebrates the employees and their accomplishments but also can inspire other team members to pursue their own successes. In addition, the public discussion of a win gives the excelling employee a platform and opportunity to share their strategies, helping the team to learn and improve even more.

Provide Flexibility With How Employees Complete Their Work

Employees value flexibility and discretion with how they complete their work. In fact, a survey conducted by Citigroup and LinkedIn found that nearly half of employees would give up a 20% raise for greater control over how they work. 

By trusting their employees to manage their work, leaders display their confidence in their employees as well as provide a space for innovation.

Share Information Throughout the Organization

Did you know only 40% of employees report that they feel well informed about their company’s current goals and strategies? By widely sharing this information throughout the organization, leaders can help their employees to feel confident, stable, and part of the company’s future.

Prioritize Consistency

Business owners can reduce stress and improve productivity by creating a stable workplace for their employees. Leaders can create consistency through clear performance expectations and positive feedback practices. 

Encourage Coaching and Guidance

Research shows that leadership plays a crucial role in creating trust in a workplace through guidance and coaching. If business owners opt for a coaching approach over traditional management, employee performance and retention are more likely to improve on a long-term basis.

For example, a leader may choose to guide employees through mistakes and find solutions instead of disciplining them. This approach may lead to the employee feeling more comfortable asking questions and performing high-quality work in the future.

For more examples, read on in our article “What’s the Difference Between a Manager and a Leader?

Facilitate Purposeful Conversations

When management regularly engages in safe, open dialogue with employees, employee retention can improve. Why? Because challenges are addressed, discussed, and resolved early on.

Value Soft Skills

Nonverbal communication can help leaders further connect with their employees. For example, positive body language can create a welcoming environment—eye contact and nodding can imply interest and attentiveness. 

In combination with purposeful conversations and active listening, nonverbal communication can make leaders approachable and help to develop trust with employees.

Try Active Listening

Active listening builds trust among team members and encourages employees to voice their concerns, find answers to their questions, and communicate their ideas. Employees who feel heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform better at work.

Read on to learn more about unique ways to support your company culture through human connection.

Employee Managing Their Wellness in the Workplace

How to Manage Time, Wellness, and Self: Part Two

To manage personal wellness, individuals need to make conscious efforts with the goal of improving physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. 

While often associated with yoga classes, seminars, and green juice smoothies, personal wellness should be more a long-term, evolving process than a short-term, achievable goal. Although we admit, we do enjoy yoga, seminars, and green juice smoothies – Who says you can’t have both?

Wellness isn’t only significant at home or in the workplace. You should consider and adjust both aspects of your life in your journey toward personal wellness. 

So, we’re here with the second part of our three-part series. Today, we’re discussing strategies to manage your personal well-being in the workplace. 

What is Wellness in the Workplace?

Wellness in the workplace refers to the mental and physical health of employees in the company. Therefore, your efforts to improve wellness may include elements intended to support healthy behaviors as well as reduce risks to both mental and physical health. By addressing these risks and practicing healthy behaviors, you can improve your work life as well as prevent more serious health issues in the future. 

How Do Companies Improve Employee Wellness?

Companies may take a number of approaches to improve employee wellness. For example: 

  • Wellness Activities
  • Free Medical Screenings
  • Health Coaching
  • Health Club Memberships
  • Stress Management Practices
  • On-Site Fitness Programs or Facilities
  • Accessible Kitchens or Healthy Food options
  • Company Wellness Competitions
  • Wellness Education: Programs, Courses, Online Resources

In addition to utilizing the wellness resources provided by your company, you can also implement several strategies to manage your own wellness in the workplace. Let’s dive in.

How to Manage Your Personal Wellness

For many people, wellness can be difficult to prioritize amongst packed schedules, demanding projects, and a busy personal life. However, investing in your personal well-being can help you build healthy habits to better navigate these obstacles. 

Prioritize a Proper Sleep Schedule

According to Fort HealthCare Business Health, reducing your sleep by as little as an hour and a half for just one night could result in daytime alertness being reduced by as much as 32%. Further, reduced sleep can also impair your brain’s ability to process and store information as well as problem-solve. 

The adult body requires approximately six or seven hours of sleep per night to function correctly. Prioritize sleep by first deciding what your schedule will be including a goal time to wake up and a goal time to go to sleep. Consider implementing strategies to help you keep this schedule, such as:

  • Setting alarms to remind yourself to get ready for bed
  • Designing a calming nighttime routine
  • Turning off devices at a certain time
  • Skipping naps (we know, we know! But naps can make it difficult to sleep at night and lead to drowsiness or grogginess, especially if the nap is after 3 pm.)
  • Create a quiet and dark environment to sleep

Take Steps to Manage Your Stress

Work-related stress can cause you to feel unhappy with both your job and your personal life. The good news is that there are a few strategies you can use to manage your stress and improve your personal wellness. 

Find Your Stressors

Try to pinpoint your stressors by asking yourself what exactly is making you feel stressed and why? You may choose to keep a journal to record your thoughts as well as information about stressful circumstances. This technique can help you to learn more about your specific stressors so you can better prepare for and respond to similar events in the future. 

Develop Healthy Responses to Stress

Common poor responses to workplace stress may include stress-eating and shutting down. These habits can be tough to break so we suggest slowly transitioning into healthier options– seems a little counterintuitive to stress yourself out about not responding to stress correctly, right?

Instead, replace these habits with healthier alternatives. Consider a quick walk around the block in the sunlight, a meditation break,  or even just a couple of minutes of breathing exercises to allow yourself to slow down, process, and figure out the best way to navigate the situation.

Set Aside Time to Recharge

Brains and bodies require rest to recharge and function efficiently. To recharge, you should be taking time to completely disconnect from work–no thinking about work while making dinner, no tinkering with a project while watching tv at night. When you come back to work after recharging, you’ll likely find yourself feeling focused and productive. 

Socialize and Communicate

Isolation and a lack of communication can negatively impact your mental health and well-being, both in your work and personal life. Socializing can sharpen cognitive skills, reduce stress as well as contribute to your sense of happiness and well-being. Set aside time to spend with your friends and family and try to keep these plans. 

As for socializing in the workplace, communication can foster relationships among colleagues and ensure you are getting the support you need. 

Learn more about supporting your company culture through human connection, here.

Be Patient With Yourself

At Culture Works, we want to remind you that personal wellness is a constant process and deliberate effort; don’t be hard on yourself if you struggle to pick up these habits right away! Be patient with yourself in your journey toward personal wellness.

“Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection.” — Kim Collins.

Stay Tuned for Part Three!

Stay tuned for part three of our series, where we’ll discuss how to manage self.

Do you have a positive company culture? Find out by reading our article “Five Signs You Have a Positive Company Culture.”

A woman using a tablet

Planning on exiting your business? Let’s discuss the first step you should take when doing so as a business owner: revisiting your org chart. But you might be wondering, what is an org chart, and why is it important?

What is an Org Chart?

First, for those who need a refresher, what is an org chart? An organizational chart, or org chart, shows the internal structure of an organization or company.

This considered, org charts house a lot of information. Also, there are many different types of org charts. For example:

  • Hierarchical Org Chart: Hence its name, shows who’s at the “top” of a business.
  • Matrix Org Chart: Typically used when individuals have more than one manager.
  • Flat or Horizontal Org Chart: This type of org chart is simple with just two levels: management and the workers. There are little or no levels of middle management in flat and horizontal org charts.
Org Chart
Above is an example of a “Matrix Org Chart” from Lucidchart.com.

How an Org Chart Can Benefit Your Business

So, now that we’ve refreshed your memory about org charts, how can they benefit your business? As a business owner, there are many benefits to using and maintaining your org chart. An org chart can help…

Org Charts for your business

Illustrate a Clear Reporting Structure

For big companies especially, org charts are extremely useful in illustrating who is a part of the company, who reports to who, who manages each department, and so on.

(Could we say “who” any more times!?)

By using an organizational chart, your company increases its efficiency; employees know exactly who to go to as needed.

Make Onboarding More Efficient

The onboarding process can be a thorn in your side as a business owner. There are so many people for your new hire to meet and remember! Creating an org chart can make your new hire more comfortable and help them put names to faces quicker.

Visualize Reorganization

The fact of the matter is that most of your employees won’t stay in the same role forever. Whether you have individuals shifting from department to department or from role to role, investing in quality org chart software can help you visualize your business’s reorganization with ease.

Delegate Work

A top notch org chart can help employees see their workload clearly. Additionally, an org chart can be helpful to identify when/if department heads need support. For example, are they managing a team of seven when they only have the bandwidth to manage five or six? An org chart can clearly paint this picture to help delegate work.

Increase Collaboration

When you have an awesome org chart, it’s something that can be shared all throughout your business. It then becomes a practical company-wide tool for planning and collaboration. An org chart can be especially helpful when it comes to scaling for growth, restructuring, and workforce planning.

How Org Charts Support Exit Planning

So, what the heck does an org chart have to do with exit planning? Well, we’re glad you asked…

Having an org chart helps you plan for exit. All of these benefits we’ve listed above—illustrating a clear reporting structure, increasing onboarding efficiency and collaboration, etc.—help support a smooth exit strategy.

After all, leaving behind your business takes forethought, and how could you leave behind your business without first identifying its internal structure?

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to exit planning is making sure your business won’t crumble when you leave. Having a powerful, scalable org chart in place is one of the many ways that you can help prepare your team for exit.

Want to Learn More?

So, you’re on your way to having an awesome org chart in place, plus you have a great team of employees! But how does your company fare culture wise? Here are five signs you have a positive company culture.

How to Create an Employee Handbook

(You need a lot more than in a traditional handbook!)

There are many terms thrown around the HR space: employee handbook, manual, pamphlet, and review. Same, same but different.

Although there are various terms used, they all have the same goal for your business—security and prevention.

At Culture Works, we receive a lot of questions about employee handbooks, manuals, whatever the heck you want to call them!

Some common questions we receive include:

  • What is an employee handbook?
  • Does my small business need a handbook?
  • What should be included in my employee handbook?
  • What should I avoid while creating an employee handbook?
  • How often should I restructure the handbook?

So, let’s take a closer look into why employee handbooks are essential for any business, and how they can transform your business’s workforce planning. 

What is an Employee Handbook? 

Simply put, an employee handbook is a book or online PDF containing employee and employer guidelines to reference for all job-related information.

No matter the size of the business, an employee handbook is a necessary tool. (We understand that as a small business, you wear a lot of hats for the company, but this doesn’t mean an employee handbook should take the backburner).

In general, an employee handbook is reviewed and signed when a new hire is onboarded. Although the handbook is primarily used for onboarding, it’s important to acknowledge that an employee handbook is not only a resource for employees but is also a resource for employers as well.

Additionally, having a thorough, up-to-date HR handbook can reduce your business’s insurance costs. Clearly, there are many pros to having an employee handbook, regardless of business size.

What Should be Included in an Employee Handbook? 

An employee handbook is normally a large document with guidelines covering the following topics:

  • Equal Opportunity Guidelines
  • Company Culture
  • Paid Time Off (PTO) and Holiday Time
  • Job Expectations
  • Company Mission Statement
  • Company Policies
  • Work Performance Expectations
  • Who to Contact if an Issue Arises

Surprisingly enough, employee handbooks are not required by law. They are, however, as we’ve noted, very helpful and highly recommended.

Most HR representatives consider the employer’s handbook as an active document, which means that throughout the year, notes can be added and reviewed when policies and employment laws change.

What Should I Avoid When Creating an Employee Handbook? 

Creating and maintaining employee manuals in California is more difficult than in other states. This is because policies and guidelines are constantly being adjusted. 

It’s almost impossible to keep up, which is why adding notes and using the employee handbook as an active document is a helpful practice to follow.

Ideally, an employee handbook should be written by an HR consultant or professional, or an employment attorney. Although there are tools that can help employers build a handbook, it’s better to practice to collaborate with a professional. 

Forbes lists common mistakes that are made when creating an employee handbook, and they are worth paying attention to. Key takeaways include:

  • Not having a process for reconstructing the handbook
  • Using the handbook as a form of control
  • Failing to notify employees if there are changes to the handbook
  • Using only a template 
  • Vague language

Again, your company mission and values should align with the handbook.

When Should You Review Your Employee Handbook? 

The simple answer? Always.

Again, most HR representatives see the handbook as an active document. This means that throughout the year when policies and general guidelines change, notes can be added and reviewed.

An employee handbook is most helpful when constantly added to and reviewed. This way, the handbook will stay perfectly up-to-date without annual revisions, which is important if an issue arises. A handbook is a great reference point.

A Final Word

As an employer, it can be helpful to see the employee handbook as a resource, not just another box to check off the list.

It should essentially be seen as a big information source. There is a lot of information to keep track of as an employer. If an employee gets called to jury duty, for example, do they receive paid time off? Check the employee handbook.If you’re a small business and haven’t officially created an employee handbook, it would be helpful to contact an HR professional to assist in the process. Read our blog, “Small Businesses: How to know when you need HR” for more information.