Tag Archive for: hr

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.

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.”

work celebration party with confetti pink company culture

It’s official! Our company, Culture Works, is two—happy anniversary to us! We are so excited to continue working with our amazing clients to make productivity soar, reduce churn, and operationalize culture through:

  • HR Consulting
  • Culture Operations
  • Talent Recruitment
  • And more!

We love operationalizing the vision of role and value alignment through true culture operations and culture accountability, and can’t wait to do more of it.

In the spirit of Culture Works turning two, we asked some of our team members to reflect on our two-year journey. Below are a few of their thoughts… Cheers!

Reflecting On Our Two-Year Journey

Who? Amber McQuail, Culture Operations

What She Has to Say: “Culture Works’ mission and values are not just words on a page, EVERYONE definitely walks the walk and talks the talk. It’s intentional collaboration, it’s inclusive, it’s thoughtful and caring, it’s impactful and it’s FUN!  I’ve watched the team double in size over the last year, and it’s been so rewarding to see an entire group of professionals grow and thrive alongside their clients and always be eager for more.”

Who? Claudia Parker, Branding Operations

What She Has to Say: “It is exciting to partner with companies that share our passion for employees and company culture. We have a fun, dedicated, passionate, committed, and collaborative team who love working with our clients in making a positive impact on the lives of their employees, their company culture, and the long-term vision of the business.”

Who? Courtney Harrison, Partner Operations Manager

What She Has to Say: “Since I have been with Culture Works I have seen the team and our clients evolve dramatically. Our team collaborates and elevates the level of work product for our clients to unbelievable heights. I get so excited to see the impactful work and hear about how our team works so hard to customize, humanize and simplify everything for our clients.”

Who? Cymbre Brown, HR Generalist

What She Has to Say: “We have managed to create this cohesive group of people who genuinely love what they do. We work so well together and understand how to capitalize on each other’s strengths to provide the very best results to our clients. I have never worked with a group of people that are so committed to a company’s vision. I am so proud of all that WE have accomplished.”

Who? Jenn Owens, HR Consultant

What She Has to Say: “Internally, we have focused on being a learning organization developing our HR knowledge for our clients and our own personal growth from a professional and emotional intelligence lens. Externally, our focus on partnering with companies to better understand their business and how we can help them build an amazing place for their employees to work has shown that HR is a partner here to help make company culture better.”

Who? Lea Vergara, HR Generalist

What She Has to Say: “Joining Culture Works has been the most exciting and rewarding experience of my career. Our team is so supportive – of each other and our clients. I love that we genuinely care for our clients, and it is rewarding to see them change for the better as organizations through their partnership with Culture Works.”

Who? Margie Holmstrom, Senior HR Generalist

What She Has to Say: “I have been with Culture Works for about 7 months now and I am so impressed with the company and its leader, Kristi! She ‘walks the talk’ in every way and that’s not something you see every day in business. Whenever we provide HR guidance, work products, or process improvements, clients never fail to express how grateful they are. I’m so excited for Culture Works’ 2-year anniversary – I can’t wait to see what our future holds! I’m thankful to be a part of this amazing company and team!”

Who? Sabrina Vonch, L&D Specialist

What She Has to Say: “I was recently asked, ‘What would I change about Culture Works?’ This question, in sincerity, stumped me. As a learning organization, Culture Works is committed to a growth mindset. This mindset allows us to stay innovative not only for our team but also for our clients. If something is not working, we learn from it, make the necessary changes to improve and keep moving forward. We are inherently fostering change and embracing our company values daily – I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Who? Simone Jones, Culture Operations Partner

What She Has to Say: “Since I joined Culture Works, I have seen the quality of our work evolve, providing impactful and innovative products to our clients. The ability to work with clients who are aligned with our mission and values allows us to truly elevate their culture and employee engagement.”

Interested in learning more about how the Culture Works team works? Read on to learn how we retain our top talent (and how you should, too!)

culture works anniversary

HRIS, HCM, HXM… What the heck do all of these human resources acronyms mean!? And why do they matter? Don’t worry, our team at Culture Works is here to simplify things for you.

Let’s get down to the explanations, starting with HRIS.

What is HRIS?

HRIS stands for human resource information system. Gone are the days of filing cabinets and paper forms!

Moreover, an HRIS is a software solution that “maintains, manages, and processes detailed employee information and human resources-related policies and procedures,” according to Oracle. Sounds awesome, right?

“The HRIS standardizes human resources (HR) tasks and processes while facilitating accurate record-keeping and reporting.”

What Are the Benefits of HRIS?

Potential benefits of implementing an HRIS include:

  • Increased productivity
  • The ability to make data-driven decisions
  • Improved operational efficiency
  • Increased employee satisfaction
  • Enhance user experiences
  • Accommodate business growth
  • Maintain compliance

HRIS Examples

Here are some HRIS software examples, courtesy of Adam Enfroy.

  • ADP
  • Namely HR
  • Paycor HR
  • Bamboo HR
  • Workday
  • Zenefits
  • UKG Pro
  • Sapling

What is HCM?

HCM stands for human capital management.

Similar to HRIS, HCM is a great tool for overworked HR teams and line managers, as it frees up time from various HR tasks. To clarify, human capital management is not only software but also a more general HR strategy.

According to ADP, human capital management is “the process of hiring the right people, managing workforces effectively and optimizing productivity… [This strategy is] made up of a series of administrative and strategic applications that include:

  • Recruitment
  • Onboarding
  • Payroll
  • Time and attendance
  • Benefits and retirement services
  • Talent management
  • Training
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Compliance”

So, has your company spent time developing a quality HCM strategy? Look below for its primary benefit.

The Primary Benefit of HCM

Most importantly, an effective HCM strategy helps increase workforce productivity while helping HR managers hire, engage, and retain employees.

What is HXM?

Let’s address our final acronym: HXM. HXM stands for human experience management. Human experience management continues to build upon human capital management (HCM).

The Future of Customer Engagement, Experience, and Engagement describes HXM best. Unlike HCM—which focuses “on facilitating transactions and pushing top-down HR processes”—HXM is “all about focusing on the people who power a business to success; providing them with the tools and technology to enable meaningful, productive, and personal employee experiences that drive business results.” Awesome, right?

After all, we all know that when your employees have positive work experiences, their productivity, creativity, and ability to serve all increase. On the contrary, a negative employee experience can result in decreased productivity, poor performance, and therefore, negative customer or client experiences.

The newly emerging idea of HXM manages the role that employee experience plays in developing high-performing companies. Don’t believe in the importance of HXM? Check out this article by Forbes, “5 Reasons Why Human Experience Management Is The Future Of HR.”

A Final Word

The fact of the matter is that your business doesn’t want to be focusing on HRIS, HCM, and HXM solely to protect itself, or because it’s what you “should be doing.”

HRIS, HCM, and HXM help foster amazing company culture—and are why it’s important to build a team that is focused on building this standup culture. Interested in learning more? Read on for ten unique ways to support your company culture through human connection.

Employee Retention

When you consider talent retention, chances are the first thing you think of doing as a business owner or CEO is offering competitive compensation to your employees.

While money is an important factor in attracting and retaining top talent, it’s not the entire cake. Rather, it’s an ingredient in the cake. Arguably, there is a much more important ingredient in the cake that is employee retention. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article on employee retention, the most important ingredient is making your employees feel special.

Now, wait a minute … Before you roll your eyes at how cheesy or “unprofessional” you might think this is, give it some serious thought.

Here, we’ll help you.

Feeling Valued and Special in the Workplace

Don’t worry, we’re not going to get all mushy gushy.

But why is it important to feel valued and special in the workplace? Well, according to Investors in People, the need to feel valued is not an abstract concept.

They write, “As human beings, we know what it feels like to feel undervalued and before long it can become intolerable. This is not only true in the workplace, but in relationships, family life, social clubs, and more.”

Feeling special in the workplace results in a number of positive benefits, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), including:

  • Better physical and mental health
  • Higher levels of engagement, satisfaction, and motivation.

“All the things that lead to a healthy and productive relationship between employer and employee,” says Investors in People.

How Can You Make Employees Feel Special?

So, how can you ensure your employees—more specifically your top talent—feel special in order to attract and retain them? Don’t worry, we’re not going to advise you to take your employees out for a happy hour every week (although we’re sure they wouldn’t complain!) or to buy them flowers and chocolates (kind of weird…)

Harvard Business Reviews narrows making your top talent feel special to three things you should never do. Here’s what they are.

Never Dismiss Their Ideas

Regardless of whether or not the idea is immediately actionable, ensure that your employees’ ideas are heard. Do not dismiss their ideas. Also, it’s important to remember that chances are, when an employee comes to you with an idea, it’s because they’re able to see an issue on the horizon.

Never Block Their Development

Offer your employees opportunities to grow. Is there a seminar or conference you know they’d like to attend to grow their knowledge? Support them in this! As an employer, you should always be championing your employees’ development.

Never Pass Up the Chance the Praise Them

Words of praise go a long way. Chances are your top talent works around the clock on difficult projects and tasks. When you fail to recognize this, employees might become resentful or look for other places of employment.

A Final Word

There you have it! The secret to retaining your top talent: making them feel special. (See, it’s not rocket science!) Read on for tips for attracting and retaining great talent.

How to ensure successful culture integration post-M&A

The M&A process is an exciting but lengthy one. It can last anywhere from months to years depending on the size of the company involved. During this period, the merging of two company cultures can create culture shock, damaging productivity, profitability, and morale. Let’s talk about how to avoid that!

Entering into a merger can be challenging for both companies. Whatever the reasoning behind the merger, one thing is for sure—change is coming. According to Harvard Business Review, between 70 and 90% of mergers and acquisitions fail. A culture clash is often to blame for this extremely high number. 

Due Diligence

Preparing for a merger or acquisition requires time and planning. A large portion of this time is dedicated to conducting due diligence. Not sure how to go about your due diligence? Check out our due diligence checklist to ensure a smooth transition during an M&A

Due diligence happens during the process of an M&A — But what about the potential culture shock post-M&A? 

Leadership can help bring together the best of both cultures.

Employee engagement doesn’t have to suffer when you merge two different cultures. The leaders of both companies hold the power to protect employees and help them successfully share their cultures. One strategy is a weekly leadership meeting in which everyone steps back from the chaos of the merger to highlight the advantages of both cultures and strategize on ways to bring the best of each culture together to create a new, optimized company culture that works for everyone.

Creating a successful company culture requires an investment from everyone on the team and is essential to retaining employees and keeping them engaged in their work. Here’s how to get started.

Redefine your company’s core values.

Your culture and your purpose are defined by your core values. Merging two different sets of core values can be challenging. In many cases, the acquiring company attempts to keep its core values and share them with the other team.  This frequently results in a sense of disenfranchisement by the acquired company’s employees and results in reduced morale, productivity, and in turn, profitability.  A more egalitarian approach incorporates a process in which the leadership, often facilitated by an outside coach or consulting team, finds the best elements of both sets of principles and works to merge them, creating a new set of core values that speak to the merged company.

Training and development.

As you work to merge two different cultures together, it’s important to engage in team-building activities and ongoing training for all levels of the organization. 

Another aspect of the development of your team is ensuring your team members are aligned in their roles. Role alignment is essential to the success of your new merged business. When employees are aligned in roles that match their strengths they will be more engaged and excited about work.

Through training and development programs, team members who are not role aligned can discover their optimal roles and, in the process of reconfiguring the companies in the merger, change roles to be more productive and set up for success.  

Check-in with employees regularly. 

During a merger, it is essential that leadership and HR communicate regularly with all employees to ensure their concerns are being addressed. This can be done through informal check-ins, and/or formal employee engagement surveys. Monthly performance reviews can focus on an employee’s individual contributions to the overall company goals and assure them that their role is secure in the transition


One of the top reasons mergers and acquisitions fail is a lack of communication. When communication is lacking between managers and employees, employees are left asking questions: Why is the company merging? How will I be affected? How will I be supported throughout this merger? Am I about to lose my job?

Lack of communication with your employees may leave them confused and unmotivated to work hard for the newly merged company. Keep employees updated on the context of the merger, the timeline of what’s next, and other frequently asked questions related to the merger. Like restructuring the Org chart.  

Employee engagement before and after the merger.

Analyzing employee data before and after the merger can help you better understand how your organization has been impacted by the merger. In doing so, you can identify areas of your culture that may need work.

Employee retention

Employees will likely feel on edge during this major transition. They may be faced with fears of losing their jobs, being asked to re-apply for their job, or drastic company culture changes. Losing employees during the merger will negatively affect profitability. So focus on communication, incentives, clear goals, and strategies to keep your team engaged and in the know.

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.

How to Prevent the Great Resignation in your Business

CBS News reported that in the second half of 2021, over 20 million people left their jobs for various reasons. Reasons for the increased resignation rates are likely due to culture, compensation, and flexibility. Although this is an alarming statistic, there are a few steps business owners can take to prevent the great resignation from affecting their business. 

What is the Great Resignation? 

The Great Resignation is described by Investopedia as a “higher-than-normal quit rate of American workers that began in the spring of 2021 and continued into the fall.” 

Why are so many people quitting their jobs? 

Over the course of 2 years, people have created a clear image of what they want their work-life balance to look like. The requirement to work from home over the last few years created a world of possibilities for many companies. Employees now understand what is possible, in terms of workplace flexibility. 

The collective experience of the last two years has also caused more people to focus on company culture and the employee experience. According to IDC, some of the most important focuses in terms of employee experience include:

  • Transparency, trust, and consistent communication from employers
  • A collaborative work environment with remote experiences allowed
  • A culture focused on belonging and inclusion
  • Employee listening, engagement, and recognition from management and peers
  • Career development and educational opportunities
  • Demonstrated corporate social responsibility

Employee Burnout and the Great Resignation

Another area of employee experience that has become a huge topic of discussion for most employers, is burnout.

Indeed released a study on workplace burnout that reported: “67% of all workers believe burnout has worsened during the pandemic.” They also found that “53% of millennials were already burned out pre-COVID, and remain the most affected population with 59% experiencing it [burnout] today.” 

The chart featured below shows the level of burnout among different generations over the span of COVID-19. 

Chart courtesy of Indeed.

How to spot employee burnout

As mentioned above, Forbes reported that even companies with a positive work culture are being affected by the Great Resignation. This is most likely due to the increased burnout rate over the last few years. 

So, one of the most preventative steps an employer can look out for is employee burnout. Forbes lists the three warning signs of burnout as: 

  1. “Decreased Productivity and Performance
  2. Increased Cynicism towards coworkers and clients
  3. Detached from the company.” 

How can you prevent the Great Resignation from influencing your company?

There are actions your company can take to prevent your employee retention rate from taking a hit this year. Companies that have provided a great work environment are also being affected by the Great Resignation, so how can you retain your employees? 

Let’s look into some preventive measures that companies can take in 2022. 

Foster Positive Company Culture

There are a LOT of factors that go into creating positive company culture. Some aspects of work that improve by strong company culture include:  

  • Office interpersonal relationships 
  • Employee retention
  • Team communication 
  • Ongoing employee growth and learning 

As you try to attract and retain the best and brightest workers in your business, you can be sure that potential employees are looking for a place where they will feel valued, and enjoy coming to work.  That doesn’t always mean smiles and high-fives. Positive company culture means one where accountability, high standards, and the ability to give and receive feedback are present. 

At Culture Works, we start with purpose, people, and process. First: align with a higher purpose, then, get your people on board with how they bring value and are integral to the company’s success, and finally, implement processes that put HR and operations into action to make company culture repeatable and actionable every day. 

Implementing HR processes is at the core of building aligned organizational culture and reaching your business goals. 

Not all team-building exercises involve trust falls or baby pictures. There are many team-building exercises that don’t suck. Some examples include: 

  • Corporate Recess (incorporating play into work)
  • Emotional Intelligence training
  • Learning outings (hands-on projects)

Read our blog to see if your company checks off the 5 signs of positive company culture

Learning and Development

Culture Works believes that Learning and Development (L&D) plays a major role in fostering a positive and productive work environment. 

Investing in your team means more than buying lunch every month (although, who doesn’t appreciate a free meal!?). Quality L&D means investing in your employees daily and encouraging their personal and professional growth. One of the best ways to invest in the learning and development of your employees is to provide additional courses that increase your employee’s skills and bring them to the next level, so they can be promoted within!

Allowing for a Flexible Work Environment

CNBC reports that 57% of workers require employers to provide options for a flexible work environment. This means creating a space where employees can successfully complete their roles remotely, in person, or with a hybrid work model. 

The moral of the story is: A flexible workplace can be the difference between you and another employer.

Combating burnout, finding value-aligned employees, and creating a positive company culture are only a few ways you can work to prevent the Great Resignation from affecting your business. 

How long has it been since you thought about your company’s culture? Do you bring your company’s values into your daily conversations? We’ve put together an article explaining how you can start setting team goals, with your values in mind, to foster company culture and increase employee retention. Read more here.