Tips for keeping employees motivated, engaged and productive.

How employers should approach at-will employment

At-will employment means that either employer or employee can end an employment relationship at any time, with or without notice, and with or without explanation.

But employers should beware of using it in the same way in all situations. At-will employment is not a one-size-fits-all solution for employers parting ways with an employee. Employers must comply with all federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws. And employers firing an employee in a protected case should tread carefully if citing at-will employment as the separating reason.

Michigan, as well as many other states, recognize at-will employment status although some states have exceptions for public policy or implied contract.

Read more

3 strategies to avoid workplace teamwork disaster

Getting your employees to work in teams can be difficult, especially when you have employees with drastically different emotions and interpersonal dynamics.

When announcing teamwork assignments, half of the employees tend to get worried, annoyed, and resistant about working together; the other half may feel excited, optimistic, and confident.

So how can you help employees come together despite their initial hesitations? Below are three easy strategies that may be useful when carrying out group projects.

Read more

Age diversity: An underemphasized and underappreciated competitive advantage

It seems that our culture focuses diversity attention on the areas of gender, race, and ethnicity. Why don’t we focus on age diversity, too? Workers of all ages have something of value to bring to the workplace.

Having a broad range of employees will give your company the advantage of perspectives that help make your products or services relevant to a broader market.

Consider that in 2016, almost 20 percent of Americans 65 years old and older were working, according to Bloomberg. That’s a higher percentage than ever before in the United States. Some societal factors impact why workers who may have retired at a traditional age continue to work, including increases to the full retirement age for Social Security benefits, loss of traditional pensions and stock market fluctuations that can impact retirement savings for many.

Read more

The world of hiring is time-consuming; here are some tips

If you have hired anyone recently, you know how difficult and time consuming it can be to find the right talent. A lot of time, energy and expense goes into a recruiting strategy: Crafting a job description, posting and socializing the opportunity, then filtering, screening and interviewing candidates before presenting a job offer and onboarding the new employee.

Much of this is done before an employee has even started with your organization. Once you find someone great for your team, you absolutely want to keep them and find more of them. Here are some ideas on how to attract and retain these great employees.

Read more

Safety critical as numbers of younger, millennial workers increase

Millennials will overtake baby boomers in 2019 as the largest U.S. population group, according to government data analyzed by the Pew Research Center. The Pew Center also notes that about 56 million millennials (those born from 1981 to about 2000) now work compared to 53 million baby boomers remaining on the job. Millennials make up about 33 percent of the U.S. population, according to Pew.

This is changing the workplace in many ways and will impact worker safety. These younger workers are more likely to be injured and they take safety issues in the workplace seriously. So should you.

Read more

Peanuts and other food allergies are on the rise; employers should take notice of this trend

I am in the process of planning my son’s fourth birthday party and a mother of one of the children invited asked me to accommodate her son’s peanut allergy as I select birthday treats for the party.

That made me consider how adults with food allergies may be affected in the workplace. I learned that 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under the age of 18, and that number is on the rise. A study conducted in 2013 reported that food allergies among children increased approximately 50 percent between 1997 and 2011, for example.

Read more

‘Summer Fridays’ at work becoming popular among employers

More employers and organizations now offer employees an option to leave early on Fridays or take the whole day off during traditional summer months from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Sometimes known as “Summer Fridays,” this paid-time-off benefit is most often offered on the last day of the work week, but sometimes allows flexibility to other days of the week.
Read more

Why appreciation is important in the workplace

Have you ever felt unappreciated at work? Then you understand how important recognition in the workplace can be. Workplace recognition motivates, provides a sense of accomplishment and makes employees feel valued for their work.

Gallup research finds that “only one in three workers in the U.S. strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days.” Employees often feel that their best efforts are routinely ignored. Those who do not feel adequately recognized say they are twice as likely to quit in the next year, research found. Read more

Morale may get a boost during March brackets, but try to minimize distractions

It’s here! March Madness is upon us and the bustle around your office involves which teams made the tournament, selecting brackets and game start times. While you may dread this time of year as a manager, this annual sporting event may not be as detrimental to office productivity as was once thought.

An OfficeTeam survey of 1,000 managers and 400 workers in office environments found that 11 percent of managers find March Madness activities to be a welcome diversion. Those managers believe the activity can increase teamwork and boost morale. Read more

Be ready when employees wonder ‘Should I stay, or should I go?’

If you talk to any business owner today and ask them what their biggest challenge is, they will likely say finding and keeping good people. They would engage you in a long conversation about the challenges they face when losing their good ones and how they have a very difficult time recruiting or finding replacements. This is a time and money drain for any organization.

Don’t wait until your good people leave to learn what it takes to keep employees or why they stayed as long as they did? Conducting “stay” interviews is an easy way to take the pulse of what is happening in your business. If you want more great people, simply ask your current great employees for their input. Stay interviews will help build employee engagement and foster a good culture as you build trust with employees.

How to get started

  • Select a few of your key employees and ask them to participate. You want more of these engaged and honest individuals on your team.
  • Explain why you are asking them to take part: that they are a valued member of the staff and that this is to help you retain and recruit more employees with their gifts and skills.
  • Conduct these stay interviews once or twice each year and do them within the same timeframe. Do not wait until employees become disengaged, or even worse, leave, to understand what’s going on.
  • Make it known you desire their honest feedback. That includes the good, the bad and the ugly. Employees must feel safe to express their opinions and that the manager will have an open mind and not get defensive. They should never feel there will be retribution for any of their comments.
  • Focus on the positives/wins that they express. Create and share your action plan from the results of the stay interviews. People want to know they have been heard and are making an impact.

Following is a list of the best questions to get the stay interview process started. They are open-ended, easy to ask, get the conversation energized questions, and the response will contain valuable insight and make a difference in keeping your employees.

  • What do you look forward to when you come to work?
  • Why do you stay working here?
  • Do you feel that we fully use your talents in your current role? Are their additional talents/interests/experiences that you could offer?
  • What are the frustrations or less desirable parts of your role that you would like to do less of?
  • What is an example of any recent recognition or acknowledgement that you received that increased your engagement to the company?

Make the process a win-win

Stay interviews are an inexpensive and effective way to drive your business improvements forward quickly. The management team receives honest feedback and the employee feels valued and empowered to help make the business better.

Take the feedback and put it into action. Communicate your actions with your company and recognize the impact the feedback has provided. It will be a win-win for both employer and employee.

Do you need additional help and tips for employee retention? Contact your BCN Services representative, your partner for all of your company’s HR needs.

Corey Decker, Sales Manger