Tips for keeping employees motivated, engaged and productive.

Why so many employees call it quits and what you can do about it

Do you ever wonder how much it costs when an employee quits their job? The Society for Human Resources (SRHM) predicts that “employers will need to spend the equivalent of six to nine months of an employee’s wages in order to find and train their replacement.”

So employee retention is really about being financially responsible. With this in mind, we share the 4 biggest reasons employees quit their jobs and offer recommendations for reducing turnover.

Lack of training

Remember the last time you started a new job? The feeling can be terrifying! Employees appreciate knowing what is expected of them and how to be successful at their jobs. Oftentimes, employees are hired and thrown straight into work where they must “sink or swim.” A lack of training can also fester into other issues, quickly provoking employees to quit their jobs.

Recommendation: Review your strategies for training with simple questions such as “Do my employees exhibit the skills necessary to successfully fulfill their job duties?” or “Can employees successfully complete their job duties without seeming confused or lost?” (The larger goal is to strategize for future training techniques.)

Feeling underappreciated

Showing simple appreciation for employees is one of the most underestimated strategies for retaining a strong workforce. Employees of all levels are often hungry to know they are appreciated by their employer. More often than not, underappreciated employees feel disconnected from the work they achieve because they feel it goes unnoticed. This disconnect results in employees who go through the motions of their jobs rather than caring for the success of the organization. It also signifies a ticking clock: It is only a matter of time before this employee burns out and quits.

Recommendation: Host a lunch for employees dedicated solely to acknowledging their hard work. When you take time to show admiration and encouragement, employees will feel valued and proud of their organization.

Feeling of constant, meaningless work

Employees need to know how and why they contribute to the success of your organization. American author and business consultant James C. Collins once said “it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.” Employees who like their work is meaningless will have no loyalty to their position or the organization. Every job holds a certain value and though not every job can hold immense importance, employees who feel like their job lacks value tend to be in high-turnover positions.

Recommendation: Find a simple way to show employees that their work is not meaningless (which is different from showing them they are appreciated!). Several things to try: call a meeting focused on explaining job importance, hang a poster showing the outcome of employees’ work within the organization’s model, or put employees in contact with people they help so they see the impact of their work.

Lack of workplace community

A workforce is only strong when a healthy community exists. Too often, organizational leadership teams produce important goals but do not create a workforce culture to successfully carry them out. In return, culture and positivity diminishes over time and can lead to unhealthy community among coworkers. Sadly, many work spaces provide atmospheres akin to a nasty episode of “Gossip Girl.” When the atmosphere turns poisonous, employees have no regret or remorse after quitting their job.

Recommendation: Strive for organization citizenship behavior (“a person’s voluntary commitment within an organization or company that is not part of his or her contractual tasks”). Organizational citizenship behavior is becoming a golden standard for companies who want to reduce retention while creating a sense of pride among employees. Take time to host group initiative sessions geared towards building community within your organization.

If you would like to further discuss different methods for focusing on increasing retention within your organization, please reach out to BCN Services. We pride ourselves in helping organizations maximize on their potential through building strategies to increase retention.

Sources and more information: Allen, David. “Retaining Talent.” Shrm.org. Society for Human Resource Management, Sept. & Oct. 2010. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. Bateman, T. S., & Organ, D. W. (1983). Job satisfaction and the good soldier: The relationship between affect and employee “citizenship.” Academy of Management Journal, 26(4), 587-595.

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Alex Pattenaude, HR Administrator

Workplace-appropriate Valentine-themed events can boost morale

Although we typically think of Valentine’s Day as a romantic holiday, it can be one of camaraderie and team-building in the workplace.  This week we expound on some fun facts and offer ideas for you to create a celebration of your own.

Fun Fact #1: 220,000 is the average number of wedding proposals on Valentine’s Day each year.

Even though Valentine’s Day is typically celebrated between sweethearts, why not bring this sweet celebration into the workplace to boost morale and show employees your appreciation during that mid-February Winter funk.

Fun Fact #2: Did you know that about 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year?  This makes it the second-largest seasonal card sending time of the year.

Remember the excitement you felt when exchanging Valentine’s day cards at school?  Why not consider an old-fashioned card exchange in the workplace?  Ask everyone to bring a work-appropriate Valentine’s Day card for each of their teammates and you can even create mailboxes for your employees out of paper bags or shoe boxes to put them in.

Fun Fact #3: Although perhaps old-fashioned y today’s standards, girls in medieval times ate bizarre foods on Saint Valentine’s Day to make them dream of their future spouses.

How about hosting a Valentine’s day potluck (no bizarre food allowed)? Ask employees to bring Valentine’s Day themed dishes such as heart-shaped casseroles, cakes, cookies, pizza, etc. Use red decorations and encourage attendees to wear red clothing and accessories. Get creative and award prizes for the most festive red outfit, most unexpected red food, the tastiest dish, etc.

Fun Fact #4:  More than $1 billion worth of chocolate is purchased for Valentine’s Day in the U.S.

Who doesn’t like free chocolate? Fill a large glass vase or candy jar with foil wrapped Hershey’s kisses or other small candies.  During the week, ask employees to submit their guess for the number of kisses in the jar (post contest rules on the front of the jar).  The employee who gets closest to the actual number wins.  Movie theater tickets, a box of Godiva or other specialty chocolates, dinner for two at a great restaurant, or a bouquet of red roses could be prizes awarded.

Fun Fact #5:  More than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine’s Day.

Since February is American Heart Month, Valentine’s Day is a great reminder to focus on heart health for employees. Get active: take the team roller skating, hiking or just be silly and have a hula hoop contest and see who can hula hoop for the longest time. Start a healthy recipe exchange or invite a local nutritionist to come into the workplace and provide a seminar on cooking healthy foods. Hire a massage therapist to come on-site for a few hours each week for an afternoon to give free 10-minute shoulder, back and neck massages.

Using these ideas may just make this Valentine’s Day a day to remember!

Fun Facts provided by list25.com

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Lisandra Garrow, HR Generalist

Halloween: Workplace events can boost morale, build teamwork

Halloween has fast become a favorite holiday for employees to celebrate in the workplace. Not only is it a fun, morale-boosting celebration, it can also be used to encourage and build teamwork.

As with any office celebration, form a small committee to plan and execute any festivities. Instead of this being coordinated by the Human Resources staff, you may want to rotate primary responsibility for holidays from department to department to get more staff members involved.

This rotation is important and allows for team building and leadership development across the company, since planning and executing holiday celebrations builds staff skills.

Next, come up with new fun and creative ways to celebrate. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

Costume party or parade: Keep the event simple and encourage employees to wear their costume to work for the day. Alternatively, you can make the celebration more elaborate and hold a party or a parade of costumed employees around the company.

Costume contest: Have multiple categories such as best costume, funniest costume, the most sophisticated costume, the costume that took the most work to make, the scariest costume, and the most creative costume.  Advertise awards in advance and provide a nice gift to the winners such as a gift or catalog certificate.

Halloween breakfast: It’s the perfect time of the year to serve cider and doughnuts. Other options include pumpkin and apple bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin coffee cake, or pumpkin-and-apple muffins. For those who prefer healthier options, provide assorted fruits. Use this opportunity and make the breakfast a team-building celebration. Encourage employees to spend time together rather than retreating with their breakfast to their office or cubicle.

Halloween luncheon or potluck: You can as easily make a Halloween luncheon or potluck as a seasonal breakfast. For the potluck, suggest employees bring a fall-themed soup or chili. Or, order pizza, sandwich wraps, submarines or any other popular luncheon menu.

Halloween decorations: Offer prizes for best and most festively decorated work area and give out awards similar to those mentioned above for costumes. Encouraging teams to work together to decorate a shared work area will enhance the team-building aspects of this competition

Pumpkin carving contests: Make the pumpkin carving a contest between individual employees, or between departments. Either option is a fun, creative team-building opportunity.

Halloween appeals to the child in many of us and workplace events are a favored way to celebrate this increasingly popular holiday.

One word of caution: Not all employees celebrate all holidays and Halloween can be one that carries some connotations that may not sit well with everyone. Be sensitive to this and never force an employee to participate in something that makes them uncomfortable. Consider an alternative way for these employees to stay involved without compromising their feelings. Perhaps consider, instead, a more generic Fall-themed event for your staff.

Happy  Fall!

If you have questions about morale-building or other staff efforts and special events in your workplace, contact your specialists at BCN Services to discuss your individual situation.

 

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Lisandra Garrow, HR Generalist

Office politics at a new level: Managing the political season in the workplace

Election Day is right around the corner and as the big day approaches, chatter in the office can get louder and louder.  This year, in particular, people seem to be more divided than ever on the outcome of the upcoming national election.

How should this be handled in the workplace?  Is it OK to debate politics in the office?  Is it OK to try and persuade a fellow coworker?

While many are eager to share their political views with coworkers, other staff members may feel very private about their opinions and can feel bullied by the ones that are more vocal.  Things can get heated quickly and it’s important for staff to feel they are working in a nonvolatile environment.

Below are some simple guidelines that may be helpful in your work environment.  No matter what side of the political aisle you are on (or maybe you are taking no position), these helpful tips may help make the environment at work comfortable for all:

  • It’s important that managers or staff in leadership positions be careful in sharing their political views. Be sure that your views are not perceived as a representation of the Company as a whole.
  • Do not allow political signs/banners to be displayed in the workplace. Banners, posters, signs can all be a source of contention for fellow employees that don’t share the same views.
  • Managers or staff in leadership roles should refrain from asking employees what their political views are.   You would not want an employee to question whether they had missed out on an advancement opportunity.
  • Nip it, quick. If you hear about chatter among coworkers that could raise tension, don’t let it linger. If a complaint is made to a manager, it should be dealt with as quickly as possible to avoid bigger issues down the road.
  • Respect each other. You may want to address such rules of respect in your employee handbook.
  • As Election Day approaches, prepare: Tension can rise quickly on and shortly after Election Day. Make sure your staff understands that while they may feel strongly about the outcome, coworkers may feel very differently.

BCN is here to help you with your HR needs and if you would like assistance in establishing Code of Conduct rules in your employee handbook, we are here to help.

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Wendy Allen, Marketing Manager

PokémonGO in the workplace: Concerns and benefits

By now, you have undoubtedly heard about the “Pokémon GO” craze that is sweeping the world.  That would be the free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game where players use a mobile device’s GPS to locate, capture, battle and train virtual creatures called Pokémon.  With more than 7.5 million users, it has surpassed Twitter as the most popular mobile app.  With that kind of recognition, you are probably wondering what kind of impact its having on your employees’ productivity.

When it comes to employee cell phone usage at work and mobile apps and games, we suggest the following general guidelines:

  • Review your handbook policies to ensure they have statements regarding acceptable and unacceptable employee social media networking and gaming during work hours.
  • Additionally, if employees operate vehicles while on company time, make sure you have a policy on distracted driving and offer training on safe driving practices.  Recently in  Japan, a 39-year-old farmer driving a truck struck and killed one pedestrian and severely injured another while he was playing the game.
  • Finally, if employees have company issued cell phones, work with your IT professionals to limit the download and data usage capabilities and reinforce your definition of acceptable personal use of these devices.
  • Train managers on how to handle the situation if they catch an employee violating work rules while playing the game.  As always, stress the importance of consistency in reprimands for this sort of issue.

This particular game phenomenon does have benefits.  Used in moderation, it can foster a culture of teamwork, motivation and social interaction as players can select a color to play for and, once selected, players with the same color can team up to conquer a Pokémon  Gym together.  In addition, the game requires players to be active; it even rewards players for walking certain distances.  This is good not only for physical health, but mental health as well.

If you think “PokémonGO” may be a problem in your workplace or if you’re looking for a creative way to incorporate the game into daily teamwork activities; give BCN Services a call at 1-800-891-9911.

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Alicia Freeman, New Product and Payroll Manager

 

Workplace rudeness is toxic, contagious and can affect employee morale

Rudeness is increasing in the workplace, causing retention and health problems among employees and decline in employee camaraderie. It is also contagious, causing employees to model bad behaviors.

In a recent University of Florida study, 98 percent of workers have experienced workplace rudeness with half of employees experiencing these behaviors at least weekly.

Rudeness is contagious in workplace

Impoliteness spreads like a virus in the workplace. In the recent study, it was found that encountering rude behavior at work makes employees more likely to perceive discourtesy in later interactions, which prompts them to respond in the same manner. Even witnessing rude behavior directed at someone else seemed to have the same effect.

Incivility can hold people back or minimize their contributions, as it limits a staff’s ability to engage. Employees are less creative when they feel disrespected, and many get fed up and leave and, if they stay, team spirit around the office can deteriorate. Some employees deliberately decrease their effort or lower the quality of their work.

Customer relationships are also damaged

Incivility also damages customer relationships which can chip away at the bottom line. And although it is expensive, few organizations recognize the long-term problems or take action to curtail it. A survey among Fortune companies reveals that HR professionals spend 14 percent of their time managing incivility incidents.

How to stop contagious rudeness

Let’s address what a business owner or manager can do to stop contagious rudeness before it spreads:

  • Make an effort to not be rude and model good behaviors
  • Be clear, beginning with recruiting and onboarding and continuing with current employees, that workplace civility is expected
  • Organizations need to teach civility on an ongoing basis. Role-playing and workshops can help
  • Reward civility by measuring and scoring the behavior in your workplace
  • Penalize bad behavior immediately, even if that means terminating the employee. Keep an open door policy for employees to report problems.

BCN Services can help you discuss how to create a policy about workplace rudeness and bullying and put it into practice. Contact us for assistance.

Sources: SHRM.or, Harvard Business Review, news reports.

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Debbie Strahle, Partnership Manager

Expect respect: Encourage staff, listen to co-workers

Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves.–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Respect: Everybody needs it and wants it.
But what is respect? And, how is it demonstrated at work?

There are simple, yet powerful, ways to demonstrate respect in the workplace. The following ideas will help you avoid needless and insensitive approaches and can avoid problems when employees disrespect each other without having that intent.

  • Treat people with courtesy, politeness, and kindness.
  • Encourage co-workers to express opinions and ideas.
  • Listen to what others have to say before expressing your viewpoint. Never speak over, butt in, or cut off another person.
  • Use people’s ideas to change or improve work. Let employees know you used their idea, or, better yet, encourage the person with the idea to implement the idea.
  • Never insult people, name call, disparage or put down people or their ideas.
  • Do not nitpick, constantly criticize little things, belittle, judge, demean or patronize. A series of seemingly trivial actions, added up over time, constitutes bullying.
  • Treat people the same no matter their race, religion, gender, size, age, or country of origin. Implement policies and procedures consistently so people are treated fairly and equally. Such policies will ensure that they feel that way. Treating people differently can constitute harassment or a hostile work environment.
  • Include all co-workers in meetings, discussions, training, and events. While not every person can participate in every activity, do not marginalize, exclude or leave anyone out. Solicit volunteers and try to involve every volunteer.
  • Praise more frequently than you criticize. Encourage praise and recognition from employee-to-employee as well as from supervisors.
  • Remember that the golden rule does apply at work: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

There are many other ways to demonstrate respect at work, but these 10 constitute a solid foundation. If implemented consistently at work, these actions can help ensure a respectful, considerate, professional workplace.

Do you need advice on how to improve your workplace culture or environment? Contact the specialists at BCN to assist you, call us toll-free at 800-891-9911 or email hr@www.bcnservices.com

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Lisandra Quinones, Human Resource Administrator

Take steps to ensure that reviews are positive and beneficial

Employee performance reviews are traditionally a part of the workplace that almost everyone fears. But if utilized as a tool and an interactive process, both employee and employer will benefit.

Evaluations are important for the company, management and employees. They can be an opportunity to collaborate and foster a healthier and happier relationship. We suggest having performance reviews that focus on areas in which employees are both competent and interested. Employers then can consider adjusting the employee’s assignments to those areas of interest.

Supervisors should focus on forward progression rather than last year’s struggles. When it is necessary, offering criticism shouldn’t be avoided. However, approaching the conversation with employees as an interactive discussion that focuses on progress is more beneficial. The discussion of what an employee does well, versus what the employee needs to work on, will help shift employees’ perspectives of performance reviews so they feel encouraged and supported.

In addition, when employees are held accountable, they are more likely to perform better. Performance reviews reiterate this accountability, as well as the goals and vision of the company.

Some basic guidelines supervisors should follow:

  • The evaluation should take place in a location that is private and away from interruption
  • Employees should have a clear understanding of their responsibilities
  • Start by being positive and acknowledging accomplishments
  • Highlight what you value and appreciate about the employee
  • Move to discussion of areas that require improvement
  • If you are going to criticize, make sure to have specific suggestions for improvement that are measurable
  • Encourage the employee’s feedback, such as asking if there is something you can do to help them be successful
  • End with a plan including action steps to be taken towards the goals discussed in the session

Fewer than half of workers find performance reviews to be useful. The key to changing this perspective is for employers to approach the review positively and focused on progress.

Excellent work from employees will result from constructive feedback and a support system that offers encouragement. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about performance reviews, please contact your BCN Partnership Manager at 800-891-9911or or contact us here.

 

 

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Kateyln Walzbecker, Partnership Manager

Resources:
Society for Human Resource Management: http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/employeerelations/articles/pages/annua…
Boomer Consulting: http://www.boomer.com/blogpost/765921/145881/Look-Forward-to-Your-Perfor…
HRMorning.comhttp://www.hrmorning.com/dos-and-donts-to-make-performance-reviews-actua…

The nose knows: Dealing with workplace odors, scents and smells

Who hasn’t needed help in finding just the right words when talking to an employee about their stink?  Stinky breath, stinky body, stinky clothes, stinky food.  And those are just a few of the easier to discuss matters.

But what about employees that smell … good? And who’s to say what smells good? It’s a subjective thing.

Body odor, food smells and perfume/fragrance can all cause issues for employees that are particularly sensitive to smells and have to work in proximity to those causing the smells.

Here are a number of tips for managers when approaching an employee who needs to tone down the use of perfumed products:

  1. Communicate the sensitivities that some people have to artificially scented products. Perfumes can cause sniffling, dizziness, headaches, nausea and breathing problems. Some reactions, like shortness of breath, are particularly severe for people with pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. You may want to consider setting a general workplace policy relating to the topic of workplace smells.
  2. Make it clear to your employees that perfumes aren’t necessarily the only offender. Heavily scented soaps, shampoos, makeup and even laundry detergents can also cause problems for some people.
  3. Set an example at the level of management. Don’t wear scented products yourself, and avoid using air fresheners, scented candles and scented sprays in the office. Instead, turn on fans and open a few windows to freshen the air.
  4. Encourage employees to talk to each other about scent sensitivities. Explain that it’s OK to ask a teammate to tone down her perfume, as long as it’s done politely. Give examples of how to courteously ask someone to avoid fragrance use. Say, for instance, “I’m really sensitive to scents, and I think I’m reacting to something you’re wearing. I’d really appreciate it if you could avoid using that perfume at work.” If an employee continues to have problems, a manager may need to intervene.
  5. Meet one-on-one with individual workers if excessive scents remain a problem a week after issuing a general workplace policy. Explain why you are calling the person into your office, express that you understand that she or he didn’t mean to offend anyone, and then ask the employee to avoid wearing the scent. For example: “As you know, we have some people in the office who are very sensitive to scents. You may not be aware of it and I’m sure you didn’t mean any harm, but a few people have come to me with concerns about a scent they’ve noticed you’re wearing. From now on, I’d like to ask that you avoid wearing that perfume to work.”

It’s never fun to deal with the “stink” issue, whether good or bad, but it may be helpful to keep two things in mind before broaching the subject:  No one wants to be embarrassed and most people want to be team players.

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Lisandra Quinones, HR Administrator

 

Inclement weather policy can keep your business humming this winter

Does your company have an inclement weather policy?  Many employers choose to deal with individual situations as they arise, but planning ahead of time can ensure peace of mind for both employer and employees.

You may wish to consider how to address these top three matters:

Will you maintain regular hours of operation or close?

Some employers may choose to close their business when the weather reaches a certain threshold.

Others may stay open and encourage employees to exercise caution when reporting to work. Some employers, such as hospitals or emergency workers, may not have the luxury of choosing to stop operations due to bad weather.

In any case, make sure your employees know your policy and how any changes and decisions will be communicated to them.

How will you handle pay issues?

Whether the company closes or an employee is unable to report to work, non-exempt (hourly) employees are not required to be paid for this time.  However, if the employee is entitled to paid time off (PTO) or vacation time, your policy should indicate whether that would be applied.

Employers are not required to pay exempt (salary) employees if they do not report to work, although PTO or vacation time may be applied to cover this time.

However, in today’s age of technology when many exempt employees are “connected” to the office by email, voice mail and other means, if an exempt employee works any part of a day – regardless of whether they are physically at work – they should be paid a full day’s wage and vacation or PTO time should not be applied.

Can employees work from home or make up their time?

As stated above, you may want to consider whether to let exempt employees work from home.  That may not be possible with some positions, but making up the time off may be an option to consider.

Having an inclement weather policy that stands on its own, or as part of an Emergency Action Plan, can reduce confusion and ensure that your employees know how to respond accordingly.

The BCN Services Human Resources Department can assist you in customizing a plan that’s right for your business. Give us a call.

 

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Sue Kester, Human Resource Manager