Meet the new Qarrot!
We’re excited. This is big. Really BIG.
On May 18, 2022, we look forward to introducing you to Qarrot 3.0. This 3rd generation of our employee recognition platform includes many updates and some very cool new features.
Plus, Qarrot 3.0 includes a whole new look. So if you liked Qarrot before, we’re confident that you’ll love what our customer success, product, engineering, quality, and marketing folks have been hard at work on for the past while.
Want to learn more? Keep reading.
Why are we making changes to Qarrot?
Since the inaugural launch of Qarrot in 2017, we have continually updated the platform by adding new features, functionality, beefing up the system’s infrastructure, creating mobile apps, fixing bugs, and more.
Along the way, we’ve learned a lot. A better way to build and manage Qarrot across its web, iOS, and Android applications. Better ways of organizing and presenting the app, so that it’s easier and more fun to use for administrators and employees, alike. More powerful solutions for managing and organizing employee data so that larger organizations can use Qarrot as successfully as smaller ones. And, we’ve learned a lot from customers and users like you, who have provided feedback about tweaks and improvements to Qarrot that would make it work better for you.
What is changing with Qarrot 3.0?
In short, a lot.
Apart from upgrades to our back-end infrastructure that aren’t readily visible to users, below are some of the improvements we hope will make Qarrot work better for you:
A brand new design.
With Qarrot 3.0, we’re introducing a new look to the entire application. Along with the clean layout, here are some changes you’ll notice:
1. The menu now appears along the top of your viewport, not on the left-hand side
2. Your points and badges are now more visibly presented to the left of the social feed
3. Your campaigns and any pinned announcements now appear to the right of the social feed
4. The social feed has also been upgraded with posts now presenting information more clearly
5. Plus, badges are now larger and have a new hexagonal shape, which we love!
Addition of Spanish and French!
If you prefer to interact with your program in another language, now you can change your display language to Spanish (International) or French (Canada) or stay with English:
Our menus, labels, instructions, and notifications will now display in the language you select.
New notification center and more control over communication preferences.
Now you can access your notification center by clicking on the intray icon next to your avatar from any section. Plus, we’ve added the ability for you to select which notifications you receive by push or by email so that you only receive the ones you want.
We’ve revamped campaigns so that it’s easier to view important details and have added a new global leaderboard so that participants can readily see how they’re doing.
Plus, you’ll no longer receive an award winner notification and social feed post every time someone earns points within a campaign. We’re replacing these with one consolidated award winner post and notification that will go out daily.
Easier way to view and sort rewards.
It’s now easier to filter and sort rewards - whether by country (if your account is multi-country), by type, and by value. Plus, newly added rewards have a new’ indicator on them and your most recent purchases are more easily viewable.
Improved reward management.
As a program administrator, you now can disable brands, specific gift card denominations (so that your rewards are only available above certain denominations), and entire categories.
Plus, if you create customer or company-provided rewards, you have the ability to set multiple people for fulfillment (previously, we provided just one person). And you can now set stock limits so that if you have a limited quantity of any item, this can be set for the reward.
A new way to organize and find your people.
As a program administrator, you can now create custom fields for employee profiles that allow for better organization and filtering of your people.
For example, you may wish to create the custom field “Department” so that each employee’s department can be added to their profile. This way, when you create a new campaign, you can easily filter the people you want to invite based on their department. Or if you’re an employee, you can filter people by department in order to more easily find the person you want to recognize.
Custom fields make it easier to filter people across all sections of Qarrot - whether you’re an administrator or a regular employee. And you can create as many as you need.
A new dashboard for people managers.
Now team leads (aka managers) have their own team dashboard. While appearing identical to the dashboard available to program administrators, it differs in that it only includes the data for the members of that team. If a manager is the team lead for more than one team, she can easily toggle between teams to view the dashboard for each.
And with so many other changes across Qarrot, we encourage you to take a moment on May 18th to review your account and familiarize yourself with the new look, layout, and feature updates.
And there’s more to come! Our roadmap for 2022-23 is packed full of new features, integrations, and other updates.
For now, we hope you enjoy the current updates and encourage you to contact our customer success team should you have any questions.
What defines a good employee experience in a hybrid/remote work environment?
In early spring 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic upended life as we knew it. Schools shut down, toilet paper disappeared, and thousands of employees suddenly found themselves working from the kitchen table. As many of these impromptu remote workers and their employers soon found out, however, not all work-from-home environments are created equal. Remote work sounds like a cushy gig, but it takes the right combination of factors to make virtual employment beneficial for both parties.
If you’re thinking about hybrid or fully remote work for your staff, take note of the qualities that make for a productive, morale-boosting virtual work environment.
1. Flexibility is a cornerstone.
Not everyone wants to work from home all the time, and some don’t want to work from home at all. Rather than dealing in absolutes, giving your employees a choice empowers them to make the decision that suits their needs and preferences.
This may or may not be possible, depending on your industry. Teachers, for example, can’t easily switch back and forth between the classroom and the home office. But accountants, attorneys, and even therapists can perform at least some of their duties without physically coming to work.
Consider how flexible you can be in extending remote work options to your staff. When you can, let your employees choose if and when to take advantage of the opportunity to work virtually.
2. Expectations are clearly defined.
Employees are more likely to perform at their best when they know what’s expected of them, especially when the work environment changes or when they don’t have managers or supervisors nearby for direct guidance.
If you opt for a hybrid environment, where employees are sometimes in the office and sometimes at home, your staff needs to know what days they can work remotely, when they’ll be required to show up in person, and what protocols to follow when they choose to stay home.
Even for a fully remote setup, make your parameters crystal clear. Do employees still need to report at a certain time? If so, how will they let you know that they’re “clocked in” from home? How will you ensure that they’re taking legally required breaks but not taking advantage of minimal oversight?
Figure out what a successful hybrid or virtual work situation looks like from your company’s and stakeholders’ perspectives. Then, develop easy-to-follow guidelines for your employees.
Make sure your expectations are fair, however. One of the great appeals of remote work is its freedom, so avoid micromanaging unnecessarily. Requiring staff to dress professionally for Zoom meetings is reasonable, but telling them not to wear pajamas while they send emails is a bit much.
3. Employers help with the logistics.
Especially if your company has only recently shifted to remote work, your employees might not be totally prepared. Believe it or not, not everyone has a computer or WiFi at home, nor does everyone have a distraction-free workspace outside the office.
Get ahead of these issues by directly asking employees if their homes are prepared for remote work, and take inventory of how you’d be able to help them get there. Can your company afford to give out remote work stipends? Is there any tech you can invest in, like wireless headsets or laptops?
It’s important, too, to be aware that W2 employees can’t deduct any work-from-home expenses on their taxes. If they have to pay for equipment, furniture, software, or extra utilities in order to perform the job they do for you, you’re the only one who can reimburse them for those costs. Take care of your staff–particularly if working remotely is a requirement–and they’ll take care of you in the form of company loyalty and heightened productivity.
4. Support is extended proactively.
Aside from stipends or reimbursements, remote employees need to know that the same resources they had in the office are still available from home. Don’t assume that no news is good news in a hybrid or remote work environment–your staff might be struggling but not be comfortable enough to tell you.
Periodically reach out to and check in with your employees. Let them know how they can access human resources, supervisors, upper leadership, and tech support. Ask how they’re doing and what would make the remote work experience better overall.
This is also a great way to keep tabs on if remote work is worth offering long term. If your employees adjust well and maintain or exceed their in-office performance, you will have successfully modernized your company’s work model.
5. Patience is a company pillar.
The transition to remote work, even in the best of situations, will inevitably come with hiccups. It also comes with an understanding that the lines between your employees’ personal and professional lives blur somewhat. Their Internet may go down from time to time, or the occasional toddler may waddle past the camera during an important Zoom meeting.
These things are bound to happen–even to you–so you may as well take them in stride. Your employees will appreciate your recognition of the fact that they are indeed human, and they’ll be grateful to see you acknowledge your own humanity, too.
This doesn’t mean that expectations for decorum and responsibility go to the wayside; it simply means that you intentionally cultivate a company culture that acknowledges the reality of a hybrid or virtual work environment.
By resisting the urge to wield discipline where you can use humor or compassion instead, you’ll improve the remote work experience for both you and your staff. By viewing these moments as opportunities to build connections, you’ll strengthen rapport, learn more about your employees, and make an unforgettable (and inexpensive) investment in your #1 resource: human capital.
Some companies have used a hybrid or fully virtual work model for the last two years, while others are just now making the switch. Either way, it’s become abundantly clear that remote work is here to stay.
Implementing virtual work options is a learning process, though, for leadership and staff alike. Don’t be afraid to innovate and adjust as you go. As long as you remain patient and flexible, you’ll ensure a good experience and healthy environment for employees working remotely.
Announcement: Vantage Circle makes strategic investment in Qarrot
The past few years have brought significant growth and development here at Qarrot.
We’ve had the good fortune to welcome many new customers from a wide range of industries with employees in dozens of different countries. We’ve continued to listen to our customers and add new features and functionality based on their feedback. Further, we’ve grown our team and entered into distribution partnerships.
And for the past year, we’ve been developing a relationship with the team at Vantage Circle, a global leading employee engagement solution. Its AI-powered employee engagement suite includes, Vantage Rewards, Vantage Perks, Vantage Pulse, and Vantage Fit. And its roster of customers includes well-known brands such as Wipro, Tata Communications, LnT Infotech, Airtel, and Bosch.
Though Vantage Circle and Qarrot focus on different market segments, we have a similar vision for the global employee recognition market and where it’s headed. Moreover, we have complimentary experience and perspectives.
And, so, I’m very excited to share that Vantage Circle has made a strategic investment in Qarrot. Read the full press release here.
This investment will bring both organizations closer together and provide further fuel for Qarrot to grow and better serve small to mid-sized businesses with its easy-to-use employee recognition solution.
With that in mind, the team at Qarrot is looking forward to a year ahead with many exciting product updates, lots of further growth, and a great new partnership with Vantage Circle.
8 ways to empower employees to take charge of their personal development
Free lunches and gym memberships are great, but they’re not enough to boost your employee retention rates. On average, losing an employee costs 33% of their salary. Considering how difficult it is to find new talent during the current labor shortage, losing even one of your employees could wound your bottom line. If you want to keep your employees around, you need to show them you truly care about them. Empowering them to take charge of their career and personal development is one way to show your employees you genuinely care about their success and wellbeing.
1. Goals in the onboarding process
Use the onboarding process to help new hires define goals for their career and personal development. By starting at the beginning, you can guide your employees through the process of creating a tailored learning path to help them succeed in their role (and beyond). If you use skills assessments in your recruiting process, you can use those insights to inform areas for improvement.
Empowering employees to tackle self-development from the start of their time at your organization will show them that they are in control of their future. This perspective shift can help them view their new role as a growth opportunity instead of feeling like they are a slave to your bottom line. The more in control of their future they feel, the more likely they will want to continue their journey at your company.
2. Promote a culture of lifelong learning
Inspire your employees to keep learning, no matter their stage of life. Consider handing out a new personal development book for employees to read each quarter. Hold a meeting dedicated to discussing takeaways. Make sure you guide your team through the process of converting their new knowledge into actionable steps that will push them toward their goals, both personal and professional.
3. Implement learning into everyday work
Investing in your employees by providing them with the tools and time they need to learn while they do their jobs is a valuable investment for your company. Try integrating learning into your employee’s day-to-day workflow. Consider offering platforms like LinkedIn Learning or SkillShare where employees can learn new skills in an interactive way, tracking their progress. Employees will especially appreciate online courses that will bolster their resumes, and LinkedIn Learning certificates can be added directly to their profiles.
4. Give employees more autonomy
When employees are micromanaged, they feel suffocated. And, even worse– they feel like you don’t trust them to do their jobs well. Data shows that allowing employees their autonomy makes them happier, more engaged, more motivated, and better performers overall. Switch to a hands-off management approach by creating all the conditions your team needs to succeed, then stepping back so they can show you why you hired them in the first place. Giving employees more autonomy helps them improve their creative problem-solving and decision-making skills. This will create a noticeable change in confidence.
5. Outcomes-based work
Instead of counting the hours employees spend tapping away at their keyboards, try counting productivity and performance based on outcomes. Every project should have a goal for each person involved. Reward employees for the outcomes they achieve rather than the time they spend on the job. This creates another shift in perspective. Instead of feeling like they are running on a hamster wheel, your team will feel like they are accomplishing goals for the company. Each outcome achieved will be viewed as a personal achievement.
6. Listen to employees and build trust
Open communication and empathy are key to empowering employees. When managers are more approachable, teams are more comfortable sharing ideas and challenging one another to find the best solutions. Research shows that 93% of employees say they’re more likely to stay with an empathetic employer. Empathy shows your team that they are understood and valued.
When employees trust that you genuinely care about their personal development, they are more likely to achieve their goals, and there’s data to back this. Companies with high-trust cultures report stock market returns two or three times above market average, turnover rates 50% lower than competitors, and increased employee engagement, innovation, and satisfaction.
7. Encourage problem-solving- assign problems rather than tasks
By assigning problems rather than tasks, you show employees that you believe in their abilities and trust that they will land on the best possible solution. This boosts confidence and helps employees learn the skills they need to excel in their careers. Of course, there will always be times when employees fall short of the solution you would have picked. It's important to maintain an open line of communication where you can provide honest feedback without killing the employee’s motivation. After all, making mistakes and fixing them is how we learn.
The more you encourage your employees to problem-solve on their own, the better they’ll get at figuring out the right course of action the first time. If you’re really worried about the outcome of assigning problems, have your employees come to you with a proposed solution prior to taking action. This gives you the opportunity to tell your employees why you do or don’t agree with their decision. You can even have your employees defend their decision to you as another great learning opportunity.
8. Give recognition where it’s due
When employees reach their goals, recognize and reward them. This is another way to show you genuinely care about their successes and that you are cheering on their progress. Rewarding employees for their successes helps motivate them to continue working on bigger goals. Plus, it’s a good way to get all employees involved in your personal and professional development initiatives– even those who may not be as enthusiastic about empowerment.
Being a manager is about more than leading your employees through their day-to-day operations. It’s about empowering employees to be the best version of themselves, providing them with the tools they need to grow within the company. This outlook creates trust and improves relationships within the organization, creating a productive, goal-oriented work environment. Leaders who empower employees are more likely to have team members who peers perceive as highly creative and helpful. When you foster a culture of personal development, you encourage your employees to lift each other up. This makes it easier for everyone involved to continue learning and growing.
How to survive the great resignation
Like a newsworthy political scandal, The Great Resignation is emerging as one of the most discussed labor trends of 2021. But what is it exactly? And how does it concern employers of different stripes?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record number of Americans quit their jobs in April 2021. However, this was just the beginning. In July over 4 million Americans left their jobs, setting yet another all-time high. And then both August and September set further records.
The common perception was that remote work - with its more flexible hours, non-existent commute times, and family meals - was leading workers to quit their jobs in favor of a lifestyle with greater passion and purpose. According to Forbes, surveys made headlines declaring that 40% of workers planned to quit their jobs - and soon. And when 4.3 million Americans left their jobs in August, this grim forecast seemed to be coming true.
Despite these all-time records, the figures are much less scary (from an employer’s perspective) than at first glance. The number of workers quitting their jobs represents something closer to 3% of the total workforce. A far cry from the 40% announced earlier this year. That said, the U.S. has over 10 million open jobs. So while some perspective helps to calm nerves, the pressure is real for certain industries.
The Great Retirement?
Moreover, the reasons why more people have been leaving their jobs seems less problematic (in some sense) than the theories being bandied about earlier this year.
Fully two-thirds of the departures were not due to workers “quitting” per se. According to new research from Goldman Sachs, they were retiring. However, here the picture gets interesting. Of those workers retiring, about 1 million were “normal”. The balance - about 1.5 million workers - were taking an early retirement.
Given the generally permanent nature of retirement, the majority of workers leaving the labor force likely won’t return. As Goldman notes, retiring "tends to be stickier" than other reasons someone might leave the labor force. Because of that, "we therefore expect that the participation shortfall from early retirees will unwind relatively slowly through fewer new retirements going forward."
While some portion of older workers may return to the workforce once they feel conditions are safer for them to do so, most economists are expecting effects of the “Great Retirement” to be felt for a while, leaving a tight labor market across the U.S.
Strategies for Retaining Older Workers
While the recent trends may have brought early retirements into focus as a strain on the labor market, many companies already employ strategies to retain their older workers for longer.
As noted by Forbes, the first step to retaining older workers is to count them. Until your company has a firm grasp of its workforce demographics, it’s difficult to assess the impact of future employee retirements.
With an understanding of the age distribution of your workers, you can develop programs to keep them engaged and actively working.
For example, training programs that are ‘inclusive’ of older workers such as the Talent is Ageless initiative at CVS are a great way of developing older workers, while signalling their importance within your employee base.
Signalling this importance is also quite important as most Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs expressly overlook this segment of the workforce and, so, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many older workers are opting for an early retirement when work conditions aren’t ideal.
A further way of combating early retirements is to meet your older workers half-way, by letting them have more flexible work hours. This greater flexibility is ideal for both employee and employer alike as, in many cases, companies can retain the experience and knowledge of their older workers longer, while employees who would have otherwise had to abruptly adjust to retired life can follow more of a gradual transition.
Under this structure, it’s important to ensure your culture supports more flexible hours and doesn’t discriminate against those who take this option. A great example is the U-Work program offered by Unilever. The program effectively offers workers a contract and not a job, whereby they receive a minimum monthly retainer and health benefits. On top of this, workers earn additional amounts for the projects they participate in.
Although The Great Resignation affects industries and companies differently, it is undoubtedly a wise strategy to assess the age distribution of your workforce. As those workers who are 50 and over are increasingly likely to take an early retirement. But as demonstrated above, it’s never too late to employ programs that engage, develop, and retain your workers regardless of how old they are.
Why and how to cultivate empathy in your organization
Empathy is an ability to understand and relate to the emotions, thoughts, and experiences of others. Empathy in the workplace means an environment where team members understand one another and establish true emotional bonds or friendships.
It has always been important for organizations to create an empathetic environment to gain the trust of their employees. But now, after the pandemic, it has become essential to show empathy towards your workers.
According to a Gartner survey among 5,000 employees, one-quarter of the workforce is depressed due to the pandemic. The job uncertainties, economic slowdown, and health issues have made it harder for employees to be productive lately.
In this situation, it's important for organizations to harness empathy in the workplace. Empathy will nurture stronger bonds between teammates and help organizations boost their employee hiring and retention strategies. Further, empathy can provide a roadmap to team leaders for boosting team culture in the organization.
This guide will walk you through some easy steps to cultivate empathy in your workplace and understand why empathy is important for modern workplaces. Let's get started!
Why Is Empathy Important in Your Workplace
Every person working in the organization has different cultural values, perspectives, and backgrounds that make them valuable assets for a company. Empathy here helps managers understand different employees and use their versatile skills to better the organization. Cultivating empathy in the workplace can also help in many other ways:
When you harness empathy in the organization, you can better understand the tone and body language of your employees. This will help you seamlessly communicate with your team members after understanding their mood at the moment.
A strong professional relationship between employees and employers, and colleagues is crucial to improving productivity and harmony in the organization. Empathetic work culture will provide an opportunity to better understand your seniors and subordinates to build a stronger relationship with them.
Adopt a creative approach
When you can step into other people’s shoes and understand their pain points, it will help you be creative in your approach. You can develop innovative strategies to boost your employees' performance and provide personalized services to your customers.
Increase investment opportunities
Empathy will not only help you understand your customers and employees but also your stakeholders and potential inventors. From your language to knowledge, empathy can help you in numerous ways to win over your investors and receive better investment opportunities.
Hire the right candidates
Empathy can also help you hire the right candidates during the interview process. By showing empathy towards job applicants, you can make them feel relaxed during the interview. This will help you analyze the true self of a person.
How to Bring Empathy to Your Workplace
Empathy is a feeling that triggers human emotions. Therefore, you have to introduce empathy very clearly in your workplace to drive maximum results. Here's how you can cultivate empathy in your workplace:
Watch for burnout signs
Work burnout is a serious problem. Today, in the remote work culture, employee burnout cases have spiked up a lot. That's because employees feel lonely and, at times, scared during the prevailing hard times.
In this situation, empathy will help companies to understand problems faced by their employees. In fact, many organizations are already organizing mental health seminars, psychiatric consultations, and other mental health services to support their employees during the tough period.
Recognize your team members
Empathy plays a vital role in understanding the unique needs and dreams of each team member. Recognizing your individual employees' skills and knowledge will help you best match work assignments to create a satisfying work environment.
For instance, when an employee is good at communicating with customers, you can utilize these skills to improve customer care services in your organization. Additionally, employee recognition will keep your staff more engaged and involved in the work.
Compassion is an additional attribute to empathy that can cultivate real friendships and relationships at workplaces. When team leaders show compassion towards fellow teammates, it will build trust and loyalty in the team.
For example, if an employee is going through a rough patch in their personal life, you can show compassion towards the person and let them know they are fully supported.
Conduct empathy seminars/webinars
Empathy is a very complex emotion, and people often confuse it with sympathy. Therefore, not everyone knows how to be empathetic towards others.
Thus, if you organize seminars or webinars in your organization to teach your staff how to understand, care and support others, it can effectively build an empathetic and productive work environment.
Follow empathetic leadership
Team leaders or managers should constantly put themselves in other people's shoes to understand different perspectives. When managers try to think from other people's point of view, it can help them better solve problems, manage conflicts and motivate their team members.
If your organization serves across the borders, empathic leadership is extremely important. Leading multicultural teams take cultural intelligence. It is essential for global leaders to develop a skill to understand different perspectives and cultures.
For modern managers, just understanding the different ideologies isn't enough. They have to respect other people's feelings and opinions as well. For example, it is the duty of global leaders to treat everyone equally in the organization regardless of their position, creed, gender, age, etc.
Empathic leaders are assets to organizations that help to build and maintain strong workplace relationships.
Ready to Cultivate Empathy in Your Organization?
Be it improving team collaboration or productivity in the organization; empathy is the only road to building a progressive workplace.
Empathy is a constant process that managers and leaders have to practice. That's because empathy is a human emotion that can change in a spur of a moment. Thus, you have to conduct seminars, engagement programs, and host one-on-one interactions to cultivate empathy in the workplace.
That's it in this post! But if you have any special tricks to incorporate empathy in a workplace, you are more than welcome to share your comments here.
10 Reasons a skills assessment tool supports employee growth
Skills assessment tests are a vital part of the recruitment process. But the dynamic nature of the job market makes them equally essential for already working employees as well.
Crucially, pre-employment skills assessment and post-employment skills assessment should not be the same.
Having a robust assessment structure enables companies to make the most of their workforces. It also ensures that they have the requisite skills needed to perform tasks expected of them.
Skills assessment tests have traditionally been manual, requiring a good degree of effort and internal coordination to use. However, today an increasing number of digital tools are available and that are much easier and faster to deploy. Importantly, understanding skill levels across an organization better enables managers and executives to plan a blueprint for future employee growth.
This article discusses ten reasons skills assessment tools are contributing to employees’ growth in the modern job world.
What are skills assessment tests?
82% of the companies use skills assessment tests in one form or another.
Skills assessment tests are scientific and formal evaluation methods that help in gauging employee potential. They enable the organization to comprehend where the employees stand presently and if they have the requisite skills to succeed in their current position.
While traditionally we have seen skills assessment tests happening during the onboarding process, employers have realized their importance and have started conducting them periodically for their existing workforce.
10 reasons skills assessment tools support employee growth
While some people come prepared for their position, others learn by experience. A capable skills assessment tool doesn’t differentiate based on how employees have honed their skills but focuses on measuring their capabilities in a consistent and cost-efficient way.
Here are ten ways skills assessments tools have helped employees grow professionally –
- Eliminates bias
Most employees complain of workplace politics acting as a bottleneck and hindering their proper growth. Undertaking a skills assessment test would help employees prove their mettle without the negative effects of favoritism and bias.
- Unearths skill gaps
75% of employers reported difficulty in hiring because they faced skill gaps in job candidates. Accordingly, employers often hire people who may not be the best fit for the job position they hold. So management actively undertakes periodic monitoring of their development via skills assessment tests.
- Developing personalized development plans
The world is fast-changing. Employees are often required to learn new skills to keep up with technological and industry changes. Accordingly, it is increasingly common to hire based on a candidate's positive attitude towards personal and professional growth, knowing that they’ll continue to evolve once hired.
Employing a robust skills assessment tool enables organizations to support employees as they encounter the need to develop new skills by identifying gaps in a timely fashion.
- Tests ability to adopt new skills
The pandemic proved to the world that change is the only constant. Many workers quickly shifted to WFH as the new normal, which required getting used to a different way of working and adopting new tools. This has highlighted the need for workforces to be flexible and adaptable as their work environments change. A good skills assessment test can inform employers about how well their employees are adapting to their changing work environment.
- Helps in reskilling and upskilling
The year 2020 helped most of us unearth previously unknown skills we may not have paid enough heed to. It also showcased the need to continually evolve to stay relevant. It is why employers are encouraging their existing employees to reskill and upskill with the support of skills assessment tests.
- Helps employees understand expectations
A periodic skills assessment is not only an effective way to help employees understand any gaps they may have in their current position, but also a great way to help them discover their potential for promotions within the company.
It’s not uncommon for employees to be promoted without all of the necessary skills for their new position, which can unfortunately lead to disillusionment, frustration, and sometimes to the employee leaving for another job elsewhere.
- Career development
Ambitious workers are often looking forward and working towards their next promotion or lateral move. Engaging in regular assessment tests better enables them to gauge their progress and confirm that they are strengthening the requisite abilities to rise and succeed.
- Garner interesting projects
There can often be projects that are deemed outside of your purview by your employer. But by demonstrating your skills in a highly valued area, it obliges your employer to take notice. Increasing your employer’s awareness of your talents is a great way of getting access to new exciting opportunities and projects.
- Helps unearth the leader in you
Several skills assessment tests are dedicated to finding leadership talent amongst employees. These are highly specialized, and the tools offer actionable insights alongside gauging leadership capabilities in an employee. It allows the organization to place the right people in the proper position and enables capable employees to supercharge their career trajectory.
- It helps differentiate similar employees
Skills assessment tests, when used effectively, can assist employers in better differentiating between similar profiles within their workforce. Not only does this allow certain employees to shine, but companies are better able to place employees in the roles for which they are best suited.
Employability skills testing during the recruitment process is vital, so is a periodic skills assessment test for existing employees. It allows employees to understand their current position, unearth their true potential, and devise a better career trajectory for them. In addition, using a robust and accurate skills assessment tool would further enable them to figure out even the minutest aspects that would help them attain sustainable growth in the long run.
5 remote-friendly employee wellness program ideas
“We are embedding health and well-being at the heart of our business strategy because our people are our greatest asset, and we recognize that a healthy, happy, and committed workforce is vital to our business success.”
- Alex Gourlay, MD, Boots UK
Leaders around the globe have started to recognize the importance of employee well-being. They understand the array of benefits employee wellness brings with itself that can prove to be high-yielding for the company.
It has become increasingly important to focus on employee wellness when the world is in the middle of a pandemic and your employees are struggling with its consequences and the massive workplace shift as well.
This is where an employee wellness program can make a meaningful impact within your organization. Let’s take a closer look at what a wellness program is as well as how it can benefit your organization.
What is an Employee Wellness Program?
Wellness is a broad term with multiple dimensions (see image below). Employee Wellness Programs are initiatives offered by employers that target one or more of these dimensions for the benefit of their employees. Today wellness has become an integral part of employee engagement efforts at many organizations and has led to a significant improvement in employee engagement.
What makes an Employee Wellness Program important
The answer lies in the fact that a happy employee is more likely to be an engaged employee. They not only give more towards the growth of the company, but they are also more likely to be loyal and to help their colleagues reach their target potential at the same time. Employee engagement, therefore, is critical to support the overall health and growth of the business.
Here are some facts and figures -
- Employees who scored low on “life satisfaction” stayed home from work 1.25 more days per month than those with higher scores, adding up to about 15 additional days off per year
- A large majority (87%) of employers are committed to workplace wellness, and 73% offer a wellness program, according to a survey. In a survey of SFM policyholders, one-third of respondents offered a wellness program. This percentage went up to 77% for the largest employers
- In a survey, more than 60% of employers said workplace wellness programs reduced their organizations’ health care costs
- Studies show that well-designed wellness programs have a return on investment of $1.50 to $3 per dollar spent over a two- to a nine-year timeframe.
Source: (SFM Mutual Insurance Company (Aug 2018). 10 statistics that make the case for workplace wellness programs)
Today’s scenario (Lockdown/Work from home) and the need for the Employee Wellness Program
Needless to say, the COVID19 pandemic has massively impacted lives across the globe. Although thanks to technology, it is now possible for many workers to be equally (if not more) productive from home and to continue to collaborate with their remote colleagues. Conversely, the pandemic and the lack of direct contact with coworkers, friends, and family has deeply affected the wellbeing of many workers. People are facing not just physical health issues but a myriad of other challenges affecting their mental health, relationships, financial situation, etc.
Employers are increasingly aware of the impact of these challenges on their workers’ wellbeing. Many understand that they cannot expect employees to work at their best when they are simultaneously dealing with numerous personal issues. As a result, many employers are extending a helping hand to their employees in these tough times.
Let’s look at some of the ways employers are supporting their employees’ well-being.
Different Remote-friendly Employee Wellness Program Ideas and how they are effective -
1. Monthly wellness budget:
As part of an incentives package, companies are offering a monthly amount - say $100 - to employees for eligible wellness benefits. This amount can be reimbursed to employees upon presenting their receipts for eligible services, which often include gym memberships, a spa day, or any other rejuvenating activities.
2. Employee Assistance Programs:
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) consists of many services, such as mental health counseling sessions, financial advice, relationship counseling, and legal advice. These services are related to some of the problems commonly encountered by workers in their everyday lives.
An employer-sponsored EAP can alone take care of most of the wellness dimensions. There are many organizations in the market that provide EAP services, and a company can choose to collaborate with the one it finds the most suitable.
3. It’s log-out time!:
With working from home as the new normal, extended working hours have also become a commonly observed trend.
According to a study by Gibbs, Mengel & Siemroth (July 2021) on 10,000 employees from Asia, employees are now working 30% longer hours from home. Thus, contributing to greater levels of stress and burnout.
It is therefore important for employers to understand the limitations of working from home and accordingly assign realistic daily goals to their employees. Send reminders to employees to catch a breath between tasks and use a time-tracking app such as Hubstaff, Toggl, or Harvest to track the number of hours your employees are working.
If you find someone working extra hours, reach out to them and try to understand the reason behind their doing so. This will help you understand if your employees are getting overburdened with work or if they are facing other issues that are causing them to stay at their computers longer. Target those problems and work with your staff to mitigate or resolve them. Help your employees create a balance between work and personal life. It will also improve the work-culture of your company.
4. Let’s work for society:
When you do good for others, it always brings a sense of serenity and happiness to your soul. Alas! With our busy schedules and deadlines, we often do not get enough time to engage in such activities.
Serving your community and doing good for the environment is also one of the dimensions of wellness. Many corporations are already all too aware of the responsibilities they have towards their communities and the environment.
And, so, engaging in projects and initiatives that help a local community or the environment, more broadly can be a great way to get employees involved in this type of wellness activity. Employees can be asked to volunteer a certain portion of their time on an ongoing basis or to participate in limited-time initiatives such as a neighbourhood clean-up.
This project will not only be food for their soul but will also be a great opportunity for your employees to bond, experience a change of scenery, and then be recognized by their colleagues for their contributions to a good cause.
5. Want to join a club?
Remember your college days, when you had different clubs catering to different interests of students? Why can’t that culture be taken forward in our corporate lives as well?
Employers can start a poll to gather employees’ willingness to join clubs of their choice, for example - a book club, music/dance club, cooking club, sports club, etc.
Employees can join a club of their choice and meet fellow employees with similar interests. They can have short virtual meetings during breaks and they can have a dedicated portal where they can discuss things related to the club. For example, the book club can decide on a book of the month.
Bonds among employees are made when they are relaxed and able to discuss things that are not related to work.
Starting such clubs will not only help in forming bonds among employees but will also encourage cross-departmental communication and camaraderie, thus tapping into their social wellness.
How to make the employee wellness program successful?
It is not that you need to implement all the above 5 ideas in your company, picking up any one of these and implementing it in your company is enough. Just ensure that it is well planned and effectively implemented. Further, ensure that all your employees are aware of this initiative by using appropriate means of communication. Also, let them know the importance of wellness and self-care and how this initiative can help in the same.
Concluding the above points we can say that whether we work from the office or work from home, we as an employee and companies as employers should try to adopt a ‘wellness-first’ approach to working. Remember, your employees are an important asset to your company. You take care of them and they will take care of their work, contributing to the long-term success of your company.
To learn how to integrate wellness in your employee recognition program- request a demo with Qarrot!
Qarrot partners with Motivates in the UK
During the height of the pandemic we found ourselves discussing an exciting new distribution partnership with a leading gift voucher vendor in the UK, Motivates.
Motivates provides Life:Style, the UK’s most flexible gift voucher with over 120 best-loved brands.
And with a large and growing number of corporate customers using Life:Style to reward and recognize their employees, Motivates is optimally positioned to market Qarrot in the UK.
Today, I’m pleased to announce the formal launch of our partnership with Motivates. As the exclusive reseller of Qarrot in the UK, Motivates will offer a compelling combination of our cloud-based employee recognition software featuring their Life:Style gift voucher.
In addition, Motivates’ customers will be able to pay for their Qarrot subscriptions and fund their voucher purchases in Great British Pounds (GBP).
The combination of Qarrot and Life:Style is already starting to make an impact. Shortly after our ‘soft launch’, Motivates signed up their first Qarrot account. And with the formal launch now under way, both parties are excited about the potential business opportunities that lie ahead.
Learn more about Motivates and the Life:Style gift voucher here.