Human Resources Best Practices in 2023: How to Stay Ahead of the Curve
The world of work is constantly evolving, and as we move further into 2023, human resources (HR) professionals are facing a range of challenges and opportunities. From the ongoing impact of the pandemic to the rise of new technologies and changing workforce demographics, HR leaders must stay ahead of the curve to effectively support their organizations and employees. In this article, we will explore some of the best practices for HR in 2023.
1. Prioritize Employee Well-Being
The pandemic has brought employee well-being to the forefront of HR concerns, and this trend is likely to continue in 2023. As organizations return to the office or adopt hybrid work models, HR leaders must prioritize the physical and mental health of their employees.
One best practice for supporting employee well-being is to provide flexible work arrangements. This could include remote work options, flexible scheduling, or job sharing. Additionally, HR professionals can offer mental health resources and support services, such as counseling or employee assistance programs.
Another important aspect of employee well-being is recognizing and addressing burnout. HR leaders can help prevent burnout by setting realistic workloads, providing clear expectations and feedback, and encouraging breaks and time off.
2. Embrace Digital Transformation
The rapid pace of technological change is driving digital transformation across all areas of business, and HR is no exception. From applicant tracking systems to employee engagement platforms, HR professionals must be familiar with a range of digital tools and platforms to effectively support their organizations.
One best practice for HR in 2023 is to embrace digital transformation by investing in new technologies and upskilling HR staff. By adopting advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, HR leaders can automate routine tasks and improve decision-making processes. Additionally, digital tools can help HR professionals better understand employee needs and preferences, leading to more effective communication and engagement.
3. Foster Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
In recent years, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become a top priority for many organizations. In 2023, HR professionals must continue to foster DEI in the workplace to attract and retain a diverse and talented workforce.
One best practice for supporting DEI is to establish a clear DEI strategy and set measurable goals. This could include increasing the representation of underrepresented groups in leadership positions or improving the recruitment and retention of diverse candidates.
HR leaders can also foster DEI by offering bias training and creating a culture of inclusivity. Additionally, HR professionals can establish employee resource groups (ERGs) to provide support and networking opportunities for employees from diverse backgrounds.
4. Improve Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is essential for organizational success, and HR professionals must continue to find ways to improve engagement levels in 2023. This could include providing opportunities for professional development, offering competitive compensation and benefits, or creating a positive workplace culture.
One best practice for improving engagement is to regularly solicit employee feedback and act on it. By listening to employee concerns and suggestions, HR leaders can identify areas for improvement and implement changes that will make a positive impact on employee engagement.
Additionally, HR professionals can create a culture of recognition and appreciation. This could include providing regular feedback, celebrating employee achievements, and offering incentives or rewards for outstanding performance.
In conclusion, HR professionals in 2023 must be prepared to navigate a range of challenges and opportunities. By prioritizing employee well-being, embracing digital transformation, fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion, and improving employee engagement, HR leaders can effectively support their organizations and create a culture of success. By staying ahead of the curve, HR professionals can position their organizations for long-term success in the years to come.
Inclusive Communication in the Workplace: Why it Matters and How to Achieve It
Inclusive communication is a language style that actively acknowledges individuals for who they are and demonstrates respect for people from various backgrounds. It ensures everyone's perspectives are respected and that each employee has access to equal opportunities.
Inclusive communication employs neutral, non-discriminatory, and unbiased language and communication techniques to develop a friendly, polite, and egalitarian environment where people feel appreciated and heard, regardless of their differences.
What is inclusive communication in the workplace?
Inclusive communication creates a work environment that feels supportive and genuine. This type of communication helps employees feel at home at their place of work. Companies that prioritize a culture of inclusive communication have a greater chance of success, often surpassing their competition in crucial areas like hiring, employee engagement, employee satisfaction, and business growth.
Communicating inclusively goes hand in hand with diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. The more leadership commits to DEI initiatives, the stronger the culture of inclusive communication will become.
At the root, inclusive communication is about promoting an atmosphere of respect at work and fostering open communication where employee differences are honored and respected. Workshops on topics like unconscious bias and the harmful impact of prejudice and stereotyping can cut off hurtful communication habits at the source.
Other components that create an intentional culture of inclusion include routinely evaluating and eliminating barriers to inclusivity and actively working to promote a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Businesses prioritizing inclusivity position themselves for long-term success and have happier, more engaged employees.
A variety of inclusive communication modes exist in the workplace, including:
- Non-verbal: Body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice all significantly impact fostering an inclusive work environment.
- Verbal: Potentially the most prevalent method of communication at work.
- Written: All written communication, including emails, memos, and company reports.
“Isms” that undermine inclusive communication
Communication cannot be inclusive if the work culture allows prejudiced language or hate speech. Here are four common “isms” that actively prevent inclusivity:
- Sexism: Sexist language that degrades or stereotypes an employee based on their gender.
- Ageism: Terminology that singles someone out due to their age.
- Racism: Racially charged language that is insulting or stereotyping.
- Ableism: Stereotypes or insults someone due to their differing abilities.
Why is inclusive communication important?
Organizations can build an inclusive, respectful, and equitable workplace culture for all employees by promoting inclusive communication awareness and education.
Creating a culture of inclusive communication shows the company’s effort to utilize language that contributes to a more equitable world while condemning the misrepresentation and institutional discrimination that plague our workplaces to this day.
Inclusive communication breeds a culture of acceptance and opportunity for all. This triggers a domino effect that can improve productivity, employee engagement, and even customer satisfaction.
Multiple factors make inclusive communication in the workplace necessary:
- Respect: All people should be treated with respect, regardless of gender, color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or ability, as demonstrated by inclusive communication. It produces a friendly and encouraging work environment.
- Diversity: Inclusive language shows a company values diversity within the workforce.
- Legal obligation: Companies are required to provide a work environment free from harassment and discrimination. Inclusive communication is a crucial part of cultivating an equitable company culture.
- Communication: Everyone can better comprehend one another and collaborate more successfully when speech is free from bias.
- Reputation: Businesses that prioritize inclusive language are more reputable in the eyes of potential employees, investors, and customers.
- Employee engagement: When employees feel valued, metrics like engagement, morale, and productivity improve.
How to communicate with inclusivity in 2023
Here are some actionable ways to make workplace communication more inclusive this year:
Replace stereotypical and culturally insensitive language with inclusive alternatives
Many expressions commonly used in the workplace are exclusive in nature. Encourage employees to consider what language they use that, while not overtly offensive, does not reflect everyone in the office. People often use slurs without even realizing it.
Even the most seemingly innocuous words can be rooted in discriminatory language. For example, the word “dumb” is commonly used to reflect someone who isn’t intelligent but is actually defined as someone who cannot communicate verbally. And while commonly used to say someone behaves erratically, the term “spastic” actually references the muscle tightness and contractions resulting from cerebral palsy and/or multiple sclerosis.
Commonly used idioms like “blind leading the blind” and “falling on deaf ears” are also exclusive in nature.
Understand employee identities
People's identities are primarily shaped by their race and ethnicity, meaning misidentification can be damaging and invalidating.
Make an effort to understand and learn whatever race, ethnicity, or national origin employees identify to avoid making assumptions and lumping everyone into one racial group, such as Asian or African. Encourage employees to communicate openly about the language they do not perceive as inclusive.
Communicate openly about language preferences
Ableist language can indirectly define a person by their disability status and propagate harmful stereotypes.
This is incredibly dangerous, considering the discrepancy between employment rates for people with and without disabilities. In 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 21.3% of people with a disability were employed. That is less than a third of the employment percentage for those without a disability (65.4%).
Companies can actively combat ableist language by communicating openly about what language employees with disabilities prefer. Some people prefer person-first language like “person with a disability”, while others prefer identify-first language like “disabled person”. Genuine inclusivity means recognizing that not every person perceives language the same way and prioritizes respecting each and every employee’s definition of what is and isn’t inclusive of their identities.
How to drive inclusive communication rewards and recognition software
Building a culture of inclusivity in the workplace is no small feat, but injecting inclusive language into rewards and recognition programs is a good place to start. You can make your organization a hub for inclusive collaboration by standardizing the process of rewarding and recognizing employees.
Qarrot empowers employees to nominate each other, all while providing managers with advanced insights that weed out any potential biases. Interested in learning more? Book a demo to see Qarrot in action!
How to take the right approach to solving workplace issues
Unresolved workplace issues disrupt employees’ workflow. A study on team conflict published by the Global Transitions Proceedings found that team climate and cohesion are directly linked to the outcome of a project. Thus, a positive climate and relationship among employees greatly improves the quality of their work. As such, whenever there are workplace issues, business owners must do their best to resolve them.
If you’re unsure how to start, take our guide on the right approach to solving workplace issues:
Diagnose the problem
The first step is to identify the root cause of the conflict. For some business owners, it’s convenient to suggest team-building activities to resolve conflict. However, generic band-aid solutions like this do not actually target the problem at hand.
For instance, Senior Vice President of global leadership solutions for LHH, Alex Vincent, shares his company experience when a team of the best employees was underperforming. While the CIO wanted Vincent to do anything and everything to solve the problem, he opted to talk to each team member. Doing this, he found out that the underperformance was caused by one member who did well alone but lacked in team settings. Thus, Vincent recommended that the CIO address that individual instead of the whole team. As a result, the team improved and performed better. Without this diagnosis, the cause of conflict wouldn’t have been identified and given a resolution.
Acknowledge everyone’s perspective
Conflict is between two or more parties. They will have different perspectives regarding the problem, which is why you should hear everyone’s thoughts regarding the situation.
Abdul Omar, a worker at the Office of the Ombudsman in Hawaii, says that the difference in perceptions is actually the cause of conflict. When you talk to all the parties involved, you start to see how their behaviors are causing the issue — not their personality traits. For example, an employee can be perceived as incompetent by others when they’re slow to finish tasks. It’s better to address the employee and ask if there are things going on in their personal life. When employees’ perceptions are acknowledged, business owners think of better solutions that would satisfy each of the involved employee’s situations.
Brainstorm workable solutions
Now that the problem has been identified and everyone’s perceptions have been understood, possible solutions can be formulated. It is in this stage that it is crucial to practice empathy, as mentioned in our post ‘Why and How to Cultivate Empathy in Your Organization’. Empathy allows you to relate to others, thus creating the best possible solutions for them.
Keep in mind what you’ve gathered from the diagnosis and employees’ perceptions. For example, an employee that does not participate in meetings is perceived as apathetic. Upon talking to the employee, you find out it is because they aren’t given chances to talk. As a result, a solution you can come up with to satisfy all parties and address the actual problem is to extend the meeting duration. This way, the “apathetic” employee is given the opportunity to talk, others won’t perceive them as such, and there won’t be a repeat of the problem.
Implement and monitor the solution
After formulating a solution that benefits everyone, it’s time for implementation. Inform the involved parties of your proposed solution and what each of them should do in order to achieve the desired outcome.
However, resolving conflict does not stop at solution implementation. As the person running the business, you should see to it that your solution is making progress. Monitor how the people involved are reacting or changing their behavior in accordance with your suggestions. If there is no progress or the situation worsens, it’s best to step in and redo some steps like brainstorming workable solutions.
Unresolved workplace conflict will affect your employees’ performance and your business as a whole. Thus, you should take measures in order to resolve them as soon as possible.
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.
5 ways to foster employee wellness in a hybrid setup
As offices everywhere ease their way into the post-pandemic world, many have found that the hybrid work setup, in which employees work at the office on some days of the week and at home on others, is the best one to adopt. In fact, 63% of high-growth companies are currently using hybrid models.
However, if your business is looking into shifting to a hybrid setup or is currently in the process of doing so, your employees may have some concerns going into it. How will this fit into their current home routine? What are the chances of accidental COVID transmission?
Though any major operational change is difficult, it's far from impossible. Employee wellness is something that can be maintained and even fostered under a hybrid setup. These tips can help you get started.
Bring the team closer together
Combat feelings of isolation and detachment between members of your team by encouraging online communication during the workday. With online platforms like Slack, employees working remotely won't feel left behind as compared to those who worked at the office.
This is especially important if your hybrid work model is similar to that followed by customer relationship management service Salesforce. Its business analysts, functional consultants, and other employees are spread between remote and office work, without any kind of rotation.
At the same time, by providing open, honest, and stress-free lines of communication, you encourage your employees to bring up any concerns they have with the hybrid setup.
Prioritize mental health
One thing that drives employees to perform better is a good mindset. Inevitably, many people bring the stress of their home life to work, and this can impact the quality of their output. And with a hybrid setup, it's difficult to assess whether an employee is going through something.
That's why it's up to management to take the initiative and check in on employees regularly. You can also recommend resources like mental health apps or even issue "mental health days" on which employees can take a break. This is especially important for more stressful occupations, such as those in customer service and event planning.
Ward off burnout
One vital part of ensuring employee mental health is preventing burnout, so much so that it's a point all on its own. With a hybrid setup, it's important to communicate boundaries and expectations, so employees avoid overworking. You can also introduce productivity software to the fold. This can come in handy for employees who have a lot on their plate.
For example, a social media manager's job is to know the latest on a brand's online presence across a variety of platforms. This can be exhausting, especially now that online activity is surging. Fortunately, they can use a social media content creation platform to help them publish posts and optimize their exposure to target demographics. This streamlines the creation process, making their tasks easier to accomplish.
It's also important to know the signs of burnout, so you can catch it and alleviate it in time. Such signs include an increased number of mistakes and decreased productivity or motivation to work. Once you spot this in an employee, consider easing their workload or allowing them more flexible scheduling options so they can work on improving their work-life balance.
Lead by example
By also taking time off for yourself, you can encourage your employees to do the same. For example, if you're in a slump, take the initiative by going on a break so you can come back to work in full fighting force. By modeling healthy behavior, you'll be inspiring your employees to bring the best of themselves to the office every day.
Celebrate the small wins
Keep employee morale high by recognizing milestones and achievements, however small. Celebrate the most sales made in a month or even the anniversary on which they joined your team. These can be done in department-wide meetings, through private emails, or tools like Qarrot that enable peer-to-peer recognition. Either way, a confidence boost may be just the thing to help employees feel satisfied about the work they do — and your business will be better off for it.
Hybrid workplaces are the future of work – here's why
Many employees are fed up with the one size fits all workplace model. In fact, 73 percent of your workforce prefer to work in an organization that offers more remote work options. Why? Remote work has spurred a work-life balance since many remote workers now find more time to spend with family and friends.
But another 67 percent of the workforce want to be in work arrangements that allow face-to-face or in-person collaboration with their team members because it encourages learning and provides opportunities for career advancement.
By and large, creating a flexible work environment might be the new pillar initiative for rewarding wellness at work, especially following the increasing number of employees that report burnout cases. So yes, the future of work is hybrid, merely because your employee expectations are changing. But with these changes come new opportunities for your business as well.
For instance, a hybrid work model is very cost-effective for businesses since it encourages workspace utilization and it removes the need for maintaining unnecessary facilities in the office. But what exactly is a hybrid work model?
Understanding The Hybrid Work Model
The core of the hybrid office model is to provide employees with the flexibility to work between the office and their remote physical space. And while hybrid work arrangements can come in many forms, in essence, a hybrid environment supports every employee’s work-style and preference.
It achieves this by allowing them to have a seamless ebb of flow between working in the office and working from home. But it requires a robust system of communication and implementation. Currently, many corporations like Amazon and Google are adopting a hybrid workforce into their business culture.
So, why is this becoming the new workplace norm? Let's find out.
Why Hybrid Workplace Is The Future
• Your Employees Demand It
Yes, 77 percent of your workers are looking forward to engaging in hybrid setups in their organization. And with good reason. A hybrid workplace means that the employee's work style is fully supported.
They can work in the office when they want to or when it's necessary and work from any other remote location just as well. It also means that employees get to save on commute time and costs, which leaves them with a better work-life balance.
This then allows employees to operate more authentically, which helps foster a happier and more productive workforce. And since a hybrid setup empowers the worker by giving them autonomy, it motivates them to adapt better work practices and habits.
One other great advantage of adopting a hybrid work model is that it enhances employee wellbeing. More so, many workers have reported increased cases of fatigue during and after the pandemic. Therefore, a hybrid environment is an excellent way to address pandemic fatigue in the workplace. Why?
Its flexibility can allow each worker to set aside a few minutes every day to relax and unwind, making a significant difference in combating burnout. Besides, 2.9 million Canadians are still remote employees, and they would prefer to keep this autonomy well and alive long into the future.
• Technology Enables It
Technology is making it possible to have remote jobs, so who is to say that this transformative force will not greatly support remote companies entirely in the years to come? If anything, a growing number of video, team messaging, work management, and collaboration applications are already in widespread use. Moreover, major advancements with artificial intelligence and the internet of things (IoT) will help employers and employee stay better-informed and safe.
For instance, many workers now need the assurance that their in-person workspaces are safe following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. That said, organizations can incorporate IoT sensors to determine the number of workers in the building to limit occupancy.
Additionally, artificial intelligence (AI) can help identify spaces that offer social distancing and safety measures. What's more, if a company is to create a hybrid work model, it requires transparency that supports a distributed workforce.
This is where technology comes in: many options enhance collaboration and productivity within remote work settings. Enterprise apps are especially convenient and excellent at providing better collaboration between staff members.
You do not want your company to face the cost of poor employee engagement after all. In addition, AI can automate workspace schedules for employees who wish to have occasional time in-office.
• Your Company Needs It
Think about it, once you get a significant portion of your employees to work from home, you deem part if not most of your office space unnecessary. With AI in place, you can identify these spaces quickly and either release them or find better utilization for them. This means fewer maintenance costs.
Also, if you have fewer people at the office, you need less operational costs. Aside from reducing costs, a hybrid workplace is excellent for making gains and productivity, translating to increased sales and company revenue. Here's how:
Your employees are your company's foundation. So the key to your business success significantly lies in the state of your employees. And when you have a hybrid company work model, you give your workers autonomy, which offers them fewer disruptions, and increases productivity.
In essence, hybrid workplaces make the employees feel trusted and supported. In turn, they become motivated to give the organization the best results. Indeed, happier workplaces are more productive workplaces.
Chiefly, one significant reason your company needs a hybrid workplace is that it reshapes your business goals and objectives into a more employee-centric one. As such, it can steer your company miles ahead of your competitors since you're investing in the right technological tools and employee engagement activities.
Expect a hybrid workplace to be part of your company's long-term strategy, even though adopting the model is not yet fully figured out. Everything considered, the pandemic did fast forward the inception of the hybrid model in workplaces.
But one thing is sure, the change in employee needs, company needs, and technology advancements have made the business model necessary. So embrace the hybrid concept or face the possibility of watching your business perish in the future.
Discover how to Qarrot can help your organization transition to a hybrid model by keeping employees connected - book a demo with Qarrot today!
Why you should reward employees for being brand ambassadors
Enlisting brand ambassadors to promote one's products and services is an effective marketing method across industries. Its effectiveness has led more and more businesses to adopt it as a central tactic in their digital marketing strategy. Often, marketing teams turn to social media influencers to forward their brand. Statistics from SocialPubli show that 89% of marketers believe influencer marketing is effective, with many choosing to partner with nano- and micro-influencers. However, companies also have another option when it comes to brand ambassadorship — their own employees.
What's an Employee Brand Ambassador?
An employee brand ambassador is simply a person who currently works in your company and also promotes it across their network. An employee brand ambassador should know your company vision, the details of your products and services, and, of course, your brand image. To test the feasibility of an employee ambassadorship program, consult with your digital marketing team. As one of the most prominent careers in business data analytics, digital marketers analyze patterns in web traffic, determine the best posting strategies, and monitor search trends. They'll be the first to tell you that it's worth investing in employee brand ambassadors, especially since renowned companies like Adobe have been doing it for years. In short, having employee ambassadors is a good idea, and here's why:
Benefits of Having Employee Brand Ambassadors
Consumers perceive employees as more trustworthy than curated marketing tactics
A survey by Olapic showed that 76% of respondents trusted content from "ordinary" people more than content distributed by big brands. Influencers have developed a reputation for having generic and inauthentic content, which might be counterproductive to the goal of your brand ambassadorship.
Additionally, customers tend to perceive staff as more trustworthy than corporate marketing, given that it's easier to relate with them on a personal level. In fact, Edelman's Trust Barometer 2019 states that people view regular employees as more credible than the company’s CEO. So having them spread good things about your company can make your marketing campaign more genuine and effective. It's also worth noting that employees who do not trust the company they work for can negatively impact consumer trust. So, even if your employee isn't officially a brand ambassador, it's worth keeping them engaged and satisfied with the company for the sake of its reputation and business.
Your employees' social networks have a high potential for engagement
Your employees have their own networks, often outside of your company's normal target market. Surveys show that around 50% of employees already post content about their companies on their social media pages, with 33% unprompted by employers. Furthermore, 39% have shared positive attributes in the past. So, it's well worth having them raise brand awareness among their own circles. This is especially the case since your employees' social media connections are more likely to interact with their posts about your company, meaning there's more potential for engagement.
Curating an employee ambassador program can lead to reduced costs and increased ROI
Since your employees are already part of the company workforce, you won't need to use more resources to partner with third-party brand ambassadors. This significantly reduces the costs of your marketing campaigns. And since employees are poised to spread brand awareness and increase your company's reach, they're likely to increase your ROI.
These reasons are why it's worth investing in employee brand ambassadors, and why you should incentivize practices that help them raise brand awareness. Your employees can do much more than execute and expedite internal processes. They're also an excellent option for your brand ambassadorship campaign.
To further entice them to enlist as employee brand ambassadors, make sure to implement incentives that spur them to achieve company goals and forward your company's marketing campaign. Note that monetary incentives are no longer as effective as they used to be, so be creative in how you craft your reward program. One option is to gamify the campaign goals, to make for a more enjoyable experience. This not only improves business performance, but employee engagement as well.
If you're looking to create fun and engaging incentive campaigns for your employee brand ambassadors, try out Qarrot. Book a demo now to see your options!
Addressing pandemic fatigue in the workplace
Remember when we all thought this health crisis would be over if everyone just isolated for 14 days? Reflecting upon our first pandemic anniversary, it feels as though this year has dragged on more than any other. If you had told us that social distancing, mask-wearing, and quarantining would become the new normal, we would have looked at you like you had two heads. Although we all know listening to public health regulations means we can get back to pre-covid life sooner rather than later, we’re all getting a bit fed up.
Have you found yourself more anxious, depressed, or stressed lately? Have simple, everyday to-do lists transformed into seemingly impossible tasks? It’s called pandemic fatigue - it’s a real thing, and you’re not alone. 48% of Canadians report being fed up with following public health restrictions brought on by the pandemic, while 9/10 still say they’re doing their best to stay safe. We understand the importance of regulations, but they’re not without their consequences - which, to no surprise, have wreaked havoc on our mental health. In fact, 75% of employees in the United States have reported burnout symptoms since lockdown.
The World Health Organization defines the phenomenon of pandemic fatigue as, “ ... demotivation to follow recommended protective behaviours, emerging gradually over time and affected by several emotions, experiences and perception.” Pandemic fatigue is an anticipated and normal response to such a prolonged public health crisis. The initial lockdown days of a perceived cheeky vacation, filled with banana bread and fancy whipped coffee, are long gone.
Common symptoms of pandemic fatigue include :
- Increased irritability and exhaustion
- Inability to focus or concentrate for extended periods, feeling overwhelmed easily
- Feelings of depression and feeling lost
- Drop in communications with friends and family, or anyone outside your bubble
Pandemic fatigue is hard enough to battle on a personal level, let alone on that of an organization. The lines that have traditionally divided our personal and professional lives - like commutes into a physical office - are almost nonexistent. In the workplace, pandemic fatigue can show itself in absenteeism, productivity, employee morale, and culture. And although your employees may say they’re doing just fine, it’s always better to proactivity address pandemic fatigue than wait until someone reaches out for help.
Here are a few strategies to help stay on top of pandemic fatigue, and mitigate possible consequences of team members growing tired of this prolonged lockdown;
Establish a routine and stick with it
I hate setting my morning alarm for 7:00 am as much as the next person, but following a schedule is paramount for keeping the pandemic fatigue ‘scaries’ away. Our bodies actually prefer routine and thrive when we prioritize waking up and falling asleep at set times. When we lack routine or any sort of schedule, we quickly lose track of time - and all of a sudden a whole day is over (I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s found themselves still wearing pyjamas by the end of the workday...right?). Everyone feels better about themselves when they’re productive - whether that’s committing to waking up early, getting in a workout during lunch, or going for a socially distant walk with a friend in the evening. Some days can be harder than others, but sticking to a routine (one that ideally involves changing out of your pyjamas) will prove beneficial.
Adopt stress relief practices
One of the worst and most widespread side effects of this pandemic has been lingering stress and anxiety. Just because this sentiment may be a collective experience, however, doesn’t invalidate those feelings. We’re all stressed for one reason or another, and adding a pandemic to the mix - well, who wouldn’t be overwhelmed? There are a variety of techniques you can try - such as deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness. If you’re a leader, consider encouraging employees to have a designated break in the day allocated solely for addressing stress. Carving out time for team members to recenter and refocus their energy means improving employee wellbeing while simultaneously destressing from our pandemic reality.
Keep your eyes open for signs of burnout and exhaustion
Leaders should always be vigilant for symptoms of employee burnout, but especially so during a worldwide health crisis. While some like to glamorize the idea of constantly “hustling”, working and improving, burnout is not an achievement to be ogled. Exhaustion can happen to anyone in your organization, and working through a pandemic makes everyone particularly susceptible. Educate yourself and your team on the signs associated with burnout. While it can be hard to prevent and identify burnout, with many of us now working remotely, your best bet is to be knowledgeable and proactive. If team members seem disengaged, distracted, or unable to focus, it might be time to check-in.
Workplace culture and employee morale can be amongst the first casualties if pandemic fatigue strikes your team. Discover how peer recognition can give your employee engagement strategy that extra boost - request a demo with Qarrot!
How to spot toxic workplace culture
We’re all familiar with the idea that it only takes a few rotten eggs to spoil the bunch. While some of this saying rings true, it doesn’t paint a complete picture. Shouldn’t a company have safeguards in place to identify and address these “bad eggs”? Why are their behaviours tolerated? Who is responsible for stopping undesirable attitudes in their tracks?
It can be easy to blame poor company culture on a few individuals who don’t really care about being part of a team. In reality, however, it’s the responsibility of organizational leaders’ to keep those rotten eggs at bay. If left unaddressed, harmful workplace habits and attitudes can wreak havoc on your organizations’ culture.
The importance of workplace culture
Culture plays a crucial role in the overall success of a company. From retaining top talent to keeping employees engaged and motivated, fostering a favourable ecosystem where team members can thrive is pivotal. Some might argue that your workplace culture is something that grows organically and cannot be forced - but it’s that same laissez-faire attitude that allows toxic culture to brew. Don’t be fooled - the best cultures that appear organic have a considerable amount of thought and strategy supporting them.
What are the risks associated with toxic work culture?
- Low employee morale, trust, and poor relationships
- Dismal employee experience translating into a sad customer experience
- High turnover rate, signalling issues to external audiences and shareholders
- Additional costs associated with unmotivated employees (time, money, and resources)
Related Article: How to keep your startup culture thriving
Sources of toxic workplace culture
Poor internal communications
One of the most important factors when creating an optimal workplace culture is prioritizing internal communications. If you want to create an environment where team members feel empowered and supported, communication is vital. Trust and transparency are paramount in healthy workplace culture. If not, employees won’t feel comfortable discussing potential concerns or issues with leaders - leaving the perfect window of opportunity for toxicity to run wild. If you find contact with your team members stressful, forced, or just unpleasant, take a step back and evaluate your current strategy.
Nonexistent employee engagement
How can you expect employees to be interested in a company if that interest isn’t reciprocated? If employees don’t feel valued for their work, it won’t be long before they start looking for an employer who does. The small rumblings of low engagement can start with absenteeism, lack of morale, or poor performance. None of this translates to a great environment, and things will only escalate from there. However, engaging with employees is a great way to keep people interested in doing well while simultaneously nurturing a healthy work culture. Not sure how to create an engagement strategy? Employee rewards and recognition programs are a great place to start. When team members feel appreciated, that positivity will resonate culturally.
Related Article: Strengthening core values through company culture
Questionable management and leadership
Whether or not you like being the center of attention, if you’re a leader, you have to set the standard for employee expectations. Just because you’re the ‘big cheese’ doesn’t make you an exemption. It’s a slippery slope - if employees see you slacking off or getting away with the bare minimum, they will follow suit. Management must embody the behaviours and attitudes they want from employees. Micromanagement is also a classic toxic culture trait. There is nothing worse than feeling scrutinized continuously, almost like being under a microscope. To get the most out of your employees, foster a culture that encourages a collective experience and expectations while building team members’ confidence in their respective roles.
Foggy mission, vision, and values
You wouldn’t go on a road trip without a roadmap, right? The same rule applies to any business activity without considering your mission, vision, and values. Workplace culture is no exception, as these lay the foundation for setting your team and organization up for success. When these three considerations are unclear or not appropriately communicated, work culture is often a casualty. If employees don’t know where they fit into the mission, vision, and values, how can you expect them to be motivated? Rather than feeling like cogs in a machine, employees want to feel like an integral part of your team and the organization’s success. When everyone knows where they fit within an organization’s trajectory, workplace culture becomes cohesive and inclusive.
Another great way to create an empowering and supportive culture for employees is through positive reinforcement. Discover how fostering a recognition-rich environment can take your culture to new heights - request a demo with Qarrot!