How Members of the Baby Boomer Generation Can Learn Tech Speak from Millennials


image_04As the Millennial generation enters the workplace in numbers large enough to overtake the Baby Boom generation, there can be a communications chasm between the two groups. Millennials have grown up with in-hand technology, including smartphones and tablets. The Baby Boom generation has had to actively embrace these tools, especially when it comes to using them in the workplace. Forging that communications gap can be done by getting the members of the two generations together in a variety of situations. The Baby Boomers can learn tech speak from Millennials using these three strategies.

Exploit Similarities

One way to get Baby Boomers to start using tech speak is to explore the similarities between talking about tech and talking about any other specialized field of knowledge. Every industry has its own lingo. Take advantage of the similarities by engaging Baby Boomers with Millennials in familiar situations. What used to be a “conference call” may now be referred to as “Skyping,” for example. Moving about on a website used to be called “tabbing” or “paging” but now is just “scrolling.”

Mentoring Programs

Mentoring programs are a great way to get people of different experience levels working together. A member of the Baby Boom generation can be paired with a Millennial for practice opportunities to learn about tech speak. Millennials will benefit from the increased face-to-face interactions as much of their world revolves around digital communications. These mentoring programs do not only have to be among coworkers but can also include college and even high school interns who come into your organization for short periods of time.


Effective engagement can also take place through teamwork. Placing members of different generations into the same working teams in your organization can help everyone to learn each other’s styles of communication. While Millennials often see communication as a way to convey bits of information, the Baby Boom generation may see communications as a way to get to know another person. These ideas can be meshed by having people interact in a variety of ways in the workplace. Seeing a project through from start to finish enhances communication.


Five Benefits of Having Walking Meetings Outside of the Office


image_011The sit-down meeting may be a basic part of how your organization gets things done, but consider whether it really improves your organization’s productivity. The human body does some of its best thinking when moving. Researchers at Stanford University found that the creative output of people increases by an average of 60 percent when they are walking [1]. Consider these benefits of having walking meetings outside of the office.

Fewer Interruptions

During walking meetings, employees are less tempted to whip out their smartphones and catch up on the day’s news or posts from their social media feeds. Outdoor meetings also have fewer interruptions of uninvited guests walking into the meeting room. You may be able to get more done in less time by having a walking meeting.

Better Communication

Walking outside breaks down the barriers between management and employees. Your employees may be able to get their points across more succinctly and quickly than if they were sitting down across a big table from you. While outdoors, people become more relaxed and in tune with their surroundings, making it easier to say what they are thinking and feeling. Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, discovered that with walking meetings, the conversations are more candid—possibly because the two people aren’t making direct eye contact—with minimized distractions [2].

Improved Energy

Many office workers experience the 2:00 p.m. slump. This low-energy time of the day lends itself to poor focus and concentration. Taking your meeting outside of the office and having everyone walk around is an invigorating experience. The fresh air, sunshine and gentle breeze renew everyone’s energy and restore the ability to focus.

Healthier Bodies

Sitting for six hours per day during the workday has been found to increase cholesterol levels, blood sugar and blood pressure. Getting your staff outside and having walking meetings helps add some physical activity to their days. More active employees are healthier and may experience fewer illnesses.

New Ideas

The outdoor environment is always changing. From the leaves on the trees to the birds in the air, no two outdoor meetings will be the same. As your staff engages during walking meetings, the changing scenery may also inspire new ideas and more creative thinking. Your organization can benefit from the increased creativity and the new solutions that such creativity can bring into the workplace.




The Benefits of Quarterly Vs. Annual Performance Evaluations


image_015Quarterly and annual performance evaluations are an important component of employee assessment, productivity and continued employment. Some organizations conduct a quarterly review of employees while others do an annual review. There are benefits to each type of evaluation, and the choice that your human resources department makes may depend on several factors.

Benefits of Quarterly Employee Performance Evaluations

Quarterly employee evaluations are helpful to employees who are new to the industry or the workforce. These employees may be unsure of how well they’re doing, and they’ll appreciate the feedback that they receive from their supervisors. A quarterly evaluation makes it easier for supervisors to augment a staff member’s job duties or to make suggestions about improving performance. Problems such as tardy work or low efficiency can be addressed at a faster pace with quarterly evaluations.

Benefits of Annual Employee Performance Evaluations

At large organizations, there may not be enough staffing to conduct a quarterly evaluation of every employee. This is especially true when a supervisor has a large number of employees working for them. An annual evaluation is ideal for an employee who is experienced in the line of work. This method of evaluation is also a good choice for employees who have been at your organization for a long time. Annual evaluations are typically used as the basis for employee raises and bonuses.

Using a Mix of Quarterly and Annual Evaluations

The subject of employee performance evaluations is not a one-size-fits-all for every human resources department. At your organization, you might wish to use a combination of quarterly and annual evaluations of your staff. For example, employees with less than two years of seniority in their current job might benefit from quarterly evaluations as they get used to the organization. After a worker has been performing well at their job for a few years, the human resources department could shift to annual evaluations of that employee. This sort of mixed evaluation method would be most useful for organizations that do not have a high rate of turnover in their workforce.


How to Keep Quality Employees Working for Your Company


image_07Hiring your dream employee is only half of the battle for any organization. Major companies are making a habit of poaching top talent, and to keep your best workers on your side, your work environment needs to remain a comfortable spot for your employees to be. Given that it costs an average of 150% of a mid-level employee’s salary to replace them – it’s important to retain your top talent [1], as it can cost your company a lot of money.

Opportunities for Growth

Feelings of stagnation are a common complaint across every industry and pay grade. Keep frustrated talent from jumping ship by creating an environment that nurtures optimism and personal pride. Give every employee access to career building, advancement and personal growth opportunities. Help them learn new skills and be open about what they need to earn the promotion or pay raise they desire.

Tailored Benefits

A bigger salary is tempting, but an after-hours car service, a better health care package or help with daycare costs can be worth more than cash. Find ways to let your employees customize their benefits or speak with each to find out what their goals are. An employee who is thinking about leaving to spend more time with their family could be persuaded to stay if they can telecommute two days a week. These seemingly small perks add up to every employee feeling valued.

Productive Communication

Open up a feedback line that goes both ways. Give detailed performance reviews, and match all criticisms with possible solutions and offers to help. Make sure your staff feels comfortable providing feedback, and seriously consider implementing changes based on that feedback. Employees are in a unique position to spot inefficiencies in company workings. Those inefficiencies will cost you money and employees, especially if the people trying to draw attention to problems get frustrated with being ignored.

It may seem obvious, but remember to think of your employees as people. They have goals, wants and needs, and if you take the time to understand them, you can build a work environment that no one will want to leave.




Ways to Boost Morale in the Workplace and Promote Productivity


image_29Unhappy employees make for unproductive employees, which is why it is so important to work hard to boost morale in the workplace. Businesses of any size can benefit from these tips to create a more positive, efficient and enjoyable work environment for all personnel.

Recognize Personal Moments

According to Forbes, one of the key ways to boost morale is to show employees that they are recognized and appreciated as individuals, even outside of the workplace [1]. That means remembering key dates like birthdays or anniversaries as well as commemorating special moments like weddings or the birth of a child. Gifts and cards need not be expensive, but they can show employees just how valued they are.

Invest in More Affordable Fringe Benefits

Mark Shields writing for CNN highlights the value of fringe benefits for employees. Says Shields, “Good hearted and tough minded are not mutually exclusive in labor-management relations [2].” Paying for things like employee health insurance premiums, employee parking, coffee in the break room or staff transportation is tax deductible for most businesses, but these benefits do more than just make employees happy. Boosting morale in these fringe ways can be more affordable than increasing salaries, and it can go a long way in terms of productivity and reducing turnover.

Let Managers Serve the Rest of the Staff

A great tactic for improving morale is to reverse the hierarchy in the office for a few hours. Corp! Magazine suggests having upper-level management host a pancake breakfast for staff [3]. Donning an apron and cooking pancakes in the office takes just a morning, but it can be a fun reprieve from everyday tasks and an affordable way to create a more positive environment for staff.

Incorporate Philanthropic Activities

Stepping away from corporate obligations and doing something positive for the community is a wonderful way to boost morale. As a bonus, this also improves your company’s brand image. Entrepreneur suggests employees a few free hours each month to volunteer while on the clock or leaving the office as a group to volunteer locally [4].










When to Introduce Recruits to the Company Handbook


image_28According to Sarah E. Needleman of the Wall Street Journal, the hiring process is one of elimination, getting rid of unsuitable candidates to end up with the best choices [1]. Along the way, there are screenings of cover letters, application reviews, personal interviews and even studies of past employment. Many hiring managers wait until after a candidate has been hired before showing them the company handbook, but that might be a mistake.

Benefits of a Company Handbook

A company handbook, which in today’s digital world need not always be printed and bound, does the following:

• Shows employees where to go for HR help
• Introduces the dress code or behavior policies
• Explains management and leadership techniques
• Showcases benefits for employees

However, a company handbook can do a lot more than serve as a map for new recruits. In some cases, like the investment firm The Motley Fool, the company handbook was made public and served as a recruitment tool [2]. By outlining perks of employment as well as an irreverent, appealing company culture, the handbook actually brought in more candidates for future positions.

Introducing the Company Handbook Before the Interview Phase

Because a company handbook can reinforce the brand of a company, introducing the handbook to top talent can encourage a desire to want to belong to an organization that leads the industry or is simply a fun place to work. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, a company or employee handbook can also include details like any standards of conduct, compensation protocol and vacation leave policies [3]. Recruiters will notice that these are often key questions and issues brought up at interviews. Streamline the interview by offering candidates access to the company handbook in the days or weeks prior to a face-to-face or video meeting.

Reintroduction on Day One in the Office

When new recruits show up for their first day of work in a new position, having a physical copy of the company handbook is often a smart idea. Include a page or document, typically called an employee acknowledgement page that can be signed by the employee verifying that it has been read and agreed to [4]. It’s a good idea to offer to meet one on one to discuss any aspects of the company handbook that are confusing or unclear to the new hires.







How Annual Performance Reviews Can Help or Hurt Employee Retention Rates


image_06The findings of a survey from the Harvard Business Review show that 65 percent of employees feel more engaged with their company when their performance reviews are aligned with corporate goals [1]. Achieving employee engagement is key when it comes to employee retention, so unlocking the potential of the performance review is important. However, it turns out that an annual performance review can both hurt and help employee retention rates in a variety of ways.

Annual Reviews Might Not Be Enough

Annual reviews, in and of themselves, can be a positive thing and a great way to engage employees, offer credit where it is due and ensure that both employee and manager are on the same page. Margaret Jacoby, writing for the Huffington Post, believes that relevant feedback needs to be offered throughout the year [2]. More opportunities for open communication can ensure employees are satisfied and willing to stay on in the company.

Winging an Annual Performance Review

Whether an employee performance review is an annual event or something that takes place quarterly, it is perhaps the only chance for a mid- or entry-level employee to have a frank discussion about pay, job title and expected duties. When the reviewer goes into the meeting without adequate preparation, it can be a slap in the face to employees who have worked hard for recognition. Worst of all, according to Forbes, is simply offering the same advice or review as the year before [3].

Providing Detailed Feedback

When offered in a timely fashion and combined with quarterly appraisals to keep employees on the right track, an annual performance review can go a long way in promoting staff satisfaction, which in turn leads to higher retention rates for a business [4]. One way to provide a satisfactory annual performance review is to offer detailed feedback. The manager providing the review should do their homework, offer praise in the areas required and speak candidly with employees.

A thoughtful quarterly or annual review can be a tremendous tool for managers interested in increasing employee retention rates. However, reviews that are poorly done, delayed or not accompanied by year-round feedback could actually reduce employee engagement and satisfaction.


How HR Analytics Can Transform the Workplace


Analytical data can be used to improve many aspects of business. In the HR department, the efficiency of employees will directly impact the success of the organization. According to a 2013 survey by talent analytics software vendor SHL, 77% of HR professionals are unable to determine how their enterprises’ workfimage_015orce potential is affecting their bottom line, while less than half (44%) use objective data regarding talent performance to guide business decisions[1].

By scrutinizing data collected using HR analytics in reference to hiring costs, compensation platforms and turnaround rates, HR professionals can develop a detailed report giving them an edge when it comes to finding and retaining quality candidates. This information can also be used to predict workforce performance and identify potential high-quality members.

Performance Versus Responsibilities

In many cases, exceptional employees in one area could be weaker in others. By analyzing the information available, you can place specific employees in positions where they will excel. Putting a person in an area he or she is not familiar with could be setting the employee up for failure. Assigning positions based on strengths and demonstrated abilities from employee performance reviews can enhance the workplace. Although you may hire someone for a specific task, you never know what he or she is capable of in other locations.

Strategies Are Only as Good as the Data Collected

Not every HR staff member knows how to collect and collate various forms of data in order to develop a strategy. Companies will often turn to workforce management solutions and applications to help collect the information. Analytical software for the HR department will do all of the necessary calculations for you making it easier to spot flaws in the system. For example, do you know how much money is wasted when a new hire fails and is let go? These platforms may also show where that employee failed in his or her responsibilities in the first place.


Hiring Techniques to Reduce Employee Turnover


image_02The hiring process is not only an economically costly endeavor for a company but a time-consuming one as well. When a relatively new hire jumps ship to join the team of some other company, all the resources that went into hiring and training that staff member are for naught. These three hiring techniques can help employers reduce employee turnover.

Make Sure the Candidate is the Right Fit

During the candidate interview process, Human Resources specialists and managers must take care to ask the right questions to ensure the candidate is the right fit for both the job and the organization. In addition to ensuring that a candidate has the right skills and educational background to do a job, he or she must also be a good fit for the manager and the corporate culture in order to succeed and stay loyal to the organization.

Regularly Review Employee Needs

Employers should take the time to understand what employees want. Flexibility in scheduling, telecommuting, job sharing, tuition reimbursement and other benefits may be more important than significant salary increases. Candidates can be asked during the hiring process about which benefits comprise the most important parts of their compensation package. Human Resources can address these employee needs during the hiring process and as an ongoing strategy to retain highly qualified staff.

Create and Maintain a Positive Work Environment

Candidates should be treated in a positive manner right from the start. The organization should be able to explain how employee recognition works and how achievements and goals are rewarded. Candidates typically want a position that will challenge them and motivate them to work their way up the corporate ladder. Tangible examples of awards, recognition and praise can be provided to candidates during the hiring process. This shows applicants that the organization is committed to maintaining a positive work environment. These actions also show that managers and the Human Resources department recognize successes. Candidates want to know that they will be appreciated and respected for their work and effort.


Managing Perceptions in the Intergenerational Workforce


image_04Due to the tough economy since the Great Recession, many people of retirement age have elected to remain in the workforce. At the same time, new college graduates are entering the workplace, creating a dichotomy of older experienced employees and young tech-savvy workers. Managing the perceptions that each generation has of the other helps to ensure that the intergenerational workplace is one of productivity and respect.

Changing Attitudes Through Mentoring

Human resources personnel can set up mentoring programs within the workplace by pairing a more experienced senior staff member with a new employee. The young person gains inside knowledge of the company’s policies and politics while the longstanding team member can learn about the use of social networking and the newest tech advances in the workplace. Mentoring helps different generations gain appreciation and respect for each other.

Judging Books by Their Covers

While the Baby Boomers and older generations may be clean-shaven and accustomed to wearing business suits or ties to work, younger employees may be strolling into the office with multiple tattoos, body piercings, colorful hair, torn jeans and hoodies. They may perceive the older staff as stuffy and boring, while older workers may see the new team members and find them to be disrespectful or even lazy. Accepting differences in appearance and setting basic company dress codes helps to manage perceptions and underlying attitudes about competence and intelligence.

Speaking Their Minds

Members of the newest generation of workers often feel free to speak their minds in any situation. This may cause older employees to become stressed and frustrated because they were taught to keep their opinions and politics outside of the office. Human resources personnel can encourage communication by writing easily understood policies on the voicing of political beliefs in the workplace and coaching staff on appropriate workplace expression and conduct. Positive reinforcement is preferred over discipline.