Refining Your Brand Mission to Improve Morale and Productivity


image_27When your organization could use a boost in morale and productivity, one way to do so is to redefine your brand mission. Every brand should have a mission, vision and goals. While these are typically developed at the same time as the product or near its release, you can redefine them at any time. Redefining your brand mission takes a team effort, but the results are well worth it in the end.

Defining Your Brand’s Mission

According to this article, it is easier to redefine your brand’s mission once your vision and goals are clear and established [1]. Your brand’s mission is the how-to guide for advancing your goals and vision. The best time to redefine your brand’s mission is when there is only slow or halting progress toward your overall goals. Low morale and poor productivity are often symptoms of slow goal achievement. A better how-to guide can inspire your staff to get working again toward your organization’s goals.

Including the Four Key Components

Your brand’s redefined mission should be able to inspire your staff and encourage them to make positive progress toward organizational goals. The mission statement must also be reasonable and plausible as a “smart” objective. Dave Smith from explains that there are four key components to your brand’s redefined mission statement [2]. These components include value, inspiration, plausibility and specificity. Each of these ideas should revolve around your brand’s key theme.

Creating a Clearly Redefined Brand Mission

A redefined mission statement should ideally be a single sentence that every member of your staff can learn by heart. In the best of all worlds, you company’s mission statement could double as the product’s slogan. The statement should be memorable and effective, leading back to your roots as to why you developed the brand in the first place. If you choose a short-term mission statement, redefining it will need to be a regular part of your work. This is because the improved morale and productivity will allow you to achieve the goals as stated in the mission. A long-term mission statement will need to use language that allows for organizational growth.



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.




Keeping Your Information Secure When Employees Connect to the Internet of Things


image_30The Internet of Things (IoT) is an exciting concept – a future where “billions of things are talking to each other,” as technology consulting company SAP describes it [1]. This trend has been growing at a rapid rate, and you might be surprised to learn that the majority of devices connected to the Internet through your network are not company owned but instead are owned by your employees. When an employee brings in a “smart” device, it starts transmitting and receiving data across your network. These steps can help to keep your confidential and proprietary information secure when your employees are connected to the Internet.

Encourage Employees to Change Habits

Your human resources division should establish a security policy related to the Internet of Things. Some of the most common devices that your employees may be bringing into the workplace that connect to the Internet include wearable fitness trackers, personal smartphones and music players. Your policy might recommend that employees turn off their smartphones and music players during work hours. The phones are constantly transmitting data about the owner’s location, among other pieces of information. Hackers can easily penetrate through the phone’s operating system and into your network.

Use Multiple Layers of Security

Even something as simple as a fitness tracker that is seemingly only used to count steps can be collecting or transmitting data, opening up your network to potential criminals. Make sure that your IT department is employing multiple layers of security. These layers should include strong encryption of data and proper authentication of users trying to access the network. Use gateways and firewalls to stop viruses from getting into your network through mobile devices.

Prepare for Security Breaches

While your organization may not be able to control which employees wear a Fitbit or an Apple Smart Watch to work, you can be prepared for any possible data breaches that occur as a result of vulnerabilities within the network. Consider moving your critical data to the cloud. With cloud computing, your data is always available so that your business can continue operations even if a physical server is hacked. Make sure that your company is not collecting unnecessary data that would be tempting to would-be thieves. All data should be tightly guarded.


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].










How to Get Employees Excited About Your Company’s Brand Image


image_29Forbes reminds businesses that strong brands aren’t created exclusively in the marketing department [1]. Instead, every employee in the company contributes to its brand and image. Having employees who fulfill their contractual obligations is a far cry from employees who act as brand ambassadors even when they are off the clock. These suggestions help get employees excited about your company’s brand image.

Involving Employees in Social Media Campaigns

Employees have a unique and credible position in social media. Unlike executives or owners, who the public may believe have an agenda, employees can feel like a more realistic, friendly and legitimate source of information. That’s why it is so important to have employees feel free to contribute to and participate in social media campaigns. At Nokia, for example, employees are encouraged to talk about the brand on personal social media, and they have the freedom to give their honest opinions [2]. Social media expert Jenny Kuglin also suggests having staff take photos at work, during holiday parties or whenever something exciting happens involving the brand [3]. Using these photos on social media is a captivating way to show the genuine side of the brand, and it also excites the employee who took the picture.

Give Employees Product or Service Discounts and Perks

Small Business Trends pinpoints one of the key ways to generate interest in a brand: provide employees with discounts to offer friends and family [4]. This makes employees feel like an insider with valuable information, which in turn makes them more likely to speak positively about the brand. Those who receive the discount will have a better overall experience to know they got a deal, which keeps the positive momentum going.

Recognize Their Efforts

Turning employees into brand ambassadors and making them feel genuinely excited about the brand is not an easy task. When it does happen, reinforce what a great thing it is by recognizing the employee. According to Entrepreneur, this could be as simple as commemorative shirts for staff or a mention at a meeting if someone gets positive attention for the brand on social media [5].

Together, these tips can be integral in getting employees excited about your company’s brand.







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 to Balance Long Term Goals and Short Term Objectives in the Recruitment Process


image_21As an HR leader, planning for the future is an important part of the recruitment process. Recruiting people without any plan in place can end up being a disaster for a company in the long run. It is important for HR personnel to be able to balance both the long-term goals and near-term objectives that have been set in place.

To have a cohesive staffing policy, a blend of long-term goals and near-term objectives should be implemented. Near-term objectives related to staffing are generally easier to identify and fulfill, but without long-term goals, they are not conducive to successful business. With an increasingly competitive labor market, companies simply cannot survive without a long-term plan and vision with regard to hiring new employees. Employers who set long-term goals as a part of their recruitment strategy tend to have a higher employee retention rate. Near-term staffing strategies are ideal for entry-level jobs, while long-term staffing strategies work best for positions requiring a specialized skill or talent.

Ultimately, your recruitment plan is unique and should be tailored to the goals of your business. You will want to ask yourself some questions in order to determine those goals. For example, what skills are needed to meet the objective? Once you have outlined the generalities, you will want to lay out the specifics. Of course, finding the best person for the job is a No. 1 goal.

Some other recruitment goals you may have include:

  • Attracting high-quality candidates
  • Increasing employee referrals
  • Retaining your employees
  • Marketing your company
  • Determining your overall recruitment goals

Before implementing staffing plans, you need to consider future implications that may arise. Recognizing and responding effectively to change is the key to operating in a positive manner. When conditions change, staffing policies should be assessed and reviewed for any repercussions that may come about.

The benefits of balancing both long-term goals and near-term objectives are going to save your business time and money in the future, leaving you to focus on more important efforts such as employee growth and development. Having a dynamic recruiting strategy will give your company an edge in uncertain market conditions.

Tracking Candidate Source Data and Measuring Cost Per Applicant and Cost Per Hire to Determine ROI


image_30Measuring the cost per applicant and cost per hire helps human resources departments determine the cost-effectiveness of their candidate recruitment strategies. This candidate data can be gleaned through a variety of methods. Once the statistics have been compiled, managers and human resources staff can then evaluate whether they’re getting their money’s worth, what strategies proved too costly and which efforts can be expanded upon.

Collection of Candidate Source Data

Begin by automating the candidate source data. This can be done within the human resources information technology (IT) department. An applicant tracking system can be implemented by the IT department and used to track basic data for each applicant, such as the source of his or her application or the website where the recruitment ad was placed. This data can then be analyzed by the human resources staff to determine the frequency of applicants from each source.

Data Analysis

Once reliable candidate source data has been gathered, managers can then begin calculating cost per applicant and per hire to determine the ROI. Use the automated program to run reports for “applicants by source” and “hires by source.” Other reports to run include raw applicant and hire volume. Compare these against the costs and fees charged by each source. Factors such as the hours spent by each human resources staff member or hiring manager may be difficult to calculate; however, these also add to the cost per applicant and per hire. Now, you know which of your recruitment ads and methods have produced the greatest ROI.

Making Adjustments

Knowing your ROI for each applicant and hire source allows you to make adjustments as needed. Because recruitment budgets may change on a quarterly or annual basis, you may need to adjust your recruitment media and marketing on a similar schedule. Once you have identified which source or sources are giving your organization the best ROI, you can focus your budget and contracts there. You’ll also have the data to show different recruitment websites and venues so that you can get better ad placement or more services for your employee recruitment budget.