- Read More
Building and sustaining a workplace culture of appreciation requires vision, long-term commitment and strong execution.
Research proves appreciating employees day-in and day-out enhances engagement, fuels productivity, retains employees and transforms workplace culture.
And at it’s heart, appreciating employees means finding and making opportunities to share your heartfelt and sincere thanks – now and throughout the year.
gThankYou’s “2020 Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar“ – is your unique how-to guide for building that vibrant, lasting culture of appreciation that employees will love.
How-to Guide Provides Research & Tools for Celebrating Employees – FREE!
In this one-of-a-kind eBook, we give you the tools to educate and inspire you to build an everyday culture of appreciation.
This year’s fresh and fun engagement and appreciation Calendar contains:
- Recent trends in employee appreciation, engagement and gratitude in the workplace
- Creative ideas for employee appreciation
- New case studies of appreciation in action
- Exciting new resources for building a healthier, happier workplace.
It’s the perfect resource to inspire 2020 employee engagement and appreciation planning!
Every year at this time, we share our brand-new Day-to-Day Employee Appreciation and Celebration Calendar for the coming year. It’s free and our holiday gift to you and your colleagues!
Easy Month-by-Month Celebrations
Each month identifies “Don’t Miss Celebrations” and “Ready-to-Go Celebrations” to make your job engaging and appreciation colleagues easier and more fun! Use our ideas “as is” or modify them to better meet your needs.
This Calendar resource is intended to inspire your employee engagement and appreciation planning. Use our examples and ideas for a basis of brainstorming with your team for GREAT ideas that fit your workplace culture.
Let us know what works well for you and we might feature you in next year’s Calendar!!
Get a jump start on 2020 by downloading your free copy now and sharing with colleagues!
We wish you and your colleagues an inspired and joyful new year!Read More
One of our favorite moments is when we unveil the new Enclosure Cards for Christmas and the winter holidays. It’s our own little version of the traditional tree-lighting. 🎄
This season, we have some exciting new designs to help you offer a meaningful “thank you” to your hardworking team members.
Write a Note of Appreciation
What do employees want most for the holidays? Your appreciation and thanks for their efforts, loyalty and contributions.
When you share your holiday employee gifts, include a sincere and heartfelt note of gratitude. It will transform your gift-giving – lifting spirits, making your gift memorable and ensuring recipients feel valued and appreciated.
It’s why we offer attractive Enclosure Cards for the holidays and everyday occasions – free with every purchase so all gThankYou gifts are wrapped in gratitude.
New Holiday Card Designs
Whether you prefer elegant or playful, snowy scenes or strings of lights, “happy holidays” or “peace and joy,” there’s an appealing holiday-themed Enclosure Card to fit your company’s style. Create your own message of appreciation or use one of ours – Click to see all our Christmas and Winter Card Designs.
Here are our newest additions for your holiday note of cheer and gratitude:
Download a Catalog of Popular Designs
Want a PDF of our popular designs to share with colleagues?
As always, gThankYou Enclosure Cards come free with any purchase of our Certificates of Gratitude. Choose your favorite design, include a thoughtfully-crafted message of appreciation and sign it in text or with a logo. We’ll gladly send you a proof to approve, and we’ll make edits until you love it!
There’s still time to give the workplace holiday gift everyone loves. Order your gThankYou Certificates of Gratitude now – for ham or turkey, pie, ice cream or groceries and let your holiday gratitude bring joy and appreciation to your workplace.
Wishing you and your colleagues a wonderful holiday season.Read More
As we approach celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, this quote from Melody Beattie beautifully reminds us of the transformative power of gratitude at the holidays – and every day.
Beattie knows about the transformative power of gratitude having survived a traumatic childhood, addiction and the loss of a child but emerging from this to live a a full and rewarding life. After having an epiphany in rehab that got her to focus her energies on “the right things,” she became a renowned self-help author (she literally wrote the book on codependency, followed by many other bestsellers) and remains a celebrated writer and an inspiring beacon for many struggling with addiction and grief. The daily meditations on her website (or apps) are a good way to start or end your day!
Let’s break down what she said in this quote because while it’s the perfect quote as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, it’s also a powerful reminder for us to look at every day through the lens of gratitude.
“Unlocks the fullness of life…”
Who doesn’t want to live their life fully, experiencing the maximum of satisfaction and joy at both home and at work. Gratitude opens our eyes to the beauty and goodness of the world around us. It energizes us and brings hope. Sharing gratitude brings out the best in those around us too.
“Turns what we have into enough…”
Gratitude allows us to be thankful for the abundance of good things in life and not be driven by societal or selfish needs. Gratitude helps us realize we are, and we have, enough.
Research finds that “just acting grateful can make you feel grateful” says Arthur C. Brooks in “Choose to be Grateful. It will make you Happier.” He goes on to say:
“If you want a truly happy holiday, choose to keep the “thanks” in Thanksgiving, whether you feel like it or not.”
“…turns denial into acceptance…”
Gratitude let’s us enjoy relatives and friends for who they are – imperfections and all. And, most importantly accepting ourselves for doing the best we can. Gratitude heals.
In a recent Forbes article on gratitude, positive psychologist researcher and author Robert Emmons “cites research showing the effectiveness of gratitude in buffering stress and building resilience. He even recommends a strategy he calls “Remember the bad.” The point is not to dwell on the negative, but to look back and reflect on difficult experiences and how we got through them. In doing so, we learn not to take our current blessings for granted. We are also reminded of the resources that helped us weather past storms.”
“…chaos to to order, confusion to clarity…”
Stopping to take a breath and reframing stress that can come at the holidays (or any day) is an opportunity to clear your mind and re-prioritize what’s important. Being grateful helps put what’s really important in perspective.
“…turns a meal into a feast, a house into a home and a stranger to a friend.”
No matter the scale of the meal, gratitude for the bounty and those we share it with turns any occasion into a “feast”.
Thanksgiving is a holiday uniquely steeped in a history of gratitude. It’s the one time of year we treat everyone as family. It’s gratitude that allows us to open our hearts and our homes.
This holiday season share your gratitude and share in the joy you spread.
Wherever and however you celebrate Thanksgiving, we hope the meal becomes a feast of gratitude for you and your loved ones.Read More
By Cheryl Baker, Co-Founder and Director of Social Capital, Give and Take, Inc.
When you hear the term “contagion,” what image comes to mind? Disease. Panic in mass crowds. Viral social media trends. Perhaps this time of year, you think of the flu.
Scientists have found that within groups, thoughts and moods can be just as contagious as physical diseases or behaviors. In a phenomenon called emotional contagion, researchers have observed that “individuals tend to express and feel emotions that are similar to those of others,” seeming to “catch” the feelings of those around them.
While the word “contagion” often carries a negative connotation, research on the benefits of emotional contagion has shown that this ripple effect may be a secret workplace weapon for productivity and engagement. If you have a culture of generosity and appreciation, you’ve likely seen this in action.
Not sure if you have a generous workplace?
This free quiz will give you some idea of where you stand today.
If you still have some work to do in terms of building a generous culture, it may help to educate employees on the benefits of generosity in the workplace. It’s more than just giving to United Way during the annual drive. It’s about making a commitment to share your time, talent, expertise, connections, advice, and help in ways that don’t overextend throughout the year.
Why should we give?
Here’s the good news for leaders: creating a culture of giving is great for your workers, but extensive research shows why building a sustainably collaborative culture is good for companies. It makes companies more efficient, innovative and productive. It increases profitability and revenue. It improves customer satisfaction and employee retention. It’s the classic win/win.
Sometimes, if we’re going to encourage employees to participate more fully and wholeheartedly in a culture of productive generosity, we need to show them what’s in it for them.
A willingness to ask for help and give help to others at work is not just a fluffy, feel-good concept. There are real, tangible, measurable benefits to being a giver at work:
1. Giving makes us happy
There have been countless studies that suggest helping others improves the helper’s own mood as much, if not more, than the recipient of the help. A study at University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that altruism in the workplace had relatively large effects on happiness.
Professor Donald Moynihan says, “Our findings make a simple but profound point about altruism: helping others makes us happier. Altruism is not a form of martyrdom, but operates for many as part of a healthy psychological reward system.”
2. Giving increases gratitude
Doing favors for others increases gratitude, which in itself is a positive emotion that can improve an individual’s health and well-being. In a study evaluating interventions for lasting happiness, founder of positive psychology Martin Seligman found that a daily gratitude practice was one of only two ways participants were able to increase happiness and decrease depressive symptoms over the long-term.
3. Giving inspires more giving
Paying it forward pays off. Contagion researchers James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis found that one person’s initial generosity can spark a chain reaction of benevolence up to three times as large as the original contribution. The single act can begin what social scientists call a “virtuous circle,” where one person’s generous behavior triggers another’s and so on. People are grateful for help received and are motivated to pay it forward according to research by Dr. Wayne Baker and Nathaniel Bulkley.
4. Giving makes us more well-liked
When you help others, you become someone that others can trust and rely on when they have a future knowledge, resource or connection need.
5. Giving grows and strengthens our networks
Offering help to others helps you make connections within your organization that you may not have otherwise made, which will increase your resources next time you need help. Moreover, these connections are more likely to be high-quality connections. So while we may not be givers for the express purpose of getting a reward, there are possible career and financial advantages to doing so.
6. Enjoy greater happiness and good health
Research shows that people who are givers are happier and healthier both mentally and physically. In fact, I wrote a whole blog post on the health benefits of being a giver at work.
7. Be the change you wish to see in the world
Giving back to others by offering your knowledge, connections and resources makes your world and your work environment a little better. Work environments with givers breed more generous behavior in others. The whole culture of a company can start to change.
8. Boost your career
According to Wharton professor and Give and Take co-founder Adam Grant, corporate “givers” are ultimately the highest performers and the most successful. Givers are able to tap into a network of knowledge and resources that provides them with greater resources and knowledge than those who try to succeed in isolation. If you’re interested in this aspect of generosity, Grant wrote a whole book on it, called Give and Take: How Helping Others Drives Our Success.
Pay it forward
The positive emotions generated through giving and receiving spreads through groups by way of emotional contagion and ripples through the entire organization. Research on groups experiencing positive emotional contagion found that more than good feelings spread. These groups experienced less interpersonal conflict, more successful cooperation, and felt they had performed better on their task than the control group.
When we give, the benefits are amplified and multiplied, as the positive emotions created by giving and expressing gratitude spread from one person to another. Even if we don’t give, we reap the benefits by being around people who are givers themselves. Barbara Fredrickson reports that people who merely witness or hear about a helpful interchange may experience positive emotions as well.
Benefits of asking for help
If Adam Grant wrote the book on giving, Wayne Baker wrote the book on asking for help (All You Have to Do is Ask, coming out January 2020). In his forthcoming book, he argues that asking for help at work is the most important skill for success.
It can be hard to ask for help at work. But it’s really important that we encourage our teams to do so (and help them learn how to do it) because the benefits are legion.
Studies show that asking for help makes us better and less frustrated at our jobs. It helps us find new opportunities and new talent. It unlocks new ideas and solutions, and enhances team performance. And it helps us get the things we need outside the workplace as well.
And yet, we rarely give ourselves permission to ask. Luckily, the research shows that asking—and getting—what we need is much easier than we tend to think.
When you ask for what you need, you are:
- Building team camaraderie and cohesion. You are reinforcing the idea that it takes a strong team to make a difference.
- Making other people feel better.. Don’t think you are burdening someone else by asking for help, people enjoy helping each other! It is really a win-win: you get help and you make someone else feel good.
- More likeable. We like people who dare to show their vulnerability and ask for help on things that are challenging for them. You’re also setting a great example for your teammates.
- Getting smarter: A willingness to ask for help makes it easier to do your job, providing you with an answer, advice, or a different perspective or a connection to someone outside your network who has the knowledge or resources you need.
- More successful. No great achievement can be done alone, and asking for help makes us more productive. No one has all of the resources, connections and knowledge to be totally self-sufficient and maximally effective.
Besides, we’ve already established that being a giver is good for so many things. The best offers of help occur when someone has asked for it.
All of this starts with leaders setting a good example. Leaders should be generous with their own teams, sharing both time and talent as well as recognition and appreciation for a job well done.
About the Author
Cheryl Baker is an innovator in the field of social capital and an expert in the translation of social science principles. She’s also the co-founder of Give and Take Inc., along with Wayne Baker and Adam Grant and the creator of the Reciprocity Ring. Give and Take makes Givitas, software that connects any group of people to exchange help, including employees, customers, members, donors, students, alumni, and more. By fostering a giving culture, organizations of all sizes drive positive business outcomes like increased efficiency, productivity, loyalty, and engagement.Read More
Delight Employees This Holiday Season
Research backs up what successful organizations have known all along – that appreciating employees day-in and day-out feeds productivity, retains employees and transforms workplace culture.
In other words, as Duke University behavioral economist Dan Ariely says, “recognition drives engagement and engagement drives productivity.”
Gifts are a tangible way to express your appreciation for each employee’s contribution to your organization. It may seem like a simple gesture, but expressing genuine appreciation matters more to recipients than you may think.
Consider this: among workers who feel valued, 88% feel engaged and 93% say their motivated to do their best. (American Psychological Association).
And, when gratitude is regularly expressed, employee engagement, productivity and customer service ratings are 14% higher (Bersin by Deloitte).
Gifts Send a Powerful Message
What makes an employee gift successful? Hint: It’s not about the money.
The average employer spends $79 per employee on gifts, but most workers say they would be just as happy with lower-cost (or even no-cost) alternatives. What matters most is the spirit in which the gift is given.
The essence of workplace holiday gift-giving is gratitude: your gratitude for employees’ contributions over the past year and employees’ gratitude toward you for showing your appreciation.
Gift-Giving is an Opportunity to Show You Care
Workplace leaders understand gift-giving is an important opportunity – to show you care and make employees feel valued.
So how does one choose a successful employee gift?
Find out in our new eBook, “Making Employee Gifts Count, Secrets for Gift-Giving Success”!
In this free eBook, you learn from workplace experts not only why gift-giving is so important, but also how to do it well and effectively.
Inside this eBook you’ll learn:
- Why workplace gifts matter
- Understanding what workers value
- The best workplace gifts
- How much is enough
- Gift-giving do’s and don’ts
- How to make your gift memorable
Why wait? Download your FREE COPY Now!
Make Your Workplace Gifts Memorable
Sharing your sincere gratitude is what will make your gift truly memorable.
Just ask Sheldon Yellen who as CEO of BELFOR Holdings Inc. writes over 9,000 employee thank you and birthday notes a year. “Yellen has found taking the time to write out a card for each and every person has created a culture of compassion through the whole company.”
Whenever possible, put your appreciation in writing. It will not only be memorable but will likely become a keepsake. Think about those times someone took the time to pen a note of thanks to you. Chances are you kept that note.
Whether you intend to write a holiday letter to your entire workplace or have plans to hand-write a thank you note to your team, we applaud you and encourage you to take advantage of our resources for inspiration and real-world examples.
How to Write a Thanksgiving Letter to Employees
Your FREE guide to putting the “Thanks” in Thanksgiving for your workplace.
gThankYou’s popular resource for writing a thoughtful Thanksgiving or holiday employee letter. Full of examples of real employee letters and how-to insight for crafting a meaningful letter employees will treasure.
How to Write Thank You Notes Employees Will Treasure
Our go-to resource for writing meaningful employee and customer thank you notes – anytime!
Understand the basic pillars of praise and the anatomy of an effective Thank You note. A great resource for anyone new to workplace thank you notes or who wants to learn how to make them more impactful.
Download this FREE guide now!
The holidays can be the most rewarding time of year for gift-givers and receivers alike. We hope you find our gift-giving guide useful now and throughout the year, and we wish you and your entire team all the best this season.
Should your holiday gift-giving plans involve the much loved gift of a Turkey Or Ham, we would be honored to serve you.Read More
Any time is a good time to say thank you to employees! Workers who feel valued and appreciated will be happier, more productive and more loyal.
The transition from spring to summer presents a wide variety of established opportunities to show appreciation that naturally fit into this season, but don’t lose sight of the impact of saying thank you and showing gratitude any day of the year.As American philosopher and psychologist Williams James astutely observed:“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”Saying thanks in the workplace matters really does matter to the success of your business! Check out these numbers from O.C. Tanner’s “The Business Case for Recognition”:
Read MoreAn insightful Forbes article described culture as the backbone of a happy workforce. That’s a great metaphor because a positive company culture favorably impacts recruitment, increases job satisfaction, inspires collaboration, boosts morale and reduces stress. It’s the secret to being a great place to work. A referenced Deloitte study examining core beliefs and culture revealed there’s a link between employees who say they are “happy at work” and feel “valued by their company” and those who say their organization has a clearly articulated and lived culture.Speaking of culture, cultureIQ gathered their “favorite culture and employee engagement statistics” into one handy spot. Their statement about the impact of culture is a strong reminder that:Culture impacts every corner of your business. Leadership stays on the same page. Employees are happier and, therefore, more engaged and productive. Prospective employees are more interested in joining and staying with your company. Perhaps most importantly, all these components work together to give your company its competitive advantage.In today’s extremely tight labor market, you need every competitive advantage that you can get!Beyond the data they share, the team at cultureIQ has a free downloadable guide of 60+ culture tips – don’t miss it!Read More
- O.C. Tanner revealed that 94% of regularly recognized employees said it motivates them to do great work
- WorkHuman shared that 89% of regularly recognized employees are highly engaged
- The Wall Street Journal reported that 81% of employees say they work harder for a grateful manager
- Glassdoor disclosed that 53% would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their boss
While some may pick the official Employee Appreciation Day to celebrate their employees’ contributions, really any day is the perfect day to thank employees for their hard work and dedication to your business! (more…)Read MoreGet your calendar out and start scheduling some fun – happiness will follow! March is the ideal month to build workplace happiness – winter is dragging on and for most of us, spring seems a long way off. Luckily this month is FULL of opportunities to share workplace appreciation and inspire some easy fun.Hopefully you have already downloaded our free Day-to-Day Employee Appreciation Calendar for 2019 so these celebrations may already be on your radar. If not, click the link above and let’s get started!Read MoreWith an acceptance rate under 7% and ACT scores of admitted students hovering around 32-35, the likelihood of most people having access to an Ivy League education in Yale’s hallowed halls are slim. But we can all benefit from the fascinating and completely practical information that is shared in one of that revered educational institution’s most popular courses, “Psychology and the Good Life.”Psychology Professor Laurie Santos specializes in evolution and animal cognition, but after living among undergrads when she became head of Yale’s Silliman College (think the Houses of Hogwarts), she realized just how stressed out and depressed they were. Reviewing mental health surveys from the National College Health Assessment she learned that the issues Yale students were having were similar to those of college students across the country. Students report already high and increasing rates of anxiety, depression and hopelessness.Santos set out to design a course to convey not just the science behind positive psychology research but how putting those concepts into practice could have a profound impact on students’ happiness and quality of life. Santos did not anticipate the the overwhelming interest in her course from students (1 in 4 students at Yale have taken her class), nor did she predict that it would become a sensation with articles in the New York Times, O Magazine, national television appearances and international media coverage.Read MoreGratitude in our personal and professional lives is a trending topic these days, but when we first introduced our popular ebook, Transforming Your Workplace With Gratitude, in 2013 we were in the vanguard of the workplace gratitude movement as it relates to company culture and employee engagement.
Sharing new information related to this fascinating topic through our publications and blog has long been a priority and we’re proud to release this newly updated 2018 edition.
Since its introduction, our eBook on workplace gratitude has been a helpful guide for companies, large and small, as they learned to embrace an attitude of gratitude. Over the last five years, research has underscored the power of gratitude in our lives.
This growing body of research demonstrates that companies that make an effort to appreciate employees are among the most successful, most innovative companies in the world and have the highest rates of employee satisfaction and retention.
Our original 2013 version has been completely rewritten with a focus on how to build authentic appreciation in the workplace today. While the key element in achieving that remains gratitude, the book is an exciting resource for businesses who are either curious to learn more as they embark on this journey or remain committed to sustaining a culture of appreciation.
Why We Love Workplace Gratitude
In his book “The Little Book of Gratitude,” the world’s foremost gratitude expert, Professor Robert A. Emmons, calls gratitude “the ultimate performance-enhancing substance.” Who wouldn’t want that in the workplace?
Imagine what your work team could accomplish with a 50 percent jump in productivity. What if you could slash voluntary turnover by 31 percent?
Part of the answer lies in just two words: “Thank you.” Experts agree that authentic gratitude makes all the difference.
“Thank you” is more than good manners. it’s a powerful force that elevates employee wellbeing, loyalty, productivity and business performance. Not convinced? Download our free eBook and learn why leading business executives take workplace appreciation very seriously.
We feel strongly about the transformative power of gratitude and think you will too!
(more…)Read MoreMaybe your New Year’s resolution for the year was to get organized and plan ahead for employee engagement activities at your job. The year is winding down but that doesn’t mean you still can’t take advantage of the helpful tools and creative ideas to energize the holiday season in your workplace with gThankYou’s Day-to- Day Employee Celebration Calendar.
A lot of great things can happen in the next three months and this how-to guide will aid you in building an everyday culture of appreciation. Each month includes dates to celebrate and a mini-case study.
October’s focus is on fun, November includes tips on writing a meaningful Thanksgiving Letter for employees and December delves into what our employees really want for the holidays.
Fourth quarter is also a great time to plan for next year!
We’ll be launching our updated Employee Celebration Calendar soon – newly updated and full of fun ideas and inspiration for your planning. It’s the perfect supplement to building out your employee engagement plans for the new year.
Create Your Own Employee Engagement Calendar
Need inspiration to start on your new year planning?
Christina Thompson, writing for Quantum Workplace, has outlined some excellent strategies for creating a custom calendar. It’s a great way to start working through your plan thinking. She advises asking yourself questions about the following topics and consider the communication needs and timelines that come with each:Read More
Didn’t plan ahead for Employee Appreciation Day which occurs the first Friday in March? Or are you just looking for anytime employee appreciation ideas to help you and your team brainstorm for the coming months?
We’ve got you covered!
First, don’t worry that you haven’t planned ahead. A big appreciation dinner that takes months of planning — with catered food, entertainment and party games — can be a treat for employees, but it’s far from the only way to thank employees for their hard work.
In fact, spontaneous “Thanks!” are just as important. Everyday expressions of gratitude show employees that their efforts are noticed day in and day out, not just once or twice a year.
It gets to the heart of why employee appreciation is so meaningful: it communicates to staff that leadership is paying attention to them and cares about their performance. A few words of recognition from leadership mean a lot to rank-and-file employees, particularly in a distributed workforce, where face time with the C-suite is infrequent or nonexistent.
Bottom line: people love to be noticed for what they do. Everyday appreciation is a reminder that their work matters.
“Saying ‘Thank You’ encourages a gracious, polite and civilized workplace,” writes ChicagoNow’s Scott Huntington.
Over time, thanking employees fosters a culture in which gratitude is shared frequently and effortlessly. And that has a real business impact: 78 percent of employees say they would work harder if their efforts were better appreciated, according to Limeade.
Employee Appreciation Ideas: 10 Ways to Say ‘Thanks’ on the FlyRead More
gThankYou’s popular Employee Appreciation Calendar for 2018 is here!
We’ve updated our annual day-to-day appreciation calendar with lots of new topics, new case studies and even more holidays and reasons to celebrate! Download your free copy of our “2018 Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar” and jump-start your employee engagement and appreciation planning for the New Year.
Appreciation is a major factor in workplace happiness and functionality. And employees are more likely than ever to leave their company if they don’t receive it.
According to the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley, 66 percent of employees would leave their companies if they did not feel appreciation — up from 51 percent in 2012.
Everyone wins when company leaders prioritize employee appreciation.
“Recognizing the benefits we receive from others makes us happier and healthier, enhances trust and loyalty, and encourages people to connect and invest in the workplace,” writes Greater Good’s Amie M. Gordon.
Sounds great, right?
The challenge is finding ways to consistently and authentically show appreciation, day in and day out. Vowing to thank employees more often is a good start, for example, but it isn’t specific enough to be an actionable goal.
gThankYou’s 2018 Employee Appreciation Calendar helps you identify your company’s specific needs and develop a plan to share gratitude throughout the year (not just at the holidays or annual appreciation dinner). Ultimately, the goal is a happier workforce, higher retention and bigger profits.
Read on for a sneak peek at what our 2018 Calendar has in store for you!
Happy Halloween! It’s the perfect holiday for dressing up, eating candy, carving pumpkins and having some workplace fun.
But in all the fun, don’t forget a key element: recognizing and thanking employees. It really is the secret to planning effective and worthwhile fun activities in the workplace.
A report released this week shows many companies have their priorities mixed up when it comes to engaging employees with workplace fun. What employees actually want doesn’t always match what employers think they want.
The report is based on a survey by HR systems firm Sage People. It asked workers for opinions on various workplace benefits and conditions.
Quirky perks like a job-site ping pong table got a resounding “meh” from employees. Meanwhile, 72 percent of those surveyed said that feeling valued and recognized is what they value most when it comes to their day-to-day work experience.
“The research reveals that while many companies invest in quirky benefits to keep staff happy, employees aren’t impressed,” the report concluded.
Does this mean ping pong tables, games and fun activities don’t belong in the workplace? Not at all! Having fun at work builds creativity, engagement and teamwork.
But it isn’t reasonable to install a pool table in the break room and expect employee engagement to automatically go up.
Perspective, and a culture of appreciation, must come first. That means a) listening to employees, and b) incorporating appreciation into day-to-day work as well as special celebrations and activities.
Of the employees surveyed by Sage People, a whopping 42 percent said they have never been asked by their employer what they believe would improve their work experience.
“The findings show a disconnect between the benefits employers provide and what employees want. This failure to listen is costing businesses in the form of reduced productivity levels and a disengaged workforce,” the report says.
Gratitude activities for the workplace help build a kinder, happier and more purposeful culture — and more dedicated, productive, loyal employees.
Culture is a main sticking point for companies struggling with disengagement, turnover and low morale.
“People want to work for a company that has a culture of recognizing great work effort, great workers and actions that help grow the company,” Brian Sommer, a technology services analyst, writes for Diginomica.
“This is the real recognition and reward challenge: getting a company to alter its culture and management practices to reward people who exhibit the behaviors that drive corporate success,” Sommer writes.
Fixing bad workplace culture takes a renewed focus on rewards and recognition — but not as “an afterthought or bolt-on capability.”
True cultural transformation happens when a) employee recognition is part of a greater shift toward a culture of gratitude, and b) company executives are 100 percent on-board.
“Why executives? Because cultural change is not the responsibility of HR alone and it can’t be fixed by a mandate, technology or HR. It needs the support of all executives and management,” Sommer writes.
One easy, practical way to help build a culture of gratitude is to involve employees and executives alike in a series of gratitude activities for the workplace.
Engaging blue-collar workers may be one of the biggest engagement challenges facing HR today.
Hourly workers are unhappier than salaried workers in many job aspects, according to recently released Gallup poll data.
A Harvard Business Review analysis concluded, “People working blue-collar jobs report lower levels of overall happiness in every region around the world. This is the case across a variety of labor-intensive industries like construction, mining, manufacturing, transport, farming, fishing and forestry.”
Retention is a big problem, too. The “new blue-collar” industries, such as foodservice and hospitality, grapple with it on even bigger scales.
And there’s the skills gap.
The historical loss of manufacturing jobs has hurt communities across the U.S., yet currently “a significant number of manufacturing jobs remain open with not enough people to fill them,” according to HR Dive. “The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) predicts that U.S. companies will be facing two million job vacancies by 2025. And the American Welding Society contends that manufacturing industries will need 300,000 welders and welding instructors by 2020.”
One expert, Jobcase CEO Fred Goff, tells HR Dive he blames the skills gap on an “image problem.” Young people for decades have understood that the best way to a rewarding career is through a college degree and a job in finance, marketing, law, engineering or teaching.
“The ‘image problem’ that these blue-collar fields face has finally come home to roost — and employers are struggling to make up the difference,” according to HR Dive.
What are we really talking about when we say “employee engagement”? A workforce that shares a sense of belonging in the workplace, for starters.
This is the new evolution of engagement: really drilling down to core concepts to better understand business jargon.
“Engagement is, as I like to joke, a six-dollar word that consultants say when people like what they do and want to come to work everyday,” executive coach and educator John Baldoni writes in a Forbes column on developing engagement.
When an employee has a sense of belonging in the workplace, it “connotes ownership,” Baldoni writes.
“You belong therefore you own. Not property but something more meaningful. You own responsibility. You have a sense of autonomy that enables you to act for the good of the organization. Not because you have to, but because you want to.”
The IBM/Globoforce “Employee Engagement Index” measures belonging first among the “five key tenets” of a positive employee experience. It defines sense of belonging in the workplace as “feeling part of a team, group or organization.”
The 4th of July is behind us. Up ahead: two months of summer — sunny, lazy, distracting summer, with vacation days and “summer Fridays” tempting employees at every turn.
In other words? A recipe for disengagement. And your task is keeping employees engaged.
It’s not as tough as you may think! Keeping up engagement levels through the summer months depends on a good balance that integrates fun, freedom, fitness and focus.
If employees have opportunities for regular, low-key summertime celebrations that center on accomplishments, family and wellness, they’ll be more likely to be productive the rest of the time.
This is the thinking behind the HR shift from “work-life balance” to “work-life integration,” according to the Limeade blog post “How to Keep Your Work-Life Integration On Track This Summer.”
“We believe you need to focus on the whole employee, rather than separating who they are in the office and who they are at home,” the Limeade marketing team writes.
“And it’s your job to find ways to connect and integrate the two. … Work-life balance implies a zero-sum game that says we can’t have it all. Work-life integration lets us coordinate, blend and bring elements of work and life into a unified whole.”
Employees in organizations that focus on work-life integration initiatives like social support and wellbeing are more likely to be engaged, more likely to recommend their employer to others and more likely to “go the extra mile” for the company.
Now’s not the time to pull out draconian rules or punish employees for wanting to enjoy their summer — that’s the old way of doing things and it didn’t work.
Instead, be inspired by the following summertime workplace celebration ideas to plan your own engagement calendar for the season.
- Recent trends in employee appreciation, engagement and gratitude in the workplace