Make it a goal this summer to check out employee engagement books that will inspire and challenge you, whether you’re planning a major “think week” or just have 15 minutes a day to read over lunch.
Get a head start on engagement planning for this year by exposing yourself to fresh ideas and perspectives. Spark your creativity!
According to Kevin Kruse, consultant and NYT bestselling author of “Employee Engagement 2.0,” employee engagement is often misunderstood.
That lack of understanding is holding back American companies.
In an interview with Business Management Daily, he calls engagement “one of the secrets behind so many of my companies.”
Yet it’s surprisingly rare.
“Only about one-third of the workforce is truly engaged at work, and we’ve been stuck at this number for about two decades. This is really a shame as life is too short to be unhappy at work,” Kruse says.
In short, effective engagement leads to a workforce that cares.
“A sales person who truly cares about organizational results will sell just as hard on a Friday afternoon as she would on a Monday,” Kruse explains. “An engaged service rep will be just as patient and helpful at 4:59 p.m. as he would be at 9:00 a.m. An engaged factory worker will yank the cord to stop the line every single time a defect is noticed.”
Want to see this level of passion and caring at your company? Make it a goal to read one or more of these employee engagement books, based on decades of experience and research into building vibrant, engaged workplace culture.
You don’t have to break the budget to show heartfelt receptionist appreciation!
National Receptionists Day is always the second Wednesday in May.
First launched in 1991, National Receptionists Day celebrates the role of professional receptionists. It’s a day set aside to recognize and appreciate all the work that receptionists do to help organizations run smoothly.
Why receptionists? They’re the face of your company. Receptionists are usually the first (and sometimes only) company representative your customers or clients interact with. Often, they’re the first to explain your company’s products or services, or hear feedback.
And they’re doing all that while fielding phone calls, coordinating schedules and handling deliveries!
Great receptionists are knowledgeable, friendly and fast.
Making sure your receptionists feel appreciated and included in your company culture is key to promoting a positive company image. Your gratitude makes the difference. Read on for 10 receptionist appreciation ideas that won’t break your budget!
Earth Day is April 22 — did it sneak up on you? No worries, we’ve got last-minute ideas for fun, easy employee activities for Earth Day!
Everyday employee engagement is built through rewarding, everyday activities. Even the simplest team-building activities can energize and bring people together.
And celebrating Earth Day in the workplace isn’t just good for the planet, it’s good for people, too — and your business, according to USA Today columnist Steve Strauss, a lawyer specializing in small business and entrepreneurship.
Some benefits are obvious, as Strauss writes in a recent USA Today column.
Reusing and recycling are money-savers, there are tax benefits for going green, and green practices are good branding and popular with consumers.
But there are other benefits that are more behind-the-scenes.
“Healthier work environments work better,” Strauss writes. “According to the Green Business Bureau, there is a 20 percent decrease in number of sick days for companies that actively promote a healthier workplace.”
Last but not least, “going green will boost employee morale,” he writes. “Having a green workplace is increasingly an important consideration for employees. In-demand millennials especially will appreciate your efforts.”
Read on for employee activities for Earth Day that are fun for your staff and easy for you to coordinate. You may even be inspired to make Earth Day every day!
Want to build a better workplace culture? Join the club. The way we work is changing, and companies are scrambling to catch up.
“The necessity of workplace culture is a recent phenomenon,” according to a column in The Commentator. “It’s clear that in order to attract, retain and engage the modern workforce, companies must intensify their focus on improving company culture.”
That’s because employees in all industries now are expecting work that is meaningful and engaging — and to be appreciated for it, beyond a paycheck.
Employees are also “pushing employers to forego traditional structures,” according to Gallup research.
But change isn’t happening fast enough for most workers. Two-thirds of U.S. workers still aren’t engaged at work, a figure that hasn’t budged much in years.
Don’t be discouraged! Watch these TED Talks for fresh ideas and new perspectives on building a better workplace culture through better leadership, motivation, appreciation, mindfulness, creativity and more. You’ll feel re-engaged and inspired to share and cultivate improvements to your workplace. Rediscover how easy it is to make a difference.
Happy International Day of Awesomeness! Yes, this is a real (unofficial) holiday — and it’s awesome to celebrate in the workplace.
A couple of coworkers started International Day of Awesomeness back in 2007. It was as easy as registering the domain “dayofawesomeness.com” and putting the idea out into the world.
Held every year on March 10, International Day of Awesomeness has a simple premise: be awesome and encourage others to be awesome.
Why? “Because everyone needs an excuse to be awesome.” Can’t argue with that!
How we celebrate International Day of Awesomeness is open to creativity. The holiday’s founders suggest “feats of awesomeness.”
Be inspired to celebrate the day with your team. And don’t forget to share your company’s International Day of Awesomeness activities on social media with the hashtags #idoa or #dayofawesomeness.
8 Ways to Celebrate International Day of Awesomeness At Work
Building an awesome workplace culture is an investment. It takes time, resources and full support from company leadership.
Of course, we all want a better culture today. A recent headline from the satirical newspaper The Onion takes a humorous spin on this unrealistic expectation: “Boss Wants Friendly, Relaxed Company Culture In Place By Friday.”
By Friday would be great, of course — but the reality is, you and your team have to be in it for the long haul.
However, there are specific and effective things you can do right now that really will make your company culture just a bit more awesome. Best part is, you’ll see results right away.
So start today, in honor of International Day of Awesomeness! Here are eight ideas of what your HR team and your employees can do together to celebrate:
Building Workplace Positivity
Workplace positivity grows through appreciation and, specifically, great compliments. Start practicing today, World Compliment Day, to get ready for Employee Appreciation Day later this week.
Held annually on March 1, World Compliment Day has its origins in the Netherlands.
World Compliment Day is not commercially oriented, “so everyone can afford to participate,” according to a history at WorldComplimentDay.info. It “simply addresses the basic human need for recognition and appreciation. … And therein lies its power.”
Hans Poortvliet, a Dutch recognition professional and the driving force behind the annual event in the Netherlands, points out that compliments cost nothing but have a huge impact.
“Nothing stimulates more, gives more energy, makes people happier and, as far as business is concerned, increases productivity and commitment faster than sincere appreciation,” Poortvliet says. Ultimately, if every person pays a compliment to at least three people, “we will definitely create the Most Positive Day in the World!”
Grab your coffee, Gallup is serving business leaders a wake-up call.
Employee recognition needs to be a top priority, according to Gallup’s massive State of the American Workplace.
Experts at Gallup are calling the report a “call to action” for companies, starting with a complete overhaul of employee recognition and engagement strategy.
The old ways of managing employees just aren’t working, and change isn’t optional.
Released last week, the 214-page report is Gallup’s first comprehensive survey of the U.S. workplace in four years. Gallup bases its research on data collected from more than 195,600 U.S. employees, 31 million respondents through Gallup’s Q12 Client Database, and insights from Fortune 1000 companies.
It’s a lot of data to unpack — but it’s incredibly useful. The report gives HR leaders and managers an in-depth look at how they’re doing across the board. It’s not a rosy picture.
If you’ve been following Gallup’s excellent month-to-month workplace research, some of the report’s data won’t be surprising. Engagement numbers are still dismally low — only 33 percent of American workers are engaged at their jobs, and productivity continues to decline. More than half are looking for work elsewhere.
But the report also provides new data and insights into why employees aren’t more engaged or productive. Again and again, the data points to a need for more engaged leadership and much better employee recognition.
The once-a-year model of employee recognition just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Happy New Year!
The celebration-filled holiday season is over, party streamers down, gifts shared and game prizes won. Now what? How will you sustain that workplace spirit and employee happiness into the new year?
If increasing employee happiness is one of your workplace goals this year, you’re not alone.
Organizations big and small are re-evaluating their strategies as Gallup continues to report low employee engagement across industries. Gallup data shows Millennial workers in particular aren’t responding to traditional engagement.
We know workplace celebrations are a reliable way to engage and motivate employees. A celebration honors excellence, fuels innovation and strengthens teamwork. It gives everyone a chance to fully appreciate individual and team successes.
But celebrating employees goes well beyond parties and prizes. Sustaining everyday employee happiness, 365 days a year, takes a comprehensive approach and a cultural shift.
That’s why we here at gThankYou created a “Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar.” It’s a guide to each month, with practical tips for everyday engagement and appreciation, as well as seasonal and holiday-specific employee recognition ideas and inspiration.
Read on for a peek at what each month of the calendar offers and how it can help you build a sustainable culture of appreciation.
The new year will be here before you know it! Staff appreciation gifts for the New Year are the perfect way to celebrate the successes of the prior year and get energized for what’s ahead.
New Year’s is widely celebrated and non-religious, making it a good choice for a workplace celebration.
“Focus on thanking employees for a successful year and encouraging the same enthusiasm and dedication to the company for the approaching New Year,” according to the SHRM article “HR Pros: Make Year-End Celebrations Inclusive.”
Thanks, a small gift and shared meal were among the most common year-end employee celebration suggestions from HR pros in a recent SHRM poll.
The New Year is a time of reflection — we look back at the past year and make decisions about how to approach life and work in the coming year. Are you doing this with your employees? It’s a great chance to get motivated and focused together.
Simply celebrating together is a powerful way to build workplace spirit.
“Taking a little time to bond socially and relax can benefit your employees and motivate them to keep coming back for more,” Cynthia Measom writes in the Chron article, “5 Things to Motivate Employees in a New Year.”
What makes a great employee gift for the New Year? Read on for ideas of staff appreciation gifts that communicate gratitude, share in the celebration of company achievements and — most importantly — delight employees!
5 Staff Appreciation Gifts to Kick Off the Year
Why share a New Year’s gift in the workplace? Because New Year’s is…
- celebrated by all.
- an important milestone.
- a time of reflection and goal-setting.
As always, focus on gratitude, however you choose to celebrate and whatever gift you choose for employees.
We’re all excited by the potential of the New Year and a “clean slate,” but don’t be quick to brush last year into the past. Taking time to recognize the wins of the past year is key to motivation and inspiration for the next 12 months.
Choose a gift that shares in the fun, aspirational nature of the New Year. Here are five ideas:
1. ‘Happy New Year’ CEO letter
Any gift should include a short Thank You note or “Thanks” in person, but take it a step further with a longer letter from the CEO or other top brass. Now is a great time to go over what worked well for your business in the previous year and and inspire even better results in the upcoming year.
Don’t know where to start? Download our free ebook on how to write a holiday Thank You letter. You’ll find specific how-to’s and inspiration from real-life examples of CEO holiday letters. (The ebook is geared toward Thanksgiving, but we think the advice is great for writing a New Year’s letter, too!)
2. Flowers or potted plants for the office
Bring fresh oxygen into your workplace with bouquets or a few pretty, easy-to-maintain potted plants. During these short winter days, a little greenery and color goes a long way to brighten everyone’s day.
3. ‘Culture book’
Take a cue from Zappo’s and create a “culture book” with input from employees. Think of it as a high school yearbook, but for your staff — highlight personal and team achievements from the past year with photos and quotes. Focus on appreciation and on how employees define your company’s unique cultural identity.
A culture book is a great add-on gift and helps keep your company model alive, relevant and fresh. As Gaping Void points out, culture is fluid: “Culture isn’t a set of laws. It can’t be imposed — culture is shared.”
4. End-of-year potluck celebration
On a budget? Decorate the break room with New Year’s streamers and balloons and host an end-of-year potluck. Provide the plates, napkins, table clothes, utensils, etc., and invite employees to bring their favorite holiday dish. If budget allows, share a $5 gift certificate for candy or ice cream with each employee. Have management talk about the year’s successes and challenges and what to look forward to in the year ahead.
5. Treats for staying healthy in the new year
Share a gift that encourages healthy habits. It will jumpstart your wellness initiative and help employees keep their get-healthy New Year’s resolutions. Be sure the tone of your gift is positive, not critical. It should promote healthy eating and staying active, not specifically weight-loss, which could be a downer for someone already struggling to lose weight.
A gThankYou! Fruits and Vegetables Gift Certificate is a great way to thank employees and help them keep resolutions to eat better this new year, for example. Even better: when you share the Gift Certificates, bring in a local chef to teach a class on how to incorporate more fruits and veggies into meals.
Have You Started Your Employee Recognition Planning?
“In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day — or to celebrate each special day.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru, coach and author
We have a New Year’s gift for you! Download the gThankYou Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar. It gives you the tools and inspiration to build a culture of appreciation every day of the year. Download yours today, absolutely free, and get your planning started for the New Year!
Make a commitment today to better workplace engagement. Download our “how-to” planning guide to building an everyday culture of appreciation.
Workplace kindness may be one of the rarest forms of kindness. We’re more frequently expected to share kindness at home, with friends, in places of worship, in our neighborhood and at school.
Yet the workplace is one place where kindness is not emphasized and often sorely missed — we’re too busy, too distracted, too competitive.
The climate of communication today is often unkind, too. We’re barely a week out from a bitterly divisive presidential election with name-calling from both sides. We have been immersed in inconsiderate commentary for endless months.
We all need kindness — today more than ever. In employee management in particular, kindness is powerful. It lifts up people, and it lifts up business. Sharing kindness makes both the giver and the receiver feel good. It sparks a kindness chain reaction.
“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”
World Kindness Day seeks to challenge the status quo and promote everyday kindness through gratitude and action. Celebrate it this Nov. 13! Better yet, choose to invest in your workplace culture by focusing on building a climate of kindness. We love the inspiration from the RAK Foundation and bet you will, too.
Read on for examples of workplace kindness and tips for celebrating #WorldKindnessDay with your employees.
Veterans Day is Nov. 11. Wondering how to thank veterans in your workplace and beyond?
If you aren’t already, now’s a great time to start incorporating celebrations of giving and honor (like Veterans Day) into your employee engagement calendar!
Thanking the veterans in your workplace isn’t just a nice thing to do for them, it’s also an excellent opportunity to engage all employees with gratitude and a good cause. Employees now more than ever are embracing workplace volunteerism, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and giving back to their community with coworkers.
Here are five tips for how to thank veterans in your workplace and community as a tool for employee engagement.
Sorry. It’s the one word that may be holding back you and your team from building a stronger culture of workplace gratitude.
Apologies have their place. But you’re probably saying “Sorry” when “Thank You” would be better.
“If you’ve truly done something to hurt or offend someone, an apology is best. But so often the things people apologize for in daily life are ambiguous,” Julie Beck, senior associate editor at The Atlantic, writes in her article “The Power of Casual Gratitude.”
“A ‘sorry’ is a token offered to ward off guilt and to keep others from being irritated with you. But it’s just basic economics that the more of these coins you have in circulation, the less they’re worth,” she writes.
Thanking someone, on the other hand, has an expansive power that “Sorry” doesn’t. Gratitude makes other people feel good. It gets passed on. It starts a chain reaction to happiness.
Learn about the instances of “casual gratitude” — Beck’s term — when “Thank You” is better than “Sorry.” Your increased awareness will naturally encourage others and build up your workplace gratitude culture!
Happy Positive Thinking Day! Have you been inspiring positivity in the workplace lately?
One of the most interesting employee engagement cases of the past year was related to positivity in the workplace — with some fascinating lessons in how (and how not) to pursue it.
Explicitly mandating positivity in the workplace is risky, as T-Mobile recently discovered. The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling against T-Mobile in April declaring that the telecommunications company had run afoul of the law by including a provision in its employee handbook requiring workers “to maintain a positive work environment in a manner that is conducive to effective working relationships.”
Sounds harmless, right? It isn’t, legally speaking.
“There was, of course, a perfectly sound legal reason for this seemingly odd decision,” Maria Konnikova writes in an article for The New Yorker, “What Makes People Feel Upbeat At Work.” In short, the NLRB reasoned that T-Mobile’s policy was “ambiguous and vague” enough to have a chilling effect on the right of employees to speak freely and to organize.
Legality aside, workplace psychology experts agree that mandating positivity simply isn’t that effective, anyway. Nobody likes being told how to feel.
But inspiring positivity in the workplace is a worthwhile (and achievable) goal. Read on to find out why, and how you can create real, lasting positivity without resorting to potentially illegal or ineffective mandates.
Here’s an employee Thank You idea that’s easy to take advantage of even last-minute: International Picnic Day and it’s always June 18! It’s the perfect opportunity to recognize your staff and celebrate the beginning of summer.
Employee disengagement is notoriously high in the summer. Distractions abound. Even if an employee isn’t about to leave on vacation (or recently returned), nice weather and summer activities can distract even the most focused of employees! Now’s the time to reinvigorate your recognition program with a team-specific or all-company bonding event like a picnic.
Keep it simple with a Friday afternoon barbecue on-site, or plan a bigger party with employee families at a nearby park pavilion where everyone can enjoy volleyball and other team games, swimming, face-painting for kids, listening to music or simply getting to know each other outside of work.
However you celebrate International Picnic Day, remember it’s important for leadership to share a heartfelt employee Thank You with everyone at the gathering. A token of appreciation, like a personalized card or small gift, is a nice touch and will make your Thank You more memorable!
Read on for tips to turn your International Picnic Day celebration into a recognition success.
Roll out the red carpet! Welcome gifts for new hires are trending as a way to help employees feel appreciated from day one.
“First days are tough. You haven’t made ‘work friends’ yet so you feel alone, you don’t know the company culture or jargon yet so you feel confused, and you are quite literally lost (‘Where’s the coffee and bathroom?),” writes Forbes contributor and employee engagement expert Kevin Kruse in his article, “1 Thing Every New Hire Should Get On Their First Day.”
Welcome gifts — accompanied by a nice introduction letter, as Kruse suggests — are essential to effective onboarding and making a good first impression. They send the message right away that new hires are welcome, needed and appreciated.
Summer hires count, too! Start them right with a small gift that says “Thank you for joining us.” Read on for tips and best practices for sharing new hire welcome gifts.
Looking back at the corporate wellness programs of our grandparents gives us an appreciation for how far we’ve come — and what the future holds.
The corporate wellness programs of yore were crude efforts that often chased the wrong goals, according to the Limeade ebook “The Evolution of Corporate Wellness.” Yet what we know now is only possible through these early experiments in corporate wellness.
As corporate wellness moves into the “Wellness 2.0” generation, it’s clear that the initiatives most companies undertake now are “just scratching the surface” of possibilities, as the Limeade ebook puts it.
So how did we get here? And what exactly is “Wellness 2.0”?
Read on for a brief history of corporate wellness, and the lessons we’ve learned along the way that have brought us to where we are today.
Remember “Spirit Week” in high school? It’s the week leading up to Homecoming that’s filled with fun activities, time-honored traditions and dress-up themes that celebrate school spirit and show support for your school.
Workplace spirit is the grownup version, and it isn’t just one week a year.
It’s the day in, day out expression of a strong and positive company culture. Employees are engaged, happy and productive. Excellent work is celebrated, and every employee understands and is committed to company goals.
“The first time you step foot in a business, you get a feel for its spirit. A company can feel cold, stiff and tense, or to the contrary, it can feel warm, inviting and energetic,” writes Gerald R. Wagner, CEO of the nonprofit Inspired Organizational Cultures, for HuffPost Business.
Workplace spirit is similar to a brand, according to Wagner: “Like a brand, that feeling represents the organization’s culture — its humanness.”
Read on for tips from Wagner and other HR experts in building a workplace spirit that attracts and retains great employees.
Looking for a team bonding activity that gets people talking, laughing and learning together? Share stories of teacher appreciation! You’ll be amazed and inspired.
Stories about the teachers we appreciate are a window into our own values and aspirations, and telling and listening to these stories with coworkers helps us connect and builds a culture of gratitude.
The Los Angeles Times is soliciting stories of gratitude for National Teacher Appreciation Week and collecting them on the social platform Medium using the hashtag #teacherappreciation.
The Times’ Dexter Thomas calls for a broad interpretation of “teacher” to include anyone whose knowledge and influence had a lasting impact.
“We seem to view ‘teacher’ too narrowly. A lot of the people who made me who I am today didn’t have teaching credentials. Some of them I’ve never even met,” Thomas writes. “So as we were talking about teachers in the Los Angeles Times newsroom today, I realized — we’ve all been influenced by a variety of people. You’ve probably got a favorite childhood teacher or coach. You probably owe your sense of fashion, or music sense, or interest in a hobby, to some influential person.”
Workplace mentors also count! We all have a coworker, boss or other influential person in our life who teaches us new skills, motivates us to do our best work and keeps us on track in moments of doubt.
Read on for three great stories of teacher appreciation this week. Who are you going to reach out and thank for changing your life?
Happy Administrative Professionals Day!
Today we’re celebrating the people who make our lives easier and our offices run smoothly day in and day out: administrative assistants, receptionists, secretaries, personal assistants, data managers and other administrative support professionals.
WHSU Public Radio Group columnist David Bouchier praises admins in an essay this week.
“The essential fact about administrative professionals,” Bouchier writes, “is that they actually do most of the real work in any office and, in my experience, they usually run the place. Imagine the chaos if hospitals were run by doctors, or universities by professors.”
Administrative Professionals Day is a reminder that our admins deserve daily appreciation: “Flowers and gifts are all very well, but a few words of sincere thanks might be even better,” Bouchier writes. “As Gertrude Stein remarked, silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.”
So how are companies celebrating Administrative Professionals Day? Read on for five real-life examples of standout admin gratitude this month.
Was the Bard a good boss?
Absolutely, says the late John O. Whitney, management professor at Columbia Business School. In a 2000 NPR interview, Whitney discussed William Shakespeare’s business wisdom.
“He was the ideal management consultant,” Whitney said. “Not only did he understand power, he understood governance, he understood business, he knew organizational design, he knew strategy, he certainly knew tactics, and did he ever know human relations.”
Today, Saturday, April 23, is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death (and also coincidentally what is thought to be his birthday).
In his honor, let’s look to Shakespeare for wisdom on building a healthy company culture — particularly a culture with vibrant workplace gratitude!