Shared experiences among co-workers are instrumental when it comes to building strong and effective teams. Don’t forget to include remote workers when communicating, collaborating and creating shared experiences – they are an important part of your team too!
In an article on shared experiential learning on HR Dive, author Tess Taylor explains the basics:
Employees benefit from having a common experience during the learning process. This social interaction helps individuals digest new concepts and gives them an opportunity to learn from each other.
When employees have shared learning experiences, this can create a common experience that generates conversation and learning even after the event has passed.
Shared experiences give people a chance to learn about each others norms, emotional cues and working habits. Apparently experiences that combine the right balance of meaning and stress seem to be the most effective. For example “light meaning” and “light stress” events like a happy hour can produce small increases in bonding while others with “high stress” and “high meaning” like boot camp can quickly achieve exponential affects in bonding.
Activities like team dinners, intense workout classes, improv classes and volunteer events can help team members learn about each other’s personalities and break down some of the awkwardness of working together. An engaged team is a strong team. They understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and can problem solve more effectively.
On the flip side, shared experiences that are high stress with little meaning like hazing are negative, not appropriate and should be avoided.Read More
July is the ideal time to throw an employee thank you party (and not just because it’s National Picnic Month). The key to making your company event genuinely fun so it generates both good times and goodwill is your authentic appreciation. By clearly communicating a message of employee appreciation and making employees feel valued, you’ll promote happiness and loyalty. Both keys to a successful workplace culture.
Why Summer Parties Rock
In a blog post on Special Events’ website about why Fortune 500 companies are opting to host summer parties, Nicole Lavin points out:
Companies are recognizing that their employees’ hard work should be celebrated all year-long–and they’re hosting exciting summer events to prove it…
With a “Christmas in July” mind-set, companies are planning off-site corporate events to get their employees out of the office during the hottest time of the year. By hosting corporate events in July and August, companies can enhance employees’ year-round satisfaction and, in turn, increase employee retention.
With Small Workplace Gifts, a Personal Touch Matters
Gifts don’t need to be large or expensive to be meaningful. Small workplace gifts can express your gratitude and make employees feel appreciated. But you need to give them in the right way. As a Balance Careers post on gift-giving etiquette explains:
Adding a personal touch can give a small gift a much bigger impact. For example, if you hand-deliver your gift … instead of sending it in the mail, your gesture will give that present much more meaning. A card with a personal message and handwritten signature is more meaningful than a pre-printed card …
With small workplace gifts, this personal touch is key. Of course you want your employee to value the gift itself, but often it’s going to be something they could afford on their own. What they should remember is that they felt recognized and cared for. And the best way to communicate that feeling is to put in a bit of extra effort.
For starters, think about the intended recipients of your gifts. If your employee picks up coffee every morning at the cafe down the street, even a $5 gift card is going to be a treat for her. On the other hand, no matter how good your home-baked cookies are, they’re not a good fit for an employee with a gluten allergy. As we’ve noted before, the best workplace gifts of any size will bring meaning into the recipient’s life. A small gift they can use or share — or that they just treasure for its uniqueness — is a gift they’ll love.Read More
What is the Difference?
In an article for Ladders, Paul White described the reasons why employers should stop recognizing employees and start appreciating them. White shared that too often he has encountered employee recognition programs that not only don’t seem to be working, but are in fact generating apathetic, sarcastic and cynical reactions from employees. White believes this is because recognition is different from authentic appreciation.Read More
One of the most powerful things you can do for your employees is communicate in a sincere and heartfelt way that they are valued. And one way to do that is with Corporate Turkey Gift Certificates by gThankYou during the holiday season.
When given with gratitude, the gift of a holiday turkey is a deeply meaningful gift that reminds staff they’re part of something bigger. Employees feel taken care of when they receive a thoughtful gift, and know they matter to you and the business. That’s important. Research by the American Psychological Association found a clear link between feeling valued at work and employees reporting better physical and mental health.
But beyond that, the gift of a Thanksgiving or holiday turkey is imbued with ritual that’s associated with gratitude.
The gift of a turkey has been a beloved and honored holiday gift for employees for over a century. Turkeys are closely associated with the annual rituals of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter that celebrate family and friends, warmth and goodwill.
These holidays revolve around the rituals of a special meal — and employees will be thankful for the gift of the centerpiece of their holiday meal to share with family and friends.
For many, even the act of going to the grocery store to choose the turkey centerpiece for their family celebration is an important and meaningful ritual. With gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates, recipients select the turkey they want, any brand, size and preparation, at the grocery store they want to shop. All gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude are accepted at major grocery chain stores nationally.
As the Harvard Business Review reported in 2013, rituals make us value something more. How? The researchers “found evidence to suggest that personal involvement is the real driver of these effects. In other words, rituals help people to feel more deeply involved in their consumption experience, which in turn heightens its perceived value.”
Nothing says ‘Thank You’ like the gift of a Thanksgiving turkey. Click here for “10 Reasons to Give Employees a Turkey for the Holidays” for a useful 2-page document to share with your management team.Read More
Companies with a giving culture are more successful.
They say it’s better to give than to receive. It turns out it could be way better!
Beloved Wharton School professor Adam Grant’s 2013 bestseller, Give and Take, used groundbreaking research to show that giving can have a revolutionary positive effect on all kinds of businesses. Givers are employees who help others regardless of whether they’re getting something in return. And the best-performing employees and leaders inevitably turn out to be givers. By taking steps to foster a giving culture, companies can significantly improve their productivity and efficiency, and their employee engagement and loyalty. One consulting firm estimated that implementing a giving culture saved it more than $250,000 and 50 workdays. A pharmaceutical company credited its giving culture with saving over $90,000 and 67 days of labor.
Boiled down, Grant’s discovery is simple enough: When people give freely, the co-workers they help want to reciprocate. Over time, givers amass a network of helpful colleagues and peers — in other words, givers inspire others to give. And in a giving culture, people are more apt to speak up and contribute. (The culture is critical, because it can be embarrassing to give if no one else is doing it.) Consequently, in workplaces with a giving culture, things get done faster by employees who are more personally invested.Read More
Summer is an opportune time to cultivate workplace community by volunteering in the community as a team. Just in the month of June alone there are two officially designated dates that you can celebrate: The United Way’s Day of Action 2018 which occurs on (or around) June 21 and United Nation’s Public Service Day on June 23. It’s always great to recognize the good work that your staff does in the workplace, but doing good outside the office is likely to boost happiness, improve engagement and build workplace spirit.
Why Volunteering As A Team Is Valuable
A Huffington Post article exploring how workplace giving and volunteering can drive employee engagement explained that “prosocial” behavior, doing something for the benefit of someone else, positively affects the individuals participating in it, and in return, their workplaces.Read More
Employee Incentives Aren’t Just a Nice Extra Anymore
Do you take employee incentives seriously? Or do you just treat them as a “nice to have”? More and more research demonstrates that successful companies will do the former.
In a recent blog post, the employee recognition experts at Achievers summarize how the conventional wisdom on employee incentives has evolved over the last century-plus. When research first began on employee incentives, workers were typically paid for what they produced, rather than the time they spent on the job. In fact: “When the innovation of pay by the hour or day was introduced, it was controversial. A widespread fear existed that if you paid workers only according to the time they spent, that they would ‘take it easy’ and not try as hard.”
Later, it became common to offer employee incentives that depended on one worker outdoing their colleagues. But that kind of heated competition produced its own problems — for instance, it can lead workers to focus more on winning than on serving customers properly. And research found that “pitting workers against each other for rewards often causes team-minded players to scale back their efforts in order to equalize things.”
Today, businesses have learned that employee incentives need to be thoughtfully designed — they must reward workers for going above and beyond, and also for effectively executing the company’s mission and values. While this kind of incentives program takes some time to put together, the evidence shows it will also have a clear positive impact on a company.Read More
National Smile Power Day is June 15th, but every day is the perfect day to fuel workplace kindness with more smiling! Studies have revealed the ways that simply smiling more can transform us and those around us. Smiling can help create a culture of kindness at work (and beyond).
The Science Behind Smiles
There is real scientific evidence recognizing the benefits of smiling. A Fast Company article explored how smiling alters our brains (in a good way). A Penn State University study revealed that smiling people are perceived as more courteous, likeable and competent. All attributes that are valued in the workplace by employers, co-workers and clients.
Smiling has the power to improve your mood and reduce stress – it’s hard for people to frown around smiling people (researchers at Sweden’s Uppsala University found this to be true). But why is this? Turns out that our brains actually track our smiling which can then break our natural tendency to think negative thoughts. If you smile often enough, you end up rewiring your brain to make positive patterns more often than it does negative ones.
Engaging Remote Workers Is Increasingly Necessary
Thanks largely to technology, more and more people — full-time employees, part-timers, and freelancers — are working remotely more and more often. One estimate from 2018 says that 3.9 million Americans now work from home at least half the week, or almost 3 percent of the country’s workforce. That’s great news for many employers and employees — remote working arrangements offer flexibility that can mean a lot to your team, as we’ve noted before. But engaging remote workers also takes some extra thought and effort. As HR Dive noted last year:
Remote workers need to be kept in the loop. Although working from home or some other location might offer work-life balance, remote workers can feel isolated from the office hub of activities, events and information-sharing. More importantly, remote workers can miss out on critical announcements concerning their employment, including their benefits.