• Gallup Report: Time to Reinvent Employee Recognition

    Employee recognition "wake up" call from Gallup

    Gallup’s latest in-depth report is a “call to action” for a more engaged leadership providing ongoing, effective employee recognition. (Photo via COD Newsroom, Flickr)

    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 2017 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.

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  • 9 Free Resources to Inspire Workplace Kindness

    Want to inspire wworkplace kindness? Read on for free resources to help.

    First step toward a kinder culture? Smile! And take advantage of the many free resources to help your organization build workplace kindness. (Photo via Kamil Porembiński, Flickr)

    Are you inspired by Random Acts of Kindness Week to build workplace kindness in your organization?

    Now’s the time to start. Only one in four employees feel valued at work, a 16 percent drop from last year, according to the TINYPulse 2017 Employee Engagement Report.

    “Managers are falling behind in their recognition efforts,” the study concludes.

    Worse, only 24 percent of employees feel connected to their peers — “11 percent lower than last year, and this gap is causing cross-functional frictions.”

    Where are the positive trends? Among the growing number of companies that 1) commit to improving culture, and 2) prioritize frequent feedback.

    “The top factors related to employee happiness turn out to be the intangible ones such as interpersonal relationships, culture and work environment,” TINYPulse researchers write. “Benefits, work-life balance and flexible schedules, surprisingly, don’t have a strong impact on employee happiness.”

    So building a culture of workplace kindness is no longer the “nice thing to do” — it’s a smart, strategic move backed by research as a driver of employee performance, motivation and retention. But it can be hard to know where to start — or, if your company is already working on an engagement strategy, how to move forward and constantly improve.

    Good news: from research analysis to podcasts, there are tons of free resources out there to inspire you. Read on for a list to help you and your team create a unique strategy for a better culture of workplace kindness in your organization — this #RAKweek2017 and beyond!

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  • To Build Workplace Kindness, Try Empathy

    workplace kindness all starts with empathy

    Kindness is a powerful way to break up workplace stress, and it starts with applied empathy. (Image via Sean MacEntee, Flickr)

    Random Acts of Kindness Week is here! In honor of the importance of kindness, let’s build more workplace kindness together this week.

    Kindness is a powerful way to build engagement, encourage well-being and break up workplace stress.

    Celebrating kindness reminds us to incorporate it more into all aspects of our everyday life — with family, friends and our communities. Ever tried sharing unexpected kindness? It’s contagious and creates a ripple effect of shared goodwill and feelings of appreciation.

    But what exactly causes people to act in kind ways? It starts with empathy. And the effects of a more empathic workplace culture go beyond kindness and less stress.

    “In the workplace, empathy is often portrayed as a requisite tool for emotionally intelligent leaders. But perhaps more notable is the strong effect on performance,” Forbes columnist Jessica Amortegui writes in her post, “Are You Using Apple’s Secret Skill at Work?”

    Read on to find out what empathy is exactly, why it’s needed, and how one company is systematically and methodically using “applied empathy” to beat workplace stress and create a healthier, happier culture.

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  • How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Workplace

    Celebrating workplace friendships is why you should celebrate valentines day in the workplace!

    There’s another way to frame a Valentine’s Day workplace celebration besides romance. It’s a celebration of workplace friendships! (Photo by Tyler Burrus, Flickr)

    Planning a Valentine’s Day workplace celebration may seem like a tricky proposition at first glance — drawing attention to romance, among coworkers? That’s an HR headache waiting to happen!

    But there’s another way to frame a Valentine’s Day workplace celebration: as a celebration of workplace friendships and the strong bonds that develop between people who work closely together.

    “We all need friends at work,” writes University of Kentucky provost and management professor Christine M. Riordan, for Harvard Business Review.

    At a time when employee engagement is at an all-time low, it’s important to recognize the power of friendship in the workplace, according to Riordan.

    Why Workplace Friendships Deserve Celebration

    “Research shows that workers are happier in their jobs when they have friendships with co-workers. … Gallup found that close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50 percent and people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work,” Riordan writes.

    But workplace friendships are about more than camaraderie and fun.

    “It is also about creating a common sense of purpose and the mentality that we are in it together,” she writes.

    Friendships are particularly vital to the happiness, motivation and productivity of Millennial employees, according to a LinkedIn study.

    Another demographic is seeing an increased reliance on friendships: men. According to a recent survey, men are forming more meaningful relationships with other men. And that could have a “transformational” effect in the workplace, according to the Fast Company article, “How Men’s Changing Friendships Might Reshape the Workplace.”

    “We already know how workplace friendships can be vital, energizing and meaningful. In addition to their upsides for individual well-being, they also impact team performance, adding another level to the instrumental ways we rely on each other and collaborate,” researcher Michael Kimmel writes for Fast Company.

    “We men are also learning that workplace friendships, with both women and men, can be a reason we show up for work every day. We let down our guard, share what’s important, and listen with care. And our lives — in the office and outside it — are so much richer for that.”

    Read on for tips on how to plan a Valentine’s Day workplace celebration that reflects the transformational power of friendship between coworkers.

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  • Get Ready! Random Acts of Kindness Week 2017 is Feb. 12-18

    How will your organization celebrate random acts of kindness week?Random Acts of Kindness Week starts in just a few days! Are you ready?

    We love RAK Week as an opportunity for employee engagement: it’s fun, it’s positive and it connects people in a genuine, memorable way. Celebrate it in the workplace and also with the greater community using the #RAKWeek2017 hashtag on social media.

    Workplace kindness is something we all could use a little more of — incivility at work is “rampant” and on the rise, according to Christine Porath.

    Porath is associate professor of management at Georgetown University and author of the new book, “Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace.”

    Lack of kindness has real psychological and bottom-line costs in the workplace, according to Porath’s research. It’s also commonplace. In 2011 half of surveyed employees said they were treated rudely at least once a week, up from a quarter in 1998.

    Porath’s findings are the result of 14 years of research polling thousands of workers at every level in a wide variety of industries about how they’re treated on the job. It’s eye-opening stuff.

    And it’s not all doom and gloom: Porath is also in a unique position to offer perspective on how to make our workplaces kinder. In anticipation of Random Acts of Kindness Week, let’s take a closer look at Porath’s work and the science behind building workplace kindness.

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  • 5 Ideas for Prioritizing Workplace Well-Being in 2017

    What does your organization do to promote workplace well-being?

    Workplace well-being initiatives like this employee zumba class can go a long way toward busting stress and boosting morale. (Photo via Aberdeen Proving Ground, Flickr)

    If workplace well-being isn’t on your list of priorities for 2017, now’s the time to add it.

    A recent Kronos Incorporated survey of 615 HR leaders nationwide cites burnout as a major workplace challenge for 2017. The survey showed 95 percent of HR execs believe burnout is blocking employee retention and “they don’t see a resolution any time soon.”

    The three top barriers to resolving burnout are outdated HR technology, lack of executive support and too many competing priorities.

    Too many competing priorities. In the interest of cutting down on burnout, which priorities will you prioritize this year?

    Workplace well-being is one priority to keep.

    Not only is workplace well-being a driver of employee happiness and productivity, it helps employees cope with the effects of burnout. In addition, bedrocks of workplace well-being like fitness, healthy eating and financial literacy actively repel the stressors that cause burnout.

    Read on for what experts are saying about how to prioritize and build on workplace well-being goals in 2017.

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