• How One Company Does ‘Epic’ Employee Engagement

    'Epic' employee engagement

    The software company Epic Systems, located in rural Wisconsin, has a strong employee engagement ethic. (Photo via E. Nekervis, Flickr)

    The software company Epic Systems proves you don’t have to be located in Silicon Valley to attract tech talent or have a vibrant culture of “epic” employee engagement.

    Epic attracts employees from far and wide to its campus situated amid farm fields outside Madison, WI. The company has mushroomed in recent years and now employs more than 9,000.

    Epic has a reputation for good pay, great culture and a quirky, fun-filled campus that provides many on-site amenities to employees.

    A rare interview with Epic founder and CEO Judy Faulkner last month is an insightful look at her unique approach to employee engagement, development and management.

    Read on for takeaways from this interview on Epic’s strong employee engagement ethic.

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  • Wellness Incentives for Workplace Health & Fitness

    wellness incentives for the workplace

    Reward employees with wellness incentives like gThankYou! Certificates for Groceries or Fruits & Vegetables. (Photo via U.S. Department of Agriculture, Flickr)

    Wellness incentives help reward and encourage healthy employee choices like regular exercise, annual checkups, smoking cessation and nutritious cooking.

    If your company isn’t already using wellness incentives, now’s a great time to start!

    May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, with Employee Health and Fitness Day celebrated the third Wednesday of the month — this year on May 17.

    All month, organizations across the country are raising awareness about the benefits of a healthy workplace.

    Healthy employees are better employees.

    A study of more than 20,000 employees at three large, geographically dispersed U.S. companies found that employees who exercised more and ate more fruits and vegetables had better performance and much lower absenteeism than their less health-conscious coworkers.

    This month, help equip your employees with the knowledge and tools they need to improve their wellbeing — and help them develop habits that will last year-round! Incentivizing healthy choices is a great way to reinforce the benefits and encourage longterm lifestyle changes.

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  • Show Your Teacher Appreciation In the Workplace!

    Share your teacher appreciation this week!

    Show teacher appreciation in the workplace this week! (Image via NEA.org)

    Your organization doesn’t have to be a school to celebrate teacher appreciation in the workplace this week!

    This is the week to thank all teachers, from classroom teachers to your employee development leaders — anyone who spreads the joy of learning and sharing knowledge in your organization and community.

    Teacher Appreciation Week is underway and continues through Friday, and National Teacher Day is Tuesday, May 9.

    Engage all employees in showing gratitude to teachers this week and celebrating the gift of learning!

    In today’s demanding and fast-paced business culture, “leaders would be wise to develop a strong learning environment at the workplace,” Naphtali Hoff writes in a HuffPo article, “Build a Team of Workplace Teachers.”

    He quotes the celebrated CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch: “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.”

    “But learning alone is not enough,” Hoff continues. “Leaders that want to stay ahead must make sure that their companies also place a premium on teaching.”

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  • 10 Affordable Ways to Share Receptionist Appreciation

    How will you share your receptionist appreciation this week?

    Your receptionists are the face of your company! Do you have a receptionist appreciation plan for National Receptionists Day? (Photo via Michael Coghlan, Flickr)

    You don’t have to break the budget to show heartfelt receptionist appreciation!

    National Receptionists Day is always the second Wednesday in May. This year it’s Wednesday, May 10.

    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!

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  • It’s Time to Improve Your Employee Development Skills

    Investing in employee development skills is critical in today's changing work environment.

    Want to improve your employee development skills? First, start an open discussion with staff. (Photo via US Army Corps of Engineers, Flickr)

    New research analysis by Gallup shows only two in 10 employees “strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.” Are you sure your management team’s employee development skills are working effectively?

    Even if your company is above average at employee development, there’s an “immediate disruption” happening in the workplace that is a game changer for everyone.

    That’s according to Gallup’s new research paper Re-Engineering Performance Management. The old ways of handling employee development and recognition simply aren’t working, the paper explains, and it’s time for HR to reevaluate and overhaul.

    It starts with management developing a new outlook and new skills.

    In other words, if you want employee development that drives results, your team needs to be willing to develop, too!

    Ultimately what we all want is the same: a happy, creative, productive and dedicated workforce in which employees feel recognized and appreciated for their work and have a sense of belonging to the company culture.

    What Happened, and Why Is Change Necessary?

    Time for a reality check.

    Just 20 percent of employees “strongly agree” that their company’s performance management system motivates them.

    Meanwhile, organizations are making overly confident assumptions about the effectiveness of their employee development and management systems — and wasting “tens of thousands of hours and tens of millions of dollars on activities that not only don’t work but also drive out top talent,” Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist, writes in the latest Gallup paper.

    Moreover, Harter writes, “the future of work is being shaped by extraordinary changes in technology, globalization and overwhelming information flow.”

    In this climate, employee development is more effective than employee management, Carter explains:

    “Workers are asking for something different. They want a coach, not a boss. They want clear expectations, accountability, a rich purpose, and especially ongoing feedback and coaching.”

    The price tag for not pursuing what workers want is steep. Gallup estimates that poor management and lost productivity among disengaged employees costs between $960 billion and $1.2 trillion per year.

    So what’s the solution? Gallup has some answers. Their valuable Re-Engineering Performance Management report “presents our best analytics and advice for our clients or anyone considering transforming their performance management system.”

    Let’s take a look.

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  • Nurse Appreciation Ideas for National Nurses Week

    Nurse appreciation week starts Saturday, May 6th!

    National Nurses Week begins Saturday, May 6. Get inspired by these nurse appreciation ideas to thank the nurses in your company! (Photo via Esther Max, Flickr)

    Nurse appreciation is the focus of National Nurses Week, which begins this Saturday, May 6. Plan your Nurses Week celebrations now!

    Nurses could use more appreciation, according to an informal poll on the professional networking and discussion site Mighty Nurse. The poll asked “Do you feel appreciated?” — and more than three-quarters of respondents answered, “Not really.”

    According to Gallup, nursing is among the most highly regarded and trusted professions, ranking higher than military personnel, doctors and teachers.

    So why aren’t nurses feeling the appreciation?

    One major factor could be the overall lack of employee recognition across all industries. General respect and trust for a profession doesn’t automatically translate into concrete acts of appreciation.

    A Gallup analysis found that only one in three U.S. workers “strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days.”

    Worse yet, “it’s not uncommon for employees to feel that their best efforts are routinely ignored,” Gallup’s Annamarie Mann and Nate Dvorak write.

    First Step: Raise Awareness

    In the fast-paced, hectic environments nurses work in — hospitals, nursing homes, urgent care, hospice — appreciation can get lost in the shuffle, or be reserved for doctors.

    In his HuffPo article “Why Every Week Should Be Nurse Appreciation Week,” Brian Secemsky, M.D., writes, “Throughout history, the culture of medicine has revered the role of a physician as the core to patient care and medical recovery. Yet in my personal work experience, absolutely no care would be delivered without the critical role of a nurse.” Engaging nurses is good for everyone!

    Simply raising awareness of the special job nurses have is a big part of nurse appreciation.

    “Nurses are often quick to say, ‘I am just doing my job,’ and to some degree that is correct,” Mary Jo Andre, chief nursing officer at Texas Children’s Hospital tells the Houston Chronicle. “However, it is not the task of passing medications that makes their role special. Their role is special because they are in the position of being present with (and for) our patients and their families when they are experiencing their most challenging times.”

    Nurse Appreciation Week continues May 6 through May 12.

    Read on for nurse appreciation ideas to inspire your workplace celebration. Even if your organization doesn’t have nurses on staff, Nurse Appreciation Week is a great opportunity to engage employees in community outreach and gratitude-building!

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