• 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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  • 5 Ways to Thank Administrative Professionals

    Be sure to thank Adminstrative Professionals this Week!

    Don’t forget to thank your receptionists and other office support employees during Administrative Professionals Week! (Photo via Byron Villegas, Flickr)

    Happy Administrative Professionals Week! Administrative Professionals Day is April 26, but many businesses celebrate all week. Be sure to thank administrative professionals in your organization; even if it’s just a personal “Thank You,” you’ll make admins feel valued and appreciated.

    According to the International Association for Administrative Professionals (IAAP), there are more than 22 million administrative and office support professionals in the United States.

    “Administrative Professionals Week celebrates and sheds light on administrative professionals’ devoted, valued work,” the IAAP states.

    Chances are, your organization depends on the organizational help of admins to run smoothly — or run at all!

    Your Administrative Professionals Week celebration doesn’t need to be fancy. Your gratitude for employees is what counts.

    At Ridge Crest Elementary in Idaho this week, for example, the school’s administrative staff was honored with cake and Thank You gifts. But the school principal’s public announcement of appreciation was the most important part of the celebration.

    “The school secretaries have the most important job in a school … [their] welcoming smiles communicate to parents and students that Ridge Crest is a place of love and respect. I could not ask for better help in the front office. They are the heart and soul of my school,” he said.

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  • 5 Fun, Easy Employee Activities for Earth Day

    Easy activities for Earth Day - Get everyone involved!

    Plan easy, fun employee activities for Earth Day — such as recycling bottles to raise money for charity like these Cydcor employees are doing! (Photo via Cydcor, Fickr)

    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!

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  • How to Cultivate a Joyful Employee Experience

    How do you cultivate a joyful employee experience for your team?

    Is joy possible at work? YES! Help create a joyful employee experience for your team. (Image via AJ Cann, Flickr)

    Joy isn’t an emotion we typically associate with the workplace — but it should be! Cultivating a joyful employee experience is the kind of investment that results in long-term engagement.

    Focusing on employee experience is gaining traction as the new, more sustainable way to tackle low engagement.

    “Inside of most organizations around the world, employee engagement has simply become a way to force employees to work in outdated workplace practices while giving them perks to make them happy,” author Jacob Morgan writes for Inc.

    A perks-focused strategy is “a short-term adrenaline shot designed to boost the annual employee engagement scores,” but it won’t have lasting impact without a more holistic approach.

    “Instead,” Morgan writes, “organizations are shifting to employee experience, which is the long-term organizational design that creates new workplace practices around people.”

    Base your employee experience on building, creating and choosing joy. A joyful employee experience is key to a productive and happy workplace culture.

    In a commencement speech to 4,700 students at the University of California at Berkeley last year, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg brought up the practice of joy. It’s vital to resilience and overcoming failure, she said.

    “In the face of any challenge — you can choose joy and meaning,” she said. “You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it … In that process you will figure out who you really are — and you just might become the very best version of yourself.”

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