Today's post comes to us from Workforce Institute board member, Natalie Bickford, Group HR Director at Merlin Entertainments. Here she discusses the power of "Don't ask your manager" to unleash your frontline employees ability to provide a great customer experience.
As I'm working day-to-day trying to figure out how to best motivate and engage employees, I am often reminded of Frederick Herzberg's “Two Factor Theory”. Developed way back in 1959, Herzberg's theory posits that there are certain factors in the workplace that cause job satisfaction while a separate set of factors cause dissatisfaction, all of which act independently of each other.
A key way to drive employee engagement is through giving each team member as much responsibility as possible. Yes, of course pay, working conditions and respectful management (Herzberg would call these “hygiene factors”) are important in the avoidance of dissatisfaction, but if you really want your people to go the extra mile, you must recognize their contribution and give them as much decision making authority and accountability as possible (“motivation factors” in Herzberg's theory).
This scenario is easy to imagine within an office-based, professional workforce environment, but how can this work in a world of hourly paid, consumer-facing employees? Finding a solution to this can make a significant difference to the consumer experience in environments where the lowest paid workers are the ones delivering the customer experience on a daily basis - think retail, hospitality, casual dining, and even to some degree airlines. We absolutely know from the service-profit chain model that a clear connection exists between high profits, customer loyalty and employee productivity and satisfaction.
At the Pret a Manger sandwich chain, existing team members are made accountable for the selection of new team members. Short-listed candidates work for a paid day in the store, and at the end of the shift the team decides who fits the company culture best. By empowering the team to make hiring decisions, the whole team feels jointly accountable for the financial performance and guest experience in their outlet. At Pret, teams are also encouraged to hand out free coffees and baked goods on a Friday to improve the consumer experience and drive loyalty.
Within a number of my employer, Merlin Entertainments', visitor attractions, guest hosts are empowered to give special gifts to guests of their choosing, including ride fast-passes, snacks, retail merchandise and free entry tickets. There is no direct benefit to the employee other than the opportunity to make someone's day. As a result, however, employee engagement within those attractions has ticked up.
Organizations that push accountability to the front line know that employees will step up and grab it. Little things like being allowed to make decisions about replacing a dropped ice cream for a crying child, refunding an elderly gentleman who has purchased the wrong charging cable, pulling a disabled guest to the front of a queue - all make employees feel valued and responsible for business outcomes.
Southwest Airlines defied all odds in the post 9/11 impact on the domestic US airline industry, remaining profitable and holding its' ranking in Fortune magazine's “Most Admired Companies” list. A major contributing factor to this was Southwest Airlines' obsessive protection of their desire to do the right thing by their passengers, actively supported by the accountability given their ground staff and crew to do just that.
We would all benefit from taking a cold hard look at our employee handbooks and regulations, and asking ourselves which rules and processes can we strip away, and how can we put more power into the hands of our staff? Organizations are very good at adding processes and policies but not very adept at stripping them back. My preferred way to consider this is by standing in the shoes of my guests and thinking about what I would want to see from the people who are delivering the guest experience to me. One of my most hated responses as a customer is “I'm sorry, but I will have to ask my manager…!”
What about you? Have you been wowed by great customer service somewhere lately? What's the phrase you can't stand to hear from a customer service person? Tell us about it in the comments section!
Today's post comes to us from board member Dan Schawbel. In it, he discusses our recent research on Generation Z.
When I speak to companies, they are no longer interested in Millennials (those born between 1981-1995); all they want to hear about is Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2010)!
Companies are more interested in Gen Z because the Millennial conversation has been played to death, which is partially my fault (I did found a company called Millennial Branding, among other things), but also because Millennials are already the majority of the workforce globally. Since there are more Gen Z's entering the workforce, companies want to understand how to meet their needs and support them. My company, Future Workplace, recently worked with The Workforce Institute on a global study of over 3,000 Gen Z's and discovered new details about how they view themselves and the type of work culture they are interested in.
We asked Gen Z's, from high schoolers to entry-level employees, how they describe themselves. They said, the “digital generation”, which makes sense since 98 percent own a smartphone and spend over four hours daily using it. They are the first generation to be born digital, meaning that they were born into the technology revolution that has changed society forever. When I was born, there weren't cellphones and I'm only 35 years old. It's hard to imagine how much digital usage at such an early age can impact your entire life. They look at landline phones as fossils! What's interesting about our research is that even though they describe themselves as the digital generation, three out of every four of them prefer face-to-face interaction at work. The reason for this is because Gen Z, like all other generations, has an innate need to form relationships with others. Without this human connection, that we can only get in-person, employees feel more lonely, isolated and less engaged with their teammates.
Gen Z believes that they are the hardest working generation, and I bet if other generations were asked, they would think differently. What I've found in our previous research is that every generation views the younger generations as being lazy. While Gen Z believes they work the hardest, we found that they demand schedule flexibility to deliver their best work. Companies that want to motivate Gen Z will have to give them flexibility over when, where and how they work. They will work harder and longer if they are in a culture that supports a flexible schedule.
Aside from flexibility, there's a growing need for companies to support Gen Z's mental health. While they are optimistic about the future, anxiety is the biggest thing holding them back from achieving success at work and in life. While the stigma of mental health still exists at work, more companies are bringing psychiatrists in house to help employees. Smart companies will help Gen Z solve their basic human needs in order for them to realize their full potential at work.
For more on the survey, check out my colleague Joyce Maroney's post Meet Gen Z - Optimistic and Anxious.
And let us know what you think of the findings in the comments section!
Today's post is from Claire Richardson, director, the Workforce Institute at Kronos & vice president EMEA professional services, Kronos. Here she shares her insights about sustainable change management practices.
Peak workloads, market pressure around cost or efficiency, skills or staffing shortages… there are many reasons why organizations leverage technology. Though the topic can be polarizing, technology can and does help increase productivity and streamline tasks and processes where needed. The hot topic right now is if emerging technologies such as AI and ML will take jobs away from humans. However, a technology implementation doesn't mean an entire role will be eliminated. Often, technology is leveraged to assist humans, even removing mundane administrative tasks and freeing them up to focus on business-critical projects.
This is something I speak with customers about every day when we talk about implementing a Workforce Management solution. Implementing something new can, for some people, have its drawbacks. However, it's not always the technology itself that causes the stress, it's the mindset of the person or persons that will use the technology that can cause the bumps in the road. Change is hard for most people, and when you introduce something new to an entire workforce, not everyone will welcome it with open arms. This is where the employer needs to ensure its employees clearly see the value and the benefits of the new technology, and understand what positive aspects it will bring to their individual situation, as well as what will change. This process is called change management - and only once a successful transformation has happened, an organization can move forward with the bigger picture.
Change Management is all about transparency and creating acceptance
Our group - The Workforce Institute - did a survey on this topic recently called “Engaging Opportunity: Working Smarter with AI” and found that of nearly 3,000 global employees, four out of five see significant opportunity for AI to create a more engaging and empowering workplace experience, yet admit a lack of transparency from their employers is a primary driver of fear and concern.
Transparency and making employees part of the change, instead of forcing the change upon them, are key success factors for change management. When employees are part of the journey from the very beginning they will be more likely to also play a proactive and positive role in the adoption. User acceptance is a critical factor in the success or failure of the digital transformation.
For example, an employee who has performed their role for many years, and knows the ins-and-outs of what needs to be done, might be skeptical that they now need to work differently. Without clear explanation of reasoning, strategy, and the benefits that can be experienced, this may come with resistance. Understanding of the bigger picture and that they will go through this change for a purpose - the ultimate result for the larger business outcome - will make for a positive change management experience.
In my role, one of my core tasks is to facilitate change for our customers. I love to work alongside them on their transformation journey to ultimately make their organization more productive and their employees happy with the new way of working. I live by the mantra of trust and transparency being at the core of what we do each and every day. I've seen it work, and I continue to carry this best practice with me.
Today's post comes to us from board member Martin Armstrong. Here he argues for the value of supporting your workers with on demand pay options.
CNBC recently reported that “the gig economy is now composed of 60 million workers, and by 2027, the majority of workers in the U.S. will be contract workers.” According to Deloitte Insights, by 2020, the gig economy in the United States is projected to triple to 42 million people.
TechTarget.com describes a gig economy as “a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. The term "gig" is a slang word meaning "a job for a specified period of time" and is typically used in referring to musicians. Examples of gig employees in the workforce could include freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers and temporary or part-time hires.”
With the number of gig economy workers on the rise, the fight to attract gig economy talent has never been greater, and the gig economy worker is the beneficiary of the recruitment battles. A key driver to attracting such talent is the ability to pay gig economy workers immediately after they have earned their pay, a practice referred to as “On Demand Pay”, and companies are starting to accommodate.
For example, an Uber driver no longer has to wait for their weekly payday to receive their earnings. Instead, drivers have the option to immediately “cash out” their earnings through Uber's “Instant Pay” program, up to 5 times per day. The cost for drivers to immediately have earnings loaded to their personal debit card via this Instant Pay option is just $0.50 per “cash out”.
The idea of offering “On Demand Pay” options to attract top gig economy talent is substantiated by the following facts:
While On Demand Pay options readily exist for the gig economy worker, this is not the case for the W-2 employee workforce as most employers do not offer employee advances. The lack of an On Demand Pay option could present a problem, as the financial stress for a gig economy worker and a W-2 employee are not necessarily any different.
In fact, I would argue that the cost to attract and retain a W-2 employee is much higher than that of a gig economy worker, making it more important to keep them over the long run with On Demand Pay being a useful tool in this endeavor.
The question becomes, will employers of W-2 employees adopt the same On Demand Pay options that gig economy employers are using to attract and retain their workers?
Today, there are a number of third-party providers that offer “On Demand Pay Platforms”, which provide options for employees to receive a certain amount of their earned, but not yet paid, earnings.
To address the notion of On Demand Pay as an employer benefit, employers can either:
Truth is, the needs for today's workforce have changed and as such, employers should position themselves to attract top talent to include the gig economy worker and the W-2 employee. The time for On Demand Pay adoption is now, as the workforce will not wait for those employers who can't meet their needs.
Today's post, the second in a 3-part series, comes to us from Workforce Institute board member and HR Bartender Sharlyn Lauby. Be sure to check out part one “5 Currencies Essential to Your Company's Employee Value Proposition”. In today's post, she talks about the importance of creating employee trust in your organization.
With unemployment rates at historic lows, companies are very focused on recruiting. Not just finding and hiring the best talent (which is important) but having a recruiting process that's going to pave the way for new hires to do their best work and stay with the organization.
The key to hiring and retaining the best talent is trust. If we want people to apply for jobs, they need to trust the company. Candidates will accept the company's offer, if they trust the recruiter and hiring manager. And ultimately, new employees will stay only as long as they feel they can trust the work environment.
During last year's KronosWorks conference, Malysa O'Connor, senior director of marketing at Kronos, talked about some of the research they're seeing regarding today's recruiting environment and how companies use that research to tweak their existing recruiting process for better results. Here are some highlights:
Start a conversation with prospective candidates before they apply. O'Connor shared that 76 percent of candidates research organizations online before applying. Obviously, organizations want candidates to find out the “good stuff” about the company. One way for them to hear about the good things the company is doing is to hear it directly from the company. Create a talent network that allows prospective applicants to stay in touch and hear what's happening inside the organization.
Leverage technology to the company's advantage. One-third of candidates say an organization needs at least a three-star rating on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed for them to apply. There are a couple of ways for companies to address recruiting rating sites. First of all, create a fantastic candidate experience and you won't have to worry. But that's easier said than done. The second strategy is to encourage (not force) candidates and employees to rate the experience.
Provide applicants with a realistic job preview. Forty-six percent of candidates will evaluate a company's reputation before accepting a job offer. Part of that evaluation is going to be looking at whether the offered position is being presented in an accurate light. Today's candidates aren't looking for surprises. They are fine with accepting less than perfect opportunities provided the company is being transparent and honest about the requirements of the position.
Use onboarding to bridge the candidate and employee experience. O'Connor mentioned that 83 percent of candidates base their decision to apply on an organization's values. This means that during interviews, candidates will be looking to see if a credibility gap exists in the company's employment brand. Not only will organizations want to include a values conversation in interviews, but during orientation and onboarding as well.
Good processes will yield good outcomes. Organizations that want to hire the best talent need to have an excellent recruiting process because candidates have choices. And if the organization wants candidates to choose them, then understanding how to build trust in the recruiting process is essential.
Today's post is from Claire Richardson, director, the Workforce Institute at Kronos & vice president EMEA Professional Services, Kronos
Just as the new year commenced, we at the Workforce Institute at Kronos put our heads together and thought about what was to come in 2019. From that lively conversation, we shared our 2019 workforce predictions with you via this post. I_d like to elaborate on one in particular that resonates for me as it underscores the importance of being an authentic leader.
Before we dive in, here is the prediction in its entirety:
Historically tight labour markets and emerging technologies put people managers in the spotlight. With unemployment low and the exodus of baby boomers reaching critical mass, employers globally will face a historically tight labor market. Sourcing great candidates has never been more difficult, and retention will become an all-out dogfight. While an employer's brand, innovative hiring technologies, and proactive recruiting practices are more important than ever, it's organisations with the best people managers that will ultimately prevail. Organisations will place an increased focus on leadership development as a retention strategy - especially as Millennials assume middle management positions - and measuring manager effectiveness will be HR's top challenge in 2019. If we're right about prediction 1 above, then as AI and machine learning take over mundane managerial tasks, deficits in leadership competencies will be more readily exposed if managers aren't using that extra time to support and develop workers.
This tight labour market we speak of isn_t a surprise to anyone, and it isn_t region-specific either - it's being felt globally. Today's employees have options when it comes to where they work, and organisations are finding new ways to attract them. Tactics being used to recruit top talent range from signing bonuses, to elevated flexibility in schedules and shifts. But what about retaining talent?
Have you ever heard the saying “people join companies, but leave managers?” I believe this to be true - you could work for an amazing company that provides all the benefits that are important to you and your family, but if you dislike working for your manager, your day-to-day could very well be miserable. After all, managers ensure their team produce what's needed for the business to be successful, and if their team is unhappy, productivity and overall success can flatline.
Our prediction envisions the rise of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) to bring these not-so-inspiring mangers to light. The prevalence of data analytics and results-driven metrics supported by these emerging technologies will paint a clearer picture of who truly inspires their team to do their best every day, and who falls short.
As a people manager myself, I believe in being an authentic leader - as opposed to a spreadsheet jockey or someone who is bogged down by the mundane administrative tasks that often come with seniority. This means being hands-on with your team - teaching them and showing them that you genuinely stand behind the direction you give and actions they take.
It's important to be there, physically, with your team in the trenches. Setting goals, coaching, providing insight and overall, letting them know “I've got your back.” This will help foster comradery, trust and overall, far better customer engagement and business outcomes.
Today's post, the first in a 3-part series, comes to us from Workforce Institute board member and HR Bartender Sharlyn Lauby.
We've all heard the saying that there's more to compensation than our paychecks, meaning that there are non-monetary items of value that organizations provide to employees. These monetary and non-monetary items combine into what is known as the employee value proposition (EVP).
During the 2018 KronosWorks Conference, John Frehse, senior managing director at Ankura Consulting Group LLC, referred to the EVP in a more practical way. He referred to those monetary and non-monetary items as “currencies”. Not only does the term currency immediately imply value, but it's possible for organizations to get the point across to employees that currencies involve more than your paycheck.
Here are five different types of currencies that make up the EVP:
What becomes interesting in thinking about these currencies is how employers choose to develop and market their EVP. A few questions that employers might want to regularly ask themselves:
In today's competitive recruiting landscape, organizations need to make sure their EVP is competitive and being communicated. Frankly, even in a less competitive job market, it just makes good business sense to promote this information.
Letting employees know the currencies - both monetary and non-monetary - that they will receive helps them decide whether or not to work for an organization. Once hired, providing ongoing communications about the EVP can impact to what degree an employee engages with the organization and whether or not they want to stay.
This post is submitted by Joyce Maroney, Executive Director of the Workforce Institute.
During the holiday shopping season, retailers are more dependent than ever on their workers as they service harried customers. If those customers are venturing into stores rather than shopping online, they expect to find staff who are available, willing and able to help them. Unfortunately, that help can be hard to come by when store managers find themselves shorthanded due to employee absenteeism and turnover.
According to our most recent retail research, 47% of retail managers believe that absenteeism has a significant impact on customer satisfaction while 42% believe that it negatively impacts their store revenue. We also found that more than half of retailers worldwide (52 percent) see a direct correlation between poor employee engagement and increased staff turnover
This recent study "What Came First: Retail Absenteeism or Low Engagement?" is the second installment of our Global Retail Absence survey. The first installment examined the impact of absenteeism on store operations while this installment looks at the impact of absenteeism on employee morale and engagement.
Our respondents indicate that they understand that employees who are happier with their work conditions - especially when it comes to flexibility - are more likely to cover their shifts and less likely to leave for greener pastures. Successful retailers understand that they need to treat their employees with trust, and support their need for flexibility with policies and tools that enable them to easily manage their schedules, including self service options to change their schedules and swap shifts as needed.
You can read the detailed findings of the research below
Unplanned absence and poor engagement fuel chaos, drive turnover.
Employee engagement can drive - or degrade - store success.
Shift-swap technology can solve absence woes, yet only half of retailers use it effectively.
Today's post is submitted by Joyce Maroney, Executive Director of the Workforce Institute.
I've had the great privilege of working for Kronos for over 12 years. During that time, I've had lots of opportunities to lead new programs, launch new systems, and most importantly, to work with a lot of great people. And I'm not alone at Kronos in feeling that working here is uniquely great. People outside of Kronos ask me all the time "Is working at Kronos really as good as all the PR suggests?".
The answer is a resounding yes, but I always go on to explain that this great culture and the decades long tenures of many employees here didn't happen by accident. The leadership team at Kronos, led for thirteen plus years now by Aron Ain, has treated culture as a strategic advantage and invested in it accordingly. Kronos employee engagement metrics are best in class and have led to many great place to work awards across the globe. The most recent of these was the annual Glassdoor list, based on unsolicited employee reviews on their platform. Of 45 million employee reviews, salaries, and insights about 830,000 companies worldwide, Kronos ranked #44 overall and a top employer in the software industry on Glassdoor's annual listing of the Top 100 Best Places to Work in the U.S.
When our 2018 fiscal year ended in October, we announced
Kronos had just closed the best quarter in the best year of the company's 41-year history with $1.4 billion in revenue. Employee engagement isn't the only reason that Kronos is successful, but it is a major driver according to Aron. In fact, he feels so strongly about this that he wrote a book, Work Inspired, that was published in October. In the book, he lays out fourteen principles that guide his management philosophy.
Last week, I sat down with Aron to discuss Work Inspired and how he developed his management principles over time. In this podcast, we discuss:
Aron has a lot of interesting and even provocative views about how to lead an organization of people who'll be inspired to come to work every day. Please listen to our conversation below to hear from the man himself.
The following post is courtesy of board member, and Skeptical Guy, John Hollon.
It's a topic that only comes around every couple of years -- what are your workplace policies for allowing employees to vote?
A recent survey uncovered a new wrinkle about this issue that I had never thought about, and it's this: A company's voting policies can also have a huge impact on the organization's overall employee engagement.
O.C. Tanner, the longtime rewards and recognition company, recently asked 1,000 plus workers across the country about their organization's rules around voting during standard office hours (M-F, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.).
Here's what they found:
That all sounds pretty straightforward, but the O.C. Tanner survey also found that when employees are given workplace flexibility for voting, there seems to ALSO be "positive correlations between their engagement and well-being levels."
And, the numbers show that the "positive correlations" are pretty significant. For example:
So, what can we learn from this?
Here's my take: Little things can really matter, and giving employees the flexibility to go out and do their civic duty and vote is a little thing that can pay big dividends in higher engagement.
Why wouldn't a company want to encourage their people to vote? Unless your HR policies were crafted by Ebenezer Scrooge, just about every organization should be encouraging good citizenship, especially when it's something that only impacts the workplace every year or two.
Workplacefairness.org points out that "some states...designate a specific amount of time that workers must be allowed off to vote...(and) this time off may be paid or unpaid," but really, letting employees take the time to vote is one of those policies that sets the tone for your entire workplace culture.
You shouldn't need a state law to get you to do the right thing.
Companies giving managers broad leeway to let employees get out to vote sends the message that you have a caring, responsible culture that encourages workers to do their duty. It sends positive cultural ripples throughout the organization.
Companies that make it hard for employees to get time off to vote? Well, as the O.C. Tanner survey shows, less than half of workers would recommend a company like that as a good place to work to people they know.
As the survey found, the choice here is pretty clear -- and allowing employees the flexibility to vote is a good thing for your managers to emphasize as the midterm elections draw near.
What's the policy at your workplace when it comes to time off for voting?
Today's post is courtesy of board member Bob Clements, President at Axsium Group, a leading workforce management consulting firm.
One of the hottest topics in HR today is the employee experience, which can be defined as the sum of every interaction between an employee and employer from hire to retire. Creating a great employee experience helps employers attract and retain talent and increase employee engagement along the way.
The employee experience is often confused with employer branding, employee perks or even a new approach to HR. HR professionals struggle to understand what a great employee experience looks like and often lack the right tools and techniques to create one.
The good news is that a similar model exists in your marketing department. According to Gartner, two-thirds of companies believe that they compete, not on price or product selection, but customer experience. Journey mapping has become the technique of choice for those designing customer experiences.
Journey mapping allows marketers to all-but-literally get inside the customer's head by modeling how the customer feels and behaves as she interacts with the company either in a physical or virtual environment. And, it turns out that journey mapping is just as relevant for designing the employee experience. While the technique remains the same, the subject and her landscape are vastly different.
Journey mapping is an empathetic design process accomplished by putting oneself in the subject's shoes. But, what happens when that subject is you? What the employee is seeing, hearing, thinking, feeling and saying is not only fundamentally different than the customer, it is also shackled by bias, fear, and self-interest.
If that weren't enough, the stakes are higher. The employee is interacting with the design much more frequently than a customer, so the pain points are more poignant. Additionally, the customer may redirect his choices more easily whereas the employee's livelihood is tied to his choice to accept or deny his employee experience.
Navigating inferior technology, outdated processes and policies, cultural undercurrents, and the demand of the job is a tangled web. Journey Mapping aims to untangle it. The output isn't a map, per se, but a list of opportunities. And, those opportunities form the foundation of a great employee experience.
Have you tried journey mapping your employee experience? Please tell us about it in the comments section.
Today's post comes to us from Workforce Institute board member Chris Mullen. Chris is the Director of Human Resources for Housing & Dining Services at the University of Colorado Boulder.
As summer comes to a close, it's time to think about finishing the year on a strong note. During summer, it is not unheard of for people to take their foot off the gas when it comes to work. But with the temperatures cooling off and the leaves beginning to change color, it's time to get over the summer slump and reengage your workforce to reach the goals that were set at the beginning of the year.
Gallup reports that 70% of a team's engagement start with the manager. So, why not you start with your direct reports? Meet with them. Take them for a cup of coffee or have a walking meeting - something to get out of the office and out of the normal work environment. The purpose of these meetings is to get to know them a little better, start or continue to develop a relationship, and build trust.
Ask your direct reports about themselves. If you don't know anything about your employees, then now is the perfect time to start. Ask questions like:
Next, transition the conversation into work. Ask questions like:
A significant theme that arose from my doctoral research on work-life balance and the use of mobile technology, is that employees feel more empowered and satisfied when they are supported by their supervisors. One easy way you can support your employees is to get to know them.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE - you need to be sincere in getting to know your employees better. If you are just “checking a box” with each question, then they will see right through it and you.
By knowing your employees, you will be more in-tune to their needs. For instance, if you have a group of employees working on an important and labor-intensive project (which you are aware of because of your information gathering), it might go a long way after a milestone is reached to give them a Friday afternoon off and have them go home early. Or have them pick a day in the current month they would like a free day off. It may not seem like much, but it can go a long way for the employee.
What about you? How do you reengage with employees to finish the year strong? Let us know in the comments!
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