Today's post comes to us from board member and HR BartenderSharlyn Lauby.

Years ago, when I worked in the hotel industry, the company's labor attorney would call once a year to ask a favor. It was for reservations in our restaurant on New Year's Day. Every year. Reservations on New Year's. Finally, I got up the nerve to ask him why he wanted the reservation. He explained that he and his wife would have a super long lunch on New Year's to talk about the future. They discussed their life, jobs, etc.

I thought this was a great idea. So, when we started our company, my husband and I started having the same conversation. Now we did do things a little bit differently. Instead of lunch on New Year's, we call ours a strategic planning meeting. And it included a conversation about retirement.

As the owner of a small business, we knew it was important for us to think about what we wanted our retirement to look like. And when we wanted to start retirement.

During these conversations, there was one thing that kept coming up - how much we liked blogging. We had no idea when we started HR Bartender ten years ago that the blog would have grown exponentially and that we would love writing, marketing, and interacting with a community of readers.

So, we decided to start a blog about retirement. But in doing so, we realized that what we were really creating was a blog about having something to do instead of traditional retirement. Hence, the concept of unretirement was born.

Since we launched the blog last year, I've talked to many individuals who are thinking about the same things that we were in terms of their own unretirement. Employees who enjoy working and want to continue contributing, albeit on a reduced schedule. Individuals who would like to pursue their encore career.

Organizations have a huge opportunity here. With unemployment at record lows, companies need to find ways to tap into the talents of individuals thinking about retirement and unretirement. There are three ways to consider doing it:

All jobs are not necessarily full-time jobs. When work needs to be done, the organization needs to ask the question, “Is this a full-time job?” It's possible that the organization could engage a part-time, on call, or freelancer to get the work done.

Consider a benefits package for part-time employees. In many organizations, benefits are for full-time employees and if you're not full-time, you have no benefits. As companies build a contingent workforce, think about the possibility of establishing a benefits package for part-time employees.

Train managers on the best way to engage contingent workers. It's absolutely critical for managers to engage part-time employees and freelancers at the same levels of full-time staff. The company still expects high levels of performance from all workers.

Organizations cannot afford to let their talent simply “retire”, taking years of knowledge and experience with them. Allowing employees to unretire for a few years could be a real win for both employees and employers. But it takes planning and open, honest conversations about the future.

Today's post comes to us courtesy of board member John Frehse, senior managing director at Ankura Consulting Group.

If you ask any Human Resources professional what they pay their employees, they will respond with a dollar amount. If you ask them how they compensate their employees, they may also include things like medical benefits and paid time off. While salary figures and standard benefits are indeed critical components of compensation, it is important to understand that many other currencies are not only accepted by today's workforce, they are demanded.

“Currencies” are varied and certainly not just limited to financial reward.

A few examples:

  1. Investments in training: Very simply - does your company invest in its people?
  2. Visibility: Do employees have visibility into performance, productivity, and what is required of them? Can they see fellow employees' availability to gain flexibility by swapping shifts and requesting time off?
  3. Structured mentoring: Companies often like to talk about mentoring, but does it really take place? Without a proper structure where employees are matched with appropriate leaders, mentoring becomes a “nice to have” but not an actual program.
  4. Public recognition for performance: Are employees who go above-and-beyond required performance and provide discretionary effort publicly recognized for their contributions?
  5. Leadership-enabled Success: Do leaders and administrative tasks slow down or block success? Are employees discouraged from making improvements because “management will never support it?”
  6. Merit-based promotions: How often is your firm looking outside of the company to find leaders? If this is common, dedicated employees are being passed over for outsiders and this can crush morale.

Frankly, when discussing culture and employee engagement as a byproduct, money is rarely the key driver. It's other “softer” currencies - like the ones above - that drive positive behaviors, and therefore results.

When a wide range of currencies is not available to the workforce, the demand for cash goes up. In an environment with little or no chance of advancement, recognition, or mentoring, employees will demand larger amounts of the only currency available. And when cash becomes the single driver, morale and performance are traditionally very low. The more employees are starved of a wide range of currencies, the more financial compensation is needed to satisfy them, and this does not translate into better performance.

So, what currency is most important to you as an employee? How well - or poorly - does your organization score when it comes to providing compensation beyond just salary and benefits? Tell me in the comments!

flying"Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning." -Benjamin Franklin

When you hear the phrase "exchange program," what comes to mind? You may immediately think of student exchange programs - opportunities for those still in school to experience a new country while pursuing their degree. But learning in a new-to-you country doesn't have to end once you have your diploma  - traveling abroad for work is also a huge learning experience, no matter what level you may be on the corporate totem pole.

Last year, Kronos launched a Marketing Exchange Program, giving qualified Kronos marketing employees all over the world the opportunity to spend two weeks in another Kronos location. Interested Kronites nominate themselves, and one employee per quarter is chosen by their manager based on several criteria. Travel, accommodations, and meals during their two weeks away are all provided by Kronos.

In addition to being able to explore a new country, Kronites also choose three learning objectives ahead of time that they'd like to explore in their new location. They're also assigned an on-the-ground mentor to facilitate their stay - and that same "buddy" will be who the Kronite works with on a specific project related to their career. Upon their return to their "home base," the employee presents his or her key learnings to management.

This program has already proven to be a major win for all parties involved: the Kronite traveling abroad gets to explore another country while advancing their career; the Kronos office they visit can benefit from the additional assistance and perspective; and Kronos as a whole grows thanks to the employees' growth and expanded knowledge, further contributing to our overall business objectives.

Does your company offer a similar program? Or are you thinking of implementing one? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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The following guest post was written by Jenn Ardery, a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Kronos. Thanks, Jenn!

Employee burnout, that state in which individuals feel overwhelmed, at their wits' end, and unsure where to turn, is becoming a serious issue for organizations. According to Aptitude Research Partners' Study, organizations that have above average rates of employee burnout are 66% more likely to lose top performers than their competitors.

An organization's success depends on retaining an engaged, skilled, and productive workforce. But with so many variables that can influence engagement efforts and retention rates, how do you know where to focus your energy?

Organizations should rethink how Workforce Management (WFM) and Human Capital Management (HCM) processes and tools impact employees and give them choices that help avoid burnout before it's too late.

Please join us on Wednesday, August 3rd at 12 PM ET to chat about how your organization is impacted by burnout and to learn ways to resolve it.  Kronos Inc. (@KronosInc) will announce the Tweet Chat by asking:

Q1: When thinking about employee burnout, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Q2: 81% of US salaried employees work outside their standard work hours. Is the 40-hour work week a thing of the past? Why?

Q3: A 2015 @Glassdoor survey found that US employees only use 51% of their eligible paid vacation time. Why do you think that is?

Q4: 75% perceive employee absences as impacting productivity/revenue. How do absences impact burnout?

Q5: Technology is changing our workplace. How can it help us in terms of employee fatigue/burnout?

Q6: Data is crucial in helping to ID issues. What data do you find most helpful in aiding to prevent employee fatigue/burnout?

Q7: How and how much do you think burnout affects retention?

Q8: How can organizations create a culture of awareness around employee burnout and promote work/life balance?

Q9: Why is preventing employee burnout good for business?

Q10: What are some effective ways to prevent employees from burning out?

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