3 Insights on Employee Motivation

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What makes some employees pour themselves into the work they do? That's the heart of the question behind motivating employees. Here are three (3) insights on employee motivation.

What makes some employees pour themselves into the work they do?

1. Limit using carrots and sticks to employee motivation.

One of the most well-known motivational concepts is the 'carrot and stick' approach which uses rewards and penalties to motivate others to produce desired results. Believe it or not, this method is still used quite a bit in organizations, despite its lackluster results. Employers continue to rely on rewards and incentives as well as discipline and punishment to motivate their employees.
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The Cost of Employee Turnover

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With the economy and the employment situation slowing pulling out of recession in 2013, employers across the country are faced with a different kind of economic challenge, that of employee retention.

The combination of more jobs (the BLS reports an increase of 148,000 jobs for September) and a somewhat more stable economic outlook has likely contributed to the steady increase in voluntary turnover that has been seen both locally and nationally. For example, since 2010, voluntary turnover in Northeast Ohio is up to 10% (an increase of about 4%) across both manufacturing and non-manufacturing industry groups.
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The 5 New Rules of Employee Engagement

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The rules of employee engagement are changing. If engagement is a priority for your organization, here are the five (5) new rules of employee engagement that your organization needs to know.

 

1. Engagement is not an initiative or a survey - it's embedded into the culture.

Historically, employee engagement has been an employer initiative or an annual survey endeavor. It's been mostly focused on implementing workplace programs, but not addressing systemic, cultural problems that hinder engagement. This traditional approach has had limited success.

Nowadays, the more effective way to improve employee engagement is embedding it into the culture: assessing it on an ongoing basis via surveying, having senior leaders commit to it as a priority, cascading it throughout the organization, and sustaining it.
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An Introduction to Employee Engagement Surveys

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An Introduction to Employee Engagement Surveys

Not only are employee engagement surveys a common initiative that most organizations conduct these days, but they are necessary for any workplace that wants to achieve and retain a highly productive, competent, and motivated workforce.

What is an employee engagement survey? What are the features of a successful project? What should you communicate? How should you follow-up on the results? Here's an introduction to employee engagement surveys that every employer should know.

Employee Engagement Surveys Defined

An employee engagement survey measures employees' collective level of engagement at their organization. Employee engagement is an employee's commitment to, involvement with, emotional attachment to, and satisfaction with their work and organization. Employee engagement drives business outcomes, such as productivity, performance, profitability, and other desirable behavior results in the workplace (such as retention, pride, etc.).
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100 Ideas for Employee Engagement Activities

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Employee engagement plays an important role in attracting, retaining, and developing top talent for organizations, and is important to a business' success. There are so many ways to engage employees through recognition and rewards, compensation, training and development, advancement opportunities, work/life and wellness initiatives, leadership and management behavior, community involvement, employee events, among others.

employee engagement activities

Below are 100+ ideas for employee engagement activities:

1. Share stories about how employees' work impacts customers and the organization.

2. Volunteer at a local charity or non-profit organization.

3. Start an internal company newsletter or blog in which employees and leaders can contribute content.

4. Create a wellness committee to implement initiatives around the office.

5. Start every meeting by recognizing one person for a recent accomplishment.

6. Create a job shadowing program for employees to job shadow and learn about other departments in the company.

7. Create a years of service recognition program.

8. Offer a flexible work schedule.

9. Provide employees with job opportunities outside of their regular job duties.

10. Have the leadership team eat lunch in the cafeteria and promote employees coming to talk to them with questions or concerns.

11. Have a no-email day once a month to encourage employees to encourage in-person interaction.

12. Provide on-the-job leadership opportunities for non-management top performers.

13. Have internal training classes once a month for employees to learn more about the company’s products/services.

14. Create an employee idea/suggestion program.

15. Have supervisors write thank you cards to employees, letting them know much their contributions are valued.

16. At staff or team meetings, encourage employees to recognize their fellow co-workers for a job well done.

17. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with staff.

18. Create an employee of the month award.

19. Allow employees to bring their dog and/or bring their child to work day. 

20. Create succession plans and communicate them to successors.

Engage and Retain

21. Invite top performers to attend a networking or special event with senior leaders.

22. Invite each employee to attend at least one training program each year.

23. Host exercise or yoga classes at the office.

24. Give employees stretch assignments to challenge them.

25. Recognize a personal accomplishment or milestone in employees' lives, such as births of children, weddings, retirements, and professional development achievements.

26. Start a new-hire mentor or buddy program.

27. Meet one-on-one with employees to talk about what they like and dislike about their job.

28. Implement a fitness program or activity.

29. Host an all-staff or team potluck breakfast or lunch.

30. Create a cross-training program.

31. Create employee-led committees for safety, wellness, or other workplace initiatives.

32. Host a community involvement day.

33. Have senior leaders work with non-management employees on projects and assignments.

34. Take a high performing employee out to lunch and/or host a luncheon or breakfast with a small group of employees.

35. Have monthly/quarterly town hall meetings during which senior management reports on the state of the business and employees have a chance to ask questions.

36. Talk about career development with top performers at least once a year.

37. Require that every manager provide ongoing coaching and feedback to their employees.

38. Start a profit sharing or bonus program.

39. Provide employees with extra time off as a reward, perhaps around a holiday.

40. Give employees a day off for their birthday.
 Engage and Retain

41. Host a summer company picnic or outing and a holiday party every year.

42. Do something special for employees when they are take on extra work while another employee is on vacation or out sick/on a medical leave.

43. Create open, comfortable collaboration spaces in which employees can gather together.

44. Implement an open door policy.

45. Match an employee's charitable donation.

46. Have employees participate in developing the organization's mission, vision, values, and strategic direction.

47. Create a mentoring program.

48. Give employees a paid day off to volunteer at a charity or non-profit organization of their choice.

49. Have a different department lead company staff meetings each time. Let the department plan an activity and report on what their department does.

50. Hang a white board (or other type of collaboration board) in the office and each month post a “Question of the Month” and leave markers for employees to write their answers.

51. Support an employee with a personal or work situation, such as a medical issue, loss of a relative, etc.

52. Pay for one professional membership per employee per year.

53. Offer employees to attend a conference paid by the company.

54. Give stretch assignments to top performers.

55. Give top performers the lead on special projects.

56. Create a culture committee comprised of employees.

57. Coordinate an employee appreciation day/week.

58. Allow employees to work from home as needed or on the regular basis.

59. Have a peer nominated employee of the month award.

60. Have non-management employees lead department or team meetings.

Engage and Retain

61. Rotate each person in your department leading a department meeting.

62. Have a welcome celebration and/or activity for newly hired employees.

63. Create a KPI board so employees can track how well they are doing on a daily/weekly basis.

64. Have a praise board in a public place where employees can informally thank other employees.

65. Do a short daily stand up at the beginning of each shift to recap what is going on in the department and business.

66. Coordinate a team-building event or retreat.

67. Start an internal knowledge-sharing group or initiative.

68. Create a book club in your organization on leadership, management, or industry-related topics.

69. Create a personalized learning and development plan for each employee.

70. Offer career counseling or coaching.

71. Implement a creativity and innovation contest.

72. Take candid photos of employees and at events to share on a bulletin board. Every month start with a new board and create an ongoing scrapbook of the old pictures.

73. Contract with a wellness or health coach to come on-site. 

74. Have a monthly birthday celebration for all birthdays in the office.

75. Put fun games and entertainment in a common area, such as a ping–pong table, television, or Wii.

76. Create a leadership development or emerging leaders program.

77. Offer career opportunities and promotions internally before seeking external hires.

78. Offer online training courses.

79. Allow employees to personalize their workspace.

80. Have a field day of outdoor activities or a few field hours during lunches throughout the summer.

Engage and Retain

81. Send top performing employees to a train-the-trainer class so they can help train new associates in their departments.

82. Start a tuition assistance/reimbursement program.

83. Have a company history month, during which employees learn about the history of the company through different activities.

84. Encourage employees to improve at least one thing about their job each quarter that helps the department and/or company.

85. Have senior leaders make "rounds" around the office each week (if possible) to interact and communicate with employees.

86. Have the CEO or top executive write a column for the internal company newsletter or blog.

87. Highlight a different employee in each internal newsletter. 

88. Give surprise half days to the whole staff.

89. Create an internal job board on which positions are posted internally before looking for outside candidates.

90. Create a company vegetable garden together as a staff.

91. Have employees set yearly professional and developmental goals.

92. Celebrate employee work anniversaries; give employees a gift and a card on their anniversary.

93. Give all employees a compensation increase each year. Differentiate increases based on performance.

94. Offer educational opportunities or programs related to stress management.

95. Have casual dress Fridays.

96. Get everyone involved with safety and have a tally in a common area of how many days without an accident. Every 60 days with no accident everyone is rewarded.

97. Play music in the office.

98. Host meetings outdoors for a change of scenery and fresh air.

99. Start a community puzzle for employees to work on during lunch.

100. Initiate a walking, running, or other type of exercise club.


Hopefully this list gives your organization several ideas for employee engagement activities. Providing opportunities for employees to be engaged creates a positive environment where employees can excel in their work.

Engaged employees can pay off in better business results, retention, and productivity if your organization is willing to create a great workplace environment and culture.

Interested in learning more about engagement surveys?

Submit your contact information and receive instant access to a brochure that overviews what is included in ERC's engagement surveys and our process for conducting and assessing.

View the Engagement Brochure

 

8 Ways to Get the Employee Behavior You Want

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8 Ways to Get the Employee Behavior You Want

Behavior is central to a productive and successful workplace. It affects how we pay people for what they merit, who we promote, and what we recognize and reward. And, ultimately, how our employees behave day to day ends up significantly affecting our culture and business.

Because of this, it’s critically important for organizations to make sure that their employees’ behavior matches what is needed in the organization. This includes the basics (respect, honesty, etc.), but also the behaviors that are crucial to the business' success (creativity, initiative, risk taking, etc.).

Much of what we try to do as managers is steer employees to behave in the ways that we want them to. We want them to stop complaining, take more initiative, produce better quality work, improve their performance, serve our customers better, act like leaders, and the list goes on. Essentially, we want them to change their behavior, and we're often stumped (and sometimes even baffled) over how to do it. Influencing and changing behavior is tricky in the workplace. Fortunately, there are some "tried and true" ways to do it.

Here are eight ways to get the employee behavior you want.
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5 Questions to Evaluate Your Performance Review Process

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5 Questions to Evaluate Your Performance Review Process

Performance management is often a challenging area for employers, and many organizations never think they are doing it as effectively as they could be. The truth is that most aren't. Performance management is a lagging area at many organizations, but nonetheless, it's a vital process that should be continuously improved upon in the workplace.

With end-of-year reviews approaching, here are five questions to consider when evaluating whether your performance management process needs a tune-up.
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Integrating Incentive Pay into Your Performance Management Process

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When structuring an effective Performance Management process at any organization, including some type of incentive to help drive performance is a key step. Particularly in recent years, large financial incentives are not always feasible, nor are they always found to be the most impactful driver for incentivizing employees. Nonetheless, a consistently strong majority of organizations both across the region and nationally, tie pay to performance either directly or indirectly.

For a closer look at how organizations in Northeast Ohio are implementing these financially based incentives, we turn to the 2013 ERC Pay Adjustment & Incentive Practices Survey.

Types of Incentives

Annual bonus plans remain the most common type of incentive pay, with individual incentives and profit-sharing filling the second spot, depending upon the employee group being compensated. Other less common incentives reported include, longevity service awards, retirement-based profit sharing, and executive performance bonus plans for select executive level positions.
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The 15 Attributes of a Great Workplace

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The 15 Attributes of a Great Workplace

ERC's NorthCoast 99 program recognizes great workplaces that excel at the attraction, retention, and motivation of top performers. ERC is proud to have recognized great workplaces in Northeast Ohio, and has accumulated a great deal of insight into what makes a workplace truly great through the research we conduct as part of the program.

What makes a great workplace that draws extraordinary employees to love coming to work every day? What makes a great workplace that attracts, retains, and motivates the very best talent?

Here are 15 attributes that we believe are characteristic of great workplaces for top talent, based on our research over the last 15 years.

1. Offer Challenging and Meaningful Work

Great workplaces understand the importance of keeping employees' work interesting, exciting, challenging and meaningful, because consistently, top performers say that challenging and meaningful work is the number one attribute they seek in a job.

2. Hire and Retain Great People

Great workplaces are made up of great people. Within great workplaces, top performers work alongside other top performers who are positive, hardworking, committed and loyal, believe in what the organization does, and participate in making the workplace great.

3. Provide Competitive Compensation

Great workplaces offer competitive and fair compensation, above-average pay increases, and opportunities to earn more pay based on performance, such as bonuses, profit sharing, and other incentives to keep and reward top performing talent as well as attract new talent.

4. Value and Reward Employee Contributions

Great workplaces show they appreciate and value employees and their contributions. They celebrate success often, and praise, recognize, and reward employees in a variety of formal and informal ways. They never miss an opportunity to say 'thanks' for employees' hard work.

5. Invest in Training and Development

Great workplaces invest in training and development for their workforce to grow their talents and capabilities. They make time for learning and support it by paying for employees to participate in various opportunities and offering/delivering a variety of training and career development programs.

6. Guide, Support, and Develop Top Performers

Through performance management practices that help guide, support, and develop exceptional performance, great workplaces provide clarity on how to be a top performer, help other employees become top performers, and assist existing top performers in sustaining top performance. Reaching for excellence each and every day is what makes great workplaces successful.

7. Encourage Work/Life Balance

Great workplaces are flexible to employees' work/life needs and encourage work/life balance by offering flexible schedules, providing generous paid time off, accommodating individual requests and needs, and creating a supportive work environment that is understanding of personal and family obligations.

8. Invest in Employees' Health and Wellness

Great workplaces genuinely care about their employees' well-being. They offer wellness options that help employees develop healthy lifestyle behaviors as well as provide an array of benefits which support their employees' health and personal welfare.

9. Involve and Empower Employees

Great workplaces involve and empower employees by listening to their input, involving them in moving the organization forward, and giving them opportunities to lead initiatives, collaborate with one another, participate in decision-making, and make a meaningful difference at work. At great workplaces, employees believe that their opinions matter and that they can positively impact their organizations.

10. Share Information About the Organization's Performance

Leaders frequently share information about the organization's performance, its financials, the vision and direction of the organization, and other critical information and updates at great workplaces. In addition, leaders regularly interact with and communicate with employees one-on-one, in small groups, and as an entire staff. Additionally, great workplaces help everyone understand the mission and purpose of the organization, and how their work connects to the big picture.

11. Are Led by Exceptional Leaders

Great workplaces are led by exceptional and inspiring leaders. Leaders set the example from the top and lead the organization well. They genuinely care about and value employees. Relationships between leaders and employees are characterized by mutual respect, trust,  honesty, and support.

12. Encourage Innovation and Growth

Great workplaces are successful, growing, and innovative. They hold themselves to high standards, are focused on delivering exceptional customer service and quality, and strive to innovate and continuously improve their organizations. They are always raising the bar in their businesses and in their workplaces.

13. Hire the Best of the Best

Great workplaces hire the best—and only the best. They recognize that a great workplace and culture results from great people. They define the talent they need, strategically recruit it, and put into place selection practices that identify top performers, as well as on-boarding practices that engage top performers and set them up for success from the start.

14. Create and Sustain a Unique Culture

Great workplaces have a unique culture that is their own, often described as fun, congenial, collaborative, positive, passionate, and creative. Their work environments, people, and workplace practices all help create a vibrant, positive, magnetic, and infectious culture.

15. Serve the Community

And last but not least, great workplaces make an impact on and give back to their local community. Not only do they generously donate their company resources to the community, but they also serve their communities by helping others in need and offering their staff's time and talents.

There is no magic formula for achieving a great workplace, and these are just some common attributes of many that great workplaces seem to have. While no workplace is perfect, many organizations strive to become a truly great workplace and come close. The NorthCoast 99 winners are among these organizations, and they, as well as all other organizations that strive everyday to be great workplaces, should be applauded for their efforts to become employers of choice in Northeast Ohio. They are truly making a difference.

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State of Ohio Announces Training Voucher Program

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The Ohio Development Services Agency is launching round two of the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program.

A pre-application is now available beginning September 4, 2013 for businesses who want financial help to train their current workforce. $27 million in grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications for the grant program will be accepted for review on September 30, 2013 beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Visit the Ohio Development Services Agency's website to review the guidelines and application instructions for this program and to access the pre-application.

For assistance with the application or additional questions, please contact Kelly Keefe, ERC's Director of Training at 440-947-1284 or kkeefe@yourERC.com

Frequently Asked Quesions

Who is eligible to apply for the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program?

An eligible employer is one who operates as a for-profit entity in a state-designated targeted industry, with a facility located in Ohio that has been in continuous operation for the 12 months immediately prior to the application submittal.  Targeted industries are: Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace and Aviation, Automotive, BioHealth, Corporate Headquarters, Energy, Financial Services, Food Processing, Information Technology and Services, Polymers and Chemicals, Back Office, Logistics, or Research and Development.  The company’s NAICS code (http://www.naics.com/search.htm) will determine eligibility as to the targeted industry.

How will the Voucher for the program be awarded?

Vouchers will be awarded in the form of a Voucher Agreement between the Ohio Development Services Agency and the employer.  The program will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis until all of the available funds are committed.  After that time, applications will still be accepted and retained in a “queue” in the event that additional program funds become available.

The program allows for up to $4,000 per employee per fiscal year. What is the timespan of the fiscal year?

The state of Ohio fiscal year runs July 1 through June 30.  Please note, however, that the training period for this program will be between August 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014.

The program allows for $250,000 per employer per fiscal year. How is that calculated?

Each employer (identified by Federal Employee Identification Number/FEIN) will be eligible for up to $250,000 in assistance per fiscal year. The Voucher Agreement and any Supplements to the Master Voucher Agreement issued to an employer during the fiscal year, aggregated throughout all of its State of Ohio locations, will be included in this calculation.  Please note that only one application per employer will be accepted per program year.  If an employer has multiple sites, those sites must work together to submit the one application. An application may include multiple employees and multiple training courses.

What is the employer reimbursement amount for this program?

We will reimburse the employer for up to 50 percent of the cost of the training (up to $4,000 per employee and/or up to $250,000 per company) once the employer pays the full cost of the training.  The employer’s contribution must come from private sources and cannot include any previously acquired public funds.  The match does not include wages.

After the application is submitted, how long does an employee have to begin the training?

Training must begin August 1, 2013 or later and must be completed by June 30, 2014.

When can the employee training begin?

While the Effective Date of the Agreement will be August 1, 2013, any costs incurred or monies expended by the applicant on the project prior to final approval and the execution of the written agreement, is done at the applicant’s own risk.  Applicant’s decision to go forward does not obligate the State of Ohio to provide state assistance that has not received all required approvals or has not been memorialized in a written agreement between the applicant and the state of Ohio.

All training must begin August 1, 2013 or later and must be completed by June 30, 2014.

Does reimbursement apply even when the company has a tuition reimbursement program as part of its benefit package?  Do the courses have to be strictly related to the business?

The OIWTVP will provide reimbursement funds for tuition courses when the course meets the needs of the applicant company.  Therefore, the course must be required by the company and be job related, regardless of the requirement for a degree.  Tuition courses which are for the sole purpose of obtaining a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree are not eligible for this program.