31. How to Create a Positive Corporate Culture [The Province] Sunday 10/24/04 3:14 PM |
A postive corporate culture is crucial to a company's business success and its ability to recruit and retain good employees. Corporate culture is defined by an organization's attitudes, personalities and behaviors.
You can create a good corporate culture by following these steps:
1) Realistic Assessment. The first step is understanding your current culture. This task is not as easy as you might expect. When asked, your managers will tend to describe the culture as they wish it to be not as it really is. Listen to trusted colleagues, bring in a third party or review exit interviews to get a realistic assessment.
2) Set an Example. Culture is always set by senior management. It is critical that leaders act as role models for the kind of behavior that they would like employees to model. Leaders must walk the talk in everything from valuing excellence, delegating authority to zero tolerance for harassment.
3) Publicize it. When your corporate culture is desirable, make sure that you talk about it both internally and externally. The values that shape the culture should be publicized in employee newsletters, handbooks, human resource literature. Use the internet and the intranet. Discuss in new hire orientation.
4) Hiring and Promotions. It is critical to base hiring and promotion decisions on factors that reflect your company's positive values and mission. Your hiring and promotion practices show employees exactly which behaviors are rewarded. Be careful to send the right message.
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32. Warmer Offices Linked to Higher Productivity [Newswise] Thursday 10/21/04 5:09 PM |
A Cornell University study found that temperature of the office has a direct effect on the error rate and productivity rate of employees. The study estimates that companies can save approximately 2 dollars per hour per employee by raising the temperature to a more comfortable level.
The study found that changing the office temperature from 68 degrees to 77 degrees reduced error rates by 44% and increased productivity by 150%.
33. Exit Interviews Reveal Managers Top in Job Skills; Lacking in Managerial Abilities [Nobscot Corporation] Wednesday 10/13/04 5:01 PM |
Exit interview results reveal that employees view their supervisor as being skilled at their job but lacking in managerial capabilities. Nobscot Corporation analyzed the results of over 10,000 exit interviews and found that 70% of employees rated their supervisor's job skills as favorable or most favorable. Alternatively only 54% rated their supervisors as providing the appropriate level of praise and rewards and 53% rated their supervisor favorably for delivering the appropriate level of reprimands.
"The results of this analysis remind us that we too often promote skilled professionals into supervisory roles without providing the appropriate degree of managerial training," stated Beth N. Carvin, CEO of Nobscot Corporation. "Smart companies are looking at innovative approaches such as mentoring that can help new managers come up to speed quickly in these areas."
According to their exit interviews, many employees feel that they do not learn of their value to their supervisor until they give their notice to leave. Regarding reprimands, some employees feel their supervisor's reprimands are too abusive and insulting particularly those given in public. Other employees are concerned that their supervisor does not reprimand those who need it most.
Carvin also stresses the importance of promoting employees who show management abilities, providing ongoing training to supervisors and measuring managers' effectiveness through exit interview analysis.
More information and quotes from employees comments available in the source news article.
34. Google Retention Challenge [Yahoo News] Tuesday 10/05/04 3:34 PM |
Now that google has gone public, they have a lot of very wealthy employees. Estimates are that 60% of google employees have stock options worth $1 million or more and 400 to 500 have options worth $5 million or more.
Will these employees continue to work for google? Will they retire or will they go off and start their own company? A lot of new companies are founded by wealthy ex-employees and that spin-off effect benefits us all, but the challenge for google is to keep enough of their staff engaged and motivated with their current position.
Google has more perks than most companies, but employees that are wealthy enough to do whatever they want to do will need to know that working at google is exactly what they want to do. One of the more unconventional perks aimed at keeping employees interested in their work is google's policy of allowing their staff to work 10% or more of their time on non-google or fun things. This is where some of their new products like gmail and orkut came from. Employees exploring new ideas at their own initiative.
If google is as successful at retaining their employees as they are in the marketplace, watch to see company policies change to emulate the google retention philosophy.
35. Retain Your Company Knowledge: Retain Your Retirees [computerworld] Tuesday 09/07/04 2:06 PM |
Retiring employees are highly skilled and have detailed company knowledge from their years of experience on the job. Companies can let that skill and company knowledge walk out the door or they can make plans to retain that key information.
Most companies let that knowledge walk. What some smart companies are doing is encouraging retirees to return to the job on a part time or temporary project basis. One company lets retirees take a leave of absence before they retire to see if they really want to retire or would rather work part time.
Another benefit of keeping the older workforce working or bringing them back is that the retirees do not need any training to get up and running. Companies are finding that it is not easy to replace their highly skilled elder workforce with 20-year-old graduates.
According to the AARP, 80% of baby boomers plan to work part time through their retirement. Deborah Russell from the AARP suggests "The top three things on companies' to-do lists should be to assess their own worker demographics and map out their retirement trends, then figure out what incentives they'll offer people to get them to stay and how they plan to transfer knowledge from these experienced workers to new workers."
Beverly Kaye, author of Love 'Em or Lose 'Em; Getting Good People To Stay suggests companies need to work on retaining their employees immediately. She advocates using what she calls stay interviews to discover what it would take to get leaving employees to stay.
Kaye recommends employees let their company know early about their retirement plans, and whether they are interested in flexible work or part time work instead of waiting to the last month. She sums up with, "When we lose talent in the aging IT person, we lose wisdom. We lose tacit knowledge, not just explicit knowledge, and we're letting that go all too easily. We need to be asking workers what it would take to have them stay and then offering them intriguing ways to do that."
Some of the features attractive to retirees are: short-term, project-based work vs. scheduled hours per week, flexible working arrangements, individual contributor assignments, phased retirement programs, less management or administrative responsibility.
36. Stress Is Bad For Business And Your Health [NYTimes] Sunday 09/05/04 1:51 PM |
Stress costs US tax payers and businesses $300 billion each year in health care and lost work. A multitude of studies link workplace stress to poorer health and increased mortality. Causes of workplace stress include heavier workloads resulting from downsizing or just not enough employees to get the job done. Two studies found the opposite was also true: company expansion caused increased employee sick time and health consequences. Other culprits for workplace stress include non-standard work hours.
Increased Cost from stress
According to the American Institute of Stress, stressed out workers have 46% higher health care costs which translates into $600 more per person than the non-stressed employee.
Cause of stress - Increased workload
One study found that 62% of employees had their workload increase over the last six months and 53% said they were overtired and overwhelmed from their workload. Another recent study found that 62% said their job responsibilities increased over last 6 months and that they had not taken their allotted vacation time. 60% did not expect any relief in the near future.
The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago found that 30% of employees are always or often stressed and 25% said that there are not enough coworkers to get the job done.
Cause of stress - non-standard work time
According to RAND Corporation, 25% of workers are in non-traditional employment, which includes part time employment and self-employment. 40% work non-standard times including evenings, night, rotating shifts and weekends.
Cause of stress - Downsizing or Upsizing
Downsizing causes poorer health in both workers that are fired and the workers that are not downsized and stay on the job. One study found that your chances of dying from heart attack doubled after a downsizing. Two studies found company expansion (in excess of 18% per year) caused employees to be 7% more likely to take sick leave greater than 90 days and 9% more likely to enter the hospital. The same studies showed that moderate growth actually reduced the likelihood that employees would take extended sick leave.
37. Employees Change Jobs for a Variety of Reasons [Financial Express] Wednesday 08/18/04 4:40 PM |
According to a research paper by an IIT-Bombay professor, there is a significant gap between HR Managers' perception of why employees change jobs and the real reasons as cited by the employees themselves.
The professor suggests that HR Managers need to do a better job of identifying the triggers that cause employees to leave by using exit interviews, employee surveys and other methods.
The paper's research findings show that people leave for different reasons depending on the stage in their career. For example employees new to the workforce tend to leave for more money, to work with new technology and to move from small to large companies. More senior level employees leave when the work is not challenging and when they are unhappy with the company vision.
One solution presented is for companies to be careful in their hiring and selection process to find employees with the "right" cultural fit with the company. Employers should also avoid presenting too rosy a picture of the company without including a realistic look at the job and the work requirements.
38. Employee Perceptions of Pay Equity Vary By Race [Hudson Highland Group] Monday 07/26/04 6:14 PM |
While a majority of workers (51%) feel they are being compensated fairly compared with others performing similar work, a smaller percentage of Hispanics and African Americans feel they are getting equal pay for equal work.
According to survey results released on July 20, 2004, Fifty-four percent (54%) of Caucasians surveyed felt they were paid fairly while just thirty-seven percent (37%) of Hispanics and thirty-three percent (33%) of African Americans felt the same.
The survey, sponsored by Hudson Highland Group, also found that employees do not believe that better performance results in better pay. Thirty-six percent (36%) of employees felt there was a connection between performance and pay compared with sixty percent (60%) who felt that pay was related to length of service.
In regard to reasons for leaving their current employer, Fifty-eight percent (58%) of employees surveyed reported that better pay and benefits would be the primary motivator for considering a new job opportunity.
39. Perks that Work [Baltimore Sun] Saturday 07/24/04 3:21 PM |
Job satisfaction may be at an all time low but not for many companies that have found a way to successfully incorporate perks into their workplace culture.
One example is Motek, Inc.. Employee turnover is low at this software company in California due in part to the unique benefits they offer their 20 person staff. Motek provides a lunch program where food is purchased from a different area restaurant each day for just $15.00 deducted from the employee's paycheck each week.
Motek also provides 5 weeks of paid vacation plus $5000 bonus each year that must be used in conjunction with three consecutive weeks of vacation. While these benefits might seem expensive, the company is rewarded with happy employees who have stayed with the company long term. The same programmers who wrote the code 13 years ago are still with the company today.
While some experts stress that perks are less important than interesting and challenging work, organizations are finding that benefits do make a difference in employee retention.
Some other examples:
Johns Hopkins University reimburses part of children of employees' college tuition for any college the child enrolls.
GMAC Insurance in Michigan offers a popular pet insurance program.
Service Net LLC, gives "fun money" that must be spent on something fun for the employee and his or her family.
Whole Foods Market in Baltimore rewards employees monthly based on increased sales and productivity in their department.
Starbucks Corporation's employees receive a free pound of coffee or box of tea each week.
40. Employee's First Days Critical For Retention Success [Times Leader - Pennsylvania] Sunday 06/20/04 6:13 PM |
Studies have shown that an employee's experiences during his or her first few weeks on a new job are critical in the employee's later decision whether to stay or leave. Lasting impressions about the company's standards, the workload, growth opportunity, the work ethic of colleagues and communication from upper management are all formed during this early time period.
The following are some tips to ensure that new employees get off to a good start with your company or organization:
1) Anticipate the first day. The new employee will have lots of questions buzzing around in his mind as his first day approaches. Anticipate those questions and put the answers in a letter or handout for each employee. Questions might include things like
- what is the dress code?
- where should you park?
- where do workers eat lunch?
2) Provide a warm welcome. The new employee should be welcomed on her first day by a friendly face. This can be someone assigned to greet the new employee or a friendly person whom the new employee met during her interview process. Remind staff to say hello and if you want to go all out - place fresh flowers on the new employee's desk.
3) Assign a friend. To help the new employee feel welcome during the first week or more, assign a friend who can meet the employee for breaks and lunch and answer any questions that one might hesitate to ask the boss.
4) Provide a schedule. List tasks and/or meetings that the new employee will be working on and attending during his or her first few weeks.
5) Teach the job. Be prepared with training to help the new employee successfully learn the specifics of the job. Make sure files and equipment are available if necessary and consider providing a colleague tutor who can assist with learning.
6) Touch base. During the first week, be sure to check in daily with the new employee to find out how things are going. This should continue at least weekly for the first month or two.
7) Provide hope for the future. Explain the organizational structure to the new employee and let her see how her job fits in with the company's mission. If advancement opportunities are available, explain how the process works and the steps for growth and training.
Employee retention is important even in an employer's market where workers are plentiful. Each employee represents a significant investment that is lost if the employee leaves prematurely. You can take steps to minimize this risk by making sure each employee gets a great orientation to the company.