Category: Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement

How to Boost Employee Engagement with Remote Sales Teams

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With 2020 came a large influx of companies who needed to rethink how to work. The coronavirus brought big changes and with it an entire new era of remote work. This brought its own challenges and for remote work, communication and employee engagement are the biggest. The same technology that allows us to use the world as our office also employs digital communication with leaderboards and apps to send messages, recognize achievements, and give feedback, no matter our location. Here are a few ways you can use today’s technology to boost employee engagement with your sales teams.  

Communicate Everything

When your team works in different cities and time zones, direct communication is a struggle and it’s easy to miss important information or feel out of the loop. The onus is on managers to utilize technology to craft clear messages to their entire team. While email is used more globally, the bottomless pit that is an inbox makes it easy to overlook or mistake a piece of mail as nonessential. Email also makes it easy to leave someone off the list, which can lead to social isolation or poor performance.

With the onset of Slack, the real-time communication tool for businesses, managers are adopting this as a method for mass communication. Messages are organized in channels, all devoted to a particular theme or project. The added benefit of Slack is that it integrates with gamification technology like Hoopla in order to send newsflashes via your company’s digital dashboard. You can customize the way people are alerted to these messages, who receives them, and more. 

Competition Among Teammates

Your sales team does not need to sit next to one another to compete for top ranking sales. A performance dashboard that can be viewed remotely promotes healthy competition among colleagues. This is a powerful and low-input way to strengthen your employees’ engagement with their goals. An added opportunity is allowing employees to challenge each other through motivational games with low stakes wagers like coffee or lunch for the winner. Remote employees can quickly feel like their work is meaningless, but when you give them the opportunity to work together, apart.  

Improve the Feedback Loop

How do you reward success when you don’t enjoy daily, or even weekly, face time with your team? Leveraging the power of your gamification tools to award your team with badges or newsflashes is an easy way to remind someone that they are appreciated—and remind the rest of the team that they are working as a unit. Make sure that these newsflashes can be sent to where the employee is: Microsoft Teams, Slack, On their phone or PC. And let’s face it, using Employee Appreciation Day to deliver mugs or other “participation trophy-like” swag is not nearly as valued as getting instant recognition for a job well done.  

 Similarly, performance dashboards that are designed with an employee’s KPIs in mind is an excellent way to keep remote sales teams focused on their progress. You may not be able to schedule regular meetings, either face-to-face or through a video conference. Building on your digital communication to offer feedback in real time helps recognize their achievements, outlines missed opportunities, and identifies promotion or growth options. With publicly displayed communication, your team will be clear on your expectations on company goals.

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Employee Engagement

How to Acknowledge Failure Like a Level-5 Leader to Improve Employee Engagement

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hooplaprod

No one likes to admit defeat. But, regardless of how unwanted, it happens. Even the most successful business people will tell you that their road to success was paved with pitfalls. In order to grow beyond your failures, you need to admit your role in the failures. When you start to create an open dialogue with your team about both the good and the bad, you become a better leader and build stronger bonds in employee engagement.

In Jim Collin’s renowned management book Good to Great, he discusses the idea of “Level 5 Leadership”, using the theory that when a manager sees success, they look “out the window” and when there is a failure, they look “in the mirror”. Meaning a “great” manager takes personal responsibility for losses and graciously thanks their team for the wins. We’ve discussed the importance of public recognition and empowering your team through digital communication and leaderboards, but we’ve yet to shed light on what to do when things go wrong.

No one on your team should wonder how or why a goal was not reached or a project was scrapped, nor should they find out indirectly, whether through industry gossip or at the proverbial water cooler.  This approach is more important than ever with more teams moving into remote or hybrid working environments. 

Don’t Hide Behind a Loss

In the same way your business employs communication technology to share the good stuff, you can communicate the bad in an inclusive and impactful way. Not sharing the possibility or reality of a failure actually produces more anxiety, uncertainty, and disengagement among your team than open communication does. According to Tony Groom, Chief Executive of K2 Business Partners, “More communication rather than a minimal level is required to reassure stakeholders and this is likely to involve clear communication about the rectification process and who is responsible.”

Using alerts for regular communication to your company is a healthy way to open dialogue and increase employee engagement.  Deal Alerts can either be used to communicate announcements or OKRs (Objectives & Key Results) through key metrics tracked on leaderboards. Deal alerts can also be set up to stream directly into a Slack channel, so everyone can stay up to date no matter where they are working. 

This ensures that everyone on your team receives the same information at the same time, creating a space to participate and ask questions. In order to properly acknowledge failure, managers need to make sure that they set aside time for these inquiries  and follow ups by employees. Keeping information transparent, and opening up conversations are key ways to ensure that your team is involved whether they work from the office, at home, or on the road.  By communicating directly and proactively, managers are acknowledging an issue and taking ownership of it.  

Let Your Team Win

Other companies are realizing that fewer losses—and more wins—are coming from letting their teams decide. Warby Parker, the eyewear company changing the way we see, relinquished some control from managers and gave it back to their employees when it came to decision making. The system, called Warbles, “lets employees across Warby Parker nominate programming projects.” The projects are then turned over to managers, who assign points to each project, and programmers, who choose which project most interests them.

The same type of problem solving can be incorporated into gamification technology by giving your team the power to design a solution to a problem plaguing the company, regardless of their current role or department. This process will be able to provide insight that higher level team members may not even be aware of. Adding an element of competition to determine who and how a problem will be solved increases employee engagement in the company’s success even further.  

Stuff Happens

Sometimes there are variables beyond our control. A market or housing crisis that makes consumers tighten their belts. A blackout that impacts a day of digital business.  A global pandemic. Regardless of inevitable events, in creating leaders who foster dialogue among their teams and team members who feel valued enough to share in the wins, your team will be prepared to tackle obstacles and move beyond defeat.

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Celebration Employee Engagement

Fun Ways to Celebrate Sales Wins

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Sales is the backbone of your business. Your account executives are out on the front lines of your industry, acting as the ambassadors of your product—and every ounce of energy you’ve put into it. So when they win, you win. And that’s always worth celebrating. And while there are certainly ways to go big—maybe it’s a special vacation package, or even that over-the-top office holiday party—there are also ways that you can celebrate your sales reps every day.  

Offer Bragging Rights

In a competitive sales culture, sometimes the biggest driver is simply the desire to be the best. So why don’t you give your sales people a chance to fight for those bragging rights: start by creating a leaderboard, then give them a goal.

Whoever reaches that goal first proves their place as “The True Sales Guru of Q1.” Or, well—you get it. Gamifying your office like that doesn’t just help the winner—it empowers all of your people to strive to be at the top, and in real time. And when someone has the month they’ve always dreamed of having, they’ll get their rightful place on the top of the board.  

Don’t stop at just leaderboard creation. Sales managers need to be more creative and flexible in order to keep their teams motivated. Make sure that you are running sales contests at regular intervals that can keep your team engaged in the sales process, and don’t just run the same thing over and over every week. Keep things interesting by grouping individuals into different teams, or by pairing people off into separate face offs.

Just remember when you are drawing these lines to try and keep the competition close – so everyone feels like they have the ability to win from the get go. 

Hand Out A Prize

And when you want that champion to have more than the standard recognition, why not make it a real award? Sure, they may not be able to sing, but you may very well be employing the Beyonce of Account Executives, and it’s high time they had a golden statue on their desk as hard proof.

Whether it’s a fake Oscar trophy, or a beautiful glass masterpiece for the mantel, having a tangible award to pass around can really make a sales person feel special after a big win. And every month after, you can pass it around to whoever’s highest in the stacks—or whoever just sealed the next best deal. It’s another honor for your salespeople to strive for.  

Get The Team In On It

What fearless leader doesn’t want to be adored by their subordinates? And what teammate doesn’t want to feel like the one who hit the game-winning shot? Well, when an individual win can be celebrated by the whole team, you’re setting everyone up for success. So the next time one of your managers catches that elephant they’ve been hunting, tell them the team lunch is on the company. Or reward a high-achieving team with a night out. You’ll be amazed at the boost your associates can get from a bonding night.  

Make the Process Fun 

Instead of gamifying the sales process, why not gamify the actual outreach? Create a contest for the best outreach email or phone call, and let the sales reps get creative  with it. For the brainstorming portion let them write whatever they’d like for outreach, and encourage wild creativity. Then narrow it down into more reasonable outreach. 

This is a great way to do a bit of team building, and come out of the other side with some actionable email (or phone call) outreach that might help gain more customers. 

A Little Recognition Goes A Long Way

And of course, don’t count out the value of a simple call-out. And it doesn’t have to just be through those classic email wires. Try throwing that top achiever’s name and picture up on the screens around the office, leverage slack to send a shoutout to the entire company simultaneously or sounding off an air horn after a huge close. Sometimes, the simple truth is that your people just want to be recognized for their hard work and investment in your company.

So no matter how you’re celebrating those wins, your baseline should be some tried and true recognition. Remember: when you’re creating an atmosphere that relentlessly rewards hard work, loyalty, and dedication, you’re creating a culture of winning. So don’t be shy about investing in wins, no matter how big or small, every day.

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Employee Engagement

5 Strategies to Motivate and Empower Remote Workers

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As we continue to navigate a new remote-centric work world, more and more organizations are asking the questions: How do you keep those remote workers engaged, motivated and empowered? 

When you don’t have much face-to-face time with an employee, traditional management practices can be difficult, if not impossible, to implement. Workers may also begin to feel isolated, focusing only on just a small part of a task instead of how their efforts contribute to a greater goal. This can be especially difficult when remote work is the only way to work. 

Don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to help make work from home more connected, goal oriented and even more productive than the office. Here are five strategies for motivating and empowering your remote workers.

1. Build Teams

One thing you can do is create teams. When your remote workers know that they are expected to communicate and interact with their coworkers, they can feel just as engaged as in-office staff members. “I may be working remotely, but that doesn’t mean I’m living on a desert island,” says content strategist Chris King. “I’m in constant touch with the office using some technological platform or another.

2. Plan Face-to-Face Time

Face time also helps. Phone calls and emails can accomplish a lot. Add in video conferencing and remote collaboration. A simple connection like this can make the gap between remote and in-house employees feel a whole lot smaller. While face-to-face meetings do have their purposes, a video call like this can bring similar values. They help remote workers understand their respective roles in company and team hierarchies, as well as help with conflict resolution.

3. Provide Mentorship

Another action you can take to motivate and empower your remote workers is to provide mentorship. People communicate in different ways, so a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works. Take the time to tailor your coaching strategies to each individual by his or her duties. Provide positive reinforcement, as well as constructive feedback, and position yourself or another team member as a contact person for your remote staff.

4. Gamify your team

Gamifying your team can make the sales process more fun and it doesn’t take any extra effort. Activity tracking can be completed automatically and instantly translated into graphics and charts that update in real time — and it works. Real-time updates on performance statistics can keep employees motivated and engaged to increase the number of closed deals or boost whatever activities by which their performance is measured.

5. Share Your Victories

Gamifying performance also helps remote workers share victories. Watching the sales activities increase for your team as a whole can be motivating because it is easy for your remote workers to conceptualize how their efforts contribute to team goals. Easily see how efforts stack up against their peers. In this way, sharing victories encourage employees to cheer one another on or engage in friendly competition. Sharing performance updates in real-time on leaderboards can bring together different teams, departments, and offices in different locations.

[originally published 11/8/16. Updated: 5/20/20] 

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Employee Engagement

Keep Remote Employees Engaged With These 5 Tips

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2020 has caused a major shift in the way the world can work. As more companies move toward distributed workforces, the challenge becomes not only to maintain a positive company culture for your in-house staff, but also to immerse all of your remote workers in your company culture. Due to sheer logistics, that is a more difficult proposition. How do you keep remote employees engaged when they can be any where at any time?

Extending Your Company Cultural Boundaries

Companies that begin with a remote worker model are more likely to focus on building a robust culture remotely from the get-go. However, if you have a strong company culture established before you begin distributing work remotely, it is essential to have just as strong a focus on maintaining that culture as your workforce becomes more geographically diverse. It is never safe to merely assume that your culture will translate well to remote workers. Remote.Co’s “5 Mistakes Companies Make When Transitioning to Remote Work” observes: “Don’t assume that company culture sans office and water cooler will be a rosy experience. When individuals or teams are spread across cities, regions, or time zones, the culture of an organization can make or break a firm.” It is therefore necessary to ensure that your company culture transcends logistical issues and translates, not only in-office, but to keep remote employees engaged as well.

Increase Employee Engagement by Keeping Remote Workers in the Loop

What, then, can be done to ensure that your remote workers are immersed fully in your culture and are engaged and happy in their work? Here are five tips to get you started:

 
1. Talk the Talk One of the potential pitfalls of working remotely is that it is easy to experience feelings of isolation. Without the regular give and take that naturally occurs in a shared office space, the worker can begin to feel like the Lone Ranger.

One way to mitigate feelings of isolation for your remote worker is to keep the lines of communication open at all times. Ensure that any inter-office communication that is readily available to your on-site team is also available to your remote workers. A strong communication policy will help your remote workers to feel a valuable part of your team. The most common tool for keeping the lines of communication open with remote workers is email. However, email is becoming ineffective as email threads pile up and spam takes over the inbox. In an age where we have social channels like Twitter and Facebook that keep us updated to the very second, instant feedback is an important feature we need to keep in mind for open communication lines. Slack is an amazing social tool to keep employees remote and in-house fully connected.

We use Slack at Hoopla to create channels of communication for all employees, as well as social spaces for individual teams. Slack makes it easy to keep the team rolling with instant messages that come with alerts, sending over files with ease, and keeping tabs on activity feeds. With Hoopla updates being sent to slack, it’s easy to keep tabs on key info, and of course we use our own Hoopla TV to broadcast live updates on displays in each office.  

Photo from Slack.com – “Where work happens.”

2. Schedule Regular Face-Time Inc.’s “6 Ways to Keep Your Remote Workers Productive” states: “In-person interactions with the broader team help build better camaraderie and eliminate mistrust. So if a remote worker hasn’t visited in a while, set up a time for him or her to come to the office, participate in meetings in person, and spend time hanging around with on-site colleagues.

And schedule an off-site lunch or dinner meeting for you and your remote employee to talk one-on-one.” If your remote workers are too geographically distant to make that feasible, you can achieve much the same effect by scheduling video conferences on a regular basis. There are a variety great ways to make face-time happen with minimal cost and effort, such as GoToMeeting by CitrixGoogle HangoutsBlueJeansLoopUp, or Adobe Connect. Each of these video conferencing tools has options for businesses of various sizes, so you should be able to find the perfect fit for your organization with minimal effort.  

Photo from LoopUp.com – “No more painful conference calls.”

3. Uphold Team Traditions CMSWire’s “How to Nurture a Positive Company Culture with Remote Workers” notes: “Traditions are the root of culture. Even the smallest traditions remind staff that they are part of a community and increase those warm, fuzzy feelings of inclusion that comprise a positive company culture.” Perhaps your company acknowledges important life events like anniversaries or birthdays for employees. Or maybe you provide quarterly bonuses or annual company picnics to rally the company troops together. Whatever traditions your company embraces, it is important to include remote workers in the proceedings as much as possible. Traditions are particularly important to sales teams. Are there traditional things that your company does to recognize the accomplishments of sales people internally?

Perhaps you display sales team stats on large screen displays or acknowledge team members when they close a large deal for the company. If so, do not forget to include remote workers in those traditions, as this can serve to unite teams no matter where team members may be.

4. Play the Game Gamification is a great way to keep your teams engaged, whether in-house or remote. Salespeople are often inclined toward a certain level of competitive spirit, and gamification allows you to use healthy competition to best advantage. How can you include remote workers in your gamification efforts? Use a system to calculate points, broadcast real-time updates, leaderboards, metrics, and company announcements no matter whether they are sitting in your office or working remotely. In this way, your teams stay connected and engaged, without regard to physical location.

5. Leverage Employee Recognition Initiatives Everyone, including your remote workers, appreciates being recognized for achievement. BusinessNewsDaily’s “No Face Time? No Problem: How to Keep Virtual Workers Engaged” advises: “A digital recognition program that’s used for all employees can level the playing field for out-of-office workers. By awarding virtual badges or rewards for employee achievements, you can show your staff that you’re really recognizing their efforts.” Provide a technology platform for real-time recognition of sales team members as they close deals and reach goals to ramp up the enthusiasm of the whole team. Has Scott in Sales landed an account your company has been working on for weeks? Let everyone share in the excitement by broadcasting it out through TVs, Slack or Microsoft Teams, and mobile apps to celebrate his success. Broadcasting the accomplishments of remote team members along with in-house members keeps everyone in the loop excited, engaged, and included.

The Bottom Line

Modern companies are embracing remote workers in record numbers. With today’s advancing technology, it is possible to hire the top talent from around the world, based, not on physical proximity, but on desired skill set.

Communication challenges need no longer be a barrier to hiring the best talent for your company. What’s more, advancing technology makes it possible to keep remote workers in the loop and fully engaged. Embracing technology helps you to achieve employee engagement with both your in-house and remote staff.

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Employee Engagement

How To Create Small Wins That Boost Sales Morale

JoshBenedetto
Josh Benedetto

Winning feels good. 

There’s just no getting around it. 

Whether it’s a race to the car, or the final buzzer-beater of a seven-game slog, there are few better feelings in life than bringing home the W. 

So why would we deny ourselves the opportunity to recreate that feeling at work? 

You may feel like your employees take home that feeling with a paycheck, but if they don’t feel like they’re really accomplishing anything beyond their daily work, they’re going to start to lose their sense of motivation—and ultimately their sense of engagement with their role. 

That results in poorer performances, and higher turnover. As Cathy Reisenwitz over at Capterra points out: “As a sales manager, one of the most effective steps you can take to prevent sales burnout is to reward small wins. …  Sales managers who take the time to celebrate small victories end up with happier, more productive reps who are less likely to quit.”

And now, with the world of sports coming to a bit of a halt—and things like marble racing winning the hearts of millions of sports-less fan across the world—what better chance do you have to boost morale than with some much welcomed competition?

So with that in mind, we here at Hoopla want to encourage you to celebrate the small wins. Wins you can go off and celebrate with your team as soon as you’re done reading here. 

Sometimes it takes a seven-game series, but today it doesn’t have to. Check out our ideas below and see what sparks your imagination! 

Set Goals

You know that annoying phrase your parents used to use with you when you kept asking them “are we there yet?” on a road trip?

The joy is in the journey. 

Well, not to sound like your mom, but sometimes simply setting goals can feel like accomplishing a goal in and of itself. 

Small daily goals allow us to move beyond the frustration of long-term droughts and difficult seasons—they allow your employees to take ownership over their day-to-day work. If you can incentivize goal setting, and create a culture that celebrates it, your sales team will be that much more dialed in. 

Let Leaders Lead

And while it may not be the reality that every employee has a “winning” moment every day, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate success on a daily basis—and in a way that includes everyone. 

What you have to remember is that, as much as sales can be an isolated role, it’s the engine that powers your whole company. 

Rather than waiting until everyone has a win, turn celebrations into a teachable and unifying moment: when your top performers shine, reward the whole team! It gives your employees the chance to see what success looks like, understand its context within the entire organization, and get a taste of achieving it themselves. 

Track Metrics & Reinforce Them

Remember those goals we were talking about earlier? In almost all cases, the more precisely we can define our roles—and what makes us successful in them—the more likely we are to perform better within them.  One of the best ways to do this is to use metrics, often known as KPIs to track performance. 

As a manager, one of the easiest ways you can reinforce best practices are to actually track them—and then celebrate them as often as possible. 

Do you want your employees hitting X number of cold calls? Great! Call it out when they do (positive reinforcement!) and then celebrate them for it! You’ll be amazed at how much more quickly good habits will develop as a result. 

Make It a Competition

Small wins don’t have to always be in the form of individual performance as it relates to the client, either. Take some of those metrics and KPIs, and put your employees into some healthy competition. See who can get more cold calls in by the end of the day – or see who can engage with more prospects. 

Gamifying some of the daily drudgery enables your sales team to turn monotony into victory. Sometimes it really is as simple as that! 

Don’t Forget “It’s Tuesday”

Finally, let’s not forget the incredible power of a little kindness and forethought. It can be as simple as sending a ‘thank you’ message on a random Tuesday morning—or as kind as checking in with individual employees about goals they have outside of the office. 

Your employees have all sorts of stuff going on in their lives outside the office. And being able to feel cared for and celebrated—sometimes just because—helps them to feel a part of something bigger than just a paycheck.

JoshBenedetto
Josh Benedetto
Employee Engagement

The Full Guide to a Great March Madness Company Event

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hooplaprod

For many college basketball fans March is the best month of the year, and recently businesses have been trying their best to get in on the action. Here at Hoopla, we love when companies enhance their culture with special events, and think that March Madness is a perfect theme to craft a great event to increase performance in a fun way. Here are some resources to put together an amazing March Madness company event!

March Madness Brackets

One of the best ways to get March Madness kickstarted is to let employees create brackets to predict which teams will move forward and which will lose. Predicting the results of a bracket perfectly are incredibly hard to do, in fact you only have a 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance, but it’s still a great way to get an event started quickly. Brackets can be created super fast, only requiring a pen, paper and time, or you can print them out directly from the NCAA.

March Madness KPI Contests

Another way to go mad in March is to set up contests based around key metrics in your office. Looking for a way to increase sales or service productivity? Setting up a tournament comparing members of your team in key metrics can drive performance. Here are some tips to keep things running smoothly all month:

Setting Up the Tournament

Make sure you manually set up brackets for your team, and don’t let it be random. Depending on the size of your team you’ll want to either break things up into multiple smaller tournaments to ensure each round is competitive and everyone feels like they have a chance to win.

You can manually create the tournament, tracking each KPI by hand every day, notifying each winner. But by leveraging a gamification tool like Hoopla, you can make it easy to track KPIs and exactly who wins and loses, without doing too much extra manual work. Hoopla’s content can also be customized, so you can create a channel themed around March Madness.

Much like the actual March Madness, make sure each round has a set end date. Also ensure that your tournament is leading to a final day that will celebrate the entire team, as well as the winners. This day should be framed as a company lunch or party, and can be a set time, or something that happens in the background all day, with a set time for awards. The key here is to celebrate the entire team, and not just the winners. Check out more info on setting up your tournament.

The March Madness Company Event Finale

Since March Madness lasts through the end of the month of March (and into April) it’s good to set a date for a big event at your office. This is the capstone party, celebrating everyone who participated, and ensuring that all employees feel good after the event is over. There are a few things that are pretty much mandatory for the finale: some snacks or food and awards for the winners. And if you want to go all out, some decorations and prizes would be well received as well. Below we’ve compiled a few resources to help make your March Madness party amazing.

March Madness Eats

Depending on your contest or competition will depend on how involved you want to get with the food. Aside from staples like ordering pizza for the office or getting your favorite food delivery place involved, you might also want to think of some fun themed snacks that can keep the party going throughout the day. Here are a few lists of ideas and recipes that will take your March Madness celebration to the next level:

March Madness Decorations

We aren’t going to take time to link March Madness office party pictures throughout the rest of the blog post, but if you’re looking to stick with the theme and make the final day a huge deal then you’ll need decorations. There are so many different potentials out there, from basic basketball cut outs, to full themed basketball party sets. and don’t forget to check out the official merchandise from your favorite teams on the official NCAA store as there are plenty of home and office items that could be used for awesome accent decorations. 

March Madness Awards

The awards and rewards for the end of your March Madness company event should be well thought out. In fact, one of the first things you should do is meet with participants and have a brainstorming session on what sort of prizes should be given out (if any). This will give you a great idea on what sorts of things will truly motivate your team, and will get your team’s buy in on the event. You might also want to consider holding a raffle to spread the prizes around a bit, and celebrate the entire team’s effort in this contest.  In case you were looking for a place to start the brainstorming of awards and prizes, we’ve got a few ideas down below:

  • Ribbons or Trophies for Winners
  • Official NCAA Merch from the winners favorite team (even if they aren’t in the final 4)
  • Custom Printed Basketball or Basketball Jersey  for Overall Winners
  • Tickets to the Final Four/ Championship
  • Extra Vacation Days

The Final Word

If you are looking to inject a bit of competition and a lot of hype into your organization in the first quarter – go for a March Madness Company Event. Make sure you go all in – just like the athletes – and you’ll score a winning culture. [[This post was updated for 2020]] 

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hooplaprod
Employee Engagement Rewards

How To Build The Reward Program of Your Employees’ Dreams

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hooplaprod

At the end of the day, after all your employees clock out and have gone home to their families, there’s one thing you can guarantee is on their minds: 

Reward programs. 

Well, that’s probably not true. But it’s also not as untrue as it may first sound. 

See, the truth is that employee rewards programs are a lot more than just a fun business trend (editor’s note: is there such a thing as a “fun” business trend?). They’re not only a tool for you to increase both performance levels and engagement among your employees, they’re actually a way for employees to realize their true potential. 

Sounds a little too poetic for your tastes? Staples conducted a survey of employees who participated in a reward program, by the numbers

85% of employees felt “more valued.”

Nearly three quarters were “happier and more motivated.” 

And 6 out of 10 employees felt “more productive and able to get better results.”

Those aren’t numbers to brush off. Simply by instituting an employee reward program, you’re helping your team to work more efficiently, deliver better performances, and feel a deeper sense of their own value within your organization. 

Whether they’re dreaming about a specific rewards program is debatable… and unlikely. But you can be sure that your employees are dreaming about that kind of satisfaction at their jobs. 

Here’s how you can deliver a great employee reward program. 

Outline Everyone’s Goals

We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about how setting goals is like rocket fuel for employee engagement levels. Not only does it help them to orient themselves to their role, but it also grounds their work in real, long-term results. 

So why wouldn’t you be setting goals for yourself and your projects? 

For an employee rewards program to be its most successful, you have to have both your employees’ goals and your own goals in mind from the outset. 

What are you hoping for from this program? Are you simply trying to boost employee engagement? Are you trying to get everyone in your sales division to hit a certain monthly goal? Are you hoping to decrease turnover? 

As Inc’s Jeff Haden points out, there are three great questions to ask yourself at the outset of building a rewards program: 

“Where are your team’s skill gaps?” … “What are important programs, products, or initiatives for your business over the next 30 or 90 days?” … “What behaviors do you want to change or impact with your team?”

By setting goals for your reward program, you’re contextualizing it—rather than simply creating one just because some excellently-written blog post told you to. At the end of the day, this is about improving aspects of your business by raising employee performance to the next level.

Plus, if you don’t have a goal in mind, then your employees won’t have concrete direction in their goals either. Bad practices tend to flow from the top down, so start things off on a good note for everyone.

Set Benchmarks: Determine How Employees Can Earn Points & Rewards

Once you’ve determined the goals of the program, then you have to figure out ways in which employees can earn rewards or points

Remember, this doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all solution: different departments are going to earn points in different ways—just make sure that they’re scaled evenly: at the end of the day, it’s about each individual employee performing to the highest standard of their role. You don’t need your HR team to carry out the same functions are your sales people. 

Moreover, a point system may not be the best idea of your employees. Maybe that just leaves some teams feeling discouraged at how little they’re earning, or resenting other teams for “racking up points,” which ends up taking the focus off of everyone’s individual development. 

What’s most important is that you find a system that works for you: maybe it’s as simple as setting a weekly benchmark related to your employees’ KPIs. If they hit that mark, they get the reward. 

Make Some Really Great Rewards: 3 Easy Ideas

And now that we’re on the topic of rewards, you might be scratching your head at exactly what that could look like. But don’t worry, we’ll be the first to tell you: you don’t have to spend your annual budget on insane reward trips (though, nobody’s arguing that we could all use a week in Hawaii). 

Right off the top, here are a few simple and cost-effective rewardsthat your employees will actually want to work for: 

Give Them A Day Off: Any team or employee who hits a certain benchmark can choose to not come in on a certain Friday of that month. If we’re all being honest, sometimes we are working for the weekend—so why not work extra hard for a three-dayer to spend some extra time with family and friends? 

Make Lunch Not Suck: For the majority of us, lunch is either throwing a few bucks at the nearest fast-casual spot, or eating some boring meal-prepped Tupperware at your desk. It’ll be worth ten times the cost of you taking those high achievers to a nice lunch with the boss just for the output you’ll get.

Dole Out The Perks: Whether it’s taking over the corner office for a week, getting first-floor access in the parking garage, or even getting priority access to the conference room. Passing out temporary perks are more valuable than most employees will care to admit.

Remember The 3 R’s: Reward, Recognize, Repeat

At the end of the day, what makes these employee reward programs so great is consistency. Show your employees that you’re listening to their needs, recognizing them for the hard work they’re putting in, and then putting your proverbial money where your mouth is—follow through. 

The reward program of your employees’ dreams is the one that gets them to feel like they’re working at their dream job. And with the right thought, and a few simple tools, you can make that dream come true. 

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Employee Engagement

6 Warning Signs of Bad Employee Morale

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For however much we all might hate Mondays, nobody likes a Garfield, either.  Your feelings on cats or the twentieth president of the United States aside, what we mean is that nobody likes to work in an office full of grumps.  And we’ve got the data to back it up: according to a poll of over 20,000 employees, HRDrive discovered that the number one least tolerable trait among coworkers is a “negative personality.” Among the other bad traits were “‘poor work ethic,’ ‘entitled or arrogant,’ ‘takes credit for others’ work,’ and ‘disorganized and late.’”

So if coworkers hate it, imagine what pain it would cause to the manager of that sort of employee? It’s not something you would wish upon even your fiercest competitor. 

Not only is it a drag to be around, low employee engagement is just straight up bad for business. You’ll see higher turnover rates, decreased performance across the board, and you’ll be sinking what could have been your future investments into training new hires. 

With that in mind, we wanted to help you catch bad employee morale before it strikes. By identifying the signs and symptoms of low engagement in your office, you can proactively make decisions that will boost morale, which will be a rising tide that raises everyone’s ship.  

Not Showing Up: Increased Tardiness & Absences

For starters, a red flag among employees who might not be feeling so rah-rah about their work is when they stop showing up.  And we’re not talking about just cutting and running. It’s about showing up in the little things, whether they’re missing the early morning meetings, failing to follow-up with their clients or coworkers, or taking “unlimited vacation” a little too seriously. 

We’re not here to argue whether every employee needs to work the same amount of time to get their job done or not. What we are saying is that when your morale is high, and you’re an engaged employee, you’re going to show up and do the job you’ve been tasked to do.  If you don’t care about it, why bother?

The Blame Game: Excuses Over Solutions

One major indicator for engaged employees is that they’re focused on growth—not just of their team or the organization, but for themselves personally. As employees, managers, and CEOs, we should always be focused on ways that we can develop new skills, and sharpen the ones that we already have. 

As we’ve pointed out here before, any good business should want that for its employees as well—and it’s actually something that increases engagement. 

So when an employee is constantly seeking to blame others or excuse their own behavior, it’s a sure sign that they’re not invested in growth. They’d rather find a reason that it’s not their fault, rather than learning from a mistake or poor performance and then moving on. 

Putting the “I” in Team: Lack of Cooperation

No organization is going to realize its full potential unless they have employees who want to work as a part of a team. Collaboration, whether it’s cross-department or simply across your small corner of the building, it’s important that employees don’t isolate themselves in their work. 

Employees that do that are not focused on the good of the organization, they’re simply out either to prove their worth (to you, or to a prospective future employer), make a name for themselves—or worse yet, simply punch a clock.  Instead, encourage healthy competition that allows employees to see the value in each other, learn from higher performers, and help them to align their role within the broader context of how it benefits their entire business. 

Sour Grapes: Bad Attitudes

This one’s pretty straightforward.  Listen, we’ve all had bad days, and even bad weeks, but when an employee is more than just down in the dumps, it can create toxic effects that spread far beyond their cubicle. 

Bad attitudes certainly happen for reasons beyond the office, but that’s what makes the solution to this problem so simple: it’s keeping an open door, and being proactive about employee outreach.  If something is

span style=”font-weight: 400;”>going on outside of the office that’s affecting an employee’s performance, you can’t know that unless a conversation happens. Take time to sit down with your employees, hear them out, and demonstrate that you’re invested in their best interests. You may be surprised what you discover in a simple conversation. 

Missing Results: Poor Performances

Speaking of attitudes that prevent high performance, how about performance that prevents high performance?  Oftentimes we’ll draw a straight line from poor performance to deficiency in skill or some other “fundamentals” factor (e.g. in sales, maybe they just need to prospect more!). But poor performance can also be an indicator of low morale. 

Do they not see the point of their job? Do they wish they were with another department?  Don’t be so quick to make a judgement—there’s also the possibility that they simply don’t understand the role. If they continue to take the wrong steps and unknowingly yield the wrong results, that’s almost certainly causing them frustration. 

Make sure you help your employees by giving them key performance indicators by which to assess their work. That way, they can be sure they’re taking the right (or wrong) steps toward success. 

Broken Compass: No Sense of Goals or Direction

Do you know your employees’ goals for their job? Do you know if they are on the management track, or maybe they’ve come in from a completely different field? Do you know if they’re hoping to save for a major life moment? 

It’s possible that they haven’t aligned those goals with their current job, and that loss of direction and lack of goal-setting is going to leave them feeling pretty unsatisfied with their work. It’s essential to have both personal and professional goals hand in hand with any job if you want to be truly engaged. 

Beneath all of these signs is a common thread: communication. Take the time this week to establish clear lines of communication with your employees—so you can catch low morale before it affect performance, and give you employees the best shot they can possibly have and engaging—and thriving—in their careers. 

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Employee Engagement

8 Ways To Help Employees Re-Engage At Work

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Unengaged Employees are a crisis for your bottom line. Full stop.

As Forbes contributor Naz Beheshti shows us, not only do engaged teams produce a 21% boost in profitability, but also a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 59% reduction in turnover. 

Let’s put that into bottom-line dollars-and-cents perspective:  According to HRDive, you’re going to spend about a third of an employee’s salary trying to replace them: that’s $15,000 dollars for an employee who makes $45K a year—and we don’t need to explain that it only gets more expensive from there. 

Simply by re-engaging your employees, you’ll see nearly 60% drop in the amount of employees you’ll have to replace this year. If you were on track to lose 3 employees this year making the above salary, you just saved about $30K. All by taking some simple steps that don’t even touch your bottom line.  The big secret is that re-engaging employees doesn’t take huge upfront investment. It takes a good manager who’s willing to put in the time and effort to get disengaged employees back on track. 

Take even just one of these practices this week, and watch what a difference it can make for your team. 

Be Honest

TinyPulse’s employee engagement survey a few years back that transparency was the number one factor contributing to employees’ happiness. That’s not something to overlook. 

That starts by having a level-set with your disengaged employees. Bring them into your office, and give them space to be honest about where they’re at with the work.  Not only does this show them that you care, but it allows them to breathe easy knowing they don’t have to “fake it,” which in reality only drives them into further disengagement.

Make Time For Them

But it can’t just be about that one-time meeting. What we’ve covered time and time again is that a healthy, engaged office has open channels of communication. Start a regular cadence with your team-members, where you’re not simply sitting down for annual or semi-annual reviews, but actually making space for a real dialogue.  This can look like weekly one-on-ones, regular team lunches, or even extra-curricular bonding events. But the most important thing is that your employees feel like they have a real chance to express themselves, be seen, and be heard.

Re-Align Their Goals

Beneath employee disengagement is often a loss of direction and purpose. While this can be because they don’t feel the impact of their job within the greater mission of your organization, it can also be because they don’t have any goals set for themselves—or from their manager.  Goal-setting is a simple, efficient way to reorient employees to what makes their job meaningful. For one this can be personal goals—whether it’s saving up for a new house, a baby, or even just a great vacation—but it can also be career goals. Do they see themselves on track to developing a specific type of career?  Maybe that’s a conversation you can have in your next one-on-one.

Set Short and Long-Term Expectations

Beyond goals, it’s extremely important to define the expectations around any role. We usually deliver this in the form of KPIs—that is, key performance indicators. These are the metrics by which an employer can measure an employee’s relative productivity or success. 

For a sales person that might be X number of new prospects per week, for an HR recruiter it might mean X number of new resumes. What’s important is that you’re defining and outlining how an employee can succeed, not just leaving them to clock in and out. 

Foster Mentoring Relationships

Seventy-five percent of executives that having a mentor was an important part of their career development, according to one survey. What that should translate to is that the majority of us will not develop in our careers without some sort of guidance and mentor-type relationship. 

Setting up this sort of program within your own office has a two-fold, immediate benefit. Not only will you help disengaged employees who need some direction in your life—you’ll also give new purpose to those that are tapped to be mentors themselves! 

Recognize Good Performance

We beat the drum of recognition a lot around here, and that’s because it’s extremely important for employee engagement. 

Recognition is a really simple, often completely free way to boost employee morale. It’s as small as going out of your way to tell an employee “great job,” and can be as elaborate as a reward trip for top performers. 

But make no mistake: in the world of recruiting, companies are always after “top talent,” and employees are striving to fit that role. If they’re performing at top-talent level, and not feeling that those talents are being noticed, they’re going to start looking for that recognition with a new employer. 

Incentivize Improvement

More broadly, when we talk about recognition, we also often like to talk about rewards. Rewarding employees for good work doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, it’s as simple as a better parking spot or a few extra days off. 

Put simply, rewards are an investment in your team. They’ve been proven in study after study to positively impact both engagement and performance—which means that they’re good for you and your employees. It’s really as simple as that. 

Redefine Flexibility

On another note, there’s also the possibility that some employees are beginning to disengage simply because the circumstances of their life have changed. Outside of the office, there are so many moving parts that managers aren’t going to be privy to (which takes us back to that whole open dialogue thing), and those things affect how we perform at work. 

Enter in flexible scheduling and even remote employee options. For most employees, we’ve been more accustomed to life with the Internet than without, and it’s never been easier to integrate a partial or full work from home schedule. Sometimes, it may just be having a once-a-week option that makes all the difference in the world. 

Bottom line, you never know what an employee needs until you ask. Take these options to heart and see what works for your team. It may just be exactly the jump start you were looking for.  

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