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Surprise Your Team to Promote Employee Connection

 

An April 2022 Gallup survey showed that only 32% of employees were engaged at work. Disengaged employees are not very productive. They lower employee morale and retention.

To improve engagement levels, building employee connections should be among your top priorities. One way to accomplish this objective is by doing something unexpected for your team.

When humans experience change, they process what happened, then return to their typical level of happiness. This is beneficial when, for example, an employee is passed over for a promotion. They will return to their baseline happiness within a few days.

However, this adaptation to change is unfavorable when employees get used to the perks they regularly experience at work. For instance, if you provide bagels for your team every Tuesday, they will expect to eat bagels every Tuesday. At some point, your employees no longer will see eating bagels on Tuesday as an advantage of working for your company.

As a result, you want to regularly provide employees with novel experiences. This consistently disrupts their typical levels of happiness. The more times you add to your team’s happiness, the more fun they have. This increases engagement, productivity, morale, and retention.

Implement these tips to surprise your team and build employee connections.


Promote Creativity

Incorporate the “yes, and!” structure into your next brainstorming session. When one employee shares an idea, the next employee says “Yes, and…” to build on it. This activity encourages your team to develop what they have into something bigger.

Encourage Play

Put board games or question cards in the break room. Suggest coworkers play the games or ask each other questions during their downtime.

If your team is remote, use a video conferencing app like Mibo to create immersive online experiences for your employees. They can interact with each other in the virtual environment. These actions promote happiness and well-being at work.

Facilitate Fun

Create a Slack channel dedicated to fun. The theme may be memes, office pets, or anything else your employees may find amusing. Your team can laugh at the contents to reduce stress throughout the day.

Promote Laughter

Add humor to your presentations by including a meme. Laughter helps make your content more memorable. It also promotes participation, learning, and recollection of facts.

Encourage Collaboration

Plan team-building activities to build employee connections. Also, encourage social coffee breaks and walks with coworkers during employee downtime. Participating in fun activities and socializing with coworkers increase work engagement.

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5 Ways to Help Keep Communication Channels Open

 

Maintaining open communication with your employees encourages them to share their ideas to improve the organization. Open communication also notifies you of problems, conflicts, questions, and concerns that must be resolved.

Encouraging open communication with your team promotes engagement, productivity, and collaboration. It also elevates job satisfaction, employee morale, and retention.

Implement these five tips to maintain open communication with your team.


1. Focus on the End Goal

Maintaining open communication with your team lets you know about problems as they arise. This helps you resolve the issues and minimize their impact.

Open communication makes you aware of ideas to improve your team. This may include increasing efficiency in workflows.

Openly communicating with your team helps improve your leadership skills. You can learn your employees’ strengths, talents, motivations, and goals. Then, you can use this information to increase your team’s engagement, productivity, and collaboration. This elevates job satisfaction, team morale, and employee retention.

2. Be Present

Stay in the moment when communicating with your team. Actively listening to your employees encourages them to talk about their ideas, issues, questions, and concerns.

Look at the employee who is speaking with you. Show they have your complete attention.

Nod, gesture, and use facial expressions throughout the conversation. Include responses such as “yes” and “uh huh” to show you are listening. Ask follow-up questions to gather more information.

Paraphrase what you are hearing to ensure you understand it correctly. You may want to say, “What I am hearing is…” or “Am I correct in thinking…”.

Wait until your employee is done speaking. Then, respond appropriately.

3. Encourage Team and Individual Communication

Although communicating with your entire team is important, there may be times when your employees prefer to talk with you one-on-one. They may feel more comfortable privately discussing a personal matter than sharing the details with the team.

Encourage your team to request individual discussions when needed. They may want to share an opinion that differs from the team’s opinions on how to proceed with a project. Or, there may be a family issue that could affect your employee’s work performance.

Show empathy and support during these private discussions. Work with your employee to resolve the issue however you can.

4. Acknowledge Employee Accomplishments

Give your team credit for their work. This includes when an employee’s idea is successfully implemented or a finished project attains the desired results.

Openly acknowledging your employees’ contributions and impact on the organization shows they are valuable members of your team. This promotes feelings of trust and respect. It also increases team collaboration and cohesion.

5. Request Constructive Feedback

Ask your team for input on your performance. Include what you are doing well and specific ways you can improve.

Talk more in-depth about the answers you need clarification on. The greater your understanding of an issue, the more effectively you can resolve it.

Implement the feedback you feel would be most beneficial. Regularly follow up with your team to discuss your progress.

Looking for Help Hiring?

RightStone has the qualified IT professionals you need to reach business goals. Contact us to get started today.


What Employees Really Want from Managers

 

As an IT manager, your relationship with your team is important. It impacts important issues like employee engagement, productivity, and retention.

Understanding what your employees are looking for from you helps improve their performance. The more effectively you lead your team, the more your employees will do to positively impact the bottom line.

Discover five areas to focus on to fill your IT team’s needs and maximize performance.


1. Personal Interest

Get to know your employees on a personal level. For instance, talk about their families, hobbies, and interests outside of work. Also, find commonalities that you can have more in-depth discussions about. Additionally, follow up to see how your employees’ weekend activities were.

Having casual conversations with your employees shows you care about them as people. It also helps them see you as a person rather than just a manager. This helps enhance the employee experience. The more your team members enjoy their jobs, the longer they should perform their best and remain with your company.

2. Connection

Engage with your employees through individual conversations. For instance, recognize and celebrate each employee’s successes. Also, ask your employees what they feel they are doing well and what they believe they could do better. Additionally, provide constructive feedback to help your employees improve their performance.

Encourage your employees to share what is important to them and what they may be struggling with. Actively listen to what your employees say. Show that you support them. Offer to help as needed.

Enhancing individual connections with your team helps build respect for you as their leader.

3. Acknowledgment of Strengths

Regularly acknowledge each employee’s strengths. Focus on a 3 to 1 ratio when sharing what each employee did well and what they could improve on. This helps provide the motivation to continue to improve their performance. It also increases employee confidence and engagement.

4. Purpose and Impact

Help your employees understand how their contributions impact the company and carry out its mission. Your employees want to know how their efforts help reach the organization’s strategic goals. This shows how your team individually and collectively impacts the business.

Providing a sense of purpose and impact for your employees helps build feelings of belonging and job satisfaction. Your team should remain proactive and engaged while moving toward success.

5. Career Development

Develop a career plan with each of your employees. This shows how they can advance within the organization.

Be sure to offer opportunities to develop the skills needed for promotions. You might do this through training, delegation, or stretch assignments. The more you help your employees grow professionally, the longer they should remain with your company.

Need Help Finding Employees?

Work with RightStone to find qualified employees to join your IT team. Talk with us today.


Preventing Burnout with Employee Recognition Programs

 

Burnout is a sign of a bad fit between an employee and their work. It is a chronic problem that builds over time. Common symptoms include cynicism, loss of concentration and productivity, sadness, anger, irritability, headaches, and insomnia. Typical causes of employee burnout include inadequate rewards, misalignment with company values, and feelings of unfairness or isolation. Fortunately, as a manager, you can begin resolving these issues today by creating an employee recognition program.

Discover four ways an employee recognition program can help prevent burnout.


1. Opportunities for Rewards

Your employees need to be recognized for their contributions and results. This increases their motivation to perform their best each day. A handwritten thank-you note, verbal praise during a team meeting, or recognition on your company’s social media accounts would be appreciated. Clarify what the employee did, what the results were, and how it benefitted the organization. Include a bonus, raise, or promotion when appropriate. Helping your employees feel valued and respected reduces their odds of experiencing burnout.

2. Alignment with Core Values

Your employees need to experience alignment with your company’s values through the interactions they experience at work. This helps provide meaning for their work and carrying out your company mission. You can give out awards when you see your employees behaving in line with your company values. This promotes feelings of importance and belonging, reducing the odds of experiencing burnout.

3. Fair Practices

Your employees deserve to be given equal opportunities. This includes verbal recognition, financial incentives, and promotions for the value they add to the organization. Your employees are likely to remain motivated, engaged, and productive throughout the day. This contributes to a positive work environment, job satisfaction, and employee retention. Your employees are less likely to experience burnout under these circumstances.

4. Feelings of Connection

Your employees need to feel supported when they go through difficult times. This helps them navigate stressful situations until they are resolved. Providing recognition celebrates your employees’ efforts and achievements. This helps them feel seen and heard. It also encourages your employees to see and hear each other. As a result, they should build relationships that include reaching out to each other in times of need. Having this sense of connection helps prevent burnout.

Need to Add to Your Team?

RightStone has a network of experienced IT professionals ready to join your team. Learn more today.


Effectively Improve Your Team’s Morale

 

Part of your role as a manager involves monitoring employee morale. The attitude, satisfaction, and overall outlook your team members have for your company affect their work performance. The higher their morale remains, the more engaged, productive, and loyal your team members are.

Implement these five tips to maintain high morale among your team.   

1. Prioritize Employee Recognition

Regularly acknowledge your team members’ achievements. For instance, thank them for something specific they did to add value to the organization. This may include their role in finishing a project, reaching a milestone, or attaining a company goal. Point out how their contributions benefitted the organization. Award additional vacation days, remote work days, bonuses raises, or promotions when appropriate.

2. Be Transparent

Openly discuss company news as much as possible. This includes updates, new protocols, company reviews, customer feedback, and challenges. Transparency is especially important when the company is experiencing problems or morale is low. Your employees will respect your honesty and be more inclined to help however they can.

3. Maintain Communication

Regularly check in with your team to see how they are doing. For instance, find out how they feel about you, their job, and their coworkers. Also, ask whether your team members are experiencing any problems and how you can help. Additionally, discuss whether they are happy with their work or how it can improve. Ongoing conversations about the things that matter to your team show you care about their happiness and success.

4. Request Feedback

Ask your employees for feedback on their roles and the company. They may provide suggestions to make their jobs easier or help you more effectively manage them. Or, your team members may have ideas to increase efficiency, save money, or help in another way. Implement the feedback whenever possible. Showing you listen to your team motivates them to stay engaged, productive, and loyal to your organization.

5. Offer Professional Growth Opportunities

Cover the costs for your employees to participate in professional development activities. This may include seminars, conferences, or networking events. Or, your team members may subscribe to industry magazines, purchase books on leadership development, or join an online class for skill development. Encouraging career growth provides your team with a sense of purpose while working to reach their goals.

Need to Hire IT Staff?

RightStone has the skilled IT workers you need to move your company forward. Contact us today to get started.


The Best Ways to Show Employee Appreciation

 

Expressing gratitude for your team members should be an everyday occurrence. The more valued and respected your employees feel, the greater their engagement and productivity will be. This increases retention and helps make you an employer of choice.

Choose among these five ways to show you appreciate your team members.

Directly Express Your Gratitude

Use verbal and written methods to show specific reasons you are thankful for your staff members. For instance, tell your employees exactly how their contributions to a project benefitted the company. Also, write a thank-you note expressing gratitude for a team member going above and beyond to provide value to the organization. Additionally, include more positive feedback in your employee reviews.

Begin Meetings with Appreciation

Highlight your employees’ recent accomplishments when you start a meeting. This may include career milestones, innovation, an exhibition of company values, or another display of excellence. Point out how your staff members’ hard work and results added value to the company. Thank them for their efforts. Encourage your team to continue their performance.

Provide Financial Rewards 

Your employees appreciate being given monetary rewards for their contributions. For instance, give bonuses when your team members have significant accomplishments. Also, provide additional vacation days after a busy period. Additionally, give out gift cards for birthdays or work anniversaries, during the holidays, or when your staff finish a big project.

Organize a Team Activity

Set up something fun for your team to do after a busy period or during a slow time. For instance, give your employees humorous coffee mugs to use at the office. Take your staff to a restaurant they enjoy. Or, arrange an in-office party to share food, beverages, and games on a Friday afternoon.

Include Advancement in Your Team Culture  

Offer opportunities for your employees to move up in the organization. For instance, provide regular training to gain the education and skills needed for higher positions. Also, offer a mentorship program for seasoned staff to provide career advice and guidance. Additionally, cover the costs for seminars, conferences, and other networking opportunities.

Need to Hire IT Professionals?

When the time comes to hire IT professionals, reach out to RightStone.  We have the vetted candidates with the skills and qualifications you need to reach business goals.


Considering Workplace Flexibility? What Employers Need to Know

The ongoing need for stronger work-life integration is one reason why flexibility in the workplace is so important. For instance, allowing your employees to work during the hours they are most productive helps them remain engaged and accomplish more. Also, encouraging independent work as much as possible shows you expect personal accountability for finishing tasks on time. Plus, letting your team fit in personal responsibilities around their work tasks reduces burnout.

Discover some ways to provide flexibility for your IT team and how your company can benefit.

Personalized Workspaces

Suggest that your IT staff decorate their work areas to make them feel more personal. This may include displaying pictures of loved ones, using adjustable furniture, or adding plants to a workspace. Creating a unique work area increases engagement and employee morale.

Flexible Schedule

Allow your IT team to set their own work hours. Although they may need to start or end by a certain time while collaborating on a project, provide as much flexibility as possible. Your employees may be able to avoid commuting during rush hour, which reduces stress. Being able to control their schedule also increases daily attendance and efficiency.

Autonomy

Encouraging your IT staff to work independently increases productivity. As long as the work is finished on time and according to expectations, let your staff decide how and when they handle their projects. Having the freedom to complete their tasks with little supervision promotes confidence and trust.

Quality of Life

Your IT professionals experience greater life satisfaction when they can fit in personal responsibilities with professional ones. This may include participation in a morning fitness class to reach a health and wellness goal, attending their child’s ballet recital in the afternoon, or leaving work early one evening per week for a professional development class. Being able to fulfill personal interests during typical work hours increases job satisfaction.

Employee Retention

The more flexibility your IT team has, the longer they remain with your organization. Because employees want more control over fitting both their personal and professional responsibilities each week, they look for companies that provide perks in this area. Longevity among your team members results in lower costs to replace them.

Hire Top IT Professionals

When you need to hire the best IT staff, turn to RightStone. Learn more today.


4 Ways to Develop Company Culture that Helps You Keep Your Best Employees

When it comes to building a strong and talented workforce, recruitment is only half of the story; it’s equally important for employers to implement strategies and policies aimed at retaining their top employees once they’ve been brought on board. In pursuit of this goal, the development and maintenance of an optimized workplace culture should be a top priority.

What is workplace culture?

“Workplace culture” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, but many professionals only have a vague understanding of what it actually means. We’re here to clear the air on this subject.

Simply put, a company’s culture is the aggregate of values, personalities, workplace norms, and qualities that endow it with a unique and intangible feeling. In other words, when we talk about culture in this context, we’re talking about the quality of the day-to-day employee experience at a particular workplace.

4 Ways to Develop Company Culture that Helps You Keep Your Best Employees

With that in mind, it’s easy to understand why building a strong company culture should be a top priority for every employer. Healthy workplace cultures lead to happy and engaged employees, who in turn produce high-quality work more consistently. There are plenty of studies (such as this one) that have proven this to be true.

So what can employers do now that will allow them to build an optimized workplace culture? Here are four simple and effective ways to get started:

1. Offer flexible work options to your employees.

Recent research has conclusively shown that employees tend to be happier in work environments that offer flexible scheduling and remote work options than those that do not.

2. Increase (and improve) your communication with employees.

It’s important that you make time to check in with your employees on a fairly regular basis to make sure that they’re able to voice any concerns and that their needs at work are being met. Managers who only rarely engage and communicate with their employees will consistently find themselves overseeing a workforce that by and large feels isolated, manipulated, and dissatisfied.

3. Acknowledge your employees’ achievements.

Managers routinely miss opportunities to improve workplace morale and increase feelings of cohesion by giving public praise to an employee who has made a notable accomplishment. By acknowledging an employee’s achievement in front of his or her peers, you can quickly and easily communicate to your employees that they work within a culture that values individual contributions and communal support.

4. Ask for your employees’ input when making important decisions.

There’s perhaps no more effective way of providing your employees with a sense of camaraderie than by including them in the decision-making process. You don’t need to ask for their input on every decision, obviously. But when you’re considering making a change to the workplace that will ultimately affect the day-to-day experience of your employees, you should make every effort to ask for and be open to their input. In all likelihood, they will be able to offer you valuable insights into how the workplace as a whole might be improved.

Building an optimized workplace is not something that can be achieved overnight, but there are steps that can be taken every day – some small and some large – to gradually work towards a workplace that will help to make your employees feel content. To learn more about what you can do to build a stronger workplace culture as well as a happier, more secure workforce, contact us today.


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