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10 Ways Companies Screw Up Employee Recognition

For many employees, attending the yearly performance review ceremony may not be the most “rewarding” time. It’s usually a few people ( who may not even be the most qualified) singled out in front of a crowd and presented with a generic plaque and a Visa Gift card. Employee recognition is much more than this and plays a vital role in employee morale! The problem with recognition is that many organizations have the right idea and good motives, but they keep missing the mark. It’s not always the employees to blame, but usually the management.

Here are 10 of the most common mistakes companies seem to make and how to avoid them.

1- It’s All about the money

Financial incentives have become quite popular over the years -. fill out this HRA and receive a $50 gift card. When programs become all (or mostly) about the money, employees end up lying and cheating just to get the rewards. These tactics can backfire if employees don’t take the time to fully engage in wellness. Think about the last time you had to be paid to do something you actually wanted to do — I’ll wait. If you have to pay your employees to participate in your programs, you’re doing it wrong! You need to provide a comprehensive program which caters to your employees intrinsic motivations, so they actually want to be a part of it and don’t need to be bribed with money.

2- Too many contests

Public Service Announcement : EVERYTHING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A CONTEST! While there’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition, overdoing it might send a bad message. Contests might work well for sales & marketing teams, but might not be effective for all employees across an organization. While the winners are at an all time high, the losers start to feel unappreciated which can lead to a decrease in morale and engagement. Remember, your goal is to reward top-notch performance company wide, not just people.

3- Assuming you know what motivates everyone

Companies invest major dollars and lots of time trying to figure out how to best motivate their employees. But the second they assume that everyone will be driven by the same thing, they’ve failed. Before spending time and money only to guess what works, why not simply ask your employees? I’m sure they’ll have a definitive idea of what motivates them most.

4- Praise only comes from the top

Top-down recognition is a thing of the past. We have since moved from a time where bosses would only praise and reward the employee who was most worthy. Praise should be done at every single level of your hierarchical management structure. Employees should recognize their fellow co-workers for actions or achievements they make throughout the day and week. This doesn’t have to be anything more than saying “Great job!” “Thanks for getting that project completed, I appreciate it!” “I noticed you brought in a healthy lunch every day this week, keep it up! ” This type of praise will foster friendship, increase collaboration, and boost morale in no time!

5- Recognition takes too long

Recognition, like new year resolutions is often put on the backburner. It’s best when it’s delivered ASAP — like yesterday! Waiting til the end of the week is fine, but any longer — well you know what happens with the fitness resolutions every year. Don’t wait for the holiday party to give some of your hard working employees a certificate or a plaque. Praise them with something that’s meaningful and personal. Show the employees that go out of the way for your company, that you too are willing to go out of the way to recognize them. Recognition can be delivered on a daily or weekly basis, as you see fit. The more you show your employees some appreciation, the greater their morale!

6- …and is way too generic

If you want to make your employees happy, stop with the generic praises: “best team player, employee of the month” and start recognizing your employees for specific behaviors and achievements. The more personal the commendations, the more satisfied your team will be.

7- Only focused on major goals

Recognition isn’t something that should be reserved for major company milestones. Celebrate the small successes along the way, especially if they’re aligned with the organization’s mission statement. Think about the person who worked extra hours to finish a project, or even an employee who recommended the office do a weekly meditation class. All results and accomplishments matter, even if they don’t result in company profits.

8- Cruise Control Only                      

There is an art to effectively managing a recognition program if you want it to last. The reason why many programs fail is because the data is rarely tracked; you can’t just set it and forget it. If you want to boost employee morale and engagement, invest in a platform, like Achievers that measures employee recognition. This will streamline the process, provide valuable data, and allow employees to connect with each other in new ways.

9- Feedback doesn’t exist

An effective employee recognition program should be designed to motivate employees so they remain satisfied and more engaged. In order to accomplish those goals, you need to work smarter, not harder. Ever think about simply asking your employees what motivates them? Instead of designing a program based off of your own ideas, allow the employees to get involved. Also don’t wait until the year-end party to do so. Frequently survey and interview employees with simple questions like: “What motivates you? Do you feel appreciated at your job? Is there anything more we can do to show you we value here? How do you feel about the last performance evaluation?” With this data, you can redesign the program to be a better fit for your organization.

10- Recognition is inconsistent

Instead of rewarding employees for generic achievements, it’s crucial to determine the performance and behaviors which you plan to recognize. You can create a system to follow-through and reward these behaviors consistently. Employees have a right to know what they are being evaluated on and receive feedback on how they can improve to receive proper recognition. If recognition is done randomly, employees may feel deceived and managers may show favoritism which can lead an unhealthy employee-employer relationship.

What are some other ways you’ve seen companies screw up recognition?

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How to Choose the Best Corporate Wellness Vendor

Starting a wellness program can be stressful especially when you don’t know where to start. A well-designed and comprehensive wellness program can definitely improve productivity, profitability and boost employee morale. But, with all the wellness vendors popping up left and right, how do you know which would best suit your company and deliver the results you want?

Here’s 5 Steps to choosing the best corporate wellness vendor for your organization:

Step 1:  Conduct an Anonymous Employee Interest Survey

This is an opportunity  to learn what your employees are interested in, and more importantly what they are not. You can also use this time to get feedback on current programs and ideas for future initiatives. Remember that your employee health data may already be covered on HRAs or medical claims data, so you can leave it out of your survey.

Step 2: Outline Your Wellness Goals and Expectations

What are you looking to gain out of your wellness program? What type of philosophy best matches your company’s culture? If you want to succeed you need to choose a vendor who best aligns with your vision. Are you looking to reduce medical claims, boost employee morale or both? Before researching vendors or partners, make a list of your goals and expectations. Then reach out to your Insurance Carrier, Broker, or any relevant organizations in your network to help you find potential vendors that have experience working with similar companies in your industry.

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Step 3: Select a Vendor/s

What are you looking for from a vendor? Some will just set up a program and let your team handle the rest, while others will work with your company to bring your vision to life? Consider what the vendors offer along with the skills and qualifications of the professionals you’ll be working with. Are you looking for them to have specific certifications or licenses? Don’t just go for the big name companies who sell you a cookie-cutter program. Big or small, every vendor has their strengths and weaknesses and are all qualified to create a program. Find one that offers exactly what you’re looking for and has innovative technologies and services.

Questions to consider:

Does the vendor offer in-person or online services or both?

This can be a determining factor if you have employees who work from different locations. It’s best to office on-site services but for the employees who work from home or in remote locations, they need to be able to access the similar services. Maybe have live-streaming presentations or conference calls, online health coaching, and more.

Does the vendor provide a comprehensive wellness program or a la carte services or both?

A comprehensive wellness program is the way to go because it’ll cater to the needs of any organization. Determine whether you’ll use a vendor that offers many services covering all aspects of wellness or not. Maybe you have a few great programs in play and you might need a few services from their menu, is that possible?

Does the vendor follow HIPPA Guidelines?

As stated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “Where a workplace wellness program is offered as part of a group health plan, the individually identifiable health information collected from or created about participants in the wellness program is personal health information and protected by the HIPAA Rules.” Make sure your vendor is following all of these guidelines and your employee health data remains confidential.     

Does the vendor provide innovative solutions? 

Wellness isn’t only about physical health, but also mental, financial, social, environmental, and occupational. Older corporate vendors have been offering the same types of programs (i.e. walking program, tobacco cessation, seminars) for decades. If you want to truly change the culture and well-being of your organization, you need to offer more innovation. Make sure the vendor you choose offers different solutions to cater to the learning styles of the different employees at your organization. Some groups may benefit from a lunch-and-learn presentation, while others need to be doing something more hands-on. Also look for vendors that offer fun engaging events, wellness portals, online resources and new technology to give your employees a great experience.

Will the vendor customize programs to meet the specific needs of your employees?   

Your wellness vendor should gather data and visit your workplace to immerse themselves in your culture. Then using this information, they can develop a customized program that will best suit your organization. A company who has older employees may benefit from a disease management program where as one with younger healthier employees might have no use for it.   Wellness vendors that are true partners will do whatever it takes to create and implement a solution that is customized to each location within a company, and cater to the needs of each individual employee.

How does the vendor measure participant satisfaction? 

In order to know whether a program is working and if people are really participating and engaged, the vendor should be tracking and measuring the data. These assessments must be done occasionally otherwise you’re just throwing money in the trash.  A simple way to track data is to have surveys at the events. You can also use anonymous suggestion boxes for feedback. Using this data, your vendor will be able to tell you what has been working best and what needs to be changed.

Step 4: Determine your need for Program Support.

Does the program offer marketing support? 

The reason why most wellness programs fail is due to lack of communication and poor marketing. You can’t offer the program and expect everyone to know the details or how to get started. When you launch a program, you need to make sure everyone knows about it and is excited. You need to deliver the message to the employees in multiple ways. While some employees will read the company newsletters, maybe some others will more likely respond to a text or a Facebook post. Choose a vendor that helps with marketing campaigns, maybe through social media, monthly newsletters or flyers and brochures. Vendors that offer this type of support can take the stress off of your team and help you to maximize your investment.

Is the program mobile-friendly?

According to new research from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 68% of Americans own a smartphone. They use their phones for everything: communication, learning, entertainment, and sharing information – why not include that in your wellness program? To boost engagement, make sure the vendor has a mobile-friendly website and portal in which your employees can participate and have access to all materials from their phone.

Does the vendor help with scheduling?

If you want to keep employees engaged and boost participation, it’s crucial to offer frequent events and activities – not just an annual health fair. Does your vendor help determine the best timing and frequency for events? Do they help you schedule events throughout the year? Not all employees take breaks at the same time or work the same shift. Is it possible to offer some activities and services at multiple times during the day so that nobody is left out? Maybe offer something in the morning before work begins, during lunch, and after work. Now everyone can attend and you’ll hear less excuses as to why they can’t make it.

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Step 5: Determine the Programs’ Practicality for Your Employees

Does your program provide diverse offerings?

Ditch the vendors that have a very simple approach to wellness and only focus on health or fitness. Consumers are learning about new ways to live healthier and happier. Find a vendor who offers holistic services that focus on nutrition, mindfullness, self-care, and relaxation. Or look for one who offers professional development, leadership training, and volunteering. The more diverse the offerings, the more your employees will want to participate.

In a nutshell

Hiring a corporate wellness vendor is a big investment for most companies. There are many risks involved, but also potential benefits. Hire the wrong vendor and you’ll waste your money. Contract with the right vendor and your big investment will turn into bigger profits and greater savings. The goal is to have a vendor who’s a your partner for long-term success – one that will offer a transformational experience for your company and its employees. The right wellness company will not only make your employees healthier, happier, and more productive,  but also keep them fully engaged and help you to attract top talent and retain your best workers.

50 Proven Morale Boosters (+5 Bonus Ideas)

Are your employees excited to come to work every day? Is office communication up-to-par?

If you answered no to these questions, your organization may need a morale makeover!

Employee morale is defined as the job satisfaction, outlook, and feelings of well-being an employee has within a workplace setting.

High morale organizations consistently demonstrate less stress and better performance. With these benefits, it makes no sense why companies fail to see the bigger picture -they fail to realize that the employees are the key players in generating profits. Employee morale can quickly make or break a company’s success.

Common Low Morale Symptoms to Look For
  • High Turnover Rates
  • Decreased Productivity
  • Poor Performance
  • Less Collaboration
  • Fewer Employee Conversations
  • Low Engagement

Research suggests that actively disengaged employees cost the economy $350 billion dollars per year in lost productivity due to low morale issues. One Stop Wellness found many proven ways to combat this and we’ve compiled a list of the Top 50 Morale Boosters that some of our customers are using to change the culture of their organization – without breaking the bank.

50 Proven Morale Boosters that Won’t Break the Bank (+ 5 Bonus Ideas)

1. Ask Them What They Want

Think about the countless times you’ve been to a company outing that seemed pointless? Instead of having the HR team decide what you will do, ask for suggestions for a company-wide event, then let your team vote for the winner. This allows your employees’ voices to be heard and gives them an opportunity to engage in a satisfying activity.

2. Have More Fun

Fun needs to be incorporated into the workplace culture.  A fun work environment is “extremely motivating” to 90% of employees surveyed in this Psychology Today study. Take a half day off to go out as a team to a new restaurant. Maybe go bowling or rock climbing, or even take a trip to an interesting museum. These types of events allow everyone to bond with others in a way that they never would inside the office. Doing this will build a stronger  community and allow the entire team to work better.

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3.Shots On Us

The office can be a breeding ground for germs. While some of your employees may not like getting pricked with a needle, you’ll be happy that they’re not home sick. Try setting up a flu shot clinic during a health fair. Pharmacies like Walgreens and on-demand companies like Pager will bring professionals to your workplace to administer the shots.

4.Random Acts Of Kindness (RAKs)   

There doesn’t always need to be a financial benefit to do something kind for someone else. It simply just pays off to do a kind act without expecting something in return. A recent scientific study reported that an anonymous 28-year-old person walked into a clinic and donated a kidney. It set off a ‘pay it forward’ type ripple effect where the spouses or other family members of recipients of a kidney donated one of theirs to someone else in need.

Think about how much better your workplace would be if everyone was kinder towards each other? Encourage your team to perform random acts of kindness on a daily basis and watch it trickle throughout the entire organization. You can even turn it into a game: Create a RAK card for employees to pass on to each other along with each act.

5.Include The Entire Family

The first thing that comes to mind when incorporating your family is “bring your kids to work day.” However, this isn’t the only way to do it; maybe host a family-friendly outing or host an event during work hours. It’s a great way to share your work experience with your family and helps everyone feel more connected.

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6.Thank The Little Guy

Every organization has no problem thanking their best employees and high-profile individuals. But what about the people who mop the floors, cut the checks, or serve the food? These roles often go unnoticed, but thanking the people in these positions is a true statement of your culture.

Next time you want to recognize workers for their efforts, think about the staff who keeps the place running. Gift them a gift card for a coffee or lunch. This will increase trust and loyalty throughout the entire company.

7.Play Time

Playing is a great way to de-stress, so much that some innovative companies are actually incorporating recess (just like elementary school) into their work day. This gives the employees time away from their work to reset. Technology Advice did a study and found that the easiest and most effective way to increase productivity is to encourage employees to play more games.

A simple idea is to find an empty room and fill it with some games; buy a ping-pong table ( used is fine) and set up a tournament. Maybe even schedule 1:1 time over a game a pong. How about hiring an improv coach once a month to teach a fun class at the office?

8.Go Green

Green-friendly workplaces have been shown to cause a significant increase in productivity. This can be done a variety of ways, but to make it fun, have employees grow their own (genetically modified pollen-free) plants and decorate their pots. How about hosting a pot decorating contest or even see who has the largest plant.

Having to take care of their plants will keep employees more engaged and give them something extra to look forward to each day. This will definitely boost morale and can be done on an extremely low budget.

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 9.Lend A Hand – Or Two!

Volunteering might be the best way to make employees feel good about their work!  According to a recent study, two-thirds of millennials prefer companies that let them volunteer skills while at work. Many large companies have been including these programs into their benefits packages.

For example, Hewlett-Packard offers its employees 4 hours paid time off each month to volunteer.  Employees can really gain a lot from helping others in need; it can increase camaraderie & communication and they’ll also see another side of each other that they wouldn’t usually see in the office. To find volunteering activities in your area, check out Volunteer Match.

10. Jam it Out

Music is part of our day whether we notice it or not. It’s usually playing in the background everywhere we go; the supermarket, the mall, or the gym. Nothing gets you in the right mood like music, which is why many people enjoy listening to their favorite jams on their commute everyday. Researchers from Cornell University have found that happy, upbeat music can lead employees to be more productive, cooperative, and work harder for the good of the company or team.

11.Eradicate Email

Email is the preferred method of communication at the workplace. It’s used to message colleagues, find customers, and schedule meetings. Even though it seems productive, email can become one of the biggest distractions in the office. A 2014 survey by Salary.com found that 78 percent of employees were wasting at least 30 minutes per day at work – the majority of that time was spent checking email. Instead of communicating with coworkers through email, why not get up and have a conversation. There’s also apps like Slack that will help with messaging between teams which can lessen the stress of email.

12.Welcome The New Kid On The Block

Starting a new position can be intimidating, and if the new hires aren’t familiar with the entire team they try to figure everything out on their own. It’s crucial for new employees to meet everyone and build relationship with the entire staff. A great way to do this is to invite the whole staff to an after work event or game night so they can bond with everyone.

13.Wall Of Wow

Dedicate a wall in your office where employees can post their goals and accomplishments. This can be anything from drawings to positive emails, reports, completed projects, pictures, or even quotes. Employees will see this wall everyday and be inspired by what they’ve achieved individually and as a team. As a bonus, this fun wall will be super attractive for any visitors at the office!

14.Ask About Their Schedule

Believe it or not, your workers have lives outside of the office! This is really important to understand because employees may be distracted and disengaged by personal issues outside of work. Maybe someone has kids involved in sports but miss all of their games due to conflicting schedules. Find out what your employees do in their free time and learn about their family and personal obligations to potentially adjust their schedules periodically to accommodate.

15.Book Club Anyone?

Starting a company book club can help to boost engagement. Once a month, your group can meet to discuss a book. It helps create a safe environment where everyone can freely share their ideas and opinions. A book club can also help with personal growth through the opinions and experience of other individuals which in return can develop a strong culture.

16.It’s Your Birthday

People are happy when they get birthday wishes, especially when they’re not expected. Remember everyone’s birthday, write them a card thanking them for all their hard work and give them the opportunity to spend their day as they choose. They’ll appreciate you much more!

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17.Accomplishment Jars

A simple, yet effective way to keep track of your team’s accomplishments is to write them down and put them into a jar. At the end of the month you can meet and go through all of the accomplishments.

18.Sweat Sessions

We all know that exercise can improve mental focus and performance. Many employees want to be active but lack the motivation or drive to do it alone. Instead of taking the journey alone, be active together – at work! By using a fraction of the workday for exercise, employees can feel a boost of energy  and reduce stress. If your management doesn’t agree, show them this recent study!

Some easy ways to incorporate group fitness is to schedule a workout during a short break,  take walking meetings, have a personal trainer come in to teach a class, or have an employee who’s certified in group fitness create a workout. Or why not kill two birds with one stone – combining fitness with volunteering: maybe you can participate in a dance-a-thon for charity or, Heart Walk. These activities are great for team-building and easily affordable.

19.Coffee’s On Us

Let’s show your employees that you really care about them. Every Monday, take 1 person out to a local coffee shop to some 1-on-1 time. Here you can discuss your expectations and also learn about your employee and if their needs are being met. The ROI of this treat will be in the form of gratitude, loyalty, and appreciation.

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20.There’s An App For That

The on-demand service industry is growing. Many companies have apps where employees can book massages, haircuts, car rides, acupuncture and much more at a reasonable price. Provide a resource of these services so your employees can have access to them.

21.Healthy Office Potluck

Looking for a fun and tasty way to make boring meetings fun? Try a healthy potluck luncheon. Everyone will bring in or prepare a healthy meal or snack. Food will keep people energized and excited about the meeting and they’ll also get down to business with a better mindset.

22.Encourage Outsourcing

Work can be super stressful! Spending hours on less important tasks take away from our more important jobs -this is why outsourcing makes sense! Instead of putting all the pressure on employees, encourage them to outsource busy work to freelancers. Two popular companies make it simple and affordable to hire freelancers Fiverr and Upwork.

23.Go Find Yourself

A sabbatical provides an employee paid-time off to pursue a passion, volunteer, travel or spend time with their families. Companies like Deloitte are offering sabbaticals to boost retention. These long breaks are great because the employee can still keep their position when they return.

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24.Limit Office Time

Believe it or not, working longer hours does not increase in productivity! Overworking can lead to stress and loss in productivity , and can be detrimental to your employees’ health. Create a reasonable work schedule that fosters productivity, focus, and engagement. Help employees with time management and support groups.

25. Gratitude Journals

People just don’t seem to express gratitude enough at work! According to a survey of 2,000 Americans, people are less likely to feel or express gratitude at work than anyplace else. Employees need to hear “Thank You” from the management first and this will promote trust, loyalty, and a sense of safety. In addition to the increase in productivity and happiness, people who express gratitude at work have been shown to have a greater satisfaction with life, less stress, and less illnesses.

A gratitude journal is a great gift to boost your employees’ morale; it will make them feel happy and motivated. Every day, your team can write what they’re thankful for (actions of another person, material possession, the weather or just being alive) and at the end of the week, have a meeting to discuss something from their lists.

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26. Snow Days Off!

When there’s a snow storm, hurricane, or flooding, allow employees to work from home. This is more favorable and will keep them safe. Employees will be happier knowing that they won’t have to worry about the hassle of a horrible commute in the inclement weather and will be more productive at home.

28.Remove Toxic People

When everyone’s getting paid and feels appreciated, work can be a happy place. But when a team is full of negative people who just try to bring down everyone around them, it can be a toxic environment. These people swear, insult, belittle, and make rude comments. They like to play the victim and blame everyone else for their issues. It may seem bad to get rid of all of them, but if they are not uplifting the company, keeping in line with the core values, or cooperating with co-workers, they need to go!

28.Suggestion Box

You always need to know that your employees are happy and feel safe at work. Sometimes they rather not express themselves in 1-on-1 time. Creating an anonymous employee feedback/suggestion survey may solve the problem. Use a free tool like Survey Monkey to create a simple survey or poll. Some simple questions can be:

  • How satisfied are you with your managers?
  • Do you have a good relationship with your boss?
  • What’s one way we can make your work experience awesome?

29.Decorating Contests

Last spring on National Walking Day, the American Heart Association held a sneaker decorating contest where employees at different companies could decorate a pair of shoes any way they wanted. Competitions within an organization can be fun and allows the employees to be creative and think out-of-the-box.

30.Swag Bags

There’s nothing better than getting free stuff! And if it’s cool swag, employees will love it. It’s really easy to create fun, stylish t-shirts online. You can also go to Discount Mugs to add your logo to stress balls, water bottles, frisbees, and drawstring bags to give out at your health fair or field day. These will keep people talking and it’s extra promotion for your company.

31.After Work Wednesdays / Happy Hour

Host a social event once a month where employees can stay after work for about an hour to enjoy some snacks. Maybe have your team vote on a restaurant or bar where they’d like to go. This gives them something to look forward to and another opportunity to connect with each other outside of the work setting. AlleyNYC hosts weekly happy hours where they serve drinks and showcase some of the startups in their community.

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32.Reach Out On Social Media

Social media is great in the workplace (when used properly)! Instead of thanking someone or sharing a company milestone via email, how about make a post about the event or individual on social media. This will not only show your employees that you appreciate them, but also allow any potential employees or followers of your brand to learn about your culture!

33.Recognize Health Achievements

Many companies focus so much on business and financial goals that health usually ends on the backburner. Give employees rewards or recognition for tackling a major health goal. They’ll love to see that you care about their wellbeing!

34.Find Your Sensei

Coaching and mentoring should stop a few weeks after a new employee has started their position. A 2012 study by Deloitte concluded that retention is 25% higher for employees who have engaged in company-sponsored mentorship. Starting a mentor program will help your employees learn more about their roles, giving them a better path for success. This also gives them an accountability partner to keep them on the right path.

35. Dress Like A Superhero Day

This is the opportunity to get a little silly at work. You’re probably working to create the ultimate corporate superheroes, so why not give your employees a chance to dress like one. Pick a day and theme and let imaginations run wild.

 36.Level Up

Show your employees that you want them to grow professionally and personally. Help them get on the right track towards receiving promotions. Try having weekly meetings where the senior leadership or regular team members talk about setting goals as well as other personal development topics.  You can also bring in a personal development coach for more focused and professional advice. In addition to this, companies like Starbucks are even sponsoring tuition reimbursement programs to go towards advanced degrees.

37.Positive Vibes Only

People will work their best if they feel appreciated. Start each week with a motivational quote or picture to get everyone in the proper mindset. Congratulate all accomplishments – big & small! Encourage each other to give high fives for no reason! This will boost productivity and efficiency.

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38.Free Food!

Free food is an amazing perk to have at work especially when focusing on the health of your employees. Companies like Google offer free food in their cafeterias and encourage employees to take some home. They have many healthy options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as coffee and snack bars. This is great because it gives people no excuse to eat unhealthy since it’s always available every day. But if your budget isn’t as big as Google’s, why not offer health snacks in your break room. A company that’s helping employees snack better at work is Snack Dot. They allow your team to vote on the specific snacks they want/like and then deliver them right to your office! No more unhealthy vending machines!

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39.Mindful Mondays

Set aside 10-15 minutes to help employees build their emotional intelligence through mindfulness. This can be done at their desk or workstation. A study of HR managers by the University of Washington in 2012 concludes that mindfulness helps us experience less stress and an increased focus when multitasking.

 40.Explain The Company Vision

If you want to keep millennials engaged, you need them to understand the purpose of their work and the mission of the company. These workers want to feel as though they are part of something great and can make an impact. If they don’t see any meaning in their roles and don’t understand the vision, they will most likely feel undervalued and this will reflect in their performance.

41.Celebrate A Milestone

The best way to celebrate employees is to give them time off. Allow them a day off from work if they accomplished a major company goal, got married, for their birthday, or work anniversary. Make sure everyone on your team feels special at least once a year.  Happy workers are, on average, 31% more productive and 3x more creative.

42.Amazing Perks & Discounts

This is a low-cost way to boost your employees’ morale as well as attract top talent. Sign up for an employee discount program through Access Perks, and they will provide you with over 350,000 perks & programs that you can offer to your employees.

43.Distraction Box

Face the truth, EVERYONE GETS DISTRACTED AT WORK (some more than others)! To show your employees that you understand it’s normal, create a distraction box.  Fill it with quotes, jokes, activities,  and other fun things that they can do to get a quick morale boost and motivation to continue with a productive work day.

44.Caught Ya In The Act

This is a fun and engaging why to keep everyone talking and giving encouragement. Make a board of all your team members and anytime you or an employee catches a co-worker in the act of doing something healthy, give them a point towards redeeming a reward. This turns wellness into a team effort and everyone is accountable for each other.

45.Nap Time

Yes, even adults need naps. Taking a 15-20 minute power nap not only recharges the body, but also the mind. Researchers at Saarland University concluded that a short nap at the office or in school is enough to significantly improve learning. Some companies are turning empty spaces into nap rooms with futons, cots, or even couches for their employees.

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46.Daily Huddle

Athletes do it all the time, so why not your organization? A daily huddle only takes a few minutes and can be one of the most powerful engagement tools and morale boosters in your arsenal. It provides face-to-face communication about the goals for the day. Your employees will think of everything as a team effort and now that they know exactly what must be done, they’ll work more efficiently to do so.

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47.Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are great team-building activities and also loads of fun. Have your employees form teams and create a list of things around the office. You can even add a few personal items to the list like find a picture frame from a co-worker’s desk. Set a time frame and offer the person/team with the most points a $10 Starbucks Gift Card or a fun Groupon Gift.

 48.Remove The Roadblock

What’s stressing your employees and decreasing their productivity? Whatever it is, find it and remove it so things go back to running smoothly. Sometimes it can be a mad manager, unreliable or old software, maybe it’s time to upgrade your workforce.

49.Change Of Scenery

Next time everyone’s out volunteering or on a day the office is closed, have the entire place cleaned,  painted with bright colors and redesigned. This might be just enough to instantly boost morale.

50.Be Genuine

The most important morale booster of all is to simply be genuine. Be transparent in all you do, encourage communication, and stick to your company values!

Bonus Ideas

51.Learn From Each Other

At every company, employees need to be reminded that all the goals are accomplished through a team effort. Every individual has their own skills, talent, and creativity, so make sure they use them. Each week host a “skillshare” where a team member presents a lesson on a skill to the group. This can be anything from making excel spreadsheets, to basic cooking lessons, or even blogging. Giving employees the opportunity to shine and be an expert on one of their favorite topics allows them to work on something they’re excited about!

52.Furry Fridays

People love their pets, so give them opportunity to bring their four-legged friends to the office each week. Recent studies show that pet interactions increase oxytocin levels, the hormone that motivates us to treat others with love, care, and compassion. Think about the extra smiles you’ll see around the office!

53.Get Weird

Whether it’s coming to work in a panda costume, or creating your own jeopardy game, come up with something  weird and unique. This gives your company its own identity and culture and helps your employees take pride in the office.

54.Secret Santa or Gift Swap

Nothing brings a smile to your face more than a thoughtful gift. The holidays are always a fun-filled time so let’s use it to cheer up the office. Host a holiday party where team members will  write out cards to everyone and participate in a “Secret Santa” to trade gifts with each other. It’ll help employees get to know each other better and do something kind outside of their normal routine.

55.Criticize Less & Appreciate More

People who are criticized often feel unappreciated and unwanted at work. They’ll never be motivated to go above and beyond to do an outstanding job; they’ll do the bare minimum and watch the clock until it’s time to go home. Offer constructive criticism and words of encouragement and praise. You’ll quickly notice how things change.

 

We hope this list inspires you to show your employees that you care.

Want to download this entire guide so you can start boosting employee engagement today?

50 morale boosters

7 Ways to Get Your Employees Excited to Work

A major problem that HR managers and top level executives seem to face is keeping their employees engaged.

This is partly because many employees quickly feel uninspired and challenged by their work. They eventually get bored, and end up back on the job hunt within two years! This might happen for many reasons, but usually it’s simply because they don’t feel engaged and appreciated.

So here are 7 simple employee engagement ideas that some of the high performing companies have found to be successful:

1.Find out your team’s passions

Show your team that you really care about their lives. Find out what their interests are and possibly create a social event around it. Maybe they love cooking? Do they enjoy going hiking? Maybe they’re into yoga. Learning what your team is passionate about is a great way to connect with them on a personal level.

2. Make sure your new hires get the know the whole team

Starting a new position can be intimidating and if the new hires aren’t familiar with the entire team, they’ll try to figure everything out on their own. It’s crucial for new employees to meet everyone and build relationship with the entire staff. A great way to do this is to invite the whole staff to an after work event or game night so they get bond with everyone.

huddle

3. Encourage Volunteering

A company’s social responsibility can make a huge difference  to its bottom line.  A growing number of employees are not only looking for a good salary, but they may also want to get involved in social causes that may align with their personal beliefs and values. Many workers are looking for ways to get involved in their communities, but due to work hours and other obligations, it may be extremely difficult.  A great idea is to give your employees a few hours each month to leave the office and donate some time to improving the community.

4. Have more fun

Who doesn’t love having fun? Well fun needs to be incorporated into the workplace culture.  Take a half day off to go out as a team to a new restaurant. Maybe go bowling or rock climbing, or even take a trip to an interesting museum. These types of events allow everyone to bond with others in a way that they never would inside the office. Doing this will build a stronger  community and allow the entire team to work better.

havefun

5. Create an atmosphere of enthusiasm and positive energy

People will work their best if they feel appreciated.  Start each week with a motivational quote or picture to get everyone in the proper mindset. Congratulate all accomplishments – big & small! Encourage each other to give high fives for no reason! This will boost productivity and efficiency.

6. Offer healthier options at your workplace

This is great for anyone who tends to snack on processed sugary f00d-like substances during the day. Having a community refrigerator stocked with healthy foods will make a big difference because they’ll increase satiety and energy. Eating nutritious meals and snacks have been shown to boost productivity, increase performance, and reduce the risk of chronic conditions.

7. Talk to them about their schedules

Believe it or not, your workers have lives outside of the office! This is really important because employees may be distracted and disengaged from personal issues outside of work.  Maybe someone has kids involved in sports but feel guilty about missing all of their games due to conflicting schedules. Find out what your employees do in their free time and learn about their personal obligations to potentially adjust their schedules periodically to accommodate.

5 Proven Ways to Engage Millennials

More than 1 in 3 American workers today are Millennials (adults age 18-34 in 2015), making them the largest age group in the American workforce. While they are the most educated, culturally diverse, and tech-savvy workers on the job market, they are more likely to leave their jobs after a couple of years in search of another one that will help them move closer to self-fulfillment and success. Before you stereotype them as lazy and careless, you need to understand that these workers are ambitious go-getters and need to feel as though they are doing meaningful work. To engage millennials more effectively, you need to understand them better- find out their motivations, goals, and dislikes.

engage millennials5 Simple Strategies to Engage Millennials!

1.Offer More Flexibility

According to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, work-life balance was the most important driver of employer choice. They don’t like the idea of having set working hours and being glued to a desk for most of their day. These workers also love being able to work remotely, especially since most work can be done from anywhere with internet.

One of the worst things an employer can do to an employee is telling them that they need to dedicate all of their time to their job. That’s a sure way to decrease employee retention. Everyone has lives outside of work and can’t be in work mode 24/7. Allow team members to spend some time each week to work on a personal project or hobby. This not only helps fulfill their passion, but it also helps employees to take on a leadership role, develops their problem solving skills & creativity, and makes them feel more loyal to the company.

2.Explain The Company Vision

If you want to engage millennials effectively, you need them to understand the purpose of their work and the mission of the company. These workers want to feel as though they can make an impact. If they don’t see any meaning in their roles and don’t understand the vision, they will most likely feel undervalued and their performance will take a plunge.

3.Give Them Mentors

A difference between millennials and older generations is that they appreciate having a more successful person show assist them to reach their goals. A great mentor will help with their professional development, and provide constructive criticism and positive reinforcement.

4.Invest In Them

This generation is committed to personal growth and achievement. According to a 2012 survey by Adecco, 68 percent of recent graduates identified good opportunities for growth as a top professional priority. If you don’t plan to invest in their professional development and well-being you are doing your company a disservice. Millennials want to improve and be given the opportunity test out their new skills, so provide them the tools and resources to do so.

5.Give Them Time For Community Service

To make work more meaningful for millennials, consider offering community service activities. These employees prioritize helping those in need and making the world a better place. Try dedicating hours or days each month to giving back to your local community. Besides working for the greater good, volunteer work is great for team-building because it develops emotional intelligence and encourages your team to connect in ways that would never occur in the office.

How Leaders can Create of Culture of Well-being

Well-being is a commonly used term in the workplace and many companies have implemented programs to improve the wellness of their employees. This can lead to many positive outcomes such as: increased productivity, health, and employee retention. In order for a program to truly be successful, the company’s culture must be looked at. While the program may be great from the outside, there may be internal struggles that the organization may be facing preventing them from thriving- they need to create a positive culture! This culture change should start from the leaders and trickle their way down to the employees. The workforce needs to feel that wellness is something being done for them, and not to them.

Here’s 5 ways leaders can create a Culture of Well-being today!

1.Provide a strong commitment to wellness

The biggest mistake leaders make is treating well-being as just another perk in their benefits package or an annual health fair. In order to effectively create a culture of “real health”, leaders need to create a clear mission statement to show the entire organization that wellness is one of the top priorities. It won’t ever go away and employees are expected to be a part of it. This type of commitment may be the key factor to fostering change.

2.Effectively communicate and define what well-being is

Wellness or well-being are terms that have been over-used throughout the years. Take time to create a clear and concise definition of what well-being means to your organization and the goals you expect to achieve. According to Gallup Research, wellness programs are shown to be more effective when employees understand what is really is and how it can benefit them.

3.Lead by example

Leaders must be willing to make company-wide changes that are in line with their culture such as posting health tips around the office, offering healthy foods in the cafeteria, and allowing employees to voice their opinions. Another great way to get the employees engaged is to demonstrate that you are also actively participating in the programs and initiatives. This will create a safe, friendly, and healthy workplace.

4.Make sure that employees understand managers care about their well-being

Trust issues are usually what keeps employees and leaders clashing heads. Sometimes when wellness programs are implemented without proper planning, participants can feel that they are being forced to participate. Employers should try to learn what really motivates their employees and how to help them improve their health. Leaders must communicate with the entire team to re-assure them that their well-being (and that of their families) is crucial to the success and longevity of the company.

 5.Measure and monitor the effectiveness of wellness programs

Many companies implement wellness programs and fail to test whether or not it actually works. In order to have an engaging and effective program, leaders must keep these questions in mind:

  • What percentage of employees are actively participating in our program?
  • Are the program initiatives in line with our mission statement?
  • How can the company adjust the program to increase engagement?
  • How has the workplace culture changed since implementing the program?
  • What are the least used interventions?

After reviewing surveys and data, leaders can then continue the programs that are effective and get rid of the programs that aren’t!

What are some strategies you implemented that aren’t on this list? Please share your ideas with us!

5 Coffee Alternatives for a Midday Energy Boost

There’s a reason 150 million Americans drink coffee everyday – it improves our focus and provides a quick surge of energy.  Sometimes going through the day without coffee or a caffeinated beverage can seem impossible, usually resulting in loss of productivity. While it may be exactly what we need to feel better, overindulgence of this caffeinated beverage can have some downsides. It’s been shown to raise blood pressure, cost you extra money, suppress your appetite and when you build a tolerance, it loses its effectiveness.

So instead of having to rely on coffee, why not try some alternatives that may still give you the boost of energy you need.

Tea

Tea is similar to coffee and may be the best option when trying to break the habit. Tea has caffeine, but much less than the amount of caffeine, so you get a slight energy boost without the jitters. Also, the decreased caffeine content means reduced risk of hypertension! Tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine which when combined with caffeine stimulates the brain and increases mental focus. Finally, tea is full of antioxidants which can help fight off against many chronic diseases, including cancer! With all of these benefits and such a variety of flavors, no wonder it’s the most commonly-used drink on Earth!

A Healthy Snack

Did you know that eating the right foods, will also boost your energy? A candy bar can give you a quick rush of energy but once that sugar gets broken down, you’ll crash. So a better snack idea would be something high in protein, healthy fats, or complex carbs. Some good snack ideas include Greek yogurt with a handful of nuts, hard boiled eggs, an apple with peanut butter, or a light salad or bowl of raw veggies.  The nutrients you get from these foods will definitely provide you a steady amount of energy and keep your hunger controlled throughout the day.

Get Moving!

Exercise is great for the body and the mind. When you move your body, you stimulate your muscles and increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to take an hour or be intense every single time, and you can do a quick workout and stretches right at your desk in under 10 minutes- you might get a few stares, but soon the entire office will be doing it too!

Take a Break

Yes– taking a break will give you some more energy. Think about how long you spend at your desk typing away, reading emails, making calls, and even eating lunch! While common work culture makes it seem absolutely normal to work through breaks, it’s really important to take a few minutes each day away from your desk. To recharge, you need a real break, that involves you to completely stop doing all types of work! During your break try to go outside and get some fresh air, meditate or do absolutely nothing! If you can relax for a full half-hour, you’ll come back to work as focused as you would’ve if you had a shot of espresso!

Chew Gum

Remember getting in trouble for chewing gum in elementary school? Too bad our teachers never got to see the research linking gum chewing with mental alertness and mood enhancement. The process of chewing increases the circulation of oxygen to the brain, which increases your attention span and reaction time! Gum chewing also tricks into thinking it’s eating, relieving some stress. So just from a piece of this once-forbidden chew you’ll be less stressed, more focused, and essentially feel energized!

All in all, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a cup of coffee here and there. But the next time you’re feeling a little drained and need a quick pick-me-up, try one of these alternatives. You might even find that they work even better than your coffee!

3 Ways to Screw-Up Corporate Wellness

Everyone has some sort of a corporate wellness plan. In fact, the term wellness is thrown around so much that it’s that nobody really understands what it is anymore. The management team is full of ideas, employees may have ideas, and even LinkedIn has ideas.  So with all these “ideas” floating around, how can anyone know what’s best? Finding a good plan can be as overwhelming and confusing as Googling “How to Lose Weight”? Eventually, you just give up and because you don’t know where to begin.

If this sounds like you, consider this: while improving the health of your company sounds amazing, there isn’t just one universal solution that’ll work for every organization. Implementing a one-size-fits-all program may lead you to failure. So here’s my list of the 3 Corporate Wellness Mistakes to Avoid.

3 Corporate Wellness Mistakes

 The Intranet Fishing Pole

If you ran a survey of how many of your friends and co-workers participated in a corporate wellness program, you probably learn that the majority of them didn’t even know it existed!

Most companies are using their intranet to spread the word about the wellness plan. They send out newsletters & messages, hoping that they get read.  What seems like a good way to communicate across the entire organization ends up being a death trap for wellness programs. The reason why most programs have such low engagement rates is because they are not being communicated effectively. If you’re going to be investing big money into a great program, make sure everyone knows about it and how to get started!

Stick to the Average Perks

Usually, the first thing that comes to mind when someone says corporate wellness is gym memberships and health screenings! This is misleading because wellness involves so much more! Don’t invest in a program that only offers you gym discounts, look for something that includes a wide-range of services such as financial fitness, professional development & team building, and even on-site fitness and nutrition classes. Think about your company culture and look for programs and services that will intrigue and motivate your workers to participate.

Let them Figure it Out

Starting something new, especially practicing wellness can be scary! A major mistake is that most companies leave their employees in the dark and force them to figure everything out on their own. This leads to low participation and engagement rates and eventually causes the program to fail. Your employees need as much motivation and support as possible. It’s important to have a team of experts and peers who can connect with them in a way that makes them believe they have the ability to learn new things and make meaningful, lasting changes.

You want to create an atmosphere which allows people to comfortably be engaged, educated, and energized!

Sitting Disease- Have you caught it?

We spend way too much time sitting- you’re probably doing it right now!

Did you know that the typical American adult is sedentary for 60% of their waking hours, and spends an average of 6 hours a day sitting? This can be even higher if you work at a desk or on a computer all day. [1][2] What’s even more astonishing is that sitting is accepted as the norm and exercise is becoming a burden for many.

Here’s some of the dangers of sitting your life away:

-Sitting decreases the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which helps the body burn fat [3].

-Sitting or sedentary behavior has been shown as a risk factor in women linked to decreased bone density despite any engagement in physical activity [4].

Constant sitting also may adversely affect the following:

  • Heart

When sitting down, muscles are less active, blood flow has decreased, resulting in less calories being burned. Over time, blood pressure and cholesterol will rise, increasing the chances of heart diseases.

  • Pancreas

The pancreas produces insulin and this hormone must carry glucose to cells for energy. Inactivity can lead to an increase in insulin production, causing the hormone to accumulate, resulting in diabetes. Clear evidence has shown that physical exercise decreases the amount of required insulin to maintain glycemic control [5].

  • Brain

The brain needs fresh blood flow in order for it to work at its optimal level. With a lack of activity, blood flow decreases and so will your brain function!

  • Neck, Back and Shoulders

Most of the time your desk isn’t high or low enough, depending on your height, and you tilt your neck towards the screen and keyboard. Also think about when using the phone while typing? What about talking on the phone while writing; you have to tilt our neck towards the side to hold the phone. By doing this you’re putting a lot of strain on the cervical vertebrae, shoulder, and neck muscles.

  • Legs

When you are sitting for hours on end, circulation slows down and leads to water retention because of fluid buildup in the legs. Some associated problems are varicose veins and vein thrombosis [6].

How Do You Improve or Prevent This?

Just add a little more activity to your day. Use a smaller coffee mug to increase trips to refill or park a little further from the office. Also remember to stand up and move your legs for a few minutes after every half-hour of sitting.

Try doing more activities while standing like: talking on the phone and eating. In the workplace, you can get a standing desk or even a treadmill desk! Next time you’re meeting with a friend or co-worker, go for a walk!

Too much sitting is a bad thing and can shorten your life span, so try to move a little more everyday. There’s no reason you should just sit your life away!

Learn how One Stop Wellness can help your company fix this problem!

How to Be a Better Communicator at Work

Communication is something that we do passively – like breathing. We talk to our spouses, family, friends, co-workers without even realizing! While it seems like we’ve been doing it effortlessly throughout our lives, to communicate effectively requires some skill. Knowing the right words to say, listening and understanding what is being said, and getting our point across can make or break a relationship. While miscommunication can lead to simple arguments at home, it can lead to much more serious issues at work including: decreased productivity, unmotivated employees, increased employee turnover and may ultimately ruin a great company.

Communication is not just important, it’s absolutely necessary for any type of relationship – including those in the workplace.

To improve communication throughout your entire company, you need to implement a few simple changes that may ultimately boost productivity, motivate employees, and improve retention rates.

Here’s our Top 3 Tips for Better Workplace Communication

1. Embrace the art of conversation

Technology is awesome because it improves speed, saves time, and is more convenient ! But with all of the gadgets we use, we’ve become slaves to our screens and essentially have neglected the art of conversation. People spend less time talking in person and more time communicating through e-mail, text messages, and social networks. And what’s even crazier – employees rather e-mail a co-worker who may be sitting a few desks away than just taking a few steps to talk to them.

Great communication includes verbal and non-verbal language, but when the non-verbal (facial expressions and body-language) is taken out of the equation, misinterpreting a message can be quite common. How many times have you sent a well-written message with great intentions only to have it misconceived by the reader? Or what about when you spend time writing a very detailed and articulate e-mail and only receive a short response? That can easily be misinterpreted as a lack of interest. So here’s a simple fix for better conversations: Pick up the phone every once in a while and make a call. Walk over to your colleague and speak to them face-to-face! Or schedule a meeting.

 

2. Value your Employee’s Opinions

Far too often, employee’s are left out of all the major conversations. When companies undergo new changes, the employees are usually the last to find out and the most affected. At some point in time, we may have felt unappreciated or disrespected at work, but luckily it wasn’t broadcasted on national television. Last month, on ABC’s Live!, Co-host Michael Strahan announced he was leaving to join Good Morning America on air. His co-host Kelly Ripa, learned about this change at the same time as the public and took a leave of absence. Upon her return she said:

“What transpired though over the course of a few days has been extraordinary in the sense that it started a much greater conversation about communication and consideration and, most importantly, respect in the workplace.”

Why didn’t they inform her prior to this? This type of situation usually results in resentment for the management and can lead to employees quitting.

Great organizations should trust & listen to their employees while encouraging transparency so there’s no secrets. What you are telling your employees when you don’t communicate with them is that they don’t matter; their feelings, their opinions, or their presence. Bad decisions might be made and employees may be disappointed, but there’s no excuse for not being upfront and direct.

To improve communication and employee morale,  allow workers to voice their opinions and be part of the conversations, no matter what the potential outcomes may be.

 

3.Don’t Just Hear, but Listen                                                                      

You engage in conversations with your employees throughout the day, but how often are you actually listening? Are the words just going in one ear and out the other? If you’re thinking about your upcoming conference call or your after-work activities during the conversation, you’re not listening.

 

Effective communication requires speaking and listening. To really understand the purpose of a conversation you need to be fully invested in it and give the speaker your full attention, otherwise there will be a disconnect and the message will get lost.

 

Next time you’re speaking to an employee: summarize the main points of the conversation and ask the speaker to clarify their main points or elaborate on a specific topic. This shows your employee that you care about what they said and will lead to improved satisfaction and a healthy workplace culture.