bee school Q&A

Bee School Session 2: “National Culture” Q&A

On Tuesday we hosted the second session of our new educational series, Bee School. Thank you to those of you who joined or plan on joining us in the upcoming weeks!

The topic of this week’s lecture was “National Culture” where Dr. Linda Herkenhoff discussed why understanding national culture is so important and how ignoring it can negatively impact your bottom line. As a manager, recognizing cultural differences can help you redesign motivation systems for a more satisfying and productive work environment. She also described the power of taking the qualitative concept of culture and building it out as a more quantitative variable. Something tangible that can be measured and used in the workplace.

Some of you had some questions for Dr. Herkenhoff and you can read her responses below. Your questions are not only helpful for us so we can get to know your needs and challenges better, they also enrich the learning process for everyone in the program. So keep them coming!

Hopefully these answers help you apply these theories to your own team.

Q&A with the Professor

1. How can you apply this knowledge to the differences in national cultures when communicating about benefits?

No matter where your company is located, paying your employees fair wages and benefit packages is always in style. I would recommend speaking with similar companies to yours to get a better understanding of salary ranges and benefits offered in your city or region as a benchmark to work form. Then you can consider cultural values to determine if your employees place a higher value on things like time off versus larger bonuses or higher pay.

 

In a global organization, creating a pay and benefit structure that motivates all nationalities can be difficult. Since I’ve been working with Beekeeper, let’s use them as an example. Their employee base includes people from 22 countries and one of their core values is Bee Open which allows employees to give and receive feedback in a constructive manner.  When there are major changes that happen within the company,  employees care enough to give honest and direct feedback on the initiatives rolled out. This feedback is discussed within the executive meeting and action is quickly taken.

There are so many types of benefits to consider that extend beyond the standard ones we think of. For example, some cultures have dietary restrictions so benefits can even be in the form of providing free snacks that are aligned with their values. Many cultures place a high value on continuing education so you can provide internal workshops where everyone is invited to share knowledge and aid in professional development. Assess the varying national cultures and find out what benefits are important and survey your team to craft and communicate the best benefits plan.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s lecture, “Professional Culture,” to learn the importance of a professional culture and what steps you can take to ensure yours is sustainable.

First time hearing about Bee School? It’s not too late to sign up! Reserve your spot below for this free educational series and we can email you the sessions you missed.
6 Ways to Give Thanks to Your Hotel Employees

6 Ways to Give Thanks to Your Hotel Employees

As the holidays loom near, most of the workforce is preparing for a well-deserved break from the workplace. For hotel employees, though, even holidays don’t guarantee a day off. What can employers do to ease the pain of the holiday work schedule? Recognizing hard-working employees goes a long way in ensuring continued productivity.

Here are six ways to give thanks to your hotel employees this holiday season.

1. Create a Thank You Wall

Whether you have limited space behind-the-scenes or you have a whole wall to dedicate to thanking employees, a “thank you wall” is an inexpensive way to show them how much they matter. Print photos of each employee or create name tags and write down a positive quality for each person.

Better yet, invite employees to write thank you notes to one another, highlighting each person’s abilities and unique contributions to the team. Be sure to include comments from team leaders, supervisors, and as many higher-up staff as possible.

One study showed that “managers focusing on employee strengths are 30 times more likely to manage actively engaged workers compared with managers denying feedback.” Giving employees positive feedback feeds the cycle of engaged and productive workers.

2. Post on Internal Communications Platforms

If an in-person thank you isn’t feasible, consider using your organization’s internal communications platform to send tailored messages. This may be as simple as typing up a quick note to each employee, acknowledging their contributions to their respective departments over the past year.

Alternatively, create a group discussion calling out each person for his or her talents. This is a positive way to build up your team using only digital resources. It also doesn’t require that you take time away from employees’ regular duties during the holiday rush, so they can check messages and join in when time permits.

3. Automate a Personalized Campaign

Today’s version of the greeting card arrives digitally, and with your organization’s communication platform it’s easy to send a personalized campaign to each employee. Keep it simple with a holiday greeting, or add a reward within the body of the message.

A digital gift card or online credit sweetens the message of any online greeting, but the greeting could also include an invitation to an employee party or announce a holiday giveaway or other perk. Should you choose to give out gift cards, maintaining the same denomination for all employees helps avoid perceived favoritism.

4. Plan a Potluck (or Order In)

While the holidays are a busy time for all hospitality staff, making sure that employees receive their breaks and have a holiday meal helps express your thanks for their hard work. Announce a potluck-style meal for the holidays or order in with catering or delivery to take the pressure off of hotel employees.

This is especially thoughtful when employees are away from their families for a holiday, or if the timing of their shift doesn’t allow for an early or late meal at home. If your property includes banquet or restaurant facilities, consider setting aside time for employees to utilize the space for their meals.

5. Offer Holiday Pay or PTO

Many businesses offer holiday pay when employee shifts fall on national holidays. If your facility doesn’t already offer this perk, consider adding it for designated holidays. Or, offer incentives to employees who volunteer to work rather than assigning regularly scheduled employees their same schedules.

Giving all employees a set number of PTO hours is an altruistic way to approach holiday perks since they’re free to use the time during any part of the year.

6. Make Time for Chitchat

According to a study from the University of Warwick, when employees are happy, they become roughly 12% more productive. But what makes employees happy? The only way to get to know your employees is to spend time talking with them, or working alongside them if the opportunity presents itself.

Getting to know your team shows them you have an interest in not only their performance, but their interests and concerns as well. Make time during your regular workday or during the holiday rush if time permits. Often, supervisors and managers need to help out during busy periods, so this is an ideal time to converse with employees.

Encourage hotel employees to make suggestions for improvements in their departments. Service staff in customer-facing departments know better than anyone else what works and what doesn’t. This is one reason why recognizing their contributions makes for a more positive and engaging work environment.

To give thanks to your hotel employees, why not try an employee engagement and internal communications app that caters to the hospitality industry? Fill out the form below for a free demo with an app expert.
Bee School Session 1: “Motivation at Work” Q&A

Bee School Session 1: “Motivation at Work” Q&A

On Tuesday we held the first session of our new educational series, Bee School. And, because of you, it was a success! We had a great turnout, so thank you to all of those who joined and we hope to see you in the next five sessions.

The topic of this week’s discussion was “Motivation at Work” where Dr. Linda Herkenhoff discussed the true definition of motivation, the three groups of theories associated with it, details and examples, and how to apply these theories globally.

Some of you had some questions for Dr. Herkenhoff and you know we would never leave you hanging! Many of you had similar questions which was encouraging to see lots of managers face the same challenges, but are eager to find innovative ways to motivate their teams. Hopefully these answers will help guide you on your quest for engagement and alignment.

Q&A with the Professor

1. As I’m from the Information Technology domain, it would be interesting to know how different domains are using motivation frameworks to keep their knowledge workers engaged and excited.

People are people—these frameworks can be used for knowledge and non-desk workers alike. The core principles of engagement and motivation are great communication on all levels. Following Theory Y, we can assume that knowledge workers fall into a different level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Where a non-desk worker might have their Safety and Security needs met before reaching a level of engagement, a knowledge worker will need help reaching self-actualization.

A good question to ask your team is what their vision for themselves is in the next five years. Whether or not that vision has a path within your company, help give them the tools they need to grow within their existing position and beyond.

Any good manager will tell you that it is a proud moment when the people working for them grow out of their positions and progress within their careers. You can create a tremendous amount of goodwill within your team if you are helping them achieve their life goals or self-actualization. For the organization, it is always best to have your employees operating at the highest level of Maslow’s pyramid.

If we consider your question from the Hygiene Theory perspective, the principles are universal. You need to make sure your hygiene factors are always in check. This is always a good baseline to work from. As a refresher, here they are:

Hygiene Factors

1. Company policy & administration
2. Supervision
3. Interpersonal relations
4. Working conditions
5. Salary
6. Status
7. Security

Once you have a good foundation in place, you can focus on the motivation factors. We usually see that after the first year of employment, growth and advancement become more important to pay attention to. (In the first year, there is much to be done while mastering a position.)

While advancement and growth aren’t options, make sure you are recognizing individual contributions and team wins. Communicating these to the team, in addition to your 1:1 praise, will go a long way to show appreciation. It will also shape your team’s expectation of rewarded behavior and make them strive for their own recognition. As a refresher, here are the motivation factors:

Motivation Factors

1. Achievement recognition
2. Work itself
3. Responsibility
4. Advancement
5. Growth
6. Salary

2. I’m going to take over a team that currently finds itself in a reorganization process. It would be great to learn some skills, how to approach them as their new boss, and how to keep their motivation high.

Uncertainty breeds fear. If we take a look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, engagement can only happen after the first few levels are satisfied.

To get your team to a place of engagement and motivation, I would recommend approaching your team with open communication and transparency. Schedule a series of 1:1 meetings with each of your new reports to get to know them. Listen to their concerns and get to know the lay of the land. Then show them you’ve listened through your actions. Lay out your vision in a clear and transparent way that is shared with everyone in 1:1 meetings and again in a team session.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s lecture, “National Culture,” where you’ll gain the knowledge and tools for working with varied cultures around the world.

First time hearing about Bee School? It’s not too late to sign up! Reserve your spot below for this free educational series and we can email you the sessions you missed.
bee school is in session

Bee School is in Session!

Today marks the launch our first educational series, Bee School, designed to help managers lead their teams and operate successful companies. This initiative is our spin on business school, taught by renowned MBA professor and senior management expert, Dr. Linda Herkenhoff.

Although classes start today, it’s not too late to enroll for free. If you missed today’s session you can still sign up and we will email you the recording. This is your chance to receive a postgraduate education without the cost!

Our mission to pave the future of work for non-desk workers and those who manage them is at the core of why we started Bee School. Over the span of six weeks, course participants will gain valuable insights on how to keep employees motivated and engaged at work, as well as how to build and navigate inclusive work cultures.

See the full details, including the schedule and curriculum.

Are you ready to take the next step in becoming a proactive, organized, and motivational leader? Reserve your spot below for this free educational series.
Four Action Items to Increase Productivity in Manufacturing

Four Action Items to Increase Productivity in Manufacturing

Employee productivity has always been a major concern among businesses across virtually every industry, including manufacturing. Lower levels of efficiency and less productive outputs from employees can affect any manufacturer, and even put its survival at risk. It’s vital for an organization to look for ways to increase productivity in manufacturing to survive this competitive market.

However, it’s important to note that low levels of productivity can’t be blamed entirely on employees. Often, it has something to do with the workplace environment and work conditions, along with a variety of factors that define the culture of the organization. Employee talent is a critical asset for any company, and it has to be maximized by ensuring employees are motivated to work and deliver great results they are capable of and qualified for.

Therefore, employers and companies must implement some changes in the setup and integrate some tools to enhance the productivity and efficiency of their workforce.

A very successful plant manager once stated that one of the keys to a thriving manufacturing is to do simple things remarkably well. This means that great results can actually come from mastering simple techniques and applying them consistently.

Here are four powerful ways to use this idea to increase productivity in manufacturing:

1. Give employees easy access to systems they need to do their job well

As a company leader in your manufacturing business, you are often faced with difficult choices. When it comes to improving your off-site or non-desk workers, you can either just watch your competitors become more efficient or give your staff the means to work effectively from any location.

Giving your workers access to systems they need to perform well is one of the secrets to increase productivity in manufacturing. This can be done by integrating cloud services or mobile solutions to enhance their efficiency from outside the workplace. This makes information remotely accessible for them, enhancing their work-life balance.

The most successful manufacturing companies across all industries leverage technology to give their workers easy access to communications, collaboration, and information even when they are off-site. This leads to higher outputs, while arming employees with resources they need to do their job well.

Remote workers can update information in real time. This gives them mobility, which empowers them to get more done in a shorter amount of time. This will also ease workload, reduce time-wasting actions, and amplify productivity. See how Seaboard Foods manufacturing did it.

2. Have a mobile internal communication strategy in place

Internal mobile communication can do more than just managing and distributing information. Quality internal communication strategies can cultivate the development of a community between the workers and employers that will foster a relationship of trust, which is vital to a team working towards achieving a goal.

As the manufacturing industry enters a period of rapid growth in technological advancement, businesses in the industry must embrace a digital approach. With the integration of a mobile internal communication strategy, organizations can streamline workflows, improving their overall productivity and efficiency.

Internal communication strategies are a vital component of any business, especially for employees on the frontlines. Just as mobile devices transformed the way we operate in our personal lives, business mobility can also be revolutionary. Rather than carrying overflowing folders, any system can be made accessible through a simple app. Workers can communicate off-site with similar levels of efficiency they get inside the office. This also allows team members, departments, and production workers to communicate and collaborate more effectively.

Therefore, the use of internal communications and employee engagement app is something that manufacturing companies should consider. There are products that also integrate with existing operational systems, so employees can have all their tools in one simple interface. Since most don’t non-desk workers don’t have access to email, these apps provide a solution for them to keep in regular contact with the whole company.

3. Invest in continued worker education

Workers appreciate the opportunity to enhance their skills and get access to professional advancement provided by the employer. The machining, cutting, and manufacturing industries are constantly changing. New technologies arise, promising these industries to become more efficient than ever. Advancements in technology also require change or development of skills needed for a particular task. With this, workers will need access to education and regular trainings to keep up with what the industry needs and with more advanced skills.

Manufacturing is also a unique industry where employees can just be as efficient and productive as their tools. To get ahead, it is also important for businesses to invest in smarter tools that employees can take full advantage of.

4. Always encourage collaboration

Teamwork and collaboration are vital for a manufacturing business, especially since there are so many safety hazards. The company becomes more safe and productive when everyone works together towards achieving a similar goal with minimal conflict and confusion which are substantial time wasters. While it is important to focus on the work being accomplished, it is also crucial to make sure that every worker feels comfortable as part of the team.

Indeed, effective collaboration is easy when you share a work location or office. However, with non-desk employees working on different production lines, encouraging collaboration may be a challenge.

This is where the implementation of a quality mobile solution comes in. Effective collaboration results in greater growth and innovation without incurring additional expenses. Your manufacturing company can integrate a system that features collaborative elements that will change the way teams work together.

Just increasing your workers’ salary will not always make them truly satisfied. It is important to keep them motivated by integrating innovative tools and implementing strategies and systems that will create meaning and keep them motivated. By giving them access to systems they need to function and perform well, having a mobile internal communication strategy in place, investing in continued worker education, and always encouraging collaboration, you can effectively increase productivity in manufacturing and have a satisfied workforce.

To learn how Beekeeper’s mobile communication app can increase productivity on your manufacturing company, fill out the form to schedule a demo with one of our app experts.
How to Empower Frontline Employees in this Digital Age

How to Empower Frontline Employees in this Digital Age

For companies to thrive in the 21st century, they must be able to adapt to the demands of the digital age. Part of that evolutionary process means empowering frontline employees. After all, frontline employees are a business’s first point of contact with a customer—hence the name “frontline.”

And that frontline is being taken over by a fairly new generation that has entered the workforce.

They’re the millennials, a mix of twenty-somethings and young thirty-somethings that have grown up alongside the eruption in digital technologies. Having been raised on a diet of smartphones and the internet, millennials almost epitomize the term “digital age.”

They are the trendsetters of our era, at the forefront of the latest technologies, and companies can learn from millennials the habits needed to empower frontline employees.

Turn Your Company Into a Village

Long gone are the days when working at a company meant only being on a first-name basis with your cubicle neighbors and managers. This is the digital age—the age of social media—and the entire world is connected by a tangled net of signals.

For better or worse, nearly every single person is a simple Google search away. And companies that haven’t internalized this “digital world is a village” lesson are going to stutter and spurt until they finally crash.

How do we take the lessons of an interconnected world to the office to empower frontline employees?

Companies using the right app or software can turn their vast employee roster into a small village, where everybody knows everybody else’s names. Or at least has access to them.

With the right app or software, workers can send a message to any other employee through a simple click. After all, nobody knows everything—not yet at least. To compensate, traditional companies relied on specialists or experts, leaving some frontline employees at the whims of others to guide their decisions.

But in the digital age, frontline employees don’t need to wait for a message to make its way through labyrinth of communication channels before getting to the right person. They can directly contact the staff member they need to speak to. That means no hold-up, employee independence, and better customer service.

Don’t forget, management and leaders are also privileged to this network. Both they and frontline employees have a diversity of opinions and perceptions to guide decision making.

Encourage Recognition

That interconnected network also makes it easier for employers to commend their frontline employees, to say “Thank you,” an overlooked two syllable phrase that makes all the difference.

Research by One4all Rewards found that “71% of respondents would forgo a higher salary to work for an employer that regularly says thank you.” It’s not clear where the financial cutoff is, but the finding is still significant. It went on to reveal that one in five workers have never received a “Thank you” at all from their employers.

There’s no excuse in the digital age for lacking P’s and Q’s when an entire office has an internal communication solution. A simple salutation makes any employee—especially frontline employees who represent a business—feel valued as a cherished member of a team, even if it’s in the form of a computerized message.

Personal Leadership

Jim Collins’ now classic book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t discovered similarities between every successful business: employees that are empowered to act on their own.

That means a manager isn’t breathing down a frontline employee’s neck, asking them what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. That doesn’t create a positive work environment for anyone.

As Collins explores in his book, “The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you’ve made a hiring mistake.” A sense of trust and personal responsibility is the push that takes companies from being simply good to exceptionally great.

It’s a way to empower frontline employees. They don’t need to constantly call up a manager and ask whether or not action X or Y or Z is the appropriate response. And giving employees the ability to act independently has never been easier than today.

Freedom to Choose

We all know the saying “knowledge is power.” Essentially, the more information you have the more freedom you have to make decisions.

Where are we going with this? People these days are saturated with information, and companies are too.

Empowering frontline employees means giving them the information they need to make decisions, because businesses that thrive in the digital age give employees the information they need to be autonomous individuals.

Today, there are solutions that do exactly this. Workstream collaboration and internal communication tools enable two-way communication between managers and frontline employees and give everyone access to important information without the use of email. There are other solutions such as Qminder – a queue management system that provides data to frontline employees so they can focus on improving customer experience metrics.

These innovative solutions give frontline employees the means to make informed decisions on their own, while staying connected to information. It goes over particularly well with millennials, who tend to value freedom even more than money. So, give them freedom.

“If people are free, they will be drawn to what they really like as opposed to being pushed toward what they have been told to like,” said Chris Rufer, CEO of Morning Star Company, in an interview with Harvard Business Review. “So they will personally do better; they’ll be more enthused to do things.”

Overcome Hierarchies

As Pew Research rightly points out, millennials are the “best-educated cohort of young adults in American history.” That makes them suspicious of traditional hierarchies and imbued with a keenness for democracy.

Traditionally, decisions are locked behind a hodgepodge bureaucracy. Not only is it inefficient, but it’s demoralizing. In the traditional system, frontline employees feel like a cog in a machine whose voice is barely heard, as if they’re not allowed to deviate from a pre-approved script.

“The problem isn’t the occasional control freak; it’s the hierarchical structure that systematically disempowers lower-level employees,” the Harvard Business Review points out.

The article goes on to say, “Narrow an individual’s scope of authority, and you shrink the incentive to dream, imagine, and contribute.” Overcoming this system means managers must become better leaders and overcome these hierarchical boundaries.

Companies that change their culture today will get ahead tomorrow.

Adaptation is not easy: the rate of technological change makes it seem nearly impossible to implement a strategy that incorporates the latest trends from the digital age. But don’t worry!

“Cultural changes within corporate institutions will always be slower and more complex than the technological changes that necessitate them,” writes McKinsey Quarterly. Recognizing the need to keep on top of the latest digital trends is the first step in a long journey.

Once frontline employees feel the first slivers of empowerment from managers, the necessary changes to continue the trend will naturally flow. It’s the first step that’s hardest. But recognizing it has to be taken is an empowering act in itself.

To empower your frontline employees with the digital technology they need to perform their jobs at the highest level, fill out the form below for a free demo.
Schreiben Sie sich für Bee School ein

Enroll in Bee School, A Webinar Series Dedicated to Helping Managers Lead Successful Teams

On November 7th we’ll launch our first webinar series, Bee School, designed to help management lead their teams and operate successful companies. Think of it as Beekeeper’s spin on business school, taught by an actual MBA professor.

Our mission to pave the future of work for non-desk workers and those who manage them is at the core of why we started Bee School. Over the span of six weeks, course participants will gain valuable insights on how to keep employees motivated and engaged at work, as well as how to build and navigate inclusive work cultures.

At Beekeeper, we want to empower every leader with the tools they need to run a successful team, taking into account both human connection and technology. This is your chance to receive an MBA level education without the cost. No commute, no hassle—just results.

Overview

Managers are tasked with the important job of leading their teams and ensuring everyone is productive, as well as happy. In order to drive company success, it’s important that managers learn the fundamentals of organizational processes based on behavioral sciences.

To ensure that all levels of management are equipped for success, this educational webinar series is focused on analyzing workplace behavior, improving motivation and commitment, leadership, job satisfaction, group and team dynamics, and organizational design.

Who Should Attend

Any manager who wants to learn the ins and outs of key management skills including motivation, employee and organizational commitment, culture, emotional intelligence, and leadership/followership.

When and Where

Weekly 45 minute sessions will start November 7th. All six Tuesday sessions will be live streamed at 2pm EST and CET. Detailed instructions will be emailed to you after registration.

About the Professor

Bee School will be led by Dr. Linda Herkenhoff, a full-time professor in the Graduate School of Business at Saint Mary’s College of California where she teaches Leadership and Organizational Behavior and Quantitative Analysis.

She serves as the Director of the Global MBA program where she supervises social service projects in countries at the base of the economic pyramid. These projects strive to balance people, planet, and profit.

Her varied career includes 16 years as a geophysicist for Chevron, VP of Human Resources for EDS, and a consulting role for senior management at Bechtel. Additionally, she was the past Executive Director of Human Resources for Stanford University.

Dr. Herkenhoff’s university degrees include: B.S. in Geophysics from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, MBA from Saint Mary’s College, Masters in Engineering from U.C. Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Management at the University of Western Australia.

Curriculum

Dr. Herkenhoff has a wonderful curriculum in store for you. It’s full of mission critical information for managers tasked with implementing new ideas and running successful teams.

1. Motivation at Work

Delve into the key motivational theories presented in a very applied approach and learn how to apply these theories globally.

2. National Culture

Gain the knowledge and tools for working with varied national cultures.

3. Professional Culture

Discover the importance of a professional culture and what steps you can take to ensure yours is healthy.

4. Organizational Culture

Learn what organizational culture is, how it varies from professional culture, how to measure it, and how to drive a strong one to increase productivity.

5. Emotional Intelligence

Find out how to look beyond basic emotional intelligence and fine-tune your approach by taking all three types of culture into account.

6. Leadership and Followership

Discover how these are both critical to organizational success, dive into various leadership models, followership behaviors, and evaluate what works and what doesn’t.

There will also be a Q&A portion at the end of every session. Can’t wait to see you on your first day of Bee School!

Are you ready to take the next step in becoming a proactive, organized, and motivational leader? Reserve your spot below for this free webinar series.
3 Warning Signs of Declining Employee Morale

3 Warning Signs of Declining Employee Morale

Your employees power your business, and ensuring employee morale is high is critical for helping workers maintain their productivity. Running a successful business means viewing your employees as a core asset, and morale serves as a measure of their satisfaction with their work.

Experienced managers know what studies have consistently shown: Satisfied employees are more productive than those who dread coming to work. It can be easy to miss out on early warning signs that morale is dropping, and failing to take steps early on can lead to more difficult problems in the future.

Here are three signs employee morale is dropping and a few tips for fixing the problem early.

Negativity

Work almost always causes a bit of stress for workers, and it’s common for employees to feel frustrated on occasion. However, studies have consistently shown that it only takes a single employee to cause this frustration to spread throughout the workplace, and these negative feelings can quickly lead to drained morale in the workplace.

Make sure to provide ways for employees to leave feedback and criticism for management, and let them know your company takes this feedback seriously. If the negativity is caused by poor management, make sure to address these issues with employees and find out if you’re doing enough to solve the problem.

It is very important to promote a positive and motivating workplace atmosphere as much as possible. Always make sure that everyone involved has a complete understanding of the overall vision of the organization, while trying to accomplish their individual goals.

Confusion

A major part of running a business successfully is ensuring everyone is on the same page. Workers need to have consistent access to job-related information and feedback, and it’s important to deliver information in a timely manner. When this order begins to break down, it’s common for employees to feel drained, and this lack of energy can lead to even more confusion, creating a self-sustaining problem.

Look for signs that employees are having trouble navigating their day-to-day activities, and find out if overall productivity is starting to drop. It’s common to find confusion in the office when bringing in new employees or when hiring new people in management positions. If your business operates seasonally, workers might become confused when demand picks up.

One of the keys for fighting confusion and maintaining your office morale is to focus on your hierarchy in the workplace. Ensure everyone knows their roles, and make sure your managers feel empowered to make decisions and delegate to others. If productivity has dropped, spend some time with your workers to find out where the bottleneck is. Small problems can snowball into confusion easily, so keep an eye out for warning signs.

Exhaustion

Those in management positions want their workers being productive at all times, and many try to find ways to increase employee productivity. However, too much work can cause workers unneeded stress on the job, which can lower productivity and cause them to make mistakes.

Even worse, being overworked and stressed out can affect workers’ personal lives, which can lead to poor sleep, health issues and distractions while on the job. Poor sleep has been shown to have a profound effect on work performance and lead to negative attitudes, which are clear signs of poor office morale. Work-related stress can also lead to high turnover, resulting in a less experienced workforce.

The key to preventing overworking on the job is encouraging employees to take breaks. Some workers try to minimize their break time to impress managers, so ensure your employees know they’re encouraged to take a break and refresh, and consider making breaks mandatory. Small breaks can be helpful as well; a five-minute breather after completing certain tasks, for example, can help your employees stay refreshed throughout their shifts. If your employees work alone, finding ways to help them take breaks together can help them remain focused.

Another factor to consider is vacation time. While paid time off is a significant expense, providing vacation time also lets employees recharge away from the office, which can result in higher overall productivity.

Workplace morale is key for ensuring your employees are productive, but it can be more difficult to maintain good morale once it starts to slip. Make sure your business regularly measures office morale, and include employees on these conversations. Encourage employees to be honest; workers are sometimes reluctant to report problems, so assure them you’re interested in their feedback. View maintaining your morale as part of running a successful business, and feel free to make investments if it will lead to a happier and more productive workforce. Guaranteed you’ll see the return.

Interested in learning more about improving employee morale and boosting productivity in your organization? Schedule a free personal demo with our app experts today.
Benefits communication - get higher open enrollment participation

Benefits Communication: Get Higher Open Enrollment Participation

If you’re in HR, you know open enrollment is just around the corner starting November 1. Open enrollment can be an extremely stressful and overwhelming time for management and employees alike. These periods are the only time employees can enroll in benefits or make changes, resulting in a lot of pressure on both sides of the fence.

Although open enrollment is critical, employees don’t fully understand the process or actual benefits available. Therefore, benefits communication is often ignored.

When employees miss the deadline, it creates more administrative work and can lead to disgruntled, unproductive employees. To prevent these issues, it’s important to get the highest open enrollment participation—and the key to that is through effective benefits communication.

Plan Ahead

To get the highest participation rate, you have to plan your benefits communication in advance. People need to know well ahead of time the opportunities that will be made available to them.

Start by ensuring colleagues receive a comprehensive overview of the benefits offerings, including their portion of the cost. Notify employees of open enrollment meetings a month prior so they can schedule accordingly. Don’t forget to allow enough time for management to submit enrollment changes to insurance providers and verify enrollment was successful.

Employees need ample time to review educational materials and consult with family members in order to make informed decisions. You may be thinking, “What educational materials?” which leads us to our next point…

Offer Education

Let’s face it, “I completely understand my ever-changing healthcare benefits” is likely not something you’ll hear from any employee. Because of this, employees frequently bypass making changes during the open enrollment window. It’s an employer’s job to make sure employees have all the tools to make informed decisions by the deadline.

Plan and implement a benefits education program complete with seminars/webinars, personal consultations with experts, one-on-one meetings with HR representatives, and any other options that suit your organization. These educational opportunities will help demystify the open enrollment process and make employees feel more confident in their decisions.

Although it seems like more planning now, it will save a lot of headache down the road. More knowledge will lead to less confusion and higher participation rates. Ideally, you can repurpose these educational materials with minor tweaks as benefits change so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel twice a year. It will also help alleviate call volume and surprise visits by confused employees.

Communicate Potential Consequences

To get a high participation rate, employees need to understand what happens if they miss open enrollment. By communicating potential consequences, employees are more likely to take the deadline seriously. It’s not meant to be a scare tactic, it’s simply the reality of what could happen.

Potential consequences include not receiving any benefits (if enrolling for the first time), dependents being dropped or not added, or dropped coverage altogether. All of these scenarios can have a significant financial impact on the employee.

According to an Aflac Workforces Report, 60% of employees haven’t tried to learn about health reform on their own. And 75% expect their employer to notify them of any changes in health care coverage due to health care reform.

In a nutshell, a company’s benefits communications may be the only source of information employees receive, so it’s important to arm them with plenty of information and support.

Use an Accessible Platform

We’ve discussed what to communicate, but what is the best distribution method? Email is widely used for benefits communication, however, it’s often ignored or doesn’t reach the entire workforce. 83% of the global workforce consists of non-desk workers—many who don’t have corporate email addresses— so they’re left out of these vital communications.

If employees aren’t using a computer, there’s a good chance they’re on their smartphones. Custom mobile internal communication apps are a great way to reach all or part of your teams in real time. In addition to quick messaging, you can schedule automated reminders, send confirmation campaigns, and automate workflows, while still remaining personalized.

There are many more ways to improve employee benefits communication with mobile. Colleagues will appreciate benefits communication in bite-sized chunks that are more easily digestible than thick blocks of email text.

Ask for Feedback

The best way to get high enrollment participation is to simply ask employees what information they want and how they want to receive it. They may prefer it being distributed in a different way than you’re providing, or may have follow-up questions that can be addressed during feedback periods.

Employee surveys are a great way to clarify benefits options and the open enrollment process. And it has never been easier with mobile surveying technology that allows you to create and send in mere minutes. Employee surveys demonstrate that you’re dedicated to making the process as convenient as possible—potentially reducing the number of employees that miss open enrollment.

For more information on how to improve employee benefits communication, download our white paper. Or talk to one of our app experts by filling out the form below.
top 10 international events for CIOs

Top 10 International Events for CIOs

Although organizations are still recovering from the economic downturn freezing or cutting budgets, they’re regaining strength and global IT spending is expected to increase in the coming years. The economy has started swinging in the right direction, however, there is still a ways to go.

A CIO’s role is more important than ever as digital continues to drive and even replace manual processes. Business goals have changed and CIO’s are tasked with finding emerging opportunities paving the way for the digital transformation.

Topics like ROI, cybersecurity, AI, and collaboration are top of mind for any CIO. To remain at the forefront of innovation and find the latest technology solutions, it’s crucial to attend events with other industry leaders. Finding the right event for your company can be a time-consuming process. That’s why we’ve done the work for you!

Here are the top 10 international events for CIOs:

1. Gartner Symposium/ITxpo

Gartner is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. Every year they host the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, specifically designed for CIOs and Senior IT executives. Held on November 5-9 in Barcelona, Spain, 6,000+ Gartner analysts, industry experts, solution providers, CIOs and senior IT executives will discuss the digital transformation and key topics surrounding technology, leadership, and business strategy. Featured speakers include Gartner analysts and business leaders from top companies like Amazon and SAP.

Here you’ll find a wealth of networking opportunities and be able to share best practices across all industries. With 130+ solution providers filling the ITxpo showcase, you’re bound to find solutions that will work perfectly for your team. Perhaps the most valuable and unique benefits are the CIO story sessions and one-on-ones with 140+ Gartner analysts. The CIO story sessions feature CIOs who share practical examples putting their own digital leadership into practice. The one-on-one meetings allow you to get personal, tailored advice and help you explore new ways to approach critical challenges.

2. CIO Summit

The CIO Summit, hosted by CDM Media, is their flagship event where IT leaders and strategists meet to tackle industry challenges and explore developing trends. Happening November 12-14, 2017 at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona, the CIO Summit agenda offers a balanced schedule of focused educational sessions, keynote speeches, open forums, panel discussions, think tanks, and one-on-one meetings designed to inspire and put theory into action. This is the perfect chance to meet IT executives from industries including, but not limited to, healthcare, telecom, education, finance, and government.

Speakers include CIOs from big names like Volvo, CBS, Mastercard, McKesson and many more. If networking is your game, there’s no lack of networking opportunities, even after the day’s events are over. You can even watch the event’s golf tournament to get better acquainted with attendees. You’ll leave the event with new contacts and ideas to spearhead new IT initiatives.

3. Oracle OpenWorld

Considered the industry’s most important business and technology conference, Oracle OpenWorld has it all, including live performances by Ellie Goulding and Usher. Coming up October 1-5 in the world’s tech capital, San Francisco, CA, at OpenWorld you’ll see tens of thousands of attendees all there to gain valuable insights into trends and leverage the cloud for innovation and growth.

If you’re looking for a huge event rather than an intimate environment, this is the place to be. With more than 2,500 educational sessions led by Oracle customers and partners, you’ll get to hear their first-hand experiences and be inspired to bring learnings back to your own company. Focus areas include app development, AI, customer experience, big data and analytics, IoT, security, IT operations and so much more. After seeing hundreds of demos, interactive labs, and exhibitions, you’ll walk away with new knowledge about cloud technologies and maybe even bring home a new solution for your teams.

4. Intra.NET Reloaded

Intra.NET Reloaded is the perfect place to see how intranets, the digital workplace, and internal communications work together to optimize business processes. The demand for mobile, cloud, and collaboration is growing as businesses scale, and this event aims to prepare for that transition. Everyone who is in the internal communication and digital workplace scene will be there, either in Boston (April 26-27, 2018)or London (November 27-28, 2017).

You’ll walk away with more practical knowledge than you thought possible. Gain insights on how to develop and integrate a customized employee intranet that is both informative and engaging and organize cross-unit collaboration projects. Experts will teach you how to create purposeful and engaging content, find solutions to your intranet challenges, and exchange best practices on how to set up an integrated social collaboration and communication infrastructure. All the skills and contacts you’ll gain will help you transform from a traditional intranet to a successful global digital workplace.

5. Enterprise Mobility Transformation Exchange

If your specific interest is in mobile IT, the Enterprise Mobility Transformation Exchange is for you. This is an invitation-only forum held in both the U.S. and Europe where C-Suite, VPs and Directors of Mobile, IT, Architecture, Field Service, Fleet Management, and Operations will meet to transform IT strategy. (Both event locations have passed this year, so be sure to look out for the 2018 dates.) Here you’ll learn what strategies and solutions other companies are implementing, partake in intimate workshops, and develop business partnerships through interactive networking. All with the aim of managing security risks, productivity, adoption, and innovation in your own company.

The best thing about this forum is that you can build your own agenda by selecting case studies, panel debates, interactive roundtable discussions, and one-on-one meetings that reflect your current priorities. That way, your time is only spent on what will individually benefit you. Be sure to request your invitation well in advance to get a spot!

6. Enterprise Business Collaboration

Collaboration is the glue that holds every successful organization together. It’s impossible to reach your full potential if all the puzzle pieces don’t fit together. If effective collaboration is something your company needs to work on, you should give this event some serious thought. Held at the Hotel Oderberger in Berlin, Germany, the Enterprise Business Collaboration is where 200+ technology, business, and communication professionals come together to discuss challenges and opportunities for mobile, video, social, messaging, and virtualization tools that drive seamless collaboration.

The digital workplace requires just as much collaboration as the physical workplace, if not more. This international knowledge exchange covers content management, digital workplace initiatives, internal IT architecture—all the pieces that enable effective collaboration and dictate processes. Keynote speakers include IT leaders from MIT, NASA, and SIEMENS, and the workshops, briefings, panel discussions, and interactive world cafe sessions are chock-full of information you’ll be excited to bring back to the office. And with the icebreaker session and networking dinner, you’ll finally get to connect with those hard-to-meet executives in a relaxed setting.

7. The European CIO Conference

With only 100 CIOs from large European organizations, the European CIO Conference is the most intimate CIO event you can go to. This two-day meeting November 29-30 at the Dorint Hotel in Wiesbaden, Germany is the annual flagship event put on by the European CIO Association. The “EuroCIO” is the only independent European not-for-profit representative for the large IT users, both private and public.

Not only are CIOs tasked with staying ahead of the ever-evolving IT industry, they also have to think about changing regulations and cybersecurity threats. This event prepares you for the seen and unforeseen challenges facing IT executives that threaten a company’s security and profitability. Workshops include topics about cybersecurity, how business innovation can be supported by IT, artificial intelligence (AI), how to manage IT speed-up, autonomic platforms, GDPR and beyond, and industries 4.0. You’ll walk away armed with knowledge to think strategically and tackle these issues head on.

8. Gigaom AI

AI has been a futuristic subject, but for CIOs, the future has been here for a few years already. It’s their job to use both machine learning and AI to pull ahead of the pack in their industries. Gigaom AI will prepare you for the AI revolution and tell you how to implement AI in your organization so you don’t fall behind. Keep an eye out for the 2018 dates.

As a CIO, you’re probably in charge of spearheading the digital transformation and that definitely includes AI as it’s the quickest way to scale your business. This event is one of the few focused on how AI is used now, how to get started using it, and how to optimize it if you’re already utilizing it. It’s also a good introduction to how other departments will be using AI in the future. AI experts will teach you to be an intelligent machine master, prepare for AI-based shadow IT, and learn how to be competitive using AI and machine learning. Additionally, you can sign up for the hands-on “Using AI” workshop to gain a deeper understanding.

9. ForbesLIVE CIO Summit

ForbesLIVE CIO Summit gives you special access to the world’s most influential leaders, policy-makers, entrepreneurs, and artists. With this collective knowledge and power, you’ll learn how to address critical issues that have been blocking your IT goals and solve them with solutions you’ve never thought of before. Since the event is hosted by Forbes, it’s not surprising the speakers are off the charts: Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Sir Richard Branson, just to name a few.

This conference focuses on helping CIOs build their own network of CIOs, CEOs, and VCs to accelerate their path to innovation. It’s an invitation-only event with a limited guest list to maintain an intimate, personalized setting. Request to attend in advance to score a seat!

10. CIO 100

Watch out for the 2018 date because you won’t want to miss this powerful gathering of CIOs and senior IT executives. CIO 100 is an annual conference that offers educational sessions around enterprise mobility, cloud, big data/analytics, social/collaboration tools, risk management, and disruptive technologies. Here you’ll achieve a fresh perspective and start evaluating new solutions to drive your company’s IT initiatives forward.

Included in the conference is the CIO 100 Award Ceremony and CIO Hall of Fame Induction, which honor CIOs who have implemented innovative strategies that greatly impacted their organizations. CIO 100 offers great networking opportunities with industry leaders who have profoundly shaped the IT/business landscape, demonstrating both creative vision and practical leadership in information technology. You’re guaranteed to leave inspired and with business cards from the most prominent men and women in the field.

To learn more about how a digital workplace and collaboration tool like Beekeeper can drive your IT initiatives, fill out the form below to schedule a free personal demo with our app experts.