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Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends in Manufacturing for 2018

Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends in Manufacturing for 2018

If you thought your digital workplace was at the peak of innovation, 2018 will deliver plenty of surprises. As you’ll soon find out, digital transformation is an ongoing process that moves swiftly as new technology emerges. Surprisingly, 47% of companies haven’t even begun their digital transformation process. By keeping up with the trends, you’re already at an advantage.

These top 5 digital transformation trends offer your manufacturing business not just insight, but tangible means of transforming your business in more ways than one. From handheld tools to improve employee productivity to means of streamlining processes along the assembly line, the transformation goes beyond digital.

Integrated Workflows

In today’s competitive global economy, integration is key to ensuring efficient workflows. While each component or department of the business can function independently, you can optimize those functions by integrating tasks and information. Sticking with conventional communication methods like email or voice calls limits the amount of data you can share and the means through which you can send it.

By connecting every employee through an internal communication system, preferably platforms that allow for sharing of information via not just text, but media as well, teams share their skills and knowledge with their peers. Research shows that connectivity helps reduce turnover and increase employee satisfaction, and active internal communication helps.

Ensuring that groups of employees on the production line know what’s happening on the information technology side, or keeping marketing teams in the loop when it comes to software changes in customer-facing settings are only two examples of how integrating workflows benefits business.

Mobile Collaboration

The majority of manufacturing employees don’t work at a desk or don’t even have a corporate email address. Ergo, the bulk of collaboration can’t happen on a desktop device. Technology can have a significant effect on non-desk employee productivity, so making that tech accessible should be a priority for businesses. Mobile collaboration apps give employees more ways to connect, keeping information current and ideas flowing.

Because most employees already have personal devices with internet connectivity, you may avoid substantial rollout costs by allowing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) practices. Even for large companies that require corporate devices across multiple departments, investing in the technology now keeps you a step ahead as the digital transformation forces other companies to follow suit.

Internal communications improve efficiency by making peers accessible to one another, but mobile collaboration apps also promote safety. Disseminating critical information to employees via mass message campaigns guarantees employees receive the details they need when they need it.

Machine Learning & AI

From robots piecing together components on the assembly line to machines that scan parts for defects, technology has come a long way from rudimentary programming concepts. Today’s robots have Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, meaning they’re learning right alongside your teams.

Strides in programming abilities translate into more accessible user experiences with advanced technology, allowing you internal control and review of data. Incorporating machine learning into your business even reduces the need for outsourcing, since bots can complete many tasks that human workers can.

Adding chatbots to your processes can alleviate strain on human staffers responding to customer inquiries. Precision scanning machines allow staff to focus on other tasks while bots manage quality control. Freeing up your skilled employees to perform more complicated tasks heightens productivity as bots take care of the behind-the-scenes details.

Plus, with advancements in today’s tech, consumers either won’t notice the automation or the faster route to resolution will cancel out potential frustration at conversing with a computer.

HR chatbot

Analytics

Between production statistics and sales figures, you’re already dealing with a lot of numbers. But tracking all matter of analytics from employee behavior to manufacturing output will highlight ways to improve processes and training across the company.

When you incorporate integrated workflows, mobile collaboration, and analytics in your digital workplace, a mountain of data gives insight on how well things are running. By evaluating those figures, you’re able to streamline the steps in your manufacturing process to increase profits and reduce costs.

Employee analytics can spotlight production opportunities you may have missed. Noting times when employee productivity is at its peak may influence changes in daily scheduling, and lags in productivity may indicate potential for diverting resources to other projects. Overall, the more information the better, both in terms of profit and your people.

IoT

The Internet of Things, or IoT, defines the intricate network of computers, machines, objects, and people that transfer data digitally. Beyond the Web, interconnectivity extends to handheld devices, wearables, sensors, and more.

In the manufacturing industry, your production robots may have sensors or software that send information to remote teams. Employee apps might track who’s working and when. There are endless ways the IoT transmits information and promotes efficiency company-wide.
Beyond chatting machine-to-machine, the IoT lets employees contribute data to organizational compilations through both personal feedback and workflow-based analytics. While current figures peg IoT devices around 20.35 billion currently, projections for 2025 indicate that IoT connected devices will exceed 75.44 billion worldwide.

That means your digital workplace will only keep expanding, and keeping up-to-date with advances has the potential to transform your workflow and put your company on the path toward higher profits and lower costs.

To see how Beekeeper’s internal communication and employee app digitally transformed manufacturing company Seaboard Foods, download the case study.



How to Get Internal Buy-in for New Company-wide Technology

How to Get Internal Buy-in for New Company-wide Technology

When you discover an exciting new technology and know it would suit your company’s needs, is everyone on board from the beginning, or does the approval process require some finesse? For most companies, ensuring internal buy-in for proposed technology is not as simple as one would hope.

While the value may be clear to one department or another, appealing to higher-level management requires setting the groundwork first. Here’s how to get internal buy-in when adding new tech tools to your organization’s arsenal.

Highlight the Importance of Technology

Whether your target is an employee communication platform, online customer portal, or a software overhaul that has been years in the making, pointing out the benefits of adapting to modern technology is a good place to start.

Thriving in a Digital Age

According to Forbes, a study of over 2,000 companies noted that digital technology supports over half of their business processes. From online retailers to app-based service companies, consumer demand drives the need for technology adaptations.

But innovations in technology haven’t stopped at customer-facing solutions. Most companies are comfortable digitalizing because they use automated processes, computers, and more secure information storage. Still, companies are often hesitant to consider digital solutions outside what they know and use daily.

To get internal buy-in, highlighting your organization’s position as a modern and forward-thinking industry leader should earn support from people who are more comfortable with current systems. Change might not come easily, but when productivity, and therefore future profits, rely on it, it’s easier to get everyone on board.

Demonstrate Value

When it comes to showing your team (or upper management) why new company-wide technology is vital to your organization, addressing its intrinsic value is essential. Giving specific examples of benefits to your organization, as well as focusing on industry-wide indicators of progress, will help turn naysayers into optimists.

Profitability as the Bottom Line

If your goal is to implement a new employee communication platform, upper management may not see the need. For those unfamiliar with the day-to-day games of email tag and multiple methods of exchanging information, the investment doesn’t predict a huge return.

However, those who manage frontline employees recognize that efficiency and clarity are essential to day-to-day operations. That means that their potential for increased productivity via a more straightforward and user-friendly communication platform translates into higher profits for the whole organization.

Connecting different perspectives with baseline measurements like productivity and profitability keep everyone on the same page when it comes down to making a decision.

Six Degrees of Innovation

A study from Cambridge Judge Business School interviewed the senior executives of international companies across a range of industries and found six patterns that indicate successful technology transformation.

The Six Degrees of Innovation define the value of technology based on market demand and include:

  • Custom products and services that meet consumers’ unique needs
  • Sustainable practices such as recycling and reducing energy costs
  • Utilizing peer-to-peer sharing to lower costs
  • Only paying for necessary and timely services
  • Monitoring supply chains effectively
  • Tracking data to adapt to customer needs

According to Cambridge Judge’s evaluation process, a technology that fulfills any one of these “degree” items is a mark of innovation and forward movement. For example, monitoring the supply chain of an organization via consistent updates through internal communication is a step toward accuracy in inventory. That’s a tangible benefit in any business and a perk that technology helps achieve.

Don’t Stop Working

Once you have secured support for the digital innovations you’ve been preparing for, you might think it’s time to rest. However, earning company-wide approval for technology solutions is only the first step.

Allow for an Adjustment Period

Transitioning to unfamiliar methods and digital platforms isn’t always easy, particularly if your team has been using alternative technologies for a long time. If at all possible, aim for a slow introduction of programs or processes so employees have time to adjust.

Track Results

Tracking results is one way to maintain support for a new program or solution rollout. Reminding team members they made the right decision through concrete figures and examples may not stop criticisms from coming in, but they will surely help justify the switch.

Celebrate Milestones

To frontline employees, along with supervisors and lower-level managers, the roll-out of new programs or processes can feel frustrating. The people who use these digital solutions will not only be the first to criticize them, but also the first to praise what works. Use this to your advantage, and make sure that team members acknowledge what new technology allows them versus how previous means limited them.

Optimize

Once employees adapt to unfamiliar technology, don’t let them stagnate! Solicit feedback, generate interest in features and updates, and encourage team growth along with digital growth. Making sure that all team members have appropriate training helps avoid technology fatigue, and a slow rollout can help alleviate stresses before significant transitions.

If you’re in search of a mobile platform to improve internal communication and employee engagement while simultaneously tracking results, fill out out the form below for a free trial of Beekeeper.



5 Important Trends in Operations Management in 2018

In the global market, companies are right to focus on trends in operations management and strategies for getting ahead in their respective industries. While technology almost seems to change too quickly to pinpoint at times, modern developments mean more ways to enhance business operations and increase profits.

Whether you’re aiming for an organizational overhaul to become more competitive in your market or merely seeking to cut down on costs of everyday business, these 5 trends may deliver the results you need to meet your operations management goals in 2018.

Internal Communications

Satisfied employees work harder and invest more in your company, but how can business owners encourage employee satisfaction? Promoting internal communication is a helpful first step. Peer to peer communication can enhance workplace morale and improve project outcomes, regardless of your industry. Further, collaboration gleans optimal results on any project when great minds come together.

At the same time, 39% of employees in one survey said that people in their organization didn’t collaborate enough. Addressing those concerns makes your company more competitive and caters to internal employees who may feel overlooked.

Internal communication and mobile collaboration platforms don’t just increase efficiency—they also contribute to positive employee outcomes. Working together, whether through mobile collaboration or in person, promotes productivity and develops relationships between team members.

Mobile Accessibility

Whether you’re in the technology industry and rely on mobile devices to achieve sales targets, or you’re in the hospitality business and need client portals to reach your target market, mobile accessibility is vital to the future of operations management.

Apart from today’s reliance on mobile devices for communication, consumers also turn to their smart devices for everything from household goods to travel accommodations to job applications. This means if you’re not mobile, you’re missing out.

At the same time, turning the focus on technology inward in your organization also offers benefits. Establishing outlets for mobile collaboration, whether via an app or the web, lets your employees connect and share information. It also enables you to send out relevant business information as needed, bypassing email or hard copy methods of sharing information.

Mobile accessibility for staff means remote access to information, tools, and connectivity regardless of their role within the organization. For non-desk workers without email access or an office, remote information sharing is a necessity. Mobile collaboration fills that need while addressing other operations management concerns at the same time.

Automatization

Automating processes throughout your business can save money and increase efficiency when it comes to all areas of operations management. Online reservation services, automated chatbots, inline translation functions, and mobile hotel check-in features are only a handful of examples of business dependency on technology.

By dedicating machines to specific business tasks, companies are freeing up employee time for focusing on their products and their customers. Rather than assigning an employee to monitor the company website and answer the same questions multiple times, programming a chatbot to respond to FAQs saves company time and resources.

But automatization goes beyond your company’s internet presence. Automatic delivery of media campaigns, calendar alerts with schedule changes, and read-receipt functions add automatic convenience to daily processes.

Performance Measurement

Detailed analytics give companies a baseline for implementing changes in areas from development and production to customer service. With metrics solutions that deliver comprehensive measurements, business owners can make informed decisions regarding business practices moving forward.

Not only are companies able to track website performance and on-site sales, they can also zero in on employee productivity and communication. Mobile collaboration apps allow organizations to see which employees are actively engaged in collaboration, and which may require encouragement or assistance.

Engagement Dashboard

Employee Analytics

Beyond sales figures-based analytics, employee feedback and surveys can also contribute to better business overall. On the face of it, operations management may appear to span only materials and products, but people are an essential component of any business structure.

Acknowledging employees on a personal level as well as based on their work performance helps create a sense of community within organizations, and keeping the line of communication between staff and superiors is an excellent way to track team vitals.

Developing surveys (and automating their delivery) can also glean feedback from employees in a simple format. Pre-scheduling survey campaigns means you can consistently receive employee feedback at crucial times, without setting up one-on-one meetings to solicit their input.

Outsourcing

When it comes to reducing costs, outsourcing is often on the top of companies’ lists. Contracting with outside agencies or individuals can help companies save money and ensure each task receives the appropriate attention.

In cases where outsourcing is cheaper than hiring additional staff, or when no staff is available to tackle extra projects, companies should have no qualms about accepting outside assistance. However, carefully considering which projects and tasks to outsource helps avoid creating an overly competitive atmosphere among employees and contract workers.

In many cases, specialists in your industry can offer insights and business guidance that no employee on your team could provide. If receiving this outside assistance will save your company from financial disaster, an up-front investment could prove invaluable.

If you’re looking for a mobile internal communication solution with automatization and performance measurement features, fill out the form below for a free trial of the Beekeeper app.



Using Beekeeper to Make Your Intranet More Powerful, Not Obsolete

Using Beekeeper to Make Your Intranet More Powerful, Not Obsolete

As the adoption of mobile workplace technologies continues to skyrocket, there is one question that operations, HR, and IT professionals face across many global industries: “When we optimize our workplace correspondence for mobile, what will become of our on-network company intranet?”

It’s a completely fair point of inquiry—and one we’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about as we continue to develop and expand the Beekeeper feature set. There’s no doubt we’re in a mobile content boom, which marks a lot of changes for your legacy content management system.

In the spirit of getting to the bottom of this mystery, let’s talk about the state of intranets now, as well as where they may be heading.

Intranet Recon 101: It’s Like Flipping a Car for Parts

After your employees start using dynamic, interactive, real-time mobile correspondence tools, the fact is that a static web-based intranet hub will begin to look a little stale. There are many reasons why your intranet may feel outdated, a few of which we have outlined on our blog in the past. TL;DR (“too long; didn’t read”) intranets are often full of content made irrelevant due to the passage of time, they are technologically clunky, lack a clean, simple user interface, and are often far more expensive to maintain than they are worth to your organization’s overall productivity levels.

The fixed nature of intranets also make them less social, less engaging, and, most importantly, less collaborative. For dispersed workforces who rely on digital checkpoints to provide feedback and execute projects, lacking the ability to connect directly with coworkers on the intranet becomes especially problematic. In other words, while intranets do a decent job of connecting people to information, they fail miserably at connecting people to other people.

Despite these shortcomings, when we look at the lack of utilization of legacy intranet hubs, we see nothing but an ocean of potential ways to optimize to meet the fast-paced demands of today’s workplaces. In order to salvage the best parts of the hub, it can be useful to look at your intranet like an aging car. When you lift up the hood, determine the pieces of content that your employees still engage with regularly, either by mandate or choice. You can determine this in two different ways:

  1. If you have access to them, look at your backend analytics to see which portals and knowledge base articles your employees engage with the most.
  2. If you do not have access to your intranet engagement analytics or would simply prefer more anecdotal feedback from your employees, send out a pulse survey to gauge which aspects of the current CMS hub they still use and/or find helpful in their everyday workflow.

Once you’ve identified the parts of your intranet worth saving, it’s time dig deeper into what the next generation of company content sharing could look like. This begins with exploring ways to reconfigure your current CMS with tools like ours that were built specifically for a mobile-first world. When we look at legacy intranet hubs becoming less useful and more of a headache (like the depths of a library archive), we see vast potential for optimizations. Below, we outline three easy steps that will help you successfully converge your aging CMS with your new mobile-first workplace platform.

Integrate

Our Beekeeper Marketplace is a great place to start brainstorming ways in which your legacy intranet can be updated for mobile and real-time use. For instance, if analytics or anecdotal feedback suggests that employees find the intranet’s company personnel directory useful to keep tabs on team members, you might consider a Bamboo HR integration. This would allow employees to upload photos, fun facts, and critical contact information for colleagues to quickly access to get in touch or get to know their teammates better.

Beekeeper Marketplace

Another prime example of this would be implementing a Box integration, which would allow you to upload and maintain all frequently trafficked knowledge base articles and training materials to a centralized digital hub within Beekeeper. This allows employees to quickly look up and access files without having to dig through a graveyard of poorly managed documents that may or may not be up to date with the latest content.

Personalize

Company content hubs should feel like a warm and lively gathering, not a ghost town. Carrying strong visual brand assets throughout your internal communications hub is a great way to encourage employee engagement and collaboration. Whereas a traditional intranet can feel as sterile and stark as a windowless chamber, the Beekeeper digital workplace suite can be customized entirely without robust assistance from IT or technical leaders in your organization.

In addition, the Beekeeper interface allows individual employees to customize things like push notifications and workflows, giving a more personalized feel to the workplace experience. In addition to increasing productivity, these interactive features and notifications also encourage higher levels of participation within the company culture, leading to higher levels of overall workforce satisfaction.

Automate

While we have touched on a couple of these features already, it is worth mentioning that automated workflows, communication streams, and content updates allow for a more dynamic version of your legacy intranet system to emerge. A common pain point among traditional intranet users is that that legacy hubs are resource-intensive to maintain, with technical ownership of the site frequently remaining murky or unassigned. With no one to steer the ship, documents and modules become quickly outdated and useless.

Beekeeper, on the other hand, was specifically designed to self-regulate as much as possible, including workflows, newsletters, and survey dispatches. While it may seem counter-intuitive that automation makes Beekeeper more dynamic and human, it’s touches like these that help your employees integrate the digital work hub into their everyday routines, making life less about logistics and more about productivity. For dispersed teams who may be scattered around a warehouse, kitchen, or retail floor, having check-ins automated becomes a true sanity preserver.

employee satisfaction survey

Why Folding Your Intranet into Beekeeper Will Set You on the Path to Success

At the end of the day, the goal of Beekeeper is to seamlessly augment and integrate with the tools that your employees already use and love, while replacing the tools that may be stuck in the past. Given that mobile apps are the primary method of communication for the modern workforce, our platform was built specifically for mobile rather than adapted for it.

Beekeeper enables employees to engage with their employer in the same way that they engage with their friends and family— on the go and on their own terms. While simply serving up content on a static hub falls radically short of this goal, building a digital space for employees to connect to one another and discover their purpose within their organization encourages all team members to find their purpose at work.

Want to hear more about how to bring your intranet back to life with a mobile, collaborative platform? Fill out the form below for a free demo with an app expert.
Top 5 HR Trends to Watch in 2018

Top 5 HR Trends to Watch in 2018

With a brand new year just around the corner, HR teams across non-desk industries are exploring new ways to optimize the employee experience and enter Q1 with a bang. While many trends are emerging, we’ve noticed a common theme visible throughout emerging HR programs, a theme that is of course perhaps our biggest passion as a company: the intersection of technology and company culture.

To help you prepare for the new year, we’ve rounded up five types of HR initiatives that are definitely worth exploring to keep employee engagement high throughout 2018.

Corporate Well-Being Programs

In our hyperconnected world, it’s no secret that burnout is a real issue. In fact, Harvard Business Review reports that nearly 50% of employees report frequent or constant exhaustion due to the high stress levels, physical demands, and social isolation of work. A recent study cited a national revenue loss to the tune of $30 billion thanks to stress-induced lost work days. The antidote? Taking an active role in the well-being of your workforce.

By “well-being,” we don’t mean your run-of-the-mill healthcare offerings, though those are important to keep up as well. In 2018, companies are projected to take a larger vested interest in holistic employee satisfaction metrics like quality of sleep, physical fitness, and highly customized content offerings based on data collected from employees over time.

Remote Workforce Technology

While remote teams have been on the rise for the past few years due to the high financial, psychological, and environmental costs of commuting, it is projected that in 2018, the volume of telecommuting will continue to skyrocket. While remote work remained plagued by the “phoning it in” stigma in past decades, ample new data indicates a significant boost in both productivity and overall satisfaction experienced by telecommuters.

Technology has of course also played a critical role in the rise of telecommuting, thanks to VPN (Virtual Private Network) systems that make it easy for employees to access secure work systems from nearly anywhere in the world. For dispersed non-desk teams who spend a portion or the entirety of their shifts in remote locations, the rise of this technology will continue to boost productivity through enhanced connectivity, collaboration, and communication tools.

AI Preparation and Trainings

You already know that we’re big on workforce digitization around here, and from the looks of it, there are no signs that this trend will be slowing down in the coming year. The continued rise of predictive analytics and automation technologies will further catapult productivity to new heights, especially for non-desk workers. In particular, 2018 will be a big year for streamlining operations and communications in one virtual space, giving employees quick and easy access to all the tools they need to succeed. Bonus points if this digital hub is accessible from any device, particularly their own.

As artificial intelligence takes on more company tasks, it will also be up to HR departments in 2018 to both ensure that their workforce is properly trained up on the new tech, as well as finding ways to expand or elevate current roles that will be taken on by automated tools. With proper training programs in place, building a successful digital workplace becomes an intuitive tenant of company culture.

Candidate Experience Improvements

In addition to improving conditions for workers internally, savvy HR departments in 2018 will also be looking for ways to optimize the recruiting process through personalized outreach and interviewing tactics, as well as employing quicker response rates through intelligent automated messaging. AI and sentiment analysis technologies will enable HR teams of every size to scale up their recruiting efforts, helping them find the most qualified candidates possible in quicker succession.

In addition to the prospecting phase, there are several budding trends within the interview process. Once candidates are in the interview pipeline, HR managers are using software integrations in increasing numbers to schedule interviews and garner employee feedback quickly. These integrations often link directly into the company’s internal communications platform, meaning employees don’t have to completely disrupt their workflow in order to give substantive feedback about the interview.

Reevaluating Payroll and Scheduling

Thanks to the slow demise of predatory payday lenders and other high-cost cash advance services, many companies, especially those with large hourly workforces, will be looking for ways to digitally deploy earned wages on demand in 2018. Just like the HR software integrations mentioned above, organizations will build payroll software directly into their digital workplace hub so that employees and managers can quickly access pay stubs, tax forms, check deployment, and any other task involving compensation.

Similarly, the use of digitized scheduling will also increase in the coming year. Using digital and mobile scheduling services saves time, minimizes confusion, and make it easy for employees to request time off or swap shifts. Being able to access schedules on demand and on-the-go leads to more mobile, efficient, and productive team communication.

A New Chapter for HR Technology

As the future of work continues to crystallize for the non-desk workforce, the evolution of HR tools will play a crucial role in maintaining employee engagement and satisfaction amidst rapid changes to many industries. While more processes and workflows may be automated or redistributed, the basic human need to feel connected and fulfilled at work will remain an evergreen priority for employees and managers on the front lines.

Want to be at the forefront of these HR trends? Fill out the form below for a free trial of Beekeeper’s HR technology platform.


Bee School Leadership and Followership QA

Bee School Session 6: “Leadership and Followership” Q&A

Class is dismissed! Sadly, Bee School has ended with Dr. Herkenhoff’s lecture on “Leadership and Followership,” but we have a few more insights to share. This educational series has been a great success and we couldn’t have done it without your participation!

Leadership

In the final session titled “Leadership and Followership,” Dr. Herkenhoff explains the qualities of each, why they are essential, and how to improve in both areas. First, she dives into leadership—the act of guiding and directing others. She explains the differences between formal and informal leadership, and identifies the four types of leaders with examples, pros, and cons of each.

Leadership Styles

leadership styles

Expanding on her last lecture on “Emotional Intelligence,” she reveals her research findings that good leaders have the technical know-how and high IQ, but great leaders have those and a high EQ. That is the ultimate differentiator, along with knowing how to build communities.

Below are what she deems as the most important leadership skills:

  • Tolerance for ambiguity
  • Frazzle factor (stress)
  • Risk-taking
  • Feedback
  • Remember: People join companies, but leave managers. Be a great manager and you will retain your people.

    Followership

    On the flip side of leadership, followership is the process of being guided and directed. Many people consider the term “follower” as negative, but that it simply not the case. Effective followers have the power to improve organizations and influence their leaders. We are all followers at some point, so these skills are essential for each and every one of us.

    The professor outlines the four types of followers and pros and cons of each to prove her case.

    Type of Followers
    Types of Followers

    There were two great questions asked during the presentation and below are Dr. Herkenhoff’s responses. If you have any further questions or feedback about Bee School, or want us to send you the recording, email us at beeschool@beekeeper.io.

    Q&A with the Professor

    1. Do good leaders need to be good followers?

    Absolutely. Being a good follower doesn’t make you a sheep. There are many traits learned as a follower that make better leaders.

    Collaboration is the key to success. Leaders who have learned how to work with people and bring out the best in them will create a strong culture and have an easier time motivating teams to accomplish goals. Similar to collaboration, diplomacy means knowing how to get along with those who have differences while not ignoring those differences. Leaders can’t afford to be oblivious to the attitudes surrounding them.

    It is this awareness that is learned while being a follower that allows leaders to take into account their various audiences including colleagues, board members, customers, and coworkers. A good leader knows each of their stakeholder groups well enough to know what it will take to bring them along for the ride.

    Collaboration, diplomacy, and awareness are great, but critical thinking and knowing when to stand up to their leaders is an admirable trait learned as a follower. It is this motivation, intelligence, and competence that inspires followership.

    Standing up to your leaders at every point in your career when you think things are heading in the wrong direction takes courage. This requires critical thinking and awareness of the situation to get your point across with the conviction and energy needed to change what is wrong, as well as support a leader or manager who is doing things well.

    2. What is the best process for delivering and receiving feedback?

    Delivering feedback is one of the most difficult things for people to do, so when you receive feedback, the first thing you should say is “thank you.” The courage that it takes to give any feedback is significant. The fact someone took the time and effort to make you better deserves to be treated with appreciation.

    After receiving feedback and thanking the person, take a minute to reflect and do your best to remove your personal emotions from any response. If you need more time to digest the feedback, let the person know you would like to sleep on their comments before responding.

    Giving feedback can be accomplished in three simple statements:

    1. Deliver the data – not your opinions.
    2. Let the person know how this made you feel.
    3. State your wish for how you would like to see things changed for the future. If this is a manager giving performance feedback, this is the time to also deliver a fitting consequence if the situation is not resolved.

    Here is an example:

    1. Mary, last week in our team meeting I requested you submit your TPS report by this Monday. It is Wednesday and I still haven’t seen your report.
    2. I am frustrated that I wasn’t heard asking for the report or informed about a delay in the process of delivering it to me.
    3. My wish for the future is that you meet deadlines that are asked of you or you communicate in advance why you can’t meet the deadline. I would like this report submitted by noon tomorrow. If I do not receive your reports on time, I will not approve your future requests to leave a few minutes early.

    You can finish by thanking the person for accepting your feedback and be willing for it to work the other way around (minus the consequences part).

    Bee School may be over, but we have another webinar around the corner! Sign up for the next one with employee engagement expert, Jill Christensen, who will share her four-step strategy to immediately engage employees.



Measuring Employee Engagement and Internal Communications With an Analytics Dashboard

Measuring Employee Engagement and Internal Communications With an Analytics Dashboard

Measuring employee engagement and internal communication within your organization is often overlooked although it’s crucial when it comes to smooth operations. According to Forbes, employee engagement results in higher productivity, better service, and worker longevity. It also results in a more lucrative and rewarding business structure.

So how can companies establish and define employee engagement so they can reap the benefits?

One way to measure employee engagement is through tracking internal communications. Knowing how often employees connect, whether they’re reading your messages, and gauging their attitudes towards work can help develop an overview of where your organization’s employee engagement stands.

Here’s why measuring employee engagement and internal communications is so important, and how you can measure these stats with an analytics dashboard.

Internal Communication

Internal communication involves everything from emails, mobile messaging, or phone conversations between two co-workers to company-wide messaging. However, today’s technology allows companies to tailor internal communication systems to their needs.

An internal communications app for non-desk industries like hospitality, retail, and manufacturing, for example, allows employees to take their communication mobile as they move around the property, sales floor, or warehouse. Between directly interfacing with customers and conversing with co-workers, employees need to stay connected.

Direct messages, group chats, and custom campaigns allow employees to connect in new and efficient ways. These internal systems take away the frustration of tracking emails, phone calls, text messages, and radio traffic to get messages across.

Below is an example of analyzing a campaign with Beekeeper.

analyzing beekeeper campaign

analyzing beekeeper campaign

Employee Engagement

Statistics show that disengaged employees cost companies between $450 and $550 billion a year, so it’s clear employee engagement is more important than ever. The key to engagement is proper communication.

When you send a message to all staff members or one entire department, what are the odds someone will miss the notification? It’s hard to know for sure who’s out there reading your messages.

However, an analytics dashboard for your internal communications app will tell you who has read your communications and when. Functions like setting reminders, enabling confirmation receipts, and mobile and desktop features keep everyone connected. This means it’s more likely that every employee will read your message.

Customized user experiences also help personalize each employee’s communication app access. Each role within a company dictates each user’s experience, while company news and updates reach all employees. Within this system, employees can connect seamlessly with neighboring departments, team members, and even the CEO if necessary.

There is also a social aspect to some internal communication platforms where employees can create posts and colleagues can like and comment on them. This facilitates a culture of connectedness and transparency that further promotes engagement.

Why Measure?

Measuring employee engagement with peers and teams give a broader picture of an employee’s depth within the company. People who tend to ignore communications, for example, or read them immediately but choose not to respond, generally aren’t fully engaged with their work.

Finding out who is engaging in communications across an internal communications app is just as important as knowing how they’re engaging. Sending out surveys or requiring confirmation receipts helps discern connectivity within teams and can highlight areas for improvement.

Honing in on employees’ engagement can tell employers whether their methods of creating a positive workspace are successful. For example, Entrepreneur reported that Google claims an average participation rate of 90%. This is due to a combination of employee feedback and constant adjustments to ensure optimal employee engagement.

While Google’s massive success is happening on a larger scale, even small businesses can benefit from assessing their employees’ participation and making changes to company culture and processes. For example, polling employees on what they feel makes a competent manager can help identify those traits in existing staff and help weed out undesirable applicants in future hiring scenarios.

Analytics Dashboard

An analytics dashboard is the central component of employee engagement measurement. Real-time statistics, internal communication updates, and survey data analysis give you tools to decipher your employees’ behavior and engagement.

Seeing these results gives employers the insight they need to determine whether to increase staffing, change processes and procedures, or make upgrades to facilities or software. Learning who is reading what and when dictates optimal timing for messages and meetings, while employee surveys keep up with employee preferences over time.

How to Measure

Employees use internal communication programs daily, but what’s the best way to measure what they’re doing with those programs? Here are a few ways to measure employee data using an analytics dashboard:

  • Create surveys to generate data on employee experiences, opinions, and general satisfaction
  • Track when people open messages and when they respond
  • Send campaigns with confirmation features built in so you receive notification when someone opens and confirms they’ve received your content
  • Create messages and track responses and comments to determine what type of content earns the most feedback
  • Ultimately, analytics make up a huge part of the overall state of your business and its employee participation. Use these to your advantage, and you will succeed in improving productivity, longevity, and customer service.

    Looking for an internal communications app with a comprehensive analytics dashboard? Fill out the form below for a free personal demo.
Bee School Session 5: “Emotional Intelligence” Q&A

Bee School Session 5: “Emotional Intelligence” Q&A

Everyone knows what an IQ is, but not many know what an EQ (emotional quotient) is and why it’s critical for successful leadership. This week’s Bee School lecture focused on “Emotional Intelligence” which determines your EQ. This concept is defined as the ability to recognize and regulate your emotions and those of others around you. Emotional intelligence (EI) includes the following:
emotional intelligence chart

Although the term is relatively new, the concept has been around for a long time. MBA professor and host of the Bee School educational series has conducted a significant amount of research on the topic. She found most managers have roughly the same amount of technical skills, and what sets good managers apart from exceptional ones is a high EQ.

Results consistently showed this was the main differentiator and, by having these skills, managers could be miles ahead of the average manager. By honing these skills, you can relate to people of different backgrounds and bring out the best out in yourself and colleagues by being aware of behaviors and how they impact others.

Dr. Herkenhoff shared some of her own examples of how she used emotional intelligence to solve complex challenges at global organizations. Her findings showed there is a positive relationship between emotional intelligence and job satisfaction. It’s directly responsible for increased retention, productivity, confidence, innovation, and lower stress levels. Alternatively, a low EQ can result in a lack of commitment, loyalty, organizational values, safety, and poor customer service.

During the seminar, there were two questions for the professor and you’ll see her responses below. If you have any further questions about the class content or Bee School in general, email us at beeschool@beekeeper.io.

Q&A with the Professor

1. What do I do when I discover emotional destructive behavior from an employee? How do I address this issue in a dialogue?

This is a tricky question to answer without any background or context, but I’ll do my best. If the issues being brought into the workplace are personal in nature or have escalated to the point of potential physical threats, I would advise consulting your HR department or someone else within the organization to discuss a plan of action that would result in the best outcome for all parties.

I would also advise against getting into a deeply personal conversation with the person. You are a manager, not a therapist. Your goal is to help your employee find the resources they need to be happy and whole so they can successfully perform their job.

If the destructive behavior impacts others within the organization, it must be addressed before it becomes a spiral of negative or toxic energy within the organization. Focus on the merits of the issues and seek a win-win solution first.

If it’s not as serious in nature, take a step back and try to recognize where your colleague is coming from and understand their pain. You can look at the factors in Hofstede’s model to help fine-tune your response and determine the way that particular person would like to communicate.

Address these during in-person meetings as they have the richest context. Before the first meeting, I would document the performance issues you’ve noticed that are related to the destructive behavior and review each within the context of job performance. List dates and times of specific job issues followed by your wish for how these issues would be handled in the future.

Once you have the meetings, make it clear you understand their side and also articulate how negative emotions affect company operations as a whole. Maybe they didn’t realize the impact they’re having and how much you genuinely care about their happiness at work. Ask the employee if there is anything he or she needs to accomplish your wishes.

Be careful that you are not asking what you as a manager can do to get them there. It is up to the individual to make the decision to change and it is up to you to provide the resources, if possible, to help accomplish your wishes as well as theirs. It is not up to you to fix or take on the emotional burden of an employee. It is your job to identify the problem within the context of the workplace and work on a collaborative solution where you are supporting the employee, but not fixing the issue for them.

Once the issue has been discussed and the employee has expressed what they need to adjust their behavior, make a plan to revisit the conversation weekly to check in on progress.

Your goal should be to avoid:

  • Lost productivity
  • Theft
  • Sabotage
  • Lack of commitment
  • Lack of loyalty
  • Low personal safety
  • Perception bias- pessimistic outlook
  • Poor customer service
  • Toxic work environment

2. Does EQ take precedence over normal intelligence?

Depending on the job duties, a healthy mix of both should be there. When it comes to normal intelligence, employees should be able to adequately perform all of their job functions and have the ability to extend their scope to adjacent functions with ease. If the person can accomplish their role, the level of EQ can make the difference between a C player and an A player.

A players are a must on every team. Their self-awareness, empathy, adaptability, and self-confidence can be motivating and contagious for your B players striving to be A players. To excel as a leader, both are important. From my research, I’ve found managers are generally the same technically, but it’s the emotional intelligence that sets them apart and makes them the best leader.

First time hearing about Bee School? It’s not too late to sign up for the last class! Reserve your spot below for this free educational series and we can email you the sessions you missed.
6 Ways to Keep Employees Engaged During the Holidays

6 Ways to Keep Employees Engaged During the Holidays

Ways to keep employees engaged during the holidays is top of mind for many managers. The productivity decline a lot of workforces experience throughout December stems from a perfect storm of social, financial, and business-related stressors that appear like clockwork at the end of each year.

As the holidays kick into gear, family-related obligations lead to an influx of time off requests across entire organizations. This causes projects to halt and often places a burden on managers to produce the same output or better with significantly less staff members on call.

For employees who decide to power through, absenteeism and low morale can become rampant. Some employees may physically show up to work, but their mind remains preoccupied with holiday shopping or personal finance issues. In addition, the stress of meeting end-of-year sales or performance goals may cause some employees to buckle and burn out under pressure.

Luckily, there are many ways to keep employees engaged, rested, and fulfilled throughout this particularly busy holiday season. To help you brainstorm what incentives might work for your business, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite tactics that have worked for other companies, particularly those with dispersed or primarily non-desk workforces.

1. Host a festive employee off-site or remote event

Being stuck in the office for longer hours, especially when the sun sets earlier and the temperature drops, can certainly affect employee morale. One great way to instill a mid-holiday season mood boost is to host a daytime off-site event where employees are treated to a nice meal and a fun activity.

For non-desk or dispersed workforces in which many employees don’t get to directly interface with their colleagues every day, throwing an event where employees can socialize in a more laid-back context helps build trust and camaraderie throughout your company.

A great example of how this incentive worked for a dispersed workforce is LessAccounting.com, an accounting software provider. To help bring together employees in six different time zones, the executive staff throws a party at a time where all their employees can meet over Skype. They shop online together to buy each team member a gift while enjoying food and refreshments.

Speaking about his motivation for starting this tradition, LessAccounting.com co-founder Allan Branch told Entrepreneur.com, “We have no water cooler. It is really easy to have a whole bunch of strangers who do not interact at all.” With this remote event approach, the gifting activity is gasified so that each gift recipient has to put their microphone on mute when the team is discussing what gift they should get for them. This gives teams a chance to enjoy seeing the reactions on their co-workers’ faces as gift suggestions are shared.

2. Reward great performance with extra time off

Every holiday season, a few true-blue staffers may exhibit particular performance excellence during the holiday season, despite all the readily available distractions. While it may seem like these are the employees you will need to worry least about during the winter months, the reality is that the threat of burnout is real. The last thing you want is for your very best employees to suddenly find themselves losing sleep and neglecting to take care of themselves in the interest of compensating for team member absence during the holidays.

At the start of the holiday season, make it known that those who display exemplary levels of fortitude and leadership during the difficult winter months have the potential to be rewarded with bonus days off, redeemable in the Spring once things slow down.

For parents of kids with Spring Break days and employees wishing to save their vacation for when the temperature begins to rise, this could be a great way to make sure that a healthy population of your employees will remain steadfast and focused through the end of the year.

3. Offer incentives for working less-desirable shifts

Within service-based industries, working through the holidays often becomes a somewhat obligatory reality of the job. In fact, the holidays often constitute the busiest season of the year for hospitality businesses. To ensure that you will have sufficient staff coverage during the less-desirable shift times, it can be advantageous to get creative with rewards.

After all, while paying time and a half on official holidays is a great way to acknowledge an employee’s dedication on days normally reserved for family, there are plenty of other days leading up to the holiday that will require just as much coverage.

4. Award personalized bonuses

Rewards mean far more when they’re personalized for each employee. While giving out holiday bonuses is customary in many industries, digital survey tools can help managers give their individual employees a bonus that truly reflects their individual preferences and needs. This can range from giving gift certificates to a favorite restaurant, or a gift certificate pertaining to their hobby of choice.

This knowledge provides a deeper awareness of the types of rewards your employees will actually enjoy. Tickets to a baseball game may appeal to some, while others prefer a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Adding that extra personal touch will make the experience memorable.

5. Provide stress-relief services in the office

The month of December is stressful for a variety of reasons due to the obligations of holiday travel, events, gifting, and meeting annual sales or performance targets. Given the pressures of delivering on year-end goals and fulfilling personal holiday obligations, your employees are under a heightened level of stress during the season.

There are many ways to help alleviate this, but the most important aspect of this strategy is to communicate clearly through your actions that you care about your employees from a holistic perspective, not just the aspects of wellness that pertain directly to their day to day tasks.

Corporate health programs are a popular way of keeping employees healthy and engaged at the same time. Jeremy Smith, co-founder & COO of on-demand parking startup SpotHero brings in yoga and meditation specialists to the office during holiday season to help employees relax. He told CIO.com, “Having someone come to the office makes it very easy for employees to take a break from their busy schedules and find a moment to relax.”

6. Give out holiday friends and family gift cards, discounts, or access passes

If you run a service-based or retail business, one cost-effective way to show gratitude to your employees is to issue friends and family gift cards that team members can then give to their loved ones over the holidays. Giving your employees the chance to share your services with their friends and family helps instill a sense of pride and a boost in morale during the hectic holiday season.

Disney employees at all levels benefit from deep holiday discounts and extra theme park passes during the Christmas season. As former Epcot greeter Heather Sliwinski reported to Business Insider, “Disney treats their cast members very well — we got additional family and friends park passes for the holidays, extra discounts on merchandise and food,” Sliwinski said. “I was able to have my parents come visit before Christmas because they provided extra guest tickets. It was really nice!”

If you need more ways to keep employees engaged during the holidays and the whole year round, get a free demo of Beekeeper’s mobile collaboration platform by filling out the form below.
bee school sessions 3&4 QA

Bee School Sessions 3&4: “Professional Culture” and “Organizational Culture” Q&A

We had to skip a Q&A post for Thanksgiving, but we are back on track! The last two Tuesdays we hosted the third and fourth sessions of our educational series, Bee School. Thank you to those of you who joined or plan on joining us for the final two classes.

The topics for the last two lectures were “Professional Culture” and “Organizational Culture” where Dr. Linda Herkenhoff discussed the differences between the two, how to measure them, and ways to ensure your organization is strong in both. She delved into how these cultural values increase commitment and provide a sense of identity for employees, allowing for a more productive workplace.

You had some great questions and we appreciate you taking the time to send them to us. Below are the questions from other managers and you can read Dr. Herkenhoff’s responses. If you have any further questions about the class content or Bee School in general, email us at beeschool@beekeeper.io.

Q&A with the Professor

1. What are the main differences between professional and organizational culture? Should the emphasis be placed more on one than the other?

Organizational culture is a pattern of basic assumptions that are considered valid and are taught to new members as the way to perceive, think, and feel in an organization. Organizational cultures are learned over short periods of time since people have to adapt to the new organization they’re entering quickly.

Alternatively, professional cultures are learned over long periods and are more inherent. In fact, most professional culture is learned even before employees start a new job. Since organizational culture is more difficult to learn, the focus for a manager should primarily be placed in this arena. That’s how you’ll get new hires to become familiar with the team and corporate culture so they feel comfortable and aligned. Those qualities poise them to be a more successful contributing member.

2. What are some immediate steps I can take to start enhancing our organizational culture?

Through role modeling, teaching, and coaching, leaders can reinforce the values that support organizational culture. Here are six guidelines to help establish corporate culture:

  1. Create a clear and simple mission statement.
  2. Create systems that ensure an effective flow of information.
  3. Create “matrix minds” among managers. In other words, broaden their minds to allow them to think globally.
  4. Develop career paths that allow employees to rotate between offices.
  5. Use cultural differences as a major asset.
  6. Implement management education and team development programs.

Since every company is different, you’ll need to tailor each one of these to fit your business needs. Start by assessing your current status in these areas and finding where there’s room for improvement.

3. How should culture be a part of the onboarding process?

Newcomers learn culture through organizational socialization. This is the process by which newcomers are transformed from outsiders to participating, effective members of the organization. There are three stages of socialization:

1) Anticipatory socialization
This first stage encompasses all of the learnings that take place on the first day on the job. On the first day, storytelling is a great way to set the right tone.

Here are a few ideas of different stories to weave into the content of your first day:

  • Tell new employees something about how their bosses are human and espoused one of your corporate values during a stressful time.
  • Everyone is worried about not making the grade on the first day.
  • Recounting a story about the company’s hiring and firing history will be better coming from you and put your newcomer’s concerns to rest about job security.
  • If applicable, you can tell stories about how the company deals with relocation or other major life changes that happen in an employee’s personal life.
  • Stories about how lower level employees rise to the top are always motivating.
  • Explaining how leadership dealt with a crisis situation will often speak volumes about that company’s culture. It starts at the top!
  • Stories about how status considerations work when rules are broken. For example, when one of the former CEO’s of IBM wasn’t wearing his badge, a dutiful security guard confronted him and required the correct credentials before allowing him to pass!

2) Encounter
The second stage of socialization is when newcomers learn the tasks associated with the job, clarity in their roles, and establish new relationships at work. In this stage, be sure to set firm expectations to avoid ambiguity for the newcomer and, possibly more importantly, existing employees.

3) Change and Acquisition
Here, newcomers that are successfully socialized begin to master their domain and should be exhibiting good performance, high job satisfaction, and intend to stay with the organization.

Don’t miss Tuesday’s lecture, “Emotional Intelligence,” where you’ll find out how to look beyond basic emotional intelligence and fine-tune your approach by taking all three types of culture into account.

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.