Workplace Wellness: A Retention Key in 2016

Have you made any 2016 New Year’s Resolutions? Chances are if you did, at least one of your resolutions is health focused. Half of the top 10 resolutions are health related….and 1 in 3 people will ditch their resolutions by the end of January.

We’re closing in on the end of January now, so rather than let your employees (or you!) ditch their health-related resolutions, why not take advantage of the shift in focus toward healthy living and build a stronger wellness program? Forty-five percent of Americans working at small to medium-sized companies say that they would stay at their jobs longer because of employer-sponsored wellness programs, and productivity also increases as a result of employer-sponsored wellness initiatives.

Keys to a successful wellness program HM Jan Post 2

Has your employee wellness program faltered in recent years? Or perhaps your organization is still waiting to get started? Here are five keys to a successful wellness program in any industry:

  1. They’re realistic. Sure, many of us would love to become ultra-marathoners or adhere to the healthiest diet on the planet, but those aren’t exactly realistic goals for most people. So rather than creating programs that aim to create superheroes, aim instead to help your employees make incremental changes that steadily improve their lives. A lunch hour massage therapist visit will likely be a huge hit. Yoga classes, meditation coaching, healthy cooking classes, team outings to local “laser tag” venues or other active but fun places, are all very fun, simple and accessible ways to get your team moving in the right direction.
  2. They’re fun. If you look at the few examples mentioned above, they’re all realistic for sure, but they’re also fun. Watching filmstrips and reading textbooks may have been necessary when we were in school, but in the real world we tend to, well, avoid them like the plague. Choosing fun places for active team outings and bringing in engaging teachers or coaches to lead classes are great ideas. Adding a competitive element can also make things fun and provide some extra incentive to your team. “Biggest Loser Challenges” are very popular in workplaces across the country, and winners designated for milestones and achievements throughout the challenge (which can be any duration, but are often between 8 and 12 weeks) can win small, yet fun and healthy prizes like gift cards for healthy restaurants, supermarkets or gyms, extra break time or even cash (budget permitting).
  3. Participation starts at the top. Many of us have been in organizations that tried to enact new policies or programs that ultimately failed because participation waned. And that often starts at the top. If you’re going to start a “Biggest Loser Challenge” or a series of lunchtime classes — any of these or your own suggestions — your organization should believe in these initiatives and be active in them at every level of your business. If you’re bringing in a chef to teach healthy cooking classes, your CEO or VPs should stand alongside your customer service reps. When participation and enthusiasm are genuine from all levels, it is contagious. Your team will believe that the organization truly supports and cares about the initiative, and its potential for success is much higher.
  4. Practice what you preach. If your employee cafeteria serves junk food or your vending machines are filled with candy bars and unhealthy snacks or drinks, you could be derailing your employee wellness efforts. Supporting your initiatives by surrounding employees with easy, healthy choices is one of the biggest ways to nurture a successful employee wellness program. Beyond the break room, think about meetings – bring in salad bars and flavored water instead of pizza and soda. Post signs around the office sharing information about employee wellness initiatives. Swap out the TV in the break room for a treadmill or bike. Think of ways to create a healthier office, not just a health program.
  5. Follow through. If your initial foray into employee wellness is an initiative – like the Biggest Loser Challenge – don’t just let it end. Keep up momentum by enacting ongoing initiatives and changes (like those mentioned throughout this post) to create and nurture an environment of wellness. One-off events and initiatives are great for spearheading efforts, but your continued commitment to employee wellness is what can ultimately help boost productivity, improve your employees’ health and build a stronger team with higher retention rates for your business.

Before you can develop and implement successful employee wellness programs, you need a team of superstar employees. Helpmates has an extensive network of talent in a range of disciplines across Southern California. We’ll help you find the right employees to help you reach your goals. Contact us today to get started.

How to Know When Your Employees Are About to Jump Ship

Employee retention is always a hot topic – the cost of turnover is high, and the competition is constantly seeking ways to land top talent (especially your top talent). But identifying and preventing an employee from seeking greener pastures can be somewhat elusive.ID-10057575

While there is no specific formula for predicting when an employee will leave, there are certain indicators that can identify when an employee is considering jumping ship and heading elsewhere. Keeping an eye out for these key factors can help you spring into action and go the extra mile to keep top talent where they belong:

  1. Less contribution. When an employee starts to mentally “check out” of conversations and meetings, it could mean that he or she is preparing to make a clean break, or that the employee simply doesn’t care about his or her job anymore. There could be a few things at play here, but if an employee who typically chimes in often and offers constructive ideas suddenly starts to clam up, it could be a bad sign.
  2. Different clothes. Yes, how an employee dresses can be a sign of impending two-week notice. If your team typically wears khakis and a polo, but suddenly an employee starts showing up in a button-down shirt and dress slacks, it could be a sign that there are job interviews on the schedule. Conversely, if business suits are expected in your workplace and you find an employee suddenly inching toward business casual, it might indicate that something is brewing.
  3. Personal crises. When something dramatic happens – a death in the family, illness, divorce, or something similar – these circumstances can often cause people to assess their current life situations and determine what, if any, changes should occur. Oftentimes, jobs and careers are one area where people feel empowered to make changes.
  4. Not-so-social butterfly. For many businesses, team lunches or after-hours social activities are great team builders that build camaraderie. If one of your employees suddenly drops out of these activities, it could be a sign that he or she is trying to create distance from the team due to an impending departure.

What should you do now? 

If some of these factors are tipping you off to a possible departure of one of your employees, it’s a great time to pull this employee in and have a non-confrontational talk – how are things going? What’s new? Are you happy here? Based on the answers to those questions, your organization could find itself in a range of situations. And when your employees decide to move on, or you’re looking for more superstars to add to your team, call Helpmates. Our network includes talented professionals from across Southern California who are ready to jump in and make an immediate impact.

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/David Castillo Dominici

Is Your Onboarding Process Alienating New Employees?

Employee onboarding is traditionally a key part of employee development. Getting off to a good start is key to a successful, long-term career. Right?

In today’s fast-paced world where team members where multiple hats and have varying responsibilities, onboarding can be one area that falls by the wayside. But especially in today’s fast-paced world, this is where a solid onboarding plan is especially critical. Here’s why:ID-100162795

  • Turnover is too expensive. The cost to hire a new employee is often estimated at 150% of that employee’s salary. Not to mention the productivity and morale hits that will tax your office when a new employee gets off to a bad start, only to leave a short while later.
  • It can lead to unnecessary training. We’re all busy, and it can seem like a burden to spend some time with a new employee to show him or her the ropes and help be sure that employee is settled into the company. But, that short upfront time burden can prevent extra headaches down the road when your employee suffers from ignorance over company policies or procedures. It’s not fun for the employee and it’s certainly not fun for you – answering even more questions or fixing mistakes and issues that could arise.
  • Better camaraderie. It’s hard being the “new kid,” no matter how old you are or how many jobs you’ve had. Successful onboarding can help prevent awkward moments in the lunchroom when you don’t know anyone’s name and have nowhere to sit. It helps foster a sense of teamwork early on for new employees, and can make a huge difference when you’re just starting out.

Onboarding can make a tremendous impact on your organization – both positive and negative. Are you worried that your organization is tipping the scales toward negative? Here are some signs that your onboarding process is alienating new employees:

  1. Your idea of onboarding includes a stack of HR forms. HR forms are necessary for all new employees, but a successful onboarding program, they do not make! Businesses are hopping and everyone is busy, but if your onboarding program doesn’t have clearly defined steps and goals for successfully adding a new member to your team, you are alienating new employees and setting them up for failure.
  2. You are constantly interrupted or distracted. Have you ever been in a meeting (on a date, out with friends) only to have the other person stare at his or her phone the entire time? Take calls, send texts, respond to “just one” email? This behavior is not only rude, it tells the other person explicitly that they’re not important. Talk about alienation! It goes unsaid that this is not the message to send to your new employees. Make onboarding a priority – make your new employee’s success a priority – and your employees will find greater productivity and success.
  3. You don’t have equipment ready. Could you do your job without a desk, chair, computer or phone? Neither can your new employees. The first day at a new job is nerve-wracking and potentially awkward enough – imagine if you came in and had nowhere to sit, go, or call your own. For the employer, onboarding should begin before the employee shows up for his or her first day – have a phone ready, have the computer set up and ready to use (setting up email is even better), and have a chair (preferably not the broken chair that has been passed around your office for five years). A solid start means solid equipment.

Have you ever had an onboarding disaster? What has your organization done to prevent one from occurring? Here at Helpmates, we help organizations across Southern California find the talent they need to reach their goals. We’ll find your next superstars!

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5 Keys to Successful Onboarding

Is onboarding a high-focus part of your hiring process? It should be! In addition to having a dramatic effect on job performance and satisfaction for new employees, onboarding is also an important team-building tool for your current employees. Put simply, onboarding is a relatively cost-effective tool for employee retention – one that you shouldn’t ignore.

Developing a successful onboarding plan.

If you’re struggling to understand where to start when it comes to your onboarding plan, here are five tips to help you get the ball rolling:Onboarding

  1. Set a formal plan. Regardless of size, all businesses should have a formal onboarding plan for new employees. This ensures all employees have the same experience and are equally prepared for success in their new positions. This can be as simple as a Word document saved on your team hard drive, or it can involve a full orientation and engaging process. The call is yours – just be sure to formalize and document it.
  2. Be prepared. You expect your new employees to come to work prepared; be sure to offer them the same courtesy. This includes things that seem simple but can often be forgotten like, a functional desk chair, office supplies, a working computer and computer login(s), among other things. Designate one or more employees to be in charge of new employee setup, and ensure everything has been completed at least one business day before new employees are scheduled to begin.
  3. Make introductions. This may be a challenge for larger businesses, but be sure to introduce new employees to their co-workers as close as you can to the beginning of the day. From receptionists to the CEO, new employees should feel welcomed by the entire team, or at least their immediate team and key personnel. While new employees won’t remember everyone’s name right away, introductions can immediately set new employees at ease and make recollection easier.
  4. Set immediate, measurable goals. Starting a new job is overwhelming to most people, but it can feel a bit less stressful when employees have concrete goals they can work toward from Day 1. Determine these goals before employees have begun, and communicate them as early as possible. Then, provide regular feedback so that employees can make adjustments where necessary (and can hear regular praise from the earliest days of their employment).
  5. Keep in touch. Direct managers should schedule regular meetings with new employees to answer any questions or address any concerns that should arise. This can also save managers time by setting expectations for when non-priority questions arise. Rather than a constant barrage of emails and phone calls, employees and managers can prepare notes for regular meetings.

With the right preparation and execution, onboarding can make a big impact on your performance and retention. If you’re looking for ways to maximize your talent investment, contact Helpmates. Our range of staffing services help businesses across Southern California reach their goals through human capital.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/David Castillo Dominici

3 Creative Employee Retention Tips: Keep Your Team Engaged

Engaged employees are more creative, more productive and more likely to stay with your company – getting all those great results. In an especially competitive market for top talent, employee retention should be a key goal, and engagement is a critical factor. To put it simply, employee engagement is critical to your short- and long-term success.

Employee engagement is a cost-efficient way to retain talent.

Creating an engaged workforce doesn’t have to mean massive budgets and initiatives. There are creative ways you can keep your employees engaged, motivated and retained, including:ID-100100176

  1. Flexible work arrangements. Research shows that remote workers can benefit employers as well as employees, but telecommuting situations aren’t always a fit for every role. Still, it’s a highly desirable benefit for many employees who struggle to balance their work and home lives. Whether it’s split shifts, work sharing, or telecommuting, assess various positions within your company to see if the potential exists to offer more flexible work arrangements for your employees.
  2. Continuing education opportunities. Investing in your employees’ futures with your company demonstrates a commitment to their success and longevity within your company. Who wouldn’t want to feel valued and invested in by their employer? Continuing education opportunities offer an easy way to demonstrate that long-term commitment your employees need. If you can afford tuition reimbursement for college credits, that is certainly an excellent way to do it, but it certainly isn’t the only way. Online training in various disciplines is an easy way to offer education opportunities (and it can be completed outside of the 9 to 5). Lunch training sessions can be a great way to cross train between departments or offer advanced training to specific teams. You could even start your own library of materials for employees to “check out.” The point is to keep your employees learning and to show them that you are invested in their futures.
  3. Keep them informed. Big business decisions like mergers and acquisitions mean advanced employee communications – that’s a no-brainer. But keeping your employees informed on what your company is working on is another way to help them feel invested in your future (and your “now”). Quarterly or bi-annual “state of the business” conference calls are one way to include employees in news and company happenings. You could also send out an email in lieu of the call (but it should come from someone in leadership). You could even start an employee newsletter or e-newsletter, with contributions from within the team. Keeping your employees informed on company news helps them take ownership in your company, and can often make them feel more secure about their careers and futures.

How are you creatively developing an engaged workforce? What other ways have you found create a more invested team environment? Here at Helpmates, we work with talent to help determine the right cultural and skills fit within your organization. We place talent that is committed to your short- and long-term success. Contact our team to learn more about our staffing services in Southern California.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/stockimages

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