Is National Sickie Day more worrying than people think?

In recent years the first Monday in February has been dubbed ‘National Sickie Day’ due to the high amount of employees in England taking a day off work due to sickness. Several of the reasons that this day shows a higher absence rate include it being the Monday after the first pay date of the year, which some people have waited 6 weeks for, alongside being the first Monday after many people have finished ‘Dry January’.

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Employee Perks – The Weird and Wacky

We have looked at the Average Joe kind of employee perks, and those a little more out there, but then we have all heard of those organisations who have perks that seem far, far away from the box. They are the kind of benefits that most business owners would question –  how is that possibly going to work? and how on earth will it benefit the business?

Well lets take a look at a few…

Unlimited holiday

Follow in The Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson’s footsteps and offer staff unlimited holiday, with the caveat that they get what they need to done. Richard suggests managing this by tapping into an employee’s emotional responsibilities

“It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off. The assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel 100% comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers!”

Do away with job titles and hierarchy

Take away those pesky org charts that show the world how you feel someone’s job is more important than theirs. Get rid of the job titles that can stop people from being creative and innovative because ‘it’s not part of their job description’. A deloitte survery revealed that only 38% of organisations believe they are ‘functionally organised’. In this modern organisation people don’t work their way ‘up the chain’ but move from project to project based on requirements and needs.

Make someone’s dreams come true

Get all your staff to tell you a dream they have and when there is a big success at work, pick a name out of a hat and make that individuals dream literally come true.

Take the Monday pain away

Most people hate Mondays, even if they love their job Monday normally comes with a whole lot more pain than the rest of the week. So do something to make Mondays fun – allow staff to shut down emails and computers for the morning and just be creative, carry out team building exercises or start the week off with a feel good movie.

It goes without saying that some of these require considerably more finances and time to put into place, and would be met with many questions by some, but the higher the risk potentially the higher the reward. Creating environments where people feel rewarded, encouraged and supported drives up productivity and performance.

Ultimately feeling a part of something goes a long way to engage and motivate staff to continue to work hard and do a good job. You want your staff to feel like the janitor at NASA, on a  visit to the space center in 1962, President John F. Kennedy interrupted his tour to walk over to  the janitor and said:

“Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?”

“Well, Mr. President,” the janitor responded, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”


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Does everyone want a ping pong table in their office?

Before you start going and buying office ping pong tables and arranging team building quiz nights, stop and think about what it is your staff want. Not what you want. Chances are you will employ a range of different people, many of whom will be in different circumstances to you. Arranging the Christmas party based on what the Board of Directors, all 40+, married and male want, won’t necessarily equate to what your boots-on-the-ground staff want and therefore won’t have the desired effect.

What demographic do your key talent, and targeted candidate pool, sit in? There will likely be a big difference between the needs and wants of a largely female part-time workforce want and those of a tech start-up in the city.

According to Gallup, in their report “How millennials want to work and live”, those born between 1980 and 1996 truly are job hoppers who look for changes in jobs to satisfy their craving for development, leadership training and their ability to be flexible at work.

Regardless of the generation though it is not enough anymore to expect that your employees will remain with you so long as the pay is right.

What is your employees why? What is the reason that your employees come and work for you? Are you a local based company who have a long history of employing locals? Are you a global social enterprise helping this in need? Each and every employee will have a reason for wanting to work for you, and understanding what the majority of people’s WHY is, will help you identify the rewards and perks you can give that will fulfil your teams.

Perks and rewards don’t have to have to come in the form of physical things, next time we’ll take a look at the basic, the weird and the wonderful of employee perks that actually exist.

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Do Employee Perks really matter anymore?

According to recent studies, the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to eight seconds. Compare that to goldfish who are believed to have an attention span of 9 seconds, and it begins to feel like the electronic age could have damaged our brain power.

The study, by Microsoft in Canada, found that those who had grown up in the digital world struggled to concentrate. It did however, find that our ability to multitask had increase – not surprising given that at any one point we can be snap chatting a friend, watching a movie and catching up on the latest Kardashian drama.

With the world becoming a smaller place, and the opportunity to travel, work abroad, the gig economy and the needs of the latest generation to hit the workplace, businesses need to focus on how they will not only attract great staff, but keep them. And keeping them happy, occupied, challenged and fulfilled.

Other than being a way to reward managers in your organisation, company perks can be used as a tool to attract talented staff, retain them within the organisation, and make your company a great place to work.

It is rare to find a company these days that doesn’t have the basic benefits for senior roles, health care, company car etc. Slowly these ‘perks’ become the norm and are expected across all levels of an organisation. However, taking the pain away from employees, to enable them to carry out their roles to the best of their abilities without distraction, is a key outcome of any employee support schemes.

For some organisations being able to attract and retain the best staff in their industry is key to their success. In order to ensure that their staff are able to be fully productive and efficient during their working hours organisations are recognising the need to develop cultures that support their employees lives as well as their performance at work. But other than the usual corporate gym memberships and dress down Fridays what can you do to stand out from the crowd and attract great staff?

Stay tuned for the next in this series …. What will work for your organisation?

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