Curmudgeonly Boomers, Skeptical Xers, Entitled Millennials – even a few Traditionalists and members of Gen Z – all occupy the working population. A multigenerational workforce brings diverse viewpoints, differing skill sets, and a mix of experience and eagerness. But finding and managing this extraordinary talent is not successful without strategy.
That diversity comes with its own challenges. In order to cultivate the benefits of an age-diverse workplace, you must recruit fairly and with intention and then continue to foster an engaging environment of understanding.
T-T-Talking ‘bout my Generation
Three generations make up almost all of the workforce: (dates vary according to the source, but generally speaking)
Baby Boomers (born from 1946 to 1964)
- Teamwork and cooperation
Generation X (born from 1965 to 1980)
- Balances work and personal life
Millennials (born from 1981 to 2000)
- Meaningful work
- Diversity and change valued
- Technology savvy
(American Psychological Association)
These stereotypes serve as a quick fix for understanding. However, the New Kids on the Block, the forgotten Middle Children, and the “get off my lawn” Elders can often be mischaracterized. Shared experience leads to similar characteristics and behaviors, but they should not dismiss employees as dynamic humans.
Relying too heavily on these can create an implicit bias, leading to unfair and ineffective hiring and management tactics. At worst, these stereotypes can lead to discrimination and/or a failure to understand your employees beyond the dimension of age.
Luckily, while employees of different generations are different, they’re not that different. And there are one-size-fits-all tactics that you can employ that can create a fair and engaging environment for everyone involved.
How you find candidates, and how you engage them pre-hire, will affect your age diversity. Make sure you are prepared.
Never under or overestimate a candidate’s ability to find you.
The Online Revolution
Finding and being found by age-diverse candidates requires presence. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 54% of Americans researched jobs online, and 45% have applied for a job online – more than double the number in 2005. Candidates of all ages are continuing the migration into the digital age.
When creating an online job posting, your language will make all the difference. Be aware of age-discriminating phrases, like “recent graduates” or “old-school.”
In addition to the basics of the position, include information about internal practices and cultural fit, candidly and objectively. Be honest about workplace practices and culture – not everyone is looking for a ping pong table and casual attire.
Once they see your online job posting, they are likely going to check your website and social media pages. Prepare your website to greet them – begin with updating your website with the most accurate information about your organization, including cultural practices.
You don’t necessarily need a custom app, but you do need to ensure that your website and respective job postings across platforms are mobile-friendly. Make sure to test your mobile-capability for yourself from the jobseeker’s point of view.
Jobseekers are also likely to look to your social media pages to get a better feel for your company, especially sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn. Currently, social media use expands to all generations.
% of US Adults who use at least one social media site:
Age 18 -29: 86%
Age 30-49: 80%
Age 50-64: 64%
Age 65+: 34%
Even if they do not have an active profile on that site, jobseekers will be able to see those pages via a Google search. They will look to your Facebook, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Instagram pages for more information and a candid look inside. Actively update and maintain your social media pages, and make sure your organization’s values and culture shines through, and gives an accurate and honest look into your workplace.
Some Things Never Go Out of Style…
However, online techniques, while easier, may alienate older candidates or those without regular internet access. If you are only receiving attention from a certain age group, this technique may not be fair. Be sure to utilize more “traditional” methods of recruiting, including job fairs, referrals, and print ads. Partnering with an organization like Ledgent can ensure a wider influence and a fairer candidate audience, and efficiently fill a position.
Interviews are your first opportunity to broaden your understanding of a candidate.
In interviewing, once again, be wary of language. It’s not illegal to ask how old someone is, but it can make them feel uncomfortable.
Avoid phrases like these, some of them are rude, some are illegal:
- How old are you?
- You’re overqualified.
- When do you plan on retiring?
- In my experience, Boomers/Xers/ Millennials are…
- You have too much energy/not enough energy.
- Do you have children? Do you plan to?
- Do you think you’re old enough to handle this responsibility?
- We know young people tend to job hop…
- When did you graduate?
- What’s your childcare arrangement?
Good thing there are plenty of other things to discuss in an interview. All jobseekers want to know more about your organization. The interview is your chance to dazzle them as well. Regardless of age, jobseekers want fair pay, comprehensive benefits, and a complementary work culture. Throw these conversation topics around like confetti.
Don’t assume that only candidates of a certain age group are interested in certain programs. Lay out all programs and allow for plenty of questions.
In a survey of more than 200 HR professionals, 90% of respondents rated recruiting for culture fit as “very important” to “essential.” Be sure to include culture-based questions and provide honest information about the culture. Don’t skew perceptions of your culture based on the candidate. Make sure their first day – and career – will be everything it’s promised to be.
As you get to know candidates, remember that age can limit exposure to certain practices and experiences. However, you can teach skills (to an extent), you can’t teach culture fit. Your organization’s values know no age. If a candidate is a stellar culture fit, don’t pass them over – no one is too young or old to learn anything.
Before, after, and during the interview, take moments of self assessment: am I making fair inferences? You can fight stereotypes simply by reflecting on any biases. If you feel as though you cannot interview fairly, it’s best to ask for assistance.
Once you have recruited this fabulous, culturally sound, age-diverse workforce, dedicated practices will keep them engaged and turnover low.
Involved, passionate employees are more productive, more profitable, and build your organization’s culture. Engaged workers consistently outperform non-engaged employees. They provide better service to your customers, remain loyal longer, and are better teammates.
However, it’s unrealistic to have custom policies for certain coworkers. Fortunately, engaging programs and policies know no age limit.
According to Quantum Workplace, while there are many factors of engagement, they can be narrowed down to three themes:
- Confidence in Leadership
- The Organization’s Commitment to Valuing Employees
- Positive Outlook on the Future
This research coincides with our own internal research for employee engagement. We found the 3 main drivers of employee engagement to be:
- “I have confidence in my leaders’ directions and decisions”
- “Work culture brings out the best in me”
- “[The organization] is interested in my growth and development”
Engagement is crucial for all employees, but there is no quick fix. However, the practices you implement will contribute to that engagement.
Programs will serve as the base, but engagement is solidified though everyday efforts and interactions. Active efforts of inclusion go beyond the diversity of representation and create cohesive, efficient, and dynamic teams.
These programs can cater to all employees while serving their unique needs.
Pay & Benefits
Employees cannot even begin to look towards engagement if their most basic needs are not met. Provide comprehensive benefits and be sure to calculate salaries objectively, focusing on experience and skill rather than age. To ensure fairness, check out our 2017 Salary Guide here.
All people have an optimal stress point, where an individual has enough stress to be motivated but not so much that they become overwhelmed. Boomers are more likely to occupy senior leadership roles and be overwhelmed, while Millennials in entrylevel jobs may not have enough. Create an open dialogue and share responsibilities to moderate stress.
Your employees have a lot to learn from one another. Create mentor and reverse mentor programs to increase exposure and teamwork. Retention is 25% higher for employees who have engaged in company-sponsored mentoring. (Deloitte)
Lead with Transparency
Transparent leadership and practices promote fairness, reduce jealousy, and boost connectedness.
Structured Career Paths
Regardless of where they are in their careers, there are always opportunities for growth. Amongst engaged employees, 96% have a clear idea of what is expected of them and 81% say their supervisor takes an interest in their career development (Quantum Workplace). Knowing exactly what is expected of them helps everyone get ahead, and can reduce jealousy and misunderstandings surrounding promotions and growth.
Amongst engaged employees, 83% receive recognition for a job well done (Quantum Workplace). It’s not only millennials who want recognition, 50% of employees who don’t feel valued plan to look for another job in the next year. Create a structured program to praise and recognize employees. For more information and tips on recognition, check out our White Paper here.
Ongoing Education and Training
Technology is developing and advancing all the time, be sure coworkers of all ages have the opportunity to learn before they are replaced.
Promote a dialogue and survey frequently so employees can voice their opinions and concerns. Survey to understand employees rather than evaluate how you are doing. Then respond appropriately and take action based on those results, do not allow issues to fester. According to TNS Employee Insights, 70% of those employees who are engaged agree that their organization takes action based on survey results.
It’s not mandatory for employees to participate, it’s mandatory for you to create opportunities. Allow for coworkers to intermingle in relaxed environments away from work. This can include happy hours, volunteer efforts, and team competitions. Know that people tend to socially prefer people closer to their own age, so create dedicated efforts to encourage employees to get to know one another.
Once those programs are implemented, it’s up to leadership and team managers to create a fair environment. They set the tone and foster day to day collaboration and are champions for inclusion.
Can’t we all just get along?
Raised with different parenting methods, historical events, technological advances, and general experiences, conflict is inevitable – but not insurmountable.
The villain is not time or each other, it’s a lack of communication and understanding. Don’t allow yourself to get absorbed into the stereotypical generational differences, instead focus on the real root of the problem and utilize traditional methods of conflict resolution.
For instance, if an Xer is frustrated with a Millennial’s lack of ability to work independently, the problem is likely not that the Millennial needs constant validation and participation trophies. It is more likely that the Millennial did not receive the training that they needed. Use generational stereotypes to understand, not condemn or dismiss.
The Responsibility of Inclusion
To promote inclusion, keep an eye out for teammates who may be treating other employees unfairly, and promote plenty of teamwork and collaboration. Let employees be their authentic selves, but discourage exclusionary behaviors.
Unite your team towards a common cause. All generations are looking for meaning in their work. A shared purpose goes beyond our understanding of age. To learn more about facilitating a shared purpose, read our White Paper here.
Generational differences are nothing new. We have worked through them in the past and will continue to do so. However, with dedicated efforts and programs, we can make teams even more efficient and effective.
Tips from Within
James Sense is a Regional Vice President for Roth Staffing Companies (parent company of Ledgent Finance & Accounting). He manages several teams across Southern California, with ages ranging from recent college graduates to some of Ledgent’s most tenured coworkers. Check out his tips for managing a multigenerational workforce:
“Managing different generations can sometimes be difficult, but I have found that if we learn to recognize strengths within the generations, we can take advantage of these strengths to unite as one unstoppable team. The more we can collaborate, intermixing different generations and viewpoints, the more the teams will learn what the tenured coworkers can offer and the tenured coworkers can learn from the newer coworkers new ideas of doing the same tasks. I think as a manager today, we have to focus on the overall result, not how it gets done.”
It’s a candidate’s market, we just live in it. Unemployment has fallen below 5%, and the demand for new talent only continues to grow. According to Glassdoor, 90% of recruiters agree that the market is in the candidates’ favor. When available talent dwindles, you have to find them.
Only a few candidates are actively seeking new opportunities. LinkedIn states that 25% are actively looking for new work, with 2/3 of them currently employed. Meanwhile, 75% of jobseekers are considered passive, employed but open to new opportunities. These candidates are called passive candidates or non-candidates. They are the majority of talent available.
Passive jobseekers shouldn’t be a last resort. Instead, actively strategize a recruiting approach that allows you to reach out to those who are currently employed. Their casual approach to a job search requires a dedicated technique.
This “non-candidate” pool is where the majority of talent is and can result in the best hires.
Desire & Intent
With the demand for candidates high, and the availability of talent low, top performers have the luxury of being able to find new work somewhat easily. While Millennials are labelled as “Job-Hoppers,” more frequent career change is a phenomenon expanding across generations and industries.
A survey by Willis Towers Watson states 3 in 10 employees say they are likely to leave their employer within the next two years. The average tenure has decreased from 4.6 years in January 2014 to 4.2 years in January 2016 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Meanwhile, only 15% of workers are completely satisfied and don’t want to move on to another company (LinkedIn). Job-hopping and dissatisfaction elsewhere can work in your favor. With satisfaction low and intent to leave somewhat moderate, employees are more likely to be open to a passive candidate experience.
Casually talking to recruiters or browsing the occasional job post are relatively low risk methods of exploring new opportunities.
Even satisfied workers glance at outside opportunities. While 80% of passive jobseekers are satisfied in their current job (LinkedIn), almost 60% of workers look at other jobs at least monthly (Indeed). Platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor introduce new opportunities to passive candidates on a daily or weekly basis. Meanwhile, 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current company if another company with an excellent reputation offered them a job (Glassdoor).
In 2015, 75% of workers with new jobs hadn’t actively applied for the position, they were “poached” or referred (FRBSF Economic Research). Seeking passive candidates is common practice, for reasons beyond necessity.
Another untapped resource lies in former employees: 40% say they’d consider returning to their former company (Workplacetrends). These are called boomerang employees. You already know their skills and culture fit, and they know what to expect from your workplace.
Passive Candidate, Active Results
Passive candidates have up-to-date experience, in-demand skills, and current industry knowledge. They likely won’t have a gap in their resume. They are also 120% more likely to want to make an impact, 33% more likely to want more challenging work, and 17% less likely to need skill development (Undercover Recruiter).
Passive candidate performance was rated 9% higher than active candidates, and these individuals were 25% more likely to stay with an organization long-term (CEB Recruiting Leadership Council Global Labour Market Briefing).
However, these perks come at a cost:32% of passive candidates expect a salary increase of more than 15% if approached by recruiters, and that figure rises to 51% if the job in question requires relocation (Indeed).
They are harder to find and are less likely to jump through hoops. To get their attention, they require a great deal of flexibility in your talent acquisition process.
The 3 P’s of Passive Candidates
Passive candidates are less likely to find you, less likely to participate in long hiring processes, and less likely to take the leap without plenty of information. No matter the circumstance, a new job requires risk and therefore, trust. To attract passive candidates, the process must be quick, informative, effective, and friendly.
When pursuing passive candidates, you must have a plan: be prepared, be proactive, and be persistent. While these steps may feel numerous, they are the building blocks of a comprehensive strategy that will lure in both active and passive candidates.
- Culture: Before you begin your attempts to attract new employees, focus on creating an engaging culture for your current employees. The right culture will keep your current employees from the job-hopping trend and instead make them your biggest advocates in attracting future employees.
- Referrals: Encourage your employees to join the cause. Create a referral reward program to increase your prospects. Referrals tend to be faster, cheaper, and have higher retention rates.
- Resources: Be sure you have the resources available to capture the attention of passive jobseekers. Be prepared to make a competitive offer and have opportunities available for advancement.
- Online Presence: Update your website and social media pages to appropriately reflect your culture and other offerings. Be sure your site is mobilefriendly for casual, passive browsing. Pay close attention to your Glassdoor page so candidates can gain a candid understanding of your workplace.
- Simplify: Streamline your application process and simplify your hiring process to move prospects along quickly (click here to read our White Paper). Be sure to test your online application process yourself from a candidate’s perspective.
- LinkedIn and Beyond: This will be one of your most powerful tools, but only if you use it correctly. LinkedIn is a dynamic community of both active and passive jobseekers. But how you interact with them may change the outcome.
According to Social Talent, 81% of recruiters choose to send a LinkedIn “connect request” or InMail first to engage a passive candidate; but only 14% take the time to send an email, and only 5% try to reach out through a phone call. Utilize LinkedIn, but don’t be afraid to go beyond. Send personalized messages and follow up with other forms of communication.
Make sure your profile is professional, up-to-date and utilized regularly. Share articles and posts, especially ones that would apply to someone who may be looking for a new job.
- Meet Needs and Expectations: Give passive candidates a comprehensive view of what this job change will look like and what they can expect in the new position.
- Research: Gain an understanding of the candidate: their current position, their past positions, their passion projects, their volunteer work, etc. The more you know about them, the better you can understand them, their needs, and the potential impact on your organization.
Tips from Within
Kelli Dobbins is a seasoned recruitment professional and a National Talent Engagement Manager at Roth Staffing Companies, the parent company of Ultimate Staffing Services. Roth just wrapped up its biggest hiring year in history, increasing headcount to its workforce by 20% year over year. Kelli has filled positions ranging from entry-level opportunities to leadership roles.
Here’s her advice on winning over passive candidates:
“Double down on the communication with candidates you are working with and stay in touch frequently (via phone, text and/or email).
“Take time to get to know who they are, what their future goals are and what is going to be important to them in a new role, rather than trying to sell them a specific opening we have right now. It’s much less transactional… and more of a process of building a relationship. I like to keep track of the passive candidates I speak to and remember to reach out quarterly, just so they know that I haven’t forgotten about them.”
- Maintain: Stay in touch with former employees. Send holiday cards and check in on LinkedIn. Not only can they become boomerang employees, they can provide referrals.
- Patience: Just because a candidate isn’t ready or available now, doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future. Keep in contact without being overwhelming.
- Meeting Places: Passive candidates will likely not want their current employers to know they are looking. Allow for calls beyond 8-5 and meetings in less-public places.
- Diversity: Jobseekers use up to 16 sources in their job search, while passive jobseekers may use none. Advertise openings on non-job centric sites, like Facebook or Instagram, to attract those who are not frequently on LinkedIn. Diversify your platform search and presence, so you can find and be found.
Being recruited is flattering, so allow yourself to get involved in the excitement. Passive candidates are an elusive entity and in hot demand. But with a dedicated strategy, you can improve both your passive and active candidate prospects.
Although inconvenient, a limited pool of candidates is a good thing. It means the economy is improving. Jobseekers now have more opportunities and you have the chance to be part of their journey. You can be the dream job someone doesn’t know they’re looking for.
In compiling data for our highly anticipated 2017 Salary Guide, we found some interesting trends and information about what to anticipate in the coming year.
We saw this phenomenon in 2016 and will continue to see it into next year: a candidate-driven market. According to Glassdoor, 90% of recruiters agree that the market is in the candidates’ favor. This is especially prevalent within finance & accounting, where we are experiencing a particularly tight labor market.
In the F&A industry, unemployment is 3-4%, while the average rate is 5-6%. Top candidates will be tougher to attract. These individuals may have multiple offers with salary rates at or above your market’s average. You need to be focused on effective recruiting methods and building your employer brand to stand out in the crowd.
Furthermore, a candidate-driven market creates a situation in which your employees– who may or may not be looking for a new job–could be lured away by the competition. A survey by Willis Towers Watson states 3 in 10 employees say they are likely to leave their employer within the next two years. Jobseekers, both active and passive, are willing to make a move for the right offer. Now is the time to take a look at your workforce and ensure you’re doing everything possible to retain your top people, including fair pay and engaging opportunities.
Where does salary fit into all this? The modern workplace is changing, but even as culture becomes a focal point, salary will continue to serve as a fundamental factor in employee satisfaction. Employees’ basic needs–fair pay, benefits, and reasonable working conditions–must be met before they can enjoy your organization’s personality and perks. To ensure attraction and retention of top performers, the winning combination of outstanding culture and competitive salary will be crucial in 2017.
Pay is Up
While the cost of living adjusted forecast for 2017 is predicted to be small at 0.2% (AARP), that does not mean pay raises will be minimal in the upcoming year. Employers are budgeting to increase salaries beyond a mere cost-of-living increase in order to reward their best employees and to lure top performers away from competitors.
At Ledgent Finance & Accounting, we’ve seen salaries rise higher year over year than they did from 2015 to 2016–especially in secondary markets where the tightened labor market has caught up with pay rates.
Nationwide, most markets will experience an increase of 3% in both professional and entry-level position salaries. Markets that saw slow growth in 2016 will catch up and may see pay rates increase by as much as 5% in 2017.
The tight labor market is mandating that employers offer the most competitive pay for professional level positions. Meanwhile, the minimum wage increases initiated in several states recently have caused entry-level position pay rates to increase in order to be competitive in attracting the best talent.
Retention is Key in 2017
More than half of U.S. employers (57%) said hiring activity has increased over the past 12 months, while turnover has picked up by 37% over the past 12 months (Willis Towers Watson). With demand high and available talent low, your employees are top targets. In addition, only 15% of employees are truly satisfied in their job and aren’t looking for other opportunities (LinkedIn). That means 85% of your employees are at risk of leaving your organization.
When it comes to keeping your best employees onboard, be proactive. Review your department budget(s) and be keenly aware of which employees are vital to the success of your team or company. It is more cost-effective to keep those employees in place than to try and fill their position. Review salary data with your staffing partner or recruiter and make sure your top performers are rewarded with a competitive salary.
The average raise a good employee can typically expect in 2017 is about 2-3%. Meanwhile, employers who have adopted a performance-based pay structure plan to increase salaries of top performers by 5-10% to aid with retention. Keep this in mind, employees with successful track records can typically find an opportunity that pays them about 10% more.
As you propose your salary adjustments with retention in mind, remember that salary is important, but won’t keep an employee from leaving. Get salary right and then make sure you are excelling in the other areas of employee engagement.
Your top performers won’t be satisfied with a simple cost of living adjustment. According to Glassdoor, 35% of employees will start looking for a job if they don’t receive a pay raise in the next 12 months. And your competition is keeping an eye on them. Combat this with performancebased bonuses.
Every organization has a salary budget for its employees. According to SHRM, when a low performer receives even a token incentive payout, it takes money away from payouts for those employees who are driving organizational performance. Bonuses rooted in performance can create a rewarding system of fairness and recognition, keeping your top performers engaged and rewarded.
Make these programs available for all, so lower performers won’t feel left out. Besides, you may be surprised who rises to the occasion. Everyone should be accountable and eligible.
As employees work towards these goals, provide abundant recognition and feedback. A lack of acknowledgment has a direct impact on productivity: 50% of employees who don’t feel valued plan to look for another job within the next year (Huffington Post). And a study by KRC Research discovered 6 in 10 employed Americans say they are more motivated by recognition than they are money. The combination of recognition and money will aid in retention.
Passive candidates require competitive offerings
Your best candidates may be the ones who aren’t looking for a new job at all. “Passive” candidates or “noncandidates”– the ones who aren’t actively looking–are attractive mainly due to their up-to-date experience. They are also 120% more likely to want to make an impact and 33% more likely to want more challenging work (Undercover Recruiter).
But how will you find them? They likely won’t be looking at job boards, and if they are, they won’t want to go through lengthy application procedures. Work with your staffing partner to diversify your approach, while emphasizing social media and incentivizing referrals from current employees.
When luring in outside talent, salary is expected to be on the higher side of average rates. When attracting passive candidates, salary is expected to be even higher. According to Indeed, 32% of passive candidates expect a salary increase of more than 15% if approached by recruiters.
The perks and environment your organization can offer are more powerful than you think: 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current company if another company with an excellent reputation offered them a job (Glassdoor). Meanwhile, 69% would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed! Build your employer brand online and across social media to create a clear picture of what it’s like to work for your organization.
When a top performer prepares to leave an organization, they will likely receive a counter-offer from that organization. And often, you won’t be the only organization a candidate may be interviewing with. Make sure your job offer is more powerful–that means competitive salary plus a clear picture of how they will be engaged.
Move your hiring process along quickly and give candidates 24 hours to respond to the offer. Have your counter-offer on hand and ready to go.
Actively address these throughout the interview process and reiterate them along with your counter offer. Discuss career paths and growth opportunities, future projects, and organizational happenings, then relate them to the candidate. Demonstrate how you are invested in them. For example, “I remember you said that you have a dog. Our extended lunches are perfect for pet owners, as many of our employees use that time to go home and check on their animals. Then on Fridays everyone brings their dog to work with them. We’d love to welcome your dog to the team.”
It’s personal touches like this that will capture their attention and strengthen your counter-offer.
Just be yourself: Remember to be realistic about what your workplace is actually like on a daily basis. Your workplace is not meant for everyone and that’s okay.
The most important thing you can do in 2017 and beyond is maintain high levels of engagement for both tenured and new employees. Money is important to all employees, so being proactive with salary adjustments will keep them engaged on the most basic level. To truly nurture employees and encourage retention, you must invest in culture and workplace practices. Consistently reiterate your best practices to your employees and ensure that they are involved in the process of building and championing your workplace culture.
Take a proactive approach with monetary and cultural practices and your organization will rock 2017.
Benefits and perks are an ever-evolving arms race, striving to meet employee needs and compete in the eyes of jobseekers. However, the Wellness program phenomena isn’t just a shiny perk for employees, it is a tool that serves employees and drives business results.
In a majority of organizations, wellness programs primarily focus on physical wellness – offering incentives or reimbursements for physical activity and healthy eating. “Wellness” expands beyond physical well-being, for both humans and employees. And an effective program goes beyond simply making perks available to employees.
Healthy employees, Healthy Business
Personal health plays an active role in the life of an employee, and the health of each individual has an effect on your organization. “Wellbeing reflects the whole person,” says Dr. Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist for workplace management and wellbeing. “The whole person comes to work, not just the worker.”
According to Zane Benefits, employees who eat healthy are 25% more likely to have higher job performance, and employees who exercise at least three times a week are 15% more likely to have higher job performance. In addition, absenteeism is 27% lower for employees who eat healthy and exercise.
“New research suggests that wellness is an extremely powerful element that can play a significant role in employee engagement, productivity, talent retention, and creativity,” says Kristi Welch, VP of Client Services at FitThumb.com.
Wellness programs are designed to promote employee and individual well-being, influencing overall health, morale, work-life balance and engagement, while creating healthier workers and decreasing employer healthcare costs.
The Productivity Drain
Unhealthy employees can have an adverse effect on your organization. They are less productive and have higher turnover rates. Sick or injured employees are more likely to miss work, and incur higher healthcare costs. Yet, absent employees aren’t the biggest drain on productivity.
Presenteeism, where employees are physically present at work but unable to perform at full capacity, creates a greater drain on productivity than being absent all together (not to mention they can potentially spread illness). According to the Institute for HealthCare Consumerism, one in five workers have experienced a health issue that has affected their ability to get their work done, resulting in productivity losses.
For every dollar spent on medical costs and pharmaceuticals, there is $2.30 of health-related productivity losses due to absenteeism and presenteeism.
The Cost of Un-Wellness
Since the birth of the benefits package, and the [implementation] of the Affordable Care Act, healthcare for employees has been a top priority and financial burden. By offering health care benefits, employers are more likely to attract and retain top talent and ensure the wellness of their workers.
However, unhealthy employees are driving the price even higher. The Society for Human Resource Management estimates $650 – $1400 in excess annual medical costs for adults with high healthcare risk, and $900 in excess annual medical costs for physically inactive adults. Wellness Councils of America states 15% of health claims are attributed to sedentary lifestyles.
Meanwhile, employees with high wellbeing have 41% lower health-related costs compared with employees who have lower wellbeing, according to Gallup.
Wellness as Investment
In the face of rising healthcare costs, implementing a wellness program can feel daunting and expensive. However, wellness programs are an investment that benefits employees and the bottom line, and demonstrates care for employees at all levels.
Harvard Business Review reports that after implementing a wellness program, Johnson & Johnson saw a return of $2.71 for every dollar spent. While Forbes reports the average ROI as high as 3:1.
Beyond financial gain, SHRM reports reduced absenteeism, higher productivity, reduced injuries, and improved morale and loyalty. The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism found that employees who participated in wellness programs are more likely to have a higher level of job satisfaction, feel happier with their employer, and be more satisfied with their overall benefits.
Gallup reports that employees who participate in wellness programs report fewer unhealthy days, are more likely to adapt well to change, more likely to bounce back from illness, are less likely to be involved in a workplace accident, and less likely to look for a new job.
A 2015 survey of nearly 2,000 U.S. employees conducted by Quantum Workplace found that employees 38% more engaged and 18% more likely to go the extra mile when they felt their employers cared about their well-being. Employees were also 28% more likely to recommend their workplace to others.
The Power of Wellness, the Power of Intent
While these benefits are encouraging, wellness programs are truly about employees – that’s what makes a program effective. Employees will likely not participate in a wellness program, changing their lifestyles solely for the purpose of saving their employer money.
Before you create a wellness program, be sure your vision follows these guidelines.
Programs should be:
- Supported, promoted, and celebrated by leadership
- In addition to other basic benefits
Potential ROI should not be the sole reason a program is created. If the program is implemented without sincere intent to improve the life of employees, it could create an adverse effect. Wellness programs should make employees feel cared for, not used. Insincere programs are more likely to be superficial, and therefore, ineffective.
Be sure that any program is designed with the reality of your culture in mind. Not all workplaces enjoy sunshine and rainbows, and that’s okay – there are wellness options that align with every kind of culture. Align programs with the company mission, vision, and values and be sure that your culture supports wellness initiatives.
“Well-designed workplace wellness programs should reinforce the company mission and values at every turn, orienting newbies and reconnecting veterans in need of a boost.” – Henry Albrecht, CEO of Limeade
The most important cultural aspect for a successful program is accountability, for leadership and employees. Demonstrate transparency and establish trust by following through with promises, and encourage employees to do the same.
Supported, Promoted, and Celebrated by Leadership
Your wellness program needs to be actively supported and recognized by any and all leaders within your organization. Quite literally, they will lead the way. Managers play a critical role in employee engagement. Gallup documents a relationship between employee engagement and well-being, with managers serving as a conduit between the two.
Leaders must participate and communicate that they value the program in order for employees to feel comfortable.
For example, if your wellness programs include special extended lunches to take a workout class, senior leadership should lace up their sneakers and attend. Then, during meetings, they will recognize and celebrate others who also attended. They should regularly communicate the value of the program.
This will demonstrate sincerity, and will encourage others to participate, especially any programs that occur during the day.
It is up to leaders to remove obstacles that may prevent any and all employees from participating. For example, according to Humana and the Economist Intelligence Unit, employers and employees agree that the biggest obstacle to increased participation in wellness programs is lack of time. Leaders should create time-conscious programs in response.
In Addition to Other Basic Benefits
Wellness programs are not a substitute for a benefits package (health, dental, vision, etc). However, if you are limited in how much insurance you can offer employees, a wellness program can help fill the gap.
Make the Wellness Program of your Dreams
When thinking of wellness, most think of diet and exercise. While these are essential for a healthy lifestyle, wellness is dynamic, and a wellness program should mirror that.
Gallup and Healthways break down wellness into 5 factors, but we add a sixth.
But in the era of Google-sized programs, small programs can feel insufficient. These programs don’t have to be giant, expensive entities. In fact, you’ll find that many of our suggestions come at little to no cost. While in-house massages and on campus gyms are attractive, employees simply want to feel cared for more than anything else.
Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
Defining a purpose across an organization can serve as a powerful motivator for employees, while increasing job satisfaction. Knowing exactly how one’s role contributes to the greater world instills a unique responsibility in each employee.
A study by Deloitte found that in organizations with a strong sense of purpose, 73% of employees were engaged, compared to only 24% of employees in organizations without. In addition, according to Humana and the Economist Intelligence Unit, some 67 percent of employees said participation in wellness programs increased their engagement in their employer’s mission and goals.
- Define, document, and promote your company, team, and individual purpose (if you need assistance, see our White Paper.)
- Include recognition and celebration for team and individual accomplishments
- Go out to lunch to celebrate new hires
- Subsidize personal development books and courses
- Offer structured career paths
- Set aside time for leaders to meet with any and all employees for “coffee talk”
Having supportive relationships and love in your life
Workplace friendships are a delicate dance, but a vital ingredient to a successful work life balance. Humans are pack animals, who thrive in collaborative environments.
Employees with a best friend at work tend to be more focused, more passionate, and more loyal to their organizations. They get sick less often, suffer fewer accidents, and have more satisfied customers, along with increased productivity.
- Include social collaborations, ie happy hours, team contests, and company lunches
- Coordinate team events or activities for new hires as soon as they start
- Create a company softball or kickball team and compete
Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
Financial wellbeing effects all aspects of wellbeing. According to the Institute for HealthCare Consumerism, workers facing debt and unstable financial situations reported their stress has caused occurrences of ulcers, digestive problems, migraines, anxiety and depression.
Do not pry into employee’s financial status, but provide them with the tools to build their own finances – creating better, more focused workers.
- Bring in experts to advise on 401(k) saving
- Provide financial literacy and budgeting tools
- Offer financial coaching and education on productive saving and spending, and investing basics
- Start an employee-donated emergency fund to help those affected by a sudden financial crisis due to catastrophic events
Liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community
Provide a safe workspace, this includes removing toxic teammates. Focus on your organization’s role in the local community and get involved.
“Promoting community charity walks, races and other events reminds employees that work is a community, not just a paycheck. Allowing employees time for volunteer activities of their choice fosters autonomy, renews a sense of purpose and provides a jolt of motivation.” –Henry Albrecht, CEO of Limeade
- Volunteer at local charities
- Donate to community causes
- Coordinate lunches from neighborhood small businesses
- Coordinate team outings to local attractions and hotspots
Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily
According to Humana and the Economist Intelligence Unit, 91% of employees participating in wellness programs have improved their fitness, while 89 percent said participation has improved their overall happiness and well-being.
Don’t force employees into physical routines or healthy eating habits, make your program so fun and widespread that they can’t resist joining in. Think of it as positive peer pressure.
- Regularly stock a fresh fruit and veggie bowl in the breakroom
- Host webinars on different wellness topics, encourage internal employees with expertise to share their knowledge and lead the webinars
- Coordinate fitness competitions
- Set up a reimbursement system for gym memberships and workout classes (that way, employees can choose a fitness routine that works for them)
- Offer great health insurance
- Discourage people from coming in sick
- Provide reasonable paid sick time
Internal health centered around confidence and self-esteem, enabling you to fully enjoy and appreciate other people, day-to-day life and your environment. Using abilities to reach your potential.
Good mental health may be the most important, and hardest to detect, aspect of wellbeing. It is vital for the health of your employees, and your business.
About 44% of employers said stress management programs would be the single most effective way of establishing a culture of wellness, according to a study by Humana and the Economist Intelligence Unit. While 80% of workers feel stress on the job, for many employees, mental health goes beyond that.
Nearly 30% of young adults age 18 to 25 have a diagnosable mental health disorder, and 5% of U.S. adults have a mental health-related disability that seriously impairs their daily functioning, according to Volkbell Human Resources. Additionally, behavioral and mental health issues comprise approximately 6% of total health care costs.
Harvard Business Review states that depression and stress have proved to be major sources of lost productivity. And according to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, for certain conditions, such as anxiety, employers lose as much as $20 in productivity for every dollar they spend on medical care and pharmaceuticals.
Mental health is a personal matter, and there are ways to respect the privacy of your employees while supporting them
- Don’t let frustrated people keep working. Encourage them to take a walk and record their steps. (It’s a physical + mental double whammy!)
- Encourage people to actually use their vacation time, primarily by using yours
- Ensure that all health insurance options include mental health care benefits
- Establish comfort and an open environment where mental health claims are taken seriously and handled accordingly
- Train managers to look for signals that an employee might be having a hard time
- Reduce physical stress due to noise, lack of privacy, poor lighting, poor ventilation, poor temperature control or inadequate sanitary facilities.
- Allow employees to bring in their pets
- Consider offering “Ferris Bueller Days,” where employees can take a day off for any reason
As you build your program with passion and intent, document the plan, consistently coordinate future events, and maintain the program. Make information about the program available to all employees, and send out regular reminders about different aspects of the program.
Frequently survey your employees for their feedback on the program and adjust accordingly. Practice patience, cultural shifts take time. The key is to continue with the program consistently.
More than anything, these programs should be fun. These programs should be implemented because you love and care about your employees. You want to give them a fantastic work life, allowing them to be their best personal and professional self.
You’ve heard that “teamwork makes the dream work.” But at Ledgent, we’ve learned that the opposite tends to be more effective: “dream-work makes the team work.” A shared purpose (the dream) amongst a team, and across an organization, serves as a powerful motivator and has a positive effect on the entirety of your business. Continue reading
Starting off on the right foot is no accident. It requires careful planning and implementation to ensure that all new hires feel welcome, equipped, and motivated to perform at their best. Typically, employees who experience an engaging and structured on-boarding program the moment they start are 58% more likely to stay with a company for at least three years.
Inc., Forbes, and Quandora all report similar versions of what employees desire from their employers; “feeling important/ valued” always comes out on top, even more important than wages. It is imperative to instill this feeling in your employees beginning with their very first day and continuing throughout those crucial first few months. A structured on-boarding program demonstrates that you are invested and excited to have them.
More than warm fuzzies, on-boarding practices pay off and position your newest employees for success from the start. With formal on-boarding, 77% of new hires met their first performance milestone, compared to only 49% without formal on-boarding.
Utilize the practices discussed in this White Paper to reevaluate your internal “new hire” programs and ensure that your On-boarding activities are cultivating top performers who will last.
Get a visual snapshot of On-Boarding best practices with our INFOGRAPHIC.
Successful On-Boarding: What Employees Want Most
Roth Staffing Companies’ research has found that new hires, particularly top performers, define success in four elements.
1. I clearly understand my responsibilities and how success will be measured.
2. I derive meaning and a sense of accomplishment from work.
3. I feel like I am part of the company culture.
4. I have built solid relationships with the team/department.
But according to Forbes, roughly 40% of newly hired employees fail within 18 months— that’s nearly half of all new coworkers! Additionally, 4% of new employees leave a job after an awful first day. The 4 elements listed should be addressed on the first day, don’t let your new hires question if they made the right decision choosing your organization.
Understanding Responsibilities and Measuring Success
48% of people who quit within the first year say it was due to the unrealistic expectations of the job. “Unrealistic expectations” can refer to a variety of situations such as expecting employees to accomplish an impossible workload.
“Employers need to give their employees a roadmap to success if they expect them to realize their full potential,” says Leila Malekzadeh, On-Boarding & Integration Specialist for Roth Staffing Companies. “Employers should define coworkers’ roles throughout the candidate assessment and interviewing process so that employees know exactly what is expected of them when they walk through the door on Day One. Then, on a coworker’s first day, the manager should make it a point to sit down one-on-one with the new hire and review responsibilities, outcome expectations, the coworker’s career goals and strengths, and elements of the workplace culture.”
More often than not “unrealistic expectations” refers to employers failing to define the various tasks or areas of responsibility involved in a coworker’s role from the start. Psychological Contracts are the mutual expectations employees and managers have for one another, many go unsaid and most go beyond the paycheck. These psychological contracts have a major effect on employee perceptions of fairness. Discuss with your employees their expectations and have defined (even documented) expectations for one another.
Outline what you both perceive as successful practices and milestones, and the steps required to reach those. This will increase accountability for both sides and serve as a reference point if anything goes awry.
It’s essential for a new hire and his or her manager to regularly revisit this discussion within the first six months of an employee’s tenure, particularly at the pivotal 90-day mark, to ensure that the employer’s and coworker’s expectations continue to align.
It is hard work for any department manager or executive level leader to invest time in on-boarding but scheduling time to be part of a new coworker’s first 90 days is well worth it in the long run. Employees crave time with managers.
Meaning and Sense of Accomplishment
Employees desire meaning in their roles and feel accomplished when they understand how their work affects the entire company. Employers can address this need through several strategies:
1. Give employees a work task to accomplish on Day One
2. Provide a list of individual and team goals for the first week
3. Outline a first-week itinerary to provide structure
Providing new hires a to-do list jumpstarts the positive momentum on the first day, and gives them a mental satisfaction boost when they cross something off. Including the newly hired coworker on the team’s weekly goal sheet can demonstrate that he or she is already contributing to the broader group’s and company’s success.
Lead a team discussion, including new hires, about the role your organization plays on a larger level. How does your business give back to the community? Why does your team come to work every day?
Connecting with the Workplace Culture
Equipping new hires with the professional tools for success is just one part of the Day One puzzle. Their email, phone, desk, and other tools should be set up and ready for them, but the other essential piece is the intangible cultural element: coworkers want to feel like they belong in the company environment.
Before their first day, send them a note (preferably handwritten) expressing your genuine excitement for them to start. Give them a small heads up on what to expect on their first day, including things like lunch plans. It’s a simple touch that can get them jazzed for their first day.
Make an impression by decorating a new hire’s desk or work station and fully stocking it with the necessary supplies like writing utensils and business cards. Small welcome gifts such as a company mug or padfolio can also go a long way toward demonstrating employee appreciation and that your team eagerly prepared for the new hire’s arrival.
“Pulling out the stops and decorating an employee’s desk is a great way to instantly bring new coworkers into the fold and show that your department and organization genuinely care about the employee’s wellbeing,” explains Theresa DelVecchio, a Market Director at Roth Staffing Companies. “At Roth Staffing, we always show the new coworker around the office and make introductions on the first day. When new hires are on a first name basis and familiar with everyone in the workplace by the end of Day One, they no longer feel like ‘the new person,’ they feel like part of the team.”
From there, set milestones, create fun quizzes, and give rewards as new employees demonstrate knowledge of the company and their new role.
Building Solid Relationships
SHRM has found that being unable to cultivate positive working relationships leads to a 60% failure rate. On the flip side, research demonstrates that 87% of the top on-boarding and training programs include mentoring.
Position new hires for success by implementing buddy and mentoring programs designed to be a resource for new coworkers. Having even one good friend in the workplace can increase retention by 25%!
Depending on your department or organization, the mentoring program can be formal and structured or informal and casual. Inc. Magazine recommends experimenting with various types of mentoring such as group, peer, one-on-one, and reverse mentoring (where lower-level employees teach middle or upper management) to determine which style works best for new hires in your workplace.
In addition to forging new relationships, managers should ensure that Day One includes both a group lunch (open to the team and coworkers from other departments) and some time during the day for undivided attention from the new hire’s manager.
“One-on-one attention with a manager every day during the first week can make or break a new coworker’s experience,” says Roth Staffing Market Vice President Peggy Baggott. “Showing a new team member that they are your number one priority doesn’t just boost morale, it also provides an opportunity for them to ask clarifying questions, address concerns, give feedback about the new hire and onboarding processes, and outline short- and long-term goals—all elements that are beneficial to the organization or department as well as the new employee.”
Day One is Just the Beginning
Day One has a much more significant influence upon the long-term success and loyalty of a coworker than it may seem at first glance. Roth Staffing has found that most new employees decide if they feel at home within the first three weeks of joining an organization. Workplaces don’t have much time to make a good impression on its new hires.
You don’t have to throw them a party or hover over them, but be sure to meet their needs and be patient as they learn new skills and practices unique to your organization – it’s a lot of information.
The Next 89 Days
Assume your new employee is not really hired until 60-90 days after they start. Orchestrate an on-boarding plan that continues to “recruit” and excite your new employee about the company while they are learning the required responsibilities of their role.
Research completed by the Society of Human Resource Management, or SHRM, indicates that employees have approximately 90 days to internalize the skill set, behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge to successfully fulfill their role. This means that the sooner organizations or departments are able to effectively integrate their new hires into the workplace culture and equip them with the tools necessary for success, the higher the probability of long-term achievement.
At Roth Staffing, new coworkers are treated as though they are still being recruited – new hires are sent special messages, small gifts, and lots of recognition for any training or milestones they complete. This cultural integration and continued “recruiting” is interlaced with actionable tasks and performance; they are also given perspective on how each activity they complete fulfills the purpose of the company.
What about Hourly Coworkers?
According to SHRM, hourly workers reported that they felt fully on board after an average of three and one half weeks. However, supervisors considered hourly employees on-boarded at 3 months. This demonstrates a disconnect for hourly workers. Typically, onboarding for new hourly employees is very passive and simply covers the basics, such as paperwork and rules. However, utilizing the same techniques used for salaried employees can result in higher performance and lower turnover at all levels.
On-Boarding and the Bottom Line
Proper on-boarding can result in a positive long term financial impact. A survey of sales professionals found that with proper on-boarding, they generated expected revenue 20 weeks sooner than those without. This drastic timeline reduction can mean thousands of dollars in profit gained for your department or organization, not to mention a long-lasting boost in team morale that might also translate into other financial achievements. Hiring manager satisfaction also increased with formal on-boarding to 20%, compared to -3% without formal on-boarding.
Top organizations take the time to implement helpful on-boarding processes that position their coworkers for success because it’s more than just the right thing to do. “Every new hire is an opportunity to improve the engagement statistics,” says Amy Bastuga, VP of Human Resources at Radio Flyer, “A poor early employment experience can contribute to the epidemic of disengagement at the cost of high turnover. A positive experience is critical for retaining the talent you recruit and for driving performance.”
Roth Staffing has experienced it first-hand … when we equip our new hires with the tools to succeed, the employer reaps the benefits as well. Lower turnover, higher employee satisfaction and engagement are all a result of formal, enthusiastic on-boarding. Don’t just create an on-boarding plan, ensure your managers know how to implement the plan and have a method for ensuring your on-boarding plan was applied to each new hire.