6 Ways HR Can Increase Creativity in the Workplace
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

 

Creativity is often considered to be a key element in driving the growth of a business. Here are some effective ways you can increase creativity in the workplace, and push your business forward. 

 

There are many reasons why creativity could be stifled in an office work environment – whether it be micromanagement, an isolated workspace or just a general lack of confidence. Luckily, there are ways to improve ingenuity and inspiration when working in a corporate environment.

 

Why is creativity in the workplace important?

You may be wondering why exactly increasing creativity in the workplace is essential for your growth. Well, firstly it can help employees come up with better, innovative solutions to problems you may not have considered before. Many of these solutions have the opportunity to help you stand out from your competitors, which is always a bonus!

 

Another key benefit is it can create a more positive working culture. This has a variety of benefits in itself – effective workplace culture is thought to contribute to a 50% difference in performance between businesses in the same sector. Additionally, if word gets around that you have a positive work culture, this can attract more talented candidates to your business in the future.

 

Here are some great tips for all human resource representatives that will make staff members at all levels happier and more inspired as they walk through the door each and every day.

 

6 Ways to Increase Creativity in the Workplace

1. Encourage Remote Meetings

In the corporate setting, you may find that employees are hesitant to leave the office during the workday in fear of not completing assignments on time or missing crucial information. This feeling of isolation and constant anxiety can have a negative effect on work ethic and stagger workplace productivity.

 

Consider speaking with upper management and coming up with new ways to foster creativity from your staff. One strategy could be to schedule the weekly update meetings outside the office. Meeting at a remote location such as a café or coffee shop would be a refreshing change of pace that gets the team away from their desks.

 

 

Additionally, allowing employees to work from home once a week could also help boost morale. There have been studies that prove workers are just as productive if not more productive when they are able to work remotely or make their own hours. If it isn’t imperative that your staff be in the office during business hours, consider these types of options to boost free-thinking and relieve stress.

 

2. Allow Anonymity in the Workplace

Many employees, especially those at the bottom of the corporate hierarchy or that are new to the company, may find it uncomfortable to share their ideas. It can be challenging to be outspoken when you feel it isn’t your place to be or about things that are above your pay grade.

 

Urging individuals to come to human resources to voice their ideas or concerns anonymously may help negate this issue, and increase creativity in the workplace. You could also begin a suggestion box in the office for all employees to contribute to at their convenience. Many of these individuals may have great ideas in terms of improvements or subtle changes that would help better the workplace, so allow them the opportunity to make their voice known.

 

3. Foster Personal Growth

Encouraging staff to consult with their managers regularly in regard to their personal accomplishments and career goals is crucial to creating a thriving office environment with employees who are working hard to succeed.

 

Forming a culture that promotes upward movement from within can give your staff goal-oriented mindsets both in the short and long term. Be sure to set annual or even quarterly performance reviews for all employees with either their direct supervisor or HR to ensure continued success and growth. The more feedback your staff is given, the more opportunities they will have to prove themselves. And although it may seem tedious to consistently conduct these evaluations, it will prevent anyone from feeling neglected or unheard.

 

And don’t be afraid to invest in the cultural aspects of the company to foster a positive sense of well-being and togetherness among staff. Use this time to focus on those who are putting in 110%, looking for advice and stand out from the pack.

 

4. Reward Major Career Milestones

Most employees crave appreciation and praise for their hard work. Incorporating reward systems for those who are top performers at the company can help to jumpstart productivity in the workplace.

 

Whether it be an employee of the month award, bonus incentives, or simply giving promotions to those who are deserving of them are all great ways to boost morale.

 

Some companies celebrate anniversaries for years of service as well as host new hire lunches to connect new staff members with experienced co-workers in the department and/or department heads. Regardless of how you choose to celebrate milestones, employees will be appreciative and work diligently knowing that their hard work will be rewarded.

 

5. Streamline Workflow Processes

Find new and innovative ways to make your employee’s jobs easier, and increase creativity in the workplace. It will help take away the hassle of repetitive tasks and administrative work.

 

Many human resource departments will partner with the IT team to find the most effective methods of workflow optimization. Some have chosen to incorporate business automation software to simplify back-end tasks, while others have opted to reevaluate the corporate structuring and specific job responsibilities to ensure optimal workflow.

 

Certification programs for management training have also been used to help better delegation within and between departments.

 

There are many strategies you can use, depending on the size and industry focus of the business you are in. Take time to review where there is a significant lag in your business processes and what can be done to correct them.

 

6. Create a pleasant office space

Creating an office space that motivates and creates a sense of wellbeing is a huge part of boosting workplace creativity. There are a few very simple ways that you can do this.

 

 

Ensure that your office has the correct amount of light – a Department of Design study found that employees too far away from windows had a much higher risk of eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision and more. Avoid this by trying to have as much natural lighting as possible in the office. You should also ensure to replace any flickering lights, and control any distracting glare on computer screens.

 

Colour can also have a significant impact on your office space. Instead of opting for a typical grey or beige office, consider introducing a splash of colour. Indoor plants for example, are thought to enrich a space, increasing productivity and employee happiness.

 

Want to create a great workplace culture?

Fostering increased creativity in the workplace is just one way to create a great workplace culture, and improve the performance of your business. If you want to learn more ways to engage your workforce, download our webinar on this topic!

 

ChandlerC@smartrerooot.com'
Chandler C


Chandler Coleman is a contributing author to Smart Recruit Online and has expertise in business and tech-focused content.


5 Essential Interview Questions to Assess Culture Fit
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

 

A candidate might look great on paper, but how do you know they will fit into your organisation? There are 5 interview questions to assess culture fit, so you can find out. 

 

What is cultural fit?

So, what exactly is cultural fit within a business context? When we talk about a business culture, we mean the core values and beliefs that a company abides by. They essentially determine how the employees interact, and may be reflected in your business hours, hiring decisions, dress code, treatment of clients and so on.

 

A business culture is often implied and not outwardly defined. However, it is becoming more common for businesses to have cultural guidelines for their employees to follow, and that are brought into the interview process.

 

Cultural fit is basically how well an employee matches up with the business culture. This doesn’t mean not having a diverse workforce, as this has a multitude of benefits for businesses. It simply means ensuring they match up with these values in some way. For example, if your business values collaboration in the workplace highly, someone who works best individually may not be a good fit.

 

Why is cultural fit important?

Cultural fit is becoming increasingly important to businesses, with 86% of CEOs and HR leaders confirming this in a recent Deloitte survey. This is unsurprising, as an effective culture is said to create a 50% difference in performance between businesses in the same sector. Other reasons why cultural fit is important include:

 

 

Staff satisfaction:

When your staff is happy, they tend to be more engaged, productive and motivated to succeed. Being part of a culture that aligns with their own tends to incite these feelings.

 

Improved performance:

When employees feel like they belong, this can lead to increased enthusiasm in the role, and a willingness to go the extra mile to succeed.

 

Higher staff retention:

If your employees are happy, they’re less likely to leave the business. This will help save you the cost of recruitment for a replacement, as well as any additional time and money spent training new hires

 

Interview questions to assess culture fit:

Cultural fit is one of the most important things hiring professionals need to evaluate in a job interview, but it’s also one of the most challenging traits to identify. Without working with an applicant, or knowing them, determining whether they are a good fit for the team is difficult.

 

But, asking the right interview questions can help. There are lots of questions you could ask, but here we give you five of the most effective interview questions to assess culture fit.

 

1. “If I walk by your desk at 5:30 p.m., what will I see?”

The answer to this question will reveal the candidate’s view of work, and what the workplace should be like.

 

Their response can then be evaluated against your company culture. For example, does everyone in your business tend to stay until 9pm to work? Are you a start-up, where everyone works remotely all the time? Or perhaps most of your team have left by 4:30 pm in an effort to beat the traffic.

 

If the candidate were to say “I’m long gone”, or “I’m working hard and ordering takeout dinner”, then you can evaluate how this measures up against your own culture. Do they fit in, or are they an outlier? You can also evaluate if a response slightly off from your norm is a deal-breaker or not.

 

2. “What are you most passionate about?”

Asking this question is a great opportunity to understand a candidate’s hobbies, enthusiasms, or whatever is important in their life. It can help identify if they are a well-rounded individual, and if into your culture.

 

Even if their passion is unrelated to the role they will be filling, their answer will show your hiring manager if they are a committed person with interests and goals, an important quality for any role.

 

3. “Describe your ideal working environment.”

If the candidate had a magic wand, and could create their perfect job and work environment, what would it look like?

 

Giving a candidate free range to describe what they desire in an organisation is a great way to highlight whether their ideals match up with your company culture.

 

For example, maybe they prefer to work in a quiet, closed-off environment, but your office is frequently busy with sales calls and collaborative working.

 

4. “If we were stuck somewhere, what would you do?”

Understanding how a candidate would handle being stuck somewhere will give you an insight into how they deal with challenging situations.

 

Any manner of tough situation can happen within an organisation, and knowing you have people on your team who can keep their cool, and perhaps come up with a solution is invaluable.

 

5. “Walk me through your perfect workday.”

Asking about a candidate’s perfect workday gives them the chance to identify what they value in the workplace. Do they prefer to work independently or with teams? How does socializing fit into their idea of working?

 

The majority of interview questions often assess a candidate’s competence to do tasks, and how they would fit in with that aspect. This question gives a glimpse into what the candidate values, which you can then compare to the company.

 

Want to create a great company culture?

It’s one thing to ask interview questions to assess culture fit, but is your culture one which performs well? Make sure you’re cultivating great company culture, by watching our webinar on this topic.

 

JoshTolan@smartrecrooot.com'
Josh Tolan


This is a guest post by Spark Hire CEO Josh Tolan. Spark Hire is a video interview solutions provider.


11 Reasons Why Diversity Hiring is Important
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

 

Why is diversity hiring important? Whether you have a small, large, or remote team, diversity hiring is the most vital hiring trend for you today.

 

What is diversity hiring?

Diversity means celebrating different age groups, cultures, and values in your organization.

 

With diverse hiring, you can gain a global outlook within your organization to target different customers, ideologies, and social values. Especially, today in the remote work culture, diversity hiring is the core success factor that can cut monotony in your business workflow.

 

However, if you haven’t yet practiced diversity hiring in your organization, let’s first understand why diversity hiring is important, and what better changes can diverse employee forces offer you before adopting this hiring system. So, let’s dig deeper into diversity hiring benefits.

 

A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.— Sundar Pichai

 

Why Is Diversity Hiring Important for Your Organisation?

Diversity hiring might sound like a small thing, but it can help you attract and retain highly competent talent from around the globe. Especially to support the present virtual recruitment system, diversity hiring helps a lot. In fact, 67% of job seekers consider diversity while searching for new job opportunities.

 

 

So, you should include diversity hiring in your company policy because:

1. It boosts productivity and livelihood

If people from the same culture and social backgrounds work in the organization, it will create a very boring work environment. There will be nothing new to discuss or learn in the company. All this will eventually reduce productivity and liveliness among the team members.

 

According to Forbes research, 43% to 53% of employees are bored right now in your organization. Yep, when your organization has nothing challenging and new to offer, it will automatically make your employees bored and unproductive. Hence, you should gather a diverse workforce so that each employee can learn from the other and grow together. This will bring more vibrancy to the workplace and lead to increased productivity.

 

2. It helps target the global market

Do you want to scale up your business operations by targeting global customers? If yes, having diverse employees can help you rule the global market.

 

You see, business owners, your diverse employee base can help you understand the needs and choices of the different customers. For example, if you plan to target the European market with your Indian SaaS products, hiring some local employees here will help you better understand the needs and psyche of European customers.

 

So, making your organisation a global brand is a key reason why diversity hiring is important.

 

3. It helps keep your employees motivated

Shockingly, only 15% of employees worldwide feel motivated. That means the majority of your employees don’t feel motivated to work better for your organisation. In fact, 87% of demotivated employees are likely to resign from their jobs.

 

Why diversity hiring is important statistic that 97% of demotivated employees quit

 

Therefore, to keep your employees motivated and engaged within your organisation, you should hire diversely. When you treat all employees equally in your organization without any discrimination, it will send a strong positive message out there. This, in return, will motivate your team to give their 100% to grow your business productivity.

 

4. It creates a multitalented and multilingual task force

One of the biggest reasons why diverse hiring is important is it gives you multitalented and multilingual employees. Locally, you might not find employees with versatile skill sets or command over different regional languages, but when you hire remotely, you have the opportunity to leverage the global talent pool.

 

It is common knowledge that when you have highly talented and multilingual people in your team, it can give a big push to your business success.

 

5. It aids in coming up with innovative solutions

With non-diverse hiring, you limit your team’s innovative thinking skills. When all your employees have the same experience and exposure, they will use the same old method to deal with a problem. And this lack of innovation can impact your business operations negatively.

 

For example, parameters to monitor remote team’s performance are completely different from the traditional office environment. Today, you need high-tech tools and technologies to address remote work challenges along with unique management strategies. Here if you have people experienced in remote working in your team, they can offer innovative solutions to deal with numerous operational issues.

 

Therefore, to harness innovative solutions in your organization, you should start diverse hiring, ASAP!

 

6. It improves quality and efficiency

When people possessing different experiences and skills come together to complete a project, it dramatically improves quality and efficiency. In addition, your diverse team can put different methodologies and ideas on the table that can amplify your work quality many levels up.

 

Automatically when you offer better quality to your customers, it will help in increasing your customer retention rate and business revenue simultaneously.

 

7. It boosts your employer’s brand

Team collaboration examples showing why diversity hiring is important

Your workplace diversity can also help you with promoting your employer’s brand. You can go vocal on your social media channels about how your company believes in diversity and how you encourage people from different cultures to be part of your team.

 

When people see your diversity goals, it will motivate highly talented people from diverse cultural and social backgrounds to work in your organization. For example, Microsoft has created a career page on Instagram where they often post content related to their diverse hiring approach.

 

8. It makes quick handling of workplace conflicts possible

Workplace conflicts occur at every place where opinionated and motivated people work. With diverse recruitment, you can effortlessly solve all workplace conflicts within the organisation.

 

That’s because every single person in the team will offer different ideas to resolve conflicts, and among so many unique ideas, you can easily find the best solution to solve conflicts.

 

9. Harness competitive environment

Healthy competition is great for an organization’s growth. Thus, when different-minded people work on a team, it will give birth to a little competition that can motivate employees to work harder.

 

This healthy competition in your organization can lead to higher profits, goodwill, and conversions in your organization.

 

10. It boosts employees’ confidence

If your employees lack confidence, diverse hiring will help them build confidence. When your low confident employees connect to employees working with different cultures, nations, and religions, it will work as a confidence booster for them.

 

11. It builds an amiable environment

A friendly work environment is what you can build with diverse employees. When people from different castes, creeds, and cultures work hand in hand, it can create an amicable environment. It will build good friendships among employees; this, in return, can bring peace and trust within the company.

 

Workplace Diversity — Yay or Nay?

Definitely, yay! Diversity hiring is important, as you can build a happy, healthy, and progressive work environment. You can motivate your employees to improve their productivity and skills.

 

Plus, diversity helps you to build an organization that can grow on international grounds and virtually succeed. So, whether your goal is to expand your business or harness a positive team culture, start promoting diversity in your workplace now!

 

Hiring diversely is just one way to create a high-quality workforce – learn more ways to hire quality candidates by watching our webinar on this topic.

 

Banner for webinar on how to hire quality candidates

ankur.machanda@smaart.com'
Ankur Machanda


Ankur is the co-founder and CEO of GreenThumbs. He is an HRTech enthusiast and a passionate entrepreneur. By education, Ankur is a Chartered Accountant. In addition to running his company, he is an avid reader and knowledge sponge.


How to Promote Teamwork Culture in the Workplace
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

 

A teamwork culture involves a collection of attitudes and behaviours that create the work environment surrounding a team.

 

A successful teamwork culture is characterised by:

  • A drive to work together — the teammates believe proper collaboration will help the team move forward;
  • High empowerment — the team is empowered to make decisions;
  • High support — the teammates have the resources they need to do their jobs, but also take care of their personal needs;
  • Training opportunities — the teammates have relevant cross-training opportunities.

 

A positive teamwork culture high fiving in the workplace

 

A successful teamwork culture helps shape a successful organization:

  • It strengthens teamwork, because it values the team’s contributions to the organization’s overall success. This helps make individuals feel a part of a community.
  • It increases employee productivity, because it establishes a positive, supportive workplace. This increases employee happiness, and, in turn, their productivity. After all, research at Oxford University shows that happy employees are 13% more productive than unhappy employees.
  • It increases employee well-being, because it promotes a proper work-life balance. This helps improve the physical and mental health of teammates, but also the organization’s overall image.

 

But, despite the clear benefits of a successful teamwork culture, toxic workplaces are still common. One survey shows that as much as one-third of 40,000 employees at 125 companies report having left their jobs due to “workplace conflicts”.

 

To promote a healthy teamwork culture at the workplace, you’ll need to make the right efforts. Here are 4 tactics that provide quality results.

 

1. Define clear common goals

The word 'goal' written as part of teamwork culture The first step towards promoting a successful teamwork culture is ensuring the team has clear common goals to strive for.

 

To define clear common goals, first, think about the values, mission, and vision that shape your organization’s identity. Then, think about the norms you want your team to follow.

 

The values, mission, and vision are vital because they affect how people inside and outside of the organization will view you. A positive identity will help demonstrate the organization’s social responsibility and professionalism.

 

The norms are vital because they define the workflows and behaviour patterns teammates should adopt at the workplace. Clear directives about the dress code, meeting etiquette, onboarding processes, training programs, and workplace behaviour will not only help establish a successful teamwork culture, but also improve your business’s chances for success.

 

It’s crucial you make the team values, mission, vision, and norms transparent and precise. They will help the team outline clear common goals.

 

Once you’ve outlined your common goals, it’s time you ensure they are S.M.A.R.T. — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound:

  • To make team goals Specific, ensure everyone understands what the team wants to accomplish, and why;
  • To make team goals Measurable, ensure it’s possible to track progress towards them;
  • To make team goals Achievable, ensure they match your team’s skills and talents;
  • To make team goals Relevant, ensure they match your broader business goals;
  • To make team goals Time-bound, ensure they have realistic timings.

 

Clear S.M.A.R.T. goals based on transparent and precise team values, mission, vision, and norms will help your team cultivate a sense of togetherness — a vital component of a healthy teamwork culture.

 

2. Establish effective team communication

The key to a successful teamwork culture lies in proper collaboration. And, the key to proper collaboration lies in effective team communication.

 

co-workers communicating as part of teamwork culture

 

The first step towards effective team communication involves the 7 Cs of communication. When conveying information to teammates, ensure the said information is:

  1. Coherent;
  2. Concrete;
  3. Courteous;
  4. Correct;
  5. Clear;
  6. Confident;
  7. Concise.

 

Coherent communication implies the information is logical and consistent. Coherence ensures the information is relevant to the topic discussed.

 

Concrete communication implies the information is specific. Concreteness helps avoid misunderstandings.

 

Courteous communication implies the information is delivered in an open and friendly manner. Courtesy helps you build great team rapport.

 

Correct communication implies the information is void of grammatical and other errors. Correctness enhances professionalism, but also the impact of the information conveyed.

 

Clear communication implies highlighting a specific piece of information. Clarity makes information specific enough to be understood faster and easier.

 

Confident communication implies assertive communication. Confidence underlines your words with the credibility they deserve.

 

Concise communication implies conveying information in as few words as possible. Conciseness helps you save time and money.

 

Yet, learning how to convey information is only half of the equation. To establish effective team communication, teammates will also need to learn how to actively listen to information presented by others.

 

Some best practices include:

  • Providing nonverbal feedback — maintain eye contact to indicate attention;
  • Providing verbal feedback — ask follow-up questions to encourage the speaker;
  • Being patient — focus on what the speaker is saying, instead of what you want to say in reply;
  • Reflecting on what you’ve just heard — summarize the speaker’s main points to ensure you understand everything.

 

Learning how to properly convey and listen to information can be covered in a couple of simple team training sessions — but, it will build a strong foundation for future collaboration and a successful teamwork culture.

 

3. Organize team-building activities

Team-building activities are used to improve teammates’ interpersonal relationships and help them better define their roles within the team.

 

Types of team-building activities you can consider include:

  1. Ice-breaking games for new teammates. For example, “Two Truths and a Lie”, a game where every teammate needs to provide three personal statements — two truths and one lie. The other teammates need to guess what are the truths and what is the lie.
  2. Problem-solving games. For example, the “Big Picture Puzzle Challenge”, a game where a group of teammates needs to solve a puzzle. But, they need to do so without the “Big Picture” that tells them where each piece of the puzzle goes.
  3. Conflict management games. For example, “Divide the Loot”, a game where teammates need to contribute fake money to a group pot, without revealing how much they contributed. Afterward, the same teammates need to negotiate how they want to divide the money.
  4. Communication games. For example, “Legoman”, a game where groups of teammates need to recreate lego structures within limited time frames. However, only one person is given the instructions for the lego shapes, sizes, and colors. This person needs to successfully communicate the instructions to other teammates.
  5. Cross-cultural games. For example, “Find Someone Who...”, a bingo-like game where people need to find teammates who have specific culture-related experiences to share.

 

teambuilding activities like running and games to build teamwork culture

 

The above-listed team-building activities bring a range of benefits to any workplace. They are great for helping teammates:

  • explore their creativity;
  • get to know each other better, on a personal, professional, and/or cultural level;
  • understand how they can best communicate and collaborate;
  • establish better interpersonal relationships overall.

 

Because of their benefits, team-building activities can help you promote a strong teamwork culture — one where teammates understand how they can better work together.

 

4. Celebrate the team’s successes

The final component of a teamwork culture where teams thrive is a work environment that celebrates when teams thrive.

 

You can celebrate the team’s successes in several ways.

 

First, you can celebrate the first accomplishments of new teammates. For example, provide public praise after new teammates successfully complete their first assignments. Such well-placed commandments will help new team members understand they are valuable additions to the team.

 

group of co-workers celebrating with cake to build teamwork culture

You can also make public acknowledgments for established teammates. For example, provide public praise to the people who made significant contributions to a successful project. This will help motivate the said teammates to continue contributing with equal quality.

 

Hosting an official celebratory event is another effective practice. For example, organize a celebratory pizza lunch or a Friday office party after landing a lucrative contract. This will help the teammates celebrate their success in a casual atmosphere.

 

You can also consider providing occasional pay bonuses. We cannot deny the power of a monetary reward, so, smaller pay bonuses are often an effective incentive to successful teams. These bonuses should be timely and tied to specific big achievements that occur throughout the year.

 

Celebrating team successes is a crucial boost for a successful teamwork culture. After all, each celebration of a team’s success paves the way for future team successes. Teams who know their contributions are valued feel motivated to continue being successful in the future.

 

Wrapping up

A successful teamwork culture is the key to a successful team.

 

To promote one, you’ll need to:

  • Define clear common goals, because they are a great team motivator;
  • Establish effective team communication, because it is the foundation of productive collaboration;
  • Organize team-building activities, because they will help teammates learn how better to work together;
  • Celebrate the team’s successes, because it will inspire teammates to continue thriving.

 

As a result, you’ll establish a healthy, positive teamwork culture — one where individuals can easily grow into a top-notch team.

 

Want to learn more?

Creating a good company culture takes work. Luckily, we’ve got plenty of resources to help you along the way. Learn how to create a company culture that performs well by watching our webinar on this topic.

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Nikola Radojcin


Nikola Radojcin is a productivity researcher and writer at Clockify. When not petting the office dog, he makes sure to check out the latest time management techniques so his co-workers can utilize time in the best way possible.


Why Employees Leave Companies
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

 

In 2018 we published an article that discussed why employees leave companies, reviewing and comparing turnover rates and the most common reasons staff cited when interviewed upon exit, as the reason for moving on.

 

Why Employees Leave

Back then the 5 main reasons for staff leaving were reported as:

  1. Not the right culture fit – employees felt that their personality or work style did not mesh with that of the business or their co-workers or that the company did not align with their personal values.
  2. Unhealthy working environment –some businesses were deemed to be guilty of not providing a work environment which meets regulatory standards.
  3. Below-average compensation – Employees felt (whether rightly or wrongly) that they were not being compensated enough for their role.
  4. Lack of progression and opportunity – Some employees felt that they were not being given the opportunities to progress that they deserved. This may have been down to the employee themselves, but also to poor people management and a lack of structure to support progression and development.
  5. Poor management – having the wrong person in charge of a team can always lead to poor culture and poor productivity.

 

In the last 12-18 months, according to new research published by the Chamber of Commerce, there has been an increase in the number of people leaving their jobs, especially within small businesses.

Gif of a man saying he quits

 

In 2019, 42.1 million people left their job at a small business, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And with the pandemic, employment numbers have only declined.

 

In this article, there are seven commons reasons listed, for why employees leave companies, which include:

  1. The pandemic resulted in layoffs
  2. More people retired during the pandemic
  3. Women left their jobs to care for and educate children
  4. Higher-taxes are pushing people to move
  5. Employees leave in search of a more flexible schedule
  6. Bosses are often behind a decision to leave
  7. Employees are apt to leave without career advancement

 

The article explores the motivations behind each of these reasons, but I wanted to highlight the one noticeable absence from this latest list. That of Cultural misalignment.

 

Cultural Misalignment

So much research has been done in regards to Talent Attraction, by the likes of Deloitte and Gartner over the last few years, and given that anyone leaving a company, for whatever reason, is also looking for a set of criteria in a new position. In that respect Culture has been a prevalent item at the top of the list, in every report that I have read.

 

Providing a genuine caring culture, with company wellness and wellbeing  schemes, mental health support, etc is certainly high on the agenda for millennials.

 

We have also noted a strong desire by the younger generations to work for ethical and environmentally sensitive organisations that align with their own beliefs.

 

Both articles provide interesting insights and the latest Chambers article paints a bleak picture in many respects, especially around the impact of the pandemic.

 

That said, it still acts as a reality check to all SME business owners and Talent Managers of why people and talent look to leave your organisation.

 

Want to create a good company culture?

Luckily, there are many ways you can start improving your company culture today, and attract and retain talented employees. Simply watch our webinar on this topic to find out how you can do this.

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Mark Stephens


Mark has worked in, and researched the HR & Recruitment landscape for over 20 years, focussing on the unique blend of recruitment technology, evidence-based processes, and human behavioural science in order to optimise performance and recruitment outcomes. He is a serial entrepreneur, previous winner of the prestigious Chambers of Commerce - Innovation in Business award, and founder of Smart Recruit Online Ltd, and Corporate Wellness & Mental Health UK Ltd (Corpwell). Smart Recruit Online has been the winner of several national and international awards for recruitment innovation.


How to Improve Workflow in the Office in 7 Surprising Ways
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Here we cover how to improve workflow in the office in 7 surprising ways.

 

Everybody says it’s better to “work smart” than to work hard. While we believe you should do both, let’s think about working smart for a second. What does that actually mean? For too many people, working smart entails cutting corners, lowering standards, and trying to slack off as much as possible while hoping your boss won’t notice. Basically doing as little work as possible. This, besides being unethical, is wrong (at least partly).

 

Working smart means achieving the results you want, accomplishing your goals, and finishing projects, while investing as little energy and as few resources as possible. You still get the job done, you do what you’re supposed to do, you just making it easier for yourself and others. This is almost synonymous with getting a better daily workflow.

 

Two people high fiving representing teamwork to improve workflow in the office

 

Improving how stuff is done, whether your’s specifically or your team’s, is all about efficiency and working smart. Below we give you some tips, tricks, and examples of how you can do just that.

 

1. Encourage healthy and productive habits

Small, daily habits can build up. The small things we do every single day for weeks, months, years, reflect upon a company’s productivity much more than some fantastic new system or hair-brained scheme.

 

For example, you can point out that people should go for a walk while on their breaks. Instead of staring at a phone, people will feel much better if they get some fresh air (according to this Business Journals article).

 

Encourage physically active breaks and healthy habits at the office. People should drink plenty of water and maybe opt for some healthy snacks. Fill up your rec room with fruits, nuts, and granola bars.

 

As far as actual assignments go, promote a distraction-free environment. Don’t ban smartphones, but encourage people to keep them in their pockets when work is being done.

 

2. Prioritisation matters

Similar to our previous point, knowing how things are done, and what needs to be done first, is pretty important for your organisation. So, sit down with your team, and talk it out. Have a very clear idea of what are the most important tasks that need to be done, and who needs to do them.

 

The words 'to do list' on a desk

While the actual workflow will vary from company to company, there are some general principles you can check out. We strongly suggest you try out Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important chart. You write down a list of tasks you need to do. Then, you figure out which one of them falls into which category. Tasks can be:

  • Urgent, and important – top priority tasks
  • Urgent, not important – tasks that need to be delegated, rescheduled, or somehow minimized in the future
  • Not urgent, but important – personal, fulfilling tasks that you should still find time for
  • Not urgent, not important – distractions and busy work that needs to be eliminated.

 

3. Breaks are not the devil

Many of you diehard entrepreneurs out there might balk at the idea, but breaks are actually good for you (and your employees). High-level motivation and a ride-or-die attitude are all well and good, but if you’re wondering how to improve workflow in the office, taking a break will improve efficiency and workflow significantly.

 

People need breaks, they need to rest. A solid lunch break, with a couple of short breaks throughout the day, can mean the world. People get the opportunity to recharge their batteries, stretch their legs, and can get back to work fresh and invigorated. Check out this Forbes report on scientific studies that deal with stress and breaks.

 

If you force your people, and yourself, to work for hours on end, your work will suffer. You may not notice it, but you will become less and less efficient as time goes on, and you might start making mistakes. The best workflow and organization setup won’t help if you are too tired to focus.

 

4. Train and educate your people

People in training to improve workflow in the office

If you want to get a heads up on your workflow in the office, focus on training and educating people. Investing in seminars, courses, and proper instructors can yield amazing benefits. Studies show that it increases self-worth and motivation, not just their relevant skill. The best part is that you can pick and choose a seminar that fits your needs the best, allowing you to maximize workflow and efficiency.

 

For example, if you have noticed that productivity is lacking because people are procrastinating with their tasks and are losing motivation, getting a motivational speaker or investing in a seminar on goal setting might help.

 

You can also get an expert to come to your company and help everyone with becoming more efficient. An outsider might notice some issues, they might give you advice on problems and weak spots that you never noticed before.

 

Finally, helping your people improve their skills and get better at their jobs (through courses and seminars) means everything will run more smoothly. It will show them that you care about their careers and their skills, thus further improving efficiency by improving motivation.

 

5. Get the right tools for the job

Another way to improve workflow in the office is investing in the right tools. Now, these can seriously depend on your field of expertise and the actual industry your company is in. We do however have some suggestions.

 

First of all, things need to be efficient. We suggest you get a centralized messaging app for the entire company. Get some alternatives to Slack, and use it exclusively for communication. Communicating over email, an app, skype, Facebook, Whatsapp, and whatever else means you will most likely lose some important data and make mistakes.

 

Invest in good computers too. There is nothing more stressful than a slow work laptop. This goes for any type of equipment your people need to do their jobs.

 

6. Efficient multitasking is a myth

No, you cannot multitask, according to science. Doing multiple things at once means you will do all of them worse than actually dedicated your full attention to one task at a time. Your brain will overload from all that extra data, and you will miss out on important aspects of work.

 

A laptop with the words 'do not disturb' on it

 

Try to have set “do not disturb” hours for especially difficult and important projects.

 

7. Learn how to communicate

Proper communication improves every aspect of your business. The better you can communicate, the lower the chances of having misunderstandings and confusion arise at the workplace. You also become better at motivating your employees, as well as connecting with them.

 

This tip might be the hardest to figure out, but it’s not impossible. Check out some courses, read an article or two, buy some books, find specific google videos… Just take your time, and try to think outside of the box.

 

Conclusion

And there you have it folks, a couple of unexpected ways on how to improve workflow in the office. Think outside of the box, better efficiency isn’t that obvious. Getting the most difficult part of the job right away, learning how to communicate, investing in proper tools, and actually taking breaks will help you, and your team, do your jobs better.

Lena Hemsworth



4 Ways to Support Your Employees as They Return to the Office
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

It seems near impossible to imagine a life past the pandemic, but as more vaccines become available and widespread immunity increases, companies and employers need to prepare to safely and effectively bring employees back to the office. While the landscape of the workplace has drastically changed and some will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future, many will choose to come back to the office partially or full time. There are a number of strategies that workplaces can implement to ensure that their employees feel supported if and when they return to the office.

 

1. Create a Timeline to Return

The shift between home and office is going to be a slow one. As an employer, you’ll need to anticipate that it will take your employees at least a few weeks to ensure that their affairs are in order. Stay transparent with your employees about the timeframe in which they can expect to return to the office. Give them a projected date as soon as possible, even if it is subject to change. If they know that a return to the office is imminent, people can begin to make plans for things like childcare and pet sitting. These arrangements can sometimes take weeks to secure. Some may even need to figure out their method of transportation once again.

 

 

When deciding when and how to return, you might consider creating a hybrid schedule. This could mean that certain teams come in on two days out of the week, while other teams come in on the opposite two days, and you use a day in between as a completely virtual day. Or it could mean that everyone is in on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Tuesday and Thursday are your virtual days. Whatever you choose to establish as your new schedule, make sure it is consistent and communicated to your employees in advance.

 

Employees will also need time to adjust the routines that they’ve developed while staying home. Some of the luxuries of working from home, like waking up late, midday workouts, and cooking every meal have become normal parts of the day. People will have to return to waking up with time for the commute and preparing meals in advance. It may be helpful to suggest to employees that they should get back into these habits prior to returning to the office, this way the change does not feel so drastic. It might even be helpful for employees to start using a habit tracker to make the transition easier and more successful.

 

2. Provide a Clean Workspace

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the cleanliness of the office space to the forefront of everyone’s mind. One of the top priorities as an employer should be to make sure your employees are not only comfortable in their work environment, but to make sure they stay healthy. Keeping the physical office space disinfected shows your employees that their safety is a major concern.

 

Focus on keeping your high-touch surfaces clean to abate the spread of germs. High-touch surfaces are exactly what the term would imply; the surfaces that are touched by the most people multiple times a day. These can include doorknobs, light switches, hand scanners, faucets, kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Consider setting a reminder in the morning, midday, and evening to go around to each area to sanitize. You can also designate a specific one or two people to be in charge of turning on lights and locking and unlocking doors.

 

Consider creating task forces assigned to sanitizing certain areas. Having specific team assignments will safeguard any areas from being overlooked, and will assure the frequency with which each area is being cleaned. You can also assign someone, perhaps on a rotating schedule to make sure you have things like hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and paper towels in stock. When it is time to restock, they can place an order to have the cleaning supplies delivered to your office. By keeping employees engaged in the process, they can feel better about their office space knowing that it is cleaned to their own standards.

 

Another way to keep the office cleaner and your employees safer is to eliminate the need for shared items. For example, each employee that requires a phone should have an individual phone or a business number that they can use on their own phone. You can also do things like giving every employee their own box of pens, and making sure that you have enough keyboards and mice that they won’t need to share. Your employees will feel better about coming into work if what they are using is their own and they don’t have to worry about the cleanliness of others.

 

3. Encourage Sick-leave and Doctor’s Visits

A key component to supporting the well-being of your employees is to encourage them to take charge of their health. Attending work while feeling ill is no longer an option. Whether it be a mild cold or something more serious, it isn’t worth coming into the office and potentially spreading an illness to someone else. Not only do you want to try to create an environment where your employees feel confident that they won’t get sick at work, but healthy employees will ensure that you don’t lose any productivity due to multiple absences.

 

Let your staff know that it is acceptable and even encouraged to stay home while ill. As many have learned, viral illnesses can have a range of symptoms and severity. Consider creating a list of concerning symptoms for your employees to reference so that they can easily make the decision of whether or not to stay home. If you’ve been working remotely for a while, they might be able to complete their duties from home if they’re feeling up to it. If they are especially unwell, encourage your employees to take time to rest so that they might recover faster.

 

You should also be supportive of your employees making time to find and utilize healthcare. Simple communication to remind them to stay up-to-date on their medical treatments, checkups, vaccines, and general health can lead to an overall healthier and more productive staff. Visiting a doctor for a severe or continuing illness should be encouraged.

 

4. Support Mental Wellness Initiatives

There is a chain reaction effect that comes from empowering employees to improve or maintain their mental wellbeing. If people are in a healthy headspace, they are more likely to put effort into taking care of other areas of their life, especially their careers. Employees want to feel excited about coming into work, and you can help them do so by letting them know that their mental health is a priority to the company. In fact, one study by TELUS International showed that 80% of the employees surveyed would quit their job if they found another position at a company that placed a higher value on their mental health.

 

 

First and foremost, being transparent about how the mental wellness of your staff is valued will let your employees know that this is a top concern to the company. You can also give your employees a boost by having your HR department, managers, or directors do personal check-ins to make sure that the work environment is not contributing to a decline in someone’s mental state. By having these personal conversations, you can create individual action plans to lower overall stress and relieve certain pain points.

 

You can also implement weekly or monthly activities that might improve personal wellness. Activities such as a virtual yoga class or sharing a healthy recipe can work to boost morale among employees and get them to take an active role in their health. Even encouraging something like scheduling a fifteen-minute coffee break with a coworker can improve the feelings of connectedness and interaction that working remotely has stripped away.

 

The transition between working from home and returning to the office will undoubtedly be tricky for companies to navigate. Employers have to consider the health and safety of employees, new in-office logistic plans, and the mental and physical adjustments that workers will need to make over time. People have changed their daily workflows and family situations to accommodate remote work, so employers will need to be understanding as workers readjust to life in the workplace. If managed correctly and with care, together we can secure a smooth return back to work.

kyla.martin@smaart.com'
Kyla Martin


Kyla is a Philadelphia-based writer with six years of experience writing in the organisational communications space. She is dedicated to helping companies improve and adjust to better serve their people.


The 5 Major Benefits of HR Software
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

There are many benefits of HR software that make life just a little bit easier in your business.

 

The business world has gotten decidedly more complicated in the last year. With the global pandemic changing how we commute to the “office” and mental health becoming a vital priority for managers and employees alike, the importance of a well-run human resources department has never been more apparent.

 

Improving HR isn’t easy though. The human element creates a wide range of complicated challenges and remote work policies have forced many of these processes into the virtual space rather than face-to-face. Fortunately, you can keep up with the shifting trends of the business world by organizing and digitizing the process with HR software.

 

As with most business tech, HR software is designed to make life a little bit easier for the people on your team. By streamlining daily processes, improving communication, inspiring productivity, providing actionable data, and ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations, the best HR software platforms will give professionals the tools they need to truly get the most out of their team.

 

Not convinced? Well below, we’ll go through five major benefits of HR software that are of the utmost value to your business, particularly during a global pandemic.

 

1. Improved Communication

No, it’s not just for healthy relationships; good communication is equally important to the success of a business. In fact, a study found that 28% of employees cite poor communication as the reason for not being able to deliver work on time.

 

Whether it be coworkers on a project or a manager to their team, you need to find a way to keep the lines of communication open and functional, and that’s essentially the main advantage of HR software.

Three different images of workplace teams smiling and collaborating

The right platform will allow you to stay in touch with your employees on a regular basis with check-ins, provide tools for them to reach out when they need to, and will facilitate praise for a job well done after a completed project.

 

Yes, HR software costs your business money, but keeping employees happy is always a good return on investment. And with 58% of professionals stating that clear and regular communication is the most important factor when it comes to a positive work environment, it’s safe to say that it’s worth the cost.

 

2. Streamlined Recruitment

One of the best ways to ensure that your company is headed in the right direction is a solid recruitment strategy. After all, your company is made up of employees, and those employees had to be recruited at some point, so it stands to reason that your ability to attract and retain talent has a direct and significant impact on the success of your business.

 

This is where HR software can really shine. For one, it allows you to organize your recruitment strategy with meaningful, actionable data right out of the gate. You can tailor searches, filter candidates, and generally streamline the entire process of finding the right candidate.

 

HR software isn’t just about finding new talent either. With the right platform, you’ll be able to establish a promotion funnel that asks and encourages current employees to apply for higher positions. This not only guarantees that your company culture will develop with term employees, but it will also improve morale among employees who see growth as a possibility rather than an obstacle.

 

To be frank, most established companies are already taking advantage of HR software to recruit talent, which is why the best candidates last an average of only 10 days on the market. In fact, 98% of Fortune 500 companies use some kind of recruitment software, and 94% of recruiters say that it has positively impacted their hiring process.

 

3. Actionable Data

Arguably one of the most helpful aspects of any type of online business resource is the ability to track and analyse reports. As any social media CEO could tell you, the value of data is undeniable, and it’s even more helpful when it comes to managing your employees and how they work.

 

HR software tracks a wide range of metrics that can give you the insights you need to really improve your business, including employee turnover, job performance, approval processes, and many more. Understanding this data will not only help you ramp up productivity, but will also show employees that you’re invested in their success.

 

85% of HR professionals believe people analytics are going to be very important in the future

 

Again, it’s hard to deny that this element of HR software isn’t vital, particularly with 85% of HR professionals believing people analytics are going to be very important in the future.

 

4. Keeping You Compliant

It may seem like an innocuous department at your company, but the reality is that HR professionals are granted access to a whole lot of privileged information that should not be made available to the public.

 

Subsequently, HR software that can provide you with the safeguards necessary to stay compliant with state and federal laws in regards to employee privacy can be a serious help for even the most seasoned employees.

 

From pay stubs to medical data, HR software can keep the important information as private as it needs to be, by law. After all, the last thing you want on a Monday is for HIPAA complaints and I-9 fines to start piling up, particularly when lawsuits can reach the millions of dollars range before you know it.

 

5. Inspiring Productivity

HR software isn’t just an online portal for employee benefits and time-off requests. These platforms are incredibly robust and offer a wide range of features that not only helps you manage employees, but also give them the control to manage themselves. As you can imagine, these kinds of empowering features naturally improve productivity, if only because it’s streamlining processes that would otherwise take up someone’s valuable time.

 

Additionally, HR software improves productivity most for, you guessed it, HR professionals. From the ability to delegate tasks, to the inherently distraction-reducing nature of the average HR software, you’ll likely make the job of your HR team infinitely easier simply by installing one of these platforms. And taking the load off your HR employees can be quite beneficial, especially considering 72% of HR professionals are stressed out because of high attrition rates at their business.

 

Simply put, investing in your HR department is going to inspire productivity, because it will give them the tools they need to get the job done, and get it done right.

 

Employees clapping at a talk after being inspired

 

So there you have it, the benefits of HR software far outweigh concerns regarding their effectiveness or cost. By using this kind of software, you will be vastly improving your business performance by making life simpler for your employees.

 

Looking for more ways to improve your business efficiency? Check out our other blog posts.

conor.cawley@smaart.com'
Conor Cawley


Conor Cawley has been a tech writer for over five years. He’s written about everything from HR and project management to tech titans and innovative technologies. In his spare time, Conor performs stand-up comedy events enjoys spending quality time with the family.


Ways to Attract Employees Using your Website
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Are you using your company website to help recruit new talent? Perhaps you have a great Careers Page and update it regularly with current vacancies, but what about the rest of the site? Ways to attract employees on your website go beyond these basic tactics. 

 

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Annie Button


Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie has written for various online and print publications, she specialises in business, recruitment and career development.


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