First Steps: Making Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Part of Your Company’s DNA
Diversity, equity, and inclusion: they’re admirable and obvious goals – and ones that work environments large and small are re-evaluating against the topic of racial equity in the workplace.
In recent months, organizations have become re-energized to build strong company cultures that embody these goals and encourage diverse employee pools grounded in equal treatment, mutual success, and a fully engaged workforce.
It’s widely accepted that implementation of a DEI plan can lead to improved talent acquisition, creativity, innovation, revenue, and reputation. But for companies lacking a DEI roadmap, where is the best place to begin? How can leaders ensure that everyone within the organization feels comfortable participating in racial equity conversations? How does an organization know if its efforts will yield desired results?
To get started, watch our October 2020 webinar
“Race Relations and Your Business: Making DEI Part of Your Company’s DNA.”
Be sure to download our speakers’ presentations after you watch the webinar.
The importance of safe space
During the webinar, Connia Nelson, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for LifeWay Christian Resources, emphasized the importance of establishing a safe space for talking about DEI topics.
All stakeholders should understand that the process may create discomfort and hard discussions may occur. But by setting expectations at the outset, an organization lays the groundwork for producing lasting change.
During her presentation, Connia also suggested that to initiate the DEI discussion, leadership teams should ask the following:
• How is leadership helping employees learn, grow, and understand the ways in which they can create and influence a culture of diversity?
• Is the current environment open and safe for honest conversations?
• Are leaders aware of their own behaviors and biases?
• How is diverse talent included in business planning, product development, and business execution?
• Do leaders regularly evaluate compensation and promotion discrepancies?
• Is the company’s DEI success based on a wholistic evaluation of DEI metrics or on the number of diversity demographics alone?
Build a DEI plan
Once leadership has a good picture of the company’s current environment, it can move forward to the planning phase. Connia recommended that companies:
• Base their diversity, equity, and inclusion plan on the company’s mission and values
• Assess the company’s current culture for diversity and inclusion
• Develop a DEI mindset from the top down
• Develop diverse talent at all levels
• Embed diversity in every aspect of the business
• Measure what you want to achieve
• Create an actionable DEI plan that moves from compliance to commitment
• Evaluate and adjust the plan for future success
Keep it strategic
Making diversity, equity, and inclusion part of your organization’s DNA requires a systematic approach that is strategic in nature and goes beyond doing what is right. Organizations that embrace DEI as integral to their company culture, business strategy, talent management, and metrics take the first step in realizing equity in the workplace and creating an environment where all employees can grow and thrive.
If you want to learn how Nelson can support your DEI efforts and help you build a diverse workforce, contact us today. We’re here to help.
Nelson CEO Joe Madigan recently was featured on the ABC 7 segment Job Hunting with Jobina. Joe spoke about current employment trends and highlighted the many local job opportunities available through Nelson.
Watch the recording below and listen to Joe and Jobina talk about how Nelson can help you find your next position!
To view current opportunities, visit nelsonjobs.com today. We look forward to assisting with your job search.
The Marin Independent Journal recently featured Nelson in its Keep It Local section. This annual publication highlights companies working in and serving North Bay communities.
The article coincides with Nelson’s 50th anniversary in 2020 and features the company’s history and founding of its first office in San Rafael. The story explains Nelson’s evolution from an administrative employment agency into a full-service staffing partner to businesses across California and the United States.
The article talks about Nelson’s current-day workforce strategies and recent hiring trends resulting from COVID-19 are discussed. The article also showcases Nelson’s commitment to and philanthropic support of the communities where employees live and work.
The story begins on Page 14.
To learn more about Nelson and how we help people find great jobs and great companies find great people, contact us today.
September 16 is National Working Parents Day. When we learned about this annual day, our first thought was: Isn’t every day Working Parents Day? As in: Do you know even one parent who doesn’t work, whether for pay or not?
Regardless, we thought we’d look a little deeper into this day of parental recognition, and we’ve gathered some fun facts about parenting and working, including a few about doing both during a pandemic. Here’s what we found:
“Although the origins of Working Parents Day are unknown, it seems logical to suggest it was created by an overworked, under-appreciated mother or father, seeking some basic recognition for their efforts.”
Amen to that.
“A parent’s work is never done. Working parents, pat yourself on the back. Spend some time with your children. Before long, they’ll be grown. Your hard work will be done. For now, celebrate your tenacity and perseverance. While you’re celebrating, share your best tips and tricks for organizing your busy life.
Be sure to remember all the work parents do and use #WorkingParentsDay to share on social media.”
From the U.S. Census Bureau
A few key notes from the Census Bureau article Working Moms Bear Brunt of Home Schooling While Working During COVID-19:
“Parents who kept their jobs during the stay-at-home orders had limited options: to take paid or unpaid time off, quit or adjust work hours to nonbusiness hours such as evenings or weekends to care for children.
Around one in five (18.2%) of working-age adults said the reason they were not working was because COVID-19 disrupted their childcare arrangements.
Of those not working, women ages 25-44 are almost three times as likely as men to not be working due to childcare demands. About one in three (30.9%) of these women are not working because of childcare, compared to 11.6% of men in the same age group.”
And one interesting chart from the article as well:
From Harvard Business Review
In the article HBR Readers on Juggling Work and Kids … in a Pandemic, HBR readers shared ideas for doing work and parenting at home, at the same time, day after day. Three headline ideas that caught our eye:
- Outsource, be honest, and let go of perfection
- Start your day with a D3 review
- Chores for all, respect space, practice gratitude
At Nelson, we acknowledge, respect, and take our hats off to the thousands of working parents who show up every day for both their families and their jobs at our business partners’ companies. We thank you.
To learn more about Nelson and how we help people find great jobs and great companies find great people, contact us today.
Like so many in California companies, the Nelson team is moving out of shelter-in-place, preparing for the re-opening of our economy, and strategizing about returning to our business locations.
During the past several weeks, we’ve collected an abundance of information about preparing the workplace and safely bringing employees back to work. In case you are sorting through the many requirements and issues involved with re-entry, we thought it would helpful to share some of the most valuable resources we’ve discovered.
In particular, our business partner Brown & Brown Insurance has graciously made a number of their re-entry-related documents available for free download. Some of their plans and checklists are customizable, so you can adapt the text for your company. We’ve also posted CDC health safety posters in English and Spanish.
Additionally, Cushman & Wakefield commercial real estate firm offers excellent and detailed re-entry information. You will need to go to the C&W website and download after providing your information. A few standout publications include:
We hope you find these resources useful. Should you need assistance with your organization’s re-entry safety plan, please let know. We are happy to work with you to help ensure a safe work environment for everyone. Simply contact your local Nelson office to see how we can help.
California’s shelter-in-place restrictions are gradually lifting, but no one knows with certainty when the guidelines will be fully relaxed. This means many employees remain quarantined at home and uncertain about when things might start to look normal again.
Even with the prospect of returning to work on the horizon, the quarantine has stretched some employees’ abilities to remain engaged and productive in their roles. For others, isolation combined with a working-from-home lifestyle is taking a toll not only on their work productivity but also on their emotional and mental well-being.
Isolation Can Take a Toll
A recent article describes how scientists have drawn parallels between studies of people in extreme isolation (think submarines, the space station, and polar bunkers) and those currently experiencing enforced isolation because of COVID-19.
The article explains that during quarantine, people pass through several phases, including the initial “panic” mode (think about the run on toilet paper), followed by a honeymoon phase when staying sheltered seems new and possibly even fun. However, the article points out, as isolation continues “there appears to be an inflection point where frustration of being cooped up inside gets suddenly harder to bear.”
Remain Observant and Lend Your Support
As an employer, it’s important to remember how ongoing instability can impact employees behind the scenes. For many people, COVID-19 has created significant and often unwelcome changes, and with this knowledge, managers have an opportunity to lend support and help their teams stay on track for the remainder of the current stay-at-home period.
Here are a few tips to keep your workforce connected and help them safeguard their physical, emotional, and mental health during quarantine.
#1 Keep in contact
Whether on a daily or some other regular basis, it’s important to stay connected with your employees. There is no shortage of apps that let you check in with employees and help them remain engaged with their jobs and the company. One-on-one video chats and phone calls can be big morale boosters that break the monotony of working solo. A personal check-in lets employees know you are thinking of them and assess how they are holding up.
- #2 Provide updates
Even though you may not have a solid return-to-work timeline, be sure to update employees regularly on the plans you do have. And remember, it’s okay to say you don’t yet know exactly how things will look when the quarantine is lifted. Providing incremental information with the caveat that things may change is better than waiting to communicate until everything is set in stone.
- #3 Encourage remote employees to stick to a routine
By now, working from home is not the new concept it was in March when massive numbers of employees were sent home for the first time. And by now, cadres of remote workers can attest to both the benefits and pitfalls of the 100% home office. For example, staying focused and not giving in to distraction have always challenged remote teams. Here’s where you can help:
- — Establish clear workday start and stop time. An easy way to accomplish this is by having a daily morning call to put the day in motion. Telling your teams that they are expected to stop work at a consistent time of day provides structure and permission to not always be “on” while working from home.
- — Remind and encourage your team to take breaks. Again, many apps can help remind people that it’s time to get up, walk around, and simply get a change of scenery.
- — Monitor your employees’ workloads. Just as in an office environment, employees’ workload can vary. Encourage people to ask for assistance if they feel overloaded or to offer up if they some spare time. Being isolated doesn’t allow for the same casual interaction and conversation that allows in-person teams to more organically iron out workload responsibilities.
- #4 Encourage exercise and nutrition
Encourage well-being and support your employees’ efforts to exercise and eat well. Check out our prior blog that provides great resources for staying physically fit and emotionally healthy from the confines of your own home.
- #5 Acknowledge that the impact can be real and lasting
Most Americans have never been in quarantine before, so it’s important for employers to remember that the impact of prolonged isolation can be real and lasting. Pay attention to what your team members are saying … and not saying. Be aware that some may experience burnout, and be on the lookout for signs that team members are struggling. Make sure your team knows if your company offers an employee assistance program (EAP), and remind them to utilize company-provided health and mental wellness resources.
The quarantine will not last forever, but keeping your team focused and motivated promotes positive and long-lasting results.
Nelson remains dedicated to helping you build the teams you need today and in the future. Contact us for more information on our workforce solutions and ideas to help your teams return to work.
by Victoria Lasin
Whether you were already familiar with a remote work arrangement or were thrown into it by the mandate to shelter in place, the one thing we all have in common is that we’re all in it together. So while we collectively commiserate about the challenges of working from home, we also have the unique opportunity to redefine how businesses get work done.
In our new reality, our pre-coronavirus work norms have evaporated: managers aren’t in their offices across the hall, workers aren’t behind their desks, and we don’t bump into each other in the lunchroom. The new work environment presents a different way of relating with one another, so understandably the expectations between employers and their teams need to shift as well. How do we stay in touch with co-workers, projects, and assignments, and how do leaders track their teams’ progress?
A recent article in the New York Times examined how some employers are utilizing tracking software to monitor workers’ computer screens, using their cameras to watch what their teams are doing, and following their employees’ movements through GPS. An alternative to this guard-tower method is to honestly consider the needs of both sides of the organization: employers and employees. Navigating this new work structure can be seen as a two-way street.
Everyone Wins With Higher Productivity
Understandably, management is looking for ways to ensure productivity. They need to know that employees are on task and efficiently using their work time. After all, each completed task leads to incremental goals that contribute to the business’s overall success.
On the flip side, employees need to let their bosses know that they’re on it. For example, sharing task lists with others not only demonstrates that you’re keeping productive but also that you’re comfortable with transparency.
Because COVID-19 has disrupted so many organizations’ priorities and revenue goals, employers and employees should review and update KPIs as appropriate. It will be important to adjust performance expectations to reflect the new reality.
Regular Communication Builds Trust
Communication among team players has always been critical to successful outcomes. But working remotely means we never have accidental conversations so we need to schedule regular check-ins. How frequently depends on the team, but whether it’s every day or twice a week, holding meetings at a predictable time on a reliable schedule keeps everyone accountable.
Additionally, managers need to be available to employees outside of scheduled meetings. Employers need to let their teams know the best way to get in touch if questions come up, and workers need to know they’ll be able to get support from their supervisors. (This couldn’t be more important than in the case of an employee just onboarded before SIP.) And, as we’re figuring out how to work smoothly in this remote environment, everyone needs to be able to openly discuss if systems aren’t working. This type of honest communication builds trust.
Success in the Remote Work World Relies on Flexibility
On an individual level, each of us needs to build routines that support our work and personal lifestyle. Since we’re essentially reinventing the work world, a familiar 9-5 schedule may not work as well as it did before shelter in place. For many people, a more realistic approach may be working in short blocks of time, from 90 minutes to three hours, throughout the day and evening, or after dinner. But scheduling and adhering to specific times for sitting down to business helps you be psychologically ready to work.
But for all the leeway we need in our schedules, workers and managers alike need to be clear on expectations. Goals must be clear and the road map defined. Once people know what to do, regular communication sets the stage for accountability, as well as an open forum for discussion and support. The flexibility to get the job done in a way that works for each person’s lifestyle can build confidence that the team is working together, even if from their individual homes.
Mutual Support Expands Opportunities for a Win-Win
We don’t know whether this massive work-from-home experiment will be temporary or morph into something that we’ll all have to adjust to going forward. Regardless, it doesn’t pay to be shortsighted. Business will continue to thrive through innovation — creativity doesn’t have to stop because of SIP. Employers can hold casual team meetings with a virtual whiteboard where everyone can brainstorm new solutions and contribute improvements and new ideas.
Managers can support employees, too, by keeping in mind that their career goals likely extend beyond just getting the work done. Are there opportunities for mentoring, skill building, and training, even in the remote workspace? Looking ahead keeps open the flow of a two-way street to better outcomes between employers and employees, and ultimately, to better business outcomes.
If you’re interested in finding out how Nelson can help with workforce planning or you need assistance with your job search, we’re here for you. Contact Nelson today.
We’re deep into the days of coronavirus. Our social feeds and email inboxes are bubbling over with tips, tricks, and advice on how to stay healthy, safe, and sane. With so many choices, we wanted to find a single source to help us sort through the options. And we found one.
We’re grateful to our business partner Brown & Brown Insurance, who, just like a genie in a bottle, immediately produced a great list of well-being apps, and we’re happy to share it with you. The list is categorized by addiction, caregiving, crisis, emotional, financial, fitness, preventative, and sleep and includes everything from free workouts and stress-reduction methods to financial education providers and even … wait for it … ways to stop touching your face.
We’ve also come across some good sights and sounds that you might want to check out as well:
- State of California Resources for Emotional Support and Well-Being
- California Surgeon General’s Playbook: Stress Relief for Caregivers and Kids during COVID-19
- HuffPost: This Is Your Body and Brain on Coronavirus News
- Adweek: How Agencies Are Supporting Their Employees’ Mental Health
- Gretchen Rubin: Coping with COVID-19: This Difficult Time Reminds Me of Many of My Favorite Children’s Books.
- KQED Forum Interview with Rick Hanson on Building Resilience in a Pandemic
- Fresh Air: Need A Mental Escape? These Books Offer Solace In Troubled Times
At Nelson, we love to help great people find great work and help great employers find great employees. Contact us today to see how we can help.
By Leah Garrison
Getting bored with Zoom? Tired of walking the dog? While the nation shelters in place, this is a great time to update your LinkedIn profile – especially if you need to find work or want to change jobs when the coronavirus crisis ends. Your LinkedIn profile gives employers their first glimpse of you and your skills. That first impression matters a lot. So take an hour out of your quarantine day to give your profile some extra oomph. It’s worth it. Here are 7 tips to get you started.
- Make the right impression with the right pictures.
They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, so make sure your photos show you at your best. Use a recent photo that actually looks like you, and wear the type of clothes you normally wear to work. Use a close-up shot — your face should fill about 60% of the frame – and smile warmly. Then add a background photo to grab extra attention. Choose a photo that has meaning to you. It could be your cityscape, a piece of art you like, or a surfer riding a wave. A good background photo piques interest and gives people a little insight into you.
- Tell a story in your headline and summary.
In 6 or 7 words, write a headline under your name that goes beyond your job title. A medical writer becomes Medical Storyteller & Healthcare Maven. A sales person becomes Sales Leader & Strategic Business Partner. In your summary in the About box, tell your story in 50 words or less. How are you different than everyone else with your experience?
- Highlight your top skills and services.
Be strategic about which skills you list under your story in the About box. List only the skills most important to the job you want. No one will read a long list. Three or four is better than 10 or 12.
- Reach out for recommendations.
Most people you’ve worked with are happy to give you a shout out on LinkedIn. Make it easy for them. Ask if they would write a recommendation focusing on a specific skill, and tell them which one. Remind them of a project or accomplishment that they can mention if they want. It’s better to have 5 recommendations that each show a different side of you than 15 all saying the same thing.
- Share your work.
Your LinkedIn profile is not just your online resume, it’s also your brief portfolio. Post some of your work if you can. You might even make a short slideshow featuring content you’ve written or images with captions about key past projects. Sharing your work tells employers two things: You’re proud of what you’ve done, and you’re skilled enough to really do the job. That’s key to getting an interview.
- Follow important influencers in your field.
Relevant influencers put interesting content in your LinkedIn feed, which you can then share with your network. It’s a good way to show that you’re committed to your industry and staying on top of advances in your field.
- Add contact information.
Make it easy for people to reach you directly. Under Contact Info, you can add your personal email and phone if you wish, as well as links to websites that may feature your work. Your LinkedIn profile is all about showing people who you are, what you can do, and where to find you.
Want even more help with your job search?
The Nelson team provides FREE resume reviews, can help with interview tips, and is happy to discuss our available positions. We’d love to talk with you! Contact your local Nelson office today.
As we continue to work remotely during shelter-in-place orders, many challenges that at first seemed daunting are now familiar. Even though re-entry is on the horizon, physical distancing is likely here to stay, at least for the near future. As companies adjust to new work environments and protocols, many will continue to offer remote work options—and managers will continue to need strategies and tools for monitoring and managing their teams’ activity and productivity.
Working remotely isn’t a new concept. Organizations of all sizes were successfully using this model long before COVID-19 changed the work world. As greater numbers of employees work from home during the coming months, the definitions of how and where we work will be part of the cultural mind shift defining how we conduct business.
What should managers know about remote work environments as they revise their long-term strategies? Here are some best practices you can use both to support your teams and track their productivity.
Develop/Maintain an Environment of Trust
Establishing a culture of trust is critical for remote teams to be successful. By remaining focused on the work that needs to be accomplished, both employers and employees can measure success, despite the particulars of where the work is being done. Some teams new to remote work may need to proactively discuss the topic of trust and accountability in the new environment, while others may simply need to reinforce the measurements of success.
Hold Regular Team Meetings
Holding weekly or even daily team meetings keeps everyone up to speed on projects, keeps goals front of mind, and enhances accountability. But for remote teams, where spontaneous collaboration in the breakroom isn’t an option, regular check-ins are vital to mitigating the isolation of social distancing. The human element is essential to staying motivated and on task. It keeps co-workers “real” and demonstrates how each person’s contribution matters.
Have Regular 1:1s
Connect with direct reports via video conference for cadenced 1:1s. Having consistent face time with your team is crucial for building the trust needed for successful outcomes, especially when employees are working from home. It provides the opportunity to connect with individuals personally so you can understand what’s working and where they need more support. Feedback enables improvement on the individual, team, and business level. Employees are more motivated and committed to shared outcomes when they see you’re responsive to them and interested in their contributions.
Set Clear Deliverables
It’s easy to judge performance remotely when you set clear deliverables and deadlines for your employees. Setting clear expectations enhances employees’ productivity and allows them to structure their day so they can best meet objectives. Defined goals set up employees for self-accountability. This also helps cut down on the inclination of managers to constantly check on employees to ensure they’re working — a common tendency for first-time remote managers. If employees are getting their work done, they’re working. It’s that simple.
Measure Metrics that Matter
This will look different for every team. Take a look at what outcomes matter most for each individual and for your larger group’s success and measure those activities. Measure the items that will drive ROI or that tie back to each team member’s KPIs. This could be the number of qualified marketing leads brought in, the mean time to resolve IT tickets, or the accuracy and timeliness of producing financials or processing vendor invoices.
Publicize Project Management
Visibility is a strong motivator. Use cloud-based project management software like Trello or Asana so team members can see what everyone is working on. Here you can assign tasks to people, monitor progress, and set deadlines. These platforms make it easier to see what each person is working on, facilitate multiple-project collaboration, and allow team members to track each other’s action items.
Ask Employees to Track Time
Some managers are overseeing remote teams for the first time. And while most fully remote companies advocate measuring outcomes not hours, it may be helpful to understand how your employees are spending their time. If that’s the case, ask workers to use time tracking software to keep tabs on their work hours and assignments. This holds employees accountable, motivating them to stay on task, and it puts your mind at ease knowing exactly how your team is spending their time.
Adjusting to the new remote workplace can be challenging. This shift can be especially tricky when you’re managing a team. The good news is that you don’t have to figure it out alone.
Contact Nelson today to learn about how we can support your staffing needs so you have one less thing to worry about.
How we work, why we work, can we work … ? These questions have new meaning in light of coronavirus and shelter-in-place restrictions. Many people are working longer hours than before, while others find their work days turned upside down with less or even no work.
But no matter what our work situation, it seems that across the board, many, many Americans are watching their screen of choice.
So here’s a short list of great movies that focus on work life in America. There are of course countless other standout films on the same topic, but if you haven’t seen these memorable ones, they’re worth a look. Thanks to Google for the movie descriptions and thumbs-up ratings. Happy movie watching!
PG-13 ‧ 2005 ‧ Sport/Drama ‧ 2h 25m ‧ Google users: 92% liked this movie
During the Great Depression, ex-boxer James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) works as a day laborer until his former manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti) offers him a one-time slot against a rising young contender. After he wins a shocking upset, Braddock goes back into the ring full time, against the wishes of his frightened wife, Mae (Renée Zellweger). Dubbed “The Cinderella Man” for his rags-to-riches story, Braddock sets his sights on the defending champion, the fearsome Max Baer (Craig Bierko).
The Devil Wears Prada
PG-13 ‧ 2006 ‧ Comedy/Comedy-drama ‧ 1h ‧ Google users: 93% liked this movie
Andy (Anne Hathaway) is a recent college graduate with big dreams. Upon landing a job at prestigious Runway magazine, she finds herself the assistant to diabolical editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). Andy questions her ability to survive her grim tour as Miranda’s whipping girl without getting scorched.
Glengarry Glen Ross
R ‧ 1992 ‧ Drama/Adaptation ‧ 1h 40m ‧ Google users: 82% liked this movie
When an office full of New York City real estate salesmen is given the news that all but the top two will be fired at the end of the week, the atmosphere begins to heat up. Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon), who has a sick daughter, does everything in his power to get better leads from his boss, John Williamson (Kevin Spacey), but to no avail. When his coworker Dave Moss (Ed Harris) comes up with a plan to steal the leads, things get complicated for the tough-talking salesmen.
PG-13 ‧ 2013 ‧ Comedy ‧ 1h 59m ‧ Google users: 91% liked this movie
After old-school salesmen Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) find themselves downsized, Billy decides that, despite their complete lack of technological savvy, they should work for Google. The friends somehow manage to finagle internships at the Internet giant and promptly head out to Silicon Valley. Viewed with disdain by most of their fellow interns, Billy and Nick join forces with the rest of the misfit “nooglers” to make it through a series of competitive team challenges
R ‧ 1996 ‧ Romance/Sport ‧ 2h 19m ‧ Google users: 90% liked this movie
When slick sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) has a crisis of conscience, he pens a heartfelt company-wide memo that promptly gets him fired. Desperate to hang on to the athletes that he represents, Jerry starts his own management firm, with only single mother Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger) joining him in his new venture. Banking on their sole client, football player Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.), Jerry and Dorothy begin to fall in love as they struggle to make their business work.
PG-13 ‧ 2011 ‧ Sport/Drama ‧ 2h 13m ‧ Google users: 91% liked this movie
Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), general manager of the Oakland A’s, one day has an epiphany: Baseball’s conventional wisdom is all wrong. Faced with a tight budget, Beane must reinvent his team by outsmarting the richer ball clubs. Joining forces with Ivy League graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), Beane prepares to challenge old-school traditions. He recruits bargain-bin players whom the scouts have labeled as flawed, but have game-winning potential. Based on the book by Michael Lewis.
Pursuit of Happyness
PG-13 ‧ 2006 ‧ Drama ‧ 1h 57m ‧ Google users: 95% liked this movie
Life is a struggle for single father Chris Gardner (Will Smith). Evicted from their apartment, he and his young son (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith) find themselves alone with no place to go. Even though Chris eventually lands a job as an intern at a prestigious brokerage firm, the position pays no money. The pair must live in shelters and endure many hardships, but Chris refuses to give in to despair as he struggles to create a better life for himself and his son.
PG-13 ‧ 1995 ‧ Comedy/Buddy ‧ 1h 37m ‧ Google users: 89% liked this movie
After his beloved father (Brian Dennehy) dies, dimwitted Tommy Callahan (Chris Farley) inherits a near-bankrupt automobile parts factory in Sandusky, Ohio. His brand new stepmother, Beverly (Bo Derek), wants to cash out and close, but Tommy’s sentimental attachment to his father’s employees spurs him to make one last-ditch effort to find someone who will buy their products. With his father’s tightly wound assistant, Richard (David Spade), in tow, Tommy hits the road to scare up some new clients.
Up In the Air
R‧ 2009 ‧ Drama/Comedy-drama ‧ 1h 49m ‧ Google users: 84% liked this movie
An idea from a young, new co-worker (Anna Kendrick) would put an end to the constant travel of corporate downsizer Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), so he takes her on a tour to demonstrate the importance of face-to-face meetings with those they must fire. While mentoring his colleague, he arranges hookups with another frequent-flier (Vera Farmiga), and his developing feelings for the woman prompt him to see others in a new light.
R ‧ 1988 ‧ Romance/Drama ‧ 1h 56m ‧ 85% liked this movie
Savvy New York City receptionist Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) gives her conniving boss, Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver), an excellent business tip, but Katharine simply steals the idea without giving due credit to her secretary. After Katharine winds up in the hospital with an injured leg, Tess decides to exact revenge. Pretending to be her boss, Tess initiates a major deal with an investment broker (Harrison Ford) — but things turn ugly after Katharine finds out what Tess has been up to.
We love to watch movies, but our specialty is helping great people find great work and helping great employers find great employees. Contact us today!
As America has become more accustomed to a life of sheltering in place, most employers and employees have pivoted and settled into their new reality of working from home. There have been challenges for sure: quickly issuing laptops to employees, setting up people on video conferencing, and adjusting how workflow is supervised. A majority of Nelson clients have smoothly transitioned to working remotely, and it’s pretty much business as usual. However, there is one striking exception: onboarding new employees in a remote work environment.
How can you onboard a new employee when everyone is working from home?
Believe it or not, many employers are bringing on new employees despite the remote work situation. For many, work hasn’t lessened or slowed down just because teams are working from home, and if a company is hiring, it’s likely there is too much work spread across too few employees, so bringing on new team members makes sense. Through our discussions with several clients and HR experts, we’ve identified 6 best practices to help clients onboard new employees, even while sheltering in place.
- Technology is your friend. With access to the right technology at home, employees remain productive, can connect with colleagues, and successfully get their work done. When hiring a new employee who is starting their new job from a remote location, it’s recommended that the employer ship essentials, such as a laptop, monitor, and keyboard, along with set-up instructions at least several days before the employee’s start date. An IT or Ops team member should call the new employee early on Day 1 to guide the newbie on the company’s systems and software. Some companies will allocate a budget for new employees to purchase home office items, such as an ergonomic chair, printer, or other office supplies, so they can comfortably work from home.
- Create a memorable first day. You might not able to take the new employee to lunch, but you can organize a festive, virtual welcome lunch or breakfast with the team. One way to make the first day special is to send a welcome package for the new employee to open during the welcome party. You might include company SWAG, a bottle of champagne, a gift card, or comical tips from each employee on light topics, such as “How to survive working at ABC company.” Another idea is to order breakfast or lunch and have it delivered to the new employee’s home.
- Schedule regular check-ins. Many employers follow the best practice of scheduling a daily check-in between the supervisor and new employee. Some companies recommend a 15-minute morning check-in along with an end-of-day check-in for the first two weeks. This gives a new employee plenty of opportunities to ask questions and get guidance to ensure they’re on the right track. It allows supervisors to address challenges or roadblocks in a timely manner.
- Assign a buddy. Pair the new employee with a colleague who can be the go-to person if the new person has questions or gets stuck. Knowing there’s a resource available to answer questions or provide guidance can reduce the stress associated with a new job.
- Create an FAQ sheet. Provide a document that has contact information and other resources the new employee might need. Ask recently hired employees to recommend information that should be included on the FAQ.
- Establish Week 1 goals. Clearly communicate the concrete goals you expect the employee to accomplish during Week 1. This list might include having 1:1s with key team members, gaining access to systems, setting up trainings, reading company policies, or reviewing last year’s financial statements. Having a clear to-do list allows the employee to continue being productive if they hit a roadblock on one task. A concrete set of goals also enables a supervisor to measure the employee’s progress.
Of course, implementing these tips requires some extra time and resources, and frequently, the reality is time and resources are in short supply. But if your team’s workload is daunting, and you need to hire asap, these tips should help you successfully onboard a new employee despite the remote work environment.
Nelson helps companies recruit and hire employees who will make the right impact, whether they be working from home or working on-site. If you’d like more information on how we can assist with building your teams, contact us today. We’re here to help.
We’re working from home. Talking from home. Reporting, and meeting, and Zooming from home. And the internet trolls know it. During the COVID-19 crisis, malicious intruders are seeping into our personal and work lives in ways that disrupt, embarrass, and, in more severe situations, put privileged personal and company information at risk.
The new zoombombing phenomena happens when uninvited participants hack their way into a Zoom or other video conference in progress and post graphic images, make racial slurs, or create other interruptions. Stories abound of meetings being “bombed” and hastily ended to stop the intrusion.
Companies also report increased incidents of phishing, the practice of sending malevolent emails that get readers to give away personal information, credit card numbers, etc.
The spike in internet bad behavior reflects the growing popularity of video meetings resulting from shelter-in-place orders. According to Zoom, the company had a record 10 million daily meeting participants in December 2019. In March the number skyrocketed to 200 million daily meeting participants. And Zoom wasn’t prepared.
According to the New York Times, Zoom has “a default setting that allows any meeting participant to share their screen without permission from an event’s host. Anyone who has a link to a public meeting can join. Links to public Zooms are traded in Facebook Groups and Discord chats, and are easily discoverable on Twitter and public event pages.”
Which means the default settings make it easy for hackers to find you, join your meeting, and create problems.
What You Can Do
To keep you meeting private, you must take a few steps to protect yourself, including setting up waiting rooms, using a meeting lock, and limiting the number of people who can screen share.
A CNBC article explains: “A waiting room is a virtual place where people gather before a Zoom meeting, allowing the host to vet each one of them before allowing them into the live meeting. Hosts can set up a waiting room by default for every meeting you with a control in Zoom’s web settings.
A meeting lock stops newcomers from joining once everyone you were expecting has arrived. To turn on that feature, click the “manage participants” button at the bottom of the Zoom application window, hit “more” in the participants pane near the bottom right corner of the window, and select “lock meeting.”
A meeting host can stop anyone else from taking control of what everyone sees and sharing a stream of what’s on their computer screen. You can enable that restriction from the Zoom web settings.
Also, you can better manage disruptions if you do not make the meeting public and don’t share meeting links on your social media accounts.
On its website, Zoom offers a full selection of support, from live demos, DIY tutorials, and reading materials.
Additionally, the company encourages users to make Waiting Rooms the default setting, as follows
- Sign into your account in the Zoom Web Portal and access the Settings tab.
- Click on the In Meeting (Advanced) option.
- Search or scroll to find the Waiting Room option.
- Toggle the button next to the Waiting Room to enable this feature.
- After enabling the Waiting Room feature, you can choose to send all participants to the Waiting Room when they join or to send only guest participants (external accounts) to the Waiting Room. You can also allow other internal participants to admit guests from the Waiting Room if the host is not yet in the meeting.
Be on the Lookout for Phishing
As our country works from home is, phishing incidents are increasing as well. The Federal Trade Commission provides these four steps to help keep you safe:
- Protect your computer by using security software. Set the software to update automatically so it can deal with any new security threats.
- Protect your mobile phone by setting software to update automatically. These updates could give you critical protection against security threats.
- Protect your accounts by using multi-factor authentication. Some accounts offer extra security by requiring two or more credentials to log in to your account. This is called multi-factor authentication. The additional credentials you need to log in to your account fall into two categories:
- Something you have — like a passcode you get via text message or an authentication app.
- Something you are — like a scan of your fingerprint, your retina, or your face.
- Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for scammers to log in to your accounts if they do get your username and password.
- Protect your data by backing it up. Back up your data and make sure those backups aren’t connected to your home network. You can copy your computer files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Back up the data on your phone, too.
With a little attention to details, you can make your meetings safer and your work-from-home experience more secure.
At Nelson, we’re here to help with your staffing or job search needs. Contact us today.
By Catherine Tansey
Balancing work responsibilities with the demands of a full time job is inherently challenging. But with COVID-19 forcing school and childcare facility closures, you may find yourself suddenly forced to keep the kids entertained while fulfilling the responsibilities of your (newly) remote job. Here are our tips for a successful WFH day when the kids are there too.
Wake up early
Work-life balance is vital to a healthy, productive life. But when you’re juggling kids at home with tight deadlines, conference calls, and project work, you need all the focused time you can get. It may seem like there is no empty time in the day, but if you can swing it, get up a bit earlier than usual to get in some focused work time before the morning madness kicks in.
Create a routine
Routines are good for everyone and especially helpful at a time when normal schedules are upended. Smooth the adjustment to home-quarantine by creating a routine and sticking to it. For the most seamless day, decide the night before on the day’s activities, what the kids will eat for breakfast, and who’s in charge of snacks in between. Check out our sample routine below.
Make an agreement
If your kids are old enough, have them help create the routine and assign responsibilities. Then formalize the agreement by having your child sign on the dotted line. This action helps them buy into the plan and gives them a sense of accountability throughout the day. It also provides an opportunity to teach them about contracts and the importance of reading before signing – a great life skill!
Plan an educational activity for the morning
Schools may be closed but learning opportunities are everywhere. If your child’s school has assigned class work, the morning can be a good time for everyone to settle and focus on knocking off some items on the To Do list. Also consider tapping into a host of eLearning programs or activities to structure the kids’ morning so you have some time to concentrate on work. Sites like Scholastic Learn at Home offers “day-by-day projects to keep the kids learning, reading, and growing.”
Other educational resources include:
- Khan Academy Kids: Free educational lessons for kids ages 2-7
- Brain Pop: Available for free during school closures
- Tynker: Helps kids ages 5 and older learn to code
Organize a physical activity for the afternoon
We need exercise more than ever to combat with the stress of being cooped up at home. Have the kids move their bodies to burn off extra energy and reduce stress and anxiety. Check out the kids version of the popular 7-Minute Workout for high-intensity exercise, or head over to the Cosmic Kids Yoga channel on YouTube for more mindful movement.
Other physical activity resources include:
- Go Noodle: Combines mindfulness and movement for kids
- Yoga with Adrienne: Great yoga resource for older kids, teenagers, and adults
Plan a virtual play date
Coordinate with other working parents for a virtual playdate. Take turns guiding an online learning activity or monitoring the kids while the other parent gets an hour or two of dedicated work time.
[Plan meals and activities the night before.]
- A brain-intensive, learning activity for the kids
- Morning snack, like fruit, nuts, or vegetables and hummus
- Another learning-focused task, such as 20 minutes on the language learning app Duolingo
- Physical activity
- Snack + rest time
If COVID-19 has suddenly turned your college-aged kids into remote students with extra time on their hands, share with them this blog on How to Land Your First Job After College. If they are contemplating military service, inspire them with this article on Why Hiring a Veteran Makes Good Business Sense.
For more information on Nelson’s full range of employment services, contact us today.
As many of us are now working from home and taking more meetings with the help of our laptop’s video camera, it’s inevitable to make some mistakes. Some mistakes are easily forgiven and easily correctible. But those that sear a hugely embarrassing image into the brain of co-workers or clients are the ones you want to think about before you turn your video camera to ON.
Whether you’re taking a meeting with your own team, interviewing job candidates, or trying to land a job or a new client, knowing how to present your best self takes a bit of learning and set up. But it’s all doable and will make your life working remotely a better experience … for everyone concerned.
For example, this video went viral some time ago – and it doesn’t take much to see how a little lock on the door would have hugely helped this video session!
For more hugely helpful video conference tips, read this great how-to by Lee Woodruff, executive media trainer. And remember, look behind you before you look in the camera. Good luck!
If we can help you with your employment or staffing needs, contact Nelson. We’re to help.
By Catherine Tansey
COVID-19 is forcing the largest work from home (WFH) experiment in history. As teams everywhere go virtual, employees at all levels of the organization are looking to make the transition as seamless as possible.
No matter what your job title, working remotely for the first time is an adjustment that’s compounded if you’re suddenly WFH on a full-time basis. As the dust settles after the initial transition, remember that change is easier when you’re set up for success.
First-time remote workers and employers can improve their WFH outcomes by focusing on:
The subject of how and when you and your teammates communicate tops the list for remote work priorities. This means addressing everything from the communication tools you use and creating protocols for documenting conversations to establishing understanding among team members about what and how we say things.
Switching from in-person to online communication can lead us to miss the nonverbal cues of our usual interactions, and this can make teamwork challenging. Some best practices for remote work communication are to be generous in your interpretation of others and explicit yet professional with your own feelings, responses, and questions.
- Email: Use email for long, explanatory messages so others can go back and re-read for clarification.
- Intraoffice messengers: Lean into tools like Slack or G Chat for quick questions or to solve timely issues.
- Videoconferences or calls: Rely on synchronous communication for decision making and brainstorming.
Clear, documented expectations help make remote work more satisfying and productive. If you’re the boss, set clear expectations, and if you’re an employee, ask for clarity, on the following:
- Working hours: Spell out expected working hours and when everyone needs to be online.
- Dress code for video calls: Clarify appropriate dress for video conferences.
- Success metrics: Define success for tasks and teams and share them will all members.
- Central repository for sharing documents: Try to trim down the communication scatter that can quickly happen when using multiple online tools, such as Slack, Dropbox, and email. Create a central depository where you and your team stores all documents in one place.
Set up a remote office at home for your best shot at success. Dedicated workspaces can be the difference between a focused, productive day and a disjointed work-from-home experience. You may not always be able to avoid interruptions if you have pets or children at home, but a dedicated workspace with a “do not disturb” sign can help mitigate them.
For at-home workspaces and remote offices, consider:
- Ergonomics: Use a table or desk that allows your arms rest at 90 degrees. Choose a comfortable chair with good back support.
- Background: Be mindful that your backdrop is professional and tidy if you’re taking video calls.
- Noise: Play ambient music or turn on a white noise app to limit distractions around your dedicated workspace.
As you begin your WFH journey, you may feel disorganized without the familiarity of your office space. You might miss the casual office chatter that keeps you connected and in the know. You may find it’s hard to focus and feel productive. All of this is normal, and with time you’ll adjust to your new remote working reality.
At Nelson, we understand that change is challenging, especially in uncertain times. Just like you, our teams are now working remotely, and just like you, we’re learning along the way. As your employment partner, we remain dedicated to helping our clients and candidates orchestrate a fluid transition. Please contact us if we can assist with any of your employment needs.
By Catherine Tansey
In recognition of Valentine’s Day, let’s explore what motivates employees to love their jobs. Some people are engaged and love their work because they gain a sense of professional fulfillment or enjoy performing and succeeding at challenging work. Others simply feel energized by being in the workplace or embrace the camaraderie of a strong team.
One thing’s for sure: It pays to retain engaged employees who love their jobs.
A Gallup report shows that highly engaged teams are good for business. According to Gallup, engaged employees show reduced absenteeism, greater retention, and increased production. Additionally, when employees love their work, companies experience improved customer ratings, increased sales, and greater profitability. Now what’s not to love about that?
Help Your Team Find the Love
Because managers directly impact employee engagement, here are seven ideas for helping your team stay enthused about and enamored with their work:
- Be Flexible When It Comes to Work Schedules
According to a report by Totaljobs, a vast majority of employees want more flexible work hours. If an employee’s role doesn’t require stringent start and end times, consider allowing the individual to come and go as they please. Coming in later so you can see your kids off to school on the bus or leaving at lunchtime for a workout are small measures that go far in helping your team stay engaged and perform better.
- Rethink Your Dress Code
A toned-down dress code is the new norm in many organizations. If your company still mandates formalwear or business casual, it’s time to reconsider the policy. Millennials and Gen Z see stuffy suits and stringent dress codes as a sign the company is stuck in the past. Instead, outline what clothing is suitable for different work situations and encourage employees to come to work in comfortable, appropriate attire.
- Consider Remote Work or Foreign-Based Work Options
If the image of trendy Instagram digital nomads working from the beach is keeping you from allowing remote work, don’t let it. Working from an exotic location is not the norm for most remote employees, who usually work from co-working spaces, cafes, or their homes. Technology makes geographical location a nonissue for many occupations, and MetLife found in a survey that 54% employees would like the opportunity to work from abroad. So you might ask yourself: If employees don’t have to be in the office, why make them? A flexible policy is a sure way to help you attract and retain top talent.
- Get Serious About Professional Development
Create a culture of professional training and development at your company. This may mean sponsoring eLearning tuition reimbursement, offering technical skill development training, or having a mentor program. Support workers in learning new skills, taking on different roles, and show them they have a future with the company.
- Personalize Work-Life Balance
We often talk about work-life balance in the absolute, but a balanced lifestyle means different things to different people. To get a sense of what resonates with your team, provide a forum that allows employees to articulate what work-life balance means for them. Does “balance” equate to more flexible working hours or not taking work home on the weekend? Consider doing a productivity audit to find ways to get more done at the office or respecting a “no-email” after 7 p.m. rule. Follow through by meeting with direct reports to find the best ways to support their particular needs.
- Focus on Collaboration
Turns out most humans love to work with other humans. A culture of collaboration improves workplace transparency and helps employees feel connected to co-workers. Technology offers many options for boosting a collaborative environment and is especially useful in pulling together teams with remote employees. Additionally, you can foster collaboration by using personality assessment tools such as Myers-Briggs, which help employees understand personality dynamics within their teams.
- Hire the Right People
Seek out new hires who embody and will add to the existing culture you’ve worked so hard to create. You want diverse teams that support your organization’s mission, challenge stale ways of thinking, and make the work environment enjoyable for everyone.
Not sure where to start? Nelson can help facilitate your next great hire so you can help your employees love their jobs.
By Catherine Tansey
Looking for your next great hire? Consider making veterans a focus of your recruitment efforts. Military service members are highly trainable individuals who bring leadership skills, a strong work ethic, and a can-do attitude to the job. They’re accustomed to taking on new roles, have experience managing others, and use resources well. But because less than 10% of the American population has served in the military, many people are unfamiliar with the valuable skills and experience veterans have gained during their service.
Hire Veterans for Serious Skills and Experience
Many servicewomen and men are young when they join the service; over one-half of all U.S. service members are younger than 25 when they enlist. Not long after joining, they are tasked with leading teams and managing others. They study tactical skills such as how to make decisions, plan, organize, and execute. They also acquire core leadership skills such as motivation and delegation. Moreover, in the military, service members can’t be fired, so leaders are managing people they didn’t hire and cannot let go. They understand a team is only as strong as its weakest member and know how to spur collaboration and inspire team members in the toughest of circumstances.
- Work Ethic
The military builds a strong work ethic. Service members are accustomed to being part of a mission-driven team with a focused view of accomplishing their goal. Because most service members are young when they join, their time in service shapes their work ethic for life. During deployment, there are no sick days or days off, and service members work nights, weekends, and holidays, no exception. Alongside the “get it done” mentality, service members learn personal integrity and a sense of urgency.
For the modern workplace, diversity is a proven tool for gaining a competitive edge in the marketplace: Harvard Business Review reports that diverse teams are smarter and perform better. But diversity is most often considered in terms of race, religion, gender, and ethnic background with little emphasis on veteran status. Diversity is bringing people together from different backgrounds and with varied experiences to help teams look at problems differently and reach solutions creatively. Military veterans have specific experiences civilians are not privy too and are required to cooperate as part of diverse teams from day one. As Marine Jon Davis writes, the military is a subculture unlike any other and one that focuses “entirely on mission achievement, cooperation, and personal development. The military systematically builds individuals who are designed to join highly diverse teams.”
Vets are a highly trainable population. They’re accustomed to shifting roles and are confident taking on new responsibilities with little notice. Because the military demands agility and adaptability, military service members have an innate growth mindset that’s advantageous for any industry sector and company. Much of their learning takes place on the fly, so vets have experience adding new skills and coming up to speed quickly.
- Tax Credits
In addition to gaining an employee with military discipline, leadership, and work ethic, hiring a veteran can save your organization serious money. In 2011 a number of previously separate tax credits were combined into the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors tax credits to address veterans’ high unemployment rates. These general business credits can save businesses up to $5,600 under the Returning Heroes credit and up to $9,600 under the Wounded Warriors credit.
Tips for Hiring Veterans
Translate job descriptions: The military uses a professional lexicon unlike that of civilian organizations. To better represent job opportunities to veterans, translate job responsibilities and duties into military job codes that map to the job requirements with O*NET’s Military-Civilian Crosswalk.
Take advantage of tax credits: Businesses must apply for veteran-centric tax credits within 28 days of hiring a veteran. Incorporate veterans into your hiring strategy for access to a pool of highly skilled, highly qualified individuals who offer valuable experience and an excellent work ethic.
For other tips on recruitment and hiring, contact Nelson today.
by Catherine Tansey
Many students want to make extra money by securing seasonal employment during the holidays. But when academic finals are wrapping up, conducting a job hunt is about the last thing you want to do. If you’re a college student or teen looking for a seasonal job, we’ve got you covered.
How to Find Seasonal Employment
Start your search early. Many people think seasonal employment equates to December work, but employers often start hiring in October or November. During your search, regularly visit job sites aimed at flexible work and make a point of applying every week. Diversity is key to a successful job hunt, so reach out to your personal and professional networks as well. Tailor your cover letter and resume to seasonal work and make a positive first impression. If you showcase your strong work ethic as a reliable employee, you the open the option for an extended contract or more part-time work in the future.
Types of Jobs Hiring for the Holidays
Retail is not the only industry that needs extra help around the holidays. Restaurants get busy with holiday parties and shoppers and often need additional hosts, food runners, and servers. Courier and logistics companies need extra hands to handle the increase in holiday cards, online orders, and packages shipped during this period. In your own neighborhood, friends and families rely on babysitters to get their holiday shopping done sans kids.
The 5 Best Seasonal Jobs for College Students
- Holiday Driver
Many organizations need delivery drivers during the holiday season more than any other time of year. You might be able to find a driving job if you have a clean driving record and are willing to work early mornings, nights, and weekends. Some companies pay up to $18 per hour and not all require a commercial driver’s license.
- Retail Worker
For retailers, the months leading up to the holidays are the busiest time of year. Many companies scramble to prepare for the increased demands taking place on Black Friday and during the month of December. During this busy time, teens and college students can find work as cashiers, floor associates, stock room workers, and more.
- Restaurant Jobs
Restaurant jobs are the holy grail of work for many students. They offer flexible hours and decent pay, plus they’re fun. To land a restaurant job, bring a pen and a few copies of your resume and visit restaurants in person between 1-3 p.m. You’re likely to catch managers during this sweet spot after lunch but before dinner service has started yet. Restaurant experience is great to have on your resume and can help you get a part-time job when you’re back at school or in the summer months.
- Online Work
Another viable option is online freelance work in social media management or as a virtual assistant. Check out job boards or drop by local businesses to find out if they’re happy with their current social media management. The best part? This kind of work can be done from anywhere—even your dorm room or school library.
Babysitting is a tried and true seasonal job option for teens and college students. Sign up for an account on Care.com or hit the streets of your neighborhood. If you have previous experience, collect referrals and share them with potential new clients.
See Beyond Seasonal Work
Part time seasonal work is great for students looking to make extra cash, but it doesn’t have to be a one-time thing. Keep the door open for more work over school breaks and the summer by making a positive impression on your employer. And remember, there’s no better time to start building your career than today. Seeking work or internships in your field of study during the holidays is a savvy way to work toward securing your first job after college.
For more tips on finding and securing employment, subscribe to Nelson’s newsletter today!
By Catherine Tansey
Thanksgiving is about gratitude. We express thanks for good health, favorable circumstances, and the relationships in our lives—including those of our co-workers and employees. Ensuring people feel valued and appreciated year-round is essential for successful employee engagement and retention, and Thanksgiving employee appreciation is a great time to let your company’s efforts shine. Like all authentic expressions of gratitude, Thanksgiving 2019 need not break the bank. Here are six Thanksgiving ideas for employees this year.
1. Plan a Potluck
Skip the catered lunch and invite employees to contribute to a globally themed potluck. Turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing rule the month of November, and it’s easy to tire of these heavy and traditional foods. Instead, celebrate your office’s diversity and employee culinary chops by requesting individuals just bring in a favorite dish—bonus points if it’s an international one. Bonding over food is powerful, and employees get a chance to break from work, interact with cross-functional team members, and talk about food—always a lively topic of conversation.
2. Facilitate a Group Volunteer Opportunity
Thank employees by organizing a volunteer outing for the office and treating everyone to a meal or cup of coffee after the event. Today’s employees are eager to be part of a team that’s community-oriented and focuses on giving back. While a day out of the office donating time and good spirit may not feel like a traditional way to say thanks, employees want proof of an organization’s social values, and this approach will surely make an impact.
3. Organize a Pie Swap
Eat dessert first! Arrange an office pie swap to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and encourage everyone to participate. Include a sign-up sheet for individuals to jot down their name and the type of pie they’d like to bake. Then set aside time in the afternoon for pie, coffee, and social connection.
4. Host a Pumpkin Spice Contest
Since its debut in 2003, pumpkin spice latte has become firmly engrained in the North American cultural zeitgeist, but the ubiquitously fall flavor is delicious in far more than lattes. This Thanksgiving host a pumpkin spice contest and invite employees to get creative with their contributions. Award the winner a gift card, half-day off, or other gift that acknowledge their creative contribution. It’s a modern and seasonally appropriate way to take a break from work, share yummy treats, and host a little friendly competition.
5. Send Handwritten Thank You Notes
Digital communication rules our everyday lives. Be it text messages, email, or group messengers, we rely on keyboards and screens to get in touch and exchange information—oftentimes even our sincerest thanks. For this year’s Thanksgiving employee appreciation, consider putting pen to paper with handwritten thank-you notes. Studies show the act of writing and sending a handwritten note are positive and profound for both the sender and recipient. And remember, great thank you notes share common features: they’re heartfelt, specific, and personalized.
6. Give Everyone Friday Off
Want a Thanksgiving gesture that’s sure to make employees feel appreciated and valued? Give them a day off. Most companies include the Friday after Thanksgiving as a company holiday, but not all. If it’s feasible for your business, consider offering Friday as a paid or floater holiday. Show employees you value their time and hard work by giving them an extra day to spend with family and friends. It won’t go unnoticed.
Purchasing gifts or expensive catered lunches is a common way to express employee appreciation for Thanksgiving, but there are many ways to say Thank You. Be sincere in making employees feel valued and creative in your approach. Our list is a great place to start!