There has been a bit of a theme emerging in the world of work.

First it was the ‘quiet quitting’ phenomenon that swept across the 2022 workplace landscape.

Hot on its heels came the trend for ‘quiet firing’ which emerged in response to workers quietly quitting.

And so, to the newest edition – ‘quiet hiring’.

The term has been coined by the leader of Gartner’s research team, Emily Rose McRae, who describes ‘quiet hiring’ as a way to address an immediate need for the company. The business could hire external contractors. Or, if money is tight, they might shuffle existing team members around to fill the short-term gap that has opened up.

The latter approach is, however, higher risk as uprooting people from their roles might just prompt them to begin quietly quitting! Add to that the danger of someone feeling their original role was not valued if it could be put on hold and you have a recipe for a host of unintended consequences further down the line.

The problem with having all of these ‘quiet’ approaches is that they are all being carried out, well, quietly!

Employees found themselves struggling to communicate their need for boundaries at work, and so began to quietly build them themselves. Employers were struggling with communicating with staff who they felt were underperforming, and so began to quietly push them away. And now we have companies who are trying to quietly repair skill gaps, which could result in more quiet quitting … which will, in turn, lead to more quiet firing.

It is a vicious, surreptitious cycle which could be avoided if employers and employees spoke up rather than clammed up about their mutual needs and expectations.

This means encouraging and supporting a dialogue between managers and their direct reports about their wellbeing needs, as well as managers knowing how to help employees they feel may be underperforming.

And when it comes to filling those short-term gaps, the best approach is to be open with your people about what the company needs to do – and how you plan to do it. Then sit back and listen to what they have to say, because a productive two-way dialogue is always better than the sound of silence.

To get in touch with us about any communication and culture needs you may have, head over to our contact page.

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

Recently, Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg laid off more than 11,000 employees due to a drop in profits, and this saw shares in the company sink by almost 20%. This is all without mentioning the anonymous reviews being left by former Meta employees on Blind – with one of them claiming that “the metaverse will be our slow death”. Suddenly, after months of being told that the metaverse is going to be the next step in the working world, people have begun to question this sentiment.

The metaverse is being marketed as the saving grace of hybrid, remote and global working. A digital space where users can interact with a face-to-face element from the comfort of their homes, allowing for company culture to remain intact, as well as revitalizing the ability to socialise with colleagues. It’s great on paper – but the whole point of the metaverse is its paperless allure.

Which brings me to the question – do we actually need it? Aside from the new wave of HR-related issues that would have to be navigated, seeing the sudden drop in its financial potential has spotlighted the fact that the metaverse may be a solution looking for a problem.

When we look deeper into what it is offering, it is presenting itself as the next step after Zoom and Teams, but is it more of just a sidestep? Video calling allows for face-to-face communication and global communication with ease, and now, after lockdown, most people have been trained and come to terms with the ins and outs of remote work. Introducing the metaverse into the workplace – which does the same thing but sounds cooler – could bring on more confusion than it’s worth. It would require an entire new set of training for colleagues to understand how to use the virtual reality headsets, as well as the purchasing of said equipment.

And while avatars are meant to make interaction in the metaverse more personable, will they be able to capture the non-verbal cues that are just as telling as someone’s verbal communications? Or will it require employees to become fluent in Cybernese, the emerging non-verbal language of the digital world? On Zoom, we can still see facial expressions and, to a degree, examine body language, but would this be the case with an avatar that is mimicking your behavior, or would it require a new set of knowledge entirely?

There is obvious attraction for a digital world – and the strides that could be taken in more hands-on jobs (such as mechanical engineering and biomedicine) could be life-changing for the future. But in terms of office jobs, it may be pulling at the wrong lever. A recent poll that OrgShakers conducted seemingly confirms this, as 50% of respondents did not want to use the metaverse, 22% didn’t know what it was, and no one said they were excited about it.

And with products like Sneek – which allows remote workers to see their fellow colleagues as they work and jump into instant video chats with them – the concerns that hybrid work has brought are already being solved without the need to venture into a digital landscape.

As it stands, the metaverse’s integration into corporate life could go either way – but while up to this point I had been viewing it as a huge step forward in the way we work, I am now beginning to think that we all might be blinded by its hype.

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

If you are thinking ‘what on earth is Cybernese?’ you may be surprised to discover that it is a rapidly evolving language that we all need to become fluent in – fast. Because Cybernese is the non-verbal, online language we have all begun to adopt since the mass exodus from the office to remote and hybrid work.

In the physical world, the idea that body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice can communicate as much as the actual words coming out of your mouth is a familiar one. So, being able to ‘read’ people is an important skill which can give us valuable insights into what they actually think and feel about something (or someone).

With more and more interaction happening online, we are now having to interpret a whole new set of non-verbal signals – Cybernese.

For example, services like Zoom and Teams have become an integral part to working from home. And whilst now it is more difficult to decipher body language from just a person’s head and shoulders, there are other aspects of non-verbal Zoom etiquette which convey a whole new set of different meanings – intentional or otherwise.

Do you attend meetings with your camera off? A recent study found that 92% of US executives believed that employees who had their cameras off probably did not have a long-term future at their organization.

And what about the background you use when on a video call? What does it imply about you and the kind of worker you are?

It is no surprise that those who are already somewhat fluent in ‘Cybernese’ are Gen Z workers – they are digital-natives with an almost intuitive understanding of the internet and social media. Research shows that 98% of Gen Z own a smartphone, and almost all of them use social media in some form.  For younger workers, myself included, understanding all the non-verbal nuances in the digital world is something that we just know how to do – partly because we were the ones who invented them!

Take the emoji for instance. Originally conceived as icons to help add expressions to your text messages, many emojis now hold hidden meanings that are much less obvious to those who have not grown up using them. If your manager is sending you an eggplant emoji to tell you they are having a veggie parmigiana for dinner, this may not quite come across as intended…

Pre-pandemic, ‘Cybernese’ existed primarily as a means for young people to communicate amongst themselves without the older generation understanding what was being said. This is not a new idea; in the Victorian era flowers were used to send silent messages, with different flowers holding different meanings. Similarly, in 1970s New York, many gay men would use a handkerchief code to signal to each other. So, having a hidden, non-verbal language is not a new phenomenon – but what is new is the sudden need for this language to be understood by almost everyone in order to avoid any potential mishaps.

‘Cybernese’ could open a potential communication gap between staff – especially those from different generations – and so introducing a new set of training for digital non-verbal cues would be a great way to ensure that employers and employees alike know exactly how to market themselves. And with Gen Z steadily flowing into the workforce, as well as remote and hybrid working becoming more and more popular, now is the perfect time to seize this opportunity.

To get in touch with us and discuss this topic further, head over to our contact page.

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

Imposter syndrome has sadly been a popular term going around recently. After having to navigate working through a pandemic and now adapting to the new normal of hybrid and remote work, many employers and employees have found themselves feeling somewhat out of their depth. A YouGov survey of 2,500 UK workers found imposter syndrome to be one of the most common mental health issues in the contemporary workplace, with nearly three in five (58%) of employees experiencing it. Similarly, a study in the US found that 65% of professionals suffered from imposter syndrome. The prevalence of this feeling in today’s world means that this is no longer something that we should label as a problem predominantly facing women.

But where do these feelings stem from? And how can employers aid those who find themselves questioning whether they deserve to be in their position?

Feeling like an imposter can be brought on by a number of things, but these can be filed under two main factors – internal and external.

Internal imposter syndrome is in reference to those who suffer from anxiety and self-doubt, sometimes on a debilitating level, that is triggered by the individual’s internalized stories. They will lack the confidence to speak up because they are constantly second-guessing themselves and their capability, and this mindset can fester and grow as time goes on. Often times, it will be newer hires who have fallen short or made a mistake upon starting, and in their attempt to be mentally tough and analyse what they did wrong, they can end up planting a seed of doubt that blooms over time.

External imposter syndrome examines the environment someone is entering. Many employers will look at hiring more diverse candidates to bring in new and fresh perspectives, but these candidates can find themselves feeling like imposters if they are entering into a culture that has been set in its ways for a while and they repeatedly find themselves being ‘shut down’. In this sense, this is a sign that the culture needs to begin evolving to incorporate new ways of thinking so that everyone can benefit from it.

Regardless of what has provoked these feelings, a growth mindset approach to both can help tremendously with combatting this ideology of self-doubt. If its internal, leaders can coach their employees who are suffering, or refer them to an external coach, who can help to recalibrate the way they perceive themselves and their capabilities – spinning the idea on its head to go from, ‘why don’t I know this’ to ‘I don’t know this yet, what can I do to accelerate my learning and development in this area? ’. The label ‘imposter’ can be a harmful one and carries heavy connotations that are not usually applicable – you are not an imposter if you don’t know how to do everything, and that’s completely fine. It can be as simple as reminding staff that they were hired for a reason, so they have already earned their place at the table. Another great way of getting this across is by regular acknowledgment of contribution and feedback – reassurance from those that work above you can go a very long way.

This same logic can be applied to external imposter syndrome. If you have hired someone to bring in a fresh perspective on a new market, for example, then naturally their ideas are going to vary. To avoid making them feel alienated from the get-go, you can explore ways to allow for new ideas to be brought forward. A few ideas include:

  • Asking all members of the team to brainstorm new options, perhaps anonymously to remove any element of bias.
  • Use de Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats.
  • Or be inspired by Julia Dahr’s TED Talk that encourages us to learn from debate tactics!

This also allows time for the culture to organically adapt to changes.

It's important for any employer to recognise that anyone who finds themselves in a new position – regardless of their hierarchical position – may begin to feel like an imposter of sorts. If you ensure that you have an inclusive culture that encourages communication, then employees will feel comfortable in seeking some support for the way they are feeling. Having coached many executives who have experienced these feelings of doubt, I know first-hand how important it is to address this before it becomes embedded. If you need further guidance on how to approach imposter syndrome in your workplace, you can get in touch with me at anya@orgshakers.com

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

As we venture into this new year, none of us can be sure what the future holds. However, with ‘unprecedented’ events becoming commonplace this decade, there are sure to be more than a few surprises in store for employers over the next 12-months.

But the truth about ‘surprises’ is that very often we will have had an idea they were coming our way. So, whether it’s based on the extrapolation of an established trend or simply ‘gut instinct’ based on years’ of experience, we asked the OrgShakers to predict what will be surprising us in 2023.

  • Stephanie Rodriguez believes that many organizations will be wrong-footed by the increase in employees putting boundaries around their working hours. A significant proportion of business leaders and front-line managers still cling to the belief that staff ‘prove’ themselves by how long they work and their ability to always be available. With the rising popularity of remote working, it has become even more difficult to adhere to normal working hours due to the ability to work whenever from wherever. And so 2023 is going to see the misnomer that is ‘quiet quitting’ actually becoming a necessary step for the physical and mental wellbeing of employees. Learning to navigate this new attitude towards work is going to be a new challenge in the coming twelve months.
  • Therese Procter believes that businesses may falter due to organizational paralysis. Quite simply, the past 2-3 years have been so overwhelming that many leaders are struggling to identify a way forward. Therefore, she believes that we are going to see many more organizations reaching out to consultancies about people trends and how to navigate through difficult times. In addition, 2023 is the year of power skills for those in charge – she believes there is going to be a surge of leaders developing their emotional intelligence and empathetic skills, as this will help them to really understand the evolving needs of their team.
  • Amanda Holland believes that leaders may be surprised by the increasing importance their employees place on ‘making a difference’. The social agenda has been brought to the forefront in 2022, and now many people want to work somewhere that they believe reflects their values. Allowing employees to play their part in driving the social impact of the organization could enhance recruitment and retention result and accelerate collaboration and innovation in the workplace. She also believes there is going to be a rise in demand for remote work in the metaverse, as people seek a more realistic human connection in a virtual space.
  • Sayid Hussein agrees that there is a greater focus on the digital employee experience, adding that this may also accelerate the adoption of the four-day working week. 100 UK companies have already signed up for a permanent four-day week which he believes will act as a catalyst to propel this idea forward. Firms will, however, need guidance in navigating this new way of work.
  • Pamela Kingsland predicts that a surprise employers may encounter in the coming year is the rise of individualisation in corporate culture. The demand for flexible work schedules, tailored rewards and benefits, and personal development plans will continue to rise, as well as the emerging concept of individualised wellness. This would be data driven, and focus on people having customized gut biome treatments, individualised vitamins, and tailored exercises to a person’s specific metabolism, as well as neurological fingerprinting. Bodily health and brain health will play a big part in optimizing people to their full potential, not just as workers but as human beings.
  • And finally, one of the biggest surprises that Alisa Cardenas believes employers may see is the establishment of white-collar trade unions. There has been a significant rise in employee consciousness as we have emerged from lockdown. People have become more inclined to question the five-day, nine-to-five structure. Remote and hybrid work has introduced a new type of flexibility and being faced with a pandemic has caused a mass recalibration of what people value. We may see this begin to emerge through new unions being established in the corporate sectors.

What we do know for certain is that 2022 brought with it many unexpected surprises that had a great effect on the working world, and so as we venture into 2023, OrgShakers are ready to help employers optimize every opportunity that comes their way. To get in touch with us about your people strategy or organization dynamics, head over here.

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

2022 was yet another memorable addition to the 21st century’s ‘roaring twenties’.  

With the working world still adapting to the changes that the pandemic brought, as well as the rise of the metaverse and the cost-of-living crisis, there are a lot of things that employers, upon reflection, may want to leave in the past so that they can focus on the new year – and new opportunities – that lay ahead.  

The OrgShakers team, therefore, have put together a list of thoughts that we think organizations should leave in 2022 in order to propel them upwards in the year to come:  

  • Amanda Holland believes that employers need to leave behind the idea of returning to how things used to be pre-COVID. Executives need to shift their mindset from treading water until things ‘return to normal’ to learning how to thrive in the ‘new normal’. The needs of the workforce have changed significantly, and this needs to be embraced in 2023.  
  • Building on this, Stephanie Rodriguez advises that organizations stop placing an emphasis on material in-office ‘benefits’. Free snacks, ping pong tables and nap pods are all great and fun additions to an office space, but they are also almost a given now. Instead, companies should start placing more emphasis on benefits that truly matter to most people, such as mental health assistance, flexible working, advancement opportunities and improved leave policies. This would more accurately reflect the benefits that people care about and seek out the most.  
  • Therese Procter believes that leaders need to be leaving behind the belief that asking for help is a sign of weakness. After the recently missed penalty in the England V France World Cup game, former international soccer professional Roy Keane made the point that ‘pressure will disturb even the most professional and most calm’, and this is a mindset that leaders should be adopting. The past year has brought with it countless pressures and surprises in the political, economic and social climate, and so looking ahead, executives need to focus on removing this stigma around seeking out a coach or an advisor to help them, as this will only result in making them stronger and more capable.  
  • According to Sayid Hussein, employers need to be leaving behind their apathy to cybersecurity. With 2022 seeing more cyber-attacks than ever, it is important that companies begin to improve their security measures in order to keep their data secure. Provident Bank recently conducted a survey for small businesses which found that only half of companies felt they were fully prepared for an attack. And with phishing being the most popular form of attack this year – 83% of companies said that this was how they were targeted – it is critical that organizations are leaving behind their flippancy to online security and focusing on strengthening it in the coming year.  
  • For Alisa Cardenas, it’s about organizations leaving behind the ambiguity of where their employees are investing their 401K contributions, and instead encouraging staff to invest in their values and the values of the company. Looking at companies like Invest Your Values, leaders can start to nourish their environmental, social and governance agenda by encouraging their teams to invest their money into mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that have a more positive environmental and social impact.  
  • And, finally, Pamela Kingsland believes that the way we look at business and capitalism as a whole needs to be left behind, and instead urges business leaders to begin humanising capitalism. As discussed in Hubert Joly’s new book, companies need to find ways to link an individual’s search for meaning to the overall purpose of the business, as this will allow for a more sustainable and wellness-focused workplace.   

If you want to get in touch with us surrounding any of these points, you can do so here

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

Today is the Winter Solstice – the longest day and the official start of the coldest season of the year.

So, would it surprise you to know that in a couple of weeks’ time the Earth will be at the CLOSEST point in its orbit to the Sun? In other words, that we’re nearer to our fiery star in the chill of Winter and farthest away in the heat of Summer.

If it does you may, like me, be falling into the trap of so-called Northern Hemisphere Chauvinism, the same bias that assumes that North is ‘up’, and that Australia is ‘down under’ (where it is now, of course, summertime).

But this got me thinking – maybe we all need to turn things upside-down from time to time to understand them better.

This idea is particularly applicable to change management strategies. According to research by McKinsey, 70% of all change initiatives fail – and this is largely due to employee resistance (active or passive). So, maybe, the key to ensuring they succeed is by changing the way organizations are looking at change.

Imagine a change process as being like an iceberg. The new stuff – the end goal of the change – stands gleaming above the surface. Meanwhile, down below, are the existing processes and the people that implement them. And herein lies the problem – these things are below the surface, and all too often that is where they remain.

So, organizations need to flip the iceberg. To bring to the surface what lies beneath and focus on the employees that will be impacted by the changes.

But now ask yourself this: how many of the change initiatives within your organization have an HR presence on the project leadership team? My guess is that it won’t be many.

For me the case for challenging the way we approach change implementation is clear. And to make this happen we need to turn accepted thinking on its head. To put people ahead of processes and technology.

Now that may not be such a radical idea for the HR profession, but for many others it will be as counterintuitive as suggesting a world where the South Pole is at the top and sundials run anti-clockwise.

If you want to discuss the different approaches to managing change initiatives in your company, get in touch with me at andy@orgshakers.com or head over to our contact page.

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

For many around the world the festive season is upon us once again – a time of celebration, family gatherings and neighbourly sharing. These days, it is also underpinned by a flurry of purchases to achieve the idyllic picture of copious presents sitting under the Christmas tree. And as our TVs and social media feeds fill up with retail adverts encouraging us to part with our hard-earned cash, it will be no surprise to hear that online sales have increased by almost a trillion dollars worldwide between 2020 and 2021.

Whilst the COVID pandemic accelerated this trend, using the internet to buy goods has already become second nature to many of us. The rise of the online marketplace is something that employers are keenly involved in, and make most of their goods and services accessible from in order to apply to the largest group of consumers.

And yet, if companies were to take a step back, they would see that there are 10 million people lacking basic digital skills in the UK alone. This is a vast pool of potential clients who are unable to access those online services and interact with the world of e-commerce, which is a large potential profit being lost, especially during the holidays when commercialism is booming.

Signposting and providing alternative options and channels for customers to communicate with your organization will help to open your virtual business doors to those who were previously being excluded as they didn’t know how, do not have, or cannot use the digital technology of today. Upskilling those staff who are customer-facing will also help widen communication abilities – but this brings into question the digital competency of your staff, too.

If we look more closely, there is a large potential pool of talent that is being iced out due to a lack of digital proficiency. The recent FutureDotNow report, which examined how many people could complete Lloyds’ Essential Digital Skills for Work tasks, found that only 32% of the UK workforce were able to complete all 17. And yet, a report published by Oxford Economics has discovered that by 2030, 75% of jobs will require advanced digital skills.

What we are seeing is that workers and consumers alike are yet to fully develop their digital abilities, and so if a company is not finding alternative ways to access these groups of people, then they are at risk of missing out on a large opportunity to increase their market scope as well as their hiring potential.

Employers should also consider offering training to new staff in their digital comprehension, as this will ensure that everyone has the desired skills they need to be able to successfully achieve at their place of employment. This also means that all the experience that has been gained from those older workers who are less tech-savvy will not go to waste, helping to further enrich and diversify your talent.

To discuss any of these topics further, or for guidance on how to create an accessible business model, get in touch with me at gavin.jones@orgshakers.com

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

Creating the conditions which enable employees to be engaged and motivated should be a top priority for employers. Gallup’s State of the Global Workforce report, which found that only 21% of employees were actively engaged at work, sadly shed light on the fact that employee engagement is not being done effectively, or even prioritised, and the result is unhappy employees. This unhappiness will affect performance and will lead inevitably to unhappy customers and less successful business outcomes.

Employee engagement should be an important year-round focus, but we can do some things to help create a ‘reset’ at the beginning of the New Year and support our teams to reengage with their work. 16th January 2023 will be ‘Blue Monday’ in the UK, so called (and coined by a psychologist Cliff Arnall) because of people returning to work post-holiday to bad weather, debt and low levels of motivation. This does not apply to everyone of course, but how can employers help counteract this?

The end of year holiday period creates a ‘pause’ which people are often desperately looking forward to. With our ‘always on’ working lives, and what seems to have been an epidemic of overwork this year, many people are limping towards the finishing line of what has felt like the Marathon of 2022.  The joy of having some rest time with family and friends also creates time and space for people to think about their lives, the good and the ‘not so good’, and in particular their work lives, and how this aligns with their personal aspirations.

Rather than just hoping that people will come back from their holidays refreshed and suddenly regain engagement, we are suggesting that employers need to be proactive this new year and enable a January ‘reset’.

A key part of a leader’s role is to tap into what motivates their people, to carry the torch for the organisational purpose and create excitement about what they are to achieve in 2023 through their ability to create an engaging story of what might be.

We would like to suggest a few things businesses can do to enable a reset:

  • Make a point of welcoming everyone back. This may sound obvious but do we do it? The best way to start the year from a leadership perspective is to have a proper welcome back catch up with all your team members. Dedicate some time early in the year to get together, share holiday stories and discuss aspirations for the upcoming year. Not just going straight in talking about detailed task objectives but discussing what they would aspire to see happen in 2023. Human beings like to feel valuable, and feel that they belong, so these conversations are vitally important in maintaining the ‘social glue’ that ties teams together and in ensuring we value our colleagues and humanise our workplaces.
  • Restating and realigning purpose. Rather than just carrying on where we left off in December, the New Year gives you as leader the ideal opportunity to restate the organisational purpose; to reconnect your people with the ‘why’ we do what we do. You can reconnect your team members with their role in achieving the overall purpose of the organisation and remind them of their purpose and their value to you and the organisation. We often have a ‘look back’ at the end of a year but are less inclined to have a ‘look forward’ at the beginning of the New one as we throw ourselves straight into the work. Whatever happened last year, we are now looking forward and need to focus on what we can do in the future. This ‘look forward’ reminder also ensures that everyone is venturing into this new year with a clear sense of what the company is aiming to achieve, and this restatement of purpose can help strengthen team bonds as well as create alignment and improve the speed at which these goals are met.

My suggested reading for points 1. and 2. is ‘The Heart of Business’ by Hubert Joly – his personal playbook for achieving extraordinary outcomes by putting people and purpose at the heart of business.

  •  Speaking of goals…we all know it’s a common tradition to set new year’s resolutions for our personal goals, but there’s no reason why companies shouldn’t support this ethos. Asking each team member to set a motivational goal at the beginning of the year, that you and they can check in on every month or so, is a great way to engage people and have them work towards something other than their day-to-day organisational tasks. It may be to learn something new, go to a particular conference, or to shadow someone. It does not have to be part of their development plan but must be something that means something to them personally, like getting involved in the organisation’s corporate social responsibility events or supporting a particular charity or cause.
  • Prioritise wellbeing. 2022 was an arduous year for a lot of us – cost-of-living worries are following us into the new year, as well as increased stress levels and increasing levels of burnout. We at OrgShakers prioritise supporting wellbeing in the workplace, not just as a moral issue but as a key business driver. We understand that it makes sense to actively and consciously enhance employee wellbeing rather than having to keep fixing issues arising from overwork and stress. Adopting the January ‘reset’ mindset means making wellbeing a priority from the get-go. Consider as an organisation what you can do to create a culture of wellbeing, how you might change last year’s working practices to create the conditions for employee wellness in 2023 and see the business benefits that will follow this. Einstein said that the definition of insanity was ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. What can you change as a leader, and as an organisation, to create a more engaged and healthier workforce?

A strong start to your business year can make all the difference and engaging in a January reset will have big business benefits. If you would like to discuss these and other ways to create this reset, you can get in touch with me at pamela@orgshakers.com

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

The holiday bonus is carrying a lot more weight this year. With financial concerns at an all-time high, many employees may find themselves eager to receive an additional monetary gift more than ever this holiday season. And while WorkNest found that nearly a third (30%) of employers are planning on giving staff one-off bonuses, this still leaves a majority of companies who either do not have the means to offer one or have not considered it.

However, an end of year bonus doesn’t necessarily have to be money. Whether you are a small organization who cannot afford to offer gifts, or you would like to give something a little different this year, here are some fun and cost-friendly alternatives to show employees gratitude this time of year:

  1. Gift card and handwritten note – it does not have to be a high dollar value, but it will still help leaders convey appreciation for their teams. A small Starbucks gift card and an accompanying, individualized note can easily put a smile on someone’s face, especially when they treat themselves to a holiday beverage.
  2. Or even just a card – if the budget is very tight, even a heart-felt card to each member of staff helps to show the appreciation being held for them. Taking the time to write each one and add in a unique detail will demonstrate how well a manager knows their employees and will make them feel seen and valued.
  3. Get creative – Leverage your creativity and gift something handmade to your employees this holiday season. If you are a business that operates remotely, use your design skills by putting together fun, personalized backgrounds for each team member. Use the background to showcase positive feedback or accomplishments highlighting employees’ most impactful achievements throughout the year. Handmade gifts are one of the best ways to show gratitude for your team. The time dedicated to each individual’s gift speaks volumes about your commitment and appreciation.
  4. Virtual holiday party – if the budget for an end of year staff party is tight, then why not consider hosting it online? Encourage those that wish to attend to slip on a quirky jumper or ugly sweater, change their Zoom or Teams background to something from their festive beliefs and host a virtual game of Jeopardy or Who Wants to be a Millionaire? to get everyone involved. Check out our tips and tricks for hosting a fun and appropriate holiday staff party here!
  5. Host an awards ceremony – Take a new twist on things. A team awards ceremony is a great activity that can be done in person or online. To coincide with awards season, why not set up your own mock red carpet? Whether you deck out with a buffet and drinks or just keep it simple, this is an innovative way of showing gratitude to your team and gives you the opportunity to have a good laugh as a team with fun awards!
  6. Or, if you do have more of a budget…there are a variety of things that can be offered in exchange of a monetary bonus that can prove to be more thoughtful and sincere, while still being relatively budget friendly. For example, planning an activity to do together, such as a curated beer/wine tasting (in person or virtual!) or something more physical (bowling, escape room). And, if you are a remote company, there are plenty of virtual experiences that everyone can take part in – this could be anything from a virtual cooking class to an interactive online murder mystery party.
  7. Make it meaningful – Those looking to give back to the community whilst providing a cheery team building experience this season should consider stepping away from the office and volunteering together. Employees can appreciate the time away knowing it’s for a meaningful cause. Another idea is using a service like Packed with Purpose, which allows employees to curate their own gift box full of a variety of goodies while supporting a variety of social and environmental causes. So, while the gift is thoughtful and individual, it is also having a positive social impact. Demonstrating the company’s alignment with personal values is becoming more attractive to talent, especially across the younger generations in the workforce. Something as simple as making a donation to a charitable organization of an employee’s choosing can go a long way, as it shows how important their social values are to you as an employer. Opting for these more meaningful gifts that give back is an excellent way for companies to demonstrate the investment that they have in their employee’s social values.

Whichever way an organization chooses to show their appreciation for their employees this holiday season, there is one key piece of advice that leaders need to remember:

It’s all about the messaging. As with any reward or recognition, the communication which accompanies the gift is very important. Ensure that any gift, activity or experience substituted for a monetary reward clearly expresses gratitude and shows how you have your employees’ interests front of mind when choosing them. Happy employees will lead to healthy business – and this is the ultimate goal.

If you would like to get in touch or need further guidance on how to approach an end of year bonus, you can contact me at alisa.cardenas@orgshakers.com

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

As the festive season settles, whispers of the staff holiday party will begin to circulate. A tradition amongst many companies, it is a chance for managers and team members alike to spend some sociable time together without the pressures of work. It can be a great night, but to ensure there are no incoming HR hazards, here are a few tips and tricks we have put together to keep things fun, festive, and appropriate:

  1. Keep cultural traditions front of mindDecember is home to many religious festivals, not just Christmas. So, when hosting your staff party, try to be mindful to the diversification of your staff – if you know that there are some who celebrate different festivities, such as Hanukkah or Bodhi Day, then try and incorporate these into the party in some way. This can be as simple as having a variety of decorations from each faith, or incorporating some fun activities from the different holidays (a menorah ring toss can really bring the competitive spirit!). This will ensure that everyone who is participating feels properly included.
  2. Speaking of participation…not all staff will want to attend a holiday party. Whether that be due to prior engagements, not wanting to be around alcohol or simply being introverted, it is important to emphasise to your team that attendance is not mandatory. That said, making the event as inclusive as possible will result in the best turnout!
  3. Exchanging gifts – many employers may want to do a fun gift exchange – whether that be a game of secret santa or white elephant – and this can be a great way of bringing the team together and bonding over some fun. However, it is important to make this a voluntary venture. With the cost-of-living crisis hitting us all this year, some people may not have the means of participating in extra gift giving, and so ensuring that it is known that this is voluntary will help stifle any shame someone might have about not wanting to play. And, if you are a remote company but still wanted to do a gift exchange, you can participate in White Elephant Online by sharing your screen to still get involved with the fun.
  4. Easy on the eggnog – if you are offering alcohol at your end of year party, be sure to have included a set amount in the budget for safe transportation home for all employees. Whether this be through giving everyone Uber credit or reimbursing for train tickets, leaders have a responsibility to ensure the safety of staff. Similarly, when drinking, be sure to make it clear that a certain level of conduct still needs to be maintained.
  5. Show appreciation – a great addition to any holiday party is for leaders to find a way to show how much they appreciate everything their staff has done for them and the company throughout the year. This can be as simple as giving everyone a card, or a small goody bag. Or, if money is tight, it could be in the form of a fun gimmick – if you are serving food at the party, all the managers could be the servers for the night to flip the hierarchy!
  6. It doesn’t have to be a ‘party’ – an end of year celebration can be expensive, and in financially straining times, it can sometimes be difficult to find the means of putting a party together. But this does not mean you can’t come together in different ways. A great counter option is volunteering as a group at a local food bank or charity – the gift of giving back is always a rewarding one, and can help unite you as a team.

However you end up celebrating with your employees, the best things to take away are to be inclusive to all and to make your team members aware of how much you value them. This is a great opportunity to strengthen interpersonal bonds and bring colleagues closer together, and to let your hair down! If you need advice and/or guidance on hosting your holiday party, you can get in touch with me at brittany@orgshakers.com

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

The holidays can be a trying time. At a time when you are expected to be jolly, you may find it shameful to feel anything but that.

And yet, the reality is that this time of year can be difficult for some of us, for varying reasons. For one thing, loneliness at the holidays is always a big concern. With all the festivities that are happening around us, especially Christmas, there is this connotation of inclusiveness and togetherness that can be a stark reminder for some of their own lack of company. The holidays have come to symbolise family, and so for those who may have fractured familial relationships or have lost loved ones, it can be difficult not to feel a sense of shame or embarrassment to have to admit to your own isolation. Research conducted by Mind confirms this, with over a third of people (36%) being too embarrassed to admit they are lonely at Christmas time.

There are also those who may be suffering with religious trauma. This time of year can be very triggering for those who have been brought up in strict religious households but have been on a journey of faith deconstruction into their adulthood. Being forced to take part in religious-based traditions in order to see their family can leave them feeling emotionally drained, and can lead to them feeling the need to pull away during this time.

And lastly, this year is particularly hard on us all financially. The commercialisation of Christmas is a consistent reminder that this is a time for giving and spending, but with the cost-of-living crisis touching the majority of us – Go.Compare Energy found that one in six UK households will not be putting up lights this year to save money – this can lead to increased feelings of stress and guilt at not feeling you are able to provide a ‘perfect’ Christmas. More than two in five people have reported feeling stressed during the holiday season, and just over a quarter of people (26%) say that the Christmas season actually makes their mental health worse, according to a YouGov survey.

Inevitably, all of these stresses and wellbeing concerns are going to leak into working life – so how can employers look to offer that little bit of extra help during the holiday season?

My biggest piece of advice would be to actively ask questions and actively listen to what your staff have to say. When in a managerial role, it can be very easy to fall into the habit of asking closed questions to staff, such as “Do you have any plans for Christmas?”. Nine times out of ten the answer will be ‘yes’ even if that is not the truth, so managers need to take it that next step further. Follow up with, “Oh, what are you up to?” – this immediately signals that you are genuinely interested and want to listen, and therefore you are now more likely to receive an honest answer.

Supporting the financial and emotional wellness of your staff can be difficult – you may already feel like time is escaping you – but placing that focus on your team members is a pillar of the managerial role. Even if you don’t have the answers, showing that you care enough to ask the right questions can make all the difference.

It comes down to taking accountability for your staff and making that effort to be self-aware during what is a potentially trying time for some members of your team. Making them feel comfortable, safe, and like they can confide in you will promote openness in your workplace culture and help ensure that performance can be maintained, as well as your staff being properly supported. Even if it is something as simple as sending out a group text or email on Christmas Day – it’s not a necessity, but one minute of your time could make someone feel that little bit less lonely amongst the festivities.

If you would like to discuss these topics further, you can get in contact with me at therese@orgshakers.com

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

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