14 Employee Well-Being Initiatives That Will Boost Engagement And Productivity  

Top coaches offer insights on leadership development & careers.  Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.


Forbes Coaches Council

Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership development & careers.

A growing number of U.S. businesses are shifting focus from employee wellness programs to well-being initiatives — more comprehensive health and productivity programs that tackle elements such as the workforce’s emotional and mental health, social connectivity, financial education, sense of fulfillment on the job, and many other aspects.

Workplace health and well-being programs not only have a positive impact on your employees’ wellness, they can also lead to a significant increase in your team’s engagement, cohesiveness and overall productivity. According to research, a healthy and happy workforce can reduce costs by more than $1,600 per employee, with reduced leave days caused by disability or unplanned sickness.

If you want your business to reap the benefits of having a healthy and happy team, check out these 14 employee well-being initiatives recommended by leading members of Forbes Coaches Council.

All images courtesy of Forbes Councils members.

Members of Forbes Coaches Council share the top ways organizations can look after their employees’ health and wellbeing.

1. On-Site Fitness Programs

Nothing is better for life balance, joy, longevity, health, and work productivity than physical activity. Any workplace can incorporate this when options range from sit-stand desks to guided yoga classes, stress management seminars, or full-scale on-site fitness centers. When staff is expected to stay in the office, employers can give them perks that make them feel better and perform better. – Laura DeCarloCareer Directors International

2. Flexible Working Arrangements

Not everyone can work from home effectively. But for those who can, it can lead to a huge boost in productivity and provide a mental and emotional break from a long commute and being in the office. If it’s appropriate for your work environment, give employees the option to work from home a day a week, and you have the potential to see a boost in productivity and morale. – Elizabeth SaundersReal Life Expert

3. Mindfulness Training

Mindfulness training is a great tool to help your employees relieve stress and feel balanced, but also increase productivity and focus on their day-to-day work. Mindfulness practices such as meditation, breathing, and yoga help employees be more present as well as enhance their efficiency. At the end of the day, implementing a mindfulness program is a win-win for both the employee and the company. – Monica ThakrarMTI

4. New/Working Parent Career Coaching

The challenges that dual career families face are becoming increasingly complex. Globalization and 24/7 technology take a toll on work-life balance. Companies that invest in new/working parent career coaching services, such as those offered by Life Meets Work, demonstrate a commitment to helping people integrate work and life in ways that can be fulfilling both at work and at home. – Jill HauwillerLeadership Refinery

5. Financial Education

I would say a great employee wellbeing initiative is financial education that is based on different stages of one’s life and career, as well as common situations that are faced at those stages. Money can be a huge burden that isn’t fully addressed beyond retirement planning. – Mike Ambassador BrunyNo More Reasonable Doubt

 6. Emotional Intelligence Developmental Training

It’s not enough to simply “discuss” emotional intelligence concepts to develop a mindfulness culture in the workplace. Strive to engage employees’ desire to elevate their “EQ” or emotional quotient by offering lunch-and-learn courses teaching practical exercises designed to enhance this muscle within. Superior EQ will heighten employee performance and increase productivity, all while reducing stress. – Rachel Lourdes MestreRachel Mestre LLC

7. Improv Training

Most people think of comedy when they hear “improv” and don’t realize that improvisation is a form of exercising the brain that improves mindfulness, active listening, collaboration, risk taking, confidence, public speaking, sales, conflict resolution and so much more. Laughter will also result, which reduces stress while improving rapport and trust with co-workers. – Gina TrimarcoPivot10 Results

8. Retirement Coaching

Retirement is a major personal and financial transition that many are unprepared to navigate. Companies offering coaching for life after the employment relationship ends stand to gain a lot. Such support can foster positive morale, encourage mindful career planning, and enhance productivity and efficiency until an employee is truly “retirement ready.” – Carroll WelchCarroll Welch Consulting

9. Access To Healthy Food

It has been said that “food is thy medicine.” Corporate cafeterias should provide access to organic, processed-free foods at a moderate cost. In warmer months, farmer’s markets should be on site. An integrative wellness program can teach others about how to eat healthy and provide proactive feedback on health and diet. – Rebecca BoslDream Life Team

 10. Snooze-Friendly Policies

Sleep is very important for employee well-being and productivity. Lack of sleep among the U.S. workforce costs the nation’s economy as much as $1 billion a year. Even a short 20-minute power nap can boost alertness, improve employee performance and contribute to the company’s overall growth. A nap could be the answer to success or performance flop. – Parul AgrawalViva La Coach

11. On-The-Hour Flash Walk 

Implementing an “on-the-hour flash walk” in the office is a fabulous way to stimulate creativity through movement. It provides both physical and psychological benefits to all who participate and may decrease healthcare costs in the long run for the company. A “flash walk” generates collective positive energy moving forward, to combat the strain of sitting or standing for extending periods of time. – Kris McCrea ScrutchfieldMcCrea Coaching 

 12. A Gratitude Practice

Gratitude in action. I have found that this practice yields a high level of awareness that may not have existed prior. Following awareness, actions begin to align with desired outcomes. The result is that gratitude turns into personal accountability. Move it into action so others can experience it, and organizationally, both mental and physical wellness are positively impacted. – Alexsys “Lexy” ThompsonTrybal Performance

13. Deep Sense Of Purpose And Contribution

Creating corporate social responsibility programs that engage employees in non-profit causes and educational development programs is key to experiencing well-being. Growth and success seem meaningless when there’s no purpose attached to them and no one else to whom we can give back. A fulfilling and healthy life is full of purpose and opportunities to contribute to others. – Mariana LacombeMarianaLacombe.com

14. Incentive-Based Trips

If you’ve explored The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Paul White, you know that employees and managers have so many different ways of feeling appreciated. Regularly-scheduled incentive-based trips can boost the morale and well-being of the majority of employees because these trips encompass the love languages of quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and financial gifts. – Daphne ValcinDaphne Valcin Coaching.


09 January 2017 –



Stuart Rock

We all know what an engaged workforce looks and feels like. It’s in the air. You pick up its distinctive hum from the moment you enter the office, factory or workspace. It’s in the way you’re greeted on the telephone, or receive a delivery, or have a query answered. There’s a crackle of commitment and enjoyment.

Pride in the organisation is evident.

Dig further and actually talk to people, and you’ll find that an engaged workforce is not just loyal but also full of great advocates: everyone knows their organisation’s mission, what it’s trying to do and how well it’s doing.

You hear inspiring stories about employees going the extra mile for colleagues and customers. You hear about improvements across a slew of key performance indicators. And you leave feeling that you could work there.

It’s not just the sense of job satisfaction, or the organisational commitment, or the sense of empowerment – it’s a heady combination of all three. But this is not alchemy. And it’s not a state that can only be achieved by other organisations.

Employee engagement can be measured; it can be correlated with performance; and it varies from poor to great. You can’t force people to engage. But you can create an environment that makes people want to engage.


If you think your employees aren’t truly engaged, you’re not alone.

A recent survey of more than 12,000 individuals, commissioned by Steelcase and conducted by Ipsos, found that over a third of workers in 17 of the world’s most important economies were disengaged. Another third were somewhere in the middle, “not working against their companies but not driving better business results either”.

In other words, a truly engaged workforce will be a source of real advantage. The business case for employee engagement was set out in the Macleod Report, published in 2009. It remains a bedrock document.

Picked up by David Cameron early in his premiership, it led to the formation of a task force to raise awareness and shine a light on good practice, and to the ‘Engage for Success’ website, which contains a wealth of resources related to engagement.


A healthy corporate culture is the breeding ground for high engagement.

Take London-based digital-marketing firm MVF, founded in 2009 by five men in a basement. Today, it employs more than 300 people and has opened an office in Austin, Texas.

This high-growth business uses proprietary technology, analytics and in-house digital-marketing smarts to generate leads and source new customers for top consumer and business brands.

From the get-go, the founders obsessed about culture and values. “In a startup, the culture is inherent in the way the founding group talk to each other, how they interact, and how they deal with their customers. It’s an innate set of values – it’s how the founders are,” says CEO and co-founder Titus Sharpe.

“As you grow, you have got to work out those values. When you are not all sitting in one room together, you have to codify them as a set.”

“We looked at several people in MVF and what they did differently to make them successful,” he continues. “We then distilled those findings to come up with our seven values. It’s absolutely central that everyone is clear about these core values – how they can embody them, and how these values contribute to our overall vision. We now hold to them for our hiring and promotion decisions. We award ‘employee of the month’ by values not deliverables. I talk about our values at every single town-hall meeting.”


Organisations that operate at the pinnacle of their profession will have highly engaged staff. Being the best at something – whether making high-performance engines or teaching receptive students – can’t fail to be exciting.

But what matters most is whether there’s a purpose – there has to be a cause. “If you want people to be engaged, be worth engaging with,” says Nigel Girling, a key member of the Engage for Success movement.

The work doesn’t need to be visionary. It can be mending drains. HomeServe, which provides home assistance and repair services, faced an existential crisis in the wake of a mis-selling scandal that emerged in 2011. It was a crisis that the company did not let go to waste.

From that low-point, when many staff simply couldn’t say what HomeServe did, a real sense of mission has been enshrined. Today, 95% of HomeServe employees say that what they do matters to people’s lives.

“We had to create an environment where people knew what to do and why they were doing it,” recalls chief marketing officer Greg Reed. “We involved our people in creating our customer and people values, meaning they have ownership of what we are trying to achieve.”


“You don’t need to have a charismatic leader,” says Girling. “You just need someone who can articulate what the organisation is trying to achieve.” And stay close. Don’t build barriers, physical or otherwise.

HomeServe Membership CEO Martin Bennett was identified as one of the highest-rated CEOs in the UK, after receiving a 95% approval rating on careers website Glassdoor, based on anonymous and voluntary reviews posted by current and former employees. He sits in the company contact centre and goes on customer calls with HomeServe engineers every month.


Open, honest communication is the fuel of highly engaged companies. “You can never communicate too much,” says Reed. Highly engaged companies communicate all they can, whenever they can, through whatever channels they have.

And they create new channels: last year HomeServe launched an internal TV show, Big Red Sofa, which is broadcast live every two weeks. HomeServe takes the time to give regular updates on the business strategy and the company’s values.

“Engaged staff tend to work in organisations that support two-way communication,” says the Steelcase survey. “Real-time information about the company is available and people are able to freely express their ideas.”


Websites such as Glassdoor cannot be ignored. But it’s easy to get hung up on negative reviews. Company founders, in particular, can take comments very personally. They shouldn’t.

“An engaged company will listen and understand,” says Joe Wiggins, Glassdoor’s head of communications. “We are seeing reputation levels rise dramatically among those companies that are active users.”

At HomeServe, Greg Reed says that the company encourages its staff to use Glassdoor. He goes so far as to include recent Glassdoor reviews in his weekly communications.

“When issues appear in Glassdoor comments, we can act on them,” he says. “For it to work, you have to ask your people to go on it. People do Google your company before they decide whether to apply for a job. The site is now our digital recruitment front door.”


Stories create emotional connections. “A story should be the living embodiment of the purpose and promise underpinning the company, one that grows over time but fundamentally never strays too far from the founding principles,” says Michael Hayman, co-founder of the Seven Hills PR agency and co-author of Mission: How the Best in Business Break Through. “It is the manifestation and articulation of the purpose that binds employees and consumers alike to a successful brand. Without narrative, customer loyalty, financial drive and employee motivation are all at risk.”

The classic storyteller is Richard Branson. He is the story of Virgin. He embodies the culture and approach of the company. Of course, few can match him for colour, flamboyance or longevity, but every organisation needs narratives like those offered by Branson, and they must be told and retold.

For the avoidance of doubt, ‘increasing shareholder returns’ is not a story.


Engagement and empowerment are inextricably bound.

“You must have leaders who trust their people and let them know that they are trusted,” says Girling. “Leaders must enable, rather than prevent.”

At HomeServe’s nadir in 2011, only 22% of staff trusted the senior managers, recalls Reed. Today, that figure stands at over 90%.

As trust has increased, so too has the quality of work. HomeServe conducts 75,000 repairs per month; in 2010, it received 86 Trading Standards complaints per month, but now it is four or fewer. And this is not the result of a complete change in personnel – 80% of today’s HomeServe workforce were there in the dark days.

The philosophy is simple: HomeServe believes that, if its people are happy, they will take care of their customers and the rest will take care of itself.

Today, the business is back in growth, with 2.2 million customers, and it is the ‘most improved company in the UK for customer satisfaction in the services sector’, according to the Institute of Customer Service.

HomeServe’s latest staff survey also shows a 28% uplift in engagement, to 84%, up from 56% during the crisis.

There’s another aspect to knowing your staff. MVF’s Titus Sharpe has a background in artificial intelligence. He’s fascinated by the application of data to recruitment. “We’re an incredibly data-driven company. To scale, we need to build data around every single process in HR to give us great people analytics. We’ll be using technology to tell us which people are more likely to be successful hires, and who will be the next to resign.”

So the algorithms of engagement are in place, if you want to use them.


“As our business scales, we have to come up with more ideas to break down silos or prevent them developing,” says Sharpe. This has become even more important since the company moved its office to a Victorian piano factory with several floors, thick walls and mighty iron doors.

It’s a beautiful conversion but it would be easy for people in one department never to see those in another. So Sharpe and his team are relentless in finding ways to keep internal engagement levels high.

“If someone wants to do anything – a tournament, a club, an event – that involves a group of people from across the business, we’ll fund it,” he says.


“The vast majority” of participants in Steelcase’s survey said their companies provided “twice as much fixed technology versus mobile options for work”. In other words, staff are tethered.

Some jobs require people to be at their desk most of the time, but, given the changes in how people work, it’s worth considering whether your workplace and technology strategies are aligned.

For the new generation of digitally native companies, the enterprise social network Slack is the platform of choice to enable employees to chat about work, share projects and store conversations. It provides a glue that holds employees together.

“As a technology solution, it has been phenomenal,” says Sharpe. “We’ve used it for 18 months now and it has been game-changing for us. It’s a brilliant way to share knowledge in real time.”


“Discretionary effort does not happen unless people have freedom to think and act,” observes Girling. Too often, that freedom is sacrificed on the altar of process and consistency.

An engaged business creates the culture and the systems that enable individual employees to respond flexibly and imaginatively, rather than simply going by the rules. Every day, HomeServe engineers and call-centre representatives find themselves dealing with the highly personal circumstances of their customers.

“There was a young engineer who came to fix the drains of a house occupied by a 95-yearold man,” recalls Reed. “During his visit, the engineer learned that the hot water had not been functioning for years. The kitchen kettle had been his only source of hot water. What should our engineer do? Simply do the work as set out by our terms and conditions and then leave?”

HomeServe’s answer is Customer First, a forum held every morning via videoconference. Anybody can participate. Funds are available to help solve the customer issues brought to the forum. In this case, HomeServe bought the necessary equipment for the pensioner and the young engineer installed it voluntarily on a weekend.

“Customer First is now part of the fabric of our business and it allows our people to really own the customer experience,” says Reed. “It means that our people can take other courses of action when ‘computer says no’. This is now such an integral part of HomeServe that it has become ‘just what we do’ here.”


When Jess Laporte and her MVF colleagues first saw fitness trainer Rory James working out in a nearby park, they thought it would be good to get him involved as a personal trainer for the company. She put together her case, which was assessed on how it would build engagement and benefit the business.

James was soon running two classes per week. The target was to “get fit for Ibiza” – the whole company was due to travel there as a result of hitting key annual targets.

MVF is packed full of twenty- and thirty-somethings, working principally from a single site. As perks, having a range of sports clubs and providing free breakfasts fits the culture. HomeServe, however, prefers to bring its people together for music festivals and Halloween celebrations.


Engagement is measurable, but measurement is not enough. Too many firms, says Girling, simply look for upticks in their engagement scores.

“You can get better at asking questions but that doesn’t lead to an improvement in engagement,” he says. Worse, he adds, the engagement score becomes a simple metric. “Greater engagement creates significant and sustainable improvement in performance. It can’t be reduced to sickness and absence.”

There is no single model for amazing employee engagement. You must build your own. But you have to start with a real belief that it is your staff who are central to your business’ success.

If workers are viewed chiefly as a cost on the balance sheet, all the perks, benefits and newsletters in the world will not genuinely engage them.

Stuart Rock is founding editor of Real Business, the UK’s first magazine for entrepreneurs, and the ‘Business is Great’ campaign

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The Importance Of People. #NewToHR

The Importance Of People

Employees have always been evolving. Each new tool or adaptation introduces a new way that employees can be managed in order to keep them happy.

The People Management team should be adapting by turning their teams into an ever more people-centric departments.

With so many different aspects to manage, HR has become a segmented department with sections devoted to specific areas of employee interest.

Sourcing of candidates still remains the basis of HR (without the recruiters skills in finding a great match for the company, the business would remain stagnant with no new talent to pull from).

Because of this, a lot of energy and a lot of time is put into building up the company in a way that is appealing to potential employees (employer branding). HR works with the rest of the departments, whilst the company itself introduces competitive offers that can be used to bring in the best of the best.

In conjunction with benefits and compensation, issues will inevitably arise merely from the fact that so many individuals from so many different backgrounds must work together within an enclosed area. Because of this, each employees’ issues must be listened to with the utmost attention.

A people-centric environment focuses on employees and making them the number one priority, the HR department becomes so much more than just an admin team.

  • They become the mediators and the voices of the people.
  • They are the face of the company to employees and by showing respect and generosity toward every individual, a community is established that inevitably leads to higher retention rates.

With the social shifts turning ever more toward the individual, the people management team must be sensitive to this and have the will to change to better adapting companies.

© New To HR

Seven Key HR Tasks That Will Set Companies Up For Success In 2018

HR executives across all industries offer leadership advice & insights.  Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.


Forbes Human Resources Council

  Successful HR executives from Forbes Human Resources Council offer leadership and management insights.

Human resources professionals were once seen as administrative aides who kept personnel records, coordinated training activities and played referee when employees were unhappy. In recent years, these hardworking individuals have gained the respect they deserve, and are now seen as an instrumental part of a business’s overall strategy.

One of HR’s most essential roles is weighing in on annual organizational planning, especially when it comes to talent acquisition and allocation. According to members of Forbes Human Resources Council, here are seven key responsibilities HR departments should address to help their organizations succeed in the year ahead.

All photos courtesy of Forbes Councils members.

HR pros help you prepare for a great year.

1. Identifying Current Talent Assets And Gaps

Talent is key to organizational planning. At this time of year, we should be helping leaders assess talent needs and identify skills gaps, employees who are ready to assume greater responsibility and those who may not be ready for the challenges ahead. This will result in a people roadmap for the organization to start the year off strong. –Jennifer MarszalekHavas Chicago Village

2. Forecasting New Positions

It is very important to forecast new positions so they can be included in the staffing budget. It is key to haveHR assist in this process because now is a good time to analyze current positions and key players within the department that might fit into a newly created position, which might offer promotional opportunity for a current employee and cost savings to the departmental budget. – Charece Newell, MSILR, sHRBPSunspire Health

3. Employee Handbook Tasks

Because HR oversees employees, and employees are a company’s greatest asset, HR’s role is essential. HR should start by ensuring the employee handbook is up to date. Every few years, new issues arise involving technology or social media that didn’t exist previously. It’s important that HR keep employees informed of what’s allowed, and what can be harmful to them or the company. – John FeldmannInsperity

4. Aligning HR Initiatives With Business Strategy

As a strategic business partner, the annual planning process allows HR to align HR initiatives with business strategy. HR also can provide quantifiable and qualitative insights regarding workforce and succession planning trends that can impact business strategy and, in turn, propose recommendations to ensure that human capital talent is acquired and retained to achieve the business strategy. – Bridgette WilderMedia Fusion

5. Proactively Preparing For New Challenges

Preparing for the new year is an ongoing process and HR’s essential duties are to remain proactive. HR needs to continuously prepare for new laws, new obstacles and new company guidelines addressed throughout the year. Proactiveness is key to successful HR planning. Without a proactive approach to the new year, companies may find themselves scrambling to remain compliant. – Tiffany ServatiusScott’s Marketplace

6. Anticipating ‘What-If’ Scenarios

After partnering with F&A to align the workforce plan with budget, it’s critical there are ongoing milestone reviews against business performance, so what-if scenarios are anticipated. It is necessary forHR to help the company forecast, to be agile in a rapidly changing business environment. – Thoai HaLynx Innovation

7. Leading Conversations About Human Capital

The human capital lever is the most powerful variable during planning. HR must have the courage to lead the conversations around who has high potential, high performance and critical skills. They must partner with the business to determine spans and layers, org design and the total cost of workforce. Lastly, they must set an aggressive plan to not let any B or C players join the crew. – Philip DanaBridgepoint Education

How effective goal-setting motivates employees

How effective goal-setting motivates employees

December 27, 2017 – by Sabrin Chowdhury and Elizabeth Hioe

Nobody likes annual performance reviews. Even high performing employees can be demoralized by rigid or arbitrary goals. But what if you could find a way to flip it – turning the annual performance review process into a positive moment where employees feel empowered to learn and grow?

While goals have long been used as a quantitative measure for employee performance, many organizations find that the goal-setting process takes a huge amount of time and is, frankly, not very effective. However, when done correctly, goal-setting can help improve employee engagement in a way which elevates performance and benefits organizations overall, according to recent McKinsey research.

Setting goals can be as challenging as meeting them. Here are three things to keep in mind when establishing effective employee goals:

  1. Involve employees from start-to-finishThe purpose of goals is to help employees improve – naturally, it makes sense to include them in the entire process. Securing employee buy-in allows you to help develop their short- and long-term goals, and increases the likelihood that they will be achieved. Managers should jointly develop goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, results oriented and time bound). Doing so inspires commitment and allows individuals a sense of ownership in achieving their goals. Encouraging employees to set stretch goals also helps push performance and serves as a motivator for ongoing development.
  2. Link individual goals to business objectivesOf companies who have effective performance management systems, 91% say that employees’ goals are linked to business priorities. The explanation is simple: employees will be more effective if they can see how their individual goals fit into the big picture. In recent years, there has been an uptick in the number of companies linking organizational business goals to functional business objectives, and converting those into team-performance goals. This encourages accountability and better performance as individuals grasp the direct impact of their performance.
  3. Adapt goals in real-timeGoals should never be seen as stagnant, but dynamic and evolving. One common mistake is setting goals at the beginning of the year and forgetting about them until review season. As realities fluctuate throughout the year, failing to revisit goals can be demotivating. That’s not to say goals should become moving targets, but rather that they should be adapted as the environment changes. At one multinational company McKinsey works with, for example, targets are updated if the assumptions used to set them change unexpectedly. This has helped establish a performance-management system that helps motivate performance.

Goals don’t have to be the bane of your employees’ existence. When done properly, setting goals can improve commitment materially and help clarify an employee’s role – the single biggest driver of organizational health.


image: https://cached.imagescaler.hbpl.co.uk/resize/scaleWidth/880/cached.offlinehbpl.hbpl.co.uk/news/OTM/Moneypenny-20180202122720274.jpg

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 02 Feb 2018

Do your staff love coming to work? Do they tell their friends to apply for jobs at your company? Do you trust each employee to be an ambassador for the firm? Creating an environment that empowers and engages workers is no mean feat but, at Moneypenny, the UK’s largest PA answering service, they appear to have it sussed.

The Wrexham firm has been named one of the Sunday Times’ 100 Best Companies in the UK to work for five times, placing fourth in the country last year. Co-founder Rachel Clacher shares how she and Ed Reeves created their company culture.


Moneypenny operates a flat management structure. Company news is shared with everyone – from the PAs to operations staff – at once, leaving no one out of the loop. Each PA is also trusted to manage their own breaks and rota. It all comes down to trust, says Clacher, which means there are no targets.

‘We have a dashboard which shows the number of calls, and hours logged on, and which lets staff compare their performance to their team mates,’ says Clacher. ‘They are self-regulating.’ This does mean that changes can take a bit longer to take effect. ‘Our leaders have to adapt to a very different management style,’ Clacher admits. ‘We don’t force changes through, we have a conversation.’


Moneypenny offers each of its staff an interest-free loan of up to £2,000 in case they run into financial trouble. The initiative was inspired by Clacher and Reeves’ experience as hard-up students. ‘We were penniless and needed somewhere to live but couldn’t afford the deposit on a flat,’ she explains. ‘A friend came to the rescue and lent us £2,000.’ This can be a life-changing amount of money, Clacher explains. ‘We treat our people the way we wanted to be treated.’


When Clacher and Reeves decided to build a new headquarters, they asked Moneypenny’s 600 staff to come up with the design. ‘They came up with the brief we gave to the architect,’ says Clacher. They requested: natural ventilation, plenty of natural light, an open plan office, and no hot-desking – everyone wanted their own space. ‘They also wanted a tree house meeting room, and an English pub!’ says Clacher. ‘It’s called the Dog and Bone and we’ve now become licence-holders. It is open Thursday and Friday evenings, manned by volunteers from the company.’


Whenever a member of staff goes the extra mile, or wins extra business for the firm, Moneypenny gives them a flower. This is no ordinary bloom: it can be exchanged for £10 to spend on their team. ‘The desks are bursting with these flowers around the office,’ says Clacher. ‘Then they get spent on anything the team wants to do and people start growing their bunches again.’


Moneypenny offers its staff breakfast, fresh fruit and regular exercise classes, all for free. Zumba and hula hooping were among the popular classes held at the office. But Moneypenny goes a step further, offering bonuses to staff that don’t take a sick day in a six-month period. ‘It’s a culture of carrot not stick,’ says Clacher. ‘We see a real return on investment too. We have no recruitment costs because we never have to advertise for staff. We’ve had 4,000 unsolicited CVs sent to us in the last six months.

Read more at https://www.managementtoday.co.uk/5-ways-build-company-people-love-work/reputation-matters/article/1456151#B5MQcGYeh6Gvugzy.99

3 Lessons From Google’s HR Policies

Impraise blog

Have you ever looked in envy at an article online and seen the incredible, bright, and colourful workspaces Google’s 70,000+ employees enjoy on a daily basis? I have too…Creating innovative workspaces is only scratching the surface when it comes to Google’s revolution of Human Resources, or People Operations, as it now known. We will delve deeper to uncover what Google have done to transform its human resource processes, have one of the highest rates of employee retention in world, and have some of the happiest employees.


First, some background; based in Mountain View, California, Google is the largest and most popular search engine in the world. Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin with the singular aim to “organise the world’s information and to make it universally accessible and useful”. In the (almost) 20 years since it was founded the tech giant has become synonymous with innovation, and has become known for its unique work culture and human resource policies. It has been named the No.1 “Best Company to Work for” by both Fortune magazine and the Great Place to Work Institute a total of 7 times. Google once again received this accolade for 2017. This is no accident; Google is deliberate in its actions and does not do things by chance. As a data driven company, Google makes calculated decisions for everything it does; including its HR policies.


Focus 1: Thirst for Data


Google as a company, is part of the knowledge economy. Its human resources; the people who work within the company are the most important determinants of Google’s ongoing success and growth. Like most tech companies, Google’s workforce is comprised mainly of young people, and a large number of Millennials; with an average employee age of 29. This is considerably young when compared to the US workforce’s average age of 42.2. As a result, this youthful workforce is instigating change, as these employees demand a different type of work environment. However, Google’s employees are not the only driving force behind Google’s innovative ‘people processes’. As a tech company, Google uses data to inform all of its decision making, including its HR processes. Essentially, Google uses people analytics to navigate their people management practices. Nothing is done solely on gut feeling, or in accordance with outdated HR policies of the 80’s and 90’s which still plague many companies to this day. Instead, data informs all of their decisions. By adopting this scientific approach to its processes; from improving employee retention, workplace collaboration, diversity, to hiring algorithms which indicate which prospective candidate has the highest probability to succeed at Google. “All people decisions at Google are based on data and analytics”. The goal is to … “bring the same level of rigor to people-decisions that we do to engineering decisions”. Nothing is left to chance.


Focus 2: The Happiness Project


I have self-assigned the term “Happiness Project” to Google’s attempts to make life easier/better for its employees. Google makes it its mission to remove all barriers so that “Googlers can focus on the things they love both inside of and outside of work”. By putting the health and happiness of their employees first, they get more out of their employees, their employees are happy and contented, while they produce the stellar results that continually propel Google to even greater heights.


Google is very aware that having happier employees benefits them greatly too. When compared to other leading multi-nationals; Google’s employees outrank employees from every other company in terms of $value of their productivity and profit generation. The average Google employee generates more than $1.2 million in revenue each year. Yahoo currently produces just $449,000 per employee, and Microsoft $783,000. “This level of productivity has pushed Google stock into the stratosphere, with share prices recently topping $1000—no small feat, given that Google only went public in August 2004 at a price of $85”.


Like everything at Google, happiness levels too, are monitored and researched; with data driving new directions and policies. A particular internal group known as PiLab carries out these experiments and plans its human processes in accordance with its findings. This research includes determining the most effective approaches for managing people and maintaining a productive environment (including the type of reward that makes employees the happiest). Google have also notably increased the health of its workers by lowering their calorie intake at work by relying on such scientific data; and an experiment which decreased the size of its canteen plates.


This focus on employee happiness and health extends beyond the world of work. Google’s ‘Pay-for-Performance’ compensation package provides considerable compensation for strong performers and coaching and training for underperformers. On the job learning, training sessions from experienced managers, as well as inspirational talks from famous people such as Sen. Hillary Clinton and Lady Gaga help to inspire its workers. Google also provide gourmet meals to all of its employees. All of these perks create a happier, healthier, more engaged workforce with high company morale.


Focus 3: Management Style


Like its hiring policies and people pleasing perks, the driving force behind Google’s management styles is also no accident. It is driven by extensive research and, yes, you guessed it, data analytics. Google launched ‘Project Oxygen’ in order to assess how its managers were doing, and to suggest future training and coaching when inadequacies were uncovered by the performance management process. Google came to the realisation that if managers are effective they do not need to build a lot of training infrastructure. Project Oxygen, uncovered 8 traits that Google managers, ranked in order of importance must possess:

1. Be a good coach

2. Empower your team and don’t micromanage

3. Express interest in team members’ success and personal well-being

4. Don’t be a sissy: Be productive and results-oriented

5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team

6. Help your employees with career development

7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team

8. Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team

Another interesting feature of the management culture in Google is that, essentially, the buck stops with a manager. Employees are encouraged to be innovate and try new things; however if they endeavours do not pan out as expected, instead of scapegoating the individual employee; it is instead seen as a failure in management. While many of these skills may seem arbitrary or unimportant, I promise you if your managers leave and work by these rules, you will have happier, more productive, more engaged employees.


What to take away?


While most companies are not on the same scale of, or have the resources available to them as Google, there are still many lessons that can be learned from Google’s innovative HR process. Perhaps the most important piece of advice would be to look after your people. Happier employees are more likely to go above and beyond, and do the very best for their employer once they feel valued and appreciated.


Additionally, it’s time to stop the mindset that other firms (regardless of size) have that Google is not a competitor to companies not working in the IT sector, as that’s simply not true. Like the New York Yankees in baseball or Barcelona in football, Google is a talent magnet. Google attracts and retains the top talents in each industry from IT to marketing, sales, sustainable development, engineering and more. It is this ability to hire and retain the best talent that accounts for Google’s continued success and dominance on the world stage. If you would like to learn more about how to evolve the culture of your organisation, then download this white paper.