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5 Tips for Spreading Holiday Cheer to Employees

December 18, 2018

The most wonderful time of year can often be the most confusing for employers looking to bring holiday cheer to the office. It’s usually a busy time for everyone and sometimes it can be a lot of work for not a lot of reward, but no need to bah-humbug. Here are some ideas, including the ever difficult to answer gifts for employees question.

Employee gifts

 

Gifts for employees change with the times because the economy is always changing and people’s preferences for the gifts they want to receive change. Some might think, a gift is a gift, when in fact nothing could be further than the truth. There are parameters. Some gifts may even have the opposite reaction of what you intended. We’ve all had that “gift” from a relative or someone that didn’t seem like a gift at all. It may feel like more like a joke, or worse, a burden that you feel you need to outwardly appreciate, but you really don’t.

 

First off, a gift is a gift. If you’re basing it on performance it’s a performance bonus. If there are no strings attached, it’s a gift. That’s not to say that all gifts must be equal, but they should come from a good place. Forget about giving out company branded SWAG, that always ranks as one of the most hated gifts.

 

What do most employees want? Ask them and they’ll tell you they want cash. They may appreciate the gesture of fruit, gift cards, or motivational books. When it comes down to it when you ask if they would have rather had cash the answer is usually, yes. The great thing about cash is it’s easy. The problem with cash is it’s impersonal. It’s not always fun to give and sometimes easy to forget when it’s from your employer.

 

Education Loan Finance for Business can help out here in a unique way because you can give them something that has the power of cash, with added sentiment and thoughtfulness. You can help pay some of their student loans for the month. By providing a yearly contribution to student loan debt it is the same as giving cash, but it tells employees you understand. It shows that you understand the financial obligations they have and you want them to be in a more financially secure place. They can use the extra money they don’t have to pay loans with, on their holiday gifts, or they can pay down their loans even faster. It’s a win-win.

 

Not every employee will have student loans obviously, but it’s a great option for those that do. For the rest? What employees seem to love most is a choice. That may seem a little impersonal, but really it’s not. Say you offer, cash, a gift card to a nice restaurant or an extra day off next year. Employees who get to choose what they want will be happy because they were involved in the process. Happy employees mean fewer complaints and that can help make the holidays a little happier.

 

Educational Lunch

Around the holidays many people become stressed about finances due to gift-giving and popular shopping days. Something you can do as an employer to ease stress for your employees is to set up a financial education lunch. This type of lunch would be great before the holidays to share some budgeting tips and ideas. Have a local banker, partner, or client come in and share their top tips for the holidays. Cater the lunch and allow employees to ask as many questions as they’d like during the sessions. If you want to make it fun try giving away some surprise gifts for those who attend.

 

Remote Working Days

As the holidays draw near, the workload of employees will continue to get bigger. Consider offering your employees some remote days around the holidays. This will allow employees to work from home saving time on commuting and they can get more of their own personal chores done too. If you cannot permit employees to work from home try offering flexible working hours. Any additional flexibility that can be offered during the holidays will have a large impact on employees.

 

Let your employees share in the giving or not.

 

Whether it’s a secret Santa, white elephant, or a grab-bag, most offices have some sort of gift exchange. This can be an easy way to have fun that doesn’t take a lot of time. Put a strict limit on cost, usually $20 or less and let it be known that you don’t have to participate. No one likes to be forced into a secret Santa or some sort of gift giving organized by their employer.

 

Share the company’s edible gifts and let employees share their treats.        

 

Sometimes vendors, clients, or partners will send gifts to management, often in the form of edible treats. Why not open it up to everyone to share in the goodies? It doesn’t cost anything. Additionally, invite employees to share their holiday treats if they want. You’ll find that a lot of people enjoy sharing their favorite things about the holidays as much as they do getting gifts. You could even host a holiday lunch where employees are invited to bring in their favorite treats.

 

Regardless of how your company chooses to proceed through the holidays, it’s important to keep in mind your employees. It’s best to facilitate an environment where workers like to come to work. Though it may seem counter-intuitive to spend money on educational lunches or remote working days, these can help to ease employee stress. Employees who are stressed less will do better work and be more willing to stay to get work done.

 

Five Things Millennial Employees Look For

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2019-09-28
Down to Business: 5 Perks That Today’s Employees Demand

Perks have generally been regarded as nice-to-have additions to an employee’s basic salary and benefits package. Offerings such as flexible schedules, tuition reimbursements, employee discounts, and gym memberships have been seen as the icing on the cake that may sway a prospective hire to choose one employer over another. However, younger employees are regarding some desirable offerings by employers not as perks, but rather as essentials. Here are five perks that fall into this category.

1. Flex Time

Today’s employees don’t see the world in black or white or nine to five. Studies show the following:
One way to make the workplace more appealing to today’s workers is to do away with the rigid procedure of tracking work hours and vacation days. The only metrics that should matter are the productivity of staff members, how well they accomplish tasks, and team member morale. As long as employees do their work, a company shouldn’t care when or for how long they’re in the office.
  • Flex Time for Family - Employees should be encouraged to take time off when necessary. This includes providing the opportunity for new parents to stay out of the office for four to eight months following the birth or adoption of a baby, or to care for a close family member with a serious health condition. Another good idea is to offer reimbursement of expenses related to adoption or surrogacy.

2. Telecommuting

Today’s employees are rebelling over being forced to make a long commute every day, pay tolls, or cope with overcrowded and inefficient public transportation. One survey on telecommuting preferences found that nearly 90 percent of the US workforce would like to “telework.” Telecommuting two to three days a week was regarded as the sweet spot for a balance of working alone at home and collaborative work in the office.

3. Help with Student Loan Payments

Most young people starting out on their career paths are burdened with student loan payments. With that in mind, one perk that should not be overlooked is the potential to help your employees pay down their student loans. Student loan payments can eat into a worker’s paycheck for years and years, and worrying about them may affect their job performance. However, ELFI for Business can introduce you to several ways your company can help your employees pay off their student loan debt. Call us at 1.844.601.ELFI for more information on this innovative new program.

4. More Autonomy

Today’s workers don’t want to be micromanaged. Companies should recognize that autonomy is a basic psychological need, and the more autonomous their employees feel, the more likely they are to be engaged. Many studies show that more job independence leads to a workforce that is more content, healthier, and more productive.

5. More Time Off

The notion that you have to work at a company for five years in order to earn an extra week’s vacation time is regarded as outdated by today’s workforce. Millennials care more about having some adventure in their lives and less about money. Companies should consider offering non-monetary lifestyle bonuses such as:
  • Three weeks of vacation time from day one.
  • A day off on an employee’s birthday.
  • An earned bonus vacation week around an appropriate holiday.
  • A fourth week of vacation after someone has been there for three years.
  • After five years, eligibility for Summer Fridays off.

The Perks to Companies

There are very tangible benefits to companies that offer their employees flexible work options, telecommuting, assistance with student loan debt, more time off, and greater autonomy. These include the following:
  • Longevity – A study found that 86% of workers would commit to a company for five years if that company helped pay off their student loans. Moreover, millennials are likely to stay in a job for more than five years if their employers provide some flexibility about when and where they work.
  • Job satisfaction – One survey revealed that 90 percent of participants felt that more flexible work arrangements would boost their morale and increase their job satisfaction.
  • More productivity - It’s a simple equation: Happier employees leads to more engaged and productive employees.
  • Recruit more easily and quickly - A flexible work policy will improve a company’s recruitment metrics. One survey discovered that 77 percent of job seekers put flexible work schedules at the very top of their list of perks when evaluating job opportunities.

Join the Workplace of the Future

Job satisfaction is essential to a company’s overall success, which is why it’s crucial to offer perks that top talent are looking for. To learn more about how to make your workplace attractive to today’s employees, read The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, by Ron Friedman, an award-winning social psychologist and author. Then, contact ELFI to see how ELFI for Business can help your team attract and retain top talent!
NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.
2019-08-14
New Ideas for Business Recruitment

Have you been noticing that your recruitment strategy may be somewhat behind the times? Still using traditional ways to fill your vacancies, such as newspaper ads, college recruiting, job fairs, and the same old job board? Although these recruiting channels will produce some hires, there are much more effective ways to find the best talent for your company. Here are some recruitment strategies that you might want to consider going forward.   

Improve Your Employer Brand

Your employer branding is your business’s reputation as a place to work. It’s the way your company is perceived by your employees, not your customers. This is perhaps the most important element to consider if you want to attract, hire, and retain great talent. First-class
employer branding is not easy to achieve because it requires significant investments of both time and money in your employees. However, it’s important to realize that today’s job seekers are not just looking for high salaries. They want a stimulating work environment and a great company culture.   

Make Use of Data

There is a business maxim that says you can’t manage what you don’t measure – and when it comes to recruiting, there’s a lot to measure, including: candidate response rate; application completion rate; qualified candidate rate; time to hire; cost of hire; and more. Using these metrics, you can learn what’s going well and what needs to be improved.   

Ditch CV Hiring

It takes a lot of time to read through hundreds of resumes and cover letters, and many applicants will have inflated their qualifications and experience. Instead, make it super easy for a candidate to apply online and then give them a short skills test or a series of tests. Software is available that will automatically pre-qualify candidates as they apply via the test.   

Use Niche Job Boards

You have to sink your recruiting line into the right pond to catch good fish. Niche job boards specialize in specific fields. You’ll get fewer candidates than with larger, more general websites, but the candidates may be better qualified for your niche job.   

Encourage an Employee Referral Program

Instead of searching through hundreds of applicants via job boards, you can recruit your own employees to do some searching for you. A referred employee is often a better quality hire because the person who has referred them has a good understanding of what qualities are needed to fill the vacancy. You should offer a reward if an employee brings someone great to your team. This incentive could be in the form of cash or extra days off.  
  • Host a Meetup - Another way to involve your current employees in the recruiting process is to host a meetup or get involved in a networking event that’s already been organized. Send out some representatives from your company and let them spread the good word about working for you. Include some free merchandise to give out to attendees. 
 

Don’t Overlook Passive Candidates

If you don’t hire a top candidate quickly, they will be gone from the job market fast as another company snaps them up. However, the good news is that there is no shortage of passive candidates (i.e., people who aren’t actively looking for a new job). According to research, 85% of global employees would be happy to change their position for a better opportunity. Your mission as a recruiter is to get into your target audience’s line of sight via whatever means possible.   

Reach Out to Previous Employees

Rehiring someone who has worked for you before may be a good idea. A prior employee may be the perfect candidate for a different role or a new role higher up the ladder. Look for past employees who have acquired new skills and gained work experience while working for other companies. You can benefit from the training and experience gained while they were away.  

Don’t Forget the Perks

Although perks might not be top of the list for someone considering the employer branding of your company, perks do show that you care about your employees. Here are a few suggestions.  
  • Raising salaries once or twice a year when goals are met.
  • Offering a significant number of paid vacation days.
  • Opportunities to work remotely from home.
  • Provision of a free laptop to take home. 
  • Offering retreats every year. 
  • Payment for gym or other sports club memberships.
  • Reimbursement for new glasses or contact lenses. 
  • Free e-books on any work-related subject. 
  • Bring your dog to work day.
 

ELFI for Business Program

Our innovative program can help your company recruit and retain top talent. One feature of this program is a student loan solution for your employees. A high level of student debt is a big concern for young professionals. In fact, an ASA survey found that 86% of them are prepared to commit to a company for five years in return for some assistance in paying off their student loans. Click here for more information.    Improved recruitment practices lead to better quality hires, shorter time to hire, shorter onboarding, lower turnover rates, and less recruiting expenses. Contact us to learn more on how we can help you recruit and retain employees through the ELFI for Business Program!     NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.
2019-07-24
How to Retain Millennial Talent

The Pew Research Center informs us that millennials (ages 22 to 37) make up the largest share of today’s workforce. Millennials offer a lot of value to a company because they tend to be highly educated, comfortable with technology, and willing to learn new things. However, the average millennial worker remains with a job for only three years or so. With that in mind, it’s important for your company culture to appeal to your millennial hires so they’ll decide to stick around for the long haul. The question for companies then is: How can we make our company attractive to millennial employees? And how can we keep them? Here are some insights into what millennials are looking for in the workplace.

 

Above All, Millennials Want Opportunity

Millennials regard jobs as opportunities to learn and grow, and they have a strong desire for career development. A Gallup survey found that an impressive 87% of millennials rated career growth and opportunities for professional development as the essential aspect of a job. This contrasts with 69% of non-millennials who say the same thing. So, if you want to retain millennials, you need to take their desire for career progression seriously. Here are some ways to accomplish this.

  • Keep your employees updated on education and promotion opportunities. Institute a tier system based on knowledge with the ability to advance by getting new certifications.
  • Provide weekly training sessions to build teamwork and advance knowledge on a topic. Incentivize your team for a job well-done by providing rewards such as a surprise gourmet lunch at the office.
  • Notice and appreciate your staff when they’ve done an excellent job. Don’t wait until the six-month or yearly review to provide feedback. Create a process that allows for the consideration and implementation of your employees’ ideas and complaints, e.g., via monthly one-on-one meetings.
  • Talk to your employees face to face. Millennials want to communicate about their work and possible career advancement in person. When they question management decisions, they are not being disrespectful but rather seeking information. Engage with them in a conversational style rather than shutting them down or issuing an order.
  • Provide the necessary structure for a work project - meeting times, deadlines, etc. - but then let your millennials work things out without micromanaging. They want to be provided with work that they can “own” and run with.
  • Make sure they know the “why” of what you want them to do. Millennials need to understand why their work matters in the larger scheme of things.
  • Instead of losing your talented millennial employees to another company, allow them to switch roles within your company. It provides them with the opportunity to get new experiences and learn new skills. Plus, you’ll be building a pool of potential future managers who understand the inner workings of several aspects of your company.
 

Millennials Want a Company that Invests in its Employees

Depending on the job, this could mean providing the latest and greatest technological tools available in the industry. For others, it could mean offering a stipend or an allotted expense for travel to conferences or other events to further education. Often times this includes shares or stock options in the company. In other words, provide more than just a salary. 

 

Millennials Like Perks

Although perks may not be the main reason why millennials might choose to work for a company, they do like perks. Young married millennials are much more likely to stay with your company if, for example, you provide flexible work schedules or an on-site child care facility. Other attractive perks might be:

  • Free training or learning allowances
  • Sabbaticals
  • Mentorships
  • Mid-career internships
  • Flexible vacations
  • An allotment of days for remote work
  • Summer Fridays
  • Free gym memberships
  • Bring your dog to work 

The Hiring Process

Millennials appreciate transparency during the hiring process and throughout their employment. A job candidate wants to see if they are a good fit for the position and what their future with the company is likely to be. Once a millennial is hired, transparency should continue through regular assessments or check-ins with their supervisor. Nothing should be shrouded in mystery or corporate-speak that obscures or confuses.

 

Retain Your Millennial Team Members Longer

Millennials tend to leave jobs when they feel they aren’t appreciated or that their employers are not willing to be flexible. The cost of having your millennial talent leave is high. Your company has poured time and resources into training and development, so retention is an issue for your bottom line. Millennials don’t just want a job; they want to be highly engaged in what they are doing. Smart companies should find ways to harness this sense of mission or risk losing their brightest millennial talent to more purpose-driven companies. For an excellent overview of how to treat your millennial employees, read the free Epic Guide To Managing Millennials In The Workplace by Rob Wormley.

 

Learn More About ELFI for Business

 

NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites

Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.