7 Surefire Employee Morale Killers

October 28th, 2016 Comments off
Office life: business team during a meeting

As a small business leader, one of the best investments you can make is in the engagement and morale of employees. Disengaged employees are more likely to call in sick, perform poorly and can cost companies thousands of dollars a year in lost productivity. If you’ve noticed an increase in absenteeism lately or an overall sense of gloom in the workplace, you may have a morale problem. Take a moment to consider what could be causing this disengagement. Below are five surefire morale killers that could be infecting your workplace.

Playing the blame game: Mistakes are inevitable in any workplace. Part of being a manager is accepting that mistakes happen and using them as opportunities to improve. Unfortunately, some managers refuse to accept responsibility for their workers’ mistakes and pass the blame on someone else. Not only does that take a toll on a person’s morale, it instills fear in the workplace.

Being dishonest: While you may feel the need to keep employees in the dark about certain things, it’s never okay to outright lie to them. Making false promises — about pay raises, promotions or time off, for example — will come back to haunt you. You will lose your employees’ trust and respect, and it’s hard to motivate people who don’t trust you.

Threatening jobs: Threatening your employees’ jobs in order to motivate them will almost always have the opposite effect. Rather than feeling driven to perform well, they will be distracted by feelings of fear, anxiety or resentfulness for being made to feel disposable. Not only will this take a toll on morale, it will hurt productivity and lessen the quality of their work.

Providing no direction: You may think you are giving your employees freedom by staying “hands off,” but not providing any sort of direction or clarity around their jobs or what’s expected of them can cause frustration and stress.  particularly when, if they make a mistake, they are reprimanded for it.

Micromanaging: Where some managers are too hands-off, being too hands on can be just as detrimental to morale. Employees need to feel that you trust them, which will never happen if you’re constantly looking over their shoulder and telling them how to do their job better.

Never saying thanks: While berating employees for mistakes can be a surefire morale killer, never telling employees when they do a good job can be just as bad. Employees aren’t mind readers. If they are doing a good job, tell them so. While you shouldn’t feel the need to compliment your employees for every small thing or go overboard with extravagant rewards, it’s important to let them know they are appreciated. A sincere gesture that says “thank you” and lets them know their work matters can do wonders for morale.

Holding employees back: Do you discourage employees from trying new pursuits or taking on projects that fall outside of their normal responsibilities? These are instant morale killers. People want to work in a place where they feel their ideas are appreciated and their talents utilized. Encourage employees to bring new ideas to the table or pursue projects that interest them even if they don’t necessarily fall into their normal duties. Giving employees room to explore their passions will make them more passionate in their jobs and about their work.

Want more advice and resources for building your small business? Learn about the essential elements of a standout recruitment strategy. You can also sign up to get the Small Business Recruitment-in-a-Box toolkit, compliments of CareerBuilder.

44% of Workers Have Gained Weight at Their Current Job

April 11th, 2016 Comments off
weight gain

The office candy bowl. The free after-meeting leftovers. The inactivity of sitting behind a desk for eight hours. It’s no surprise that workers across the U.S. feel like they’re packing on the pounds on the job.

According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 55 percent of U.S. workers believe they are overweight, and more than 2 in 5 say they have gained weight at their present job.

Workers say the top contributors of their workplace weight gain include:

  • Sitting at the desk most of the day – 53 percent
  • Being too tired from work to exercise – 45 percent
  • Eating because of stress – 36 percent


Some employers have taken notice and have put wellness initiatives in place to promote healthy office living. Still, while a quarter of employees (25 percent) have access to such employer-sponsored wellness benefits, including onsite workout facilities and gym passes, 55 percent of this group does not take advantage of them.

What Does This Mean For You?

Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder, says that while workers are becoming more health conscious, high-stress work environments and longer workdays make it difficult for employees to find time to act on their wellness goals. So, the onus is on employers to encourage workers in their pursuit of a healthier lifestyle. “To make wellness at work a priority, companies should emphasize its importance from top leadership down and focus on engagement, motivation, support and strategy when implementing new programs,” Haefner says.

Doing so will only lead to better employee morale – and give workers more of a reason to stick with your company in this increasingly competitive market.


6 Budget-Friendly Ways to Engage Your Employees

November 30th, 2015 Comments off
6 ways to engage employees without breaking the bank

Thanks to an improving labor market, people are feeling more comfortable exploring their job options – which means companies are having to work that much harder to retain top talent and keep them engaged.

As the CEO of a staffing firm, I know there are countless reasons for staffing firms to keep their recruiters engaged and happy, not the least of which is the fact that the recruiting industry has a notoriously high turnover rate. It’s also been found that longer recruiter tenure leads to better relationship development with clients and candidates.

There are extravagant ways to keep employees engaged. Though my advice draws from my own staffing-specific experience, what I’ve found to work for us can really work for any type of business.

Here are six of my tried-and-true tips:

1. Set the tone.

It’s not all about offering free lunches or half days on Fridays. Rather, it’s about the culture and ensuring employees feel valued and respected. If you develop a culture of hard-working, driven people, make sure your recruiters fit that mold. Invest in them early, before they even start contributing. Encourage them to attend conferences and seminars. Show them there’s always room for improvement and more to learn about this business, no matter what level they’re at.

2. Give staff your time and confidence.

Share techniques that have made you successful. Talk to recruiters about their candidates and clients, and have companywide meetings to discuss job orders and difficult placements. Brainstorm creative ways to fill roles. Encourage your recruiters to ask candidates and clients new questions. Role play and offer tips along the way. Perhaps most importantly, make this a part of your weekly routine.

3. Get to know people on a personal level.

Recruiting firms are fast-paced, but don’t just talk about work all the time. Take time to ask about employees’ kids or spouses. Find out what school they went to or where they grew up. Text them on their birthdays or anniversaries. Let them know how much you appreciate their hard work. Showing you remember the little details really goes a long way.

Don’t eat lunch in your office! Try eating with others in the break room. Or, bring a staff member out to lunch sometime (it would make their week). Encourage the firm’s upper management to develop relationships with newer recruiters. At large firms it’s difficult to do this, but when management take a few minutes out of their day, they’re showing employees they’re invested in them.

4. Start a mentorship program.

Pair new hires with experienced, successful recruiters. I always make sure our mentors work in a different department from their mentees. That way, they can share a unique perspective. Pair a recruiter with a member of the finance team; put a scheduler with member of the marketing team. Encourage the pairs to collaborate and see how the different parts of the machine come together. Mentors and mentees should meet once a week for 6-8 weeks. Encourage them to grab a cup of coffee or go for a walk, and to discuss everything from the new hire’s role to what’s going on in their personal lives. When mentees have someone they can confide in right from the time they start at your company, they’ll feel a part of the culture.

5. Celebrate everything.

Clap, cheer, fist bump and congratulate someone when they do a great job. Whether it’s winning an award, placing a candidate, getting a new client or hitting a sales goal, share that information with the company, team or department. Send companywide emails encouraging one another. If you’re not getting excited over every single win, you’re losing your passion, and that will rub off on your employees. When something exciting happens outside of the office, celebrate that too! If an employee gets engaged, send them a card and flowers. When someone buys a house, send a small housewarming gift. These gestures go a long way.

6. Mix it up.

Have employees sit somewhere other than their desk from time to time. Put a salesperson next to a recruiter, or an office assistant next to a scheduler. Encourage recruiters to listen to each other and talk about the candidates and clients they’re working with. This will give them a better opportunity to get to know one another and allow them to see how other departments operate.

One more thing…

Increasing engagement doesn’t need to break the bank. When staffing firms are engaging and supporting their recruiters and helping them succeed, they’re creating an effective workplace culture where recruiters will want to stay and grow.


Like this? Read up on other opportunities to make a difference in the staffing industry at www.opportunitiesinstaffing.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tom Gimbel is the Founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing and recruiting firm headquartered in Chicago. Gimbel is an expert on organizational development, securing a job and hiring successfully. He’s been featured on CNBC, The Today Show, Fox Business Network, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Fortune Small Business and Crain’s Chicago Business. Gimbel holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado and is on the Board of Directors at Ounce of Prevention. He is an active member in the Young Presidents’ Organization, Economic Club of Chicago, American Staffing Association and Entrepreneurs’ Organization.


1 in 5 Workers Will Spend Thanksgiving With Colleagues This Year

November 24th, 2015 Comments off
Fruits, berries and laptop on the autumn background

Thanksgiving is traditionally a day set aside to spend with family, and for more and more Americans, that includes their work family. According to CareerBuilder’s annual Thanksgiving survey, 20 percent of workers say they will celebrate the holiday with co-workers this year – either at or outside of the office – up only slightly from 19 percent of workers who did so last year.

Why? Well perhaps, like Steve Martin in the greatest holiday movie of all time, they miss their flight home for the holiday. Or maybe, like 1 percent of Americans, they actually prefer their co-workers’ company to their family’s (understandable in some cases).

Then there’s the off chance they work for Martha Stewart and can’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy molasses-and-cider glazed turkey with rye-and-black-walnut stuffing, followed by deep-dish dried-apple and cranberry pie atop a festive Thanksgiving doily table runner.

Also a possibility: They’re stuck with them. According to the survey, 22 percent of workers will have to work on Thanksgiving, an increase from both last year and 2013 (16 percent and 14 percent, respectively).

But even though 91 percent of workers would rather spend the day with family, given the choice, 8 percent of workers say they would make like Kelly Taylor picking between Dylan and Brandon and choose neither.

The survey also provided a closer look at the workers planning to celebrate with co-workers, breaking the results down by age groups, industries and geographic regions.

  • While relatively steady across employee age groups, celebrating Thanksgiving with colleagues is most popular among workers ages 25-34 (26 percent say they will), followed by workers ages 35-44 (22 percent of workers say they will).
  • Broken down by industry, more than 1 in 4 health care workers (28 percent) plan to celebrate the holiday together, followed by sales (23 percent). Interestingly, only 13 percent of leisure/hospitality workers say they will see their colleagues on Thanksgiving, down from 24 percent last year. (Perhaps there was some drama there?)
  • Looking at regions of the country, the South sees the highest percentage of workers breaking bread together, with over a quarter (27 percent) of workers planning to spend the holiday together, followed by 18 percent in the West, 16 percent in the Midwest, and 14 percent of workers in the Northeast.


Four Ways to Maintain Employee Morale During the Busy Holiday Season

Even if they do not have to work on Thanksgiving Day itself, the stretch between November and December can be a stressful time for everyone, and it can take a toll on employee morale and productivity. Help your employees get through the holiday season with the following tips.

  • Let them flex. When possible, let employees choose their work hours during the holiday season, trade shifts with other employees or give them the option to take another holiday off if they’re working on Thanksgiving.
  • Make little gestures a big deal. Small, frequent tokens of appreciation – from a $5 Starbucks card to a handwritten thank-you note to coupons for local services – can go a long way toward showing employees that you appreciate their hard work and brighten their day.
  • The fastest way to an employee’s heart. Never underestimate the power of free food to boost moods and lift spirits. According a recent survey by Seamless, 60 percent of employees say having food at the office makes them feel more “valued and appreciated,” and nearly half (46 percent) said food perks would increase their satisfaction with their employer. To boost morale during the busy holiday season, consider treating employees to free lunch or dinner when days get long, providing gift cards to local restaurants or throwing a holiday potluck.
  • Make them say, “Aaaah.” The holidays are undoubtedly a stressful time, and in turn can take a toll on employees’ physical health. Consider inviting a massage therapist or yoga instructor to the office to help employees de-stress and rejuvenate. Or reward them for their hard work with a gift card to a local spa.

What Workers Want to Change About You – And What to Do About It

March 5th, 2015 Comments off
Change direction

Like the burn book from “Mean Girls,” employees have dished on what they don’t like about their managers in a recent TINYpulse report from TINYhr. In the study, “New Year Employee Sentiment Report,” respondents were asked, “If you could change one thing about your manager in the new year, what would it be?”

The top five answers given were:

  • Become a better, more open communicator – 15 percent
  • Have the boss quit or retire – 11 percent
  • Improve empathy and people skills – 10 percent
  • Increase raises – 8 percent
  • Become a better collaborator/team leader – 7 percent


What does this mean for you?

While monetary recognition made the list, it didn’t crack the top three, and three out of the five answers focus on how bosses communicate and interact with their employees.  This goes to show that a little more communication, transparency and team building can go a long way in boosting employee morale.

The next question in the study explored what employees would do if the tables were turned.

When asked, “If you were promoted to be your boss’s manager in the new year, what’s the first thing you would change?” the top five answers given were:

  • Fire, demote or improve the caliber of employee – 16 percent
  • Establish standards for behavior and company policies – 11 percent
  • Improve communication – 11 percent
  • Improve wages and benefits – 10 percent
  • Modify working hours – 9 percent


What does this mean for you?

Interestingly, the top answer related to cleaning house and removing “dead weight,” so to speak. This shows that employees are not only invested in their own career, but they also want to surround themselves with people who are also devoted to doing their best work.

As the study points out, “peers have a huge influence on workplace satisfaction, and greater weight should be put on who is hired … and who is fired.”

The study concludes by saying, “You have a great deal of control over your employees’ desire to stick with you or run for the hills. Take stock of what they’re asking for in the new year, because you can be sure your competitors are.”

What changes have you been making to improve employee morale this year? Tell us in the comments section or tweet at @CBforEmployers.