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How and why to create an awesome company culture committee

Taking company culture seriously at your organization can be a massive undertaking. This is because there are so many implications to understanding what your culture looks like (and what it means for your current staff members.) Creating a company culture committee can be the perfect way to take steps toward creating a more defined workplace culture.

Today’s article will walk you through what you need to know to form one of these essential committees at your organization.

What Is a Company Culture Committee?

First, let’s start by defining what a company culture committee is. Essentially, these committees form to ensure that different voices are heard when companies make decisions that impact workers.

Different organizations may have unique use cases or activities for these groups to run. These committees look different based on the organization’s size, the funds the group has, and how engaged staff members are.

To summarize, having these committees should prove valuable for companies that want to improve team member bonds.

Why You Should Create a Company Culture Committee

Next, let’s cover why you should create a company culture committee. As you are trying to get leadership buy-in, pointing to some of the benefits of the committee will help you sell this.

Thoughtful committee creation can have profound positive effects on organizations. Here are some things you can expect when you invest in a company culture committee:

Committees Help You Represent the Interests of Different Employees

As your organization grows, it should become far more diverse. It can be challenging to represent the needs of a diverse group if you aren’t actively talking to a variety of employees.

Most committees are built with representation in mind. You might choose to create committees based on gender, race, department, or any number of demographic factors. These committees will help you understand how people from a wider audience feel (or they can’t point you to where to find more information.)

Company Culture Committees Ensure That Your Organization Is Making Progress on Culture Goals

Having a goal to improve company culture is one thing. The next step of forming a committee ensures that you have employees who can hold you accountable.

Once you’ve created SMART goals related to company culture, you can share those goals with your committee. After that, encourage your team to look over your goals and ask about the deliverables you promise.

For instance, if your goal is to have 6 company culture events per year, your committee can keep you honest. Are you planning and holding these events every year? If not, you are missing your goal. Your committee can be in charge of the actions taken once you miss a goal deadline.

On the other hand, your committee can also work with you as you set up company culture goals. Since their committee will be devoted to culture, it makes sense that they help you with goal prep. Either path creates a better culture for your workplace.

Company Culture Committees Look Good to Outside Parties

As you are trying to reach outside investors, recruit new employees, and improve your company’s brand, company culture committees can look amazing.

How does that work? Simply put, people love when organizations value their workers. As a result, your engagement rate will likely be higher than other organizations in your space. Overall, your company can expect positive rewards from creating and advertising company culture committees.

How to Create a Company Culture Committee

Now, you’re probably wondering how to create one of these committees. Again, it’s simpler than you think. Here are some tips to help you out.

Understand the Demographics of Your Team

First, you need to understand the demographics of your team. If you want to represent your staff, you’ve got to know the makeup of it. Send a demographic survey to understand who’s on your team.

After you get your survey results back, you should be able to see any interesting trends you need to account for when filling out your committee. For example, you might decide to balance based on gender, age, race, etc.

However you choose to balance, take time to build a committee that represents your organization. You shouldn’t rush this decision.

Ask For Volunteers

Second, you want to ask for committee volunteers. Take some time to sit down and write out a few things about your company culture committee:

  • A thorough description of what the committee is tasked with doing.
    • Include items like the committee appointment period, how you will choose committee members, meeting times, etc.
  • A form that employees can fill out to express their interest.
    • Be sure to add a few questions to the survey so that you can vet their interest.

Don’t forget to promote this opportunity to your workers. Ask for volunteers at a couple of meetings to keep committees top of mind.

Don’t Forget to Work With Other Departments

As you are working to find volunteers, don’t forget to keep other company departments in the loop. Working on culture from a leadership perspective is amazing, but sometimes that can leave others out making it harder to get buy-in.

After you decide to tackle company culture with a committee, reach out to other leaders to understand how they want to interact with this process.

Set Aside Funds to Support the Vision of the Committee

Finally, companies have to put money behind cultural initiatives. Wanting a committee is just the beginning. If your committee doesn’t have the money to make the changes they need to make, they won’t get much done. After all, you want this committee to be more than lip service.

You don’t have to go bankrupt supporting company culture. For instance, you could give your committee a small $500-$1,000 budget per quarter. Then, your team can find a simple activity to organize for employees each quarter. Encourage them to find events that will make the biggest impact on company culture.

Conclusion

Company culture committees can make a huge impact on organizational growth. As your team expands, you have to find ways to keep everyone centered. Focusing efforts on learning from different workplace groups will help you lead better.

Are you looking for a place to market, manage, and measure your company culture committee community? Look no further than Workrowd! After you check us out, send us an email at hello@workrowd.com to see if we’re right for you.

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How intrapreneurship programs give you a competitive edge

Did you know that more than 50% of Gen Z-ers aim to start their own business? As organizations strive to capture the next generation of talent, understanding their needs and training them to take on leadership and innovation roles will be key. Today we are covering intrapreneurship programs and how organizations can use them to gain a competitive edge.

What Is Intrapreneurship?

To begin this conversation, we first have to define what intrapreneurship is.

An intrapreneur is a leader who works within the confines of your organization to innovate instead of starting their own business. These employees will use company resources to brainstorm and create new products and services.

Organizations need intrapreneurs. Otherwise, companies can become stale or simply follow the lead of other companies in their industry. Innovative employees help companies think of interesting ideas to try.

Post-It® Notes as an Example of Intrapreneurship

If you want to understand the power of intrapreneurship, look no further than 3M’s Post-It® Notes brand. Post-It® Notes started as a collaboration between two 3M scientists: Dr. Spencer Silver and Art Fry.

Dr. Silver worked on finding new adhesives at 3M. The adhesive used in Post-It® Notes wasn’t what most people were looking for. For the most part, people wanted stronger adhesives. The adhesive that Dr. Silver discovered held a light bond that could be taken off without damaging what it stuck to.

Art Fry, another 3M scientist and member of a church choir, was growing frustrated. Before these sticky notes, he was writing on tiny scraps of paper in his church hymnal. Unfortunately, these paper scraps weren’t very helpful because they would fall out.

Art Fry began thinking that the adhesive Dr. Silver discovered could be used for bookmarks. With further testing of how these notes could be used to communicate, Post-It® Notes began to take shape.

Now, Post-It® Notes is a huge brand underneath the 3M umbrella, with tons of products being sold every day. However, this innovative product wouldn’t have been easily discovered without intrapreneurship because 3M’s focus wasn’t on products with light adhesive.

Best of all, innovative employees like Dr. Spencer Silver and Art Fry stayed with 3M until their respective retirements in the 1990s. Companies that don’t encourage innovation could see these employees feel underappreciated, leading to employee turnover and/or a toxic workplace.

5 Intrapreneurship Program Benefits

Now that we understand what intrapreneurship is, let’s dig into some of the benefits of a program like this when implemented at your organization.

Intrapreneurship Programs Help You Keep Your Best Talent In-House

Entrepreneurship is easier to pursue now than ever before. The playing field continues to be leveled with easy access to information online. As a result, the future generation cares about owning their own business and chasing their dreams.

Your organization has a ton of powerful minds and innovative thinkers. The next step in their career doesn’t have to be finding another company that values them or working for themselves.

Organization leaders know the struggles of running a business. Your company has built a ton of working relationships and resources. Sharing those resources with team members helps them feel valued and keeps them inside your organization.

Intrapreneurship Drives Creativity and Innovation at Work

Creativity and innovation are essential to creating unique and interesting products and services for your target market. On the other hand, stale thinking leads to feeling and looking obsolete to current and potential customers.

When you let employees innovate and create things that are interesting to them, you could create a product that your customers were looking for.

Again, let’s go back to the Post-It® Notes example. Once they finally got these products into people’s hands, it blew them away and created viral growth for the product. As a result, 3M customers were able to purchase something simple that made their lives easier.

Intrapreneurship Strengthens Employee Engagement

When employees work on something they are passionate about, employee engagement increases significantly.

As your organization strives to improve its relationship with workers, try to offer projects that excite your team.

Focus on creating a balance of innovation and projects that need to be worked on to keep up with industry standards.

Intrapreneurship Programs Can Be a Recruitment Booster

As you try to showcase your organization’s strengths, consider how you support your team.

Highlighting your organization’s intrapreneurship program can be a wonderful selling point for employees who are struggling to choose between being an employee and an entrepreneur.

Let potential employees know that you value innovative thinking. For example, you could:

  • Show how employee feedback goes into each new product launch at your organization.
  • Feature innovative employees in recruitment material.
  • Create an employee referral program so that innovative employees can easily recruit their friends.

Intrapreneurship Can Bring in More Revenue for Your Organization

What was your personal introduction to the 3M brand? Most people would say Post-It® Notes was one of their first introductions to this company. From there, they probably checked out another 3M brand like Command™ or Scotch™. It all starts with being introduced to sticky notes.

Innovation within 3M introduced a flagship product that can lead to customers discovering other 3M-owned brands. Post-It® Notes made 3M more approachable to the average consumer.

If you are trying to bring in more money for your organization, give company employees a chance to innovate and research products that your audience will love. Your team members work with customers, listen to their concerns, and guide them through your products/services. If you are looking for a new product, your team is probably teeming with money-making ideas.

How to Make Intrapreneurship Work at Your Organization

So, how do you make intrapreneurship programs work within your organization? Here are a few tips:

  • Get company buy-in. Everyone needs to be on board (especially company leaders).
  • Set parameters on who gets the credit. Your intrapreneurship program won’t work if the organization takes sole ownership of the innovation without a nod to the employees. Set parameters around what happens if the innovation is successful.
  • Give employees time. Innovative thinking takes time. Product development isn’t easy. So you might have to invest some time and money before the project takes off.

Conclusion

Innovation at work is key to the continued success of organizations. Being an industry follower will not lead to organizational growth. You have to be an industry leader and stand out with interesting ideas. Intrapreneurship programs help take companies to the next level.

Do you want to create an intrapreneurship program at your organization? You could easily run the community behind this program with Workrowd! Reach out to us at hello@workrowd.com to see if our product is right for your organization.

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The dos and don’ts of Gen Z employee engagement

As members of Generation Z grow older, it’s important to think about how they’ll fit in at work. Creating a Gen Z employee engagement strategy is a great first step to making space for these employees. Today, we will talk about the dos and don’ts of making Gen Z feel like part of your work family.

Generation Z Basics

If we want to understand the dos and don’ts of Gen Z employee engagement, we have to understand the basics of who Gen Z is.

There has been quite a bit of research into who Gen Z is, but keep in mind that these ideas are subject to change. Many members of Gen Z are still in school and shaping their personal beliefs as we speak. For example, many Gen Z-ers are growing up during a global pandemic, which is sure to change how they think about the world. We couldn’t have predicted they’d go through this challenging time even a few years back.

Here are some fast facts so you understand the group we are talking about:

  • Generation Z started with those born in 1997. This means that the oldest Gen Z members are just 24 years old.
  • Gen Z is one of the most diverse generations to date in the United States.
  • They grew up when computers and technology were more widely available, especially for the youngest members of Gen Z.
  • Gen Z is well-educated as they are less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to go to college than previous generations.

Gen Z Employee Engagement Dos and Don’ts

With the basics out of the way, let’s talk about some of the ways that you can engage this next generation of employees:

Do: Create a Transparent Workplace

Generation Z enjoys transparency from brands they frequent. It’s not a stretch to guess that Gen Z employees want their workplaces to be equally honest. Transparency is essential because it helps employees trust the organizations they spend so much of their time and energy on.

Here are some ways to create transparency at work:

  • Start an internal newsletter to let employees know what’s happening in the company.
  • Create a weekly team meeting to discuss company issues and solutions.
  • Build a dashboard using your sales software to keep employees in the loop about numbers.

Don’t: Forget About Diversity & Inclusion

As discussed earlier, Gen Z will be one of the most diverse generations to date, especially in the United States. You shouldn’t forget about creating a truly diverse and inclusive workplace. Read up on some resources to become a better ally or think about empowering managers to drive diversity/inclusion. Both of these ideas will help drive your Gen Z employee engagement program.

Do: Create Mentorships to Improve Gen Z Leadership

Many Baby Boomers will be retiring (or reaching retirement age) soon. We have to prepare younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z for this workplace transition. Mentorship programs can be a fantastic way to engage Gen Z employees while helping pass down some of the knowledge older employees have gained.

As new employees join your organization, pair them up with a more seasoned buddy (preferably someone outside their department.) It’s so important for younger adults to have a breadth of friendships within the organization.

Don’t: Let Your Employees Go Too Long Without Feedback

Feedback is an integral part of the employee experience. Young employees need even more feedback because they don’t have a lot of experience. Your feedback can guide their career trajectories and ensure they are on the right path.

Make sure you put a reminder on your calendar to give feedback to your Gen Z employees often so they understand what an asset they are to your organization.

Do: Focus On Providing Great Financial Incentives

Let’s face it: many Gen Z staff members are entering the workforce during an unprecedented time. There has been so much going on in the world with layoffs and unemployment. Getting a job in this economy is great, and we have a duty as employers to be fair to our employees.

Providing financial incentives like health insurance, tuition reimbursement, student loan payoffs, help with moving expenses, etc., can really help your younger employees feel appreciated.

Don’t: Keep Employees in a Box at Work

Gen Z employees are just getting started with their careers, so don’t put them in a box. Moving up the corporate ladder might not be possible for Gen Z employees right now, but they can always make lateral career moves.

Let Gen Z workers explore and test the bounds of your organization. Moving to a different department, creating a unique role that includes all of their interests, or staying put/moving up or down in their current department are all equally possible moves for any worker.

Do: Build a Workplace Based on Values

Values drive organizational success. Most organizations have a set of values that inform the work they do. Gen Z needs to see that from you. Work on establishing a set of values that guide what you do at your company. Make sure that employees understand and live by the same set of values the organization holds dear. Before you know it, you’ll have a workplace where younger generations can thrive.

Don’t: Skimp on Technology

Last but not least, don’t skimp on technology. Generation Z grew up using technology almost every day. Many members of this group grew up with tablets, laptops, and phones nearby. Make sure that technology is a part of everything from hiring to firing.

For example, you could use a tool like Workrowd to create workplace communities and connect employees across your organization. Workplace communities are essential to keeping your employees connected around common objectives and interests.

Conclusion: You Can Keep Gen Z Engaged

Gen Z employee engagement isn’t as challenging as you think. Genuine care and appreciation for these bright and diverse individuals can speak volumes to new hires. By following the dos and don’ts highlighted in today’s article, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great place to work.

Are you interested in seeing if Workrowd can help you with your Gen Z employee engagement strategy? Send us an email at hello@workrowd.com to find out.

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7 ideas to make back to school easier for working parents

Providing support to working parents doesn’t stop at creating an excellent parental leave program. As back to school approaches for working parents, we have to be thoughtful about the perks we provide our employees. Keep reading for a deep dive into how you can help mothers, fathers, and other child caregivers on your staff.

Why Back to School Is Difficult for Working Parents

Back to school is a complicated time for many working parents. There is so much to do and new routines to learn. New school years typically bring new afterschool activities and experiences that kids want to be a part of. Parents want to be able to say yes to their children. Working a 9-5 while kids are getting adjusted to their new schedule isn’t always a walk in the park.

Eventually, busy parents learn to balance responsibilities and get back to normal at work, but you can probably expect the first few weeks of school to be rocky.

7 Ideas to Make Back to School Easier for Working Parents

Having employees with families is amazing. Employees have families when they feel financially and emotionally supported. It’s a great sign that your organization makes employees feel safe. So, how can you improve this experience at work? Here are some ideas to help get you started.

1. Give Employees Flexibility While They Figure Out Their New Schedule

During the first few months of the school year, flexibility should be your top priority. Consider letting employees work from home or create a hybrid work environment for employees during this time.

Encourage working parents by adjusting your late policy as parents get their children acclimated to going back to school. Working parents shouldn’t have to feel rushed if they aren’t needed for an important meeting.

You could also adjust leave policies to ensure that parents have time to pick up their kids and get them proper care. During this time company parents might have a split schedule (for example, parents might work 9 AM-3 PM and 7 PM-9 PM.)

2. Let Working Parents in Management Tell Their Story

Employees model what they see. If your team sees employees talking about their families and adjusting to their kids going back to school, it will help them own their stories.

For instance, you could start a thread in your company’s digital community space around being a working parent and what you are doing to start the school year. Shared learning is a great way to get other leaders to share their stories while making these conversations public for the entire company to see/hear.

3. Provide a Dependent Care-Focused FSA

Flexible spending accounts or FSAs are a great company perk. There are several FSA options, including medical, dependent, and home office FSAs.

If you have an FSA program, consider adding a dependent care component so that working parents can spend money on their children. Many dependent care FSA options give working parents the ability to pay for before/after school care, babysitters, daycare, summer camps, etc.

Using a flexible spending account is great because you get to contribute pre-tax dollars. This is a helpful arrangement for parents because they were already paying for childcare, now they get to pay fewer taxes because they use an FSA.

4. Create an Employee Resource Group for Working Parents

Employee resource groups are another fantastic employee perk. Working parents can learn so much from each other if they work together. ERGs create networks among your employees. For instance, an ERG for working parents might help set up a babysitting schedule, parties for kids, or any number of activities. We all need a bit of a helping hand sometimes.

5. Send Out a Fun Gift for Working Parents

Who doesn’t love a fun gift to start the school year? If you want to support your working parents, send them a useful gift to get them excited. Here are some interesting ideas your organization can use:

  • Week of laundry service.
  • Gift card to their favorite restaurant or delivery service.
  • Basket of snacks the family can enjoy.
  • School year planner to keep everyone’s activities straight.
  • Date/solo night out for parents on your team.

Anything you can do to treat your parents as they are going through transitions at home is wonderful.

6. Encourage Managers to Chat With Parents About Their Current Workload

It can be challenging to mention what you need help with. Your working parents might be drowning in back-to-school activities, and their managers might never know. Instead of letting your parents suffer in silence, encourage managers to reach out proactively.

Keep tabs on when your employees’ kids go back to school. Then, right before they go back to campus, encourage managers to talk with their working parents. Ask questions like:

  • What do you need from the company to balance your current workload?
  • Are you in need of any financial assistance or resources to help you take care of your family right now?
  • When would be a more convenient time for you to start and end work while your kids are in school?
  • Are there any processes that you do manually that we could automate to save time in your day?
  • What have other companies done in the past that made you feel more supported as a parent?

7. Make Sure Employees Know You Are There for Them

Above all else, your employees need to know that you are there for them. Parenting isn’t an easy task and, amazingly, your employees trust their job enough to have kids. How can you further show your team that you are there for them no matter what?

As parents get ready for back to school, send them a quick video or message showcasing your support. Make sure that you’re letting your team know about all the help and resources that are available to them. Show up before they ever need to ask you for something.

Conclusion

Back to school time shouldn’t be challenging for working parents. Companies should be willing to give a little as parents and their children adjust to new routines and schedules. Your parents need your support during this time of the year.

One of the best resources you can offer mothers and fathers is a resource group dedicated to working parents. You can use Workrowd to offer this community to your team. If you are interested in our software, send us an email at hello@workrowd.com to see if we’d be right for your team.

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20+ resources for becoming an ally in the workplace

Becoming an ally to women and communities of color in the workplace isn’t easy, but it’s fulfilling work. There is so much to learn about, and you want to make sure that you aren’t putting the onus on underrepresented colleagues to teach you. Today, we wanted to walk through a few interesting books, movies, and podcasts you can turn to time and again. So let’s talk through what it means to be an ally along with 20+ resources to help you on your journey.

What Does It Mean to Become an Ally in the Workplace?

First, let’s walk through what it means to become an ally to women and colleagues of color in the workplace.

One of the most helpful definitions of ally comes from Merriam-Webster: “one that is associated with another as a helper: a person or group that provides assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity, or struggle.”

It can be hard to give an exact definition to the word ‘ally’ because they change every day. Sometimes allies need to be more vocal; sometimes quiet support is appreciated. Either way, underrepresented groups at your company can find value in having great allies at work.

20+ Resources to Help You Become a Better Ally

So, where do you start if you want to become a better ally? You can start by educating yourself with books, movies, and podcasts. Then, once you’ve done some work, you might want to reach out and have conversations with staff members at your organization.

Let’s begin walking through some helpful resources:

Books to Help You Become a Better Ally

First, let’s uncover some interesting books that you can lean on to become a better ally to people of color. There are so many books that can help you untangle the interesting relationships we have with race in the United States (and the world.) Here are a few books to help you get started on your journey:

  1. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age Of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  2. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
  3. Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  4. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
  5. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  6. Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
  7. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
  8. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
  9. So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  10. Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt

Movies/Documentaries That Can Help Your Team Support Each Other

Next, let’s walk through a few movies and documentaries to help you grapple with these issues further. If you are a visual learner, these resources are a great place to start.

  1. 13th
  2. Just Mercy
  3. Time: The Kalief Browder Story
  4. Hidden Figures
  5. The Hate U Give (also a great book!)
  6. On The Basis Of Sex
  7. When They See Us
  8. Eyes On The Prize
  9. If Beale Street Could Talk
  10. Selma

Podcasts You Can Listen to if You Want to Hear More Stories

Next, let’s go through a few podcasts. Podcasts are great because they act as frequently updated resources you can continue to listen in on. In addition, these podcasts often feature conversations with stellar thought leaders in the diversity and inclusion space. Listen to a few episodes with thought leaders you love or topics that interest you. Before you know it, you’ll be able to have great conversations as an ally.

  1. Code Switch
  2. Women at Work
  3. The Diversity Gap
  4. All Inclusive
  5. Diversity: Beyond the Checkbox
  6. Inclusion Catalyst
  7. The Will To Change: Uncovering True Stories of Diversity & Inclusion

Discussions With Coworkers Can Open Your Heart

The last resource we’ll briefly mention is your coworkers. It’s important that you limit using your coworkers as a resource to protect their mental and emotional energy. Allies should get information from a variety of sources. If you are ready to have a more in-depth conversation, don’t hesitate to reach out to a friend at work.

During those conversations, listen deeply. Ask great questions and let your teammate know that you value their time and energy. It’s not easy sharing details about your experience with sexism, racism, or any -ism. Use this time with your colleagues wisely.

How Can You Act On These Ally-Building Resources?

So, now that you have all of these resources, how do you use them? Let’s walk through a few ideas to get you started.

Listen to Your Friends, Colleagues, and Experts (Really!)

First, you want to spend time listening to the people you are trying to learn from. When you hear things that contradict your reality, you might tend to interject or spend time crafting your rebuttal instead of listening deeply. This style of listening can be damaging because it puts both people on the defensive.

Instead, try getting out of your head. Listen with intent and absorb the information you are given. Summarize what you are getting from the person, and then act based on the correct summary. Listening isn’t always easy, but we have to respond based on a full set of facts.

Bring These Conversations up With Employees Who Look Like You

It can be challenging for employees to learn about diversity and inclusion from people who don’t look like them. If you want to be an ally, try starting these conversations with colleagues who share your same demographic makeup. This is especially important for allies who belong to well-represented groups.

Mentor Team Members Who Need It

Mentorship at work is essential. In fact, mentoring can be a huge positive for women and people of color. Don’t assume underrepresented groups will jump at the chance to get mentored by you, but if the situation arises, welcome it.

Host a Watch/Read/Listen-Along

Now that you have all of these resources, put some energy into hosting events with colleagues. You can easily host a watch/read/listen-along with your coworkers. Becoming an ally in the workplace is all about finding room for important conversations. Sometimes the easiest way to do that is by creating conversations through a book club or movie discussion.

Conclusion

Congratulations, you are on your way to being an amazing ally at work. Hopefully, today’s article gave you some food for thought as you consider what to learn about next.

One way to be a better workplace ally is to join an established employee resource group. If your organization needs help creating ERGs, start with a platform like Workrowd that helps you create employee communities. Do you want to know if we’re right for your organization? Send us an email at hello@workrowd.com.

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Team engagement ideas employees will actually appreciate in 2021

As your organization grows, you need to find new ways to keep your team excited about the work they do. Investing in team engagement isn’t as difficult as you think it is. Today, we wanted to share what team engagement is and offer some ideas to help you build a strong workplace.

What Is Team Engagement?

When it comes to employee engagement, it’s so important for departments or teams to be tapped in and excited about the work they’re assigned to do. You can take the most engaged employee and place them in a department they dislike, and you’ll see that your company’s work suffers.

Team engagement is about building a system where different groups within your organization thrive and feel highly connected to your company’s mission. Employees need to get along with each other and be positioned to drive business outcomes.

When it comes down to it, we are all working toward a common goal: ensuring business success by doing the job we were hired to do. If we are all aligned and working together, we can accomplish our shared goal more easily.

8 Team Engagement Ideas to Get You Started

So, now that we know the purpose of team engagement, how do we make it happen? Here are some excellent ideas to help get you started:

1. Make Sure Your Employees Are in Jobs They Love

There is a common business phrase for companies using the Entrepreneurial Operating System: Right people, right seats. The intent here is simple: get the people who understand your company culture into the right seat or job in your organization.

It’s a two-pronged approach. You need both aspects of this mechanism for your hires to feel engaged and excited about the work. First, they have to understand and love the company they work for. Second, they need to enjoy their work.

It takes time to get people adjusted to fit this methodology, but your employees will feel much more engaged once you get there.

2. Provide Flexible Work Opportunities for Employees

Flexible work is crucial today. As a result, many companies are leaning on hybrid or remote work to create a better work environment for employees.

The truth is that some of your employees don’t want to be in an office. It’s not because they dislike the company or their colleagues. These employees might have a family to take care of at home, or they may identify as introverts and enjoy time away from people.

Forcing employees to come to work when they aren’t happy is a recipe for disaster. If employees can work from home, let them. This will make your employees happier. Since team members can choose where they would like to work, employees at home/in the office will be more engaged.

3. Include Team Building Activities in Your Corporate Culture

As a leader, you have the power to create an environment where people want to come to work every single day.

You are responsible for creating an engaging culture at your company that is based on values your team finds important.

These values should be reflected throughout your entire business operation and serve as guidelines for building effective teams.

Team building isn’t just something your organization does to pass the time. When you use effective team building strategies, you can build an organization where workers trust that teammates have their best interests in mind. Trust is foundational to a fantastic company culture.

4. Provide Team-Centered Professional Development Opportunities

One of the most important things you can provide is professional development opportunities that allow team members to grow as individuals and part of a larger group.

You could provide these opportunities by offering a training program or seminar. Choose topics like leadership skills, personal growth, communication techniques, etc. These topics will help your team build skills that will improve their bond and working relationship.

It doesn’t have to cost much money; it just has to allow people to learn new ways to improve themselves while working together toward common goals.

5. Invest Energy in a New Product or Service

When did you last release a new product or service? New products and services allow your team to rally around something new and unique. There is so much learning and bonding that happens as a team is beginning to sell something new. Alternatively, you can put renewed energy into a product that you haven’t thought about in a while.

As your organization grows, putting intense effort into one aspect of your business can help your team bond. Of course, you should never release a product just to help your team connect, but it never hurts to be innovative if the result is a quality product.

6. Create a Stellar Employee Resource Group Experience

Employee resource groups are a helpful, cross-departmental investment for growing organizations. ERGs are a great way to improve your company’s employee experience while bringing people from different departments together.

Many organizations struggle when it comes to building effective resource groups for their team. However, it’s not as challenging as it might seem.

Start by looking at your organization’s demographics, then work with company executives to find motivated individuals to lead your new groups. Finally, you want to focus on the resources you give those employees. These leaders are doing you a favor by running these groups, so you want to support them however you can.

7. Promote the Best Company Leaders

Getting passed up for a promotion you feel like you deserve is tough. Unfortunately, many employees know that feeling all too well. Picking the right leaders to promote has a tremendous impact on team engagement.

For instance, you’ve probably seen a person you admire get stuck in a position that doesn’t play to their strengths. This person has played a large part in your tenure at the company, but management does not see it that way. Over time, this lack of promotion will impact you because you know how great this employee is.

You can imagine that most employees have a work friend/mentor that they feel makes an amazing leader. Over time, passing on these potential leaders can cause resentment among those employees (and the employees who adore them.)

The next time you consider promotions, think about the employees who have been neglected before.

8. Utilize Employee Engagement Surveys to Uncover Trends

Finally, let’s talk about employee engagement surveys. As your team grows, it gets harder to tap into what employees are thinking. You have to be able to uncover trends at a larger scale to make the best decisions.

Employee engagement surveys help you take the pulse of your entire team. Companies use tools like Gallup’s Q12 survey to understand how they can best support their staff members. If you have access to these scores over time, you will eventually be able to make big changes at work.

Conclusion: Team Engagement Is Essential

As your organization grows, you have to shift your mindset from employee to team. Today’s blog post can help you set up a team engagement program to help you start the process. Pick a few activities that speak to your organization, and implement them over the next few weeks.

Are you looking to build your team engagement strategy through employee resource groups? See if Workrowd is right for your team! Send us an email at hello@workrowd.com to learn more about our ecosystem of resources for employee communities.

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Empowering managers to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important topics for HR leaders and managers to discuss. However, there are several reasons why your leaders may have chosen to forego championing DEI at your organization. Whatever the reason, it’s in the company’s best interests to focus on empowering managers to drive these company-wide initiatives.

This article will go over a few tactics you can use to guide DEI discussions at work.

1. Focus on the Statistics

First, you’ll want to focus on statistics.

If your managers are like most, they’ll appreciate learning about any statistics you have about DEI. Numbers help managers understand the weight of the situation. How can improving diversity, equity, and inclusion drive growth at your organization?

Alternatively, seek inside statistics. For example, you could conduct a diversity, equity, and inclusion survey to see where your company stands on the issue. Managers understand the value of making their employees happy, which might encourage more managers to drive DEI.

2. Seek Inspiration From Other Organizations

Some companies are doing better than others when it comes to DEI.

Getting inspiration from other companies helps managers understand the bigger picture. As a result, these companies become a picture of diversity and something to aspire to in their own efforts.

You can help your team leaders by investing in tools like the Global ERG Network. Networks like this empower managers by giving them a community of supportive colleagues who are dealing with the same workplace DEI issues. When a manager is a member of a network like this, they can learn from the mistakes and wins of other leaders.

In addition to networking with other companies, competitors can be a great resource as well. Your managers want to be able to stand out above the competition. Show company leaders how competitors are moving DEI initiatives forward. Before you know it, more leaders will be on board.

3. Provide the Right Monetary Resources to Invest in DEI

Have you adjusted your budget to factor in DEI needs? Your goal of empowering managers will be hard to reach without the right financial investment.

For instance, let’s talk about hiring diverse employees. Prior to beginning your DEI journey, you might have spent time going to career fairs at the private schools your company executives attended.

If you are truly invested in diversity and inclusion, you have to widen your recruiting methods.

Are you providing the right monetary resources to make changes that will improve diversity at your organization?

Here are some ideas you might want to consider:

  • Moving away from unpaid internships.
  • Widening recruitment methods.
  • Paying employee resource group leaders.
  • Offering remote or hybrid work opportunities.
  • Adding diverse holidays to the company holiday calendar.

4. Set SMART Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Goals

Next, you’ll want to set SMART goals.

Above all, we know that managers respond to well-defined goals. As an organization leader, it’s time to put some of your thoughts into an actionable plan that empowers managers.

What are SMART goals, exactly? SMART goals stand for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

Each goal you set needs to follow this framework to be helpful to your team.

Here is an example of a DEI-related SMART goal:

Achieve a 20% increase in the diversity of our applicant pool in one year.

So, does this meet the SMART goal criteria?

  • Specific: This goal asks us to increase the diversity of our applicant pool. It could be clearer on what type of diversity the company is looking for, but it’s pretty specific.
  • Measurable: At the end of a year, we should be able to measure the diversity of our applicant pool against last year’s number.
  • Attainable: Goal attainability can be hard to determine. This goal should be attainable if an organization looked at their numbers and put proper resources behind this goal.
  • Relevant: If you are interested in improving diversity, this is relevant.
  • Time-Bound: We have one year to make this goal a reality, so it’s time-bound.

Other SMART DEI Goals:

Now that we know what a SMART goal looks like, let’s walk through some other potential SMART DEI goals.

  • Create 3 employee resource groups for underrepresented populations in our organization by the end of the quarter.
  • Improve the score of question #4 in our annual inclusion survey by 10% next year.
  • Try out 3 new recruiting methods during our next seasonal hiring push and compare results against our typical methods.
  • Improve our careers page to feature voices from five different underrepresented groups in the next three months.

5. Feature a DEI Speaker at Your Next Managers’ Retreat

Sometimes empowering managers is as simple as getting an amazing speaker to connect with your team.

You can do a quick search on LinkedIn to find a wide array of DEI speakers and educators. During your next managers’ retreat, host a speaker who can connect with your team.

After the DEI leader speaks with your managers, try to incorporate some of the techniques they shared. For example, you could encourage your managers to take notes and implement at least one suggestion per department.

6. Use the Right Incentives

Who doesn’t love a good incentive for moving the needle forward on a project? Certainly, it would be ideal if company leaders could make these decisions on their own. You might not find this to be the case, though.

Departmental and company-wide incentives could help you take your DEI initiatives to the next level.

For example, you could award extra vacation days to the department that embraces DEI most successfully (create some SMART goals around this.) You could also provide a team bonding event to the department with the biggest positive change in DEI survey results (announce this after you’ve collected results.)

7. Show That Your Current Focus on DEI Means Something to You

Lastly, we have to talk about focus.

Are you known to bounce around from idea to idea? Can employees trust you when you put your focus on something?

If not, they may be struggling to believe your newfound focus on DEI.

Don’t give up. Focus on proving your dedication. You need to focus on DEI even when you think no one is watching or listening.

For instance, you can start moving forward with goals as a company executive. Get some momentum going and report on your work. Hopefully, other company leaders will join you as they see how much the work means to you.

Conclusion: Empower Managers With the Right Resources

So, you are ready to start empowering managers! Diversity and inclusion work isn’t easy, but we know that you have the tools to do the job well. To sum up today’s blog, put in the work. Company managers will soon follow suit if they see you do it first.

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The benefits of launching a vendor diversity program

August is Black Business Month. As we celebrate this occasion and consider Black businesses that we can frequent, it might be time to revamp (or start) your vendor diversity program. Organizations need to look at the vendors they support to ensure that money earned gives back to businesses that need it most. So, how can we make that happen at work?

What Is Vendor Diversity?

As organizations grow, investing in up-and-coming startups and businesses is key.

Vendor diversity programs give companies a framework to follow when they decide who to support. Vendor diversity doesn’t force employees to use certain vendors. Instead, companies give guidance on how to diversify supply chains. By providing foundational information and resources, organizations can spend their money in more diverse places.

Instead of seeing championing vendor diversity as something you have to do, company leaders should see it as something they get to do.

Why Is Vendor Diversity Important?

Most large businesses wouldn’t be where they are today if open-minded companies or individuals hadn’t taken a chance on them during the early days. We can’t lose sight of the value of shopping and investing small.

We live in a world where Google gives us the top result, and that’s usually all the research we need to do.

Vendor diversity initiatives encourage us to think deeper, do more research, and potentially find an organization in our community or led by people from underrepresented backgrounds to support.

The Benefits of a Vendor Diversity Program

First, let’s cover some of the benefits of a vendor diversity program. These benefits can help you sell the goal of starting this program at your company.

Diverse Vendors Can Help You Find Solutions You Might Never Have Considered

Organizations run by people from underrepresented backgrounds typically start because their leaders saw a gap in the market that wasn’t satisfied by the big players.

Diverse teams are proven to boost innovation and financial results. Imagine what you could accomplish by investing in groups that understand that diversity is the building block of their organization.

If you are looking for creative solutions to problems you’ve been having, it’s best to work with a diverse group of vendors. Small companies have less red tape, so they can pivot and create solutions quicker than tried and true companies with hundreds of employees.

There are downsides to working with a small team, like lack of people power or money. On the other hand, these organizations are much more open to customer feedback and input. With your help, these companies can afford to make investments in what matters to customers.

Vendor Diversity Creates Awesome PR Opportunities

Vendor diversity creates some stellar opportunities to get your brand seen by more people. You are coming onboard when the company is small. These opportunities will only grow as their organization does.

Let’s face it, we all want to put our name next to giants in the industry. Companies like Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, and Google all have public supplier diversity or inclusion policies. By leaning into your supplier inclusion policy as a company, you can market your business as one that values competition and supports small companies.

Another PR opportunity you might have with small businesses is the opportunity to do case studies or get your logo featured on vendor websites. As their company grows, these early case studies can make all the difference to their company and yours. Your organization might even become the face of your vendor’s product or service.

Supply Chain Diversity Drives Competition in the Industry

We’ve become homogenous in the business world. Companies are constantly getting bought, sold, and dissolved. New industry players shake things up and provide some competition to older products on the market.

Your vendor might eventually join a bigger company, but not before disrupting the industry a bit. New industry players with the right funding can make other companies more willing to innovate or change their businesses practices.

Once you are done working with a newer vendor on the scene, you might be shocked at how the industry has changed. Companies need competition to drive them to innovate.

How to Encourage Employees to Diversify Vendors

So now that you know the benefits of vendor diversity, how do you make it a reality at your organization? Of course, understanding the perks and making it happen are two different things. Here are some basic principles that will make your program successful:

Make It Easy

Google is easy.

Typing “best t-shirt vendor” into Google takes a few seconds, and you get pages of results. The first page is full of ads (vendors who can obviously afford to put money into advertising.) After that, the search results highlight organizations that have put a lot of energy into ranking highly for this keyword.

You can quickly go to Google and get all the results you’ll ever need for any vendor you will ever want. A quick Google search doesn’t help you find the most diverse vendors, though. Google is based on SEO (search engine optimization.) The companies you are trying to find with a vendor diversity program may not understand this process.

So, how do you make it easier for employees? Create a database. You can use an internal tool like Google Sheets to start creating a shared database the entire company can use. As you find diverse vendors, add them to the database. You can even create a section for employees to review vendors they know and love.

Discuss the Benefits

Next, you’ll want to go over the benefits of prioritizing vendor diversity. Talk through the powerful innovation, PR, and competition benefits companies can realize when they invest in small organizations.

Think back to when your organization was starting. How did your company benefit from investments? How did your customers benefit from working with you? You probably have a story or two that you can share with anyone skeptical about vendor diversity.

Provide Incentives

Last but not least, you’ll want to provide incentives. Encourage people to put more thought into vendor diversity. Consider providing a bonus or award to the departments that focus most on vendor diversity. Everyone likes recognition for the work they put in.

If you notice any person putting a lot of effort into vendor diversity, consider giving them a shout-out in the next company meeting. Ask employees who do a good job at diversifying vendors to speak about their experience with company leaders.

Conclusion: Vendor Diversity Is Within Reach

Companies that care about vendor diversity can seek out companies that fit the criteria they are looking for. With a little patience and the right framework, you’ll find all the vendors you need to diversify your company’s supply chain. Vendor diversity might take a bit more work than using Google, but you won’t regret the time you take to look for the right businesses.

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10 employee engagement programs that drive real impact

As organizations grow, we have to find ways to optimize our workforce and improve engagement. Implementing different employee engagement programs is a wonderful way to reconnect with employees. Which programs are right for your organization? Today, we are going to share some ideas that might fit the bill.

1) Examine Your Company’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

It’s easy for diversity and inclusion to never go beyond a statement or mantra. Taking action on diversity and moving your statements forward isn’t as challenging as it seems.

For example, if you want to do more with inclusion, start by creating goals based on your statements.

Once you’ve established goals, put some time on your calendar to revisit your KPIs every quarter. What’s going right? How can you improve or speed up your progress? What does your team think about the diversity-focused employee engagement programs you’ve put into place?

Because younger generations value diversity at work, examining your company’s progress in this area is crucial.

2) Give Employees Space to Innovate on Your Product(s)

Are you looking to encourage innovation and improvements on your organization’s products? You might want to host an innovation day at your company.

For example, take a look at this quick video that Arizona State University put together to announce one of their innovation days:

You might be wondering how to make this employee engagement program a reality at your company. Here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Identify the day you want to host your innovation event and what kind of innovations you want to see (e.g. product innovations vs. company innovations.)
  2. Put parameters around what you want to come out of the day. For example, do you want a solution ready to launch or just the thought work around the solution?
  3. Figure out who needs to be in each employee working group. For instance, you might want to split the company into groups of 10 and ensure that at least one software engineer is in each room.
  4. Give people advance notice, so they have time to come up with some interesting ideas to share with their group.
  5. Host the event (and make it an annual activity if it’s successful.)

3) Encourage Employees to Take a Look at Their Work/Life Balance

Many of your people are probably struggling with maintaining a healthy work/life balance, especially if they work from home.

Taking a look at work/life balance isn’t an employee engagement program by itself. We must create more definition around this goal to make sure our employees can maintain this balance.

You might buy your employees a journal and encourage them to write about work/life balance and discuss their findings with their managers.

Keeping up with work/life balance will ensure that employees take needed breaks and separate their careers from life when working remotely.

4) Host an Employee Care Package Exchange

Everyone loves a fun care package.

Many services send care packages, but that’s not always fun. As an employee engagement program option, you can pair employees together and give everyone $50-$75 to send a care package.

Care package programs can be exciting, especially if you have employees in different parts of the world. Encourage employees to find unique products to add to each package.

You can partner employees up several times a year to create a truly unique engagement program.

5) Make Sure Your Time Off Program Serves Your Staff

When is the last time you took a look at your time off program?

It’s easy to let these programs run themselves in the background, but you have to keep them top of mind.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are employees taking an adequate amount of time off?
  • Can I make these policies clearer? (For example, adding mandatory minimums to unlimited vacation policies.)
  • Are leaders modeling time off best practices?

Creating a time-off policy is only half the battle. Next, employees and leaders need to follow what you’ve described.

6) Change Your Community by Investing in Volunteerism

Volunteering can be a great way to engage employees.

Many community organizations could use your company’s support.

Give your employees time off to volunteer in the local community. Let community organizations join your company’s meetings to keep your employees updated on what they do. These small activities can lead to more engaged employees who are active in the community.

7) Build Exciting Employee Resource Groups

Employee resource groups, or ERGs, are very beneficial at work. ERGs bring together like-minded employees and help them find a group of friends at work.

If your employees aren’t finding friends easily, consider creating resource groups to bring employees together. Friendships built in these groups flourish because everyone has at least one thing in common.

8) Share the Love by Giving Public Praise

When people feel like they are doing a good job at work, engagement flourishes.

If your company hasn’t created a praise program, now is the time to think about it.

Consider how you will praise employees privately and publicly (if they enjoy receiving public feedback.)

You also want to consider how you give constructive criticism to employees. If workers know what to improve upon, they can feel like they are advancing at work.

9) Create a Stellar Employee Mentorship Program

Mentorship is an essential part of work life. It can be difficult to advance without the help of someone more senior in their career.

If you haven’t started a mentorship program at work yet, gather managers and establish a cross-departmental mentorship program.

Encourage employees to sign up for the mentorship program with a form you send to every team member. By investing in this program:

  • Mentors will get to work with people outside of their department.
  • Mentees will get someone to lean on besides their direct manager.

10) Ensure Every Employee Has Talked With Their Manager About Career Progression

Last but not least, make sure that employees are talking about career progression frequently. Managers should be chatting with employees about career progression at least once per quarter.

Did you know that 82% of employees would quit a job due to a lack of career progression?

If you haven’t already, consider creating career progression plans with all of your employees. After you create them, launch a program that encourages managers and staff to revisit their plans regularly.

Key Employee Engagement Program Takeaways

You can’t improve employee engagement overnight. But, programs like the ones we shared today can help you and your business get closer to the employee experience you want to build for your organization.

Do you need a home base for your employee engagement programs? Consider Workrowd! At Workrowd, we help you create employee communities that your staff will love to belong to. If you want to learn more about what we offer and if we are right for your company, email us at hello@workrowd.com.

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3 reasons to prioritize equity in your office reopenings

For many organizations, increased vaccine adoption means that returning to the office is on the horizon. If your organization is thinking about going back to some form of office life, it’s important to consider equity in your decision. Office reopenings shouldn’t be the reason employees consider resigning or searching for other work.

As an organization leader, now is the time to consider what employees are facing to make the right decision for your team members.

Office Reopening Concerns

Office reopenings have employees thinking about The Great Resignation and moving on from their current employment. What are some of the major concerns people have when it comes to getting back to the office? Here are some starters:

Working From Home Is Nice

Let’s face it: being able to work from home has some nice perks. Many people have gotten used to working at home in their own offices, and giving up that freedom isn’t easy for some employees.

Working from home allows employees to avoid things like water cooler chat, which will be a part of going back to work. After so long, there are many small things that could give employees anxiety about returning to the office.

COVID Fears

Contrary to popular belief, we are still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. As the Delta variant has caused another surge in cases while vaccination rates are suffering in many places, it’s become increasingly clear that returning to the office won’t be as easy as we’d hoped.

While you may be keen to get back to the office, empathy for employees is essential during this time.

As an organization leader, you have to be aware of what Covid looks like in your city. Some states and countries have been harder hit than others. Take time to consider how you can ease fears and bring people back to the office with those feelings in mind.

The Future of Work Is Here

Another big concern is that organizations are trying to return to normal without thinking through the workplace they want to have. The future of work is here, and employees have a precise idea of what they will and won’t put up with.

As an organization leader, you may consider other work arrangements like a hybrid or permanent remote work setup. You’ll also want to consider what kind of bonding is required to do a job well. For instance, you might want to move to asynchronous communication for most of your time.

Overall, employees are calling on companies to be intentional about this return to the office.

What Role Does Equity Play At Work?

As organizations grow, equity becomes essential. Many organizations stop at equality, but that doesn’t really address the whole picture.

Image Attribution: Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire

This image from the Interaction Institute for Social Change helps give more color to the term equity. Equity isn’t about giving the same resources to everyone. Instead, organizations that value equity realize that different groups need different resources to be on a level playing field.

Why You Should Prioritize Equity in Your Office Reopenings

As you are thinking through your office reopenings, you must consider the role of equity in how you choose to show up for your employees.

Office Reopenings Can Put Undue Stress on Employees

The current pandemic has hit employees differently.

When we think about the diversity of people who are employed, some of those individuals are bound to be dealing with things we can’t even begin to comprehend.

For example, you might have employees with weakened immune systems, social anxiety, and other (sometimes) invisible conditions on your roster.

According to the American Psychological Association, Americans aren’t sure about what life will look like once we return to the office. In fact, 49% said that adjusting back to in-person life made them uneasy.

Remote Work Can Improve Workplace Diversity

While remote work can cause some issues with face-to-face communication, there are many positives to working from home.

Remote work allowed some to go to work when they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to.

Based on the number of employees who have quit in the last few months, it’s clear that flexibility is required and other voices need to be heard when deciding to open up the office.

COVID Has Put a Lot of Things Outside of Our Control

Let’s be clear: many of your employees are struggling.

Covid has created a global pandemic that has taken more than a year of our lives (and there’s no sign that it’s stopping now.)

Vulnerable communities like women (especially women with children), people of color, and people with disabilities have been hard hit by the pandemic.

With so much out of our control, your staff wants to control what they can. Give them more equity in the decisions you are making around returning to work post-COVID.

What Companies Need to Consider With Office Reopenings

There are so many things employers should think about when it comes to getting back in the office. Here are just a few of them:

  • Do you have the resources to come back safely?
  • Are your office policies written and agreed upon by your employees?
  • Do you have any plans in case you need to close the office down again?
  • Do you need to go back to a fully in-office team? Can you mix it up and provide room for a hybrid workforce?
  • What is giving you the impression that you need to return to the office now? Are you jumping to conclusions?

It’s important to evaluate the reasons why we are doing what we are doing. Your staff are your people. It’s your job to take care of them and ensure their best interests are served when returning to the office.

Conclusion: Creating an Equitable Workforce When Reopening Offices

Getting back to the office is going to require a lot of work from human resources professionals. It’s challenging, because dealing with pandemic policies is probably not what any HR leader wants to do. Hopefully this article gives you some food for thought as you are thinking about reopening the office.

Equity starts by building bridges and encouraging open conversation. Employee communities can be the perfect place to have those conversations. Check out Workrowd and email us at hello@workrowd.com to see if we’d be right for your organization.