Human Resources Today

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vacation

Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Motivating Employees with Time Off + Incentives

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Motivating Employees with Time Off + Incentives

At exaqueo, we strongly value the need to fully disconnect from work and recharge, so we provide a shared week off in both the Summer and Winter as a benefit for our team to enjoy. In the spirit of exaqueo’s upcoming Summer break, we’re sharing the latest news on motivating employees with time off and incentives. Enjoy!

1) We Gave Our Employees Fridays Off Paid and Now We Have an Amazing Team from Entrepreneur

“Taking Fridays off isn’t an extraordinarily new idea. Billionaires Carlos Slim and Larry Page have spoken publicly in support of shorter work weeks since 2014, but the idea has yet to catch on.

At many companies, in the San Francisco Bay area particularly, work perks are very entitlement-focused and thrown at employees like Frisbees -- team happy hours, free gym memberships, a fully stocked kitchen, logo-emblazed hoodies, an in-office ping-pong table. These perks were essentially non-existent a decade ago, but have now become so common that employees actually expect them, lessening their appreciation for them. We often hear company leaders soapbox about employee wellness and providing a work-life balance, but does throwing employees a free gym membership truly promote that?

A recent EY survey revealed that one-third of employees report that managing a work-life balance has become harder than ever. This leaves me to believe that today’s run-of-the-mill incentives do nothing to motivate employees. They simply create expectations (for what?) and waste company money. While several hyper-funded, successful companies go above and beyond to offer something unique -- vacation allowances, college tuition reimbursements and long-term paid parental leave -- only a select few actually give employees a true work-life balance; one that includes more time off.”

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Explore the Upside of Downtime: The State of American Vacation and Employee Engagement

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Explore the Upside of Downtime: The State of American Vacation and Employee Engagement

Project: Time Off recently released their latest report, The State of American Vacation 2016, which provides the most comprehensive look at America’s vacation habits to date. America is at a critical crossroads between taking vacation back or letting it go extinct. With the start of Summer, we wanted to share our insight into why this data is important and how companies can apply our Whole Self Model to influence change in the workplace, specific to employee engagement. Employee's lives outside of work, including vacation time off, are more important than you think. 

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Focusing on Employee Happiness

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Focusing on Employee Happiness

Summer is usually a time when people are generally happy. The weather is warm, the sun is out longer, and vacations are plentiful. These are all things that boost a person's mood. What if your employer could contribute to a person's happiness too? Here are some excellent articles focusing on employee happiness. 

And speaking of vacations, happy 4th of July to our American friends and clients! 

1. 6 Tips For Keeping Your Employees Happy from Careerealism

"Managing an office and keeping employees happy is no small task. The truth is, sometimes no matter what you do it’s nearly impossible to make everyone happy at the same time. The key to minimizing employee turnover rate is to make people feel acknowledged and appreciated. As mentioned on Deputy’s blog, being an effective manager is all about communication."

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Stop Working, Take Vacation and Set an Example

Image When I read this piece on busyness from Meredith Fineman in Harvard Business Review my immediate reaction was guilty as charged.  She's describing me and one of my worst faults. I'm always busy, always working, and always telling people about it. While I like to think of myself as self-aware (I know many of my greatest strengths and deepest weaknesses) sometimes you need a wake-up call.  That can come in the form of reading, listening, asking ("am I missing something") or the ever-valuable-when-done-right upward feedback.

So where does it come from? Sure, I can harbor much of the blame. So can society, the American business landscape, even #startuplife. Entrepreneurs especially feel the need to be busy all of the time and when things slow, feel a sense of laziness.I won't argue with the value of taking a break. But I will remind you leaders out there: it's also your fault. We're terrible at modeling good behavior, especially when it comes to taking a break.  We push for our team to take vacation, but do we check to see who actually does? It's cool for startups to offer unlimited vacation days, but are any actually required?  We might not expect our teams to answer emails nights and weekends, but we send them anyway.

I last wrote about the importance of role models in my Forbes piece about women in the workplace where I lamented my personal lack of role models in my own career. Part of the problem for me was the workload, the badge of honor that seemed to come with long hours and being busy all the time. I didn't want it then and I don't want it now.

So why do I still do it?

Part of it is the entrepreneurial push and part is the role my business plays in my life. It's an important part of me. But saying I'm busy all the time, or feeling the pressure to always be working doesn't make for better work. So it's time to stop.

I took all of Labor Day weekend off (enjoy my view above).  Every single, solitary second. I didn't plan on it, but the outcome was more than I could have imagined. A clearer head. A fresher perspective. A calmer mind. A motivated Tuesday. And I plan to do it again later this year. Several times. I'll take a cue from my own missteps. This isn't just about working when I want or working all the time. It's the portion of my brain that's occupied with work. It's working smarter and better.

This last quarter of the year has to be productive for all of us, but there's also a ton of holiday and vacation time to be had. I wanted a life as an entrepreneur. In fact, I left the corporate world for it. Now it's time to make sure I don't revert to old habits, and, feel the need to tell everyone all the time.

As for you? Are you guilty even in the slightest? Don't tell me you're too busy to make a change. Be a role model. Model the time off for your team and see real results when they follow in your more relaxed and productive footsteps.

 

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exaqueo is a human resources consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

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Thursday Lunch Break: Travel and Relax

IMG_4826 Today's Thursday Lunch Break is live from London. That's right, I'm on vacation. Yes, I do travel much of the time but it's almost always for work. This time I convinced my mom to join me (#MominLondon) and had an "I needed this" moment at afternoon tea, at The Goring Hotel. We sat down to gorgeous yellow china teacups and a request to turn off our phones, put away our cameras and just talk, accompanied by this quote.

It's so true. After reading Meredith Fineman's recent post on unplugging, I realized that I too, am so connected I miss out on moments because I am too busy trying to capture them. And none of us can really relax smartly anymore.

So, stop whatever you're doing right now. Dig into your savings and plan a trip. Not sure where to start? Don't want another beach or ski vacation? Try this amazing list of travel specialists from Wendy Perrin at Conde Nast. Or, just have a technology-free day or weekend with someone you love. Get inspired, dump the gadgets and get to know the people you're with. Hi Mom, nice to meet you.

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I'm Out Of The Office

Dear Sender, Thanks for your email. I am out of the office until January 3. That's right. I work so hard and am so important to this company that I haven't taken any vacation this year. So now it's December 22 and I have four weeks to use. Since I work 24/7,  taking the next 13 days is like taking four weeks.

You clearly don't work as hard as I do since you're sending me this email today. Procrastinator. But because you took that two weeks with your family in Orlando earlier this year, and then another week at the beach you're stuck with only a few vacation days left. Sucks to be you.

While you were sending me this email, I was using my hard earned vacation. I had about 5 months of drycleaning stacked up so that took all of this morning to take in. And now I am probably looking for my gym membership card that's somewhere in my house since I haven't been since June.

Then, I'll probably decide not to go, and sit on the couch to watch some daytime TV. Did you know there aren't many soap operas on anymore? I had no idea so many people were home during the day, but they are. And they're calling QVC and ordering things from something called the Quacker Factory.

But don't despair! While watching my tenth episode in a row of House Hunters, I'll pick up my smartphone and see your email because I can't ever concentrate on just one thing. And I'll probably reply, because I love love love love checking my email. Then I'll decide that the reply is too long to type out on my phone. So I'll boot up that awesome company-issued Lenovo PC and write you a long thoughtful response...which you won't read until January 3 because you're too busy sipping egg nog and spending actual time with your family.

I can't tell you who to contact in my absence because no one's available. Meaning, no one will admit they're available. But most of them, like me, are pretending to be on vacation, so you can email them too and they'll probably write you back while watching reruns of Battlestar Gallactica or Say Yes to the Dress.

So Happy Holidays, and I look forward to collaborating successfully with you in 2012.

Warmest regards,

The person you just emailed.

 

 

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