How Do You Measure Company Culture?

Posted on by TJ Van Voorhees

Businesses spend million and millions creating and changing a company culture that drives innovation and fosters growth. Yes, I could use Google as a prime example of a company fostering an amazing culture, but what about AOL? The once pioneer of web browsers and dial-up modems has spent a considerable amount of money buying TechCrunch, Huffington Post, and restructuring and rebuilding their company culture, including their offices. They ripped out the corporate facade and went with something more, friendly and down-to-earth. But ultimately, how can you truly measure your return on investment on something as complex and variable as company culture?

stormtroopers company culture twerking

If company culture was measured by StormTrooper dance offs, these guys would get an A+

Measuring the happiness of your employees and the impact your company culture has on business is not easy. But it starts with honesty. One approach to measuring the performance of your company culture is surveys. Sending out surveys to your employees with questions that help you gauge how far your culture has grown and its impact on business processes. However, with surveys you always run the risk of employees not completing them due to time or other priorities. The best way to find success with surveys is to send several shorter 1 or 2 question surveys out regularly. Although this is a very traditional approach to measuring culture, it is still considered to be very effective.

By far the most popular survey to measure the effectiveness of company culture is Gallup’s 12 Steps to Great Managing. This is a 12 question survey using a 10 point scale to measure company culture.

gallup 12 question survey to measure company culture performance

These 12 questions are the most basic and core questions used to define and evaluate your culture. As your company grows or defines different values that you try to measure, you can add or switch out various questions to establish metrics for measuring the performance of the different values of your culture.


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Driving Innovation Through Your Company Culture

Posted on by TJ Van Voorhees

building an innovative cultureAccording to the Human Capital Institute (HCI), by focusing on your company culture you can improve financial growth and performance by at least 14-17%. By creating a culture of innovation, you put your business in a position where it consistently reinvents itself and sets itself up for success similar to Apple, 3M and General Electric. Building an innovative culture is more than just putting the right metrics into place, just like with any building it starts from the foundation. And from the foundation you continue to build brick by brick. Continue reading “Driving Innovation Through Your Company Culture” »


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Creative Employee Retention Ideas

Posted on by TJ Van Voorhees

When it comes to employee retention, some companies know no bounds. Yes, it’s true that losing an employee can cost anywhere from 1.5 to greater than 2 times the salary of the employee, but paying for your employees laundry, having sleeping pods in the office, is this maybe going a little too far? Some of these radical ideas seem like they can become costly business expenses, or even may harm he culture of your company, but does that outweigh losing one of your star employees? Check out this list below for some of the more creative employee retention strategies, and you can decide if some of these ideas might be too over the top, or just right for you. Continue reading “Creative Employee Retention Ideas” »


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Why are so Many People Quitting Their Jobs

Posted on by TJ Van Voorhees

According to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, roughly 2.4 million people are quitting their jobs. Even though the number of job openings has increased to approximately 4.5 million, it’s still alarming to see so many employees willing to leave their current organization. Even more alarming is that the increase in the number of job openings hasn’t changed the hires rate. This means that it has become harder to find qualified candidates to take on these new roles. Continue reading “Why are so Many People Quitting Their Jobs” »


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Tips for Improving Employee Retention

Posted on by TJ Van Voorhees

According to a report by Gallup, 70% of the American workforce is disengaged. With such a high level of disengagement and the prevalence of social media, you can bet that your disengaged employees are also evaluating one of the many offers that recruiters are sending their way. How many offers is it going to take before you lose one of your prized champs at your company?

If you’re one of the many managers who think your fresh new hires aren’t in danger of becoming disengaged, then think again. And if you think it’s already too late and you’re going to lose your employees, then think again! It is never too early or too late to get your employees engaged or to recognize your employees for their hard work to increase your chances of retaining them.

Here are our tips for retaining your top performing employees:

  1. Make sure that everyone has a clear understanding of their role in the organization, what is expected from them, and how their work impacts the company as a whole. Include these details in the job description for extra clarity when hiring.
  2. Boredom is your worst enemy. Your most talented employees most likely possess many skills, so when they’re hyper-focused on a single task they may experience work fatigue. Avoid this by taking advantage of their wide skill sets and allow them experience other jobs in the organization or collaborate on projects that involve multiple departments so they can get the extra mental stimulation that they need.
  3. Don’t just leave your employees hanging. Provide everyone in the organization with the tools that they need to succeed. It’s not enough to just know the strengths of your employees, you also need to understand that they may need certain software or other tools to do their job.
  4. Have clear channels of communication. Make sure that everyone in your organization has a clear understanding of company goals and that they are regularly updated with any changes or shifts in the metrics needed to reach those goals.
  5. Publicly recognize your employees for great performance, and give personal encouragement when needed. The “high-five” was invented for social recognition. It’s a flashy motion, high in the sky, with a loud thunderous clap when performed correctly. It draws attention. Don’t be afraid to give your employees a high-five for being awesome at their jobs.
  6. Don’t be afraid to let go. When I say “let go” I don’t mean let go of some of your control. Allow your top performers to start to develop and cultivate their own talent within the organization.
  7. Give some flexibility. Avoid employee burnout by letting them work off-site every now and then. Letting them have a change of scenery will help them stay be more productive and let them know that you care about their well-being and happiness.
  8. Reward high-performance. Have your employees consistently been going above and beyond and crushing their numbers? These are the employees that you can’t risk losing. if they continuously perform at a high-level don’t be afraid to give them a raise before the year is up. Yes, performance bonuses are great, but most employees, especially your young talent is going to be looking for that salary bump. You’re better off giving it to them early if you know they’re worth it, otherwise someone else well.
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How to Track Employee Performance

Posted on by TJ Van Voorhees

You’ve worked methodologically to make the best hires and avoid common pitfalls of hiring. The productivity superstars who were your best candidates are now your staff members. How will you validate your claim and determine who is producing on your team? To keep your company on track, you’ll have to employ tracking analytics. Continue reading “How to Track Employee Performance” »


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How to Create a Career Development Program for Employees

Posted on by TJ Van Voorhees

Your greatest asset isn’t your intellectual property, your revenue generating technology, or your cost-cutting software. It’s your employees. Nothing can influence your company’s growth better than you or your team. Because your team is essential, you should actively support the growth of your employees. Once you’ve hired the best team and established metrics for tracking performance, it’s time to create an employee career development program. Doing so will put you ahead of the employment curve because your employees will know what’s next and want to continue to succeed at your company. You’ll hold onto your best performers and grow from the inside, confidently promoting from within. You’ll earn the respect of your employees because they will feel essential to your cause. Continue reading “How to Create a Career Development Program for Employees” »


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How to Get the Best Performance From Your Employees

Posted on by TJ Van Voorhees

Your best employees are always going to be on the look out for the next best opportunity in today’s competitive job market. To hold onto them, it’s essential to develop their career goals so that the next best opportunities are with you.

From your perspective, long-term growth must parallel employee motivation, advancement, and performance at work in order for the business to reach its long-term goals.

You’ve worked hard to hire premier performers while avoiding bad hires. You know what really matters is not how much money you make, but how much you keep. Retaining excellent employees can be understood as retaining earnings. Here are 4 actions to take in order to retain and get the most out of your star players by focusing on goal setting and motivation:

  • Start at the End – Imprint your company’s long-term goals on your employees. Show employees how they are vital to achieving the end goals and where they are expected to be at specific future intervals. Make them accountable for reaching milestones. Setting directed goals keeps employees motivated. Once you lay the track, believe in your employees to stay the course.
  • Be the Coach, Not the Trainer – New emlolployees need to learn what to do at work. With the proper coaching, they will do it well. Your employees will want to work hard for you if you regularly motivate them. Coaching your team means establishing a collective goal and inspiring output from each individual. Help each employee set and reach a goal that contributes to your team objective. As a coach, you set the parameters for what is expected, while also rewarding and acknowledging employees who exceed expectations. Check your tracking systems and let your whole team know who is doing an excellent job. Openly commend high performers. In doing so, you show employees how valuable they are to company objectives, and you make other employees improve their performance.
  • Establish Clear Advancement Plans – You know where your business is going, so it’s your responsibility to make sure your employees do too. Communicate with them about what’s coming up next for the company and each individual’s role. Create career maps that incentivize employees from day one and promote strong performance. When individuals know where they’re going, they will look forward to their jobs, rather than looking around for new ones. Your employees will get involved in their own advancement while your business grows.
  • Cultivate Effective Workplace Communication and Social Skills – Make sure all of your employees are transparent, and you are transparent with them. Welcome open communication between your employees and other managers. They’ll feel more connected and capable of peak performance, while you’ll be in tune with what they’re doing and how you can help them. Encourage your employees; give merit to their opinions and ideas. Actively build team chemistry so that employees want to work together. Strong communication and teamwork will help you pinpoint what’s working, pinpoint what needs improvement, and produce you the best possible output from your employees.

Knowing how to inspire your employees and bring them to peak performance is essential to your company’s success. Putting time and effort into your team’s motivation produces immediate and long-term returns. When your employees want to work for you, they won’t think once about leaving. On the contrary, your company will become a rapidly expanding growth machine that everyone wants to contribute to.


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Gamification – The Modern Day Performance Appraisal

Posted on by TJ Van Voorhees

gamification performance review badgesAccording to a Forbes article by Eric Jackson, two of the reasons why performance appraisals are done wrong by bosses are “No pats on the back” and “No recognition for doing the work of 3 people”. This is a problem that is plaguing most businesses today, especially when organizations start to cut headcount and employees are asked to take on more and more work. In the last year, there has been a growing trend towards “Gamification”. Gamification? Yes, Gamification. The process of adding game-like features to performance reviews such as challenges, levels, leaderboards, and badges.

You may be asking yourself, how does turning my office into a videogame help improve employee performance and the actual performance appraisal. Well, the gamification of your performance reviews fits naturally with your entire employee feedback process. Employees may feel like they never get a pat on the back, but adding gamification makes it easier for both bosses and peers to quickly give them a “pat on the back” that is more public. If the “pat on the back” is visible to the entire company, through a badge or some other accolade, it can be even more effective than a private message.

performance review badges gamification
Additionally, if you have an employee who’s doing the work of three people, you can quickly give them accolades through the use of badges. Come review time, you’ll have a complete online record of all of their achievements and tasks completed, and you’ll even have an understanding of how well that employee worked with their peers from the number of badges they’ve received.

While the gamification of performance reviews, may seem like a simple plug and play (buy the software and watch it work), you have to take into account that employees need to buy into it first. If you’re looking to apply gamification to your performance reviews, here are 5 simple steps to help you get started.

  1. Use measurable goals – encourage specific behaviors. If you want your employees to learn about your products or services, give them awards for attending that optional product webinar.
  2. Focus on things employees already want to do – The best way to get buy-in for any gamification of your performance appraisals is to reward employees for a behavior that’s already happening. Are some sales people hitting 50 outbound calls in a day while others are not? Maybe try rewarding those hitting 50 with a badge, and see if it pushes those other salespeople to move from 40-45 outbound calls to hit that big 50.
  3. Measure the change in performance – before you implement any sort of gamification to your employee performance, make sure to create a baseline to measure the increase (or decrease) in performance.
  4. Reward incremental progress – Don’t just focus on the big accomplishments. Every project will involve multiple steps and milestones. So, try rewarding your employees for making incremental progress towards the overall goal to encourage progress.
  5. Want to get the most out of gamification? Make it Social! – Using gamification is meant to encourage employees to give each other public accolades, so promoting it through an open environment will allow employees to share their accomplishments and badges to give them more bragging rights for their achievements. By publicizing accomplishments other employees are driven to try harder to collaborate more effectively to get more badges.
  6. Overall, the gamification of performance reviews can help increase your employees engagement and motivation. Allowing you to have your employees strive harder to unlock new badges and receive more accolades for their hard work. By using gamification you change the employee review process by adding a fun game-like element that also lets you track actual performance and collect more information regarding your employees actual performance than from the standard 180 or 360 degree performance review.


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Steps to Create an Employee Performance Improvement Plan

Posted on by TJ Van Voorhees

Not everyone who works for you will be an All-star, and at times some of your employees may even fall short and be in need of a nudge to get them back on the right track. A performance improvement plan will help establish expectations of your employee and will help both the employer and employee avoid any confusion if he/she is ultimately “let go” for underperforming. If you are planning to terminate any employees, it is even more crucial for you to implement a performance improvement plan before taking any disciplinary action to avoid potential confrontations and legal action.

6 Step Performance Improvement Plan

Step 1

What is your employee’s performance problem? Begin by defining the problem in writing, and specifying where your employee is falling short or needs to improve. If it is a behavioral issue that needs to be addressed, then write it down and detail and cite any specific events or problems that display the issue or problems.

Step 2

What are your expectations? After you define the performance or behavioral problems, you need to define what your expectations are of them. Define and list the changes in behavior or improvement of skills in your performance improvement plan, and have the outcome of their improvement clearly written.

Step 3

How much time do you give your employee to improve? Now, this depends on what their problem’s are, but regardless you should establish clear deadlines and timeframes, and communicate you will enforce the deadlines.

Step 4

How will your employee reach the goals of the performance improvement plan? Create a list of specific tasks that you and your employee will work on to achieve the goals of the performance improvement plan. Ensure that they believe the results from the performance improvement plan are fair and that they know they have all of the tools at their disposal to improve their performance.

Step 5

How will you measure your performance improvement plan? Make sure to clearly explain how the employee’s performance will be reviewed and how you will evaluate them to avoid any confusion. Additionally, you should schedule periodic meeting times to check-in and review their progress.

Step 6

Review the performance improvement plan. Make sure your employee knows the consequences for failing to meet the requirements outlined in the performance improvement plan. Then, have your employee sign the plan to acknowledge it’s review and reciept.

Remember that even though you have a performance improvement plan prepared, you should communicate with a human resources professional before taking any action for failing to meet the goals of the plan. Labor laws differ across different states and change frequently as well.

For a Free Example template click here.


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