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How to be an effective executive sponsor to an ERG

If you have been in an employee resource group before, you know the importance of having a committed executive sponsor. Sponsors can change the direction of an ERG, and get other company leaders to take them more seriously. Now that you are in the position to sponsor a group, we want to share some tips on how to be an effective executive sponsor.

Work With an ERG You Believe In

First, you’ll want to find an ERG you believe in. What does that even mean? Well, you’ll want to work with an employee resource group that you are passionate and excited about.

The employees who belong to this group will depend on you for advice and enthusiastic support. So try to find a group you can spend months or even years advocating for.

Connect with some leaders and members of the various ERGs at your organization before you make a decision. Employees need motivated sponsors on their side.

Attend as Many ERG Meetings as Possible

If you want to keep up with ERG news and updates, you need to attend meetings. The most effective executive sponsors take time to attend meetings and show ERG members the respect they deserve.

When you attend ERG meetings, take effective notes and strive to understand how you could best help the group. Sponsors aren’t ERG leadership. As a sponsor, your job is to understand the ERG and its goals. From there, you can share tips/advice from time to time and advocate for ERG members.

Provide a Listening Ear to ERG Members

Whether you are in a meeting or not, listening is an important part of how to be an effective executive sponsor. Are you being a good listener to ERG members? Do you take the time to understand their concerns as a group and as individuals?

Many ERGs help protect underserved communities in your organization, like people of color or working parents. Take the time to listen to concerns without jumping into help mode. You’ll be surprised what you might learn when you slow down.

Help ERG Members Advocate for Their Needs at Work

Did you know that self-advocacy is one of the most important skills that employees can learn?

After you listen to ERG members, you need to teach them to advocate for their own needs at work. Part of being an ERG sponsor is advocating, but you might not always be around to connect the dots with your company’s leadership team.

Teach your members about the importance of understanding the ERG mission and sharing that mission with other company executives.

Become an Advocate for ERG Policies and Updates

As an ERG executive sponsor, you should also be letting leaders know about the mission of the ERG.

Do you want to know how to be an effective executive sponsor? Try opening up a door at work.

For example, you could get your ERG for parents a meeting with HR to discuss benefits that would appeal to working parents.

As an executive sponsor, you are a connector. You help your team by being a supportive voice. For example, when you see an opportunity for the group to chat with a company leader, make the connection.

Challenge ERG Members to Think Outside the Box

ERG members can often be stuck playing small. Underrepresented team members might not realize all of the support they have or where to find that support.

You have to connect with ERG leaders/members and get them to think differently. If their current approach to change at work isn’t helping move things forward, maybe there’s another way to go about it.

Remind your team of this famous quote:

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

Alexander Graham Bell

If things have been a certain way for a while, change can feel hopeless. Your employee resource group may have given up excitement, or they may use meetings to vent in a safe space.

Find quick wins to reenergize group members and then encourage everyone to think outside of the box to make positive changes at work.

Develop ERG Members Into Successful Workplace Leaders

ERGs are great incubators of in-house talent. You’ve probably seen a ton of potential in current ERG leaders and members. As an executive sponsor, you have the ability to hone this talent.

Try these activities:

  • Work with other executive sponsors to create an in-house leadership symposium to cultivate and find future workplace leaders.
  • Have great ERG leaders shadow company executives and senior managers for a day/week.
  • Build an in-house training program to fill open leadership positions and encourage ERG leaders to apply.
  • Bring new manager-level jobs up to ERG leaders who might be interested.

When you reach out about these opportunities, you give employees a chance to see themselves taking on those larger roles. Some of your employees might not see themselves climbing the corporate ladder, but your connection can give them the confidence to do it.

Help Plan and Budget for ERG Activities

Last but not least, you can help employee resource groups plan and budget for the activities they want to host.

Help resource group leaders think outside the box and encourage them to join groups like the Global ERG Network to find unique events to hold at the company.

Once they have some ideas in mind, you can help them plan how the event will work at your organization and secure funding for the events they want to hold.

An effective executive sponsor should help groups see the bigger picture and get their events funded the right way. You can help them pick budget-friendly venues/experiences so they can take full advantage of whatever budget they are given for events.

Conclusion: Be a Supportive Voice for ERGs

At the end of the day, the executive sponsor’s role is simple: be a supportive voice for the ERG you are helping.

It can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, especially since your role changes depending on the company budget, ERG leaders, and how company leadership feels.

Being an executive sponsor can be challenging because you never know how your role might change over time. So roll with the punches and try to be the most supportive leader you can be.

Are you ready to see how Workrowd can help you with your company’s employee resource groups? Send us a message at hello@workrowd.com to see if we are right for your team.

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7 tips for setting employee experience goals that drive impact

As your team grows, it’s important to think about how workers perceive your organization. Setting employee experience goals helps you improve retention, which is essential for the true growth of your organization.

Today, we want to go over the basics of employee experience and how to set up goals to measure it at your company.

Looking for some actionable ways to improve the employee experience? Check out our article that shares five easy strategies your organization can use.

What Is Employee Experience?

First, let’s cover the basics. What is employee experience exactly? Employee experience is the way that your team members perceive your organization and their role in it.

In an ideal world, your team members would have a positive employee experience, meaning they are happy at work, feel included, and can do great things while working with your organization.

Unfortunately, many team members don’t get a positive experience. According to HR Daily Advisor, “only 17% of respondents say their employer offers an “exceptional” experience.”

Organizations have a long way to go before more employees rate their experience highly.

7 Employee Experience Goal Setting Tips

So, now that you know what employee experience is and where most organizations stand, how do you ensure your organization does well? First, you’ll want to create some employee experience goals.

1. Get Clear on Why Employee Experience Matters to Your Organization

Before you start setting goals, you need to get clear on why employee experience matters. There are many initiatives that you might choose to focus on as an HR leader. Why are you choosing to improve the employee experience?

Getting clear on your ‘why’ will help you justify the costs of these initiatives to other leaders on your team. Understanding what goals you need to set and going after those initiatives takes money and time. The positive effect of those goals might not be seen for a quarter or two. You need a great plan in place to justify the costs of this endeavor.

So, why should organizations care about employee experience? Simple: it improves retention.

2. Take Stock of the Current Employee Experience

Before you can set any goals, you need to know what’s currently happening in your company. Therefore, we encourage you to set aside some time to work on the following activities:

  • Send out an employee experience or engagement survey like Gallup’s Q12 survey.
  • Perform exit interviews for any employee leaving your organization.
  • Chat with new hires about how they perceive the employee experience.
  • Connect with other leaders to uncover any gaps they’ve noticed in your company’s employee experience.

After you’ve done some analysis, you should better understand where your team currently stands. With this information, you have a baseline, and you can work to improve things from there.

3. Work With Employees to Define Their Ideal Experience

Next, you’ll want to move into working with current employees to understand their ideal experience.

If they could work at a perfect organization, what would their relationship with the company look like?

Do you want to make this even more helpful? Consider surveying your organization by department and as one unit. Different departments might have unique ways of working. When understanding an ideal employee experience, it might be worth it to understand each department’s unique challenges and triumphs.

4. Connect With Company Leaders to Define Their Ideal Experience

After you chat with employees, you should do the same with company leaders. Leaders must have an ideal experience as the head of a department or team.

Company leaders have a big picture understanding of the organization’s weaknesses and strengths. The best part about company leaders is they can give you a better understanding of the current state of your organization and help you set more realistic goals.

5. Combine the Two and Make It All Actionable

After you speak with employees and leaders, it’s time to combine both ideal experiences to create something actionable for your company.

You can work using the SMART goals method, which encourages you to create goals that are:

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

The aspects of this method you’ll need to pay close attention to are attainable and time-bound. Employee experience change doesn’t happen overnight. So you need to break down your larger experience goals into smaller, attainable chunks that have set deadlines.

For example, instead of saying, “I want to be the best employer in my geographic area,” you could say, “I want to be recognized in my area with a Best Places To Work award by the end of 2024.”

Taking a few moments to dig deeper and research your goals will make them better for HR and company leaders.

6. Present Your Latest Employee Experience Goals and How You Plan to Achieve Them

Once you have a set of goals, it’s time to share them. Let your team know what they are and what your plans are for achieving them.

If you need some help explaining your goals, you could bring in some of the bigger picture items you were brainstorming.

To follow the example we gave above, “We want to be the best employer in town, so we want to win the city’s Best Places To Work award by the end of 2024, and we’ll do this by…”

Your team needs to know your game plan so they can follow your lead and accomplish the goals you set. The more detailed your goals are, the easier they are to follow.

7. Follow Up to Ensure That Employee Experience Goals Are Being Met

It’s easy to let goals collect dust after you’ve shared them. A famous quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry states, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Your team needs to make a plan and follow through on it.

You can do this by setting up milestones for your goals and adding designated goal check-in dates on your calendar. Be sure to keep your team up to date on progress and encourage them to check in with you and keep you honest.

Conclusion: Set Your Company’s Employee Experience Today

Employee experience takes time to turn around, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start today. Use this article as a jumping-off point to discuss how you will improve your organization’s experience at work.

Are you ready to use Workrowd when planning your organization’s employee experience? Reach out to us at hello@workrowd.com to see if we’re right for your team.

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10 strategies to boost employee wellness and mental health

Employee wellness and mental health are essential for the strength of your workplace. It’s hard to analyze the true cost of illness and absenteeism at work, but it’s safe to say that it costs companies billions annually.

As you are looking for ways to support your staff members, we will go over ten strategies that can help your organization thrive.

1. Purchase Health Insurance for Your Staff Members

First, one of the easiest ways to support employee wellness and mental health is insurance.

When picking insurance, you need to be careful about the plan and carrier you decide to go with. Unfortunately, not all companies are made the same. Some have high deductibles and confusing language that make it hard to find care.

Take your time when picking plans. Make sure that your team has plenty of options to choose from. Also make sure that you cover some of the expenses associated with insurance. Many organizations cover 70-100% of employee insurance costs.

2. Offer an HSA to Employees

Next, you could offer an HSA or Health Savings Account.

An HSA is an account that your employees can sign up for. With an HSA, employees can put a small amount of their paycheck away pre-tax, and they can spend their savings throughout the year on covered medical expenses.

As a benefit, you could offer $100+ monthly and give your team members the ability to contribute more if they’d like to do so. These contributions can then be used to cover expenses as they pop up.

Employees with HSAs are more likely to use preventive care services like flu shots and mammograms than those without one.

3. Do Group Workout Classes

Another way to improve employee wellness and mental health is to offer group workout classes in your office.

You can easily work with an employee who teaches a workout like yoga or Zumba (or you can hire a teacher to come in a few times per week.) Encourage staff members to take a break for thirty minutes and work out together.

If you have a hybrid workplace (or you work from home), you could find an easy workout on YouTube or purchase access to a workout application for your team members. From there, you could encourage your team to take 30 minutes a few times per week to work out and share the workouts they are doing with their colleagues.

4. Provide Mental Health and Sick Days

Next, companies need to provide mental health and sick days for employees. Sometimes our staff members need a few days off to take care of themselves, their mental health, or even their families.

When providing sick days, encourage your team to seek a doctor’s help, but don’t require it. Unfortunately, organizations often think requiring a doctor’s visit is essential.

For instance, your team member may call out sick because they have a bit of a fever and cough. While they could go to the doctor, chances are they have a cold. Doctor’s visits aren’t cheap, so we should trust employees if they are within their sick day limits.

Your staff should feel comfortable asking for a mental health day as well. Sometimes we have to focus on ourselves to have something to give other people.

5. Create a Monthly Wellness Challenge

People love a good challenge. Challenges encourage people to work together or make a positive impact on their own mental and/or physical health.

Here are 16 challenge ideas you can participate in as an organization:

  • Water Intake
  • Yoga
  • Healthy Eating
  • Financial Wellness
  • Journaling
  • Running/Walking
  • Reading
  • Social Media Detox
  • 10,000 Daily Steps
  • Habit Tracking
  • Getting Good Sleep
  • Meditation
  • Decluttering
  • Gratitude
  • Recognition
  • Taking Time Off

Pick a monthly challenge and let your team know how they can participate in the challenge. Then, in order to get people excited, offer an incentive for any person or team who wins the challenge.

6. Send Reminders About Important Health Activities

Health screenings like getting a mammogram, dental cleanings, eye exams, and annual physicals are essential for staff members.

Encourage your team to keep up with preventative care by including reminders in your company’s newsletter or community.

Preventative care measures are often well-covered by health insurance companies because it means you take your health and wellness seriously.

7. Create a Health-Conscious Workplace Community

Community is an important part of deciding to be healthy. We can learn so much from each other. Therefore, organizations should invest in the power of community.

For instance, you could use a tool like Workrowd to host several health-conscious workplace communities.

Your team members could create an interesting community around the type of exercise they like to do or one that focuses on mental health in the workplace. Inside those communities, your teams could plan fun events or share their favorite resources with other employees.

Encourage team members to band together to find growth opportunities.

8. Encourage Employees With an Office Stipend

Next, let’s discuss the importance of having a great office to work in. We spend hours every day inside of our offices. The office needs to feel like an excellent place to work, whether we work from home or go into a physical building.

One way to make office life appealing is by offering a stipend to get the best office supplies. For example, office furniture like a standing desk can get our staff members to stand up more throughout the day, which is great for health.

Encourage staff members to take the stipend to purchase office furniture and supplies that encourage healthy movement.

9. Talk About Your Mental and Physical Health

Employees learn what is appropriate by watching their supervisors. We can encourage our employees to look after their own mental and physical health by addressing our own issues and wins in the workplace.

If you have a bad mental health day, don’t be afraid to take the day off and share why you did it with your staff members. When they see you take time for yourself, they’ll be more likely to do it too.

10. Put Effort Into Improving Work/Life Balance

Work/life balance is essential. Are you or your team consistently taking work home or responding to emails on the weekend? Employees model your behavior, so make sure that you are taking the time to be a good example.

For instance, you can:

  • Respond to emails on the weekend, but schedule them to go out on Monday.
  • Take longer vacations where you are gone for a week or more and stay unplugged.
  • Take a mental health or sick day when you need one.

Employee Wellness and Mental Health Can Be Simple

Our employees look up to us and model our behavior. We have to make employee wellness and mental health as simple as possible so that our team members can follow our lead. Take your time and provide resources to staff members, so they know they aren’t alone.

Workrowd can be a wonderful ally to your organization as you focus on employee wellbeing. If you want to see Workrowd in action, send us an email at hello@workrowd.com to see if our community-building software is right for your organization.

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Top employee engagement trends of 2021 so far

As we get further into the year, we’re seeing a number of employee engagement trends in 2021. As the mood of the country shifts, organizations should be dedicating time to boosting engagement amongst their employees.

How will you keep staff members excited about continuing to work with your company?

Let’s start by going over the top 8 employee engagement trends you should be thinking about in 2021.

1. Figuring Out How to Work With Remote/Hybrid Workforces

First, let’s discuss hybrid and remote work. Engaging a workforce that’s located all over the country (or the world) can be difficult.

As an organization leader, your job should be finding ways to improve work relationships in and outside of the office.

Remote workers want to feel involved, even as your office reopens. Make sure you take the time to ensure all employees feel valued, even if you see certain employees more often.

2. Having Compassion for Caretakers

Caretakers have gone through a great deal as the pandemic rages on.

For example, working parents have been dealing with a lot of issues. One instance of this is that many schools that have gone back to in-person education have sent students and teachers home sick.

Currently, caretakers are facing a lot of stress and flux in and outside of the workplace.

To keep employees engaged, managers need to have empathy and concern for employees in charge of caretaking. Compassion is such an important behavior as your workers may live a different life than you.

3. Focusing on Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity & inclusion continues to be an important part of workplace culture. One of the most diverse generations, Gen Z, is starting to become a larger part of the workplace conversation.

As these employees join your team, take on leadership positions, and excel at work, your organization needs to keep up with these workers. For example, you might want to read up on becoming an ally in the workplace or empowering your managers to drive DEI.

Whatever you can do to research and make new employees feel welcome is great for your business.

4. Understanding Recognition in the Workplace

If you’ve been keeping up with HR news, you might have heard of The Great Resignation. Employees are feeling discontented, and they are ready to move on to bigger and better career opportunities.

Employees want to feel supported and appreciated by managers and colleagues. One of the best ways to do this is to recognize staff members for their hard work.

Many organizations spend hours planning grand end-of-the-year ceremonies to recognize staff. Instead of focusing on one large event, spend time recognizing employees for all of the small things they do for your team.

5. Supporting Employee Health

It’s no surprise that health is so essential for staff members in 2021. COVID-19 has been impacting us for well over a year, and it has shown no signs of stopping.

Employers who invest in their staff members’ physical and mental health are showing employees how much they care.

Focus on providing all of the important health benefits like insurance and sick days. You can also listen to employee concerns on things like returning to the office or having company get-togethers. Employees need to feel like their opinions matter right now.

6. Hosting an Employee Engagement Survey

Speaking of validating employee opinions, consider hosting an employee engagement survey like the Gallup Q12.

With so much happening worldwide, it’s important to catch up with what your employees are thinking (while you can still work to fix things with them.)

Employers have spent so much of the last year putting out fires at work. Now, employers need to move on to preventative measures, so they aren’t always going from one emergency to the next. When is the last time you preemptively asked an employee how they were doing? If you can’t remember, now is the time.

7. Taking a New Look at Employee Compensation

As employees move to different states and work from places that excite them, organizations need to look at compensation.

How do you plan to handle payments when some of your staff live in cheaper places? Some companies have decided to pay some employees less, but that isn’t always the right answer.

As an organization leader, you have to make sure that compensation feels fair and competitive with similar organizations in your industry.

Spend some time connecting with other managers and staff members. Should location impact worker compensation? What would happen if everyone got paid the same amount? How would remote workers feel if they got paid less?

Employers need to have a full picture of how pay impacts work before deciding on compensation changes.

8. Producing an Internal Communication Plan

Internal communication is an essential building block of a successfully engaged hybrid team. Your employees need to know when to use different communication tools and how/when they can expect information from leadership.

Take some time to decide which communication tools you intend to use and what purpose they serve. For example, you could use a tool like Workrowd to host all of your employee resource groups. Go through all of your tools and describe when their use is appropriate.

As teams become more dispersed, tools like company newsletters become even more essential. If this is an engagement technique you want to use, it takes time to plan and execute.

Overall, you want to make sure that everyone knows what they can expect from leaders daily/weekly/monthly/etc. If you aren’t sure, it’s time to sit down and produce a plan that everyone on your team can follow.

Following Employee Engagement Trends in 2021

Employee engagement is an ever-changing field. Every year new trends emerge based on what’s happening inside and outside of the workplace. Leaders need to keep up with these trends so that employees feel engaged and ready to work.

The cost of disengaged employees can be astronomical, and organizations thrive when more staff members are excited to work every day. Are you looking for a simple way to improve engagement? Consider an employee engagement program.

While you are thinking about employee engagement trends for 2021, you can consider a tool like Workrowd to help you host your first employee resource group. Send us an email at hello@workrowd.com to see if we are right for your team.

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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.