5 tips for building workplace book clubs, plus 10 titles to start with

Workplace book clubs offer a tried and true way to boost outcomes for your team and your bottom line. Reading reduces stress levels by 68%. And it only takes 6 minutes of reading to see that effect.

I can personally attest to this. On the days when I start my morning reading a book, or have a reading break at lunchtime, I feel calmer and more productive. I even find that it can inspire me to be more creative in my freelance and fiction writing.

It’s not surprising when you consider that reading fiction can make people better at decision-making by between 50% and 100%! Now that could make a big difference to workplace productivity and efficiency.

Reading is more accessible than ever, too. With ebooks, audiobooks, paperbacks, and hardbacks, there’s truly a way for everyone to enjoy a story.

So, let’s take a look at how you can build a workplace full of readers at your company by leveraging workplace book clubs:

How to build workplace book clubs

Find the right leaders

The person/people in charge of your workplace book clubs should already be fans of reading. In addition, they need to be willing to spread the word about how and why it’s great.

It also helps if they read in lots of different genres, because they’ll be able to keep an open mind to suggestions. Plus, that way they can introduce other members to genres they may not have considered before.

Pick how you’ll choose books

How often will you choose books? And, just as importantly, how will you choose books?

Will a different person pick the book each month? This is a good way to keep people involved and get them to share what they love.

Bestseller lists are also great places to find ideas, because chances are some employees may already want to read what’s on them to see what all the fuss is about (and if it’s justified).

When it’s time to share the chosen book of the month, make sure you have an employee group set up to keep everyone in touch. As with most initiatives, communication is key if you want people to stay engaged.

Invite people to join

Now, it’s time to recruit people!

You could:

  • Send a company-wide email
  • Post on Slack and/or Workrowd
  • Invite people during meetings/catch ups
  • Share it on social media (internally or externally)
  • Drop individual invites, particularly if you know someone likes reading

Decide how everyone will share their thoughts

Will you catch up over video call? In person? Just chat over Slack or on Workrowd? A combination?

Pick a system that works for everyone.

Create talking points

It’s important to have talking points about the book to get the conversation going.

Otherwise, you risk hearing crickets as nobody knows what they should talk about.

For nonfiction, you could ask:

  • What did you learn?
  • Will you be making any changes in your life because of what you learned?
  • Who do you think can benefit from this book the most?
  • Did you find the book thought-provoking?

For fiction, you could ask:

  • What did you think of the characters/who was your favorite?
  • How did you feel about the writing style?
  • Which scene or chapter stuck with you the most?
  • What did you think of the ending?
  • Did the beginning hook you?
  • How does it compare to the film (if there is one)?

Titles to start workplace book clubs with

Here are some titles—on a range of topics—to help you start your workplace book clubs off with a bang:

Big Dress Energy – Shakaila Forbes-Bell

This is one of those books that will always stand out to me because it inspired me to experiment with my outfits.

Reading it made me realize the impact clothes have on mental health and the difference wearing my power colors makes to my mood.

Two months later, I’m still power dressing!

High Performance: Lessons From the Best on Becoming the Best – Jake Humphrey, Damian Hughes

Looking at the worlds of business and sport, this book analyzes the key ingredients of high-performance people and teams.

It features interviews from people like Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff, host of The Diary of a CEO podcast Steven Bartlett, and Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey.

I Will Teach You to be Rich – Ramit Sethi

An unusual way of looking at money management, but in the very best of ways. It’s funny, self-deprecating, and accessible.

No, really.

Atomic Habits – James Clear

A classic for a reason. The tips here work great for neurodivergent folks, too.

The Art of Rest – Claudia Hammond

Worried you’ve got colleagues who are at risk of becoming workaholics? Or don’t understand just how important rest is?

This is just the book they need to read.

I read this at the end of last year when I felt guilty for taking the time out to rest. It made me realize that rest makes me better at what I do and has a huge impact on my mental health.

Never Split the Difference – Chris Voss

Negotiation is a key part of the business world. And that’s exactly what this book teaches.

Written by a former international hostage negotiator for the FBI.

Talk Like Ted – Carmine Gallo

If you want to improve your public speaking skills, or someone you know breaks out in hives at the thought of public speaking, this book is perfect.

It’s all about how to tell the best stories—just like in a Ted Talk.

Or, if you’re in the mood for some fiction…

The Ghost’s Call – K.C. Adams

Okay, I confess: I wrote this one.

But it’s the perfect time of year for a ghost story!

It’s a little bit spooky and seriously sarcastic.

The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary

Romance with a twist: the two characters share a bed, but never meet. It handles mental health in a much more open and honest way than a lot of books.

It’s also been adapted into a TV show.

The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

Absolutely nothing like the TV show or 90s adaptation, but full of spooky, haunting imagery.

This is classic horror in that it isn’t full of jump scares, but it will give you the creeps.


Workplace book clubs are a great way to connect employees and boost their wellbeing.

There’s a book out there for everyone. Sometimes we just need some help finding the right one. Workplace book clubs are the perfect place to do just that!

If you’re looking for a simpler way to organize initiatives like workplace book clubs, you’re in the right place. Workrowd’s all-in-one tool suite makes it easy to launch, manage, and measure employee groups, programs, and events.

You can send out announcements on all channels with a single click, organize all your events and materials in one central hub, and automate data collection and analytics.

Sound useful? Visit us online to learn more, or write us at to find a time to chat.


5 ways your return to office policy impacts employee engagement

In my previous post on the mass return to office, we looked at the impact it’s likely to have on businesses’ DEI efforts. In this post, we’ll look at your return to office policy from a standpoint of how it impacts employee engagement.

While many managers want employees to be present in person, this can be detrimental to employees’ mental and physical health. Which, ultimately, impacts your bottom line.

So, let’s explore how a return to office policy can hurt employee engagement:

Employees can’t take breaks when they need/want to

I can’t sit at a desk for very long. Usually, I’ll write/edit a piece, then take a break. This makes me look like a massive fidget when I work in an office.

But if I don’t take a break regularly, I can’t concentrate.

The longer I sit still for, the harder it gets for me to focus.

This is the reality for many people who are neurodivergent or have chronic health issues. Sitting still becomes physically and/or mentally uncomfortable.

Not to mention it’s terrible for healthy people, too, causing long-term health issues such as chronic back pain.

Back pain is one of the biggest causes of employee sickness in the US. All told, it costs the economy $250 billion per year. Yes, billion.

I thought I needed new glasses when I read that, too.

Back pain is also one of the leading causes of early retirement.

So if someone retires early from it, you lose out on their industry and company knowledge. Plus, you have to spend money hiring and training other employees to fill the gap.

The simplest way to prevent all this? Ensuring employees move more and sit less.

Spending too long staring at a screen can also lead to eye strain and headaches. This then further causes employees to need to take time off to rest. All because they can’t take a screen/desk break when they need to.

Employees need to feel comfortable taking breaks and stretching their legs (and minds) as often as necessary.

But if their boss believes they must be at their desk in the office at all times to do their job, it doesn’t allow for the flexibility people need to move their bodies and maintain their health.

Employees feel less trusted

Forcing employees back into the office when they’ve worked remotely successfully for several years sends a negative message. This extreme return to office policy suggests you don’t trust them to do their job without someone to monitor them in person.

This message that those in charge don’t trust them can damage their confidence. This is especially true when they may feel like they haven’t been doing a good enough job already.

If they’ve worked hard but it’s perceived to not be good enough, the hit to their confidence can cause them to be less productive and may lead to workplace-related depression or anxiety.

All this adds up to employees disengaging, taking long-term sick leave, or leaving altogether.

Over time, this turnover will cause businesses to waste money on hiring that could’ve been saved by working with employees to find a hybrid or remote working policy that suits everyone’s needs.

Underrepresented talent feels they have to conform

Subconsciously, in an office, we judge the people around us. We judge them based on how they speak, act, and even what they wear.

This forces people to conform. Especially in a conservative workforce, or one that isn’t very diverse (even if it’s trying to change).

This subconscious conformity has an impact on how people think over time, too.

When someone doesn’t express their individuality however they want/need to, it can impact how they think, too.

They’re more likely to second-guess their ideas. So they won’t share them.

Eventually, this lack of other perspectives could lead to groupthink.

And that groupthink will reduce employees’ ability to think creatively, innovate, and problem solve because they’re working with just one limited worldview.

Your return to office policy can make it harder for people to speak their minds, especially if they’re constantly immersed in a one-size-fits-all office culture.

Offices are distracting

I delved deeply into how offices can be distracting in my previous post, so I won’t belabor the point here. But the short version is that big, open-plan offices can be distracting.

Office-based working means it’s easier for colleagues to interrupt someone when they’re concentrating. If that person doesn’t drop what they’re doing to talk to their colleague, they risk being perceived as rude.

But what if they were in the middle of a massive breakthrough, and someone coming up to them, unprompted, broke their flow?

It takes us 20 minutes to get back into something after an interruption.

With the amount of distractions we can experience in an office, those 20 minutes can add up. Just think how much lost time your return to office policy can lead to throughout the working day, let alone a week, month, or year.

Commutes can be draining

Commutes can be draining, especially if there’s a lot of traffic or problems with public transport.

When I used to get the tram to work, if there was some sort of tram delay (which happened a lot), it meant I got into work late. I started the day already feeling stressed before I’d even gotten to my desk. 

My elevated stress levels meant I was more reactive to my surroundings. As a result, I was less able to concentrate.

Plus, I was worried about whether the tram issues would be fixed before the end of the day. And if they weren’t, how long it would take me to get home. And how little energy I’d have left when I got there.

None of these things are an issue with remote working. Instead, employees get more time to spend on what matters to them and don’t need to stress about their commute.

Office-based working vs employee engagement

While some businesses will always need employees there in person, for many modern companies, there’s just no reason to implement a full-blown return to office policy.

For in-person meetings, in most cases, it’s still cheaper to rent a space once a year, or once a quarter, than have a permanent office space that no one wants to use.

If an employee is among the few who prefer to work in an office, they could always find a nearby co-working space, library, or cafe. This is likely to be closer to them than the office, but they still get to be away from any potential at-home distractions.

Looking to balance the benefits of in-person work with the employee engagement perks of remote? Workrowd can help. Our all-in-one tool suite enables team members to find community no matter where or when they work.

Personalized dashboards ensure everyone is always in the loop, and custom analytics let you track your results in real time. Sound useful? Visit us online to learn more, or drop us a note at


Your return to office policy is hurting your DEI efforts – here’s why

Back in the dark pandemic days most of us would rather forget, those of us who dislike office-based working rejoiced when jobs moved out of the office and into the home. We were blissfully unaware at that point what a battle the return to office conversation would become.

Back then, we all thought that the transition to remote work would mean a massive shift in how businesses operated. We thought they’d finally understand the importance of remote working for employees’ mental and physical health, diversity, and business success.

After all, working from home doesn’t make employees less productive. It makes them more productive.

I recently spoke to a former colleague who said that the company now works mostly remotely, with occasional in-office time.


Because they found employees worked better when they worked remotely. At the same time, they did still need some people around for face-to-face interactions. In this situation, hybrid working was the perfect compromise.

So then, why is there a mass return to office going on? 

Even Zoom, the very company that enabled so many of us to work remotely during the pandemic, has mandated a return to office. 

There seems to be a discrepancy between what employees want, and how much managers trust them. 

But if managers don’t trust their employees, why did they hire them in the first place? 

I mean, I know places like this still exist. But do they have to make it so obvious? It’s not going to help their future hiring efforts with so many people now wanting to work remotely.

This is especially true when it comes to hiring talent from underrepresented communities. Here’s why mandating a return to office can be especially harmful to your diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

Not everyone works well in an office

There are very few people who concentrate better in an office. Those people make up around 3% of the population.

There are some parts of office-based work—like the background noise, or the overhead lights, or even using the wrong equipment—that we may not consciously realize impact our productivity. Especially if we’re used to blocking them out or just sucking it up.

But, over time, the impact compounds. It reduces how much employees can concentrate, and therefore how much work they get done.

When you force a return to office where everyone has to work in the same environment, sacrifices and compromises have to be made. 

Which means that there’s a high chance some employees will leave. 

For many people now, remote or hybrid working is a non-negotiable requirement when they job hunt. Which means if they already work for you and you change the rules, they’re not going to think twice about leaving you in their rear-view mirror.

It’s impossible to accommodate everyone’s needs in an office

Health and safety regulations, while important to follow, are based on what fits most people, not everyone.

We all have unique needs from our work environment. It’s the same way that some of us have different dietary requirements.

I once had a colleague who got relentless migraines because of how bright the new LED lights were. But HR insisted that the white lights were better for our long-term eye health. His migraines begged to differ.

Truth is, it’s impossible to accommodate everyone’s needs, especially in a larger business. Some people will always slip through the cracks for one reason or another. Which isn’t fair on anyone, and makes return to office a bad approach if you want to maintain and increase diversity.

Underrepresented talent is at a disadvantage in an office

When I asked Workrowd CEO Rachel Goor her thoughts on the current mass return to office, she said:

While it’s often overlooked in return to office discussions, where employees work actually has huge implications for DEI progress. For example, being in the office creates more pressure to conform with racially biased workplace expectations. It disadvantages caregivers who have to juggle commuting and being away from home on top of their familial responsibilities. It makes it more difficult for people with disabilities to access the necessary accommodations to thrive. Bottom line: if you want to recruit and retain talent from underrepresented communities, don’t mandate a return to office.

Offices can be rife with judgment and cliques. Whether this is conscious or not, it reduces psychological safety and makes the environment less welcoming for everyone. Societal pressures take up a lot of subconscious headspace that can have long-term impacts on someone’s emotional health.

Offering training around these issues can help. Ultimately though, employees need to want to understand and improve for it to make a difference.

Forcing employees to work in an office shrinks your talent pool

If you only hire people who can commute into the office, you significantly shrink your talent pool. Not just in terms of location, but in terms of skill set and experience, too. 

That means your competitors who accommodate remote work are more likely to find the best person for the job. 

After all, what are the odds the best candidate lives just down the road from you? Pretty slim.

Many candidates from underrepresented communities can’t, or don’t want to, work in an office. A single parent may struggle to be in the office by nine in the morning, but they could drop their children off at school and still get back to their desk at home on time.

With the average commute at around an hour, that’s a big chunk of someone’s day dedicated to traveling.

Office-based work simply introduces more variables

People want a better work-life. Remote or hybrid working provides that in a way a full-scale return to office never could.

A wheelchair user might not fit in your elevator, or be able to climb the stairs. If they work in their own space though, they can still get to their desk to work.

Spray air fresheners, or employees’ excessive uses of deodorant or perfume, may be unsuitable for someone with asthma or COPD. At home though, they have control of the atmosphere and what is (and isn’t) sprayed in it. Without you having to put policies in place to enable them to breathe.

I could go on, but you probably get my point. There are so many variables you have to juggle in an office. It’s never going to be as inclusive or as welcoming as allowing someone to work in their own space.


Some jobs, like manufacturing, require employees to be in a physical location. Office-type work generally doesn’t. And most people don’t like it either.

Foregoing your physical office space saves you money that you can spend on other areas of your business. This could include growing your DEI efforts through hiring, training, and employee engagement.

So why not boost your employer brand by giving employees what they want? If you’re ready to overcome misguided notions about return to office and build an engaged and inclusive hybrid and remote culture, Workrowd can help.

With a one-stop shop for all your employee programs, groups, and events, you can drive real belonging from day one, no matter where or when people work. Organizing your resources and announcements through a central hub saves time and ensures everyone is always on the same page.

Plus, real-time analytics empower you with the data you need to maximize your resources. Sound interesting? Visit us online to learn more, or drop us a note at


5 ways to engage Gen Z in the workplace

Gen Z now makes up 30% of the world’s population. Of course, this also means an influx of Gen Z in the workplace. By 2025, members of this generation will comprise a quarter of our workforce.

This new wave of employees demands very different things from their employers than their predecessors. They have higher expectations and ignoring those, or being stuck in your ways under the guise of “tradition” puts you at risk of ending up like the steam engine or horse-drawn carriages.

If you want your business to survive, you need to engage Gen Z in the workplace sooner rather than later. They’re the future leaders, decision makers, and investors that could one day influence the fate of your business. The sooner you show them that you value their input, the sooner you’ll experience the benefits of a multi-generational workforce.

So, how do you engage Gen Z in the workplace? Here are 5 ways you can do just that:

Show diversity matters

Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation ever. Half of its members identify as a racial or ethnic minority.

That means they care about what you’re doing to make your business more diverse. It’s not enough to just say you support diversity, or that your company is diverse. You need to prove it.

Some ways to do so include updating your hiring processes, creating ERGs, sharing employee stories on your social media pages, supporting a range of charities, or by getting your leaders to speak up about causes that matter to them.

On a deeper level, you need to embody diversity. You need to support employees who report a colleague for their behavior, whatever that may be. Don’t assume because they’re reporting their manager it’s because they don’t get along.

You also need to educate everyone within the business on things like microaggressions. Not everyone knows or understands how microaggressions can seep into everyday life. Just because they’re unconscious or unintentional, that doesn’t mean they’re not harmful.

HR teams need to work to address them, and not just because it’s key to engaging Gen Z the workplace. Ultimately, it’s just the right thing to do.

Update your hiring process

A company’s commitment to DEI is important to 83% of Gen Z in the workplace. 68% would be more likely to apply for a job with recruiters and materials that reflect a more diverse workforce. 

So you want to show them that you really are committed to it.

You can do this by offering different types of hiring based on candidates’ preferences. For instance, you could provide information in both video and written format. Are there ways you could make your hiring process more attractive to jobseekers with disabilities?

Less than a quarter of disabled people were employed last year, despite many of us being perfectly capable of working. We simply need to know our employer can work with us and not against us.

Consider what accommodations you can make to your hiring process, as well as to your workplace more broadly. And speak about it early and often. People with disabilities are likely to think your organization is not for them unless you show/tell them how you’ll welcome them.

And even if a prospective candidate doesn’t have a disability, they’re more likely to warm to your business if they can see that you enable different ways of working.

Also consider how inclusive your hiring team is. Is everyone from the same age group? Are they all from the same ethnicity? How can you broaden their experiences and backgrounds to get a more balanced view? It’s important to empower everyone to thrive, including Gen Z in the workplace.

Grow your groups

Unfortunately, more than a fifth of Gen Z in the workplace says they have no friends at work. Whereas baby boomers are nearly twice as likely to make most of their friends at work. 

This is a huge generational difference. Businesses need to work to change this. Loneliness in any guise can come with significant short- and long-term health problems. 

You could start by growing (or, if you don’t have any already, creating), employee groups. These communities give employees somewhere to get to know new colleagues outside of their immediate teams. 

They can connect with people who have similar backgrounds or interests to them, helping expand their friend group and reducing the damaging impact of loneliness.

Offer career advancement opportunities

76% of Gen Z-ers feel that upskilling is key to their career advancement. And 67% want to work somewhere they can learn skills that will advance their careers. 

So, if you don’t offer them this, there’s a high chance you’ll lose the interest of the next generation.

Gen Z switches jobs at a rate that’s 134% higher than before the pandemic. Millennials switch jobs 24% more. For boomers, that number is just 4%.

So, the more you can do to engage Gen Z in the workplace now, the sooner your business can grow and modernize to stay ahead of your competition.

Provide in-person training

Only 14% of employees want online training. 63% prefer in-person training. I can see why. It can be challenging to focus on an all-day training exercise, especially if that training is done at home.

Many trainings are hard to pay attention to, let alone when you’re getting bombarded with email and Slack notifications. 

Offering training in person gives employees a chance to meet their colleagues and get away from the office. This can help with idea generation and clearing the cobwebs away, as my nan used to say.

If employees go to an external training session, it allows them to meet people from outside of the company but with similar goals or roles to them. 

As well as providing them with the chance to make friends, this can also allow them crucial networking opportunities that may advance their careers further down the line.


Gen Z is the future of the modern workforce. One day, they’ll be the decision makers. The sooner you make your business attractive to Gen Z in the workplace, the more likely they are to rave about your business online. This will then attract more candidates from this next generation and all the benefits that can bring.

Ready to make your employee experience more attractive to Gen Z in the workplace? Look no further than Workrowd. Our user-friendly platform gives Gen Z one-stop shopping for all your employee programs, groups, and events.

That way, they can tap into what’s important to them from day one and easily form close connections with colleagues. Plus, real-time analytics let you know exactly what’s contributing to a positive experience for Gen Z in the workplace.

Ready to learn more? Visit us online, or just send us a note at


Culture add beats culture fit any day: 5 reasons why

We’ve all heard of culture fit, where businesses hire employees based on how well they fit into the company culture. This can help businesses run more coherently and lead to less tension in the workplace. But it can also lead to groupthink. That’s where culture add comes in.

If everyone’s experiences are the same, and they all feel the same way about something, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes never get challenged. Which makes it harder for employees to think creatively and solve problems. This can mean it takes longer to get things done. It can even put you behind your competitors.

Culture add, on the other hand, enhances your company culture while avoiding groupthink.

What is culture add?

Imagine a five-foot wall, with three people trying to look over it. The first person is six feet tall and can see over it fine. The second person is five foot, so they can’t really see, but they can on tiptoes. The third person is four foot and can’t see at all.

Culture fit is hiring only six-foot-tall people, so you don’t realize the wall is an obstacle to some.

Culture add is hiring those people who can point out that there’s a problem, and therefore help you find a solution because they see the world differently.

You’ve probably come across the equity meme where three people look over the wall, and the two shorter people stand on boxes to see over the wall. Culture add in a business is a real-world equivalent of that.

Benefits of culture add

So, how can focusing on culture add benefit your business? Let’s take a look:

More creativity and better problem solving

When you hire someone based on culture add, rather than culture fit, it brings in fresh perspectives.

Someone with a more creative background might not be a typical choice for a software developer, but if they have the right soft skills, they’ll pick up on the hard skills they need to succeed.

Hard skills can be taught. It’s not impossible to teach soft skills, but it isn’t as easy. And it usually takes longer.

But if you hire someone who shares your organizational values, such as a growth mindset, alongside your existing, talented employees, you get to experience the benefits of their innovative ideas.

The more diverse a group of people is, the more creative that group will be. Everyone will bring new perspectives to the table based on their life experiences. This leads to better—and faster—problem solving, and increased innovation.

Think about it: if a company is full of men, they have no idea what problems women face.

So they can’t tap into that market as efficiently or as well as a team that includes equal amounts of women in decision-making roles.

The same is true of race, religion, disabilities, and other communities.

The more you embrace diverse backgrounds, and look for culture add, the more creative problem solving you’ll get from your employees.

Happier (and more productive) employees

Culture add increases workplace diversity, which helps employees experience different cultures and ways of living.

With a more inclusive culture, employees will be happier and more productive in their roles.

They’ll want to come to work because they’ll feel like valued members of the team.

Less bias

Hiring for culture fit risks bias creeping in. If hiring managers only hire people who think like them, over time it may lead to them overlooking talented candidates who think differently but are equally capable of doing the job.

When a team is already diverse, there’s less chance of bias taking over because more perspectives will be involved in the hiring process. Moreover, hiring managers will already be used to working with a range of different people.

Increased diversity

Many businesses these days have diversity targets. While these can sometimes feel like lip service, they actually work.

A study found that companies with gender diversity targets didn’t end up hiring incompetent women. Instead, it weeded out the incompetent men!

When you look for culture add, you’ll open your talent pool up to a much wider range of candidates.

You’ll get to embrace people’s differences and utilize the strengths that come with those new perspectives.

Improve your employer brand

High-quality candidates know their worth. They won’t apply for a role at a business where the culture feels unwelcoming or off to them. If something makes them uncomfortable when they’re going through the hiring process, they may drop out. Meaning the hiring process could take even longer.

A welcoming company culture, where you focus on culture add, creates a more welcoming work environment.

This comes across in how employees talk about you on review sites like Glassdoor, social media sites like LinkedIn, and among their peers.

Since one of the best ways to hire new talent is from employees’ networks, if they’re singing your praises, their peers will want to work with you. And if you’ve put the work in to create a diverse team, you’ll attract more diverse candidates, too. Your positive employer brand will give you an ongoing advantage in the talent market.

More revenue

Every business wants to make more money, right?

Well, companies that focus on culture add make more money. 33% more money, in fact.

This extra revenue could be used on business growth, employee development, talent acquisition, or even rewarding employees for their hard work with pay raises.


Culture add creates a better workplace culture and generates more revenue for businesses. It’s the next step beyond culture fit—finding people who complement your working environment, not just people who fit in because they think like everyone else.

Once you start hiring for culture add, it’s important to ensure your new team members feel welcome and included. That’s where Workrowd comes in.

Give your people one-stop shopping for everything culture and engagement, so they can find community and tap into what’s important to them from day one. Plus, with real-time analytics, you can stay agile and quickly make any changes needed to keep everyone thriving.

If this sounds useful for your organization, visit us online to learn more, or send us a quick note at


The 7 most important soft skills to cultivate in your workforce

Only 31% of employers provide important soft skills training to their employees, yet 85% of career success comes from having well-developed soft skills. Talk about a big difference.

92% of talent professionals believe soft skills are just as important—or even more important—than hard skills when it comes to hiring.

So it’s really no surprise that 80% found they’re increasingly key to company success.

Here are some important soft skills to cultivate in your workforce to ensure your business—and your employees—can reach their full potential:

Growth mindset

A growth mindset is all about being open to learning and treating failure as a learning exercise, not a reason to give up.

There are many businesses and people out there who still have a fixed mindset and don’t see opportunities for growth.

But the brain is neuroplastic: it can learn new things, and embrace new things, at any age. You very much can teach an old dog new tricks.

When businesses cultivate growth mindsets, employees aren’t afraid to fail because they know they can learn from their mistakes. As a result, they take more risks—and you can experience bigger rewards.


Listening is a lot harder than we often think it is. But ultimately, it’s one of the most important soft skills you can cultivate.

The next time you’re in the office or even on public transport, listen to someone else’s conversation.

How often do they interrupt each other?

How often do they actually reply to what the other person has said, rather than saying what they want to say?

Do they change the conversation to be about something they want to talk about instead?

We often underestimate listening, assuming it’s the same thing as having a conversation with someone. But they’re two very different things.

Listening means not interrupting the other person. Not just talking about what you want to talk about. Accepting what the other person says, ideally without judgement.

Then, once they’ve finished saying what they need to say, responding to that without making it about you.

Giving and receiving feedback

We’re not taught communication skills in school, and sometimes we’re not taught them at college. So if we’re not taught strong communication skills at work, where can we learn them?

Giving and receiving feedback can be hard. Even people who are trained to give feedback often focus only on the bad things, which can create an atmosphere of negativity.

When giving feedback, make sure you compliment things as much as you criticize them. That way, the person on the receiving end knows what they’re doing right—and wrong.

Hearing feedback isn’t always easy, but it’s one of the really important soft skills needed to grow as a person—and as an employee. We need to know how to receive comments graciously without getting angry or taking that feedback personally.


Leadership skills aren’t just about being able to lead a team. That’s a part of it, but it’s also about being able to set an example.

There will be leaders within a team who’ll guide the rest of the members through their actions, through their encouragement, and through their attitude, rather than direct instructions.

Many successful leaders in sports, business, and everything in between attribute their success not only to their own skills but also to the role models within the team. These role models helped everyone embody the right attitude by setting an example for them to follow.

Modeling productive behaviors is among the important soft skills that don’t require advance training. Anyone can start doing it at any time.

Time management

Whatever barriers you may face, there are ways to ensure that your time management skills are top-notch.

For instance, my mom used to set her clock 10 minutes early so that she left on time for work every day.

You could use calendar reminders, notifications on your phone, or time management apps. You could ask your colleagues to remind you about something important. 

Time management isn’t always easy, but there are ways to make it easier, especially if you embrace technology.


Part of being a great employee is being a great team player. Whatever your business, your employees need to get along and have healthy debates without getting upset or angry with their colleagues. Even if they have conflicting personality traits or communication styles.

This requires everyone to have a strong work ethic, putting business success over their own pride. Effective communication helps here, because they can discuss ideas in depth without letting their feelings get in the way. 

We’re never going to get along with everyone we work with, but teamwork skills ensure employees know and understand how to be a good team member and come to a mutual agreement or compromise. Being able to find common ground is one of the important soft skills you shouldn’t overlook.

Problem-solving skills

Problem solving is hard. To do it efficiently requires creativity and objectivity.

This is why a diverse, modern workplace is so important: the more diverse your workforce is, and the more comfortable people are speaking out, the more likely the team is to come up with a solution to a problem. And the faster they’re likely to do it.


Any soft skill is a transferable skill that can improve employees’ work lives and their personal lives. Providing important soft skills training can boost employee well-being, improve their work day, and elevate how they interact with their colleagues.

Regardless of someone’s long-term career path, important soft skills will improve their emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and communication skills. All things that will help them succeed as people and employees.

Looking to do more to foster these important soft skills in your workforce? Look no further than Workrowd.

With our all-in-one platform, you can easily connect team members to opportunities to build important soft skills through employee groups, programs, and events. Plus, our automated analytics ensure you always know how each initiative is helping you reach your goals.

Sound interesting? Drop by our homepage to learn more, or send us a note at


Family-friendly workplace policies to drive inclusion for your team

While it would certainly make life easier if the only thing your employees had to worry about was their job responsibilities, that’s rarely the case. Team members have hobbies, friends, and perhaps most importantly, families to think of, too. Accordingly, it’s never too early to start implementing some family-friendly workplace policies.

Caregivers, whether parents or those supporting older relatives, bring a unique set of skills to the table. They’re great problem solvers, negotiators, and communicators.

However, family commitments can make it harder for these individuals to find a job. They’re often not offered the flexibility they need to succeed at work.

So, if you’d like to make your organization more welcoming to this rich talent pool, here are some tips for implementing more family-friendly workplace policies:

How to create more family-friendly workplace policies

Ask your employees what they want

The scope of a team member’s caregiving role will influence what they need, and can provide, at work. The best way to find out what those needs are is to ask your employees. 

You could create a survey, do a focus group, or even ask in Slack or on Workrowd.

The more places you ask, the more information you can get. Of course, as a result, the better your future family-friendly workplace policies will be.

Research what others are doing 

You do research to find out what your competitors are doing and what the key to their success is. So, why not do the same for family-friendly workplace policies?

You need to know what others are doing—and if it’s working. That way, you can streamline your own processes and avoid the pitfalls others have faced.

Bring in a consulting firm

Another way to streamline creating family-friendly workplace policies is to bring in a company that specializes in helping businesses implement effective practices.

This is more expensive than doing the research yourself, so it may not be suitable for a smaller company. That said, it can save larger companies a lot of time and effort that they could use on other things.

Trust your employees

Creating more inclusive and family-friendly workplace policies requires trusting your employees to do their jobs.

Since everyone works in different ways, the more rigid company rules are, the less likely you are to find someone who’s compatible with that way of working. And the less likely you are to benefit from increased company diversity.

To implement things like flexible working or remote working, you need to trust your employees.

You need to trust them to not let you down, to perform at their best, and to be upfront and honest with you.

For that to happen you need a culture where employees feel trusted and where they trust you.

Trust and respect work both ways. If employees have even the slightest whiff of something being off, or feel like they’ll get judged for something, then they’re not going to be as open with you or their colleagues and it will negatively impact your company culture.

Ways to make your workplace more family friendly

Implement flexible working…yesterday

There’s no better way to say you’re a family-friendly company than with a flexible working policy. 

It tells caregivers that you don’t mind if they need to come in later or leave earlier because of caring responsibilities. So long as they get the work done, that’s what matters.

Trust your employees to work remotely

Do you allow employees to work remotely?

Flexible work is one thing. Allowing employees to work at home, or where they’re most productive that isn’t the office, can make a huge difference to how inclusive your workplace is—and how much money you lose to your employees’ childcare and other responsibilities.

Remote work allows caregivers more time to spend with their children or relatives. Being able to work from home means they’re not losing an hour or more each day to their commute. 

They can use their lunch break for quality time with family members when they’re home. Or, even for a little bit of much-needed time to themselves.

Update your parental leave policy

Does your parental leave policy only cover new mothers? Or does it cover new fathers, too? What about trans or non-binary individuals?

Your parental leave policy should be inclusive and not make assumptions about who will return to work first. It should also consider parents’ needs as well as legal requirements.

Consider, too, your policies for parents of newly adopted children. What do they need? How can you help them?

Offer family healthcare

When employees know that their family’s healthcare is covered as well as their own, it can make things a lot less stressful if someone gets sick or even just needs a new pair of glasses. 

Family healthcare is a simple way to show employees that you don’t just view them as someone who produces for your company, but you value them and their family’s long-term health as well.

Provide family medical leave

Sometimes someone gets sick and it’s not possible to work remotely and care for them at the same time.

Offering some sort of family medical leave, where people can look after their relative without worrying about work, or using up their paid time off, gives them the head space they need to help their relative.

Subsidize childcare

Childcare can get expensive really fast.

I live and work in the UK. Some of our friends struggle to work even though they want to because childcare is just so expensive.

If you can subsidize employees’ childcare costs, so that their child can enjoy educational and fun activities while they’re at work, or when they need a break, it helps your employees focus, and it benefits the next generation.


Family-friendly workplace policies make your business more inclusive. This attracts a wider range of candidates and means you get to benefit from the unique assets caregivers can bring to your business.

Being family-friendly could even be a differentiator for your business that you use to grow your employer brand and customer base.

If you’re ready to better support parents and other caregivers with more family-friendly workplace policies, having a central hub for employee info is a great place to start. With Workrowd, it’s easy to ensure employees always have the information they need to make the best choices for themselves and their families.

Plus, the platform offers an easy way to manage and measure employee resource groups for parents and caregivers and other effective support initiatives. Want to learn more? Visit us online or send us a note at


Keeping employees engaged through organizational changes

Change can be scary. It’s even scarier if it happens at work and it feels like there’s nothing you can do about it. Keeping employees engaged during these times can have a huge impact on the outcome of the changes.

Whether it’s a merger or acquisition, organizational restructuring, a change in strategy, or something else, it can be hard for employees to wrap their heads around change and accept what’s happening as the new norm.

18% of employees would consider leaving their job if a big organizational change occurred.

While I haven’t experienced this in a job myself, I have seen a couple of companies my friends worked for go through big changes.

It resulted in turnover so high that pretty much everyone who’d been there pre-transition was gone within a year or two. That’s a lot of money wasted on hiring because the change led to super disengaged employees.

Change in any part of our lives can be stressful, so it’s hardly surprising that 73% of employees affected by change say they’re suffering from moderate to high stress levels. That can have a big impact not just on employee engagement, but on productivity, retention, and even mental and physical health. It’s really unsurprising so many of my friends’ colleagues left.

And, when you consider that 75% of transformation efforts don’t deliver the results change-makers hoped for…it makes you wonder if it’s even worth it.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though.

Here are five ideas for keeping employees engaged through organizational changes:

Make leaders visible

The biggest reason employees resist change is a lack of trust in leadership. That can only improve when leaders are visible and clearly communicate with employees.

How can they do that?

There are endless ways, whether you’re in an office or remote:

  • Posting internally on Slack, Teams, Workrowd, or whatever your company uses (not just to criticize or complain, but to compliment or even just initiate small talk)
  • Posting regularly to social media on somewhere like LinkedIn to humanize you to employees
  • Hosting ask me anythings (AMAs)
  • Making an active effort to talk to as many employees as possible and get their views
  • Holding live video streams for company updates

The more you openly and honestly communicate with employees, the more likely they are to trust you. The more they trust you, the more successful you’re likely to be at keeping employees engaged.

If they think you’re opaque or inaccessible, warning signals are going to go off in their minds and they’ll be less accepting and trusting as a result.

Be transparent

Keeping employees engaged through transitional changes isn’t just about making leaders visible. It’s also about being honest with employees. They need to know what’s happening.

So, share as much information as you can with them.

What’s the reason for the change?

Which departments will it affect? How and when will they be impacted?

Will there be new functions or ways of doing things going forward?

The more you can share with them, the more accepting they’re likely to be about the change.

It may help to have regular meetings with employees to keep them informed of how the change is going, since it won’t be a one-day thing.

Team members will appreciate your honesty and transparency and reward you with their loyalty and trust. That alone will go a long way towards helping you meet your goal of keeping employees engaged.

Let employees express their opinions

One of the ways you can make change less scary for employees is by making them feel like their voices are valued. Just by allowing them to voice their concerns, they’ll feel a little more in control. And, crucially, more valued in the workplace, so that keeping employees engaged will be easier.

For a successful transition of any kind to happen, employees need to know what’s happening and feel heard.

You don’t have to like what they have to say, nor do you have to act on it, but you have to give them a way to share their thoughts.

If they feel like they’re being silenced or ignored, they’re less likely to accept the change.

Sometimes, all people need is to get something off their chest. Once they’ve done that, they’re more likely to get onboard.

You could collect their feedback via a questionnaire or survey; host a Q&A; organize a drop-in session for them to speak to senior leaders; or ask team leads about what their employees have said to them.

The more avenues you use to collect feedback, the more likely you are to get a clear picture of how employees really feel about what’s going on. And what steps you can be taking towards keeping employees engaged.

Don’t censor

While negative feedback is never comfortable, censoring employees’ negative comments about the transition will only fuel the fire.

They need to feel heard and supported, otherwise they’re going to feel angry and silenced.

And the more angry and silenced they feel, the bigger the risk of a backlash, whether that’s through mass resignations, negative reviews, decreased morale, or something else. Regardless of how it manifests, it’s inevitable that dissatisfied employees will impact your bottom line.

Set an example

Employees will follow the lead of their managers. So, by leaders setting an example, it can help put employees at ease.

They could do this by:

  • Being open about how they feel about the change(s)
  • Adopting, and embracing, new behaviors or attitudes
  • Listening to employees’ thoughts on how things are going (and passing on any feedback)
  • Making employees feel psychologically safe at work


Change at work can be scary for employees and lead to them feeling increased levels of stress. This can present some big challenges when you’re focused on keeping employees engaged.

By clearly communicating with them about what’s happening and allowing them to voice their concerns, you’re far less likely to suffer from the negative consequences that can come from organizational changes.

If you’re ready to make keeping employees engaged more of a ‘set it and forget’-type effort, Workrowd’s suite of tools can help. With streamlined communications, program and events management, and automated surveys and analytics all under one roof, you can easily support your workforce through all sorts of ups and downs.

Sound useful? Drop by the homepage for more info, or send us an email at to learn more.


8 employee event ideas to deepen belonging for your workforce

You know that keeping employees engaged and connected can go a long way towards driving retention. Events are obviously a great way to do this, but who has time to constantly come up with new employee event ideas?

40% of people feel isolated at work. I’ve been there, and it’s a horrible feeling that doesn’t just impact your working life, but your home life, too. Your mental health. Your physical health. And even your ability to enjoy your hobbies when you’re not at work.

When employees feel like they belong in the workplace, it can lead to a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% decrease in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days. 75%!

For a company with 10,000 employees, this would result in an annual savings of over $52 million.

Just let those numbers sink in for a moment.

$52 million.

All from employees feeling like they belong where they work, instead of feeling like an outsider in the place where they spend most of their time. Coming up with employee event ideas seems like a pretty small lift when you consider that kind of payoff, right?

The relationship between employee events and diversity and inclusion

Businesses in the US spend almost $8 billion per year on diversity and inclusion initiatives. Unfortunately, they often fail to include one key element in these efforts: belonging.

To fully reach your DEI goals, you need to create an environment where employees of all backgrounds and identities feel included.

There’s no point educating employees on what diversity looks like if you don’t take steps to make your workplace more inclusive. This could include offering ramps and elevators as well as stairs to your office, or transcripts for video meetings. Small changes like these can add up to make a big difference to your employee experience.

As many businesses embrace remote or hybrid working, it’s important to find alternative ways to ensure employees can connect with their colleagues.

One simple option for fostering connection and increasing employee belonging is with these employee event ideas.

Employee event ideas to drive deeper belonging for your workforce

Here are some employee event ideas you could try in your business:


Employee resource groups (ERGs) offer a simple, employee-led way for team members to connect with coworkers who share their interests or backgrounds. 

When people have someone at work who shares commonalities with them, they’ll feel more connected to what they’re doing and their place of work. They’ll feel less like an outsider and more like they’re a part of something. They’ll also have someone to go to with concerns that may be related to their disability, race, gender, religion, etc.

Of course, your organization’s employee resource groups can also be a great source of employee event ideas if you’re stuck. Don’t hesitate to consult and partner with them!

Team retreats

When working remotely, having the opportunity to meet up with colleagues every few months can re-engage employees and help generate new ideas.

I’ve seen some businesses organize retreats in different places every time. This allows employees to experience different cultures while getting to know their colleagues. It’s a great way to introduce them to other ways of working, scenery, culture, and even food!


A hackathon is a challenge for a group of employees where they have to put together a product or service in a set amount of time. There’s usually a theme of some sort, whether it’s vague like “time” or something more specific, like a scheduling app.

Internal or external hackathons test employees’ skills in a fun way. They also appeal to people’s creative and competitive sides.

Hackathons can be an effective way for teams to bond outside of their day-to-day tasks. Or for new teams to form and get to know each other.

You can also reward employees for their hard work with prizes at the end. Hackathons are one of those employee event ideas that’s often overlooked, but can make a big impact.

Escape rooms

Escape rooms build team bonds, develop problem-solving abilities, and play to people’s strengths. They can even help employees discover new skills along the way!

Movie nights

Pop culture is a really good way to bond with other people. You’ll never find a movie that everyone loves, but watching something together can spark conversations and new connections.

Sometimes people’s tastes might surprise you, too, or you might introduce them to a whole new genre.

Volunteer days

Employee volunteering programs are becoming increasingly popular. They’re a good way to boost employee morale and engagement.

If you have several employees who live near each other, you could organize for them to all volunteer at the same place on the same day. That way they’ll get to know each other while working together for a common cause.

Partnering with community-based organizations is a great way to tap into a steady stream of new employee event ideas to engage your team.


Whether it’s a lunch and learn, or an afternoon during a team retreat, offering classes is a great way to encourage employee bonding and teach people something new.

Some options include:

  • Poetry or spoken word
  • Painting 
  • Pottery

Go for something that has a low barrier to entry and is accessible to as many employees as possible.

And remind them that it’s meant to be fun—no perfectionism or pressure required! 

Team meals

Meals are a great, low-effort way to get to know someone. If you don’t know what to talk about, just talk about the food!

When booking somewhere, look for a restaurant that can cater to individuals’ nutritional needs or preferences. There’s nothing worse than turning up to a restaurant to find that their only vegan option is a side of fries, or they don’t even know what gluten-free means.

Part of creating a culture of belonging means considering people’s dietary needs, too, even if you don’t have any requirements yourself.


Effective employee event ideas come in many forms. The common factor though, is that they help employees of all backgrounds feel appreciated and included in the workplace. 

This has huge benefits for businesses of all sizes, reducing sick time and increasing profits. 

It also increases the impact of any diversity and inclusion initiatives, because it’s not just talking about diversity and inclusion, it’s actively creating it.

If you’re ready to free up more time for dreaming up awesome employee event ideas, and spend less time juggling all the logistics, Workrowd has your back. With all the tools you need to market, manage, and measure your events and programs, you and your employees can enjoy the ease of having everything in one place.

Sound interesting? Drop by our site to learn more, or send us a note at


9 steps to building a world-class employee volunteering program

Workers are five times more engaged when their employer offers an employee volunteering program. And 88% of consumers prefer brands that are socially and environmentally conscious.

Yet only 60% of companies offer employees paid time off to take part in volunteering programs. 

A further 21% of companies want to implement an employee volunteering program by 2024, but planning to do something, and actually doing it, are very different things. 

Even if all those companies did implement an employee volunteering program, that leaves a gap of almost one fifth.

So, if you’re planning to build a world-class employee volunteering program, what steps should you take?

Pick your purpose

It’s impossible to do everything we want to do or help every cause in the world. Which is why focusing on one or two initiatives will get you the most success.

Consider what ties into your greater business purpose or mission.

For example, if you run an animal-related business, could your employees volunteer at their local shelter? Or could you start an initiative with a chain of shelters to help them, perhaps offering dog-walking services?

If your focus is on sustainability, what volunteering opportunities could you provide your employees which relate to that?

Jot down a bunch of ideas, or better yet, ask your employees for some! This way, they’ll feel invested in the program from the start, which means they’re more likely to participate and help you reach your goals.

Get leadership buy-in

It’s a lot easier to engage employees in something if their managers are on board, too. 

Managers have to be comfortable with their employees taking time from their day jobs to help other people. If they’re not happy about it, employees won’t feel comfortable volunteering.

If managers do want their employees to join in, employees will feel supported doing so and be more likely to volunteer their time.

Partner with relevant organizations

If there’s a particular organization that’s relevant to your cause, why not partner with them? This creates a mutually beneficial relationship, helping you both further your goals.

You could also use this as a PR opportunity for both businesses, increasing your reach into new areas through joint social media content or press releases.

Consider cultural differences

Different cultures have different priorities and pursue them in different ways. So, if you have a global workforce, consider this before starting your employee volunteering program.

You could create different initiatives for each territory you operate in, with each area managed by a different person. That way, they’re aware of the cultural nuances in a way that someone located elsewhere may not be.

You could also collect team members’ opinions before you start an employee volunteering program to find out what matters to them and where they’d like to spend their volunteering time. If it’s a cause that resonates with them, people are far more likely to participate.

Decide on your KPIs

What do you hope to achieve through your employee volunteering program? How will you know if your scheme is successful?

Like any business initiative, you need to have goals or KPIs to help you monitor your program’s performance.

Some things you could track include:

  • How many employees take part
  • How much time they donate
  • How many organizations they serve
  • How much money they raise
  • The total value of volunteering time

You could also track bigger-picture things like:

  • Impact on employer brand
  • Employee retention rates
  • Employee engagement rates
  • Connections with other businesses/organizations/causes
  • Employee morale
  • Employee mental health

Choose a volunteer coordinator

Someone needs to oversee putting all this together, whether that’s in a part-time or full-time role.

If you’re a small organization or starting with a small scheme, having this as an additional part of someone’s job, much like organizing an ERG, may keep them engaged and invested in your business.

It doesn’t have to be someone from HR or marketing. What matters is that they’re invested in the cause and can pass their enthusiasm on to other people. Skills can be taught, enthusiasm can’t.

Collect feedback

It’s important to check in with your people periodically to find out what they do—or don’t—like about your employee volunteering program. 

Things change quickly. What worked a year ago may not work now. You won’t know unless you ask.

Market your efforts

If employees don’t know your scheme exists, nobody will sign up for it!

Some ways you could market your employee volunteering program:

  • Write about it in your employee newsletter
  • Include it in the onboarding sequence
  • Reach out to individuals who’ve been involved in similar initiatives before
  • Share the results of activities on internal and external social media
  • Give it a memorable name
  • Write a press release about its successes—this will build your employer brand for candidates and get employees to see the difference it makes
  • Follow up with employees who show interest in taking part but don’t

Recognize participants

How can you recognize or reward employees who take part? 

Could you offer them a gift card? 

Or post about the difference they’re making on social media? 

It doesn’t have to be anything big, just something to show that you appreciate the difference they’re making to their community.


An effective employee volunteering program shows the world you’re invested in doing good as well as making money. Demonstrating this can improve your employer brand, helping you attract more candidates with similar values.

And offering employees the chance to make a difference through volunteering will help with engagement and retention.

If you’re ready to drive real impact with an employee volunteering program, you need the right tools. Workrowd enables you to organize all your employee volunteering efforts in one place, and makes it easy to track results. Want to learn more? Visit us online or send us a note at