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Countering heterosexual bias & homophobia in the workplace

Welcome back to our series on systemic bias in the workplace. Over the course of several weeks, we’re spotlighting various categories of bias, including gender biasracial bias, disability bias, and now heterosexual bias and homophobia in the workplace. Our aim is to add to the ongoing conversation and help everyone build more inclusive environments. We hope you find it informative. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

7.1% of American adults identify as LGBT, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Nearly half of LGBT employees have experienced workplace bias at some point in their careers. One in ten have faced discrimination within the last year.

On the flip side, 91% of Fortune 500 companies prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

So, many big businesses are being proactive and putting policies in place to try to protect these individuals, even though the actual experience of LGBT employees might not reflect it.

What does homophobia in the workplace look like?

Homophobia in the workplace can come in many forms. It could be someone not getting a job, being looked over for a promotion, or being on the receiving end of snide comments or so-called jokes, all because of their sexual orientation. 

While that may sound like it wouldn’t happen in the modern world, a McKinsey study spoke to one employee who found a client wouldn’t work with their employer unless they were taken off the team because the client didn’t want to work with someone who was gay. Thankfully, their employer backed them up and refused to work with the client.

That doesn’t always happen, though. 

Another person had bible verses recited at them in their cubicle by a senior colleague when said colleague found out they were gay. They didn’t feel they’d be believed if they reported that person for their behavior because of their colleague’s seniority.

(Not) coming out at work

Based on those stories, is it any wonder that 31% of people are afraid coming out will negatively impact their relationship with their colleagues? Or that 23% think it’ll negatively affect their ability to advance in their role?

Even employees who do come out to their colleagues find that isn’t the end of it. They often have to come out repeatedly. 

The McKinsey study found that one in five employees came out to their colleagues weekly, while one in ten had to do it daily. Daily!

Could we just stop making assumptions about people’s lives, please? It’s really a very simple solution.

You wouldn’t assume someone who doesn’t talk about their partner is single. (Or you shouldn’t; they may just be private.) So why assume someone who doesn’t talk about their love life is heterosexual? And why does it matter, anyway?

If you really want to ask about someone’s dating life, ask about their partner rather than boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife. It’s much more inclusive language and means you’re not making assumptions about someone’s love life.

How can businesses support LGBTQ+ employees?

It all starts with kindness and common sense. Don’t make assumptions.

Studies have shown that if you think you’re not prejudiced about something, you probably are prejudiced about it. Remaining open-minded is an important part of being an ally and identifying your own—and other people’s—detrimental attitudes and actions.

If you want to foster an inclusive workplace, hiring people who are onboard with this mission, and who follow through on their commitments to diversity, is a good way to show LGBT employees that you really do support them.

Sensitivity training may also be beneficial, particularly for team leaders and above. We’re often not aware of our own implicit biases, so this training can help to point them out so that people can be more mindful of their biases going forward.

When it comes to any sort of training, make sure it’s as engaging as possible. Don’t just tell people what they should or shouldn’t do. That’s asking for them to feel lectured to and fall asleep halfway through.

Get them to understand why something might hurt another person’s feelings, or why it’s inappropriate in the workplace. 

The more concrete you can make the examples, and the more engaging you can make the training program, the more likely employees will be to remember the lessons and implement them at work.

And also remember that you should take the training, too. Being in charge doesn’t make you immune to enabling homophobia in the workplace.

Show, rather than tell

The more open you are about your business’s diversity policies, the more likely you’ll be to attract employees who support an inclusive, diverse workforce. 

This goes beyond copy-and-paste equal opportunity statements at the end of a job description. Or even asking people what their sexual orientation is on a job application. (I’ll save those rants for another blog post.)

Instead, it’s about showing how you support LGBTQ+ employees. 

Don’t just change your brand logo to include the Pride colors in June—do something to show your support instead. 

Communicate with employees about LGBTQ+ rights, and if they need to travel abroad to less accommodating countries, talk to them about it beforehand. This will show them that you take their wellbeing seriously.

You can also offer parental or adoption leave for both parents. After all, regardless of someone’s sexual orientation, or the gender of their partner, you never know who’s going to end up being the primary caregiver.

Conclusion

Managers are your employees’ role models. It’s imperative that they set a strong example of countering homophobia in the workplace. A big part of it is just being open, honest, and supportive. Managers shouldn’t force anyone out of the closet, nor should they make assumptions about anyone’s sexual orientation or gender.

Inclusive language goes a long way towards demonstrating that your company is inclusive, too.

Small things like offering Mx alongside Mr, Ms, Miss, and Mrs, or asking if someone has a partner rather than a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, can impact the atmosphere within your business.

The more work organizations do to identify and challenge assumptions about gender and sexual orientation, the more secure employees will feel being themselves in the workplace. And the less likely they’ll be to have to come out to their colleagues on a daily basis.

If you’re committed to reducing implicit bias in your organization, it’s time to go beyond trainings. Drive deep belonging and help employees see their colleagues through a lens of commonality rather than difference. Workrowd helps your people find their people, giving them the opportunity to build real, sustained connections with team members across the organization. Write us at hello@workrowd.com to learn more.

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Countering disability bias & ableism in the workplace

Welcome back to our series on systemic bias in the workplace. Over the course of several weeks, we’re spotlighting various categories of bias, including gender bias, racial bias, and now disability bias and ableism in the workplace. Our aim is to add to the ongoing conversation and help everyone build more inclusive environments. We hope you find it informative. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

15% of the global population—that’s 1 billion people—experience some form of disability. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19.1% of US disabled people were employed in 2021, up from 17.9% the year before.

However, I do wonder if this number is actually a lot higher. 

The difficulty with disability disclosures

Some people who have conditions such as depression, anxiety, autism, or ADHD don’t class themselves as disabled. Others whose health conditions have improved may not class themselves among this group either.

As someone with chronic pain, I have days where I feel disabled and days where I don’t. 

And, while I’m open about my health issues, I wouldn’t discuss them with an employer unless I really had to. 

Just because I’m comfortable talking about my health issues, that doesn’t mean I don’t notice the common reaction of the person I’m talking to. It usually involves squirming, frowning, or an abrupt change of subject. It doesn’t exactly make me feel listened to.

Many of my friends with disabilities feel the same. They wouldn’t ever check the box on those “equality” questionnaires to say that they are differently abled. 

Especially not when 1 in 3 employers won’t hire someone with a disability. Even though not hiring someone because of a health condition is illegal.

It’s also illegal for an employer to ask someone if they’re differently abled in a job interview. 

But they can ask them in those questionnaires. 

And you can tell me they’re anonymized or not attached to job applications or any other excuse you like. 

But I’ve never yet found evidence of them being used in someone’s favor, or purely for data. And stats like the ones in this article just prove my suspicions.

38% of people believe someone who’s disabled is a burden on society. Only 7% believe that mental illness counts as a disability. 

Two thirds of people don’t see being hard of hearing as a disability. Which really shows that most people don’t know what a disability is.

What is a disability?

Let’s go back to basics for a moment. A disability is, according to the CDC:

Any condition of the body or mind (impairment) that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (activity limitation) and interact with the world around them (participation restrictions).

They go on to explain that a disability includes anything that impacts someone’s:

  • Vision
  • Movement
  • Thinking
  • Remembering
  • Learning
  • Communicating
  • Hearing
  • Mental health
  • Social relationships

Considering the stereotype is someone in a wheelchair, this list demonstrates that a disability goes much further than that and also includes conditions you can’t always see or easily define.

That means that discrimination laws in the workplace go further than you may think, too.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that:

To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability, which is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments they cover.

(Bold text my own.)

Disabled or differently abled? Which term should you use?

This one really depends on who you speak to. 

Some people dislike the word “disabled” because the “dis” implies that they’re not able to do something or that there’s something inherently wrong with them.

When really, the main reason someone who fits the criteria above can’t do something is often because of society, not their condition.

Differently abled is more inclusive and is less “othering” than “disabled.” 

Personally, I don’t have a preference and flit between the two. But that’s just me.

If you’re unsure, I’d talk to the person(s) you know who are affected so that you can make an informed decision. You may find that different people have different preferences.

Disability in the workplace

Unfortunately, a third of differently abled employees have experienced disability bias and/or ableism in the workplace. 

This can include people insulting, excluding, or underestimating them because of their disability. It can also involve people seeming uncomfortable around them solely for that reason.

Unsurprisingly, only 39% have disclosed their condition to their manager, and just 24% to colleagues.

Fear of discrimination is definitely a reason I’ve seen hold people back from disclosing their health issues. And, given the stats, discrimination is sadly pretty likely. 

However, 65% of those who’ve disclosed their condition are more content at work. 

I think it really depends on the culture. If somewhere is truly inclusive, the whole company will be supportive and take the right steps to help someone succeed in their role. Regardless of their disability status, gender, race, sexuality, religion, or anything else. Bias of any kind, including ableism in the workplace, has no place at these organizations.  

What can employers do to support disabled employees?

It’s up to employees to ask for accommodations that they need in the workplace so that they can do their job. 

Employers don’t always have to do exactly what the employee requests. They do need to come up with a similar solution that achieves the same outcomes, though.

For example, if a wheelchair user can’t get to their floor, you could install an elevator. 

Or move their department on to the ground floor so that they’re still around their colleagues.

Somewhere I used to work moved a whole department on to the ground floor for a wheelchair user, making sure there were ramps in as many places as possible. 

This person become a respected part of the company and happy in their role because their employer had taken steps to accommodate them, rather than giving in to ableism in the workplace.

Conclusion

This may seem like a lot of work. But we’ve all seen that meme asking different animals to climb a tree. 

A fish can’t climb a tree, but does that make it useless? No. They do other important things in the world instead. And none of those things require them to climb trees.

So, the next time you’re hiring, or talking to a newly disabled employee (since any of us could become disabled at any time), remember to keep your bias in check. 

And remember to ask what accommodations you could make so that they can succeed in their role, instead of wondering how they can work around you.

If you’re looking for new ways to counter bias and specifically ableism in the workplace, a platform that fosters real inclusion can help. With Workrowd, employees can join programs, groups, and events that highlight their intersectionality, and ensure that peers see them for more than any visible disabilities. If you’d like to learn more and explore how Workrowd can drive belonging at your organization, send us a message at hello@workrowd.com.

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Countering racial bias & racism in the workplace

Welcome back to our series on systemic bias in the workplace. Over the course of several weeks we’re spotlighting various categories of bias, starting with gender bias last week, and following now with racism in the workplace. Our aim is to add to the ongoing conversation and help everyone build more inclusive environments. We hope you find it informative. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Racial diversity is an important part of any business. It makes companies more profitable, and means they can better tap into their audiences’ needs. It also leads to a happier, more engaged, and more productive workforce.

Yet, for many businesses, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) isn’t a priority.

In fact, a recent survey by Deloitte revealed that more than 40% of upper management respondents feel their organizations are “too focused on DEI”. More than 60% predict their organization will reduce its commitment to DEI as new business threats emerge.

Unfortunately, racism is a lot more prevalent than many people realize. One in four people of color report having experienced racism in the workplace.

Young Black employees are even more likely to experience racism in the workplace than their older colleagues.

Black workers under 40 are twice as likely as Black workers 40 and older to report experiencing discrimination at work in the last year. This reinforces other findings that suggest young Black employees are more likely to experience microaggressions at work.

What does all this show? Businesses aren’t doing enough to support their employees of color and address racism in the workplace.

Identifying microaggressions and implicit bias

Microaggressions are statements, actions, or incidents that happen because of discrimination against a marginalized group. They can be intentional or unintentional, direct or indirect. 

They’re called microaggressions because their size can make them seem inconsequential or unnoticeable to outsiders. But these small acts can have big consequences.

For example, a hiring manager could overlook someone’s resume because of the name that’s on it. This is a sign of internal attitudes that often go unnoticed but can have a major impact for those on the receiving end of them. It can even impact the culture at the company.

And this does still happen. People with non-anglicized names have to send more job applications to get a call back.

Nuffield College’s Centre for Social Investigation sent around 3,200 fake job applications for a range of jobs, from shop assistants to chefs to software engineers. The applicants had identical CVs (which are slightly different from resumes but a similar idea), cover letters, and experience. Only 15% of Black, Indigenous, and person of color (BIPOC) applicants received a call back, compared to 24% of white British applicants.

This isn’t a new trend, but it is a frustrating one. Removing the name from resumes before they’re looked at is a simple way to avoid this discrimination. Without a name, someone’s merit, education, and attitude can shine through with a lower risk of implicit biases seeping in.

Of course, this isn’t foolproof—reviewers can still find aspects to bias them against an applicant, such as where they went to school. But it’s a start.

Embracing natural hair textures

Half of Black women report being sent home from work for wearing their hair in an afro, braids, or twists.

And, while it may be illegal to fire someone for wearing an afro to work in the US, it’s legal to fire someone for going to work wearing protective styles like braids.

Black women are 50% more likely than white women to be sent home from work because of their hairstyle. They’re also 80% more likely to change it to fit in. 

And they’re 30% more likely to be given a grooming policy before applying to or starting a new job. A grooming policy? If that’s not a clear example of racism in the workplace, I don’t know what is.

“Banter”

Offensive comments are another example of racial microaggressions. The speaker may try to mask their comments as “teasing” or “banter”. Ultimately though, banter is really only banter if the person on the receiving end finds the comment funny. Otherwise, it’s bullying.

People have increasingly used the word “banter” as a euphemism for bullying, and it’s unacceptable. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the workplace, at school, or at home. It. Is. Bullying.

Management needs to foster a culture that encourages supporting each other and telling jokes that are both funny and inoffensive.

There are plenty of businesses with “bro cultures” that are now experiencing a backlash.

Companies building the right sort of culture now are going to be much more future-proof than those that have traditionally had racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, or otherwise unwelcoming environments to underrepresented minorities. 

Why businesses need to try harder to support BIPOC employees

Employee engagement is important for the success of every business. How a business responds to racism in the workplace, or how a BIPOC employee feels their employer would respond, is directly related to how engaged they are. When employees believe their employer would “do what’s right,” they’re more engaged.

And, let’s not forget, engaged employees are more productive and more likely to stick around. So, you get to save money and make more of it.

It’s a manager’s job to support their employees. Great managers, those who build the right type of culture, are more likely to have engaged employees. Their employees are also less likely to feel discriminated against at work.

Listening here is really important. Managers need to remember that employees want to feel heard.

And, they want to know that their manager will support them if they ever experience discrimination, in any form.

Dismissing claims without investigating them, or telling an employee what they’ve experienced isn’t important breaks trust and leads to a more toxic work environment.

Some types of implicit bias and microaggressions can be hard to spot. It can be helpful to ask BIPOC team members for their opinions, experiences, and suggestions of ways you can improve.

It’s only with this knowledge that businesses can make more informed decisions and avoid enabling a culture built on racism, microaggressions, and implicit biases.

Conclusion 

Racial discrimination at work has been illegal since 1964. Yet there’s plenty of evidence that racism in the workplace is still a major problem.

If businesses truly want to outperform their competitors, attract the right employees, and make a positive difference in the world, embracing diversity and fostering an inclusive culture is the way to go. This has countless benefits to all areas of a business.

If you’re ready to take on racism in the workplace, Workrowd’s all-in-one inclusion platform can help. With a central hub to manage everything from employee resource groups to manager-in-training programs, alongside automated surveys and real-time analytics, you can drive belonging for every team member. Drop us a line at hello@workrowd.com if you’d like to learn more.

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The impact of gender bias in the workplace & how to counter it

Welcome to our series on systemic bias in the workplace. For the next several weeks we’ll be spotlighting various categories of bias, starting today with gender bias in the workplace. Our aim is to add to the ongoing conversation and help everyone build more inclusive environments. We hope you find it informative. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

We all have biases that impact how we perceive others and the ways in which we behave. These biases can span an array of different traits and situations. Today, we’ll be discussing gender bias in the workplace.

I’ve had many conversations with females who believe that we’ve achieved equality and feminism is no longer necessary. I’ve had just as many conversations with women and non-binary individuals who feel people treat them differently because of their gender.

But this is all anecdotal. What do the stats about gender bias in the workplace say?

Brace yourself, because it isn’t pretty…

Believing you’re not sexist doesn’t mean you’re not sexist

So, before we get started, it’s worth noting that studies have found that when you believe you’re objective—for instance, you believe you’re not sexist—it actually makes you less objective and more likely to behave in a biased way. 

This may be because when someone believes they’re objective and not sexist, they’re not going to put the work in to really consider their behavior and how it impacts others. Or factor in the changing times.

Think about what people considered acceptable in the 1960s workforce compared to now. Sexism was rife back then, and many things that would get someone fired now were once accepted. 

Many of today’s managers grew up in families and cultures that held those beliefs. The 1960s really wasn’t that long ago.

So, if no one is challenging those beliefs, they have no idea that what they’re doing could be harmful. Or that it could be a sign of gender bias in the workplace.

Business priorities and gender

Tech startup founders ranked having a diverse workforce seventh in the list of business priorities.

One quarter of these founders stated they weren’t interested in diversity or work/life balance. Yet their main goal was “hiring good people.”

So, they want to hire good people, but don’t believe addressing gender bias in the workplace is important. Hmm.

In the US, women hold 26% of the jobs in ‘professional computing’. Compare that to an average of 57% across other industries.

The idea that you have to be intelligent to work in tech doesn’t help. Girls aged five believe just as much as boys that women can be “really really smart.”

But, by age six, boys and girls believe women aren’t as intelligent as men. So, we don’t encourage girls to pursue careers in industries like tech based on the idea that they’re not smart enough.

And that belief can come across subconsciously. Most people don’t instill it consciously. It can be as simple as encouraging girls to focus on more feminine hobbies or activities. At the same time, they’ll encourage boys towards an enjoyment of tech or math.

This is a societal problem, but it has a wider reach. Girls lose their confidence, along with their desire to go on to become the next innovators and entrepreneurs. And it’s all because society tells them girls aren’t intelligent. (They can be, and are, for the record. But of course you already knew that.)

Then, when it comes to male-dominated industries, there’s also the issue of…

Sexual harassment in the workplace

When researchers surveyed senior-level women from Silicon Valley, the results were horrifying. 90% of respondents had witnessed sexist behavior.

Almost as many—87%—had received demeaning comments from male colleagues, and 60% had fielded unwanted sexual advances.

This from somewhere that claims to be forward-thinking, meritocratic, and supportive of its employees.

It gets worse, though. 60% of women had been propositioned. More than once.

And 65% had been propositioned by a superior.

The culture was so bad that a third of respondents had felt afraid for their personal safety.

What does that say about the working environments of firms that are developing much of the technology we rely on today, and will rely on in the future? 

Is it really going to support other genders, races, or backgrounds if it isn’t a safe place for someone who isn’t a white male? Is it even going to consider the needs of non-white, non-male customers?

Office environments 

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll mention it again, because temperatures were the bane of my life when I worked in an office. Most companies still set the temperature based on a formula from the 1960s designed for a forty-year-old, 150-pound white man.

However, women performing the same type of work have a lower metabolic rate. Which means the average office temperature could be five degrees too cold for them.

It doesn’t help that female clothes are generally made from thinner fabric than men’s.

As someone who used to wear an average of five layers to work, including thermals and a wool sweater, while sitting typing articles just like this one, I can confirm how painfully true this is. Many of my female friends have had similar issues, too.

I’ve never spoken to a male who finds an office too cold unless the A/C has been cranked up because it’s hot outside.

There has to be a compromise, doesn’t there?

How to build a more gender diverse workforce

The London School of Economics found that quotas ‘weed out incompetent men’. They do not promote unqualified women or non-binary individuals, like many people assume.

So, the next time you feel uncomfortable having a quota for something, consider the implicit biases that may be taking hold. Especially given that even females are sometimes reluctant to hire other females because they believe other women are either their competition, or less capable of performing a role.

When it comes to sexual harassment, make sure you actually listen to employees who report it. Don’t dismiss them because of what they’re saying, or who’s involved. It shouldn’t turn into a game of he said/she said.

Boundaries are important and people deserve to have theirs respected. Especially in the workplace.

Also, make sure that employees know you have a zero-tolerance attitude towards sexual harassment.

If there’s a “bro culture” where people feel they can get away with sexist, racist, homophobic, or otherwise offensive language, that kind of language is more likely to be used.

Free speech doesn’t give someone a license to be rude or offensive, just the same as a diversity statement on a job description doesn’t mean you really have diverse hiring and employment practices. ‘Actions speak louder than words,’ as my old teacher used to say.

Conclusion

Lastly, don’t underestimate the difference allowing employees to work from home, or offering them flexible hours, can make. Not with 76% of American homemakers saying they’d go back to work if they could work from home, and 74% willing to if a job had flexible hours. 

Given that 97% of American homemakers are women, that’s a big portion of the working-age population businesses are cutting out. A lot of these facts come from the eye-opening book, “Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men,” by Caroline Criado-Perez.

If you’re looking for other ways to reduce gender bias in the workplace, start by talking to the women and non-binary folks on your team. If you have relevant ERGs, consider sitting down with them to learn more about their experiences.

Managing your employee programs through a platform like Workrowd can make it easier for everyone to speak up and find ways to feel included. To find out whether this is a fit for you, send us a note at hello@workrowd.com.

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Navigating menstruation, miscarriage, and menopause at work

Around half of the workforce will go through menstruation and menopause at some point in their lives. But how often does anyone talk about these issues in the workplace? It’s certainly not standard for managers to broach topics like menstruation and menopause at work.

If we don’t talk about them though, there’s no way employers can understand the true scope of the problem. 

Obviously, it’s not a business’s job to find treatments or a cure-all for any sort of health issue. 

But, when employees spend more waking time working than with their loved ones, a little accommodation can go a long way to making them feel appreciated, understood, and supported.

Which is why businesses need to do more to support those who experience periods, pregnancy, miscarriages, and menopause at work. But with so little understanding around them, how can they?

Menstruation

For most people who menstruate, periods are a monthly occurrence. For those who battle conditions like endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), periods can be irregular and/or incredibly painful. 

And healthcare practitioners don’t always take this seriously—it takes an average of eight years to get an endometriosis diagnosis, despite the significant pain and fatigue it can cause.

There are over 200 symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)—not including PCOS or endometriosis symptoms—although nobody has done an official count because there are so many and it’s so different for everyone.

Things like pregnancy and stress can transform someone’s experience of PMS and any other menstruation-related conditions, temporarily or permanently. And yes, workplace stress can be one of those triggers. 

There are still many people who don’t want to talk about menstruation and stop the conversation as soon as you mention the P word. 

One of the best things you can do to support someone who’s menstruating is to offer them flexible working options. 

For instance, the average workplace temperature is based on the metabolism of a 150-pound, 40-year-old man. So, it might feel comfortable for some of the team. But it probably won’t for most of them. And it certainly wouldn’t for a petite female menstruating, as they may well feel cold differently—especially on their period. 

Allowing employees to work from home, at hours that work for them, means they can get things done in an environment they’re in control of. And this can make a huge difference.

They can have a hot water bottle when they need it; turn the temperature up or down; grab painkillers when they need them; more easily visit their doctor.

These are simple things that can improve an employee’s quality of life. The main thing they require is a culture of trust.

Yet many businesses fail to consider how these changes can improve the quality of work someone produces, in addition to boosting their happiness and reducing employee churn.

Pregnancy

While it may be illegal to ask someone if they’re pregnant or plan to get pregnant when hiring, that doesn’t mean some businesses don’t still subconsciously use it as a deciding factor when hiring women of child-bearing age. Which is insane. 

Pregnancy causes many changes in someone’s mind and body, some of which are permanent. It can also affect how they want to work. 

Being flexible and allowing future mothers to attend doctor’s appointments without question also means they have one less stressful thing to worry about. 

You could even go one step further—if you know someone’s partner is pregnant, allow them to go to appointments, too. This not only provides the pregnant person with moral support but also shows your employee that you value them and care about their life outside of their job.

So-called “mommy brain,” is a regular occurrence because of changes in the brain after someone gives birth. This can impact how they want to approach work, and even what the best working environment for them is. 

There’s also a common saying that suggests that at work, women should pretend they don’t have a child, and at home, pretend they don’t work. In a constant, always-on world, with many people now working remotely, this just is almost impossible.

It’s therefore important to be mindful of this and ask people what they need when working while pregnant, and when they return after maternity leave.

They may not always know, so be prepared to do your own research, too. Consider what other businesses have done successfully, or what other parents have requested in the past.

Miscarriages 

Researchers estimate that one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. Ectopic or molar pregnancies are less common, but the numbers are just as significant. Some people may go through multiple losses.

Some employees won’t be comfortable talking about their loss in the workplace because they’re embarrassed, keep things private, or they’re worried about discrimination.

Even if you’ve experienced miscarriage yourself, remember that everyone’s experiences are different. And so are their needs.

When talking to employees who’ve experienced this type of loss, approach it from a place of empathy and understanding. Let there be silences; don’t try to fill in the gaps.

You don’t have to say or do anything profound; simply acknowledging their loss can be a source of comfort and support.

Menopause

When more than 40% of women report they’ve considered leaving their jobs due to menopause symptoms and the lack of support from their employer, there’s obviously a massive gap. A gap in knowledge for what’s needed, and possibly a gap in productivity as these health issues aren’t given the time and consideration they require.

Menopause can last a decade, but there’s still a taboo when it comes to talking about it, sometimes even among female relatives. 

People who experience menopause often feel uncomfortable sharing their symptoms in the workplace in case they’re stigmatized. Yet, out of all the areas in someone’s life, menopause is most likely to impact their job.

Physical and psychosocial factors play into this, which is why an open dialogue is so important. If people feel like they can talk about menopause at work, and especially to their manager, they’re less likely to suffer, and they’ll perform better in their role, too.

Conclusion 

Supporting people through menstruation, miscarriage, pregnancy, and menopause at work is an important part of managing a diverse workforce. But it’s often a neglected one. 

It starts by researching these experiences and considering how best you can help your employees.

Knowledge and awareness are really key to supporting employees as their minds and bodies change in ways they can’t control.

It can also help to create policies on these experiences, as well as having, and making sure every manager is aware of, your compassionate leave policy. That way, managers know exactly what’s expected of them and employees are aware of how their employer will support them.

Setting up a focus group with your women’s ERG can be a great starting point. Members can advise on ways the organization can better accommodate health issues like menstruation and menopause at work.

If you’re interested in an easier way to manage and measure initiatives like ERGs, focus groups, and more, come visit us over at workrowd.com. We’ve got a slew of tools to support you, along with best practice guides and resources. Drop us a line at hello@workrowd.com if you’d like to learn more.

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Having a company diversity statement isn’t enough

I have two massive pet peeves in life: poorly trained dogs and diversity statements. I’ll save you the poorly trained dogs rant, so we can focus on putting action behind your company diversity statement. 

Yes, today we’re here to talk about diversity statements. Almost every business now has one at the end of their job descriptions. But what does it really mean?

It’s a legal obligation in many countries. But that doesn’t guarantee companies actually do what they say they will.

I’ve worked for, and with, plenty of companies who claim to be diverse and supportive of a diverse workforce. 

But when it comes down to it, they don’t know what that actually looks like. They’ve failed me, my chronic pain, and my mental health issues. Even when I’ve been open and honest about my struggles—something they asked me to do so that they could help!

Too often, company diversity statements are just hot air. When it really comes down to it, businesses don’t know how to support their employees. And instead of trying to find out, they just…don’t.

We’ve talked before about how you can support your employees with chronic health issues, and ways to build a more equitable workplace.

Today, I want to share with you some ways you can put your company diversity statement into action. Show the outside world that your workforce really is diverse, so that you can attract even more diverse talent and grow an even more successful business.

Social media content

Social media is the place to show off your workforce. But not in the way you might be thinking.

I’m not talking about what you share on your company pages. No one really cares about those any more (sorry). I’m talking about what your employees say on their own profiles.

Yep, I’m talking about whether you trust your employees enough to post about work on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.

You see, most companies don’t. I’ve never spoken to anyone who works for a business with a social media policy that says anything more than “don’t talk about work on social media.”

But what if your employee wants to say something positive? Or use their knowledge to build their—and maybe even your business’s—brand? Can they not post on social media then?

There are far more 2022 ways to create a social media policy, including doing it as a quiz with interesting and concrete examples of posts done right—and wrong.

Every time an employee shares their knowledge on a site like LinkedIn or Twitter, it’s an advertisement for your business. 

So, by not allowing employees to generate content, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity. Especially as they’re the most trusted source, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer.

Just by allowing employees to post on social media, it shows that you have an open, honest, and trusting culture. Something which even many so-called modern businesses don’t have.

You’ll never be able to control everything every employee says on social media. When you learn to accept that, and train them in social media best practices, life becomes a lot easier. And your brand will continue to grow on social media, highlighting the diversity of voices at your company far more than simply having a company diversity statement ever could.

Alternative hiring practices

Let’s face it: nobody likes job interviews. They’re boring, they’re tedious, and they can be anxiety-inducing for many. They take up a lot of hiring managers’ time, and sometimes it can feel like you’re doing a never-ending stream of them because you’ve yet to find the right candidate.

You know what Einstein once said about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? He likened it to insanity.

Job interviews are an example of that.

Instead of doing one-on-one interviews, why not try a group interview or task? Or an individual task that shows off someone’s technical ability over their soft skills?

Soft skills can be great, but someone’s inability to make eye contact shouldn’t mean they don’t get the job.

Just because job interviews are how most businesses recruit talent and have been for a long time, that doesn’t mean they’re the only way. Or the best way. There are lots of other ways you can try to attract and retain more diverse talent. Again, the emphasis here is on showing, rather than simply posting your company diversity statement.

Quotas

I know, I know. This is controversial. But they work!

The London School of Economics found that the main result of quotas was to “weed out incompetent men.” It didn’t result in unqualified women getting roles.

In fact, the women who got the jobs were better qualified. Which meant that more got done. And what got done was of a higher quality, too.

If quotas can net you results like these, isn’t it worth challenging the stigma?

Flexible working

This is another one where I sometimes feel like businesses say they do it, but then have some sort of caveat attached which means it doesn’t apply to everyone. Or it only applies to some departments and not others.

If one department allows flexible working, every other department should, too. There shouldn’t be different rules for different departments. That means some team members get the benefits while others are stuck in the twentieth century.

Offering flexible working, whether that’s giving employees choices around the hours they work, or allowing them to work from home, opens you up to a more diverse talent pool because you’re not restricted to people who live nearby and can work 9-5.

When you allow flexible working, people with children, caring commitments, chronic pain, travel restrictions, or other barriers to office work can still work for you. 

And why shouldn’t they? None of those things mean that someone can’t do a job well. 

So, if you want a truly diverse workforce, why not change your policies to attract people from a range of lifestyles, health situations, and backgrounds? Put your money where your mouth is and start living up to your company diversity statement.

Conclusion 

Saying you support diversity is one thing. But, the more times companies say it without backing it up with action, the more it loses its meaning. It’s turned into a blanket statement that companies say on autopilot without considering its true meaning.

You want to show people that you really do have—and support—a diverse workforce. The more you do this, the more diverse candidates you’ll attract and the more it’ll benefit your business.

If you’re looking to go beyond just including a company diversity statement on your website or job descriptions, consider checking out a platform like Workrowd. By facilitating equal access to employee programming, and enabling employees to form deep connections across the organization, you can demonstrate a real commitment to diversity and inclusion. Drop us a line at hello@workrowd.com if you’d like to learn more.

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6 examples of implicit bias in the workplace

Implicit biases are subconscious attitudes we have toward something or someone. They affect how we think, feel, and act. There are many examples of implicit bias in the workplace and, since they’re subconscious, many of us don’t know we have them.

It’s important to remember that virtually everyone has, or had, their own implicit biases at some point. Our family, friends, and cultures teach us these ideas, beliefs, and perceptions from a young age.

That doesn’t mean they’re healthy or that we shouldn’t look to change them, though. They can affect everything from our personal relationships, to our growth, to what happens in our daily work lives. 

Here are some common examples of implicit biases in the workplace—and how you can counter them.

Focusing on culture fit

You know how, in “1984,” they want everyone to think and act the same? That’s what happens when you have too many similar employees in your business. 

Everyone starts to think and act the same, which makes it really hard to innovate. It even makes it harder to do basic things like problem solve.

For a while, organizations saw culture fit as the trait to look for when hiring someone new. But this is one of the biggest mistakes businesses make.

Assuming that people similar to you will be just as good at their job comes from feeling more connected to people like you. It’s easy to assume they’ll be just as qualified because of your similarities, and doesn’t trigger a fear of “other” or “different” traits.

Studies have shown that diverse workplaces are happier, more productive, make 19% more revenue, and retain talent better

There are lots of reasons for this, one of them being that it means businesses are more in tune with their audiences’ needs. If you’re only surrounded by people who think the same way, this level of innovation simply isn’t possible.

When interviewing someone, follow the questions planned out in advance, and be careful of going off the script. 

Also, write down the similarities you share so that you’re consciously aware of them before making a decision. Sometimes seeing similarities written down can make you process them differently than if they’re just in your head.

Make your interview panel as diverse as possible, too, as this will mean you’re less likely to focus on someone’s similarities instead of their strengths.

Names

What’s in a name? A lot, actually. 

Applicants may not be able to tell for certain when they’ve been turned down for a role because of their name, but there’s a reason people often Anglicize their names when moving to countries like the US or UK. 

For instance, job applicants with Asian-sounding surnames were 28% less likely to be called for an interview than those with Anglo-sounding names, according to a study conducted by the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. 

A solution to this is to make applications blind. If the names aren’t there, the hiring manager can’t be biased against them. It’s crucial to find ways to counter these examples of implicit bias in the workplace, to build true inclusion and drive business outcomes.

Hair texture

Lockdown led to people embracing their natural hair textures, which, for many, involves waves, curls, or coils. 

Unfortunately, some people consider non-white hairstyles and textures like these to be “less professional” due to bias. People have been told to take down their hairstyles, take out their dreadlocks, or straighten their curls.

There’s no reason for this. Flat ironing and heat styling hair is damaging to the hair strands. 

Hair can also be a big source of pride for some people, along with a reflection of who they are. Why should they have to compromise who they are and what makes them happy to comply with biased workplace expectations?

Beauty 

Did you know attractive people are more likely to get away with crimes? Our brains seem to think that if someone is attractive, there’s no way they can be guilty of something like murder. 

(The fact that Netflix had to remind people that Joe from “You” is a psychopathic serial killer because fans were fawning over how attractive he is offers a prime example of this.)

In the workplace, this can mean that attractive people who “look” the part are more likely to get hired, promoted, and given pay raises. Even if they don’t work as hard. 

A study actually found that people deemed attractive earn more. The bias can be so strong that interviewers may even discriminate against an attractive person if they think a role is “beneath” them.

One way you can work on this is to stop yourself before you think or say something about someone’s appearance. Is it appropriate? Is it relevant? Does it affect their ability to do their job? Is it rife with judgment towards someone different from you?

Shiny name syndrome

Seeing a fancy school, college, or employer on someone’s resume is likely to catch your attention and instantly make you impressed. 

But it could just mean that their circumstances afforded them more opportunities than someone from a less privileged background.

Going to a more expensive school, or working for a certain business, isn’t an immediate reflection of someone’s ability to do a job.

The examples and statistics that reflect someone’s achievements are far more important than the names on their resume.

HR expert Regina Hartley, in her Ted Talk, even suggests that we’re better off hiring people who don’t have the best resume, because it can mean they’re more resilient and harder working. This is yet another scenario where overcoming these examples of implicit bias in the workplace can lead to business success.

Gender 

People often perceive men as being more competent in certain roles and industries, for instance, finance or software engineering. On the flip side, they see women as better in caring roles like nursing or teaching. Even if the female is more qualified or experienced in a male-dominated field.

These stereotypes harm everyone and set a bad example for future generations. Gender stereotypes are learned behaviors that are ingrained by the age of seven

As soon as adults in a child’s life start to change or challenge these gender stereotypes, it affects the child’s attitude, too.

Let’s also not forget that some businesses still dislike hiring women in case they get pregnant and go on maternity leave. And still ask them about their desire to have children.

Blind resumes are the first line of defense around this, as the focus is on skills, not perceived traits.

Conclusion 

Implicit biases are everywhere, and we have to actively work to identify ours so that we can overcome them. 

If we don’t, it can have a detrimental effect on the types of people we hire and work with. 

It can also be detrimental to the business itself, making it less profitable and leading to lower employee happiness.

If you’re looking for ways to counter some of these examples of implicit bias in the workplace, consider offering your employees ways to connect that go beyond surface-level interactions. Finding common ground and shared interests through a platform like Workrowd can help employees see past their biases to foster true belonging. If this sounds like it would be useful in your workplace, drop us a line at hello@workrowd.com.

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Tips to better support employees with health issues

Between an aging workforce and the impacts of the pandemic, the importance of supporting employees with health issues has never been greater.

Chronic physical health issues can range from mild back pain to severe pain throughout the body. Some people with these conditions are in so much pain they can’t work, while others continue to work full-time.

Mental health conditions include (but are definitely not limited to) anxiety, depression, addiction, and eating disorders. 

Employees may have a physical health condition, mental health condition, or both. The two are closely linked – a change in someone’s physical health could trigger depression or anxiety, for example. Stress or depression can also cause joint pain.

Work can cause or exacerbate many mental and physical health conditions. That’s why it’s important that employers do what they can to support employees. You want to make it clear you’re there to assist them, not punish them, when they aren’t 100% healthy. Because, let’s be honest: who is?

All that being said, employees with health issues can be reluctant to share their condition(s) with their employer. They may believe their manager won’t support them, or fear people will treat them differently. 

It can often feel like diversity statements tagged on to the end of job postings are just paying lip service to a legal requirement, rather than something the company actually stands for and genuinely means.

The simplest way to show candidates you genuinely mean it is with evidence. Hire employees with different health issues and backgrounds and support them so that they can thrive in their roles. 

Just because someone may have difficulty walking, or struggle with anxiety, that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit your business.

Don’t make assumptions

The first thing to remember – and I’m sorry, but you’re probably not going to like this – is that chronic health issues can be inconsistent.

Some days, an employee with fibromyalgia may be able to walk for miles.

The next, they may not be able to make it to their desk. 

Such is the nature of chronic pain. It’s unpredictable.

To find the best way to help an employee, don’t make assumptions about what they need based on your personal experience or preconceived notions. 

Regardless of what health issues someone is dealing with, everyone’s experiences are different. 

Make accommodations

Many health conditions manifest differently for everyone, creating a unique cocktail based on people’s individual backgrounds, experiences, minds, and bodies.

How can you improve your office environment to better support employees with health issues?

Certain things within an office can make pain worse, regardless of what originally caused that pain.

For instance, cold temperatures, or drafts from air conditioning units, can wreak havoc on tense joints and exacerbate pain.

Loud noises, bright lights, and poor office design can also have an impact. This is particularly true for conditions like ADHD, autism, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Flexible working hours can be particularly beneficial for employees with health issues. Not being tied to working 9-5 means that if they’re having a bad pain day, they can rest in the morning, then still get their tasks done by the end of the day. Sometimes all it takes is a couple of extra hours of rest to calm chronic pain.

However, cultures that don’t trust employees to do their jobs often employ Big Brother-style practices, making everyone feel watched and pressured. Which can make any health issue worse. And create a vicious cycle.

Another option is allowing employees to work from home, full- or part-time. This option widens your talent pool as well. You won’t be constrained to only hiring people who work near where your offices are located. 

Sometimes the best person for a role lives on the other side of the country. Do you really want to miss out on someone because they can’t relocate to where you are? And have them go to a competitor because that competitor allows them to work remotely?

Reduce workplace triggers

Remote working allows employees to work in their own environment, which can be beneficial for those who find office environments challenging. 

Offices can be full of stimuli that not everyone notices, but which can trigger pain in people who have sensory processing disorder (SPD). These environments can be overwhelming for anyone who has SPD. As a result, they can’t do their role to the best of their ability, and are more likely to leave the organization.

Other, simple changes, like purchasing equipment that benefits employees with health issues will also help. This could be a sit/stand desk, so they can work in a way that minimizes discomfort.

Or maybe it’s a chair that offers more support. Chairs are often underestimated, but, as someone who had chronic back pain until changing jobs, I can attest to how much of a difference they make. 

More ergonomic chairs may be expensive, but you’ll save money long-term because employees will spend less time off work with chronic back pain. And they’ll be more comfortable working, which means they’ll get more done.

For anyone who struggles with migraines, headaches, or eye-related problems, getting a filter for their monitor to try to prevent eye strain will allow them to work for longer. Some monitors also have an eye-saver mode, which gives the screen a yellow hue (like Night Mode on phones).

Conclusion 

There are lots of small changes you can make to accommodate employees with health issues. They don’t have to be big, dramatic changes.

But those changes can have a big, dramatic effect on an employee’s ability to do their best work.

It can also help you to create and retain a happier, more productive, and more engaged workforce where everyone feels more supported in their roles. 

And let’s not forget – more diverse companies are more successful. So is there really any downside to supporting your differently abled employees?

Building transparency around your employee programs to maximize access is also a crucial part of ensuring every employee feels supported and included. Workrowd can help. Check out our all-in-one platform for managing and measuring employee initiatives across diverse workforces, or drop us a line at hello@workrowd.com to learn more.

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5 habits preventing you from building an equitable workplace

Is building a more equitable workplace one of your organization’s goals for 2022? If so, it’s time to stop saying ‘this is how we’ve always done things’, and eliminate old-fashioned ways of operating that drive inequity.

These practices often go unnoticed, but they can significantly reduce productivity and employee happiness. As you can imagine, this can affect your culture, churn rate, and revenue.

To build a truly equitable workplace, you need to listen to what employees want, even if it’s something you’d never considered before.

Are you overlooking these common workplace practices that defeat efforts to increase equity?

Hiring

Hiring practices can reveal bias in all sorts of ways.

Recruiters and talent acquisition managers often use artificial intelligence programs to filter candidates before a human reviews the applications. These AI assistants can learn the prejudices of both programmers and end users, which can prevent the best people from getting past even the first step.

Traditional hiring practices also often aren’t as suitable for neurodiverse or disabled candidates. 

Long days can be draining for applicants with chronic health issues, meaning they’re less able to perform to their full ability.

Some neurodivergent applicants may struggle with the standard interview structure, too. For instance, they may not make as much eye contact as someone else.

Neither of these things mean someone would be bad at a job. It only means that they’re being required to fit themselves into an ableist, neurotypical hiring process.

Many businesses, such as Microsoft, have taken to adapting their hiring processes to attract more neurodiverse talent. Could you do something similar?

Quotas

Quotas are a controversial one. Many believe that they don’t work and are just a superficial measure.

But actually, a study by the London School of Economics found that quotas prevented less qualified men from getting hired. More qualified female candidates were hired in their place. 

Interestingly, more competent female candidates raised the number of competent men by 3%.

Maybe quotas aren’t so bad after all.

Promotions

A few years ago, I remember there being some buzz about how women needed to put themselves forward more for job roles and pay raises. Why weren’t we doing it? We needed to be more aggressive and confident in our abilities!

But is that really the problem?

People often see aggression and confidence as more masculine traits. Using words like aggressive in job descriptions can put females, trans, and non-binary folks off applying for roles, because many of us don’t use words like that to describe ourselves. And society encourages us not to.

Men are also more likely to overestimate their abilities. This means they’ll apply for a job even if they aren’t fully qualified.

Women, on the other hand, estimate their abilities just right.

Despite this, men are the ones who submit themselves for promotions and request pay raises more often.

Women are generally more compassionate and introverted when it comes to their roles. They’re less likely to put themselves forward for promotions when they come up, even if they deserve it. Which means they miss out.

Is there something you could do to make the playing field more even in pursuit of a more equitable workplace?

Could you have colleagues nominate someone who’s worthy of a pay raise or promotion? That way, you have an understanding of why someone is deserving, and you have evidence to prove it, rather than going based on how they come across in an interview.

Accessibility

If your employees still work in an office building, how accessible is it? Are there lots of stairs? 

If there are, do employees have access to an elevator? 

If that elevator is out of order, what solutions do you have in place for employees with health issues like chronic pain, asthma, or other conditions which make lots of stairs, or particularly steep stairs, a challenge?

Someone’s ability to climb stairs shouldn’t prevent them from doing their job, particularly if that job involves sitting at a desk all day. 

Nor should getting to their desk exacerbate chronic health issues or cause them to need to take their relief inhaler.

The main thing that can help with this is allowing employees to work from home when their accessibility needs aren’t met in the office.

If that isn’t an option, and you own several floors, could you move their desk to a lower floor? Or could you get the elevator fixed as a priority?

Office temperatures

The standard office temperature is based on an average forty-year-old, 150-lb white man from the 1960s. Which means it doesn’t consider any other gender, or people of color.

And, since there are many, many factors that can affect our metabolisms, that basic office temperature is an oversimplified solution.

You can’t please everyone. But can you find a compromise?

Women need temperatures around five degrees warmer than men for doing office work. 

Sitting under an air conditioner with a constant draft can make things feel even colder, and even worsen injuries.

Could you move employees who feel cold further away from an air conditioning unit?

Or could you change the settings on it so that it’s still filtering the air, but not pushing out such a strong draft?

Simple changes like these can make employees more productive and mean they’re not walking around feeling like they’re dressed as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man every day.

Conclusion 

These are just some of the overlooked practices that can prevent you from creating a truly equitable workplace. But hopefully they’ve given you some ideas of where to start.

What really matters is that you keep an open mind and remember that just because it’s the way something has always been done, that doesn’t mean it’s the fairest or most efficient way of doing it.

Change is an important part of running any business. Leaders should embrace changes that create a more equitable workplace just the same as changes to save costs and make more money. Why? Because these simple changes improve workplace conditions, make employees happier, and ultimately, mean businesses can make more money.

If you’re searching for other ways to build a more equitable workplace, consider implementing a platform like Workrowd. Our user-friendly suite of tools provides everyone full access and transparency to all employee programs, no matter where or when they work. Ensure everyone can get involved in your company culture, and build connections across teams. Drop us a note at hello@workrowd.com to learn more today.

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8 great ways to recognize employees and boost engagement

It’s all too easy to focus on criticizing people for doing things badly or wrong, and far too convenient to forget to comment on the positive. For a happy, productive workforce, you really need a balance of both. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to recognize employees.

Employees will be happier and more productive going forward if you focus on celebrating the positives instead of criticizing them and homing in on the negatives. Focusing on those positives will build their confidence, making them better in their roles.

According to Harvard Business Review, employees need six pieces of positive feedback for every one piece of negative feedback. Low-performing teams were found to have been given an average of three negative comments for every positive comment.

Given that we often focus on the negatives, and that positive feedback triggers dopamine—AKA one of the happy hormones—in our brains, are these stats really that surprising?

Our culture isn’t wired to celebrate the positives, though. Unless you’re a very serious optimist, you may find it hard to come up with ways to recognize employees and show just how much you appreciate them.

So here are a few simple ways you can do just that.

Give them a shout out in meetings

This is one of the easiest ways to recognize employees, and sometimes it’s all you need.

Make sure whatever you comment on is specific. Don’t just say “great job;” explain why and how they did a great job.

Being specific will help both them and their teammates to understand why what that person did worked. It will then encourage that employee, along with their teammates, to approach related situations in a similar way going forward.

Tell them one-on-one

It’s sometimes nice to pull someone aside and give them a pat on the back in person (or via video). If your team member is quieter or shyer, they might prefer this to a shout out in a meeting. 

However, if you decide to do this and arrange the meeting in advance, make sure they know you want to talk to them about something positive. Otherwise, they may start to worry that they’ve done something wrong. Particularly if previous places they’ve worked at didn’t highlight the positives in this way.

You don’t have to plan the call in advance, though. You could send positive feedback in an email or Slack message instead.

Send them a present

Sending someone a present is a simple way to show them you appreciate them. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive. In fact, a thoughtful gift that shows you listen to them will mean much more than something generic.

For instance, if they’re into stationery, you could get them a pretty fountain pen, or if they’re into reading, a new book in a genre they like to read.

One thing you don’t want to do is send them something that has the company’s branding on it. This will feel generic, soulless, and like you’re only doing it to promote your own business.

Take them on a day out

A day out can be just what we need sometimes to feel refreshed and ready to take on the world. 

You could give them a voucher to go on a day out with their family or take them somewhere you think they’d enjoy. It doesn’t have to be work-related. Sometimes it’s better if it’s not, as it will offer a welcome break from the daily grind.

Pay for a training course

Your best employees are the ones you want to stick around. What better way to show them you appreciate them than investing in their future?

Ask them what skills they’d like to learn and find some courses that might help them build those capabilities.

Ask if they’d like to be a coach

Your best employees are often the best coaches because they can help others to develop the habits that made them so successful in their role. 

The more people who adopt the right mindset, the more benefits your business will experience.

If they’re unsure, you could send them on a coaching/leadership training program so that they understand what would be required from them before they get involved.

Reward the team

Most people couldn’t do their job without the awesome people around them. So why not reward everyone they work with for their win? 

It’ll encourage better teamwork and a greater sense of camaraderie. Their teammates will celebrate their win, too. When thinking about ways to recognize employees, it can be helpful to consider the larger group and not just one or two individuals.

Give them a shout out on social media

What you post on social media reflects your internal culture. So, if you take the time to celebrate your employees’ wins, it shows the rest of the world that you truly appreciate how hard your team members work for you. 

It reflects a positive, grateful culture that’s about so much more than turning a profit.

This will help to attract better candidates, shortening your hiring process and reducing the cost to hire. It’s a win for your employees and a win for you.

Conclusion 

Recognizing employees doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It doesn’t have to cost anything! 

Most of us spend more time with our colleagues than we do our loved ones. Working remotely hasn’t changed this all that much, with many of us super-glued to our screens and sometimes working even longer hours than we did before the pandemic.

And let’s not forget—just because someone chooses to work for you now, that doesn’t mean they’re going to stay. Especially if their hours have increased and they have less time to spend with their loved ones, even though they’re working from home.

Showing a little appreciation for an employee’s hard work can go a long way to retaining them. After all, they’re choosing to spend their time and energy with you. That’s a privilege that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

If you’re looking for more ways to recognize employees and build a top-notch company culture, see if Workrowd’s employee experience platform might be a good fit. Our central hub for culture, engagement, and recognition makes it easy for team members to connect and support each other. Send us a note at hello@workrowd.com to learn more.