Employee Appreciation

Showing appreciation to your employees doesn’t have to be a big ordeal or a huge production.  In fact, a little can go a long way.  People inherently want to know they’re doing a good job, so if one of your employees has done a great job – let them know.

Administrative Professionals’ Week is fast approaching (April 19th to 25th, 2015). This week, and specifically Administrative Professionals’ Day on Wednesday April 22nd, recognizes the work of administrative assistants, receptionists, secretaries and other administrative support professionals.  There are approximately 475, 000 administrative assistants in Canada, and this week is a great time to recognize their efforts.  In fact, not doing so would be a mistake.

Typically, administrative professionals are bestowed with cards, gift certificates, flowers, gift baskets or lunches.  It’s a tradition that goes back to 1952 and has been adopted worldwide.

Last month marked Employee Appreciation Day (March 6th). However, showing your employees appreciation shouldn’t be reserved for one day a year or over the course of a given week: it should be frequent.

In her article ‘10 Ways to Show Appreciation to Employees’, Susan M. Heathfield encourages telling colleagues, coworkers and employees that you value their contributions any day of the year.   Her suggestions include saying thank you and praising their achievement, bringing in treats to the office or, if your budget allows it, small gifts or monetary rewards.  Heathfield points out that employee appreciation, through recognition, increases motivation and creates a positive, more productive workplace.

The next time someone does a great job at work, don’t hesitate to send them a quick email saying “Thank you.  You did a fantastic job”.  I guarantee it will make them feel appreciated.

Are Your Employees Saving Enough for Retirement?

Ontario has a retirement savings problem. Approximately ¼ to 1/3 of Ontarians are not adequately saving for retirement and almost 1.3 million Ontarian workers do not have access to workplace pension plans. Businesses overwhelmingly agree that this problem needs to be addressed, with 72% of Ontario businesses indicating in a recent Ontario Chamber of Commerce survey that they believed pension reform should be a priority of government.

The Ontario government has introduced legislation for an Ontario Registered Pension Plan (ORPP) that will be modelled after the CPP, complete with mandatory employer contributions. The ORPP is scheduled to come into effect January 1, 2017. It has concurrently introduced legislation for a voluntary Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP).

If your eligible business does not already have a similar retirement savings vehicle in place, which has yet to be defined by the government, you will have an automatic increase of up to 1.9% on your payroll taxes starting in 2017. For more information, please see the following:

Many business owners, particularly owner/operators, will want to keep informed of the progress of this legislation.

Policy or no policy? What do you do about social media in your company?

Remember the video of a New York Taco Bell/KFC outlet uploaded to You Tube showing a group of rats running about the restaurant? How about the two Domino’s Pizza employees who thought it would be funny to post mucus being slathered on sandwiches in the back kitchen? Or a Honda Product Manager posing as a consumer and getting caught posting positive comments about Honda’s Crosstour vehicle? Social media is such a powerful means of communication. Everyone is connected. And it’s permanent! Everything posted on the internet, regardless whether it’s been “deleted” or not is on there, somewhere, forever.

Now that’s not to say all social media is harmful. When used well, it can provide tremendous value to a company with its advertising, marketing and recruiting efforts, as well as improve communications with its stakeholders and customers. Implementing a social media policy will not ensure that errors in judgment will never occur. But a well-written policy will help to ensure your company and all of your employees know what’s expected and what’s acceptable when it comes to company social media use.

Take for example Zappos.com. It is a popular online retailer of shoes, clothing and accessories. Zappos has successfully created real relationships with its fans and customers by being up front, consistent in its messaging and offering and always delivering a high level of customer service. The maker of the board game, Cranium, has incorporated game content into its communications to engage fans and customers, creating a positive two-way relationship. It’s important then for your company to approach social media like you would any other business element and implement a policy. A policy ensures your employees are all “on the same page” when it comes to corporate communications on any social media platform.

To begin the process, understand how your company will use social media. Set some objectives. Then structure the policy around those objectives. Educate your employees on its use and then consider access. Who can and can’t post messages and who is responsible for ensuring what’s been posted is appropriate. When designing a social media policy, ensure it:

  • Adheres to all other company policies
  • Maintains a safe, harassment free environment for your employees
  • Protects important company information
  • Ensures employees are accountable
  • Outlines the discipline for policy violations

A thorough, well thought out social media policy with help to ensure your company hits the headlines for all the right reasons and keep your customers coming back time and time again!