Elle Mason

Elle is a professional management consultant and Founder of Better Living with Design. She has studied at the University of North Carolina, Johns Hopkins University, and Harvard University and has consulted in the Human Capital space for almost a decade.

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The holidays are approaching rapidly. For many companies, December can be a relaxed time of year-end of year goal-setting, a slower and more leisurely pace, uplifted spirits in the office, and holiday parties.

But come January, the environment can be drastically disrupted by seasonal, New Year turnover.

As the economy continues to waver, employers need to focus on retaining top talent as much as recruiting new employees.

In fact, data from Willis Towers Watson unveiled that companies are planning to increase salaries by 4.1% in 2023, the biggest projected spike in 15 years, as a major lever to keep their employees. 

Why is turnover important?

Turnover is an important piece of data for companies to pay attention to: according to a massive study on evidence-based practices in retention and turnover, reducing turnover rates is linked to sales growth and improved employee morale.

Because of globalization and demographic shifts, not to mention economic uncertainty, it’s becoming more challenging, and therefore increasingly important, to retain key employees.

On top of the direct costs required to recruit and onboard a new employee, there are indirect costs of turnover to contend with, including loss of diversity, diminished quality of work while a role is open, and a higher risk of additional turnover.

Download now: Your 2023 HR Checklist to Retain Top Talent

Why does turnover spike in the New Year?

There are plenty of reasons turnover tends to increase in January: it’s when most organizations ramp up hiring, some people wait for their year-end bonuses before leaving, and many want to enjoy the holidays before starting their new job search.

Additionally, employees may use the new year to reinvent themselves with a new role, or, depending on the type of business, seasonal workers may be moving on as expected. Employees often think about new opportunities at the end of the calendar year, but when it comes to transitioning jobs, movement can be slow until Q1.

Many decision-makers are out of the office during this time of year, and it’s a busy time for HR because of year-end payroll tasks, compliance regulations, and benefits administration. Although some turnover isn’t within anyone’s control (e.g. an employee leaving because their spouse accepted a job in a new location), employers will fare better if they can anticipate major turnover challenges ahead of time.


How to prepare for seasonal turnover

Employers can take a two-pronged approach by focusing on:

  1. Retaining their existing employees, and
  2. Growing their teams.

January and February are two of the best months of the year to recruit new employees. Many job applicants are actively looking for a fresh start in the new year. 🌱

Employers should take advantage of this by highlighting any positive changes or new policies they may be implementing. What are you working on right now that can showcase your culture, values, and atmosphere?

If you’re planning a holiday celebration, revising your HR practices to be (even more) family-friendly, or hosting a recognition event, you should share those changes in a way that bolsters your employer brand. It’s not only critical to keep your current staff happy—but it can also serve as valuable collateral for recruitment.


1. Retain your employees

The power to improve retention doesn’t just lie in the hands of managers and companies. In fact, there are a variety of evidence-based practices that both employers and employees can do to improve turnover. Here are a few examples:

Encourage growth and development

January is the perfect time to set new learning goals and establish a benchmark for the year. Employers can kick off the mindset shift with a New Year conference or training on the topic. Create opportunities for employee development: whether that's enhancing key functional skills or learning new ones, expanding their understanding of an area, and improving some of their soft skills.

This can come in many forms: employers can sponsor online trainings, facilitate workshops, send employees to industry conferences (safely, of course), or do role-play exercises. Even something as simple as encouraging employees to share learnings with their colleagues can encourage development.

Likewise, offer opportunities for change or advancement to encourage high performers to stay within an organization, even if they want to switch roles. 

Give recognition

In addition to looking forward, employees are looking back. The new year is a time of reflection.

Managers should purposefully look for opportunities to give praise and acknowledgment for good work—whether it’s a kudos in an email or a more formal recognition system. Giving specific, timely, and genuine praise is not only a good way to encourage good work but can also boost morale.

Consider delivering end-of-year recognition in a card, email, or another medium (recognition carolers, perhaps!?). Better yet, implement a year-round recognition and/or bonus platform to show employees they’re valued.

Optimize for autonomy and empowerment

By encouraging employees to be independent, managers can increase their employee’s sense of ownership over their work and organizational commitment—both critical factors for preventing turnover. There's no one size fits all solution. Empower your employees to find out what engages them.

Reconnect with meaning & purpose

You may have heard of job crafting, a tactic that anyone can use to redesign or reframe their work in a way that creates stronger engagement, meaning, and fulfillment while aligning work with passion.

In one study, a researcher found that hospital custodians who were the most excellent, productive, and happiest didn’t just see themselves as custodians but as critical team members who ensured that the hospital maintained sterile conditions so that patients could heal quickly.

It turns out that anyone can connect with a deeper meaning in their work, and how it’s in service to others—like these West Elm associates, who aren’t simply “salespeople” but warm and welcoming ambassadors for new people moving into an area. The start of a new year is a great time to reflect: Who do you serve and how can you better support them? What would you like to do more? How can you integrate that into your daily or weekly routine? 

Download now: Your 2023 HR Checklist to Retain Top Talent


2. Grow your team

Focus your recruitment efforts

Industry trends typically indicate that January is an ideal time of year to ramp up recruiting

Take a look at internal turnover data to see if that’s the case for your organization, too. Below are a few reasons why:

  • Hiring is often delayed in winter, so there will be a backlog of interested employees looking to make a change, giving your company a large pool of available talent.
  • At the beginning of the year, teams are more likely to have an accurate assessment of their needs, so you’ll be able to take action and secure top performers without as many delays.
  • Many employees who were interested in leaving their current positions are ready to officially begin the transition since they likely received their end-of-year bonuses.
  • HR will have finished end-of-year obligations and can focus on onboarding activities.

While 2023 may be a bit different—companies are tightening their budgets and that means a more cautious approach to hiring—people are still looking for jobs. The Labor Department reported that U.S. employers added 261,000 jobs in October of 2022, while the unemployment rate increased to 3.7%. Recruiters must focus on candidate priorities if they want to recruit the best talent.

Our friends at Lever shared a handful of candidate expectations that we believe you should consider as we flip the calendar, including: 

  1. Flexible work options
  2. Learning and development opportunities
  3. Prioritization of DEI initiatives

Build a pipeline

By building a pipeline, you can stay ahead of companies that aren’t as prepared for the January shift. Identifying potential candidates early on, gauging their interest in transitioning, and even conducting interviews can prepare your team for seasonal changes.

The takeaway

There are many more ways to reduce turnover and improve recruiting. At the end of the day, understand that seasonal turnover isn’t completely out of your control. It’s one piece of an organizational puzzle, and with careful recruitment, onboarding, and engagement strategies—especially in the winter months—it could be one less worry for your organization and one more competitive advantage over organizations that didn’t start sooner.

2023 HR checklist mock




What do we mean by employee recognition, and why does it matter?

Employee recognition is the open acknowledgment and expressed appreciation for an employee’s contributions to their organization, and it provides a number of business, social, and employee wellness advantages to teams. In this article, we will discuss the following topics. (Click the links below to jump to a specific section!)

While the interest in providing effective, more frequent recognition in the workplace may be recent, psychological research has well-documented evidence of our need to be appreciated, respected, and acknowledged. This knowledge has spurred the introduction of home-grown programs and dedicated employee recognition software platforms in organizations around the world.

One way to understand the impact of recognition programs is through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Essentially, after our baseline physiological needs (i.e., food, water, rest) are met, we can focus on our need for shelter and security, followed by belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. Modern employee recognition supports both belongingness and esteem in the workplace.

Want more? Check out the Complete Manager's Guide to Employee Recognition

Recognition is integral in creating a psychologically-safe environment, where employees feel that it’s acceptable to offer feedback, make mistakes, and share contrary opinions. By rewarding strategic risks through recognition, teams can reinforce creative and innovative behavior without feelings of insecurity or embarrassment.

But even beyond our survival and needs—being appreciated just feels good. And there’s a reason why: Being recognized releases the flow of oxytocin, the chemical our bodies create when we bond with others and feel loved. It could be as small as a “thank you” note or as large as an award—the more often employees are valued and acknowledged, the better they’ll feel.

Benefits of recognition

There are a number of demonstrated benefits that stem from recognizing people, at all levels, in the workplace. To start, it’s been shown to:

  • Increase morale and motivation
    65% of employees say that they would put more effort into their work if they were recognized more often.

  • Enhance productivity and lead to bottom-line improvement
    When you increase morale, productivity, performance, and work quality also increase, ultimately improving your bottom line.

  • Help retain top performers
    Employees are 56% less likely to search for a new job if they work for companies that prioritize effective employee recognition compared to those that don't. Aside from direct costs, losing your top performers carries many indirect costs, like lost institutional knowledge and relationships.

  • Identify low performers before it's too late
    Once you have a recognition program in place, you’ll be able to quickly see who your low performers are and support them through professional development, a better team environment, or otherwise.

  • Drive engagement
    Motivation and productivity are just one piece of the engagement puzzle. Recognition also helps drive employee engagement by providing a sense of value and accomplishment. According to research by Harvard Business Review:
Leaders rated in the bottom 10% for providing recognition had employees at the 27th percentile on engagement. By contrast, those leaders rated in the top 10% were at the 69th percentile.


If you’re looking for a deeper dive into the importance and benefits, head over to The Guide to Modern Employee Recognition which also includes tools, resources, and case studies on unique and interesting ways to recognize your employees.

Giving effective recognition

Before implementing a dedicated program, it’s important to understand how to give meaningful recognition. The characteristics of effective employee recognition are:

  • Timely
  • Frequent
  • Specific
  • Visible
  • Inclusive
  • Values-based

To start, effective recognition is specific and timely. It’s the difference between “Thanks—you did a good job on that report” and “Thanks for the report—I appreciated the clear visuals you used. The graphs on page 14 were especially effective in demonstrating your point. Excellent work!” Specific recognition helps employees understand which actions contribute to team goals and should be repeated. Naturally, this type of praise should follow soon after the report is delivered, rather than an employee hearing about it eight months later in an annual performance review after you've forgotten the specifics.

Recognition should also be frequent, visible, tied to company values, and inclusive. Frequent recognition builds ongoing motivation and ensures that employees feel perpetually valued. Visible recognition provides positive reinforcement for both the employee being recognized and others around them. It also spotlights work that may have gone unnoticed and encourages increased collaboration. Values-based recognition brings your company vision to life by reinforcing your core values. Inclusive recognition encourages peer-to-peer recognition to promote stronger team connections.

Want to know more about these characteristics? Check out the Complete Manager's Guide to Employee Recognition

Best practices for recognition programs

Now that your team understands the benefits of recognition and the characteristics of effective recognition, it’s time to examine your own program. Are you following employee recognition best practices?

Managing your recognition program using the following five recommendations will help you make the most of appreciation on your team:

1. Define clear recognition program objectives and criteria

Employers should be clear about what behaviors or actions they’d like to see from recognition programs and the impact of recognition on business objectives. Whether you’re starting a new employee recognition program or updating an existing one, challenge your team to answer the following questions:

  • What types of behaviors will be rewarded?
    Reference your business objectives and decide which behaviors to incentivize, and remember that effective recognition is tied to organizational values! Reward deliverables completed on time if lateness is a challenge, and applaud cross-departmental collaboration if your organization is stuck working in silos.

  • How should the desired behavior be rewarded?
    It’s important to know your team and reward behavior accordingly – everyone prefers certain languages of appreciation over others. In general, praise should be public and can be a great learning opportunity for the whole team. Tying that praise to a tangible reward or experience can remind employees of their achievements long after praise is given.

  • How often should recognition occur?
    Effective praise is frequent, so it’s important to recognize your team regularly. Giving recognition on the spot is a good habit, and reiterating that praise during team meetings, especially for special achievements, can amplify the effects of recognition.

  • Who should recognition come from?
    Recognition is traditionally given top-down by managers, but peer-to-peer and 360-degree recognition is even more effective.

2. Use a multifaceted rewards and recognition program

Many employers assume that employees always want money instead of non-tangible rewards, but research suggests that’s not true. Research by Deloitte, for example, identified two different types of recognition: 1.) praise and emblematic recognition and 2.) token and monetary rewards. They found that both types of recognition are important to employees, as:

“This varied approach helps to constantly and frequently reinforce desired employee behaviors.”

This may not seem intuitive at first, but imagine receiving a bonus without any note or explanation. How would you know how to replicate the behaviors that led to the bonus? You’d have no idea what you did correctly to earn it—and how to avoid doing something incorrectly!

Similarly, it’s beneficial to understand the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation in the workplace. Whether the praise or the monetary reward is the primary form of recognition, both approaches complement each other.

3. Give employees a voice and a choice

Don’t assume that you know what everyone wants; engage your employees to better understand the types of rewards they’re most interested in. This is true even for monetary rewards, where a gift card may be preferred over company-branded materials. For example, if you’re rewarding employees with gift cards, make sure employees will use and enjoy products or services from that business.

Once you’ve drafted ideas for potential rewards, it’s easy to get employee preferences by sending out some survey questions and asking for feedback. Giving employees a say in rewards redemption can increase their personal investment in the program and make recognition even more enjoyable.


4. Ensure effective implementation and roll-out

When introducing a new system or approach, it’s important that communication around the roll-out is clear and the implementation is as painless as possible. Any team participating in a new program should be clued in on that program’s purpose, how to use it, and when it will take effect. Here are three factors to consider as you’re thinking about implementing or updating a recognition program:


Management should be aligned on the program’s purpose, especially when they’re leading the roll-out of the program. Teams and employees may start to feel jaded if no one is taking it seriously. Imagine being on a team where the manager withholds recognition and doesn’t think it’s important while watching the team next door receive reward after reward—it would be demoralizing.

Recognition should also be aligned with organizational objectives and goals; creating recognition programs around behaviors that the business doesn’t value leads to confusion and may have the negative impact of directing energy away from company goals. Consider it a reinforcement of existing priorities.


Managers should strive for publicly-visible recognition, especially at the start of any recognition program. Employees should be able to see when their peers are recognized, fostering a culture of recognition. Data from that recognition should be visible for teams to help improve communication.


With current technology, how recognition is delivered is also critical to determine. How will recognition or rewards be delivered in your organization?

Meet your employees where they’re at. If you regularly communicate through a collaboration tool like Slack, find a program that integrates with it. Use existing team meetings to reiterate recognition where appropriate, and consider using an automated system to fulfill rewards.


5. Measure your recognition program’s effectiveness

Recognition programs impact many different areas of an organization. Using a measurement system like employee net promoter score can provide a useful way to measure the effect of recognition on factors like employee engagement and morale.

Successful recognition programs should positively impact other factors like performance, productivity, and turnover. You can use a number of ways to analyze changes in those areas, like pulse surveys, brief interviews or feedback sessions, and performance management software. Gather 360-degree feedback on a regular basis, and use it to adjust your program where necessary.

To take it one step further, use data from your recognition program to inform other business decisions. Research behavior to determine if any team or individual is isolated, review how teams are connected, and facilitate collaboration where needed. Are there teams with outstanding behavior? Study them to understand how to take those learnings to other departments.

The takeaway

Beyond measures of productivity and performance, employers can use recognition as a catalyst for widespread positive organizational change by engaging employees, connecting teams, and fostering a culture of appreciation.

Nearly every company can benefit from implementing or improving its existing recognition practices. Whether you’re implementing a new recognition program like Bonusly or refining an existing one, effective recognition can be an extremely powerful positive force.

While you're here, check out our other Best Practice resources! ⬇️

Top 5 Essential Best Practices for Employee Offboarding

DEI at Work: 5 Best Practices and 3 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Modern Compensation Strategy Best Practices

Ready to learn more about the top employee recognition program that makes timely, frequent, specific, visible, inclusive, and values-based recognition effortless?

Learn more with a free trial, demo, or quick tour of our fun, smart, and cost-effective employee recognition platform.

Meet our fun and intuitive recognition program. Click to take a tour of Bonusly.

Originally published on September 26, 2022 → Last updated October 31, 2022

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to their work, their team’s goals, and their company’s mission. Engagement can be the difference between an employee who just does enough to get by and an employee who always goes the extra mile. It’s the source of many important workplace benefits, as we’ll see shortly.

However, understanding and measuring engagement isn’t as simple as deciding if someone is “engaged” or “disengaged”—there is a spectrum or range that most employees fall somewhere on. And where they end up on that range is likely to make a bigger impact on your organization’s goals than you might realize.

📹 Watch now: How Employee Engagement Changed in 2020 and What That Means for the Future

Without further ado, let’s dive right in to the statistics of the big picture impacts of employee engagement.

How engaged are most employees?

First, let’s establish a baseline. Knowing the engagement levels of employees across the workforce is crucial to understanding where your own company is currently at.

1. Only 34% of American workers report feeling engaged at their jobs.


Employee engagement trends fluctuate from year to year, but one trend typically stays the same: workplace engagement tends to be a major challenge for most employers. Up to 53% of employees are not engaged with their work at all, spelling trouble for their productivity and quality of work.

How would your morale as an employee (or even as a customer) be impacted when the majority of those you interact with are mentally checked out?

Needless to say, organizations have a lot of ground to cover in terms of better engaging their employees.

2. 12% of workers are actively disengaged at work.

While engagement falls on a spectrum, almost one in every eight employees are actively disengaged. This can have a toxic effect on not only them, but their teams, their leaders, and the customers they interact with.

We’ve all likely been on the receiving end of less-than-stellar customer service. How did you feel after? What impression did it make on the organization?

More often than not, poor customer experiences make us want to write off the entire company—so almost 20% of workers being disengaged could spell trouble for customer retention, client retention, and employee morale overall.

So, how do we fix this? 🛠

What factors in the workplace impact engagement the most?

3. Highly engaged organizations are more likely than other organizations to measure engagement, and they are more likely to measure it more than once a year.

Organizations that prioritize employee engagement enough to survey their team members about it tend to be more engaged overall. Surprise!

Establishing benchmarks and being open to feedback with pulse surveys shows that a company is willing to listen to their employees’ concerns and take action on them. It’s no wonder that highly engaged organizations are closely correlated with the act of measuring engagement.

4. Managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores.


According to Gallup, your manager can make or break your employee experience.

It’s not where you work, it’s who you work for. 💡

Trust in the workplace matters, and it’s a two-way street. Employees expect their leaders to be transparent about changes that may impact them, look out and act in their best interests, and offer support when it’s needed—and if these expectations aren’t met, employees will not feel confident in or committed to their leaders.

Good managers—those that offer recognition, compassion, and support, want to support their employees’ learning and development—make a huge impact on engagement levels. Similarly, micro-managers, incompetent or untrustworthy managers, and aggressive managers can make work feel like a chore.

5. Highly Engaged employees are 2.1x more likely to work for a company with an employee recognition program than Actively Disengaged employees.

The results are in—recognition matters!

Receiving affirmation and recognition for our hard work and achievements is incredibly validating—and on the same note, having our best work go ignored and unnoticed is deeply discouraging and demotivating.

It’s no surprise that there’s a strong correlation between highly engaged employees and companies that implement recognition programs like Bonusly.

6. 91% of Highly Engaged employees are satisfied with their professional development opportunities compared to only 28% of Actively Disengaged employees.


Humans want to flourish, grow, and learn. When employees have those opportunities, they’re more likely to connect with their work and genuinely strive to do better.

On the flipside, when an employee feels stagnant or stifled, feelings of apathy and boredom can quickly develop and worsen. If there’s no room to grow, employees are unlikely to be engaged with their work.

7. Highly Engaged employees are 3.3x more likely to feel like they receive adequate feedback for their role and contributions than Actively Disengaged employees.

Feedback is how we learn. Without it, it’s hard to definitively know if we’re doing the right thing, or if there is a better way.

Too many managers make the mistake of only giving one kind of feedback—either criticism or praise. Nobody enjoys being criticized and never recognized for what they do, but there are downsides to only receiving praise, too. Too much praise, without a sense of how employees can grow, improve, or move to the next level, can ring hollow and be ultimately detrimental to an employee’s development.

Here’s the key: coach employees in a way that encourages growth. Recognize what people do well, be radically candid about what could be done better, and always offer support and cheerleading for areas of growth, development, and extended learning.

How does engagement impact employee and business performance?

8. Over 60% of highly-engaged employees feel their work positively affects their physical health.


And they’re not wrong—from a workplace’s physical environment to wellness programs to how likely you are to get ill, work has an impact on employees’ health.

When employees are burned out, stressed, and overwhelmed, they’re more likely to get sick. On the flip side, when employees feel like their work and lives are balanced, they have the resources they need to be successful. Plus, being recognized and appreciated always gives a nice jolt of energy. 😉⚡️

9. Engaged employees are 21% more productive than unengaged employees.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? When teams are engaged and connected to their work, they’re more likely to be productive than unengaged teams.

Productive employees benefit companies in every way, from increasing profitability to optimizing resources. Productivity is very closely tied to companies’ profitability and is a top driver of success at modern companies.

10. Actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. up to $605 billion each year in lost productivity.

The cost of active disengagement is staggering!

It's estimated that organizations lose about one-third of each actively disengaged employee's salary to lost productivity. Altogether, disengagement runs the U.S. economy up to $605 billion each year.

11. Companies with highly engaged employees see 59% less turnover.

Engaged employees show up to work—and stay there.

Simply put, engaged employees find purpose in their work, making it easier to be excited about each new day. Along with everything else engaged employees bring to the table, the simple act of staying means that their companies are saving thousands on turnover and recruitment costs each year.

Plus, the institutional knowledge built and retained? That’s just the cherry on top of an employee engagement sundae. 🍒

12. Engaged teams generate 22% more profit for their organizations.


In this study done back in 2013, results showed that companies with engaged employees have higher earnings per share, and these companies also recovered from the recession at a faster rate.

Interestingly, there’s a difference between highly engaged teams and averagely engaged teams.

When companies have an average of nine engaged employees to every one disengaged employees, they typically see 147% higher earnings per share. However, when you drop those engaged employees down to around three for every one disengaged employee, these companies actually see 2% lower earnings per share compared to their competition.

Having engaged team members is an accomplishment, but there’s always room to grow—and your company’s profits will thank you for it.


It may seem intuitive that engaged teams, by nature of being more committed and interested in their work, are more efficient, profitable and more likely to remain employed. After all—happiness is contagious, and when a team works well it together, they’re more committed to each other and their mutual goals, even beyond the organization.

By developing an understanding about the state of engagement in their organization and improving that engagement, leaders are taking a critical step towards building a happier and healthier workforce.

Ready to start your own journey to a better company culture? Check out Bonusly:

Here on the Bonusly blog, we talk so much about employee recognition that we forget that not everybody spends their working hours obsessively thinking about recognition. 😅

We cite a lot of data and research in our posts, so we thought we’d compile together an article with the best and most enlightening of these statistics in the hopes that it’d be helpful to you—because honestly, it’s helpful for us to have everything in one place, too! 😂

So: would employees rather get gifts or receive praise? Does recognition from peers mean as much as when it comes from a leader? What happens exactly when an employee isn’t recognized over the course of a year?

These are questions you and your leadership team are probably asking, and we’re here to help you find the answers. With this list of the most significant recognition statistics, this article aims to demystify recognition using data from modern workplaces.

1. Research shows that happiness raises business productivity by 31%.


Let’s start with this one: according to positive psychology research by Shawn Anchor, the single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce. A decade of research proves that employee happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as a myriad of health and quality of life improvements.

Given what we know about recognition’s ability to tap into our desires for connection, belonging, and esteem, showing appreciation (and not just on employee appreciation day) is an easy way to boost happiness. And it works both ways—improving the mood of both the giver and the recipient.

2. 65% of employees haven’t received any form of recognition for good work in the last year.

Despite that last statistic showing how impactful employee recognition can be to an organization, the reality is that, well, not too many people feel very appreciated!

And when people aren’t appreciated for their great work, they’re less likely to continue their efforts.

... Relationships are crucial in business. Data from the U.S. Department of Labor show that the main reason people leave their jobs is because they don't feel appreciated.”
Tom Rath, author of “How Full Is Your Bucket?”

It only takes a few seconds to respond to an email with praise, or tell someone that you enjoyed their presentation—but those few seconds add up over time, and can make all the difference.

3. Employees want to appreciate each other. When offered a simple tool to do so, 44% of all workers will provide peer recognition on an ongoing basis.


After reading those last few statistics, you’re probably feeling like you should recognize your employees. Which you should! 😉

But you don’t have to shoulder all of that weight, because you can easily benefit from employee recognition by opening up opportunities for peer-to-peer recognition.

Relying solely on supervisors to offer recognition to subordinates is outdated. In today’s increasingly global business environments, there is a growing need to enable and encourage peer-to-peer recognition tools. This decentralizes recognition and empowers all employees to recognize great work and effort.

Peer relationships in the workplace are important, and any opportunity you give your team members to recognize each other only contributes to a more positive company culture and bottom line.

4. Peer-to-peer recognition is powerful—it’s nearly 36% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition.

In fact, you should be creating these opportunities for your team members to appreciate one another, because peer-to-peer employee relationships have a significant positive impact on an organization’s success.

Many people tend to think of leader-to-employee recognition as the only valid form, as we tend to link it to future rewards and advancement. As it turns out, recognition from our peers is just as validating—if not even more powerful!

Peer-to-peer recognition is a more authentic approach to recognizing an employee’s achievement. It not only motivates employees, but it also builds a culture of support, collaboration, and achievement.

When peer recognition is encouraged, employee engagement levels rise—which then lead to increased employee retention, productivity, and quality of customer service. These are all factors that positively influence a company’s financials.

5. "Receiving gifts" and "words of affirmation" are modern employees' favorite ways to be recognized.

If you’re familiar with “The Five Love Languages,” then you already know that people have different preferences for how they best receive love, affirmation, and appreciation.

Bonusly applied that same idea to how people prefer to be appreciated in the workplace in the Bridging the Appreciation Gap study to see exactly what people want! As it turns out, it’s mostly receiving gifts and words of affirmation, but there are definitely other methods as well—be sure to check out this article for the full details! The good news is, if you’ve been waiting to start recognizing people until it’s in the budget, you don’t have to delay any longer—there are other forms of recognition that are just as well-received.

6. 70% of employees say that motivation and morale would improve “massively” with managers saying thank you more.


There’s a disconnect here between employees and supervisors—34% of senior decision-makers report that they don’t think regular recognition and thanking employees at work has a big influence on staff retention. This flies in the face of the 70% of employees who say that motivation and morale would improve with appreciation from managers.


Plus, the same survey revealed that 85% of employees think managers and leaders should spot good work and give praise in the moment, and 81% think this should happen on a continuous, year-round basis.

This is a great opportunity to start a new habit! 😉

7. Employees who don’t feel recognized are twice as likely to quit in a year.

This one doesn’t need much explanation. If an employee isn’t being appreciated for the hard work they do, they’ll probably leave the company. 😬

As Gallup points out, “this element of engagement and performance might be one of the greatest missed opportunities for leaders and managers.”

Now scroll back up to #5, and remember that simply saying “thanks!” can make a big difference at your organization.

8. 86% of Highly Engaged employees were recognized the last time they went above and beyond at work compared to only 31% of Actively Disengaged employees.


Failing to be appreciated for the day-to-day movements we all make to keep things running can be frustrating enough, so, imagine how much worse it feels to exert more effort than usual, only to have it be ignored!

With only 29% of workers feeling engaged, as surveyed in Bonusly Employee Engagement and Modern Workplace Report, leaders should be certain to recognize people going above and beyond the call of duty—particularly if they’d like to encourage similar and sustained performance.

9. In a survey about dream rewards for reaching a milestone, respondents strongly preferred a gift card (44%) followed by a paid trip with teammates (41%).

You’ve worked hard, now you get to pick out a dream reward. Here are your options:

  1. An all expenses paid trip somewhere tropical with your teammates
  2. A $600 gift card to the store or company of your choice
  3. Dinner at a Michelin Star restaurant with the CEO of your company
  4. A dedicated intern for 2 months

Which would you pick? More importantly, which one would your employees pick? In Bonusly's Bridging the Appreciation Gap report, most workers preferred a gift card, closely followed by a paid trip with team members.

Here’s the more important question: Which one would your employees pick?

This just goes to show that preferences really matter when you’re showing appreciation. Make sure you know what your team likes, and make your rewards unique to each person. With Bonusly, recognized recipients can redeem their points for gift cards of their choice—and if they want a gift card to take that trip with their team members? They can do that too, with hotel, flight, and experiential gift cards. 🌴😎

10. While 71% of highly engaged organizations recognize employees for a job well done, the same is true for only 41% of less engaged organizations.


Clearly, employee recognition and employee engagement go hand-in-hand.

There are clear distinctions between the climate and performance at highly-engaged organizations compared to their low-engaged peers—and the State of Employee Engagement from Bonusly and HR.com shows that recognition is one of the behaviors that makes a big difference.

How can you recognize someone today?

Given what we know about recognition in the workplace and its impact on a company’s bottom-line and wellbeing, it’s crucial to build the habit of appreciating others. For a turn-key recognition platform, we invite you to take a tour of Bonusly.

If you want to take action now, you have the tools to start, whether it’s picking one idea from a list each month to try or launching a new company-wide intervention. Here's a good place to start:

What is employee experience?

It’s more than just where an employee sits or what their desk looks like.

Employee experience is the culmination of all of the interactions and experiences that workers have during their entire tenure with an organization—from their initial interactions with the organization to their exit, and beyond.

Employee experience, and all of its components, span multiple areas and can be viewed from a number of angles—it’s the culture of an organization, the technology used, and the physical work environment. It’s also the employee’s impressions and perceptions—gathered through their thoughts, observations, and feelings about their time with the organization. Lastly, it includes a personalized journey between the employee and organization to shape the experience—making the employee experience a comprehensive way for employers to leave a positive impact on their workers through a number of touchpoints.

Employee experience isn’t just a good idea to keep your employees happy. In fact, it’s a critical factor for business leaders to consider.

Improve your employee experience and start building stronger, more resilient teams today.


Employee experience impacts every stakeholder in an organization

Research from MIT suggests organizations that prioritize employee experience achieve:

  • 2x customer satisfaction
  • 2x innovation
  • 25% greater profitability

This isn’t a surprise, when you consider that happy employees are more productive and engaged. Temkin Group’s 2016 Employment Engagement Benchmark Study shows that companies that excel at customer experience have 1.5 times as many engaged employees than companies with less-than-stellar customer service, proving that employee experience and customer experience are intrinsically linked.

A positive employee experience is also becoming a key differentiator in the search for talent, as a growing section of the workforce is seeking meaningful work, flexibility, autonomy, connection, and mentoring. With only 1 out of 10 employees reporting that their overall experience at work significantly exceeds their expectations, the organizations that are prioritizing employee experience are much more attractive to high-quality talent.

Part of attracting high-quality talent requires not only providing incentives and experiences, but discovering which incentives are the most meaningful to a particular group of employees. For example, workers are increasingly looking for flexible scheduling—in fact, work flexibility has been cited as the number one incentive that employees are looking for, even trumping higher pay and more vacation time. In this case, flexibility—or lack thereof—has the potential to significantly impact someone’s employee experience.



Is employee experience the same concept as employee engagement? 

Not quite.

Employee experience has evolved over time. As Jacob Morgan describes in The Employee Experience Advantage what started as a focus on utility (what do employees need to work?) then shifted to productivity (what do employees need to work better and faster?) eventually turning into an interest in engagement (how can we make employees happy so they perform better?) bringing us to the broader employee experience (how can we create a company where people want to show up vs. need to show up?).

Although employee experiences touches on factors like engagement and recognition, those factors, although critical, are just pieces of it. Employee experience requires a broader lens and the effort of the entire organization. 

Employee engagement is more employee-centered and personal in nature—focusing on the emotional and social needs of the worker and is top-down, hoping that employees engage with the company’s culture, ideas and work.
Deloitte Insights

Check out our State of Employee Engagement in 2019 report for research about today's workers.

When it’s done well, employee experience also provides information about the effectiveness of organizational systems and processes like recruiting, onboarding, learning, development, and performance management.

Part of an impactful employee experience is frequently evaluating its effectiveness, in order to ensure that an employee’s thoughts and perceptions are always being shared and understood through the employee lifecycle—not just during an annual review or exit interview.


How leadership can begin thinking about employee experience


To start, leaders can use pulse surveys to get a baseline understanding of the employee perception of the organization in its current state—starting with not only their present engagement levels, but their thoughts about several of the key factors in the employee experience landscape, like culture, technological resources, and their workspace.

To shift toward an experience-centered approach, there are a few areas that business leaders can explore to begin the transition.

Address multiple milestones

We’re all familiar with the exit interview—during which we share our feedback about our experience at the organization before departing. Experience is so much broader than the exit and can change over time. There should be initiatives, feedback opportunities, and measurement at every single milestone, including: recruitment, hiring, onboarding, performance, learning, and departure.

Adjust the workplace to fit modern needs


Though trendy, “modern” doesn’t have to mean kombucha kegs and ping pong tables.

Or it does. Depends on your company. 😏

However you want to look at it, you should be ensuring that your workplace is periodically refreshed and that everybody has what they need to be successful. Here are a few ideas:

In addition to helping your employees be more engaged and productive, these small workplace perks are also great for recruiting new talent.

Treat employees like customers

Beginning an organizational revamp is a massive undertaking, but at its core, it’s about making employees feel comfortable and valued. To start: try simply treating employees as if they’re customers. This means asking what you can do to help, making them a priority, and addressing their feedback.

Treating employees like customers actually has a positive impact on an unexpected group of people—your actual customers! Employees are typically the ones directly interacting with customers, so if they’re happy, motivated, and engaged with their work, their customer service is better, too.

While a thoughtful and strategic plan is always a good idea, employee experience doesn’t need a long, drawn-out process. In fact, you can start shifting towards a better employee experience right away with 9 Simple Employee Experience Upgrades You Can Implement Anytime.


To maintain a competitive edge, top company leaders understand the importance of focusing on the employee experience.


Examples of organizations with great employee experience

Employee experience requires that employers go beyond checking off the boxes. It requires taking steps to customize their efforts by understanding what makes them different as an employer and how their specific experience should reflect that—after all, two retail stores or food chains can have comprehensive but completely different employee experiences. Here are a few organizations we can look to who are doing employee experience in a way aligned with their specific mission, values, and employee needs.

Hilton Hotels

In their effort to improve employee experience, Hilton Hotels committed to upgrading their physical staff spaces for hourly service workers—including new lighting, fresh paint, renovated cafeterias, and locker rooms. These are just the cosmetic changes—they also introduced recent policy and benefit changes that included parental leave benefits for salaried and hourly workers. This is a notable shift, as many organizations focus their engagement efforts on corporate employees.

Our mission is to be the most hospitable company in the world, and you can’t do that without great people, and you can’t get great people without being a great workplace.
–Matt Schuyler, Hilton’s chief human resources officer


In one year alone, Wegmans invested $50 million in employee development and $5 million in scholarships. The grocery chain prides itself on ensuring that employees are well-equipped with the resources to be successful—butchers have been sent on trips to Argentina and Colorado to learn about beef, while deli managers have gotten extensive cheese education through company-provided trips to Italy, Germany, and France. 🥩🧀

Honestly? We’re jealous.

Our employees are our number one asset, period.
–Kevin Stickles, Wegmans’ vice-president for human resources


This retail chain is infamous for it’s exceptional customer-service experience—there are even several books on the topic. Much of their customer success can be traced back to the focus that the organization has on selecting and grooming their talent, and leading with their non-negotiable core values. Nordstrom invests in providing their employees with autonomy, flexibility and trust—while continuing to provide career development opportunities throughout their employees’ tenure with the organization.


Through a relatively recent brand revitalization, Arby’s has fostered a strong employee experience through an internal program called “Arby’s Brand Champ,” which aligns with their brand purpose and mission: “inspiring smiles through delicious experiences.”

According to QSR magazine, a publication focused on the growth and development of food chains, Arby’s is focused on driving customer experience through employee happiness and emphasizes the importance of supporting employee dreams—at Arby’s, and beyond.


The airline has been vocal about its order of importance policy that prioritizes employees first, then customers, then shareholders—a groundbreaking framework very rarely seen in the business world! 

We believe that if we treat our employees right, they will treat our customers right, and in turn that results in increased business and profits that make everyone happy. 
Southwest Stories

The popular airline has even gone viral online because of the humorous nature of their in-flight announcements—reinforcing their belief of having fun and enjoying time at work.


We all want to be recognized and feel that our work matters. Employee experience isn’t going away—in fact, it’s becoming more important and more human-centered every day.

Given the significant impact on virtually every business measure—and even more importantly, the well-being and happiness of the people in the business—leaders are doing themselves and their employees a service by prioritizing building and maintaining a positive employee experience for everyone.

Ready to take the next step? See what else you can do to engage and motivate employees with help from this resource:

What kind employee experiences have you had in the past? Is there a workplace or practice that particularly stands out?

First impressions matter. What do you want your new employees to think about your organization when they walk through the door?

When you’re welcoming new employees into your company, you have a valuable opportunity to make a strong first impression about how your organization operates.

Do you want to give off an organized and efficient energy? Perhaps you want new hires to feel they’re in a place where people can have fun. Conversely, you might want to create an aura of polished sophistication.

Whatever vibe you’re aiming for, the first few interactions your employees have with you will be crucial to their impression of you. Most companies understand this, so they strive to put their best foot forward during the recruitment and interviewing processes, but fall short when it’s time to deliver. The way you onboard and integrate employees at your company will plainly show them how you work and what you do best. Strong and thorough onboarding can make or break employee engagement—truly.


Why Onboarding Matters to Retention

Among the 31% of workers who quit within the first 6 months of starting a new job, the primary reasons they give for leaving are a bad onboarding experience, lack of role clarity, or subpar managers. Unfortunately, employers often onboard new employees to fill roles that differ from the ones they interviewed for, don’t properly explain their organizational goals, or fail to provide them the necessary resources to be effective.

Great onboarding has a long-term impact on hires. Based on research from Professor Talya N. Bauer, 52% of organizations perceived effective onboarding as improving retention rates. And for good reason—effective onboarding keeps top talent.

At Corning Glass Works, new employees who attended a structured orientation program were 69% more likely to remain at the company up to three years.

It’s normal to lose new hires who just aren’t a good fit or can’t perform at the right level. However, it becomes a serious problem when good employees leave after having an uncomfortable, lonely, or disorganized onboarding experience.

Onboarding isn’t just for signing HR paperwork and sharing manuals and documentation; it’s a time for helping employees understand your core values and learn how their work can be aligned with those values.

When companies do it well, onboarding builds connections between new employees and helps them feel a sense of belonging in a new community. Recognizing new employees right away helps them feel included and engaged. When companies fail to make a positive first impression during onboarding, new employees are more likely to feel confused, demoralized, surprised, and disengaged in the long run.

In order to retain the people you’ve hired and invested resources in, you’ll need to streamline your onboarding and make it as meaningful as possible.


Following the Four C’s

According to the Society of Human Resource Management, employee onboarding encompasses selecting the right people for your team, fostering a sense of self-efficacy in your new hires, and supporting them as they seek role clarity, social integration, and an understanding of your organizational culture.

From that lens, there are four "C's" of onboarding:

  1. Compliance
  2. Clarification
  3. Culture
  4. Connection

Unfortunately, many employers stop after the first C, viewing onboarding as a way to check all the HR function boxes (e.g. setting up payment structures, completing tax forms and documentation, and going over rules and procedures). In order to make onboarding meaningful and successful, you can’t stop there.


It’s important that your new employees know precisely what their role entails, what their core activities and tasks are, how their work fits into the broader organizational structure, who relies on them, and when key milestones occur. They should know who to bring their questions to and what success looks like when they’ve completed a task or a project.

If you’re wondering how to clarify these kinds of details, remember that it’s never too early to start recognizing your new hires. As it stands, 66 percent of workers are likely to leave their job if they feel unappreciated. By recognizing your new hires as they complete every stage of onboarding, you’ll help them feel included and engaged right away.


Onboarding is a time to get employees acquainted with your company’s identity: your core values, desired behaviors, and what makes your organization unique in the broader landscape. Nike and Adidas, for example, are both sports apparel companies but each has their own unique culture, which is emphasized through their brand, that creates a sense of loyalty.



In a recent webinar we co-hosted with Sapling, we discussed how employers can use standard milestones, like meeting new team members, as an opportunity to build deeper connections by having coffee together instead of a quick meet-and-greet. Even compliance practices, like setting up direct deposit, can be reframed as team achievements that you can cross off your checklist together.

When you celebrate those achievements as a group, you can help new hires feel a sense of accomplishment, recognition, and belonging.


Giving Onboarding Enough Time

Another recommendation? Make your onboarding period longer than a few days. Although “onboarding” can span different lengths of time depending on roles and organizations, the first 90 days of an employee’s tenure are generally considered a “ramp-up” period.

Throughout this ramp-up period, there are a number of onboarding best practices that employers should know and implement, including pre-boarding, early introductions, and buddy systems. There are also onboarding tools you can leverage to streamline the process even further.


Pre-boarding starts after a candidate accepts your job offer and before they start their first day. During the pre-boarding period, you can share background information about your company and communicate logistics so your new hires know exactly where and when to show up on their first day. By keeping open lines of communication during this period, you can assuage any concerns that new hires might have.

Early introductions are also crucial. Those first few days and weeks at a new company are tough for new hires who don’t know who people are, what they do, or how to ask them for help! The sooner you introduce new hires to their coworkers, the sooner they can feel like they’re a part of a team. Early introductions will also help your current staff know about new team members so that they can proactively reach out and introduce themselves.

Forward-thinking companies grow more intentional and creative about onboarding when they understand the impact it has on employees’ success, engagement and retention. Some are making small but powerful changes, like posting pictures of new employees somewhere in the office so long-serving employees know who to connect with and assigning buddies to new hires who can act as key touchpoints for any and all questions. Other companies are creating year-long onboarding experiences that focus on the organizational, technical, and social dimensions of their workplaces.


How Successful Companies Onboard Employees

Let’s look at what LinkedIn, DigitalOcean, and Buffer are doing to make their onboarding strategies more personal and effective.

At LinkedIn, every new hire gets assigned a personal mentor and participates in a broader new hire orientation with their peers on their first day. They receive branded swag, go on a tour of the company campus, and engage in collaborative ice-breaker activities to learn about the company’s culture and values. Over the course of their first few weeks, new hires attend 10 onboarding talks designed for continued learning and development.

DigitalOcean believes in making “Day One” inspirational, and they have an expansive process for doing this. On the first day, new hires receive:

  • A bottle of champagne
  • A handwritten welcome note
  • Balloons attached to their desks so that tenured employees can introduce themselves
  • Company swag

The company makes sure new hires’ computers and workstations are fully functional prior to Day One so that new hires can spend their onboarding time focused on understanding their role, connecting with their coworkers, and excelling.

Buffer uses a three-buddy system for onboarding, assigning new hires a Leader Buddy, a Role Buddy, and a Culture Buddy, all of whom have distinct roles.


The Leader Buddy is a very experienced member of the Buffer team who has experienced handling tough conversations to help bootcampers—that’s what new hires at Buffer are called—live the Buffer values. Leader Buddies have gone through one of the most challenging aspects of Buffer’s discipline to having a strong culture: they have had to let an employee go because it wasn’t a perfect fit. The Leader Buddy mentors the other buddies and leads conversations with bootcampers to get them ramped up and validate that they’re great culture fits.

The Role Buddy is someone on the team who understands the roles bootcampers are joining the team to play. They are there to answer the bootcampers’ questions, teach them about their roles, and encourage them to deliberately think about their role and how they can improve during their first 45 days.

The Culture Buddy is an experienced member of the Buffer team who has shown that they’re consistently able to give great praise and feedback around the culture-fit of new and existing team members. Their role is to help bootcampers learn what makes the Buffer culture unique and encourage them to take the steps necessary to feel like a great and natural fit within the team.


No matter how well your company retains employees, every business can benefit from improving their onboarding practices. How do you plan to use onboarding to enhance your ability to connect with your new employees, demonstrate positive growth to your tenured employees, and tap into deeper levels of engagement, belongingness and satisfaction?

Let us know in the comments!

We all know the feeling: It’s 11:25 a.m., and you’re just getting immersed in your most challenging work.

Your fingers are tapping away, your thoughts are fluid, and you’re writing faster. The right words are coming more easily than usual, and you’ve almost completely lost track of time.

Just as you’re approaching peak productivity, a calendar reminder blinks onto the middle of your screen:


You sigh and head to the conference room, knowing you’re in for another unnecessary meeting.

No one’s prepared, you feel like you’re wasting 30 minutes, your flow is disrupted, and all of this could’ve been solved with an email.

Unproductive meetings have become a chronic complaint in the workplace.


Why meetings are a drain

Before we get to solutions, let’s take a look at the reasons why most people dread meetings:

“There are too many.”

The number of meetings has doubled over the past 50 years, as organizational structures have become flatter and less hierarchical. Workers in the United States attend about 11 million meetings each day at the estimated cost of $37 billion annually.

Senior managers attend nearly 23 hours of meetings every week, and people working for large organizations tend to have more meetings than those in smaller ones. 
– Dr. Steven G. Rogelberg, The Science and Fiction of Meetings 


“They’re disruptive.”

Since it takes the brain almost 25 minutes to refocus on a task after an interruption, meetings can be an inhibitor to completing deep work, a phrase used by Dr. Cal Newport that means being able to focus on a challenging task without interruptions.


“They’re a waste of time.”

According to “The Science and Fiction of Meetings,” a compilation of meeting science research published in MIT Sloan Management Review, ineffective meetings have a negative impact on job satisfaction and employee morale. Employees who attend poorly-run meetings are stressed, dissatisfied, and more likely to leave their jobs.


Why meetings are important

Despite all the complaints, meetings are essential to collaborative work.

Effective meetings help to resolve conflicts, build relationships, provide learning opportunities, and improve communication. When meetings are facilitated correctly, they provide the right energy to move projects forward. In fact, it’s often necessary to collaborate in groups to arrive at the most creative solutions

Meetings can also be more conducive to certain work styles.

According to a study on meetings led by Dr. Steven G. Rogelberg that was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, if an employee is task and achievement-focused, meetings decrease job satisfaction and disrupt productivity. If an employee is less accomplishment-focused, they tend to like meetings. This may be because meetings can provide structure to an unstructured day and provide the opportunity to socialize.

Research like “The Science and Fiction of Meetings” shows a clear link between productivity, satisfaction, and meetings. Organizational science and psychology research has given us more insight into how to enhance meetings to positively influence organizational culture and engage employees.

How to have better meetings

Productive, enjoyable meetings are not unattainable. Here are a few research-backed ways to reduce meeting drain:

Have a purpose and plan

Meeting facilitators should provide an idea of meeting objectives ahead of the meeting to give context and ensure participants have enough time to prepare for the discussion. Objectives should be reviewed at the start of the meeting with guidance on topic duration. Think about using a formal agenda for longer meetings

If you’re having trouble creating a plan, the meeting may not be necessary.

Apply Parkinson’s Law

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. 
–C. Northcote Parkinson

Meetings should be scheduled for the minimum amount of time needed. If you reserve an hour, the meeting will take an hour. According to Dr. Steven G. Rogelberg, "Given the same agenda, when [meetings are] given half as much time at the onset, they finish in half as much time! And the quality of the meeting is just as good." Meeting coordinators should also consider the time of days the meeting is scheduled to avoid as many deep work interruptions and time zone conflicts as possible.

Take meeting notes

Notes should be recorded during the meeting and circulated or stored afterwards, especially if a decision was made. Attendees should have access to retrieve and review them later, if needed.

Notes are useful not only for meeting attendees but also for anyone who can’t (or doesn’t need to actively) participate in a meeting. Those stakeholders can instead reference the meeting notes.

Define participant roles

Participants should know what their role in the meeting is, whether it’s to facilitate, weigh in on an area of expertise, take notes, keep the meeting on time (and on topic), or provide context on an agenda item. This not only allows participants to prepare in advance but forces meeting owners to determine exactly who is needed and why they’re needed, which will help avoid unnecessary participants.

Think about unconventional roles, as well. Many situations will benefit from assigning roles like “devil’s advocate” or “customers” to drive engagement and improve decision-making.


Before a meeting is over, be sure to recap and document any next steps and decisions that came out of the meeting. Reviewing a meeting’s outcome can clear up any confusion about ownership and accountability, giving an opportunity to confirm and correct any takeaways if needed. 

How to ensure long-term meeting success

Implementing best meeting practices is only part of the solution. To really make meetings better, organizations should focus on developing meeting skills.

Employees should be trained on (and organizational culture should positively influence):

  • When to call meetings
  • How to plan a meeting
  • How to encourage participation
  • How to manage cultural differences and resolve conflicts

Check in with employees on a regular basis to get their feedback on how productive meetings are. Are they too frequent? Could they be structured differently?

Experiment with emerging practices

Outside of the established best practices, new ones are making headway:

  • To encourage deep work, businesses can designate one day of the week to be a “meetings-free” or “work from home” day.
  • Meeting organizers can change the location of a meeting to a new environment to aid creativity.
  • If deeper discussion is needed, meeting organizers can divide participants into small groups of eight or fewer.
  • The facilitator can allocate a few minutes of meeting time for brainstorming.
  • Walking meetings can increase engagement and creativity, though they should only be implemented with three or fewer people. Their close relative, standing meetings, tend to be shorter than sitting meetings.

Meet with purpose

Whether you decide to implement some of all of these ideas, remember that the key is to ensure that all meetings have a valid purpose. Although these strategies can improve meetings, that only goes so far. Meeting managers need to evaluate if the meeting is needed at all.

Meetings are great places for brainstorming and discussing nuanced topics. However, other activities like getting feedback on a report might be better-suited for asynchronous collaboration.

“The first principle of management of meetings is knowing when other approaches will work just as well or better. Organizations should have some general guidelines – you call a meeting when unresolved issues are inhibiting the progress of interdependent projects, or when a compelling agenda exists that requires full group input. Organizations need to determine who actually needs to be there, who does not, and how they will keep interested parties who do not attend appraised of what is happening.”
–Dr. Steven G. Rogelberg, The Science and Fiction of Meetings

Although they’re considered by many leaders to be a “necessary evil,” meetings don’t have to leave a bad taste in our mouths. The best and most successful organizations view meetings as a strategic resource instead of a mandatory burden. They can be used to solve problems. They can help build more competitive and better-run organizations. They can connect employees in an increasingly distributed and self-directed workforce.

The next time you find yourself sighing over a recurring meeting invite, consider rallying the group or taking the lead to make the meeting better – it can be a powerful force for change.

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