#PressforProgress March 8th, International Women’s Day

This year more than ever March 8th is about change, and how the recent empowerment of women, gender equality, and equal pay is benefiting workforces everywhere.  International Women’s Day is a worldwide event celebrating women and promoting equality across genders.

The UN estimates that globally women only make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, for work of equal value. Despite comprising over half the population, women occupy less than 23% of parliamentary seats globally. And in many countries, women still suffer disproportionately from poverty, lack of education, and lack of access to healthcare.

Women are also severely underrepresented in senior management and leadership levels. Only 4.2% of Fortune 500 companies had a female CEO in 2016; a number that’s declining instead of improving.

At present only 50% of women are represented in the labor force globally, compared to 76% of men. And an overwhelming majority of women are concentrated in low-paid, lower-skill or domestic occupations.

Studies have shown that gender diversity has significant benefits for business, including:

  • Higher performance. A groundbreaking 2012 study of 2,360 companies globally found that those with at least one woman on the board outperformed those without any female board members by 26% over six years. A 2015 study by McKinsey also found revealed strong links between gender diversity and financial performance.
  • Improved reputation. By building your company’s reputation as an equal opportunities employers, you will naturally attract a greater pool of talent, while also appealing to a larger customer and investor base.
  • Creativity & innovation.A study by Scientific American found that greater diversity in the workplace fosters creativity, diligence, and hard work. It makes sense that being around people who are different to us helps spark innovative thinking.

Long-term strategies to foster gender diversity are crucial, but you can also celebrate IWD with events on the day. This will help show your business commitment to inclusion and gender equality. Here are some ideas:

  • Hold an IWD lunch-Invite strong women leaders, clients in this case, to a speaking evening to share how gender equality in the workplace is good for everyone
  • Profile some amazing women on your website
  • Send an email to staff to raise awareness of the day (or share this blog post)
  • Have a film screening on women’s issues
  • Hold a seminar with keynote speeches by women in your industry
  • Share your business & industry’s current statistics on gender diversity.
  • Schedule a meeting to show some amazing TED talks or let them run continuously in your office throughout the day:

Over the last few decades, there have been hundreds of incredible TED Talks by women. These are just a few of the powerful, controversial and stimulating talks out there.

Thought-provoking viewing for anyone concerned with feminism and women’s issues:

You can also show your support by joining the March on March 8th, which happens across 30 countries to draw attention to an end to gender violence – both domestic and institutional, promote reproductive justice, body autonomy and freedom of choice for all women. Bring attention to equal pay for equal work, environmental justice, and recognition of its links with social inequality and bringing an end to racism.

Ask yourself how you will use March 8th to #PressforProgress.  For me, I am attending a panel discussion with a number of successful women all of which have promoted diversity and inclusion in different ways through their careers.   I will make the time to listen to inspiring TED talks like the ones I have listed above.  And I will finish Sheryl Sandberg’s  book, Lean In and make a list of three things I can do to identify and confront gender bias which is more alive and well than most of us may want to admit.

Join me, Cheer Partners and many of our clients by showing your support to International Women’s Day. You can only inspire and grow a movement with the passion and dedication of each individual member.  It all begins with you.

  • #PressforProgress by helping shift mindsets about women leaders” #InternationalWomensDay
  • #PressforProgress by including more women into every meeting” #InternationalWomensDay
  • #PressforProgress by celebrating women’s achievements” #InternationalWomensDay

Three Steps to Measure the Effectiveness of Employee Communications

We are at a pivotal time in the evolution of  employee communications. While the traditional focus has been on external communications, the demand for strong internal communications and engagement programs has increased. Current workforce demographics have most companies chasing “Millennial Love”, and with Generation Z coming out of college into their first jobs, the pressure for successful engagement strategies has increased.

When you put together a strategy that makes sense for your company, you need to consider how you will measure the effectiveness of your programs. With key data, you can pivot to what your employees want and need, and increase engagement.

Here are three simple steps to measuring the effectiveness of your employee communications:

Know your Channels

You need to know where your communications live in order to develop measurement tools. For example, we are conducting an internal communications audit for one of our clients, to see where the communications are generated from, and how they are being distributed. If you do have an intranet or microsite, include that as a channel, as well as social chat groups like Yammer, as well email, webinars and virtual town halls. Then identify who leads each communication type, whether it’s marketing, communications, the executive office or HR. From here you can set your KPI’s from which you can base measurement.

Quality, Quantify and Frequency

You want to know what resonates with your employees. In order to do that you need to measure the quality, quantity, and frequency of your communications plans. Social Listening is a good way to start, which indicates what content is being shared by your employees and where the pride and pain points are. If you have an intranet, you can build an analytics tool to uncover who, how often, and which content attracted the most views. If you are using email as a primary communications tool, you can embed tracking to show how many people opened, read or deleted the email, and which emails garnered the highest engagement. Pulse Surveys are a great way to gauge the effectiveness of your programs. Gear your questions towards rating content, frequency, and preferred channels, and keep the survey short and to the point. It takes time to develop a good survey. If you conduct these four times a year you will be able to continuously update the strategy and tactics based on the results. It also has an added benefit of giving your employees a voice and demonstrates that you are an employee first organization. Hold open discussion forums once a month so questions can be asked in real time. Finally, the good old-fashioned suggestion box can be updated by a dedicated channel where people can anonymously suggest ways in which you can improve the employee experience.

Success Factors

A great way to tell if you have an effective internal communication strategy is to look at metrics such as increased profits, decreased turnover ratios, and increased internal referrals. When employees are highly engaged, and exhibiting discretionary effort beyond their role, then you know your employee communications plans are strong. Conversely, if your numbers haven’t moved using the metrics above, you can hold focus groups to get a sense of where you need to change it up, and how.

Measuring the effectiveness of your employee communications plans can help you drive engagement and better understand the culture of your organization. According to Ring Central Internal Communications Survey, 95% of employees plan on using business communication tools over in-person meetings, and 44% want wider adoption of internal communications tools. Instant information that is timely, relevant and informative is the trend in engagement strategies. And as we all know, the quality and effectiveness of your employee communication programming have direct financial implications for your organization. If you focus your employee communications content on the “WIFM”, and measure and adapt to your audience, your employees will serve as your best public relations.

You can also visit our LinkedIn page to follow the comments here.

Employee Appreciation Day is March 2nd, are you ready?

Employee Appreciation Day is March 2nd, are you ready?

Employee Appreciation Day is always observed on the first Friday in March, and you should not miss out on this key recognition opportunity!  It is a day for companies to recognize and celebrate their employees for their hard work and effort throughout the year. Some companies go all out, with lunches, gifts and more. Other companies use this day as an opportunity to launch employee recognition and engagement programs that will last throughout the year. However you choose to celebrate it, be sure you do, because it’s a great opportunity to strengthen the bond between employer and employee.

Studies show that recognition and appreciation are important drivers of employee happiness and engagement.  This has resulted in more and more organizations taking part in the day, and more employees looking forward to what their company will do for them. The competition can be stiff, but you can keep it simple. Bear in mind, your employees are your best PR, so plan on group activities and encourage employees to get involved in the planning of how you celebrate the day. The result of a successful day, no matter the spend, is when you break down the walls between “you” and “them”, generate squad pride, and build a stronger corporate culture through appreciation.

You may choose to kick start “High Five Fridays”, whereby anyone can nominate anyone else for going above and beyond. Come up with an easy rubric, and an email address these nominations can be sent to. Put together a committee of employees at varying levels to review and shout out three key employees each Friday. Plan to have three underappreciated hero employees to showcase in the rollout and share how the program works. Start-ups? Do this in person whenever possible, so if you are a small but scaling company, rock the mic. Larger companies can send an email with a fun video link from the CEO to kick-start the program.

Employee Appreciation Day is always on a Friday, and it’s a great day to have a group lunch, offer happy hour being sure to include non-alcoholic fun drinks like fauxgaritas, virgin Mojitos, and other fun mock-tail ideas. Sundae bars can also be fun. Offer fun cookies for a break, I know in New York we love Insomnia Cookies. Eating and drinking with the team go a long way to building employer confidence.

Outings are always fantastic ways to celebrate the day. Group bowling or tickets to a sporting event are always great ideas. If you want to get creative try Escape the Room or group cooking class like Cooking by the Book. If you think the thumbprint of your culture is to do a group volunteer activity that could work too. This serves to equalize everyone and give folks an opportunity to enjoy each other as a team.

Gifts ideas like gift cards or movie tickets are good too, however, you may want to add some magic to the delivery by creating team scavenger hunts to find clues and then each team gets the same team gift. The ultimate gift, of course, is time off. If you can afford to give each employee an “Employee Appreciation Day” be sure it still follows your vacation policy.

Finally, what Employee Appreciation Day is not. It is not a day to have performance discussions, it is not a day to hold training sessions, or a day to ask employees to do a survey. While work needs to be done, keep these things in mind:

  • Employee Appreciation Day is celebrating all employees. If you are a manager, don’t hole up in your office, get out there because you are an employee too
  • Be your most natural self with employees whether an outing or just Happy Hour (although do not overindulge). Break the barrier between manager and employee and simply be colleagues.
  • Share great stories of employees who saved the day, do not use the casual time you have with the team to air grievances about workload, or a challenging client. While there is value in the vent, this is not the time
  • Align with your employees and get to know them. Try not to hang out with your usual suspects
  • THANK YOUR EMPLOYEES, the gesture of saying thank you goes such a long way, especially when it is genuine. Try and build on this day and make it a habit.