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    5 Ways Workplace Bonding Improves Employee Satisfaction 

    For many working professionals, the workplace is like a second family. And even though remote working has put a damper on the process, many workers today still think of the workplace as the place to create lifelong relationships and forge friendships.
    That’s why many companies today are enabling and encouraging workplace bonding. It has now become an essential part of the organization’s culture. It significantly improves employee satisfaction and is critical to an organization’s retention plan.
    Furthermore, since today’s hectic lifestyle leaves very little time for self-rejuvenation, workplace bonding can help reduce worker burnout and allow employees to improve their work-life balance.
    Here’s how workplace bonding can positively affect workforce morale and improve employee satisfaction.
    1. Reduces worker stress
    Everyone feels job-related stress once in a while. However, regular stress can be problematic and cause long-term problems. That’s why it’s important to create policies to combat it from an organizational point of view.
    Strong interpersonal bonds among teams can enable employees to cope with workplace stress and reduce anxiety. Furthermore, they can also reduce issues related to workforce demotivation and loneliness.
    2. Improves overall well-being
    Employees that don’t fit into the company’s culture feel social isolation, which can have an adverse effect on their mental and emotional health.
    Bonding with fellow coworkers can fix this issue and allow such employees to fit into a company’s culture. In addition, it can also help organizational leaders to build a culture of open communication and optimize employees’ work-life balance. Such organizations see improved communication and efficient collaboration between teams.
    3. Increases employee morale
    Strong employee relationships can significantly increase team morale and motivate employees to perform better. This increased emotional support instills a feeling of positivity in the team, leading to performance improvements, boosted sense of accomplishment, and increased focus.
    Simple social interaction can also improve employees’ sense of control over their working environment. This reduces workplace accidents and creates a relaxed working environment
    4. Supports better innovation from existing employees
    As mentioned above, interpersonal bonding leads to a relaxed working environment. And in a relaxed working environment, it is easy to accomplish tasks and optimize processes. Employees who don’t feel stressed can easily work on new ideas and derive inspiration from each other. They can also understand complex concepts and work toward simplifying complicated procedures.
    Employees who are not overwhelmed with day-to-day tasks can also generate and share business insights, which is another way to increase innovation through auxiliary help. Such ideas can also be patented for substantial financial rewards by the employer.
    5. Improves employee-management engagement
    Companies with good interpersonal relationships between employees see positive employee-management engagements. Such employees develop trusting relationships with their leaders and work toward a common goal.
    A culture of open communication is beneficial to both employees and management. Employees can use the newfound information to understand management perspectives better and grow their careers. The management can use this influx of information for organizational growth and idea brainstorming.
    This cannot happen where there is a superficial relationship between the team and management. For this to work, the supervisors and employees must communicate better and share observations.
    6. Creates a more helpful working environment
    Negative emotions between team members can lead to stress and dysfunction. On the other hand, a team that is built on meaningful employee relationships is motivated to provide guidance and support to its team members. Such team members also share knowledge and experiences with each other.
    This is very useful for new joiners since it allows them to access the knowledge and skills of experienced team members for efficient knowledge transfer. In addition, since team members are better suited to understand each other’s emotional requirements than management, they are also better positioned to provide job role–related knowledge and support.
    Furthermore, a helpful and engaged team can help team members realize their full potential. Such units can also create better workflows for their department.
    7. Increases worker retention
    This is one of the most significant advantages of encouraging better relationships between employees. Employees who are friends with each other engage in much more frequent and personal interactions. Such employees use a collaborative approach to working and developing better interpersonal relationships
    Since employees with better interpersonal relationships are relaxed and satisfied in their job-role, they continue working for the same organization for many years. This can lead to great retention statistics, significantly lowering business costs.
    How do you aid interpersonal relationships between employees?
    As a company, creating a culture of interpersonal relationships can be challenging. This change has to start from the root, i.e., employees themselves have to create a working environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing the details of their lives with each other. However, you can do a few things from a manager’s perspective to improve interpersonal interaction and facilitate team bonding.
    For example, you can schedule weekly corporate lunch sessions to improve bonding and build a culture of harmony. This can also be done on an inter-team basis, i.e., managers can schedule lunches with different teams to improve inter-team bonding. Such measures can help employees develop social relationships outside their current teams.
    Leaders can also use activities such as quizzes and professional workshops to inculcate a feeling of collaborative learning. The latter activity can also help employees grow their skills and climb up the corporate ladder.
    For a remote setup, you can create Slack and Mattermost channels that can enable different teams to collaborate digitally. You can also use these channels to motivate employees through recognition and rewards programs.
    Lastly, you can arrange infrastructure for your remote teams to collaborate if required. For example, some companies have started using coworking spaces as local hubs to connect their collocated team members.
    Workplace relationships are a crucial part of an employee’s well-being. They can serve as emotional support systems, improve work-life balance and encourage inter-team harmony.
    Bonding between coworkers is also a great way to reduce stress and stimulate innovation. Companies that invest in employee bonding can see significant productivity and create a positive working environment for their employees.
    BairesDev is the leading nearshore technology solutions company with 4,000+ professionals in 50+ countries representing the top 1% of tech talent.
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    5 Ways Employers Can Support Redundancy Survivors

    Mention the word redundancy and people inevitably think of the unfortunate individuals who are let go from their roles – and rightly so. Being on the receiving end of redundancy can be a life-altering experience professionally, financially and emotionally.
    But the effects of redundancies are felt more widely than simply by those who leave the organization. In the aftermath of a redundancy program, what happens to the people left in the workplace – the survivors? And how can employers ensure they get the support they need?
    1. Scratch beneath the surface
    For employees still in their roles, on the surface, nothing has changed. They still have paid employment and don’t have to go through the upheaval of finding and settling into a new job. They’ll avoid the need to worry about their rent or mortgage payments if they cannot find employment before their redundancy pay runs out, with all the associated stress it would cause.
    After any redundancy program is complete, the employees who survived will initially likely feel a sense of relief. But the feelings that follow may cause them sleepless nights or worse. They might feel survivor’s guilt, but that may be the tip of the iceberg.
    Whether through overreaching, poor performance, or a takeover, the need for redundancies shines a light on the health of the business. Common thinking may go that if the company is in such dire straits that it needs to make redundancies, it may not be able to turn its fortunes around and become successful again. This may lead to more pressure to perform well – even if only self-imposed. Change can be stressful, especially when inflicted rather than by choice. There might be anxiety around the potential reshuffling to address gaps made by those who have left and concern around the potential for workloads to increase.
    How a manager looks after their remaining employees may well make the difference between the business merely surviving and actively thriving in the future.
    2. Respect the fear
    It’s commonly the case that once the redundancy process is over, the people left behind fear for their position within the company. They no longer feel safe and secure in their employment which is a difficult time for employers. Fear can be a great motivator, and the time after redundancies is often when people look around for a job that feels more secure or are open to being poached by competitors.
    Word of a company’s redundancies will be out worldwide, and other employers may have been keeping tabs on the situation. While this can work in favor of people who have been let go, it can spell disaster for the surviving team, already operating in the shadow of uncertainty and rocked by the recent departure of colleagues. Further employee churn is a major risk, with staff potentially following their former colleagues into a competitor’s ranks.
    For an employer to avoid too many resignations following a redundancy program, the best place to start is by listening. Whether on a one-to-one basis or through an employee opinion survey, hearing from the survivors is the only true way of discovering the remaining employees’ morale. Listening to their fears and concerns is crucial to addressing them – and setting them on a more positive path.
    3. Understand grieving
    If working relationships were close and productive, there might be a sense almost akin to bereavement for survivors. Employees will be grieving the loss of their colleagues, and, like any loss, these feelings can be compounded by their fear of what’s next or the stress of altered workloads.
    The emotional impact of missing a friend or colleague can be doubled by the impact of more work. If this is work that redundant colleagues previously undertook, it can feel like insult added to injury. This may be a step too far for survivors, resulting in increased rates of absence due to sickness. Like an elastic band, emotional resilience can only stretch so far – when it becomes too stretched, it will break.
    Monitoring absences and the reasons for them becomes crucial to understanding the pressures employees are facing. A good redundancy program should also include implementing or increasing mental health support for staff. If an employer lacks the resources to provide this support directly, they can provide advice and guidance on external help that might be available to the survivors.
    4. Remember every employee
    In the turmoil of a redundancy program and its aftermath, the focus typically falls on the staff let go and the survivors. But what is often overlooked is the wellbeing of the managers who have taken responsibility for the redundancies that have occurred.
    Much of the workload falls on managers, and due to their position, they are exposed to the stress of the process from every direction. But managers are also employees and may be grieving the loss of friends and colleagues, too, not to mention coping with feelings of guilt.
    It’s important for employers not to overlook managers and the help and support they might need. They will feel the strain if they previously managed a tight-knit and effective team and now have to regroup with fewer staff but a similar workload.
    It might be as simple as a forum where they can talk to other managers in the same position or something more in-depth like counseling. Whatever the response, they need the same support, encouragement and friendly ear as other survivors, as well as a sight of future opportunities.
    5. Shift the focus
    Good business leaders will always have a vision of where they want their business to be, its goals, and objectives. Hopefully, this vision has played a big part in the planning and rationale for the redundancy program, and has already been communicated to staff – both those who were made redundant and those who remain. Now that the business is dealing with the aftermath of those redundancies, there’s never been a more important time to double down on that vision.
    If employers are able to share their vision with the survivors effectively, it will give them an insight into what their future with your organization might look like and the opportunities available to them.
    With internal communications so crucial, this is the time for employers to build and improve their methods of engagement with their employees. Rewarding staff for innovation, celebrating their successes, or even considering long-term retention bonuses to critical employees can all form part of a concerted strategic effort to rebuild momentum.
    Creating a culture where everyone feels like they’re in it together, with shared goals and hopes, will enable employers to gradually shift the focus from a difficult chapter to an exciting future where every employee feels valued and can see the opportunities and better times on the horizon.
    Jill Aburrow (FCIPD) has more than 30 years’ experience in HR. She is the founder of Heartfelt HR and author of ‘Redundancy With Love: Getting it right for your people and your business’.
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    5 Tips to ‘Quiet Thriving’ in the Workplace

    ‘Quiet thriving’ is a concept that emerged after the trend ‘quiet quitting’ became widely discussed at the end of last year. Quiet quitting refers to completing the minimum requirements of one’s job. Individuals put in no additional enthusiasm, effort, time or energy than needed.
    In contrast, ‘quiet thriving’ involves the opposite with employees reconsidering their relationship with work, and finding ways to re-engage and find enjoyment again, without overdoing it or burning themselves out.
    A poll found that only 9 percent of UK employees currently feel engaged with their work, so if you’re looking to rediscover your love for your job, try making these small changes:
    1. Shift your perspective.
    A new perspective can renew your passion for your line of work and increase your productivity.
    If you approach your role with a negative mindset at the start of each day, you will only be able to see the parts of the job that you dislike and will overlook the positive aspects.
    Instead, try to shift your mindset and look for the beneficial parts of your position that you enjoy and give you a sense of purpose. Changing perspectives can create a greater sense of meaning in your everyday work.
    For example, ‘mopping hospital floors’ could be ‘speeding up a patient’s healing journey’, connecting work to a much wider purpose and bringing greater job satisfaction.
    2. Take action.
    If there are responsibilities in your job that you enjoy more than others, have a discussion with your manager to see if there are ways to expand on them and discuss how to cope with the tasks you dislike.
    This process is often referred to as job crafting, which is the process of an employee shaping their role to be more appealing, often with the help of a manager.
    Not only can this improve your attitude toward your work, but it can also lead to further opportunities to complete tasks that you enjoy and allow your manager to better understand your strengths.
    3. Set boundaries.
    While being busy at work is often praised and encouraged, it can lead to employees working outside of work hours or through lunch breaks.
    This will lead to burnout and build resentment towards your job. However, this can be avoided by setting clear boundaries at work to create better work-life balance.
    A work time-frame agreed upon by both employee and employer is essential for job satisfaction and overall happiness.
    Set clear start and finish times to stick to during the working day, whether you work standard or flexible hours, and be disciplined about not checking emails or messages outside of work hours.
    This will also give you more time to enjoy other aspects of your life outside of work. In a recent survey on stress and wellbeing, 4 in 5 participants found spending time on a hobby highly effective in managing stress. Further research suggests people with some hobbies are less likely to suffer from low mood, and depression.
    This is especially needed for those who feel overwhelmed by their work and ever-growing to-do lists, to recharge their batteries by doing an activity that sparks joy.
    4. Build workplace relationships.
    Positive relationships with your colleagues are hugely important for emotional well-being, as they can create a more relaxed and sociable environment to work in.
    Co-worker interaction can help to relieve boredom from day-to-day tasks, and employees who work with friends are seven times more likely to be engaged with their job.
    Interaction with colleagues during breaks and workplace socials can help to cultivate these relationships.
    5. Take small breaks.
    Using your lunch break and taking micro-breaks can help to improve your emotional and physical wellbeing at work.
    A study found that micro-breaks are hugely important for reducing stress and increasing task performance. Additionally, another study revealed that employees who use their full lunch break to relax are more productive and creative.
    Regular breaks can also have a positive physical impact, as taking small breaks while working on tasks on electronic devices can reduce eye strain, back ache and headaches.
    By Gosia Bowling, National Lead for Emotional Wellbeing at Nuffield Health
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    What’s Next For the #Quiet Hashtag Trend?

    Nearly three years ago, we were introduced to the coronavirus. Now we have quiet quitting. Both are equally tenacious, and just when it seems we’re rid of them, they resurface in different forms. A few months ago, we learned about “quiet firing” and “quick quitting,” the first two variants of the quiet quitting trend. Now, there appears to be a new strain: “quiet constraint.”
    This practice occurs when employees intentionally withhold valuable knowledge that could benefit their colleagues. According to a recent report by Kahoot!, 58% of corporate employees and 77% of Gen Z employees are hoarding information, contributing to a culture of employee disengagement.
    As the #quiet hashtag trend rolls on, where will it stop next? It seems evident that it’s not going away any time soon, and we’ll continue to see clever alliterative terms describing workplace practices that have existed for years. Let’s look at what the future holds as we venture through the silent era.
    Employees can try withholding information from colleagues, but word will spread quickly. Whether it’s knowledge they acquired through their own work, or information passed on to them by a current or former coworker, others will eventually acquire it too. And when they find out it was intentionally withheld from the team, they won’t be happy. This self-serving attitude will ultimately lead to feelings of animosity and resentment among coworkers, who likely won’t stay quiet for long.
    Once managers learn that employees are hoarding knowledge that could benefit the team or company, they will have little choice but to confront them and find out why. After all, workers are paid for their contributions, and failing to contribute is grounds for dismissal. A one-on-one meeting should take place in which managers stress the importance of prioritizing the team over individual interests, hopefully re-engaging workers and communicating the value of a sharing culture. This may result in one of the following two outcomes.
    Ideally, employees will realize that withholding info to the detriment of the team will work against them in the long run, hindering their chances for recognition, promotion, or future recommendation. As the old clichés go, together everyone achieves more (TEAM), by helping others you help yourself, no man is an island, and so on. Chances are that most employees will realize their mistakes and value their job and relationship with their coworkers enough to correct them going forward. Those who don’t will likely transition out of the department or company, leaving a more cohesive team behind.
    There will always be the occasional outliers who will try to overcorrect. Whether out of spite or a genuine attempt to right past wrongs, some employees may start oversharing with coworkers, taking up valuable meeting time and inbox space with an overabundance of info, much of which will prove useless. Aside from the rare nugget of helpful information, this may leave the rest of the team asking, “Can we go back to not sharing?”
    The quiet quitting trend is a genuine phenomenon, breathing new life into old work habits through the use of hashtags and TikTok videos. As tired as we are of hearing about anything “quiet” related to the workplace, we’re continuously reminded that what’s old is new again, and those old habits die hard. Fueled by the perfect storm of shifting workplace norms and viral social media posts, the #quiet hashtag trend goes on and on, reappearing each time we think we have it contained. Hang in there…this storm can’t last forever.
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    6 Wellbeing Trends that will Shape Work in 2023 and Beyond

    Nuffield Health’s 2022 Healthier Nation Index study revealed one in three adults claims their mental health has got worse in the last year. The same statistic is also true of physical health, with a third of UK adults reporting a decline over the last 12 months.
    Employers have a responsibility to help individuals manage their wellbeing. However, it’s clear targeted support isn’t commonly available to modern workers increasingly adopting flexible working approaches.
    With this in mind, Nuffield Health suggests six workplace wellbeing trends we can expect to see as employers look to create relevant and effective wellbeing offerings…
    Managing MSK
    The recent rise in remote working has delivered many benefits for employees, including a greater work-life balance and a reduction in stressful commutes.
    But it isn’t without its challenges – namely overworking and the physical impact of unergonomic home offices – with 72,000 individuals recently reporting a musculoskeletal (MSK) disorder directly caused or exacerbated by the pandemic.
    Despite employers’ responsibilities to provide comfortable home working set-ups, many aren’t meeting their obligations. However, they are becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.
    While financial support should continue to be made available to employees for furniture and equipment – and employers should signpost to how to access these funds – we are now entering the age of the corporate physiotherapist.
    Businesses can invite musculoskeletal health experts to review the current office environment as well as offer general advice on posture, exercise, and nutrition to avoid injury at home.
    Employers may also choose to contribute financial support for private sessions, too, to avoid the greater financial burden of the £3.5 billion paid by employers each year to deal with workplace injuries. Plus, research suggests businesses can achieve an ROI of nearly £100 per £1 spent on physiotherapy for musculoskeletal health.
    The new work-life balance
    Our idea of ‘work-life balance’ traditionally involves unwinding from work stress at home after leaving the office. But what happens when home life itself becomes increasingly stressful?
    Research suggests the current cost of living crisis has been linked to a direct increase in stress. And with financial stresses showing no signs of letting up, employers have a responsibility to help individuals avoid burnout.
    This may include inviting a financial specialist to host a webinar for all employees on managing money, as well as offering relevant workplace benefits – such as grocery vouchers – that directly address some key drivers of financial anxiety.
    Self-help support
    Despite efforts to challenge the stigma around ill health, Nuffield Health research suggests a third of employees still wouldn’t feel comfortable disclosing a mental or physical health issue to their employer.
    So, businesses have a responsibility to offer tailored support to those who may feel uncomfortable asking for it.
    This may include making remote support offerings and self-help platforms available to those who would prefer to work through advice and specialist help at their own pace, away from the office.
    For example, telephone CBT services and online self-help management programs – such as the Silvercloud platform – allow employees to access remote support and guidance on understanding symptoms of distress and learning relevant coping mechanisms.
    A focus on prevention
    There is no one-size-fits-all intervention for the unique physical and mental challenges facing employees. However, businesses can embrace technology to access instead of data-led, personalized interventions that make a difference for the individual.
    Digital platforms featuring AI technology can analyze behavioral data provided by the workforce to predict future challenges, allowing businesses to action interventions before symptoms become unmanageable.
    For example, Nuffield Health’s PATH tool gathers data from both a comprehensive physical health exam, alongside behavioral data from questionnaires to understand employees’ unique risk factors and suggests relevant interventions.
    Employers able to take a proactive approach to employee health not only nurture a healthy and engaged workforce but avoid the impact of presenteeism, which can cost businesses up to £4,000 per employee per year in lost productivity.
    Employee power
    Recent workplace trends, including ‘the great resignation’ and ‘quiet quitting’ suggest power is shifting away from the employer, with employees no longer willing to go above and beyond for their employers.
    So, businesses – especially those guilty of encouraging unhealthy workplace cultures in which employees are expected to be ‘always on’ – must rethink their relationships with employees to retain their brightest talent.
    Managers have a responsibility to lead by example when it comes to widescale cultural change. This means clearly outlining employee expectations, like working hours and contactable obligations, as well as being seen to leave the office on time each day.
    Similarly, employers should welcome and seek regular feedback to understand better the challenges facing staff and how the business can tailor its support. This can be done through regular one-to-ones with individuals as well as anonymous feedback surveys for those who may not feel comfortable communicating in person.
    Family focus
    A shift towards flexible and remote working has somewhat blurred the lines between work and home life, with mixed results. Some of the negative consequences include employees working longer hours to compensate for not commuting, while others have enjoyed the benefits of spending more time at home with family.
    These lifestyle changes must now be a key consideration for businesses. As employees continue to mold their work lives around personal habits – often familial responsibilities such as childcare – these challenges must be reflected in the support offered by businesses.
    The workplace must remain flexible in terms of shift patterns and remote opportunities to meet the needs of those with busy family lives. However, we will also start to see businesses extending benefits to the family, for example, private healthcare and medical benefits for partners and children and familial mental health support.
    This may include parental mental health advice hubs or CBT platforms that provide advice and resources for parents on managing children’s emotional wellbeing.
    By Marc Holl, Head of Primary Care at Nuffield Health.
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    How Can Managers Beat ‘Productivity Paranoia’?

    New research shows many managers still have issues trusting employees who work remotely, with this disconnect being coined as ‘productivity paranoia’. It’s the concept that even if employees are working effectively, managers won’t believe it if they are out of sight.
    This is worrying because trust is one of the most important components of every work environment. Without it, staff may feel uncomfortable communicating their thoughts and ideas and struggle to support each other.
    Negative work environments can exacerbate behaviors like overworking and presenteeism and it’s well-reported these, in turn, can lead to heightened stress states, which impact physical and mental well-being.
    Embrace change and eliminate ‘micro-management’
    For productivity paranoia to end, managers need to recognize their experiences as leaders, are not the same as their teams. Employees want their managers to be empathetic, and supportive and show an interest in their work, without feeling like they are trying to interfere.
    While checking in with staff was common at the start of the lockdown, it seems to have become less of a business priority, with managers feeling depleted and emotionally drained from it. However, check-ins are vital in a remote working world, especially because many employees view their managers as the most important link they have with their company.
    There is a difference between checking in and micromanaging though. Good managers are enablers, not enforcers.  Regular meetings shouldn’t focus solely on results or exhaustive checklists. This is what undermines trust and makes employees feel patronized and disempowered.
    Discussing goals, praising accomplishments, and analyzing any gaps in work schedules are more effective measurements. Open conversations about these will ensure teams feel supported but also accountable for their work.
    Enhance communications and outline expectations
    Effective remote work requires a suite of communication and collaboration tools to empower hybrid teams too. Selecting the right tools that work for everyone is essential to enable effective communication between colleagues and teams.
    Finally, business leaders looking to support their team in a remote or hybrid working world must understand the stresses posed and help to alleviate them.
    For example, if employees feel they are not trusted, remote working can lead to issues like ‘working from home guilt’, when employees increase their working hours to compensate for the benefit of home working.
    It is important for businesses to outline remote working expectations clearly to ease these worries. Let individuals know they aren’t expected to work longer hours just because they’re not commuting.
    Support emotional well-being
    According to Nuffield Health research, 1 in 3 said their mental well-being got worse over the past 12 months. Even more concerningly, two-thirds of respondents (66 percent) said they would not feel comfortable raising a mental or emotional well-being issue with their employer, which shows there is still a significant stigma attached to poor mental health.
    The key to raising awareness about mental health in the workplace is creating a culture in which these conversations are welcomed and expected. Employers should signpost individuals towards the emotional well-being support available to them.
    This may include Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) or cognitive behavior therapy sessions, which give individuals direct access to a specialist who can help them understand and break unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviours and enhance their ability to cope in new and uncertain situations.
    Digital or virtual therapy solutions can be effective too. Remember, for many people, the notion of sharing a vulnerability or admitting a problem, is a barrier in itself. However, some research suggests counseling conducted online is as effective as face-to-face sessions. During 2020 Nuffield Health therapists delivered 3.7 million minutes of therapy remotely with outcomes comparative to therapy delivered face to face.
    By Marc Holl, Head of Primary Care, Nuffield Health.
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    Future Workplace Trends and Hashtags

    I won’t ask you if you’ve heard of “quiet quitting.” I refuse. In the last half of 2022, the trending hashtag started a movement on TikTok that mysteriously went on and on like a bad case of food poisoning. Long after the topic had passed its expiration date, employment bloggers (including this one) continued writing about it, while the rest of the workforce debated whether quiet quitters were valiantly setting work/life boundaries or justifying their poor work ethic.
    A few months later, “quiet firing” began trending, and we learned how the term had been applied to employers who intentionally mistreat or neglect employees in order to prompt them to quit. Now, even “quick quitting” has replaced “job hopping” in the online workplace vernacular. For all the drivel TikTok has churned out, suddenly the platform has become a powerful tool for employees, giving them a voice they’re using to let employers know the tables have turned.
    As we head into the fourth year the world has lived with the coronavirus, the workforce shows no signs of returning to its pre-pandemic state. Regardless of how much some employers would like it to, the job market is too strong, and qualified candidates are in too high demand. But if the past year is any indication, we may very well see more catchy hashtags in the near future. After all, if we can’t control workplace trends, we can at least watch them go viral. Let’s look at a few possibilities.
    In 2021, 47 million people quit their jobs in what we now know as the Great Resignation (one of the few trending terms that bores us even more than quiet quitting). Many expected these employees to come rushing back to the workforce in 2022, but it hasn’t happened. Instead, the resignations have continued, and though the pace has slowed, it’s done little to help employers who have faced an uphill battle restaffing their businesses in order to stay productive and profitable over the past two years.
    Many employers are now faced with a difficult decision – hire fast or close up shop. For some businesses, this means relaxing their hiring requirements to accommodate a dwindling candidate pool. For others, it means not being able to provide the level of customer service they have in the past. And for nearly all, it means increased turnover rates as employees job hop their way to a higher income or better incentives offered by other employers desperate to fill roles.
    More exiting and more hiring require more recruiting. But there are now nearly twice as many job openings in the U.S. as there are unemployed people, and the old “help wanted” sign doesn’t generate applications like it used to. This is where experienced recruiters and candidate sourcers will continue to prove their value to employers. As the strength of the current job market makes active recruiting (i.e., posting on job boards) less effective, employers will turn to the experts to passively recruit candidates who are currently employed in order to fill roles that once filled themselves.
    More and more employers are now realizing what GM recently learned the hard way – try to get employees to return to a pre-pandemic work model and they’ll object…loudly. Insist that they return and watch them run for the door. Employees have been working remotely or hybrid for almost three years now. During that time, they have stayed productive, enjoyed the perks of a commute-free lifestyle, and prioritized work/life balance. Employers are awakening to the fact that the “new norm” is now the old routine, and those who disregard employees’ needs will soon find them working for competitors.
    None of these trends are new (at least not since the pandemic), but then neither is quiet quitting, which was known for years as employee disengagement. Regardless of what happens to the job market in the near future, two facts remain: people will continue to consume news through social media, and catchy, memorable hashtags make it a little more palatable and easier to follow and share. Will the next few months bring an #UnemploymentExodus, a #JobSeekerSurge, a #GreatRestaffing? Keep an eye on trending topics to find out!
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    How Startups Can Create an Unbeatable Culture

    It’s undeniable that there are many benefits of great work culture, although they can be difficult to pin down as each organization has its own unique mission, history, and personality. Albeit extensive, it’s almost impossible to create a ‘one size fits all’ list.
    A strong team is the driving force of success. In the early days, attracting talented individuals and aligning them all with your company’s ideals is crucial. But just as important as finding a great team is holding onto that talent. There is no point in onboarding a team of great people to just lose them around the corner.
    Almost 40% of job hunters say that a “positive working culture” matters to them, so nurture one, and shout about it.
    According to PwC’s 2021 Global Culture Survey, 72% of business leaders say that culture helps successful business initiatives, and 67% argue that culture is more important than strategy and operations.
    Providing a great working culture and an environment, whether it’s remote, hybrid, or in-person, that staff genuinely want to be part of will make them think twice about looking elsewhere. Being a great place to work is a powerful tool for plucky young companies competing with more established businesses with the capital to offer bigger salaries. It boosts morale, productivity and, perhaps most importantly, builds trust. All of this naturally leads to longer, more fruitful tenures.
    Become unbeatable
    Today’s startups come in all shapes and sizes. Businesses born in the pandemic may have continued with remote working, transitioned to hybrid, or maybe back in office right now. Almost 40% of people now work from home at least once a week, and as the demand grows, startups will have to adapt.
    For remote startups, providing time for people to get together is a great way to break free of work-related Zoom and Teams calls and kick-start real interactions.
    In-person get-togethers naturally build relationships in ways that aren’t always possible virtually. Even though there are costs involved with getting these events together, the bonds forged are priceless, and it still costs much less than having a permanent office space.
    Re-imagining work perks
    Everyone enjoys a work perk, but it’s time to provide benefits that are meaningful. We organized a study asking for the most desirable bonuses people think about when looking for a job or deciding whether to stay in their current role. The results showed that fewer people valued typical new-age perks, such as games rooms and pool tables, beer on tap, and sleeping pods.
    We found that:

    70% of people valued the option to work remote/hybrid
    33% said free lunches reigned supreme
    33% also wanted to be involved in employee share schemes

    Share schemes are a great way to get people literally invested in the success of the company beyond just their day-to-day job. By offering bespoke schemes that have different vesting schedules, the required time or performance can be adapted for specific conditions.
    Employee share schemes have been around for a while, yet their benefits are only just being noticed. In fact, the number of companies with an employee share scheme has gone up by 80% in the last decade.
    For startups, having a large cash pool to dole out flashy rewards, hefty bonuses, or invest in pay rises is not realistic. So it’s important to instead be creative. And while everyone may love a day in lieu of heading out for lunch, these don’t foster an unforgettable culture.
    Instead, startups can capitalize on what they do have and give employees skin in the game. Not only does this give a deeper sense of commitment from the company but can also be a great, and often very tax-efficient way to give congratulations to the whole body of a business, creating a sense of unity. Providing a gift which, with their continued hard work, and granted the company is successful, could amount to a life-changing sum.
    Adobe’s recent acquisition of Figma for £20bn means that those employees with a 0.1% share could be banking more than $20,000,000. Although those numbers are rare for such a young company, Figma was only founded in 2016, demonstrating a high-level example of the potential returns from success.
    What we did
    I truly believe that retention begins at the recruitment stage. In competitive sectors, the reality is that applicants will have interviews with multiple businesses simultaneously. For cash-strapped startups, a great culture can be their secret weapon.
    Interview stages are just as much about the candidate liking you as you liking them, so, we prioritize honesty and transparency over expectations. I also ensure I personally meet all final-stage applicants to ensure that they are a good fit culturally for the team. And that the people we onboard are aligned with the ethos and mission at Vestd.
    Establishing this trust leads to more fruitful relationships between colleagues at all levels. Startups benefit from less obvious hierarchies, but the fact that ideas from lower down have fewer hoops to jump through doesn’t always mean that they will filter up. By providing safe spaces, through catch-ups and one-to-ones, startups can quickly nurture an open culture where people feel free to contribute.
    At Vestd we also have invested in twice-yearly in-person meetups. As a remote business, our company retreats are a time for team building and connecting with one another on a human level. On top of this, it shows our staff that we are willing to invest in experiences and their self-development, as well as performance.
    And, of course, we give equity to all our employees.
    For startups, tight on cash and time, getting the most from building a good culture can make all the difference. Implementing an equity scheme is a great way to not only supplement liquid cash for incentives but also incentivize staff to make the most of longer tenures, resulting in unbeatable work culture.
    By Ifty Nasir, founder and CEO of Vestd.
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