HR Strategy | By Sonus Benefits,

WEBINAR – HR for 2019 – 9/26


Bobbi Kloss | BAN Director of Human Capital Management Services

Join Bobbi Kloss for a special webinar on HR for 2019. Bobbi’s webinar provides insight in developing a culture to best market your business and retain employees, regulatory updates, additional HR practices, the EEOC and the DOL. Educate yourself on how to maintain your employer of choice status, top trends in Human Capital Management (HCM), and what should you be focusing on for your workforce needs in the upcoming year.

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HR Strategy | By Scott Schulte,

It’s Time to Talk Compensation

When you hire for an open position, you’re making an important business decision that affects your bottom line. Because of this, it can be tempting to hold back information about compensation until you’ve had a chance to evaluate one or more candidates.

But this common employer mistake could be causing you to miss out on some great talent.

How so?

Many employers get so wrapped up in their own numbers and desires they forget the simple fact that every job seeker is also making a very important business decision. And one that drastically affects his or her bottom line.

Expecting candidates to be able to do this without providing adequate information about compensation packages is asking an awful lot. In fact, many of today’s talented applicants won’t even try. Because it just doesn’t make sense.

  • According to a Career Builder survey, 74% of job seekers said they expect to see salary information in a job posting, and 61% expected to see information on total benefits.
  • Research by Jobvite found that money is still the number one factor in a job seeker’s decision to leave or accept a position.

Put that shoe on the other foot

Think about it. Would you agree to hire someone to fix your car without getting an estimate? No way! You need to know what the potential cost is so you can decide if you want to have the work done there, if you can afford to have the work done there, or if you need to keep on looking.

The same is true for those you are looking to hire. They may be interested in your company, but they also need to determine if they want to work for you, if they can afford to work for you, or if they need to keep on looking.

Help them make that decision

If you’re an employer or hiring manager who’s still afraid to talk openly about compensation early in the recruiting process, you’re living in the past. And that isn’t where today’s top talent wants to be.

Time is money. And as a busy business owner or HR professional, you’ve got limited amounts of both. Don’t waste a single minute (or dollar!) dancing around the topic of compensation.

You’ve set a salary range for the position or you wouldn’t be hiring. Be upfront from the beginning and let people know what it is.

Get over the fear

Many employers worry that if they reveal specific compensation numbers, they will be giving away some or all of their power. This fear is a big concern and a big stumbling block.

It’s true that talking about salary early in the recruitment process will take away your “I’m withholding information from you.” power. But you’re still the employer. You’re still the one in the hiring seat. A little extra transparency won’t change that.

In fact, being transparent about your salary and benefits packages could earn you some additional respect. Not only are you being upfront and honest, but now you have to negotiate pay based on REAL factors like job-related skills and relevant experience.

And honestly, isn’t that a much more interesting and critical conversation?

Put it out there

If you want to hire the best and brightest employees, don’t keep them in the dark.

At the end of the day, you and your potential new hire are both making a very important business decision. In order for it to work out well, it’s got to meet both of your needs. It’s got to be a good fit culturally, professionally, and yes— financially. On both sides.

Providing key compensation information will allow you and your future employees to make decisions in the most effective way.

Now that’s real power.  

Recruiting and retaining employees is easier when you can proudly offer a comprehensive benefits plan that makes your team members feel as valuable as they are. At Sonus Benefits, we build cost-effective, long-lasting employee benefits strategies to keep your business and your employees in optimum health. Get in touch with Sonus to see how we can help your organization become a local employer of choice.

HR Strategy | By Scott Schulte,

2 Ways to Win the Talent War

It’s not enough that you need to worry about how to find great talent. In today’s business environment, you also have to worry about how to keep that talent from walking out the door.

Check out these not-so-fun facts from Jobvite:

  • 45% of workers will jump ship for a new job— even if they are happy in their current position
  • 50% of employed job seekers view their current positions as only temporary
  • Employed job seekers reported searching for new positions during their commute (38%), on the job (30%) and even in the bathroom (18%)

In other words, your employees are looking for work. Maybe even on company time.

And even if they aren’t looking for work, other companies or recruiters could be looking for them. A quick LinkedIn search by industry, company, or experience can provide all kinds of potential job “candidates” who didn’t even think they were on the market.

Wondering how you can protect yourself from a mass employee exodus?

Here are two things that will help you build an organization where people want to work. And stay.

1.) Competitive compensation

Like it or not, compensation is still the number one factor for job seekers when choosing whether or not to accept a new position. Today’s employees don’t just want living wages, they expect them. And if they aren’t receiving them, they’ll move along.

Make sure your wages are in line with your industry, positions, and the cost of living in your area. Do your research on this one. A lot can change in a relatively short time.

No matter how much your employees love you, if they can’t pay the rent, they won’t be able to stay. Make sure your compensation structure is in alignment with the wider business market and the local housing market. Businesses who aren’t offering adequate salaries will be receiving a lot of resignation letters. And companies committed to offering attractive compensation packages will see an influx of incoming talent.

2.) Kickin’ culture

So we just said that money was a primary factor involved in employee decision making. But it’s a little more complicated than that. Yes, wages are a big part of the picture, but more and more, employees are looking for things you can’t put a price on. Health. Flexibility. Balance. Opportunity. Acceptance.

High salaries will get talented people in your door, but if they’re not happy once they’re there, you might as well install a revolving one.

Are you giving employees what they need to be healthy and productive team members? Here are some key things they value.

Health – What kind of health plan do you provide? Is it a bare bones, high deductible number so complicated even a rocket scientist couldn’t figure it out? If so, it’s not going to do much for longevity. Work with your benefits consultant to come up with a plan that offers maximum coverage for minimal cost. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Sometimes the best solutions are ones you haven’t heard yet.

Flexibility – Gone are the days when Mr. Cleaver went to work and Mrs. Cleaver tended to the house, kids, and everything else. We’ve got news for you. Life doesn’t stop between 8 and 5. Employees have kids, parents, pets, and many other things to take care of. Offering flexible schedules and remote work options can help employees take care of business while they take care of life.

Balance – Despite the glorification of the 24 hour hustle, most people don’t want to sleep when they’re dead. They want to sleep tonight. And tomorrow night. And the night after that. A high-strung, stressed-out, overworked team may deliver results in the short-term, but not in the long run. Keep workloads and staffing levels manageable. Offer paid time off that allows for vacation, sick time, and personal days.

Acceptance – No one wants to feel like they can’t be who they are. And yet so many workplaces have rules or cultures that keep employees from bringing their whole selves to work. Whether it’s rigid appearance standards or a culture that’s rife with harassment and discrimination, these things will chase away good talent at lightning speed. Don’t just have an EEO policy… Live it. Better yet, celebrate it.

Opportunity – Do you offer employee education, development, and career paths? Your best talent isn’t interested in staying stagnant. They want new challenges, new skills, and new responsibilities. If you want to keep these people around, you need to help them grow with the company, not out of it.

The happiest, most loyal employees feel valued, appreciated, and taken care of. If you want to win the talent war, design your compensation and culture in a way that leaves no room for doubt.

Recruiting and retaining employees is easier when you can proudly offer a comprehensive benefits plan that makes your team members feel as valuable as they are. At Sonus Benefits, we build cost effective, long-lasting employee benefits strategies to keep your business and your employees in optimum health.

HR Strategy | By Tom Murphy,

Rethinking Performance Management

No organizational investment offers a better potential ROI than the one we make into our employees.

And so we offer great benefits, flexible schedules, and a fantastic working environment. We work hard to attract and retain the best people. But once we have them, we often drop the ball when it comes to managing their performance.

If you’ve built a strong culture of trust and accountability, you might be tempted to think performance management isn’t an issue. But even the best employees can fall into ruts or develop habits that aren’t working. And even some of the best managers can fail to see it happening, or feel unsure about how to handle it.

It’s complicated

As with most issues involving human beings, the reasons employees underperform can be complex and diverse. Arguably, very few people go to work every day wanting to do a bad job.

Most people really want to be high performers, but find obstacles in their way. Here are some common performance roadblocks:

  • ineffective training
  • poor communication
  • lack of accountability
  • confusion about expectations
  • unhealthy workloads
  • unrealistic goals
  • low morale
  • illness and/or personal issues

As you can see by this list, there is no quick fix or silver bullet for addressing any of these issues. But with dedication and follow-through, it can be done.

How to tackle performance management

1.) Improve communication

Supervisors tend to have complete clarity about what is important, but often they haven’t effectively shared those details with their direct reports. For key goals and tasks to get accomplished consistently and well, everyone needs to be on the same page.

Clarify with each employee the 3-5 most important outcomes they are responsible for, why they matter, and how their work fits into the bigger picture. Let them know their performance will be measured against these items on a regular basis.

2.) Track progress and results

It’s impossible to hold anyone accountable if no one is keeping track of what’s happening. Define your indicators of success and make them easily trackable, for both supervisors and employees.

Making managers responsible for all performance monitoring can put team members on the defensive. Besides, no one should be more interested in successful performance than your employees themselves. Allow them to track (or have access to) their own data and report progress to their supervisor.

3.) Address things quickly

Very few people enjoy awkward conversations. And yet we often let things go until that becomes the case. Little things become big things. And before you know it, what could have been an easy conversation becomes a dreaded one.

When dealing with performance issues at work, think about using the airport security motto: If you see something, say something. Don’t ignore red flags. Check-in with staff regularly and have discussions as soon as a potential problem starts to emerge. That way, you can keep your conversations, and your performance management issues, from becoming threat level red.

4.) Make time for it

This might be the hardest thing of all. Busy supervisors often feel like they don’t have time to manage. But if you don’t have time to manage the little things, how will you ever find time to fix the bigger problems and issues that will eventually come of them?

Get out your calendar and start building time into your schedule now. Plan far enough ahead that your performance management time gets booked before anything else. Schedule time with employees to review indicators and data, and discuss potential issues that either of you see emerging. Resist the temptation to cancel or reschedule these meetings due to “more important” things that come up.

After all, few things will drive business more than having a staff full of happy, focused, and productive, employees.


HR Strategy | By Scott Schulte,

3 Keys to Employee Retention

Employees are easy to keep when there isn’t much competition or opportunity. But when the employment market shifts to give job seekers the advantage, it can be increasingly difficult to hang onto your talent.

It’s not rocket science. It’s supply and demand. Unemployment rates are low, which means candidate pools are shrinking. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers are retiring in large numbers, leaving employers scrambling to fill open positions. The combination of these two factors is the proverbial one-two punch.

Unlike during the recession years, employers are finding they now have to compete for talent. Highly qualified candidates are gaining the upper hand when it comes to job search, and talented employees can be easily found with a quick LinkedIn search.

Your employees don’t even need to be looking for a new job to be presented with opportunities. Potential new employers are already looking for them.

A whole new world

You’re going to have to work harder than ever to find, hire, and keep to your best people. If you’re not thinking about how to maximize employee recruitment, engagement, and retention, you’ll want to add it to your To Do list.

Here are three ways to get started:

1.) Evaluate your hiring processes

Do you know what it’s like to be recruited by you?

According to Career Builder, probably not. Their research revealed that only 31 percent of employers have actually applied to an open position at their company to see what the process is like.

You may think your online application is super slick, but do you know that for a fact? Does it work as smoothly as it was designed or are you missing out on candidates due to antiquated technology or inefficient processes? Even something as simple as a broken website link can cause frustrated candidates to skip on by. Now just imagine the damage a poorly written job description can do!

It’s time to take a dive into your employee recruiting processes.

Are you dragging an entry level candidate through three panel interviews? Taking way too long to move interviewees through the process? Waiting for buy in from six different departments before you make an offer? Of course you need to evaluate job candidates, but guess what? They’re evaluating you, too. If your hiring process isn’t friendly and efficient, your candidates will be scratching you off their lists.

Go through your recruitment process from start to finish make sure it’s quick, easy, and appealing.

2.) Change your filters

Remember when you had hundreds of applications coming in for every open position? Back then, you had to filter out large swaths of applicants just to get a manageable candidate pool to work with. It wasn’t a luxury to eliminate candidates based on small details, it was a necessity just to shrink the pile.

Employer who are using the same filters in this new market are going to run into trouble. Put some thought into the things you really value in an employee, and then use that criteria to evaluate the filtering mechanisms you have in place.

Are you requiring five years of experience for a position that doesn’t really need it? Are you immediately tossing out resumes because of a single typo, regardless of the rest of the content? Are you ruling out candidates that have tattoos, piercings, or green hair? In today’s job market, you’re probably doing yourself more harm than good.

You may need to extend this evaluation into to your company policies as well, as more and more talented individuals opt out of traditional cultures and into less restrictive environments.

Depending on what industry you’re in, this could be a super quick fix or the beginning of a long, slow process. But the longer you wait, the more likely you are to find yourself with fewer and fewer candidates to choose from.

3.) Up your job description game

Very few dynamic, talented people are going to get excited about a bunch of corporate jargon and a laundry list of tasks. If you want candidates to be enthusiastic about your positions, write your job postings and descriptions to get at the kind of person you want to hire.

Looking for a marketer? Ask interested applicants to describe their favorite ad campaign and why they think it was effective. Looking for a salesperson? Ask them to sell you on why you should or shouldn’t watch Game of Thrones. Looking for an engineer? Give them a story problem to solve, preferably one that involves weight and angles. The point is, make it compelling. Make it interesting. Make it reflect what it’s actually like to work at your company.

And don’t be afraid to be upfront about compensation. The time for luring candidates with the promise of a steady job at a mystery salary is over.

According to a 2015 Jobvite study, money is still the number one factor in the decision to leave or accept a position. But many employers are all too happy to leave this important part of the conversation out. Compensation is the elephant in the room. If you don’t address it, your candidates are going to get frustrated— and look for someone who will.

Recruiting and retaining employees is easier when you can proudly offer a comprehensive benefits plan that makes your team members feel as valuable as they are. At Sonus Benefits, we build cost effective, long-lasting employee benefits strategies to keep your business and your employees in optimum health.

HR Strategy | By Scott Schulte,

Got Strategy?

Do you hate planning? Would you rather just jump in and DO SOMETHING?

If so, you’re not alone. There are plenty of people who would agree with you. Yes, doing things is important. But so is the strategy behind what you’re doing. And this is where strategic planning will give you the edge.

Whether you’re running the business or the HR department, taking the time to form the strategy behind your actions will help clarify WHY you need these things to happen. In turn, this will help determine exactly WHAT it is you should be doing, and HOW you will go about it.

Why start with WHY?

There’s a reason Simon Sinek’s TED talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action has been viewed over 37 million times. If you don’t know why your company exists or why you’re in business, how can you possibly know what drives your decisions and behaviors? Or what needs to happen next?

When done right, strategic planning will help you:

  • Define what you are working toward
  • Identify the resources you need to make those things happen
  • Use your time, energy, manpower, and technology efficiently
  • Measure results, track progress, and change direction as needed
  • Effectively communicate all of this information
  • Keep your team motivated, engaged and committed to the work

A focus on doing might keep you busy, but a focus on strategy will keep you effective.

No matter what you’re trying to achieve, taking the time to figure out where you are, where you want to be, and what you need to do to get there just makes sense.

When you take a vacation, do you just randomly hop in the car and start driving? Of course not! You’re going to put some effort into picking a destination, based on what your goals are. Is it strictly relaxation? Are you vising someone? Do you want to learn about a new city or country? Are you simply looking for the cheapest option?

Your vacation goals will affect the way you plan and execute your trip. And because you want the best results, you’ll plan carefully.

Don’t leave it to chance

When it comes to figuring out how to make things happen in your business, strategic planning becomes even more important.

Imagine if you let each person in your organization determine the best way to achieve the company vision. You’d end up with as many business strategies as you have team members!

The vision has to come from the top. And spread.

You may have the best strategic planner or team in the world, but if the organizational vision and WHY isn’t clearly communicated, it won’t filter down to those who are responsible for helping making it a reality. Not only will staff not understand their motivation, they won’t be able to see how they fit in or take ownership in achieving the vision.

Empower your team to work toward shared goals and good things will happen.

Need a better ROI on your corporate employee benefits? At Sonus Benefits, we’re not interested in just finding you a policy for this year. We provide strategic employee benefits and human resource management services to help you build a better future. Our goal is to take your business where you want it to go.

HR Strategy | By Tom Murphy,

It’s Time to Hop on the Employee Training Train

Ever wonder how much time and productivity is wasted because people don’t really know how to use the programs they need to do their jobs?

These days, it’s assumed that everyone has proficiency in basic office software programs. As a result, very little focus or training is invested in teaching staff how to use those programs efficiently and effectively.

While it’s easy to understand why this happens, it’s also important to consider the effects of not investing in basic employee skills training.

My employees know that stuff already

Yes, you’re probably right. To some extent, anyway. But when it comes to on the job tools, the reality is that most people are largely self-taught. In other words, most of your employees learned these programs out of necessity— and on their own.

This system might sound like the ideal situation, until you realize that most people are probably only learning basic functionality and on a need-to-know basis.

Unless you’ve got some really patient people on your team, most of them will figure out a way to do something and then repeat that behavior every time after. Until infinity. Even if the way they learned to do that thing may be the most inefficient way on the planet.

The danger here is that it could be taking these self-taught employees three times as long to complete their work.

Are you guilty?

Think about it. How many “creative” work-arounds have you developed over the years? Do you know if these processes are efficient?

Have you ever had a coworker watch you work and bluntly ask, “Dude. What are you doing?”

Maybe you’ve been the asker of that question, bearing witness to a colleague’s use of unusually cumbersome processes to do relatively simple things.  

Or maybe you couldn’t say anything, because the person in question was well above your pay grade.

It happens

There are business owners who are still doing things the way they did when the business first started. There are CEOs who refuse to learn new technologies and platforms. There are supervisors who have never done the jobs they supervise.

Higher level managers often have the luxury of delegating tasks to others in lieu of improving their own skills or learning new processes and technologies. This may be tolerated for a while, but eventually it’s going to become a point of contention for the team.

Even in our firm, we have purchased various tools that are promised to “make us more efficient” only to find out our team ultimately goes back to what they know.

No matter who is struggling with day to day processes, one thing is for certain: Investing in training your team is money well spent.

It’s time to get onboard

Just imagine if everyone in your organization wasn’t just competent with your operating systems, but using them to their fullest potential and power! Think about how much time and energy you could save! Not to mention cold, hard cash.

Increasing staff training is a surefire way increase skills and productivity. And professional development can work wonders for employee engagement.

Why not do your business a favor? Train yourself (and everyone else!) to be the best they can be.


Is your benefits broker also a compliance consultant? How about a trusted business partner? Are you confident your policies and processes are doing what they need to ensure that your company—and your employees— are healthy and productive? At Sonus Benefits, this is what we do for St. Louis employers every single day.

HR Strategy | By Sonus Benefits,

Is Your HR Team Sitting at the Kids Table?

Way too many HR professionals aren’t being allowed to live up to their full potential. Are you one of them?

Maybe you have valuable insight about how the employee benefits plan is working. Or ideas about how to streamline the recruitment and hiring processes. It’s possible you even have strategies for how to improve employee engagement, retention, and company culture.

But at the end of the day, your contributions aren’t being heard. And as long as your HR department is perceived as a paperwork pusher and/or rule enforcer, and not a strategic business partner, you’ll be forever stuck at the kids’ table.

So just how DO you earn a seat in the boardroom?

The View from the C-Suite

HR departments are responsible for hiring, firing, compensation, payroll, onboarding, benefits administration, enforcing company policy, etc. For the most part, the C-suite just wants to know that these activities are occurring smoothly and efficiently. Therefore, many HR departments focus on improving their processes and engaging with people.

But sometimes leadership has a different view of things. Your CFO is focused on the balance sheet and the profits statements, your CEO is concerned with the strategic direction of the company, and your high level managers can be preoccupied with their own divisions and teams.

Leaders spend their days addressing issues around profitability, ROI, productivity, and market share. As a result, they may not be as focused on people and processes as they are on results and strategy.

In other words, if you want to be heard, you need to speak the right language.

Is Your HR Team Fluent in CFO?

Here’s a quick, and familiar example we’ve seen when working with our clients:

The head of HR for a medium-sized business wants to switch employee benefits providers. He has a recommendation for who he wants to go with and why. He makes this suggestion on multiple occasions to the CFO, but she drags her feet. Finally, she tells him that she’s crunched some numbers and it’s not feasible to switch at this time. Nothing happens.

Another year goes by. HR becomes increasingly frustrated and the CFO is leaving valuable business insight on the table.

Now let’s pretend that the head of HR “speaks fluent CFO.” In preparation for his employee benefits plan recommendation, he will do the following:

  1. Consult with a first rate benefits advisor. A good broker or advisor can help tailor a solution well-suited to your company and help you build the case for change. In this example, the head of HR knows the broker has helped draft several recommendations in the past, so he trusts this person to guide the process.
  2. Calculate costs. Realizing the CFO will want to calculate ROI, compare the cost of current plan with the proposed plan. The difference, plus any costs for switching over, is the added investment in change. A great benefits consultant can help with this also.
  3. Estimate savings. Look for gains that will happen when the changeover occurs. For example, perhaps plan administration costs will decrease. Or maybe the benefits will be more lucrative to current and future employees, facilitating talent acquisition and decreasing turnover.
  4. Explain the numbers in the context of the company vision. Numbers alone don’t always tell the whole story. Demonstrate how the proposed changes help fulfill long-term, strategic goals for the company. For example, becoming an industry leader (long-term goal) requires a top team of talent (intermediate step). Explain how the change will help fulfill the company vision by attracting and retaining much-needed talent.
  5. Review responsibilities. To meet the company’s responsibilities as a plan sponsor, HR needs to have a good understanding of compliance issues such as COBRA, HIPAA, and ERISA. Make sure you have all of these bases covered. You’ll also want to have a well-thought-out strategy for how you will roll out, administer, and communicate the new plan. Provide timelines, tasks, and responsible parties or departments. This will help ease any fears about the transition process.
  6. Put it all in writing. Even if you’re providing all of the details up close and in person, chances are your leadership team will want something they can sit down with and review. All key statistics and research, including numbers needed for an ROI analysis, should be included.

Once all of these steps have been completed, it will be easier to make a solid case for change.

You don’t have to do it alone

HR teams don’t typically have an abundance of idle time, and research and preparation can be a tall order— especially for a department that is already stretched thin.

Finding the relevant numbers and reviewing fiduciary responsibility alone can suck up a lot of time if these are tasks you don’t do regularly. This makes step one critically important. Consult with a trusted benefits advisor. Their experience in such matters can be an invaluable timesaver when making the case for change.

If your insurance agent isn’t giving you what you need, do yourself a favor and find a benefits consultant who will.

At Sonus Benefits, we build cost effective, long-lasting benefits strategies to keep your business and your employees in optimum health. Located in Kirkwood, MO, we help clients throughout the greater St. Louis area identify and manage complex employee benefits challenges. From tailored benefit programs to human resource management services, we’ve got you covered.

HR Strategy | By Scott Schulte,

Can Emotional Intelligence Enhance Workplace Performance and Results?

Emotional intelligence is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

HR and C-suite professionals are often confused about the role emotional intelligence plays in the workplace. Does it affect the bottom line? Can it be measured? Is it something employees have naturally, or can you train for it?

Answering these questions could be extremely helpful to forming company policy, including hiring practices, employee assessment, onboarding, training, policy, and more.

But first things first.

Does emotional intelligence really matter?

Emotional Intelligence may be considered part of the softer side of business, but that doesn’t mean its effects should be minimized.

Emotional intelligence plays significant a role in team dynamics, company culture, work environment, communication, performance management and more. Once you start looking for it, you’ll see it showing up literally everywhere. And although it can be extremely hard to quantify the effects, there’s no doubt that emotional intelligence can contribute to (or prohibit) your organizational success.

Employees with high levels of emotional intelligence tend to be more self-aware and exercise better self-control, especially when it comes to feelings like anger and disappointment. They are also better able to influence their co-workers, and more flexible and adaptive when it comes to change. These qualities can be extremely beneficial in a dynamic work environment.

On the other hand, employees with poor emotional intelligence can have an extremely negative impact on your workplace. Signs of low emotional intelligence include not being able to read social cues, not recognizing which information is relevant or irrelevant, being unable to accept feedback graciously, constantly laying blame on others, exhibiting passive-aggressive behaviors, and lacking empathy.

When a manager or leader has low emotional intelligence, he or she can come off as being rude, aloof, out of touch, or simply not listening.

Imagine the effects that can have on teamwork and employee morale.

Still not convinced?

Research has shown that there is a highly significant relationship between emotional intelligence, organizational productivity, and occupational performance.

Research from the UK found that that the emotional intelligence of restaurant managers significantly impacted annual profit growth. Restaurants run by managers with high emotional intelligence showed an annual profit growth of 22% versus an annual average growth of 15% for that same period. The research also revealed that more emotionally intelligent managers experienced significantly less stress, were healthier and enjoyed their work more when compared with less emotionally intelligent managers.

In study after study, high emotional intelligence in for managers and leaders has a direct and measurable effect on overall company productivity and profits.

But it’s not just about leaders. A survey of retail sales buyers found that apparel sales reps were valued primarily for their empathy, with buyers reporting that they wanted reps who could listen well and really understand what they wanted and what their concerns were.

When it comes to the workplace, it’s becoming more and more obvious that emotional intelligence is moving from the “nice-to-have” to the “must-have” category.

Can emotional intelligence be measured?

For a long time, the only way to spot those with high emotional intelligence was to go with your gut. But this isn’t exactly something you can build into a hiring assessment or training exercise.

Fortunately, this has begun to change. Now there are lots of tools and resources to assess and measure emotional intelligence.

If you find that emotional intelligence is jumping up on your priority list, you can quickly test yourself or work with someone like TalentSmart to conduct company-wide emotional intelligence assessments.

Once you know what you’re working with, you can decide what needs to happen next.

Can you train for it?

Are people born with emotional intelligence or is it something you can acquire? As with most human traits, it’s probably a little of both.

Some people might have more or less emotional intelligence innately, but learning and experience can build on that foundation.

Many companies offer courses and seminars in emotional intelligence. The important thing to keep in mind is that emotional intelligence cannot be gained overnight, nor can it be taught by simply reading a book or listening to a lecture. Good corporate training will provide a mix of theory, group discussion, role-playing, feedback, and assessment.

What next?

Emotional intelligence has become an increasingly more important facet of organizational development. That said, it is not clear how well it has taken hold when it comes to corporate policy.

Most HR professionals we speak with at Sonus have heard of emotional intelligence, and some have shown interest in finding employees who have an abundance of it. But few organizations have made assessing or training for it part of their hiring and onboarding practices.

Why not get on the front end of this curve?

Start building a workforce that lends itself to better results by filling your organization with emotionally intelligent leaders and employees. Your team (and your bottom line) will thank you.


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Culture & Community | By Tom Murphy,

Increase Employee Retention by Improving Company Culture

Worried about hanging on to your employees? So is everyone else.

According to a Korn Ferry study, a whopping 90% of executives said they felt employee retention was an issue. And many of them admitted to losing new hires because of issues with company culture.

In fact, nearly 20% of the executives surveyed said company culture was the primary reason new employees left within the first year.

Research by Right Management backs this theory up. When employee were asked their top motivations for changing jobs, 25% said they were leaving to find a better work culture. Let that sink in for a moment:

Nearly a quarter of all employee turnover may be due to company culture.

Companies can no longer afford to let culture simmer quietly on the back burner. Creating and nurturing a positive culture is critical to attracting and retaining employees. Companies that leave culture and cultural fit to chance are leaving their businesses to chance as well.

Is change possible?

Changing something intangible like company culture might seem overwhelming, time consuming, and maybe even impossible.

When it comes down to it, shouldn’t your main priority be making widgets or providing top notch service?

Yes and no.

Yes, you have to keep your core business running, but if you want to stick around for the long haul, you’ve also got to throw yourself into creating a business model that is actually sustainable— and a culture to match. To continue to be successful, you have to make your organization attractive to current and potential employees.

Making culture happen

When it comes to intentionally building your company culture, there are three basic steps:

1.) Know where you are

To improve on what you have, you must first understand the current company culture, including its strengths and weaknesses. Take a good (and honest) look around. You may also need to take off your rose colored glasses and develop a thick skin. Talk to people at all levels and listen to what they have to say. This is your starting point.

2.) Know where you want to be

If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. You’ll need to get your leaders together and define the core values that will drive all of the decisions and behaviors your organization. The clearer you make this, the easier it will be to execute step three.

3.) Start moving

Once you know your starting point and your desired destination, the hard work begins. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that just talking about your culture is enough. Now that you’ve identified the discrepancies between where you are and where you want to be, you’ll have to actually address the issues you’ve uncovered. And it’s going to take real, tangible action.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Launching your culture makeover at full speed may sound like the best plan, but be sure to pace yourself. Tackling a big issue like company culture is a long and ongoing process. And even when you get there, the process of maintaining it never really ends.

Here are some tips for managing the process:

Play the long game. Should you get started? Absolutely! But unless your culture is extremely toxic, you don’t need to try to roll all of your changes out at once. Targeting one specific group, issue, or change at a time can seem much more manageable. And you may even get some quick wins to help build your confidence and resolve.      

Give people a voice. It’s much easier to get your employees behind you if they feel listened to, valued and cared about. Empower your staff to be part of the change. Involve them in the strategy and execution of your culture initiatives. Not only will you get some great ideas and insight, you will quickly see who is on board and who isn’t.

Find the bright spots. Okay. So maybe there are a lot of things going wrong. But there are probably also places where things are going right. Identify those areas and try to replicate that success. Are there particular locations or departments that seem to have a lot less employee turnover, or where the culture seems to be more in line with what the organization as a whole is trying to achieve? Put some effort into figuring out why so you can multiply the desired effect.

Examine your benefits. Employee benefits can be a powerful tool for building your culture. A great benefits program tells your employees that you value them, and that you are willing to invest in them. Not only that, but the benefits you offer are a good indication of your company values.

  • Vacation, flex time and PTO say you value work/life balance.
  • Offering childcare reimbursements screams family friendly.
  • Assistance with student debt repayment says you care about financial stability.

And so on.

Take a look at your newly defined culture and see if and how your benefits package is in alignment with your core values. If these things aren’t in sync, make changes until they are.

Continue the cycle

Company culture may seem like a magical, mystical thing, but the truth is it’s just hard work.

Even once you’ve achieved the culture you envisioned, you’ll still need to reassess your goals, vision, mission, and processes to make sure they all match up.

But all of this hard work will pay off. And when it does, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Because not only will you be able to attract and retain the kinds of employees you need to propel you forward, you will literally be working at the company of your dreams.

Recruiting and retaining employees is easier when you can proudly offer a comprehensive benefits plan that makes your team members feel as valuable as they are. Get in touch with Sonus to see how we can help your organization become a local employer of choice.