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Why Employee Retention Matters

Why Employee Retention Matters 2048 1367 Sprockets

If you’re like most business owners and managers, you already know that high employee turnover drains a significant amount of resources, time, and money from your business. Not having good employee retention, constantly training employees only to have them resign and take their newly developed skills to other companies means having to start all over again from scratch. Many of those in your position are so used to this scenario that they simply consider it a necessary evil. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Small businesses have limits concerning how many necessary evils their bottom line can withstand, and a revolving door of employees can potentially erode resources to the point that a company’s bottom line is underwater.

The booming economy also plays a part in employee turnover. With employment numbers lower than they’ve been in almost 50 years, openings in most fields aren’t difficult to find, and wages are rising accordingly. Now is a great time for HR professionals to sharpen their skills concerning keeping quality talent engaged and onboard.

Following are five essential strategies designed to keep employees engaged and onboard.

But First, Why is attracting and retaining employees important?

Attracting and retaining employees is a huge factor in a company’s success. After all, employees are the true lifeblood of a business. By promoting a positive organization and ensuring employees know the value they bring, you can assure that you will get quality future referrals and lock in the current talent you have in your business.  

Five Strategies to Help with Employee Retention

Set Clear Expectations When Recruiting

Employee retention should begin before the position is even advertised. The very first step should be creating a job announcement designed to attract the right applicants — this helps avoid the tedious process of weeding out unsuitable applicants. Job announcements should be written in clear, direct language that leaves no question about base qualifications and expectations involved with specific jobs. This approach helps minimize applicants who are just taking a shot in the dark who may not have the required skill sets.

It’s also important to be upfront about company culture. No matter what skills and abilities a new hire brings to the table, their chances of sticking it out aren’t good if they’re don’t fit in with the prevailing company culture. In order to have a high employee retention rate, you have to be honest.


Use Effective Assessments

Not all businesses have the same needs. An employee who thrives in one particular business may be a bad fit for another. This is true even if the businesses are in the same industry. This is why traditional assessments often fall flat when matching applicants to jobs. Another issue is that these types of assessments generally charge around $250 per applicant. As a small business ourselves, we know this can be unrealistic.  At Sprockets, however, we charge a flat rate of $99 per month for unlimited assessments to aid in your employee retention efforts. Furthermore, our assessments aren’t a one-size-fits-all evaluation that operates under a preconceived presumption of what personal attributes are indicators of success in your company.

We use a custom-designed assessment based on existing employees who are thriving in your business. Our process begins when your top producers take our assessment. It identifies the common denominators of the top performers. Next, a Success Profile is created based on the shared mental makeup. After applicants complete the survey, Sprockets provides a mental makeup analysis designed to take the guesswork out of selecting the best candidates.


Provide a Positive Orientation Experience

Some companies believe that taking a sink-or-swim approach to new hires is effective. Although this might have some value in cases where a state-of-the-art applicant screening process isn’t a part of the picture, it doesn’t make sense for employers who use Sprockets to follow this road. When new hires have been identified as being those most likely to succeed with the company, employers should protect their investment by providing those new hires with the tools they need to thrive. Roughly one out of every 10 new hires have left a job because of a bad onboarding experience.

The first tool any new employee needs is a comprehensive job description that makes expectations crystal clear. It’s also essential that supervisors and coworkers are approachable and forthcoming with answers to questions. Assigning each new hire a mentor is an excellent idea. The wrong mentor, however, can be worse than not having one at all. A good mentor should be patient, inspiring, competent, and kind.

You can also increase employee engagement by providing interactive reviews. Both the manager and employee should be able to give feedback. 


Provide Flexibility 

One of the main reasons employees change jobs is that they’re seeking a better work-life balance. Because many people in their prime working years are also parents, they prize the ability to customize their schedules without being relegated to the slow track as a result. For instance, sick children create dilemmas for virtually all working parents. In addition, an increasing number of adults are responsible for the caregiving duties for aging parents. 

Women in particular struggle with juggling employment and household obligations. Many of them find themselves giving up on the traditional workplace altogether. This is a shame because they represent a valuable segment of the labor force. Employee engagement, productivity, and morale all increase when employees have access to flexible schedules.

Implementing flexible schedules isn’t as simple as just allowing employees to work from home at their discretion. Communication is key. Management should be trained in working with employees who are away from the office. Modern technology provides plenty of apps and programs designed to create a virtual workplace. Make sure to provide management with the training they’ll need to use these tools.

Partner With Sprockets to Build Your Team

Sprockets stands ready to help you build your best team. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to find out more about how we can help. Our services can provide your HR professionals with the tools they need. 


5 Reasons You Should Upgrade with Sprockets

5 Reasons You Should Upgrade with Sprockets Sprockets

At Sprockets, we are working around the clock to help your hiring process. For paid subscribers, we offer a number of tools to reduce turnover, hire a more engaged workforce, and make significantly faster placements. Here are a few reasons why you should consider signing up for a paid account.


Save a Ton of Money in Turnover

According to the SHRM, it costs $4,969 to replace an hourly worker and $14,069 to replace a manager. This includes direct costs like future job postings and indirect costs like reduced morale, lost productivity, and lost knowledge. Sprockets is a no-brainer for any business concerned with their bottom line.

At just $99 per month, you will:

  • 5x your investment if you pass on ONE bad hourly hire in 12 months.
  • 11x your investment if you pass on ONE bad manager hire in 12 months.
  • 60x your investment if you pass on ONE bad hourly hire per month.
  • 132x your investment if you pass on ONE bad manager hire per month.


Spend Less Time Reviewing Resumes

With unlimited assessments, our customers typically post the Sprockets survey with their job description. Our technology will tell you which resumes you should review and which candidates simply do not have the mental makeup to work at your company. Your time is valuable. Don’t spend it by prioritizing the wrong resumes.


Say “Goodbye” to One-Off Spreadsheets and “Hello” to Streamlining

Sprockets offers unlimited applicant tracking functionality with paid subscriptions. You’ll be able to assign hiring “stages” to candidates, schedule interviews with candidates, sort your applicant pool, and leave notes for your fellow hiring managers without leaving your dashboard. Hiring. Simplified.


Get a Team Dedicated to Your Hiring Success

No technology is perfectly intuitive. We built Sprockets to be simple, but you may still have questions about your reports as you make hiring decisions. By upgrading your account you will have access to in-app customer support. A live member of our team is just one click away to answer your questions.

Bottom Line, Why Use Recruitment Software?

We understand how hard it is to recruit the right people. Trying to keep up with applications and resumes is a time-consuming and overwhelming process. Recruitment software is a tool that is useful in helping managers, staffing agencies, and recruiters in organizing and filing application information in an easy-to-use interface. This tool offers automated management for daily tasks and administration needs- ultimately saving you time and money.

Spend Less Time Bouncing From Platform to Platform

Throughout the hiring process, you are forced to bounce from tool-to-tool in order to make a hire. Sprockets Boost removes these steps by connecting your Sprockets account with your job boards, applicant tracking systems, and social networks.

You will no longer need to have the Sprockets platform open to get access to their reports. Simply download Sprockets Boost, go to any webpage on the internet, and send out the Sprockets assessment or review current candidates with two simple clicks.

To upgrade, please follow these simple instructions!

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The Importance of Candidates Fitting in With Company Culture in a Small Business

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Many factors go into a hiring decision. For instance, human resources personnel and hiring managers often consider applicants’ work experience, hard skills, and soft skills. In recent years, the importance of whether or not a candidate fits the company culture has become even more apparent, too. In fact, some businesses have begun to give cultural fit equal weight with other attributes or even prioritize it. What exactly is it, though, and why is it important in a small business?

Defining Cultural Fit as It Relates to a Small Business

In a nutshell, cultural fit is how well an employee’s mentality and behavior line up with the particular values and culture of your business. Unfortunately, businesses don’t always have a handle on what the company culture is truly like in their company. One scenario is when, on paper, the business espouses a philosophy of letting its employees be as independent as possible. In practice, team leaders micromanage the employees. So, companies big and small are not always in tune with the culture in the business.

Now, a small business may pride itself on its family-oriented company culture, particularly if it is a family-owned business. Or it may tout itself as lean and determined. It may emphasize that its employees need to be able to make quick, good decisions, or it may explain that its employees need to be well-versed in carrying out orders. Some small businesses, however, don’t fully understand what culture fit is and why it’s important. When they do hiring, they don’t consider that aspect of applicants’ profiles, and that’s a big mistake.

Defining Company Culture for Small Businesses

What is company culture? It’s the set of values, beliefs and behaviors that are shared by employees within an organization. These can be formal or informal, but they all have one thing in common: They help to shape how people behave at work. 

The tone for how your company interacts with clients, suppliers and customers is set by a positive company culture. Having a well-defined company culture helps expose your company to better opportunities as you grow, because it helps attract the right talent, client, and reputation for your organization.

Company Culture Is Amplified in a Small Business

From our experience, we’ve seen that practically everything is amplified in a small business. That is a major reason why hiring for culture fit is critical. There are fewer employees and fewer channels of communication. More direct contact takes place between customers/clients and every employee in the business. If something goes wrong, it’s liable to go wrong on a bigger scale.

Indeed, just one “bad” hire can do horrendous damage to a small business. The damage need not be anything as direct as an employee angering an important client, although that can and does happen. Rather, it can be indirect and build up to a devastating level over time.

Consider the following:

Someone who doesn’t fit with the company culture of the business is hired. Let’s say this person resents following a 9-5 workday at a traditional business and doesn’t really follow the dress code.

This person’s attitude affects the morale of the other employees, who bristle at the new hire who comes in late, leaves early, and wears jeans and T-shirts. Employees’ productivity and morale drops.

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a business that lets its employees set their own hours as long as they get their work done and to dress as they see fit. However, not every business is like this. Suppose you’re a business such as a retail store that needs employees to come in on time, leave on time, and follow a certain dress code. Your employees need to be able to understand and follow the values of your business. 

Limited Space to Experiment

A small business doesn’t have as much room as a larger business to navigate and make mistakes. So, it’s worth investing additional resources and time to find a proper cultural match. In a larger business, someone who is a bad culture fit might affect the morale of the immediate team members, but that may be where the ripple effects stop. In a small business, potentially everyone in the company could be affected.

The Ripple Effects of Negative Cultural Fits

Earlier, we touched on a few ways in which bad culture can affect the business. Here’s a bulleted list that outlines a more extensive list of examples.

  • Bad work quality
  • Lowered productivity
  • Lowered job satisfaction
  • Decreased morale
  • Poisonous work environment
  • Higher employee turnover
  • Stressed, possibly resentful employees
  • Decreased profits
  • Fewer clients or customers

Say that Bob and Jane see their co-worker at a small independent bookstore constantly arrive late and leave early. He calls in sick often and shows up in T-shirts and jeans. He kind of ignores the store’s customers. Bob or Jane (maybe both) may begin to question why they’re even bothering to be productive employees when this guy does what he wants and gets paid the same as them. They resent the employee and begin to think less of their boss for hiring this person. Bob or Jane leave the position, and the search must begin anew for another employee.

Even if your business is laid-back, a poor culture fit can still be harmful. Take a business that encourages employees to wear T-shirts and jeans and to come into the office whenever. A new employee is hired who checks off all the hard skills on paper. Everyone’s excited, but problems may arise quickly if this employee prefers a traditional way of working. For instance, the employee may not mesh with other team members and lose motivation to work. It’s costly to keep an unproductive worker around, and if that worker leaves, to go through another hiring process.

Diversity Is Important

You can still have diversity in your small business while hiring for cultural fit. Actually, having a diverse workforce can help your business become quite successful. We want to emphasize that a cultural match does not equal hiring people from the same backgrounds and with similar experiences.

Nailing Down the Right Cultural Fit

To be sure, business culture can be tough to nail down. Since it’s important that everyone in the business align with its values, how can a business succeed if half of the employees are creative thinkers and half are more rigid thinkers? It’s because culture goes deeper than that. What type of thinker you are matters less than attributes such as self-awareness and ability to collaborate effectively. So, a business filled with employees who practice different methods of thinking/approaching problems can still be extremely profitable. These employees just have to align with a company culture of, say, respect, and collaboration. Having diversity in your business is an excellent thing, but the culture fit still needs to be there.

Practicalities Matter

On the most basic and practical level, the right employees matter for small businesses because they don’t have as much time and resources to spend on hiring. When you hire the right type of person, you hopefully won’t be hiring all over again in a few months when that person or other employees leave. On a deeper level, making several poor hires for culture (or even just one bad hire) may lead to a toxic work environment and hurt the bottom line of your business. If the business keeps hiring people who don’t work out, there may be a mismatch between the perceived (“on paper”) culture and the actual culture. Alternatively, hiring processes may need to be changed, and the people doing the hiring should become more aware of cultural issues.

To understand if an applicant will be a good match for your business before they’re hired, learn how Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System can help.

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Key Benefits of Employee Engagement

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If you’re a business owner or operator, then you’ve likely heard about the importance of employee engagement. Numerous bloggers, conference speakers, and publications have touted it as a key driver for business success in today’s competitive marketplace. What is it really, and why is it important? In simple terms, employee engagement refers to the emotional connection that employees have with their job or employer. 

Engaged employees go beyond their basic work functions to actively contribute to the company’s goals. An engaged employee produces better work, more profit, and provides a higher retention rate for the company. It may seem that employees should be naturally engaged by the standard work benefits and reliability of their job. However, a recent survey by Gallup revealed that only 36% of workers are actively engaged. Read on to investigate the key benefits of employee engagement and how it could positively affect your company.

Benefits of Employee Engagement

Boost in Productivity

Those who are engaged recognize the company goals and how they can help reach them. They see their purpose in the company and know that their actions make an impact. With that type of belief and engagement, they work harder than their less-engaged peers. Companies lose over $500 billion on an annual basis from disengaged employees.

Happier Customers

Sir Richard Branson once advised business owners to prioritize their employees rather than customers. This is because “if you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients,” as he put it. Increasing your employee engagement level ultimately leads to better customer service, as your employees will be friendlier and more attentive at work. Such employees will also be great brand ambassadors and will do anything to leave a great impression on your customers. 

Better Work Quality

Engaged employees will always put in maximum effort to deliver the best results at work. Since they tend to be highly motivated, they are more precise in each task and bring the same amount of dedication. This makes them highly efficient. They also strive to better their work quality by attending seminars, learning from mentors, and taking courses. 

More Innovation

When you keep your zealous employees engaged, they will strive to do their level best. This will make them continuously innovative as they try to ensure that the company retains a positive image. Research shows that 78% of employees who have a space to innovate and remain creative at the workplace are more loyal. This ultimately leads to higher retention. 

Higher Profits

Engaged people are more productive. They focus harder on getting work done and feel a responsibility to meet and exceed goals. In fact, a Gallup poll indicated that engaged employees are 21% more productive than their less engaged counterparts. For a sales position, this may mean an extra $100,000 in sales. For a marketing position, it may mean an extra email campaign is generated that brings in more leads. In a customer service view, happy workers lead to quality work, happy customers, and more profit. No matter the position, productivity has a major effect on profits.

Better Retention

Only 12% of employees think their organization does a great job with onboarding. This is a crucial time to engage new employees as 50% of people decide if they are going to stay with a new company within their first week at work. If they have already decided against staying, they aren’t going to be engaged. They will likely be actively disengaged if they do not see a long-term relationship with the company.

Employees who are engaged view their future with the company. If your company goes through a period of trouble or layoffs, they will be more likely to stick it out. These are the times where it is important to monitor employee engagement and reward those who are engaged.

In conclusion, companies experience better productivity, customer satisfaction, and an increase in profits with engaged employees. Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System (AMS) allows you to see which job applicants will be a great cultural fit for your company, meaning they will be more engaged. Learn more about our AMS or get started today with a free account.


Read the Article, The Ultimate Guide to Employee Engagement.

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The Differences in Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

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Employee engagement and satisfaction are not the same thing, but they are intertwined with each other. Engaged employees are happier than those who are just “going through the motions.” What does it mean to be “engaged” as an employee? It means that an employee is an active, enthusiastic, and willing participant in the efforts to better the company. Engaged employees have an emotional connection to the workplace. They enjoy being there and derive happiness from their interactions with other employees. 

Job satisfaction, on the other hand, is largely about the perks of being at work: fair pay, generous work-life balance, adequate benefits, and the like. Satisfied employees tend to be content while engaged employees tend to be go-getters. Still, money isn’t everything when it comes to either engagement or happiness and satisfaction.


Company Culture

Company culture has a lot to do with both employee engagement and satisfaction. If the company thinks of employees as cogs in their machine, then no employee is going to care one whit about doing more than the bare minimum because the company doesn’t care about the employee. Conversely, if the management team communicates honestly and forthrightly while valuing the employee’s output and thoughts, the employee will be loyal and be much more team-oriented and positive than if the company doesn’t care and treats the employee and others poorly.

As HR professionals dedicated to improving both company culture and employee relations, you have to know whom to hire and train. The best way to know is to look at successful, engaged, and satisfied employees already at the company. Find out what they value, how they feel, and how committed they are to helping the company move forward. The best way to “talk” to them is through anonymous surveys so that there is no fear of repercussions among the employees.


Interviewing Candidates

Remember the “old way” of doing things? You’d advertise on a bunch of job boards and wait for applicants. After discarding the obvious jokers, you would call up several dozen prospects and do phone interviews. Then, you’d go over all of those, pick a few, and call them back to invite them in for an in-person interview. Many of those you called back might not even get your message anymore because of the animosity toward voicemail. They might even have found another job in the meantime because of the time the “old way” takes.

Once you’re ready to sift through resumes and pick the best people for the jobs you’re offering, you can apply what you have learned during those surveys with your employees. Remember, the best candidates are also interviewing you at the same time. Job-seekers are savvier today than ever. Hollow laughs, over-enthusiastic back slapping, and other “shark-like” behaviors won’t cut it. They’ll see right through you and forget your company as soon as they leave.

When interviewing candidates, it’s best to ask questions that require critical thinking and honest answers. “Tell me about yourself,” is so 1980. Instead, ask, “Tell me about a time you worked with a colleague to make the company better,” or, “Tell me about a time you led a group to success and received recognition.” Follow those up with, “How did those events make you feel?” When you compare their answers with the same answers you got from your current employees, you will see who matches up best.


Employee Retention

Sometimes, despite your best intentions and doing everything “right,” employees will just leave. The stress of some jobs is crushing, like sales, food service, or retail. It’s doubly crucial to “do your homework” to find people who fit in with your current culture. Negativity abounds, largely because the environment is high-stress, and the employer does nothing to relieve it and shouts continuously about, “You’re only as good as yesterday’s numbers!” That is not the way to boost employee engagement or satisfaction. In fact, such chicanery usually results in the exact opposite.

It would be nice if everyone had a 100-percent reliable “gut feeling.” Sadly, this is not the case. When it comes to assessing candidates, you’re going to need help. That’s where we come in. We’re Sprockets, and we believe in the impact of employee engagement. In fact, our measure of success is how few people leave your company after we help you find them and hire them.


Sprockets’ Solution

How would it be if we did all the thinking, assessing, and matching for you and just handed you a list of prime candidates who are interested in working for you? You could fill jobs in just a few days or weeks instead of waiting many long months to get someone who might not even work out in the first place. We’ve got both the equipment and the know-how to do all your applicant searching. 


People in a business meeting discussing team-building tips for company culture

10 Team-Building Tips for a United Company Culture

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Fostering a sense of team unity is an excellent way to make your company the best it can be. Facilitating team activities, goals and a common vision are all excellent ways to encourage employee engagement. Once you build a united company culture, it will help boost employee retention. Encouraging team unity doesn’t simply mean playing a few ice breaker games at the quarterly company meeting. It is a deep-rooted, multi-faceted initiative that should stem from a good deal of thought and planning. We’ve compiled 10 tips for proactive team building in your organization.

1. Establish a Common Vision

Establishing a common vision for any organization is essential for both team unity and the overall success of a company. One of the best ways to do this is to spend some initial time collaborating as a team on a common vision. This brainstorming session will not only give team members the opportunity to provide their input on the initial vision, but it will also foster employee engagement in completing the objective because it started as a group effort.

2. Develop Common Goals

Similar to developing a common vision, make sure that common goals are established as part of group collaboration. These goals should also be built with the input of team members and the leadership team working together in a cohesive manner to promote employee engagement. The more invested employees are in common goals, the more encouraged they will be to do their all to achieve those goals. After these goals are established, it is essential to make sure that every participating team members understand these goals, both as an individual employee and as a part of the company. Team members should know what role they have in achieving this goal and they should be able to have a clear outlet to ask questions or provide input during the path to achieving these common goals.

3. Encourage Collaboration, not Competition

If team-building is established as a contest, certain employees will naturally become focused on the objective of winning, discouraging the learning experiences that team projects are designed to promote. Choose activities that encourage team members to collaborate as a group or as various teams and reward success for their collaboration.

4. Ensure Roles and Responsibilities are Clear

An essential step in a team-building exercise is to make sure that people know their individual roles and responsibilities. A clear understanding of what is expected from leadership will help any activity be more successful and will encourage more enthusiastic participation. One of the most common challenges for organizations that are working toward a common goal is that there is a lack of clarity on individual roles. When executing a team initiative, it is important to establish roles and responsibilities. Furthermore, you should establish a plan to have check-ins as responsibilities evolve over the span of a project.

5. Give Team Members Decision-Making Authority

Any team project or activity will be much more successful when contributing team members feel empowered to make decisions. Employees are also more committed to any project when they feel that they have the authority to provide input. Give team members the authority to empower each other. They should be able to further initiatives and trust in their own decisions during the process. Giving employees authority during team-building projects will pay off.  As the company grows and employees need to delegate work to other employees, these skills will come into play. Giving team members the power to make important decisions is key. It allows team members to grow their confidence and start seeing themselves as leaders.

6. Encourage Employee Contribution

Every single person has been in a work situation or meeting when they have had the urge to voice an opinion or idea but chose to keep it to themselves for a variety of reasons. This can often lead team members to feel that their input and opinion isn’t valued.

A great way to foster a team culture is to encourage employees of all levels to contribute. A great way to start this process is to leave a specific time allotment for employee contribution during meetings or project discussions. Encourage leadership to actively listen and encourage the sharing of ideas. This doesn’t mean that everything will be smooth sailing when it comes to team contribution. However, the simple act of encouraging employees to speak up builds up a strong company culture and helps people feel that they are an important part of a team.

7. Establish Clear, Open Communication Lines

The saying “communication is key” is especially important when one of your major goals is building a sense of team unity. Establishing clear, open lines of communication is the first step to ensuring the success of a team-building endeavor. Individual employees should have a common communication line, such as a team leader or senior team member, that they can go to with progress reports or questions. Employees should never be discouraged from communicating. However, it is also important to establish up-front what type of communication will be beneficial to work toward a common objective or goal. For example, complaining or going off-topic will only develop unnecessary traffic when it comes to communication.

8. Recognize Accomplishments

Employees that receive recognition for their accomplishments will be encouraged to continue their work endeavors. A lack of accomplishment is a common reason that team building initiatives ultimately end up becoming unproductive. Prior to starting any team-focused project, make sure that you develop a plan with human resources and leadership. This plan should outline how to recognize the accomplishments of both individual and team achievements.

9. Learn what Team Members Need and Want

Before you start a team exercise or project, leadership should try to learn as much as possible. This may include tools to complete it successfully and the end goals. Leadership should also be proactive in making sure employees know that they heard. Doing this will help everyone be more invested in reaching a common goal. This goes back to the importance of establishing clear and open communication lines. This is an excellent way to loop human resources into team initiatives in a positive way.

10. Make Things Creative and Fun!

Finally, never hesitate to make team-building fun. Finding a balance between a fun project that encourages creativity and completing goals is key to a successful team project. If your team is hosting a softball outing, try to find a way to get creative with it. Maybe add a 7th-inning activity that somehow ties in with something common in your company culture.  This makes creativity and fun a win-win for team members and leadership alike!

In the End, Why is it so Important to Develop Teamwork?

As work is divided up among team members, it gets done faster and more efficiently- ultimately making the business operate more smoothly. As your team works towards a common goal, a sense of trust and comradery will develop. Team morale will build, and each individual’s work will feel more valued as they contribute tasks that produce results. This will give employees and teammates a sense of importance and fulfillment in their job and help develop them more engaged and provide better results.



Before you begin hiring your full workforce, check out the Sprockets platform. Our Applicant Matching System is designed to assist franchisees in hiring the best people by matching applicants against your best people. Get started with a free pre-employment assessment for franchisees account today.

Two smiling women in a positive corporate culture

How to Discover Your Corporate Culture

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Companies all over the country are lamenting over the quality of their corporate culture. They are obsessed with building a culture that they think will allow them to attract the right talent, keep their good employees happy, improve morale, and increase productivity. This usually includes something like adding beanbag chairs, a ping pong table, and a cappuccino machine to the break room. The dress code might be downgraded to “everyday casual”, once a week the company provides lunch, and in the summer the business shuts down on Fridays at noon. After a few months, when there is no improvement in productivity, retention or morale, leaders are left scratching their head and shrugging their shoulders.

What went wrong? Why aren’t things better around here?

The problem isn’t intent or for lack of trying. It’s the idea that a company can “build” its culture. Simply put, a company’s culture cannot be built, and then forced upon people. “Look what we did for you. Now enjoy it!” won’t get you the results you are looking for. The key to a high performance culture is to discover the great things about the culture that already exists, and emphasize the employee experience around those elements.

The Discovery Process

There are four main steps to actively begin your discover process.

Step 1: Watch for Patterns

Start by observing and spending time with your highest performing people. If they are not already at the center of your culture, they should be, and likely have created their own subculture. Watch for patterns like when they start their work day, go to lunch and go home. Start by observing and spending time with your highest performing people. If they are not already at the center of your culture, they should be, and likely have created their own subculture. Watch for patterns like when they start their work day, go to lunch and go home.

Step 2: Schedule One-on-Ones

Schedule individual meetings with top performers to see what they like and dislike about the current corporate culture. From events that are held to any teamwork initiatives already in place. Be sure to ask them for their suggestions based on what would help them to perform better and be more engaged with others.

Step 3: Hold a Feedback Session

Bring in lunch for a meeting and talk to top performers about what they like about the company, and things they think should be different. Make sure it is an eclectic group of top performing people from different departments. You want to get as close to a cross section of the business as possible. Even though departments different greatly in personality, top performers will share many needs, values and characteristics.

If you discover that your best people value collaboration, then make sure problems are solved by a committee. You may find that individual performance motivates your rock-stars, if so, make sure you recognize individual contribution and achievement. If a nurturing environment warms the hearts of your people, try a volunteer or fund raising event for a local charity.

Read the full E-Book from Pete Richichi, How to Discover and Build Your Corporate Culture, here.

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Company Culture and the Impact on Profits

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Having been a senior executive at a billion-dollar company I can tell you that company culture is important, however, it normally doesn’t trump profits. If you are ready to make a change in your workplace, be mindful of this. To be effective, discuss the direct correlation between a high-performance culture, productivity, and profits in these three steps.

Tip 1: Don’t get too “soft” during your conversation.

The hard truth is that no CEO wants unhappy and disengaged employees, but, in most cases, they are not willing to trade profit to have them. The good news is that great companies have both. Salesforce was rated the best place to work in the country in 2017 by FORBES with operating income over $2.2 billion. It can be done.

"Only 15% of employees nationwide are engaged - costing companies thousands of dollars"Tip 2: Have an Itemized Proposal

If you need to ask for a budget to implement some of your ideas, be thoughtful, and have an itemized proposal. The more thoughtful your presentation, the more likely you will get the budget you need. The more you can tie your initiatives to business performance the better. Be bold, but be prepared to back up your conclusions with facts.

Tip 3: Start Slow

If this is the first time your company is implementing cultural initiatives you might want to start slow with things that don’t cost any money, like coordinating a charity event, or a scavenger hunt. Once the CEO sees the benefit he or she might be willing to cut loose a few dollars to see just how far you and your team can take things.

Read the full E-Book from Pete Richichi on How to Discover and Build Your Company Culture with a free download.

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Top 10 Employee Retention Strategy Tips

Top 10 Employee Retention Strategy Tips 1920 1272 Sprockets

No matter what your company uses as a baseline to establish success metrics, employee retention is always one of the most important things to a successful, thriving company. Managers and HR teams should be focusing on their employee retention strategy to help retain the best personnel in their company. 

Because hiring new employees could cost up to 33% a workers annual salary, it’s in the best interest for the company to focus on their retention strategy. Employees who come to work every day and enjoy what they do and the environment that they do it in are more likely to remain productive, successful team members of the organization for a long-term period. 

A strong focus on retention helps create an overall pleasant work environment. It also creates a strong company culture of committed employees. Below are 10 simple ways you can create an effective employee retention strategy and establish a positive company culture.

Ten Simple, Effective Employee Retention Strategy Tips

1.Perform Quarterly and/or Annual Reviews

Many employees look at the review process as something employees dread. While there are always certain nerves associated with a review, if you treat the process less like being called to the principal’s office and more like an open exchange of ideas, the result will be a one-on-one meeting that empowers your employees to set goals for themselves and you to set achievable goals for them. This encourages employee engagement in taking their success at your company into their own hands. If you perform quarterly reviews, they should be kept informal and brief. Discussion topics and goals established can be collected for a more formal annual review.

2.Create a Comfortable Environment

Have you ever walked into an office and immediately felt uncomfortable? As if the employees’ unhappiness is palpable in the air? On the other side of the coin, have you ever walked into an office and felt a warmth and positivity that couldn’t help but put you in a positive mood? Employees are more likely to stay for the long haul if they feel good about the place and the atmosphere they walk into every day. Part of this involves the aesthetics of the environment: comfy chairs, proper lighting (not overly harsh), good technology, and a place designated for intrapersonal employee engagement all help build this type of sought-after environment.

3.Recognize and Reward Individual and Team Accomplishments

Lack of recognition is the start of employees feeling disconnected from their work. This also leads to employees eventually seek employment elsewhere. Acknowledging your employees or teams for their accomplishments nurtures their sense of succeeding at their job. Acknowledgment encourages them to continue striving for consistent success.

4.Do the “Little Things”

One of the most common reasons you hear for a relationship failing is that people stop doing the “little things.” If you want your professional relationship with your employees to thrive and lead to employee retention, doing little things is a great way to build a team of happy, caring employees that reciprocate their appreciation with great work and loyalty.

For example, something as simple as stocking the breakroom with delicious, quality coffee and a nice selection of teas goes a long way. Saving a few extra dollars a month only to have employees bond over the common gripe of the bad coffee fosters negativity and isn’t really worth the savings in the long run.

5.Make the Path to Advancement Clear

Employees want to advance their careers. It’s simply human nature to desire to have goals that you are working to achieve. Making the path to advancement within your company clear achieves two very important things. First, it sets the tone that promotions are achievable. This encourages team members to strive to move up in the company. Second, it nurtures a company culture where employees know that there is room for growth. These are both contributors to strong employee retention rates. This also leads to leadership at the company having worked several lower-level positions prior to being in the role they are now, helping them have a better understanding of all elements of the job.

6.Offer a Degree of Flexibility

Workplace flexibility is no longer something that the “cool” companies of Silicon Valley offer. Flexibility is one of the top draws for top talent. This is especially true when a company is attempting to hire younger employees. Additionally, companies that offer flexibility or flex time often find that employees are less likely to take advantage of flex time than those with zero flexibility. Most companies have at least a portion of work that can be done remotely. Instead of having your employee extremely stressed over having to take personal time when a pipe bursts, simply allow them to work from home.

7.Never Underestimate the Power of Exit Interviews

Many companies shy away from conducting exit interviews for various reasons. They often associate it with employees leaving simply complaining. However, exit interviews can be immensely beneficial. They can bring to light issues that employers or HR professionals weren’t aware of. If you, as the employer, have the interview conducted properly and guided by professional questions, it can be incredibly beneficial in identifying employee pain points that can be addressed before even one more employee leaves. These exit interviews can also help gather insight that will be helpful in training the former employee’s replacement.

8.Make Communication Lines Clear and Truly Listen

Lack of communication is a big pain point for many employees that can lead to a negative company culture. No matter how wonderful and successful your company is, there is always room for improved communication. However, employees shouldn’t simply be encouraged to communicate. They should be made aware of the proper channels to do so. This means in a professional manner and to the correct HR professionals. If employees are aware of the correct communication channels to discuss issues, they are less likely to air their grievances outside the office.

9.Offer a Competitive Salary and Attractive Benefits Package

If you want great employee retention, start at the beginning. In order to attract and keep top-notch talent at your business, you must start by paying them well. Offering a truly exceptional candidate a good salary and attractive benefits package will pay off tenfold when you hire someone who is deeply committed to the company, stays a lengthy tenure and keeps you from the inevitable time-lost cost of re-hiring and training someone new if that person leaves due to being unhappy with their compensation. This isn’t simply about the number you put out during salary negotiations. Health insurance is becoming increasingly more important to people. Offering perks like flextime and work-from-home time are also major draws that are considered part of the modern benefits “package.”

10.Provide Training

It’s basic human nature of dedicated employees to want to do well and learn more over time. Offering ways for your employees to gain advanced training and enhance their skill set will help foster a sense of commitment to the company. Not to mention, you will benefit from a team of highly trained employees. Training opportunities also boost individual employee engagement with their own success at the company.


How to Discover and Build Your Corporate Culture

How to Discover and Build Your Corporate Culture 150 150 Sprockets

In today’s workforce, company culture is more important than ever. Employees who match the company culture and thrive in it actively contribute more to the bottom line. Read on to learn from Pete Richichi, COO of Sprockets, who has over 20 years of experience developing teams and building a positive culture where people can thrive.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Culture Discovery Process
  • Realizing the Relationship Between Culture & Profits
  • Implementing a Culture-Driven Program
  • Navigating Difficult Personnel Decisions

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