The Elements Ironstone Blog

Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


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Creating An Ocean-View Culture – Is It For You?

iStock_000009568716MediumInterested in boosting employee productivity, engagement and loyalty? If you haven’t entertained the idea of creating a culture with an office desk on the beach, it is time to rethink the possibilities and go outside of the box. Employers are reluctant to entertain the idea of remote workplaces despite the benefits. Remote, virtual or telecommuting office culture is becoming more and more common as employees thrive and excel in their “beach setting” environment.

As a proponent of remote workplace alternatives, I have found from personal experience the benefits out way any disadvantages. Extending from coast-to-coast across the United States, the culture cultivated by our team provides:

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased creativity
  • Empowerment for employees
  • Increased loyalty

The virtual culture works for us by providing efficient time management and innovative ways to stay connected. Skype is a tool we use extensively.

Is A Remote Culture Right For You?

Granted, some professions require onsite presence. Firms now, however, have the opportunity to take a more flexible look at the standard office environment; allowing employees to use technology enabling them to connect and collaborate from anywhere.

Small changes can produce significant benefits simply by empowering employees to gain more control over their schedule. Studies have shown that telecommuters increase productivity by eliminating the worry of driving to work, cutting gas expenses and removing office politics. Firms who engage in creating a virtual culture reduce business costs on overhead, reduced sick leave and less turnover.

Research conducted at Stanford with a Chinese company reveals working from home is actually more productive than working in the office, as well as other benefits in the form of increased job satisfaction and fewer people leaving.  The study revealed employees who worked from home reported higher job satisfaction and were 50% less likely to leave than their colleagues who worked in the office.

Another study compiled information from Kate Lister, author of Undress For Success—The Naked Truth About Making Money at Home (Wiley 2009) and the whitepaper, Results-based Management: The Key to Unlocking Talent and Increasing Productivity. This research revealed virtual workers are more productive and happier than traditional workers.

Virtual Employees:

  • Best Buy, British Telecom and Dow Chemical found that virtual workers are 36% – 41% more productive.
  • The work-from-home nature of virtual work reduces absenteeism by $1,134 per employee, every year.
  • 79% of traditional workers would prefer to work from home and 61% would take a pay cut to be able to do so.
  • Virtual workers get an extra 2-3 work-weeks of free time in commuting savings and report they use this time to spend with family, friends and for leisure.

Traditional Employees:

  • Gallup found that 54% of traditional U.S. workers sleep walk through their day.
  • An additional 18% are “actively disengaged” (meaning they actively undermine what an engaged worker accomplishes). Together, these groups make up a shocking 72% of the traditional workforce.
  • Another poll found that 1 in 3 high-potential traditional employees do not put full effort into their job.

Times have changed, and with that, firms need to stay abreast of the options and benefits available to them. Leaders should face the importance of an employee’s autonomy and the increased results of productivity and fulfillment by incorporating or exploring a remote culture.  Lifestyle will often trump salary in an employee’s decision making process. Firms who embrace a remote culture can gain an edge in recruiting highly-skilled employees.

 Question:  Does your firm engage in a virtual employee culture?  If so, what advantages and disadvantages are you finding? You can leave us a comment by clicking here!

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Learn How To Make Employee Incentive Plans Effective

Employee Incentive Plans have become significant components in firms looking to stay competitive and on track with the pace of changes evolving in the workforce. 

As humans, we have ups and downs; times when we can focus and times where we tend to lose focus.  As a good manager, guiding your employees to work on what is most important and in the most efficient manner, an employee incentive plan can be an asset in your toolbox.

Consistent and methodical communication is necessary when implementing an incentive plan. It will ensure employees understand what is expected of them while decreasing the likelihood of morale problems that result from misinterpretations of how incentives are awarded.

At Ironstone, we have found that many employee incentive plans don’t reap their intended results.  Making simple changes in your incentive plan will reward your employees and ultimately your firm.

Understand The Lifestyle & Culture Of Your Firm

When designing your incentive program, understand the unique lifestyles and demographic make-up of your staff.  It is important to understand your firm’s culture so that you can tailor your program and rewards accordingly.

Conduct a survey with your team-Find out what motivates them.   Remember, CASH isn’t always the #1 motivator.  Provide your employees with choices, including enough options so that something appeals to everyone. For example: gym memberships, virtual days, etc…

Keep It Simple-Employee incentive plans should be quick and easy to administer.

Recognition is An Important Component of Any Program-Provide acknowledgment, approval, and gratitude in your incentive program.  When employees realize that their contributions are important they are more likely to embrace the goals and objective of the firm.

Develop A Clear Set of Goals & Objectives-Goals should be realistic, achievable, and sincere.  This is the key to building credibility for your program. The best plans encourage the behaviors that create successful results.

 Four Critical Elements To Include In Your Incentive Program

1. The desired activity/goal

2. The tactical plan- how employees will work towards achieving the goal

3. The time allotted to achieve the performance level

4. The reward for achieving the goal

 

Employee Incentive Plans Are Not Just For The Employee.  Your firm will benefit with increased motivation, increased company morale, increased loyalty, and increased productivity. Implementing employee incentive plans have shown to be effective by resolving organizational problems because they align the preference of firms and employees.

Ironstone will help you implement a successful employee incentive program, identify gaps in your existing plan, and collaborate with you to develop a solution to achieve the results you are looking for.  We will work with you on creating detailed goals that drive results.

Contact us for assistance in starting and improving your employee incentive plan.

We want to hear from you!    What employee incentives does your firm offer? Share your best ideas here!  We always love hearing from you!

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series:  Business Development-Prospecting