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Manufacturing and Production Companies Step Up for Their Employees

Great Place to Work has just released its list of the Best Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production, and today’s employee experience  in these industries is miles apart from how many of us picture it. We may think of how it used to be. It’s apparently pretty great in 2016.

The top-rated company is Hilcorp, which garnered a 96% approval rating from 1,108 employees. (Curiously, the #2 company, Tactical Electronics, had a 100% ranking.) Hilcorp had plenty of competition, with the top 11 companies all having ratings of 90% or higher. The survey questioned 34,900 randomly selected employees at companies in the manufacturing and production sector.

As CEO of Great Place to Work Michael Bush told HRE Daily, “The best workplaces in the industry know they can’t just churn out their products with warm bodies. They need to focus on attracting and retaining top talent by putting people first, in a high-trust culture.“ Forget about the old image of factory workers laboring tirelessly and never getting ahead. Hilcorp, for example, awarded each of their employees $100,000 (based on their hire date) after the company met a five-year goal.

Hilcorp is the largest privately held oil, natural gas, electric and power company in the U.S., headquartered in Houston, Texas, with offices in Maurice, Louisiana, North Slope and Anchorage, Alaska, and Refugio, Texas. They have 1,400 employees. Here are four things the company does to keep its workers so engaged:

Buy-In Incentive Plan — Full-time Hilcorp employees can participate financially in company projects, allowing them to build wealth over time.

Bonus Program — An employee’s yearly bonus is tied to company goals, and bonus payout percentages are the same for everyone. During the past five years, employees bonuses have averaged 36% of base pay.

The Hilcorp Giving Program — The company offers to establish a $2,500 charitable trust that allows employees to support any U.S.-based 501(c)(3) organization, and helps employees give by providing ongoing matching gifts of up to $2,000 a year.

Mega Plans, or “BHAG’s” — A BHAG is a ”Big Hairy Audacious Goal,” and every five years Hilcorp sets one. It’s a stretch goal with outsized rewards. The most recent, for example, sought to double the company’s rate, reserve, and value by 2015. (This was the $100,000 employee reward mentioned above.)

Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement reporter for TINYpulse. When she's not busy digging into and covering the latest workplace trends, she's wrangling with her three (yes, three) cats and rooting for the Seahawks.

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Studies Suggest How to Improve Onboarding

In December 2015, ADP released the results of a major employee onboarding survey. They’ve distilled their findings into an infographic packed with intriguing insights (click infographic to magnify it).

When asked if they think their companies have a good handle on onboarding, 91% of managers said no, as did 81% of HR administrators, and 75% of employees. Given that just 8% of managers make the process a priority, and only 49% of companies even bother to measure their success at it, it’s no surprise that 79% of employees feel there’s room for improvement in their companies. And according to a study by Learnkit, 89% of employees wish their bosses would make more of a priority of onboarding.

ADP suggests that the key to doing onboarding right is to humanize it by keeping three core concepts in mind.

  • Connection: Satisfaction and integration into the workforce that leads to retention.
  • Comfort: Personal bonds between employees and management that lead to productive working relationships
  • Culture: Clear workplace expectations and values that help employees succeed.

Heather R. Huhman writing for Entrepreneur distills the lessons of ADP’s study into five onboarding rules:

1. Make your employees feel like their needs and satisfaction are a company priority. Companies should approach onboarding with enthusiasm and a genuine interest in what the process is like for employees.

2. Make onboarding a rewarding learning experience. Make sure it contains truly useful material and teaches worthwhile skills rather than getting lost in dull process.

3. Feel free to customize onboarding for specific employees. While there will always be certain information a company needs to impart before onboarding is complete, pay attention to the idea that everyone’s an individual, and that people learn in different ways, at different paces, and enjoy learning at different times of day.

4. Take onboarding online so that new hires can share their onboarding experience with other trainees. By adding a shared element to the experience, work friendships are made, and the process can be more enjoyable.

5. Make employee engagement a primary goal. As onboarding curriculum is developed, keep in mind that making employees feel engaged is as important as the specific information that needs to be communicated.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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What Else Should You Say When You Say Goodbye?

When it’s time to leave a company — unless Security’s escorting you straight to the door — your soon-to-be-ex-bosses are likely to want an exit interview with you. Depending on the circumstances, your feelings about this may range from, “So long, suckas,” to, “Sure, what can I do to help?” In any event, there are some interesting things to think about, as pointed out in a new article on Examiner.com.

The first issue, the trickiest, is the tone you’ll be taking during this final conversation with the company. It’s always a good idea, of course, to leave on a positive note, but just how to do this can require some strategy.

It’s often the case that the HR department will be interested in learning things from you that can assist them in employee retention going forward. Basically, they’ll be asking you for feedback. Given that you may want a reference from an old boss or — heaven forfend — you may need to come back some day, you don’t want to use the exit interview as your forum for venting. Forbes suggests preventing by composing the bluntest, most unguarded resignation letter you can before you have your interview, and then making sure it never sees the light of day again.

In any event, since you don’t want to be put in the position of having to lie, frame any critiques in a friendly, unemotional way, as Vivian Rank, a consultant for The Society for Human Resource Management told Forbes.,“The challenge is to provide non-emotional feedback. You don’t want to rail.”

In general, to achieve a happy ending, try to limit what you say to useful information. You may want to say why you’re leaving: a better salary, or a clearer path to advancement, for example. This is all good data for HR to have. Your company may also require transition operational information from you, as noted in the Examiner article — if you can find out what they need ahead of time, the interview will go that much more smoothly.

Robby Berman

Robby Berman is a reporter, father, and musician who creates and discovers good stuff for the Internet world.

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Performance Reviews Are Getting Their Own Performance Review

For the last several years, companies have been getting increasingly skeptical about the value of annual performance reviews — particularly the ones with numerical employee rankings — and at this point are seeking a better way to assess employees’ work.

Among the first companies to move beyond the annual review was Adobe, who came to consider the review process a “soul-crushing exercise,” losing often valuable employees every year right after review time. As senior VP of global people and sales Donna Morris told SHRM, “We hired the very best, and then we brought them into an organization and on an annual basis said, ‘You were exceptional when you came in, but now, relative to your peers, you’re only average.’ That doesn’t feel good.” The company switched to more frequent, less formal conversations back in 2012, and the company considers them far more useful.

Manjur Ahmed, writing for The Daily Star, sums up five good reasons performance reviews don’t work:

  • They’re time-consuming: Since it can take a manager up to 12 hours per review. Multiply that by the number of employees and add on the time it takes to do the HR paperwork.
  • There’s no follow-up: Until next year’s review.
  • The reviewer is biased: When the personal relationship between manager and employee can’t be removed from the appraisal, leading to unfair rankings.
  • The reviewer is afraid of spoiling relationships: When the reviewer doesn’t want to hurt employees’ feelings so criteria are applied inconsistently sometimes having as much to do with individuals’ sensitivity as performance.
  • Different review techniques by different departments: Make company-wide comparisons meaningless.

Ahmed suggests four things to do instead of these reviews:

  • Create a feedback-rich culture: Where people are free to provide feedback to each other.
  • Encourage employees to continually self-assess: And to informally share those assessments.
  • Hire the best people possible: And support them with a constructive culture.
  • Invest in leadership development: So managers have the skills required for bringing out the best in their staff.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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Employees Pick the Best Places to Work for 2016

Glassdoor has just released their 2016 Employees Choice awards for the best places to work in the U.S. and parts of Europe, according to the people who work there. There are 50 large-business winners, and 50 winning small businesses. Glassdoor’s listings include details about each company and why its employees have rated the company so highly.

Here are the large business and small business top ten lists, with a link to each winning company along with a representative phrase from one of its satisfied employees.

Top 10 Large Business to Work For

  1. Airbnb: “Fast growth, amazing people”
  2. Bain & Company:“Best people, best culture, best training”
  3. Guidewire: “Great culture, great people, great products”
  4. Hubspot: “Incredible place to work”
  5. Facebook: “Amazing collaborative experience”
  6. LinkedIn: “LinkedIn is an inspiring and challenging place to work and grow your career to the next level”
  7. Boston Consulting Group: “Great people, challenging assignments”
  8. Google: “Everyone at Google is sharp and inspired to build great things.”
  9. Nestlé Purina PetCare: “Coming here was the best decision of my career!”
  10. Zillow: “Great company, great people, great benefits”

Top 10 Small Business to Work For

  1. Madwire: “Great team, great atmosphere, overall two thumbs up”
  2. Grand Rounds: “I have found my dream job as a Grand Rounds Staff Physician”
  3. Cloud Lock: “All around great company”
  4. Instructure: “A seriously rad company”
  5. WillowTree: “Amazing people and work environment”
  6. Venterrra Realty: “A culture unlike anything else”
  7. Health Catalyst: “Great company”
  8. PresenceLearning: “Best work environment I’ve experienced so far!”
  9. Fast Enterprises: “Through our growth we continue to be rewarded and maintain the small company feel.”
  10. Demandbase: “Awesome company, awesome people, awesome vision!”

Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement reporter for TINYpulse. When she's not busy digging into and covering the latest workplace trends, she's wrangling with her three (yes, three) cats and rooting for the Seahawks.

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Best Companies to Work For: Aduro

Best_companies_to_work_for_AduroYou can’t please everyone. But when it comes to your employees and their needs, you should certainly try (and try again). It’s not easy, we know: some of your employees may say they want stock options included in their benefits package, while others say they want unlimited PTO instead.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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