4 Ways to Support Women in the Workforce

Happy 2023!

Often, as the new year rolls in, people proclaim that the new year consists of 365 days of new opportunities, and that is a valid statement. Unfortunately for many women, the new year continues to pose workplace challenges that did not end on December 31st.

Let’s take a look at the new year from a mathematical view.

A typical calendar year is 365 days. The average full-time employee will work approximately 260 of those 365 days, or roughly 71% of the year.  According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, women earned 83.1% compared to men’s earnings in 2021. This is down 1% from data collected in 2020.

Looking at this wage differential, women would need to work almost 45 more days a year to earn what men do in a calendar year. Not so much of a happy new year.

So let’s take a better look at what your company can do to better support the women at your company.

Women would need to work almost 45 more days a year to earn what men do in a calendar year.

Women in the workforce are often held to superheroic, unrealistic standards of excellence. They are expected to be stellar employees who work constantly to earn “exceeds expectations” on their performance evaluations. Many do this while also being a logistics coordinator in their home, maintaining their households and providing care to their loved ones.

With these pressures and expectations, it is no surprise that burnout in women is rising faster than in men. The pandemic unfortunately exacerbated these factors. Many women were forced to make hard decisions that have impacted the global business market. Women are leaving the work world at a faster rate than men, and they are also less likely to fill leadership positions.

In October 2022, McKinsey and Company, in partnership with LeanIn.org, released its latest “Women in the Workplace” study. The report is a must-read for any organization. The findings spotlight challenges that organizations must identify and overcome to provide women with the resources for success.

Employers need to be vocal advocates for women in the workplace. They can do this by creating a supportive, mentoring environment. One that invests in opportunities for women to demonstrate their tenacity. This post will provide four key ways, for an organization to support women in the workforce.

1.) Focus on Leadership Opportunities

Women earn more than half of the college and advanced degrees awarded in the United States. Women hold 23% of executive positions, 29% of senior management positions, 37% of manager positions, 42% of professional positions, and 47% of support staff positions globally. Why are there not more women in leadership positions?

Multiple studies have yielded similar results. There is a predominant assumption that women are not interested in leadership roles. Often times, though, leadership and advancement are not discussed with women in employee/supervisor meetings. And unlike men, women are not as likely to apply for a role unless they feel they are completely qualified for it.

Nonlinear Career Paths

Data shows that it is getting harder for women to rejoin the workforce because employers are questioning gaps on women’s resumes. This leads to selecting individuals, often men, who do not have employment gaps. Employers should become open to employment opportunities with women who have nonlinear career paths. This will increase the talent pool dramatically, while also enhancing it with talent that is resilient, determined, and more than capable.

Entry-Level Management Roles

Organizational leaders need to create goals to recruit and promote women on all levels starting with a focus on entry-level management. McKinsey identified that for every 100 men who are promoted from entry-level roles to manager positions, only 87 women are promoted, and only 82 women of color are promoted. As a result, men significantly outnumber women at the manager level. As advancement continues, there is still a lack of women in the promotion queue eventually to the point where there are not enough women available for promotion to senior leadership positions.

Unconscious Bias

Jobs posted in an organization’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) should be gender neutral and evaluated to ensure there is no unconscious bias that implies a job is better suited for a specific gender. Make sure all employment applications use language that is non-discriminatory.

When an organization emphasizes recruitment, retention and promotion of women, it expands their talent pool, It also recognizes highly skilled contributors that personify talent in the workplace. Growing internal talent fosters a commitment between employees and the employer. This results in reduced training costs and quicker time to productivity as talent is already acclimated to the company’s culture. Implementing these changes can help to support women in the work place.

2.) Provide Support Resources

Since March 2021, 28% of women with children under 18 in the household have temporarily or permanently left the workforce to become a primary caregiver to children compared to 10% of men. The cost of childcare is one of the top reasons women leave the workplace. Approximately 55% of families report spending at least $10,000 annually on childcare. Organizations who offer childcare and elder care assistance are more likely to retain women. Providing extended leave time with the ability for the employee to return to a similar role helps eliminate concerns of unemployment.

DEI Initiatives

Women tend to be more involved in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives and seek to foster an inclusive nature. McKinsey’s study revealed that approximately 50% of women say their manager regularly encourages respectful behavior on their team, and less than half say their manager shows interest in their career and helps them manage their workload. Organizations need to provide training and resources to managers so they can become stronger leaders instead of managers. Management needs to be cognizant of their team’s needs. Identify where challenges are manifesting and openly discuss internal and external resources to facilitate women’s evolution within their jobs.

Strengthen Relationships

Setting weekly or bi-weekly check-ins is a way to strengthen the professional relationship. Open communication with managers helps women convey concerns, proactively identify signs of burnout, and evaluate workload manageability. The past two years have lit the fuse to ignite a population of employees experiencing burnout. Providing managers with the skill set they need to identify ways to motivate, encourage and mentor their teams will benefit everyone. Women seek employers that support the whole employee, at and outside of work.

3.) Resolve Inequalities

Pay transparency increases trust among employees in an organization if men and women are earning parallel wages. This kind of equity shows a commitment to providing fair compensation to the individual regardless of any protected classification and that compensation is based on the responsibilities of the job and tenets of proven success. Pay equity validates that gender is irrelevant; pay is relative to performance and job duties. When a company provides transparency and equity in pay, it is more likely to retain top performers along with keeping and growing women with leadership potential.

Unconscious Bias

Create a work environment that is amicable, not adversarial, towards women. This will continue to support women at work. In the past two years, women have been 1.5 times as likely, compared to men in parallel roles, to leave a job to move to a company that was more committed to DEI initiatives. Ensure that employees understand conscious and unconscious bias, and provide resources to remove bias internally. Gender bias is defined as preferring one gender more than another. Women are often subject to various microaggressions such as being interrupted in meetings and decisions being questioned.


Women of color, disabled women, and LGBTQ+ individuals are more susceptible to being the recipient of micro-aggressions. Discrimination impedes productivity and prevents employees from demonstrating their full potential. Communicate and uphold policies that exclaim that discrimination will not be tolerated.

When teammates can appreciate others’ unique characteristics and talents, the work environment becomes more positive and productive resulting in an employer brand that radiates “this is the best place to work”. Eliminating discrimination will also aid in supporting women at work.

4.) Flexibility

Wearing that superhero cape can be daunting. When an organization instills a flexible work environment, the organization empowers employees to take ownership of tasks and responsibilities.  It also shows that they trust that the work can and will be done. Remote work is not just about removing commute times and providing convenience. McKinsey’s study showed that women who work remotely for part of their work schedule experience fewer micro-aggressions and higher levels of psychological safety.

Psychological Safety

According to Forbes, psychological safety is the ability to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status or career. They feel more comfortable doing their tasks and can complete responsibilities. They don’t need to look over their shoulder or validate their decisions compared to working in-person.

Unfortunately, women who work remotely are at higher risk to be overlooked for promotions and to receive public praise for success. Mentorships are proven means to help employees grow professionally. These and are more often provided to onsite employees as compared to virtual employees. Being remote should not eliminate this professional development opportunity. Virtual female employees should have equal opportunity to establish and maintain professional mentorships.

Performance Reviews

Remote women employees have a higher risk of not receiving proper accolades for successful results. This is because of the “out of sight, out of mind” concept. Performance reviews are often a factor in evaluating current talent for promotions.  At performance evaluation time, it is essential that tasks and results are the items measured – not work location and gender. If managers favor onsite employees’ work compared to remote work, managers are succumbing to bias.

As the new year commences, organizations need to evaluate their strategies in place to assist women in the workforce. Companies that take a genuine interest in the professional development of the women work population will exude success through successful recruitment and higher retention of contributing talent to experience heightened productivity. Women seek a work environment that fuels their internal fire for their ambition. Let this fire burn!

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Holiday Employee Engagement Ideas

As the hustle and bustle of the holiday season continues, and employees are trying to stay motivated with dreams of holidays and days off dancing in their heads, Human Resources professionals and management need to take some time to spread some holiday cheer. Connecting with each other, especially during the holiday season, is important to build trust and camaraderie among employees within an organization to elevate employee engagement. As employee engagement increases, productivity increases so it is a win-win for an organization.

Holiday Inclusivity

When planning for holiday themed engagement activities within an organization, be cognizant of the different beliefs and traditions that employees have. Not everyone celebrates the same holidays as others. Ensure that holiday engagement activities are inclusive for everyone to participate to facilitate a true “team” atmosphere. There are approximately 14 major holidays in the fall / winter timeframe so employers should keep that in mind as they start crafting ideas for happy holidays within the work environment. Find out beforehand as to what holidays and events employees do and do not celebrate to start the planning.


The holiday season often personifies happiness and cheer, but the holidays are not a time of celebration for many. Financial hardships, health issues, and personal loss can cause wrenching emotional distress, particularly during the holiday season. It is important that an organization promotes mental health for employees. Investing in employees’ mental health is a commitment to their well-being. Happy and motivated employees tend to stay longer with an employer, be more engaged and willing to accept new challenges. During the holiday season, make sure that employees understand they do not have to participate in activities nor will there be any repercussions if they do not. Declining to participate does not make an employee a Scrooge or a Grinch; it simply could be their holiday wish to make it through an emotionally challenging season.

Alternative Options

Customers are the driving force for an organization so show an attitude of gratitude. Mailing cards to customers is not as efficient as in the past. Many people work remotely, and it is possible that cards do not get channeled to onsite recipients in a timely manner. Show your thanks by sending a video thank you. Even if you are not a seasoned marketing guru, making a gratitude video with colleagues can be fun and simple. Once finished, send it to your customers, and even place it on your website so individuals can see your creativity and sincere appreciation for others. Videos can be used in many capacities: managers showing thanks to their team or to communicate organizational messages to new hires and current employees within onboarding software.

Ideas for Remote and Onsite Holiday Employee Engagement

Since many work environments have evolved into hybrid settings, here are some holiday fun ideas that can work for onsite and remote employees. While it can be a bit more challenging for remote teammates to stay engaged in seasonal festivities, it is definitely not impossible. Adapt these ideas to fit the culture of your company. By focusing on the goal of inclusion and excitement, these activities can generate positivity within the organization.


  • Sweet treats can bring an extra smile. While some organizations have evolved from employee pitch-ins to catered options due to COVID and convenience, fulfill your team’s sweet tooths by having a cookie decorating session. Many local bakers make cookie decorating packages that can be used by teams. By purchasing those, an organization supports local businesses while having fun with each other. For large companies, cookie vendor chains might be able to discount large orders and more easily ship nationally or internationally.  Cookie decorating kits can be sent to remote employees so set a time for remote and onsite teams to decorate together.
  • Choc – o – LOT! Have a lot of chocolatey goodness by hosting a hot chocolate bar. Smaller organizations can set up an onsite hot chocolate bar with a mix of marshmallows, whipped cream, and add-ins such as sprinkles, chocolate chips, caramels and other tasty treats. For larger organizations, Human Resources, management or other designated leaders can deliver drinks to employees using a mobile cart. Keep in mind dietary restrictions. Have sugar free and dairy free options available. For those who do not like hot chocolate, have coffee or water as alternatives. Send remote employees a make-it-yourself hot chocolate kit or a gift card to get a hot chocolate, coffee or other beverage to enjoy with the team.
  • Show your holiday style with a festive ugly holiday sweater or shirt contest. Have teammates vote anonymously for the best holiday sweater/shirt, and the person with the most votes wins a small prize such as a gift card or company swag.  This is a perfect photo op for your team so make sure you snap a team pic so you don’t say “Oh Snap” later by not having such a memorable photo.
  • Decorate your desk, cubicle or home office with festive decor. Tis the season so jingle all the way with tinsel, garland, stars and sparkles. Beware of bells if you are in a shared work area; those might put some people on the naughty list.
  • Create a cookbook. Some teammates could do a side gig as a chef using their extensive culinary talents while other people rely on the cooking of others. Solicit favorite recipes from employees, and share recipes as an e-book in your company’s onboarding software.
  • Celebrate your employees’ diversity by asking them to share holiday traditions about the holidays they celebrate. Share those stories within your company’s intranet or personally during a teambuilding event. This gives everyone a chance to learn more about each other and will foster a sense of belonging.
  • Serve others by helping individuals who are less fortunate. Partner with a local civic organization or church who have families in need and fulfill the wish list provided. Stock area pantries by hosting a food drive. Remote employees can assist others in their local area or contribute via distance.

Business is Business

While having a positive work environment that is fun and engaging is proven to enhance productivity, there are ways to discuss formal business and still have fun. Some work cultures do not promote holiday thematic events so it is important to still find ways to celebrate others.


  • The stars shine brightly! Acknowledge the successes of teammates. Ask for nominations of teammates who have gone above and beyond to demonstrate the company’s values and mission. Share those testimonials throughout the organization on a daily basis.
  • There is no I in Team. Managers can express thanks by sending personalized thank you notes or making a thank you phone call to show appreciation of individuals’ contributions. While an email can show appreciation, that extra effort of a personalized card or call can make a difference. .
  • Treat the team to a lunch or dinner, preferably outside the office, to recap successes. Establish goals for the next quarter or next year to strategically plan for enhanced productivity. Many restaurants have private rooms for use where technology can be used to include remote employees. Send a gift card to remote employees so they can order food while participating in the meeting.
  • Be flexible. Flexibility helps everyone feel not as stretched when balancing professional and personal commitments. Offering additional flex time or encouraging teammates to take PTO can reduce stress. The holidays are full of activities so allowing employees to take time for themselves by participating in their children’s school events, assisting aging family members or even taking time away for oneselves can be a gift itself. Physically and mentally healthy employees bring renewed spirits full of ideas and creativity that will benefit the organization.


Ultimately the holiday season is meant to be a time of hope and joy. When an organization focuses on the quality of life for its employees, a season of giving continues throughout the year. By including others and creating events and activities which generate appreciation for each others’ unique backgrounds, the spirit of giving, excitement and happiness is accentuated.

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Why Would an Employee Want Pay Equity?

Today’s companies can only expect to grow and scale when they’re able to attract and retain the best talent. The hiring landscape is vastly different today, too. Candidates are interviewing your organization just as much as you’re interviewing them. And one aspect of your company operations and culture that matters is pay equity.

If you’re wondering why a career professional might care about how you structure pay for everyone else, keep reading. There’s more to pay equity than you might know. We’ll get into the core definitions and benefits of adopting a fair and equitable pay platform, as well as answer why any employee might want pay equity.

Understanding Pay Equity

Don’t mistake pay equity with pay equality. The terms encompass different ideas. Pay equity typically refers to equal pay for equal work, regardless of the employees’ demographics. This pay includes all aspects of compensation, including base salary, bonuses, overtime rates, benefits, and opportunities for advancement.

Alternatively, pay equality often refers to the same ideology – equal pay for equal work. However, pay equity dives deeper into understanding why people might fall into varied demographics and how to level the playing field with those pay disparities.

When you’re looking to incorporate pay equity practices into your organization, you’ll consider these more common demographic classes that might impact a candidate’s earning potential:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Sexual Orientation

For many employers, pay equity is an umbrella concept that encompasses all issues related to fair compensation. For your business, it’s a lens through which all of your pay and benefits decisions should be made.

How Pay Equity Benefits Employers

Pay equity isn’t just an employee-facing term. There are actually a host of advantages a business can leverage when pay equity and fairness concepts are involved. For starters, you can attract a broader and more diverse workforce when you promote pay equity enforcement. Focusing on fairness among the ranks will also help to reduce turnover since staff will want to work for an organization that promotes awareness and equitable best practices. Workplace loyalty matters, especially as you explore better employee retention strategies.

For many small businesses, there are also compliance concerns to note. Providing equitable pay initiatives will ensure you remain aligned with state and local employment laws. The number of employee lawsuits regarding pay has grown in recent years, only solidifying the need to address pay and benefits practices.

What Today’s Candidates Are Looking for in a Company

Pay equity isn’t a trendy nuance to be overlooked. In today’s hiring market, applicants are more decisive about the employers they choose. And they’re looking at your company culture more intently than ever before. Unfortunately, there are still major pay disparities out there, despite many organizations’ best efforts to address them. In fact, a study in 2021 showed that women are still earning an average of 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. And for those who represent women of color, that wage gap is even broader. Shockingly, the Economic Policy Institute found that wage gaps among black and white employees were actually more significant in 2016 than they were back in 1979.

With the onset of social media and celebrity activism, pay equity has been brought back to the forefront of today’s workplace discussion. And it’s a hot-button topic for candidates right now as they explore new career options. If you want to effectively attract and retain the best staff, pay equity needs to be at the forefront of your company’s initiatives.

How Companies Ensure Pay Equity Best Practices

To embrace an equitable pay platform, it requires a series of efforts that address more than just pay and benefits. Companies are also exploring complex causes, including systemic contributors to wage disparities. There are strategies you can be implementing to identify and address social norms in the workplace, biases, and advancement opportunities. And pay equity can be monitored with proper wage audits.

When developing a pay equity audit process for your company, consider the following key elements for the equation.

First combine all the annual salaries of your full-time and year-round employees who represent the demographic you’re looking to compare. Then determine the median salary for each demographic. Finally compare the median salaries for each demographic to each other to identify pay gaps.

This is just one of many calculations used to uncover wage disparities. But if you’re not already auditing your company’s pay and benefits platforms, it’s a great place to start. From there, you can also explore other audit methods that might include comparing weekly salaries or benefits considerations. Whatever audit process you use, make sure you’re measuring equally across the board and in conjunction with any federal or state wage laws.

How to Have the Pay Equity Discussion with Your Teams

Half the battle in addressing pay equity is creating an equitable set of processes by which your company abides. The other half of the effort involves communicating your pay equity strategies to your employees and potential candidates. So, how can your company roll out its plans for addressing pay equity, so everyone understands your initiatives? Consider these best practices as you develop your communications strategy:

  • Make sure your compensation systems and platforms are transparent. This might include sharing goals, metrics, performance, and advancement requirements.
  • Communicate regularly, not just about the roll-out initiatives, but about ongoing efforts to improve pay equity.
  • Provide ample and thorough training for all your managers and supervisors about the hiring, compensation, and retention strategies you have in place.
  • Standardize pay ranges and guidelines for the various roles and responsibilities within your company.
  • Audit and improve job descriptions ongoing to make sure you’re promoting your need for diverse, skills-based employees, offering equitable pay for all.

As you wrap up Q4 for your business and forge new strategies and recruiting initiatives for the new year, consider looking closely at your pay equity. It’s a new hiring market, and today’s companies are improving their cultures to attract top talent. Pay equity plays a big role in that conversation and effort. And ExactHire can help you realign your company’s position to embrace fairness and equity in a way that attracts the best employees.


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The Great Remorse

Since COVID-19 changed the world in 2020 emotions have been elevated. Human Resources professionals continue to ride an emotional roller coaster as they diligently try to fill job openings, minimize attrition and reduce spending in an ultra-competitive job market with more openings than talent can readily fill. However, HR professionals are not the only individuals full of uncertainty at this time.

COVID-19 was the catalyst for job seekers to maximize their job satisfaction. In all career fields, no matter if hourly or salary, an increasing number of employees decided to redefine their lives by choosing to leave their current role in hopes of attaining a role that would offer a better work-life balance to acquire a sense of mental renewal and improve logistics. Some individuals who hit their threshold gambled and exited without acquiring a new job. This mass exodus of employees leaving their employing organizations in hopes of greener pastures was coined “The Great Resignation”.

“The Great Resignation”

According to findings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 47 million Americans quit their jobs in 2022 compared to only 42 million workers who quit in 2019. A multitude of reasons exist as to why Americans were quitting their jobs, but the main reasons include low pay, lack of advancement, work disrespect, child care challenges, and lack of flexibility. During the pandemic many fields were thrust into remote work. As employees became acclimated to the flexibility and benefits of remote work, their preference, and even need, for it increased.

When companies sought to bring employees back onsite, numerous employees rebelled at that request and started searching for something different. Many employees believed that something better existed somewhere, so they submitted their resignation and took a giant leap into the unknown. For many individuals, that leap into uncertainty proved successful, as they landed a new role that fulfilled missing needs. Not all pastures turned out to be greener though.

For others, the uncertainty transitioned into remorse as they did not find something better than what they had. What they found was often worse than what they anticipated leading into the expanding ideology called the “The Great Remorse”.

“The Great Remorse”

Research is showing that many job seekers are starting to question their decision to quit their previous role. According to a Harris poll, two-thirds of job seekers feel they should have started looking for a new job sooner. Another 67% feel that it would have been easier to find a job in 2021 as compared to this year. What is startling is this statistic:  approximately 72% of job seekers say that companies are ignoring applications. This is by either not scheduling interviews, or ghosting applicants. While time is of the essence in the Human Resources world, taking time to acknowledge submitted applications and informing applicants that they were not selected for the role in which they applied is an essential professional behavior.

HR Communication

Communication with all applicants shows professionalism reflective of the Human Resources department and organization as a whole. Even more, it is ultimately a kind gesture to communicate the status in the hiring process to an applicant. No applicant wants to be rejected, but at least the applicant will receive some closure. Instead they are left wondering if or when they might be acknowledged. The applicant that is rejected for one position might be the best talent for another open position. This makes it imperative that an organization leave the applicant with a positive view of the hiring process for potential future positions.

Ghosting is the concept of communicating with individuals and then no longer responding. This is not a concept that HR wants to be perceived as doing with applicants. Work loads are undoubtedly heavy for Human Resources personnel. However, active communication engaging applicants in the hiring process keeps applicants more satisfied. It allows them to know more of what the expectations and next steps are in the hiring process. ExactHire HR Software can streamline communication with applicants offering the convenience of emailing or texting communication with applicants. Communication is quick and easy.  Create unique messages or customize existing communication templates to allow software users to craft messages that can be personalized towards one or more applicants.

Impacts of The Great Remorse

In March 2022, a Harris poll showed that over one-third of those who quit during the previous year were regretting that decision as work-life balance either did not improve, or it worsened. Their new job was not what they thought it would be, or they actually missed their previous organization’s culture. Another study indicated that nearly 20% percent of resigned employees returned to their previous company. Employees who leave their employer, work at a different employer, and then return to their previous employer are called “boomerang workers”.

LinkedIn data reveals that the number of boomerang employees increased from 2% of all new hires in 2010 to 4.3% in 2022. Not all employees are employees that an organization might want back on the payroll; however, if employees leave on good terms and have proven themselves as successful contributors to the organization, it is beneficial for the organization to consider rehiring them. Boomerang employees offer many benefits to an organization. They are familiar with the organizational culture and job responsibilities so less time is spent on onboarding them.

They also have a higher time to productivity ratio. The company saves a tremendous amount of money as they do not have to invest time and financial resources. They don’t have to post a vacancy, screen applicants, conduct interviews and offering the role to an applicant. The applicant might then decline the role, but if they accept then you need to onboard a new hire.

Looking at the Future

Human Resources professionals will not forget 2022 anytime soon. As 2023 rapidly approaches, HR professionals and management can make resolutions to welcome boomerang talent. If previous employees reach out with regret for leaving, listen to what they say and what their needs are. Listen, not hear but listen, to their words, and evaluate the current situation, reasons for their departure and what they can provide to the company.

Employees are human, and the last three years have taken an emotional toll on everyone. The grass is not always greener on the other side, but taking time to care for oneself can lead to having a greener pasture. For some individuals, it takes time to realize that. If a former employee wants to come back to an employer, the employer can benefit from keeping the door open to boomerang employees. This allows all entities to thrive in a renewed environment supportive of each others’ needs.

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5 Ways to Create Positive Work Culture

Creating a positive work culture isn’t just a trend anymore. Today’s leaders are recognizing that the primary way to attract and retain top performers and quality staff is by providing a great place to work. And there are a variety of elements that go into defining what a positive work culture is.

In this post, we’ll discuss the challenges you might be facing in building  positive work culture, along with some solutions. There are five pivotal ways to make significant improvements to your company’s work environment. Here’s what you can be doing to make improvements within your business.

How to Define a Positive Work Culture

Happiness is subject to personal preference. What one employee values most may only be an afterthought benefit to another. So how are today’s employers able to discern what constitutes a positive work culture? It boils down to active listening.

Employees aren’t likely to be as demanding as some of the polarizing news headlines suggest. In fact, employees can be rather forgiving about a company’s growing pains…as long as they feel valued and heard. To meet these needs, employers should consider anonymous feedback strategies, such as launching online surveys or even soliciting employee suggestions with a “suggestion box” (yes, it can still work).

Alternatively, inviting employee perspectives can be an exercise in employer-employee transparency. This could take the form of one-on-one conversations between managers and reports, solely for the purpose of exchanging improvement ideas. This approach requires accountability and trust–two important characteristics of a positive work culture.

The more active employers are in learning what inspires employees, the better positioned they are to develop a positive work environment that fuels their inspiration.

Common Characteristics of a Positive Work Culture

There will be unique aspects to how a company defines and executes a positive work environment. This requires employers to get creative with what makes sense in supporting their teams. But a few general characteristics of a positive work culture include:

  • Employees feel empowered to take on new responsibilities and leadership roles.
  • Workers feel satisfied with their performance and metrics.
  • Staff loyalty increases when they’re appreciated, challenged, and encouraged.
  • Individuals feel compelled to problem-solve instead of departmentalizing or “passing the buck.”

If you believe your teams follow these examples, you’re moving in the right direction for creating a positive work culture. However, if you’re experiencing alternative behaviors, it could be a sign that your company culture needs improvement.

Contributing to a Positive Work Culture

Cultivating a positive company culture requires ongoing initiatives. People change, and so do their values. Additionally,  when organizations grow, they add new dynamics to their workforces. Company culture initiatives, then, should be looked at as an evolving effort. Here are five ways to contribute to improving a work culture.

1. Identify Company Mission, Vision, and Values

This may require an employer to go back to its startup roots, revisiting founding documents. A mission statement should be a constant reminder to employees as that their work matters, so it’s important that the statement is accurate and authentic. Values inform a workforce how they should work in fulfilling a mission–this differentiates a company from competitors and inspires loyalty. Finally, when an employer establishes a vision, it ensures that the impact of the mission will continue to grow and inspire employees to perform.

Once the foundational pieces are reviewed–and refreshed if needed–employers must promote them across the organization so that each individual can understand and support big-picture objectives. Everyone must be held accountable for supporting these objectives, especially managers. The goal is to develop an employee base that can become just as passionate and energized about the company as the C-level.

When employees see how their work matters, they will feel more connected to their coworkers and employer. And that’s the best foundation for a positive work culture, according to Forbes.

2. Manage and Establish Realistic Expectations

Harmony and consistency are key ingredients in the positive workplace. To achieve them, employers must first establish and maintain clear expectations. When a workforce precisely understands what is expected of them, they’ll be more apt to follow those guidelines. And for the overachievers and top performers, knowing where the bar is set will allow them to determine how to go above and beyond.

Unpredictability in management harbors distrust and staff-level contempt. So employers must make sure that managers know their expectations, too. Finally, it is ideal for employers to share companywide, departmental, and specific role expectations with everyone. The transparency will breed an environment of trust and respect, which is essential for positive workplaces.

3. Employees Need to Feel Valued

It’s more than just catered office lunches, front-row parking, or workplace happy hours. Yes, those are all great for promoting team unity and corporate appreciation. However, employees are most satisfied when they feel valued. Company culture is rooted in the individual’s daily experiences. It’s their day-to-day routine that shapes their beliefs about the company. And it’s in those daily routines where employers can improve how they share appreciation for valuable contributions. Check out these stats:

  • 90% of employees who feel their work and presence are valued agree they are more motivated to do their best.
  • 33% of employees who don’t feel valued will perform their best.
  • 83% of executives believe having motivated employees contributes to a company’s success.
  • 84% of employees believe that motivated teams substantially contribute to a company’s success.

4. Foster an Environment of Collaboration

There is a commonly shared school of thought that promotes a “stay in your lane” approach to productivity. And yes, for some companies, those guidelines serve a valuable purpose. However, fostering an environment that welcomes collaboration will develop a company’s culture. When everyone can pitch in to solve a problem or provide insights into company challenges, it sends the message to the employee that his or her opinion and expertise matter. Sharing ideas and improvements lead to innovation, as well.

Employers must do the work by actually hosting these team meetings and asking for departmental and companywide insights. They can’t just promote teamwork as a value and not follow through on initiatives that support it.

5. Communication Has to Flow Freely

Leadership and management within an organization should encourage open and honest dialogues between colleagues, departments, and managers. Employers may consider auditing company communication to see who is interacting with who and what feedback is being processed.

Coffee mornings, team contests, and inter-departmental activities can help people feel connected to others outside of their daily routines. And appropriate levels of management should welcome complaints, suggestions, and ideas for swift follow-up and solutions.

What Inclusivity Means in Today’s Workplace

Inclusivity is another element of a positive workplace. It’s a pillar element worth protecting and supporting. It means every member of an organization has value, is treated with respect, and is provided with the same support and opportunities. Anyone challenging that level playing field should be removed before setting a toxic workplace example. Individual differences contribute to an organization’s productivity, and  tolerance of anything else will only undermine positive culture initiatives.

Keep these company insights in mind as you continue to develop and improve your company’s culture. And when you’re ready to grow your teams, let ExactHire be your guide to finding top talent that fits in with your culture!



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Importance of Organizational Culture

Recently, I’ve written a couple posts reflecting on content from the HR Indiana SHRM conference. This post builds upon that content by focusing on the importance of organizational culture as it relates to  job candidate motivations. Also note that company culture also factors in to an employee’s motivation to stay at their current place of employment, so the lessons can be applied in both situations.

Let’s discuss some statistics and strategies that an organization can analyze in its quest to hire and retain talent.

According to statistics published by G2:

  • 70% of professionals in the U.S. would not work at a leading company if it meant they had to tolerate bad workplace culture,
  • 77% of job seekers consider a company’s culture before applying for a job, and
  • 92% of people would consider changing jobs if offered a role with a company with an excellent corporate reputation.

These percentages loudly shout a distinct message – culture matters when recruiting new talent and trying to keep existing talent.

What is company culture?

According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), culture consists of shared beliefs and values established by leaders, and then communicated and reinforced through various methods that ultimately shape employee perceptions, behaviors, and understanding. This is a good definition, but it’s helpful to break it down further to reveal its impact on an organization.

Shared beliefs and values constitute the foundations of company relationships. Leaders communicate and embody an organization’s shared beliefs and values, which are then reinforced through employee behaviors as they strive towards fulfilling mutual goals and personifying the organization’s mission.



ExactHire Importance of Company Culture

Organizational Culture: What it is & What Makes it Sustainable, HR Indiana 2022

Work Relationships and Company Culture

Relationships with teammates and managers are important to employees. Even though the pandemic shifted many work environments into more remote settings, individuals seek to have a “work family” regardless of the physical work location. Just because coworkers are not sitting next to each other onsite does not mean that connections to others are unimportant.

Employees can strategize and learn from each other in formal and informal discussions. Inclusive and diverse teams build high-performance teams. An organization needs to provide ways to allow professional relationships to flourish through on and offsite activities, this will greatly improve company culture.

Now, more than ever, people are seeking teammates and supervisors who understand the stressors resulting from the blending of personal and professional challenges. Empathy and support between employees help foster trust, leading to enhanced mental health and productive work relationships.

Employee Growth

Employee growth is essential for a positive company culture. Companies that promote personal and professional development and provide opportunities for employees to learn and grow on the job are more likely to recruit and retain employees as compared to organizations that do not. Provide ample opportunities for additional hard and soft skill training during the work day.

Lunch and Learns and group training sessions for certifications offer a way for teammates to learn and socialize simultaneously. Online courses through sites like LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda), Udemy or Coursera offer convenient, relevant content. If employee training needs to be facilitated by a university, consider tuition reimbursement plans so employees can take classes, or partner with the university to bring learning onsite.

Learning new skills and applying those skills to daily tasks not only reduces employee boredom but leverages the organization into a more competitive stance amongst competitors. Research by Forbes states that 76% of employees are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training. If there are concerns about the expense of creating or expanding a Learning and Development (L&D) budget, what about the expense of having open positions due to attrition and being unable to quickly fill them with skilled talent?

Once talent is hired, there is a gap of heightened productivity and ultimately financial loss while new employees seek to apply their knowledge and skills to the role and become acclimated to their new culture. Investing in learning opportunities for employees is a financial investment that will yield favorable returns.

Creating Expectations

Another cultural expectation of employees is understanding what management expects as quantifiable results demonstrating successful task completion. Delivering results in one’s job duties can be a bit opaque, as people have differing definitions of results. Management needs to provide clear parameters of what is expected of the employee and their performance of assigned job duties.

Having clear-cut duties and expectations will aid in improving company culture by limiting confusion. Job seekers benefit from job descriptions that itemize tasks and outline distinct expectations, as opposed to a generalized, vague job posting.

How does it feel to have a task, but not know what the expected results should be?  Frustrating, agitating, unnerving…these are a few emotions that arise when a job seeker or employee is unsure of what successful performance looks like. Even though the world we live in often falls into the gray, management needs to articulate specific expectations of what outcomes yield successful accomplishments. When employees understand the results expected, it fosters a clearer way to complete tasks and learn from the process as well as improve organizational culture.

Work Flexibility

Flexibility is a key part of culture, especially since 2020. Organizations need to reiterate that they value employees acknowledge their lives exist outside the workplace. When an employer offers flexibility with its employees, it is a motivator. Flexibility can include working locations, times and/or days. Can the employee finish the work in  a four-day work week? If so, consider that flexibility. Can the employee come in earlier and leave earlier or the opposite? If so, consider that flexibility.

Having an open and honest dialogue where the employee and supervisor can discuss needs and expectations will help identify a flexible plan that supports not just the employee but the company as a whole. Individuals seek to effectively balance their personal and professional lives, and flexibility helps achieve that balance.

Becoming a Workplace of Choice

Employees seek to stay in or leave a work environment based on the motivators discussed above. And considering that the average person will spend over 90,000 hours working in their lifetime, spending that time completing tasks that are enjoyable in a generally positive workplace matters.

Help your organization become the workplace of choice, where job seekers want to apply and where employees want to stay. Establish and promote your positive and inclusive organizational culture. This will clearly illustrate to job seekers and current employees that your organization is the workplace to be.

Productivity will rise; attrition will be low; and the positive impact on the local and large-scale communities will be ongoing.


Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Job Candidate Compensation and Benefits

Job candidate compensation and benefits are a motivating factor for job seekers as they evaluate job opportunities, as well as for employees as they decide whether to remain with an organization.

Recently, I wrote a post reflecting on content from the HR Indiana SHRM conference. This post builds upon that content by focusing on compensation and benefits as it relates to job candidate motivations. Let’s discuss some statistics and strategies that an organization can analyze in the quest to hire and retain talent.

Inflation Impacting Job Candidates

Inflation is soaring. As of June 2022, the United States is experiencing a 9.1% inflation rate. Nearly all goods and services are increasing for the consumer, and here are a few specific examples:

  • Groceries up 12% YOY (year-over-year; largest increase since 1979)
  • Chicken up 17.4% (largest increase EVER)
  • Restaurants up 9% (largest increase EVER)
  • Fuel Oil up 87% (largest increase since 2002)
  • Electricity up 12% (largest increase since 2006)
  • Rent up 5.4% (largest increase since 1987)
  • Airfare up 33% (largest since 1980)

Federal and State Government Affairs Update, HR Indiana 2022

Employees are on edge as they seek to pay bills and save for retirement. According to Wilis Towers Watson research, the anticipated 2023 annual merit increase is approximately 4.1%. But even though wages are increasing, bigger increases in the price of goods and services has job seekers and the employed feeling the pressure. And as much as employers would like to reward and help current employees, pay raises will rarely surpass the current inflation rate. This dynamic is creating fierce competition among employers to retain and recruit talent, and meet their compensation needs.

How can employers create competitive rewards systems to compete for talent?

Creative Compensation and Benefits

According to the United States Labor Department, average hourly earnings grew 5.2% in July from a year earlier, and annual wage gains have exceeded 5% each month this year. While increasing wages were meant as a competitive tool to attract and retain employees, rapid wage growth also contributes to the inflation rate. And wage gains have not kept pace with inflation. Private-sector wages and salaries declined 3.1% in the second quarter from a year earlier when accounting for inflation.

New employees are being hired at a higher pay rate than current employees due to market demand causing pay compression. Pay compression occurs when the pay of one or more employees is very close to the pay of more experienced employees in the same job, or even those in higher-level jobs, including managerial positions. To offset pay compression, HR departments are getting creative with their benefits offerings and diligently trying to increase salaries within and/or accentuating other compensation.

Three Main Areas of Compensation

Compensation can overlap into three main areas:

  • Base Salary (Hourly Rate),
  • Short Term Incentives (awards granted typically ≦ 1 year of employment), and
  • Long Term Incentives (awards granted typically ≧ 1 year of employment).

HR must conduct market analyses on pay and incentives to ensure a competitive edge in the recruitment process. Prime Short Term Incentives include bonuses or variable pay. Variable pay is often known as “pay-for-performance”. Long Term Incentives include stock options and 401k (profit) / 403b (nonprofit) retirement plans. A high employer match rate to employee retirement plan contributions enriches the employee’s perception of the employer’s long-term commitment to the employee. During times of high inflation, giving smaller increases or larger bonuses more frequently can help reduce the pain of high inflation and demonstrate a sense of empathy towards employees.

Personalize Incentives

Evaluating employees’ needs and wants are crucial to developing a solid benefits structure for an organization. Promote the organization’s culture and work/life compatibility, but also include more incentives such as:

  • remote work and flex time,
  • student loan repayment,
  • scholarships for employees’ dependents,
  • personal sabbaticals,
  • phased retirement and professional development funds,
  • onsite childcare,
  • and petcare.

Be creative. Take an intrinsic look at your employee team, and collect feedback from them as to what they seek. If an organization can support the means to do so, explore a cafeteria-style benefits system. Employees can select the benefits that are the most essential to their well-being, resulting in more satisfied employees and an increased retention rate.

Pay Equity

According to SHRM, pay equity is compensating employees the same when they perform the same or similar job duties while accounting for other factors such as experience level, job performance, and tenure with the employer. An organization that is effectively leading the way with pay equity amongst its employees will not have pay gaps based on any of EEO’s protected classifications.

To be a leader in pay equity, an organization needs to conduct pay equity audits to ensure that gaps do not exist among individuals performing parallel job duties. HR and senior management will need to review the existing compensation philosophy, revise as needed for equity and communicate the philosophy with openness and transparency to employees of all levels. Questions will arise among employees so encourage employees to discuss concerns and questions with HR directly.

Keep in mind that many states and local municipalities require the removal of salary history information from job applications as part of the “Ban the Box” movement to promote salary equity among individual groups. And even if a company is not subject to Ban the Box legislation, many companies proactively remove salary history questions from the application as an effort to reduce pay discrepancy.

Pay Transparency

According to Harvard Business Review, “pay transparency has positive impacts on employees’ perceptions of trust, fairness, and job satisfaction and has been found to boost individual task performance.”  Many states have passed pay transparency laws where organizations are required to disclose salary ranges for job opportunities. And beyond legal requirements, job sites like Indeed are now providing salary estimates when employers choose not to disclose salary ranges along with their job posts.

Job Candidate Compensation and Benefits

While an employer cannot directly combat rising inflation and supply costs, HR can help lead the charge for competitive job candidate compensation and benefits that will help recruit and retain employees. Pay rate is not the sole deciding factor for an employee; benefits that are truly relevant to the employee’s personal and professional goals will impact employment decisions as well. Solicit feedback from employees, and evaluate their concerns and suggestions. Transparency and action will help build trust between employees and HR, and in the long-term, develop a true team atmosphere.


Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Quiet Quitting – What Employers Need to Know

Quiet quitting by employees is shouting a profound message to their employers that Human Resources professionals, and organizations as a whole, cannot ignore. The pandemic impacted businesses in myriad ways, and for many employees, the pandemic delivered an epiphany. Through lockdowns, quarantines, and long periods of remote work, workers had the opportunity to reevaluate their personal and professional lives. Part of this evaluation was taking a hard look at their daily lives and discerning what really mattered to them. Many determined that a healthy work-life balance was essential.

LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2022 report attests to employees’ wants and needs evolving into a more distinct work-life balance. The intrinsic flame burning in many employees started to flicker, and for some that flame went out completely. While quiet quitting is not a new concept, it is on the increase in many organizations. Leadership needs to identify and implement solutions to address the concerns of “quiet quitters” on their teams.

Quiet quitting is getting increased notoriety through social media today. However, the idea has been around in some form for quite a long time. In the past, the idea was used to describe employees who had hit burnout and shifted gears to do the minimum work needed to do the job adequately. That definition is accurate for some quiet quitters; however, quiet quitting has evolved into a more broad concept.

What is Quiet Quitting?

Quiet quitting does not have a strictly defined meaning, nor does it look the same for all employees. Some quiet quitting employees do not take on additional work or responsibilities, but still complete their responsibilities with excellence. For other employees, their version of quiet quitting is doing the minimum required–and nothing further.

TechTarget generalizes quiet quitting as a “rebellion” against the “hustle culture” of going above and beyond what a job requires, and instead, limiting their tasks to only those within their job description to avoid longer hours. These employees are technically fulfilling their job duties; however, they reject the “work-is-life” mindset where they feel obligated to continually do more. They are not seeking the “golden employee” label. Rather, they are trading long hours, additional projects, and accelerated promotions for the ability to go home and focus on non-work activities. They leave work at work. Ultimately, less is more for them.

From data collected in June 2022 through a Gallup poll, quiet quitters make up at least 50% or more of the United States workforce. Mic drop. Over half of the country’s employees are “quiet quitters”.

What is the Impact of Quiet Quitting?

Quiet quitting is increasing the level of apprehension within companies and impacting productivity. Productivity levels are crucial for a business to thrive especially in our current economic state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States non-farm worker productivity in the second quarter has fallen 2.5% since the same period last year which is the largest annual drop since 1948. The economy may be on the cusp of a recession due to supply chain issues, inflation, and other factors stemming from the pandemic. Companies are fearful that their financial bottom line will suffer if the production of goods and services cannot meet the demand.

The challenge for employers as they grapple with quiet quitting is that not all employees actually want to leave their jobs; hence the “quiet” part of the quiet quitting concept. Lack of advancement opportunities, low pay, and feeling disrespected were the top reasons Americans quit their jobs in 2021, according to a Pew Research Center survey. But many quiet quitters are not experiencing those reasons to quit, they are content with their job…as they decide to perform it.

There will always be a population of employees who feel content being “worker bees” and whose job performance “meets expectations” on their performance evaluations.nd there will always be the employee population that strives for the “gold star” and attains “exceeds expectations” on the performance evaluation.These groups of employees can coexist, but is labeling the “worker bees” as quiet quitters accurate?

Why are People Quiet Quitting?

With layoffs and terminations at a record low, employees have heightened sense of job security. Companies cannot afford to lose employees since they are scrambling to fill a high number of job vacancies. Even if a termination does occur, the odds are favorable for the employee to find another job quickly.

According to the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), an organization’s culture directly contributes to employee behavior. Some cultural issues that may contribute to quiet quitting, include:

  • Lack of engagement by and between management and employees fosters weak relationships.
  • Communication challenges, along with the fear of conflict, mitigate open dialogue between teams.
  • Remote and hybrid work is a contributing factor to quiet quitting because additional challenges exist to have candid, honest dialog.
  • Management faces additional challenges validating work efforts and task completion in remote and hybrid environments.

Workplace culture sets the foundation of an organization and reiterates what behaviors and performance levels are accepted, rejected and tolerated.

Disadvantages of Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitters who are emotionally uninvested in their jobs often have challenges working in a team environment through a lack of motivation and flexibility. Employees who are not quiet quitting might become frustrated at having to pick up additional responsibilities or tasks from those employees who will not. Resentment builds amongst teams and that dissolves trust and motivation. Employees who do the minimum in tasks have a higher chance of being passed over for promotions and pay increases as compared to other employees.

Advantages of Quiet Quitting

Advantages to quiet quitting do exist. Employees who leave “work at work”, and then spend time on personal interests, might be more relaxed and motivated when they return to work. That could help increase productivity. Quiet quitting for a temporary time could help reduce burnout if the employee takes time to refocus and prioritize. So quiet quitting is ultimately a plea for open communication between employees and management to discuss concerns and deficiencies in the working environment.

How to Combat Quiet Quiet

HR professionals have quite the challenge on their hands, as they are the catalyst for communications between management and quiet quitting employees. HR and senior management within an organization need first to check how engaged entry and mid-level managers are within the organization and with their teams. If engagement is lacking, senior leadership needs to help reskill and motivate managers to help others, especially in new remote and hybrid working environments.

Managers need to find 15-30 minutes weekly to have a sincere, purposeful conversation with members of their teams. These conversations should strengthen relationships and reiterate value in each team member’s efforts. If employees see how their work contributes and is a benefit to the organization, they will be motivated to see value in their work and heighten their accountability for performance.

Listening is just as important. Often employees convey a message without saying a word. So managers need to learn how to recognize these messages and, in response, hold conversations to address and reduce burnout. All employees have challenges in their work and personal lives to varying degrees. It’s up to managers to know their team’s needs and be cognizant of ever changing factors that could transform productive employees into quiet quitters.

Employee Engagement Matters

Considering that the average person will spend over 90,000 hours working in their lifetime, spending that time completing tasks that are enjoyable in a generally positive environment matters. Time magazine shared that Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report found that job dissatisfaction is at a staggering all-time high, and that unhappy and disengaged workers cost the global economy $7.8 trillion in lost productivity.

Organizations cannot afford to lose talent through attrition or sustain a loss of productivity without it impacting the internal dynamics and the external competitiveness of an organization. Quit the status quo and invest in designing and maintaining a workplace culture where employees thrive, and do not just simply survive. When an organization is invested in its employees and is committed to providing a supportive and rewarding culture, employees will see that quitters–even quiet ones–really do not win.

The win-win comes from both inside and outside the organization, where employers and employees agree on how work and life can balance together.



Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

Remote Work Culture and Engagement

Whether you cultivate it or not, your company has a culture. From employee retention to product quality, having a positive company culture will increase employee engagement and improve your company’s results.


VIDEO: Remote Work Culture

TRANSCRIPT:  Remote Work Culture

Whether you cultivate it or not your company has a culture. From employee retention to product quality, having a positive company culture will increase employee engagement and improve your company’s results.

This was complicated even when all your employees were under one roof, but the explosion of a remote workforce has made this more complicated as we’ve tried to figure out how to establish and maintain a company culture in a remote work environment.

What is Work Culture?

Culture is how we do things around here, and engagement is the performance aspect of culture. So engagement is important because it goes up when culture aligns with how employees measure what is successful for them.

Why is a culture that encourages employee engagement important?

Well, Gallup found the companies that had better employee engagement had higher metrics in the following areas. Engaged workforces experienced:

  • 81%  less absenteeism
  • 41% fewer quality defects
  • 10% boost in customer loyalty
  • 18% increase in productivity
  • 23% increase in profitability

Work cultures today need to be friendly, family-oriented, caring, and supportive. Engaging your workers and making them feel valued is really key to developing a strong company culture for your remote workforce, but as we’ve learned with other leadership strategies: what we’re going to have to do to be successful with the remote for workforce is very different than the methods we’ve used with in-office teams. So here’s some information that might help…

4 Characteristics of High Engagement Work Culture

There are four key characteristics of workplace cultures that increase engagement.

  1.  Warm Relationships: People like to work with people, most of us do–this is very tough to do in a remote workforce environment and people can easily get isolated, so it’s on you as a leader to promote teamwork and encourage collaboration.
  2. Honesty:  Engaged workers have honest interactions with their co-workers and their leaders, so you need to create an environment where honesty is encouraged. One of the best ways to do this as a leader is to be honest yourself and exemplify that. Your workers will notice and they’ll do the same.
  3. Shared Accountability: Engagement goes up when team members share accountability. Everyone wins or loses together.
  4. Alignment on Shared Goals: make sure that everyone’s contributions and objectives are in alignment with the company’s mission and purpose.

Implementing these strategies can be complicated if you need help let us know.

ExactHire provides hiring software and strategy to help employers adapt to job market changes and succeed in hiring. Learn how our software and team of strategists can help you hire and onboard a remote workforce.