Photo courtesy of Helena Lopes
When I started HeyTaco! back in 2016, I was culminating over a decade of experience as someone else’s employee. Over time, I grew to know the inner workings of what made my colleagues happy, and what made some people want to pursue employment elsewhere. A theme I often heard with departing employees was a feeling that they weren’t fully appreciated or that it was hard to see how their work helped others.
This issue is what inspired me to launch HeyTaco!, and it’s the driving force behind the solution that I work so hard to build every day. Now, as I plan for 2020, the data proves the HeyTaco! solution is more important than ever. In a recent Gallup research report from earlier this year, 6,600 employees from a diverse array of industries and backgrounds were asked about their job satisfaction levels. Sadly, a staggering 60% of people surveyed reported working at a “mediocre” or downright “bad” job. Additionally, less than half of all respondents felt they were empowered to improve the negative aspects of their work.
I’m not alone in thinking this is a disappointing image of the modern-day employee and employer relationship. We as a society have work to do if we want to change this for the better.
With this in mind, I’m happy to share that I have an immense amount of optimism looking forward. Here’s one reason why: in June, the Harvard Business Review wrote about the value of companies devoting efforts and resources to improve the employee experience (EX) equally to that of the customer experience (CX). To quote from the study: “Companies that focus on CX without attending to EX could struggle with labor costs due to high employee turnover and a lack of creative thinking […] A great employee experience leads to a great customer experience.”
This study also advocates for appointing a Chief Experience Officer to lead morale efforts and balance between CX and EX efforts. After all, in June 2017, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that companies with the highest employee engagement and happiness rankings brought in at least double the amount of revenue on average as companies with the lowest employee engagement scores.
Happy Employees Means More Company Revenue
With this employee engagement data in mind, perhaps the classic adage can be flipped to say that happiness can buy money—at least in the form of better sales figures. But, as many of my clients here at HeyTaco! can attest to, happier employees also translate to lower hiring costs and increased revenue. In this sense, the need for better employee recognition and engagement solutions, such as HeyTaco!, continues to grow.
Let’s take a moment to consider this: in a January 2018 report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 47% of HR professionals held retention struggles and a high turnover rate to be the most significant issues they deal with at work. This is almost double the 25% of HR professionals reporting the same thing in SHRM’s 2012 survey.
One possible explanation for this surge could be linked to the economy. Back in 2012, Americans were still picking up the pieces from the Great Recession and may have stuck with jobs they didn’t like for the sake of helping with their financial recovery.
But by 2018, unemployment rates were trending toward record-lows and the 2008 recession was further in the rear-view mirror, slanting the talent marketplace more in favor of the employee. Simply put, if an employee is unhappy, they may be more likely to jump ship, rather than stay-and-pray for brighter days at the same company. And with the Great Recession unlikely to repeat itself anytime soon, it’s reasonable to expect this trend to continue into 2020 and beyond, creating an immense need for exceptional employee recognition strategies.
An Exciting Future Awaits
As I write my New Year’s resolutions, I’m setting goals that will continue to improve the morale of the millions of workers that are unhappy with their careers. As a result, this stands to help companies put more cash in their pockets—a win, win for everyone!
Looking forward, one particular workplace trend that I’m excited about is the unstoppable shift to remote work. Earlier this year, co-work space provider and WeWork competitor International Workplace Group (IWG) found that 80% of workers surveyed would decline a job offer that did not include a remote work option. This sentiment is more than hypothetical: the same research found 50% of workers studied already work at least 2.5 days away from their office.
As technology continues to evolve and an emphasis on employee engagement and appreciation continues to build, more people are going to be working remotely. Therefore, in 2020, we should all be evaluating if existing employee recognition programs factor in remote workers since, well, it’s kind of hard to share an off-site company morale event with a worker 2,000 miles away…
But that’s just one of the employment arrangements we cater to here at HeyTaco! regardless of where employees are located or what their idea of a fun morale event is, companies are using HeyTaco! to immediately share appreciation for an employee by sending each other “tacos,” which are an in-app appreciation currency. And since tacos can be collected, saved, and redeemed for the things that truly make employees happy, such as paid time off to volunteer for a cause they love, I’ve found that companies are better able to hone in on the specific triggers that put smiles on their workers’ faces.
Take it from North Carolina-based JB Media Group, which recently had one team of employees cash out their tacos for a groovy 1960s and 1970s themed morale day. Or, consider the thrill one employee experienced when her company, software developer Gremlin, made her into a real “gremlin” when she cashed out her tacos for a fuzzy onesie of the character Gizmo from the 1984 movie Gremlins. Immediately, she took to Twitter to share her delight, showing how HeyTaco! can have a positive, real-world impact on an employee’s life. This is the kind of employee recognition goal every company strives for, and I’m proud to have helped make it a reality.
So, as we count down the days to 2020 and get our gym memberships squared away, take time to think about how your company’s employee recognition efforts hit employees’ happiness triggers. I’ve been building the solution since 2016, and I’d love to personally invite you to see how HeyTaco! can boost your company’s revenue by slashing turnover rates and employee dissatisfaction: