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The crucial role of feedback in the workplace

Constructive feedback could be seen as one of the cornerstones of professional development in a workplace. As businesses strive for success, the role of effective feedback simply cannot be overstated – it serves as a powerful tool for fostering a culture of continuous improvement and enhancing employee engagement. Therefore, learning how to give and receive feedback can have a positive impact on employee retention & productivity, which means higher profit & overall success. Let’s delve into the significance of feedback in the workplace – why is it important, how to do it well and how to teach others to do it effectively, too.


The power of feedback

Why does it pay off to nail the process of providing & receiving feedback?

> Harvard Business Review discovered that employees who receive regular feedback perform better and are less likely to leave their jobs.

> 83% of employees state that they appreciate feedback, either positive or constructive.

> 50% of employees consistently act on the feedback they’re given

> 41% of employees confessed to leaving a job because they felt they weren’t listened to

> 14.9% – that is by how much companies can reduce turnover through regular strength-based feedback

> 60% of employees believe they need daily or weekly feedback to perform at their best

> Research indicates that leaders who are adept at giving feedback are seen as more effective by their teams

Numbers confirm that feedback is a two-way street that enables individuals and teams to gain insights into their performance, identify areas for improvement, and capitalize on strengths. When delivered properly, it can motivate employees to strive for excellence and create a sense of belonging.



How to integrate feedback mechanisms into your organisational culture?

No surprise, that HR plays a pivotal role in cultivating a feedback-centric culture. Here are some tips to consider:

> Teach managers

Encourage managers to provide regular, timely, and constructive feedback to their teams. Conduct workshops and training sessions on how to deliver feedback effectively – emphasize the importance of clarity, specificity, and a balanced approach to ensure that feedback is constructive and well-received.

> Utilize technology

Use technology to streamline the feedback process. Implementing performance management software can facilitate ongoing communication between managers and employees, making it much easier to track goals, achievements, and areas for improvement.

> Consider 360-degree feedback

360-degree feedback systems gather input from peers, subordinates, and supervisors. This approach not only provides a comprehensive view of the performance of an employee but also fosters a culture of collaboration & accountability.

> Recognition programs

You know how much we love recognition programs. We even have a blog post on how to create a good one. Introducing a recognition program to your team can help celebrate achievements & contributions. Such public acknowledgement of successes not only boosts morale but also encourages a positive feedback loop within the organisation.



How to give feedback?

First of all, you need to understand the purpose of the feedback you’re giving. You always want to keep in mind that feedback is conveyed to facilitate improvement & learning and not to criticize.

Don’t forget balance – feedback must include both positive and constructive elements. Acknowledging employee’s achievements and then pointing out ways to improve helps to motivate and engage them.

Secondly, you must try to be as specific as possible – provide examples to support your feedback. This helps employees to understand which actions are being discussed and to avoid personal biases.

SBI! Follow the situation-behaviour-impact model to remain constructive. Describe the specific situation, name the observed behaviour and articulate its impact. SBI helps with clarity and helps to highlight the consequences of an employee’s action.

Building upon objectivity, another important tip is to focus on behaviour and not personality. Addressing specific behaviour instead of referencing a person’s character helps to keep feedback constructive and avoids making an employee attacked.

Frame your feedback via the use of “I” statements – this helps to express your thoughts and feelings without appearing accusatory. Saying “I noticed that…” instead of “You always…” helps to depersonalize the feedback.

You can create an open dialogue and invite the employee to share their experience and perspectives – these conversations cannot go smoothly without active listening on both parts.

Finally, set clear expectations in terms of providing an understanding of what needs to be improved and offering guidance on specific steps that can be taken. Scheduling follow-up conversations to discuss progress and provide ongoing support can demonstrate your commitment to employee development.

Remember that giving effective feedback is a skill that develops over time with practice and reflection. You can consider feedback training programs or workshops to practice your delivery.



How to receive feedback?

Listening and hearing are two different things. To really hear the feedback being conveyed to you and make meaningful changes or improvements, consider these actions:


> Growth mindset

Embrace a growth mindset by viewing feedback as an opportunity for learning and improvement rather than as criticism.

> Openness and approachability

Let others know that you are receptive to feedback and value their insights. Approach feedback conversations with a positive and open mindset.

> Active listening

Don’t interrupt and avoid becoming defensive or dismissive. Take the time to understand the feedback, and if something is unclear, ask for clarification.

> You vs. your behaviour

Understanding that feedback is about specific behaviours or actions, not about your character as a person is crucial to prevent you from feeling attacked.

> Avoid immediate reactions

You don’t have to react right away. Even if the feedback is surprising or challenging, take a moment to process the information and consider it objectively. Take time to reflect on the feedback independently. Consider how the feedback aligns with your self-perception and goals.

> Ask for specifics

If the feedback seems vague or unclear, don’t hesitate to ask for specific examples or details.

> Express appreciation

Thank the person providing feedback for their insights. Expressing gratitude shows that you value their input and creates a positive tone for the conversation. Request feedback regularly, not just during formal performance reviews – this ongoing dialogue can help you stay aware of your strengths and areas for development, fostering continuous improvement.

> Develop a plan for improvement

Set specific, measurable goals and outline actionable steps to enhance your performance. This proactive approach demonstrates a commitment to growth.



Anonymous feedback & whistleblowing

The new Whistleblowing Decree is set out to protect people who report violations of regulatory provisions that could affect the interest or the integrity of the public administration or a company. Companies that employ at least 250 employees are required to comply with the new Whistleblowing Decree since 15 July 2023.

It means that all companies with more than 250 employees must have whistleblowing channels to protect the identity of the individual whistleblower and to safeguard their confidentiality. In simpler terms – all employees must have an opportunity to convey anonymous feedback.

Of course, keep in mind that only the opportunity to leave feedback does little good if there are no set processes in terms of dealing with voiced issues and conflicts. Allocating a person responsible for managing this communication channel & making decisions on how to properly deal with the problem at hand is critical.


All in all, embracing the power of feedback is not just a best practice – it is a strategic imperative in the journey towards sustained excellence in the workplace.

Q&A with Michelle Maree: digital nomad lifestyle

We’re happy to introduce you to Michelle Maree – a digital nomad & CEO and founder of The Nomad Escape.

Michelle has created a new way to connect remote working professionals. She has hosted more than 1000 people, organised 30+ retreats, and even more other events across the world.

We’re amazed and inspired by Michelle’s passion for what she does & were excited to see a little glimpse of what it is like to live a digital nomad lifestyle. Today, we’re sharing it with you:


Michelle, how would you describe what you do for work in one sentence?

I host mastermind and network events for location-independent entrepreneurs & teams in exotic destinations, which are focused on personal and professional growth.


Describe your day as a digital nomad. What are the challenges of such a lifestyle?

A week as a digital nomad is hard to describe because I travel a lot and some things are planned & some are spontaneous and dependent on the people I meet, invitations I get & so on.

In general, I’ve got a structured daily routine which I try to apply every day. It is kind of a challenge to maintain the routine when you are constantly changing your location. So, when it comes to my usual day, I wake up around 6 a.m., I do 15 minutes of journaling, I work out, and I do some meditation. Around an hour of self-development & physical development daily is very important to me. After a shower and some breakfast, I start my workday with a team catch-up. I have a lovely team of 7 people working all over the world, so it’s important for us to catch up about our plans and needs for the day. My workday is just like anyone else’s who is working behind a laptop. The only difference is, I can do it wherever and whenever I want.

Although both “wherever” and “whenever” parts can get tricky. In the past, I thought that working any time you want is great, but it often means that you end up working all the time if you lack structure. Digital nomads often joke about escaping 9-5 only to work 24/7 because oftentimes there is no one to tell you that the day is over, especially if you’re an entrepreneur or a freelancer. That is why, even when I can choose, I enjoy working most from 9 to 5.

I know plenty of digital nomads, especially entrepreneurs, who work double the “normal” hours before they figure it out with their business & they often get lost and drained. More experienced people tend to introduce more structure into their days for the sake of business growth and sustainable & strategic work.

So yeah, there is so much beauty in freedom, but plenty of challenges as well.



More and more people are coming back into the office. In your opinion, will the trend of employees striving for fully flexible work will pass? Once you try it, can you really go back?

It is hard for me to say. I haven’t worked for anyone but myself for the last 6 years. Yes, I can see loads of people who work remotely being asked to come back to the office and I see many of them trying to negotiate some terms with their employer. Loads of employers do cave in and offer at least some flexibility (coming in once a week, or one week a month). Still, as a digital nomad and a professional who likes to travel while doing my work, I see that many of people are conflicted. Many employees can genuinely say hey, I can still deliver high-quality results while not being physically there, and I am really focused at home. Sure, standing next to the coffee machine and socializing is great for the connection, but I am not as productive as I am at home. I see people quitting their jobs if the employer is not listening and cannot offer flexibility. There is a lot of conflict because of this.

However, I do understand companies who want their employees back to the office. It does have effect on team engagement, the feeling of being a part of a bigger whole. There is also the legal aspect of it – if you have employees working all around the world and not in the location that your company is registered at, there are certain regulations and tax matters to keep in mind. Another thing I recently found out in a conference – if you have freelancers working for you in another country and you get them some office materials, such as a desk, it means that they need to be on your payroll & provided with health insurance as a regular employee. So yes, there are a lot of complexities that companies have never encountered before and even if they want to offer flexibility, they simply cannot do so very easily. Technology and the way we live are developing so fast that the regulations simply cannot keep up.

To answer your question, I cannot predict anything, but there is a clear trend – employees do prefer working flexibly and if they do not get that, they shift to self-employment.



What do you think people who want to work and travel must keep in mind? Or maybe you have some advice for those starting their digital nomad journey?

I’d say many people idealise this lifestyle. Everyone wants to work by the beach, in swimwear, with a cocktail in their hands. It’s important to understand that it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle.

The first question people need to answer is if they want to be travelling all the time. Is that really something they value? It is a challenge to keep structure when travelling all the time. It takes a lot of energy and time to constantly look for accommodation etc. You need to be able to shift fast, make decisions, and allocate time for the logistics.

Someone who works for a company can be a digital nomad, freelancers can be digital nomads, and entrepreneurs can be digital nomads. Totally different profiles though, right? That is why you need to consider how you’re going to earn your income and make a plan on this basis.

Another important thing is community. While it can be beautiful, it is a pretty lonely lifestyle. When you’re moving all the time, it is difficult to form deeper connections. While it’s exciting at first, after a while “where are you from” questions just don’t do it anymore. So yes, building sustainable relationships is a challenge to keep in mind. I know many digital nomads who after around 3 years of living such a lifestyle just get tired, lonely, and eventually stop.

I live in Madeira but I am only there for around 4 months a year. The rest of the time I am travelling. However, I still have a home to come back to – I have my friends there, my community, and I have some form of consistency.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not impossible to go without it – I know someone very successful who has been living a digital nomad lifestyle for 10 years without a stop. Not sure how he maintains it, because I would feel extremely drained and lonely… But I guess that’s the beauty of it – it is a design of a lifestyle. Creating the freedom, the work & social environment that works best for you. Find out what works and what doesn’t until you find a way of living that makes you feel fulfilled.



Do you need retreats after retreats? 🙂

Honestly, yes. One of the reasons I started my company was the loneliness. I was living in Bali among entrepreneurs, and everyone was working by day, partying by night, but nobody was sitting with each other and asking questions such as “What are you building exactly?” or “How can I help”? I missed that so much. I started reaching out to people asking these important questions and found out that a lot of people feel lonely, burnt out or lack support, although they were sitting “in paradise”.

I started doing events and inviting people to connect and share their experiences. People started telling me I was good at this, so although I was a digital marketer at the time, planning to build an agency, I wasn’t super passionate about doing marketing for other companies. I built a concept, a business for myself, and it was really fulfilling. I such an awesome community but it is getting too big for me to handle and maintain. It sometimes drains my energy. So yes, I host it, I attend it, and I disappear to do retreat after retreat.

Nomad lifestyle puts into perspective the things that you need in your life. Do you know the book “4-hour work week”? Ferriss is basically a god, and the “4-hour work week” is the bible of our community. He talked about perspective and creating a high-quality lifestyle. For example, I can pay rent in Amsterdam and maybe have a flat with a balcony or I can live like a millionaire in Bali.

We live in a very unique time where we can design our life, we can build an income in a variety of ways, where we can leverage technology and that is what makes it so beautiful. My advice is – if you’re thinking about it, give it a try. If it’s not for you, that is absolutely fine. If you’re ready to get started, I would also recommend visiting events and networking – you can learn a lot and it’s easier than figuring it all on your own.


Update on MELP | October

After a record-breaking number of new users welcomed to MELP last month, in October we’ve had some exciting events, while our team has been working on some important improvements & preparing to launch new features with our clients.



Product updates

Enhanced recognition module:

  • We’ve expanded our Recognition Module to allow point imports via Excel files.
  • This feature enables companies to reward their employees in a straightforward step for aligning with the core values of the company.

Mobile App Efficiency:

  • Our mobile app now boasts a search feature on the benefits page.
  • Employees can swiftly locate desired benefits by title or description, saving time and improving user experience.

Client updates

Our expense compensation feature, which we launched at the end of September, is live & working well for our dear client Stansefabrikken. Glad to see employees using it!

We’ve launched our recognition module with one of our largest clients by employee count Ignitis Group. While Ignitis Group had a recognition programme, after trusting us with their benefits, they’ve decided to transfer their recognition programme to MELP. Glad we could help to make it more convenient both for the administration & employees!

We’ve been also preparing to launch the recognition module with ATEA Lithuania at the beginning of November.

It’s exciting to see our existing clients trying & loving our recognition module as well as trusting us with this important part of employee engagement. Also – hurray for businesses automating such initiatives for more accessibility and convenience!

How to improve the employee experience?

What is employee experience? 

Employee experience refers to the overall quality of the interactions, perceptions, and feelings of the employee about their workplace and their journey as a member of an organization. This includes absolutely all experiences and touchpoints that an employee has with their employer, from the initial recruitment process to onboarding, day-to-day work, career development, and eventually their departure from the company. 

Engaged employees are more likely to have a positive experience at work, as they are emotionally connected to their roles and the organization. While businesses that engage their employees see an 18% decrease in employee turnover and companies that invest in employee experience are four times more profitable than those that do not, only about 20% of employees worldwide are engaged in their work. What are the contributing factors in employee experience and what can you do to improve it?



 What makes employee experience?

> Recruitment and onboarding

The employee experience begins with the recruitment process, where candidates first interact with the organization. Make sure your recruitment process is clear, and structured, and communication with the candidate is smooth.

Successful onboarding can not only improve new hire retention by 82% but also play a crucial role in setting the tone and providing a positive introduction to the workplace. We have a whole blog post about the importance of onboarding – find more information here

> Work environment

This includes the physical workspace, tools, technology, and resources provided to employees to perform their tasks effectively and comfortably. 

> Company culture

The values, beliefs, and behaviour of the organization, as well as the sense of belonging and shared purpose among employees, play a significant role in employee experience. Do your employees know what your values are? 50% of surveyed employees consider a positive company culture important in determining job satisfaction.

Company culture includes support for work-life balance, flexible work arrangements, and employee well-being programs that can contribute to a positive employee experience.

> Leadership and management

Connected to company culture, the quality of leadership and the relationships between employees and their managers greatly influence the overall employee experience. Effective management is essential for providing support, feedback, and career development opportunities.

Employees appreciate recognition for their contributions and constructive feedback to help them improve their performance

> Career development

Even the best and most well-wishing managers cannot create opportunities to improve skills and grow if the company culture is not focused on providing employees with career development opportunities. Opportunities for growth, skill development, and advancement within the organization are key aspects of employee experience – in fact, Companies that invested in employee development saw a 58% increase in retention. 

> Compensation and benefits

Fair and competitive compensation, along with a comprehensive benefits package, are important factors in employee satisfaction. While it seems like pretty obvious things to have, some companies are still hesitant to invest in employee benefits. 

> Communication

Clear and transparent communication from leadership and across the organization is crucial for a positive employee experience. Read our recent blog post about effective internal communication right here.

> Off-boarding

Just as important as the first impression, smooth off-boarding is not a step to miss. Even if the employee has decided to leave your company, the way you say goodbye contributes to their experience and even can become something that will bring them back to you in the future. We have a whole article on off-boarding – find it here.




 What can you do to improve the employee experience?

Although employee experience is a broad term that includes loads of different aspects, you can make a plan to improve it. We’ve already linked our advice on creating effective onboarding and off-boarding processes as well as shared our take on smooth internal comms. What else to keep in mind?


> Listen to employee feedback & act on it

Regular surveys and feedback sessions (anonymous and public) help to understand what employees value and what challenges they face. Ensure that managers understand the importance of their role in shaping the employee experience.

> Foster a positive company culture

We know that this sentence encompasses a lot but start by defining and communicating the values, mission, and vision of your company to create a shared sense of purpose that is crucial for an engaged team. It is also a good idea to focus on inclusivity, diversity, equity, and transparent communication. Specific, timely, and meaningful recognition can also help a lot.

> Provide opportunities for growth and development

Offer training and development programs to help employees acquire new professional and interpersonal skills and advance their careers internally. Do not forget to constantly train and develop managers to be effective leaders who provide regular feedback, coaching, and mentorship. 

> Support work-life balance and well-being

Flexibility in work arrangements and remote work options are highly celebrated. Other things to consider are encouraging employees to use their vacation days, offering wellness programs, mental health support, and access to resources that promote overall well-being.




How to measure employee experience?

How can you know that you’ve made sustainable positive change without measuring it? Yes, employee experience, just like many other HR metrics that can seem unmeasurable, can & should be quantified. In a way. While there isn’t a single formula to calculate employee experience, you can use a combination of surveys, feedback, and data to measure and evaluate different components of the employee experience. Here are steps to help you assess and calculate employee experience:

Define KPIs

Start by identifying the key metrics and components that you want to assess. These can include factors such as employee engagement, satisfaction, retention, and well-being. 

Conduct employee surveys

Design surveys that target specific aspects of the employee experience, such as engagement, satisfaction, or work-life balance. Don’t forget to perform checks at regular intervals and use a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions to gather insights. Focus groups and one-on-one conversations with employees can help to understand the “why” behind the quantitative data.


Don’t just leave that collected data to itself. Compare your organization’s employee experience metrics to industry benchmarks or competitors to gain context and identify areas for improvement or celebration.


Remember that employee experience is multifaceted and can vary among individuals and departments within your organization – regularly measuring and assessing these components can help you make data-informed decisions to enhance the overall employee experience and foster a positive workplace culture.




Don’t forget!

Yes, a positive employee experience leads to higher job satisfaction, increased productivity, and better employee retention. Many organizations today focus on improving and enhancing the employee experience to attract and retain top talent and create a more productive and engaged workforce. 

To conclude – improving employee experience is no easy task and it can rarely succeed with a reactive approach. Staying informed about industry best practices and evolving employee needs throughout their lifetime at your company is crucial. HR professionals are the ones to design, implement, and manage various programs and initiatives that directly impact how employees perceive their workplace. That being said, bigger companies are already hiring internal comms specialists or employee experience managers to help in this quest. A small HR team simply cannot do it all. If yours can, we hope you appreciate them very much!

Update on MELP | September

Thanks for tuning in to hear about MELP news. We surely started the new season with a bang – allow us to tell you more!


Product updates

Our September was dedicated to pushing out the new expense compensation feature (kudos to the MELP team for rocking it, as usual).

Talking with our clients, we’ve noticed a need for users to take care of their expense registration within the MELP app. No more constant reminders for employees to send in their receipts & chaos of employees looking for them all over at the end of each month. App users can now register their expenses via the MELP app after every business lunch, spent benefit budget for learning or anything else that needs to be compensated.

You can now find a new “request compensation” button in the “Shop” or “Benefit” sections of the app, which will help our users register their expenses in an easy and convenient way. Yes, it can be done in 3 easy steps: 

That is it! After the expense is registered, employees can always see the stage their request is currently at. They can also see their expense history.

From an administrative perspective, all requests from the employees go to one place – the expense compensation table. Each time an employee registers an expense, you will be able to get more clarification (request more details), and approve or reject it. At the end of each month (or as often as you like, really), you can easily export all the requests, their details and proof to an Excel file. Trust us, your accountant will be happy about this organised way to deal with such a mundane task.

New clients & record breaking welcomed users

We’re happy to welcome employees from FL Technics and Affidea – each client brought us nearly 1000 new users!

FL Technics, a global provider of tailor-made solutions for aircraft maintenance and repair, is a new client to have joined MELP with their extensive benefit basket & partners list. With MELP, FL Technics employees will be able to enjoy not only all of their benefits and partner discounts in one place but also recognize each other & communicate more effectively with MELP recognition and communication modules.

Affidea Lietuva, a pan-European medical service provider offering premium diagnostic imaging, cancer detection, and cancer treatment services, is definitely not a new client  but we’re happy that they enjoyed trying our app so much that they’ve brought all employees in Lithuania (nearly 1000 of them!) to MELP.

HR Director Affidea Lietuva Giedrė Teresevičienė says: “We chose to partner with MELP because it enables our company to communicate our wide range of company benefits and perks to our employees, which perfectly reflects our commitment to improving employee wellbeing and work experience. This partnership gives our team access to exclusive discounts, wellness programmes and more, leading to a happier and more engaged team. We see many opportunities for collaboration with MELP in the future – from employee recognition to other important company communications that employees will receive quickly and efficiently – on their phone or in their email.” 💭

Thank you for reading, that’s all the news for September *mic drop*

Q&A with HiBob’s talent acquisition partner Beth Jenkins

This month, we’re excited to introduce you to Beth Jenkins.

Beth works as a talent acquisition partner at HiBob – an HR-tech unicorn, helping to revolutionise the work experience of HR professionals & their teams. Since signing with HiBob and implementing its integration in MELP, we’ve been meaning to get an inside look into a famously awesome HiBob culture. We’ve asked Beth about working in HR tech, her advice for HR professionals working in start-ups & more.

Could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about your role within HiBob and your experience in HR-tech? 

I’m currently a Talent Acquisition Partner at HiBob, but have recently moved back from a secondment opportunity to work closer to the Partnerships team and Marketing team, which was by far the most challenging, yes exciting and rewarding experience I’ve had. My role as a Partnerships Marketing Coordinator was to facilitate Partnership Marketing collaborations and opportunities. More recently, moving back into Talent my role has moved into a partnership focussed role, working closely with stakeholders across the business to facilitate and lead the recruitment for various roles across HiBob. The best part about working in Talent, is that I get a small insight into all the roles and the teams at HiBob.

No surprise, in the context of HR-tech, we’d like to touch upon AI. Everyone talks about the benefits, but do you see any threats to using AI in HR processes? What would be the first thing you would or already did automate in your daily tasks? Do you have your favourite HR AI tool? 

When implemented thoughtfully, AI can enhance HR processes, driving efficiency and allowing HR professionals to focus on higher-level strategic initiatives. While AI holds immense potential in revolutionizing HR processes, it’s crucial to acknowledge potential threats as well. One significant concern is the risk of perpetuating biases present in historical data. If not carefully curated, AI algorithms may inadvertently reinforce existing disparities in hiring, promotion, or performance evaluation processes. It’s imperative for HR-tech solutions to employ robust bias detection and mitigation strategies to ensure fair and equitable outcomes.

I also believe that an over-reliance on AI can potentially erode the human touch in HR interactions. Personalized support and empathetic understanding, especially in sensitive matters, cannot be replaced by technology alone. Striking the right balance between automation and human intervention is vital for a holistic HR approach.

There’s also the question of data privacy and security. With AI processing substantial amounts of employee data, there’s an increased responsibility to safeguard sensitive information. Compliance with data protection regulations, transparency in data usage, and robust cybersecurity measures become paramount.

In navigating these challenges, HR-tech companies need to be committed to continuous improvement, transparency, and ethical practices.

It’s difficult to choose a favorite HR AI tool – although I have found Generative AI useful from time to time and I feel this might be one that has immediate benefits for HR professionals dealing with admin heavy tasks.

HiBob is growing fast. As professionals in the employee welfare industry, tell us about how HiBob keeps its’ team happy & engaged.

Yes HiBob is growing fast, in fact we just announced a new round of funding to support our expansion into new geos as well as to enhance the product. Bottom line, HiBob is all about employee engagement seen through many lenses in order to foster a culture of belonging and opportunity. For example, we provide collaborative learning tools – in fact, we recently launched a platform called BobEd that offers access to personalized training resources and opportunities for upskilling – thus empowering team members to grow both personally and professionally.

Effective communication tools within the platform are also instrumental in creating a cohesive work environment, especially in dispersed or remote teams. Features like instant messaging, video conferencing, and discussion forums facilitate seamless collaboration and relationship-building.

We understand that recognizing and celebrating achievements is a cornerstone of employee satisfaction, and we use our platform for peer-to-peer recognition, performance tracking, and rewards programs. This not only boosts morale but also reinforces a sense of value and belonging.

I’ll touch again on the importance of inclusivity in employee well-being. An HR team should be able to easily provide resources for mental health support, wellness programs, and tools for managing work-life balance (i.e. flexibility), ensuring that team members feel supported and cared for. We run popular programmes throughout the year and these are often conceptualised by in-house committees or ERG groups that have been set up for exactly this purpose.

What do you think will happen with remote work culture? Are we all bound to come back to the office? How do you handle remote work challenges at HiBob? 

The future of remote work culture is poised for a permanent dynamic shift. While some roles may necessitate a return to the office for collaboration or specific tasks, the widespread adoption of remote work has demonstrated its viability. Many companies are likely to adopt a hybrid model, offering employees the flexibility to choose where they work based on the nature of their roles. It’s important to invest in technology, prioritize clear communication, promote work-life balance, recognize achievements, offer professional development opportunities, and gather and act upon employee feedback. Balancing flexibility with structure is key to navigating the evolving work landscape. This is indeed what the platform aims to enable customers to do.

At HiBob, we pride ourselves on being a modern, people-centric company, and we ‘drink our own merlot’ in that sense. Ultimately, embracing remote work as a sustainable and integral part of the company culture requires a balance between flexibility and structure. By prioritizing the well-being, growth, and connection of employees, a business can successfully navigate the challenges and opportunities of the evolving work landscape.

Startups have a very high need for top-notch talent and most of the HR processes must be started from scratch – could you give some advice for HR professionals working in scaling startups? 

In a scaling startup, HR professionals play a crucial role in driving growth. They must be adaptable and responsive to changing organizational needs. Finding candidates who align with the company’s values is essential, and a strong employer brand helps attract top talent. Investing in scalable HR technology is vital, as processes often need to be built from scratch. Effective onboarding sets the tone for new employees, and offering growth opportunities helps retain ambitious team members. Balancing compliance with innovation is key, and transparent communication channels are crucial. Data-driven insights are valuable for optimizing HR strategies, and promoting continuous learning benefits both individuals and the company. These principles empower HR professionals to navigate the challenges of scaling startups, contributing to overall success.

The role of HR in smooth internal communication

The role of HR in smooth internal communication

Internal communication professionals often say, that if their job is done well, it is quite invisible. We often take smooth exchange of information & engaging messages for granted, don’t we? 

If you ask us to define internal communication, we’d say that it is a very dynamic and multifunctional process that is related to the way information, ideas, messages, and feedback are exchanged among the individuals and departments within an organization. We’d also say that it is a super crucial aspect of organizational functioning and plays a vital role in ensuring that all employees are aligned with the goals, objectives, values, and strategies of the company. It helps create a cohesive, productive, and engaged workforce. 

Let’s discuss the role of internal communication & how it involves HR professionals, think about must-haves, most common challenges & their solutions. 



Internal communication: key purposes

From a message congratulating you on your birthday, a handbook encompassing everything you need to know about the policies on the use of the company’s phone or car, to knowing who to go to when you want to discuss your career development or a conflict with a co-worker – internal communication encompasses many things. Here are some purposes of internal communication: 


> Information sharing

Internal communication is the primary means by which important information is disseminated throughout the organization. This can include announcements, crucial policies, new procedures, updates about the company, and insights on projects and fun initiatives.

> Employee engagement

We love to say it and repeat it – engaged employees are happy employees. Keeping employees engaged means keeping them motivated and committed to their work. Communication channels like company newsletters, online meetings, and digital platforms can be used to engage employees by keeping them informed about the vision, mission, and progress of the company & allowing them to feel a part of a team.

> Alignment

Internal communication helps align employees with the strategic goals and objectives of the organization. Internal communication helps to keep the vision alive – when employees understand the big picture and their role in achieving it, they are more likely to work towards common goals.

> Feedback and improvement

Two-way communication channels, such as surveys, suggestion boxes, and other opportunities to leave public or private feedback are crucial for employers to gain valuable insights for improving processes and addressing issues. It is also important for employees to feel like they are heard, and that their voice is appreciated. 

> Conflict resolution

Even at the best teams with the best culture, some conflict is inevitable. Effective communication can help resolve conflicts and misunderstandings among employees or departments. By providing a platform for open and honest dialogue, internal communication can help prevent issues from escalating.

> Knowledge sharing

Sharing is caring! Internal communication can facilitate the effective sharing of knowledge and expertise among employees, which can lead to increased innovation and problem-solving capabilities within the organization.

> Culture fostering

Internal communication also plays a role in building and reinforcing the company‘s culture. It helps in conveying the organization‘s values, ethics, and desired behaviours to employees & demonstrating those in action.

> Change management

During times of change, such as mergers, acquisitions, organizational restructuring, or even smaller changes within teams or departments, internal communication is critical for managing and guiding employees through the transition.

> Compliance and policies

Internal communication ensures that employees are aware of and adhere to company policies, legal requirements, and ethical standards – they know where to look for needed information and refer to it at any time.



Some numbers

> Employees who are dissatisfied with their company’s communication are four times more likely to leave

> According to Gallup, compared with disengaged teams, engaged teams show 24% to 59% less turnover, 10% higher customer ratings, 21% greater profitability, 17% higher productivity, 28% less shrinkage, 70% fewer safety incidents and 41% less absenteeism

> Effective internal communication can boost employee satisfaction by up to 40%

> Companies with effective communication practices have a 50% higher employee retention rate

> Good internal communication encourages idea-sharing and innovation. According to Deloitte, organizations with strong communication are 3.5 times more likely to be innovation leaders.

> 33% of employees report that a lack of open and honest communication leads to workplace conflicts  

> Only 14% of employees understand their company’s strategy and direction. Effective communication helps align employees with the organization’s goals

> Communication is crucial during periods of change. A McKinsey study found that 70% of change programs fail due to poor communication.



What is the role of HR in internal communication?

Who else knows all & sees all within the organization, if not HR? It is quite obvious that among many jobs of HR professionals, they must at least somewhat add to facilitating and strengthening internal communication within an organization. Here are some common roles HR specialists have within internal communication:


> Helping to develop communication strategies

HR can work with other departments and leadership to develop effective communication strategies. This includes identifying communication objectives, target audiences, key messages, and appropriate communication channels.

> Ensuring compliance

HR can help ensure that internal communications adhere to legal and regulatory requirements, such as those related to labour laws, workplace safety, and data privacy.

> Facilitating employee feedback

HR can establish mechanisms for collecting feedback from employees and conveying it to relevant departments. This can involve surveys, suggestion boxes, and regular feedback sessions.

> Training and development

HR can provide training and development programs on effective communication & other relevant skills for employees and managers. This can help improve overall communication within the organization.

> Conflict resolution

HR can play a role in mediating and resolving conflicts between employees or departments, which may involve facilitating open and constructive communication.

> Onboarding and orientation

HR can ensure that new employees receive comprehensive information about the company, its culture, policies, and procedures during the onboarding process.

> Crisis communication

In times of crisis or emergencies, HR can assist in crafting and disseminating critical internal communications to keep employees informed and safe.

> Change management

HR often leads change management initiatives within the organization. Effective communication is essential when introducing changes, and HR can help manage resistance through clear and consistent messaging.

> Employee engagement programs

HR can design and implement employee engagement programs that promote communication and collaboration, such as team-building events, recognition programs, and feedback mechanisms.


Business executives interacting with each other while having coffee in office


How can HR specialists strengthen their role in internal communication?

As discussed, HR specialists can have many roles in fostering smooth internal communication. If you are motivated & have time to strengthen your role in making internal communication more effective, consider these actions to start with:


> Collaborate with other departments

You should work closely with departments like marketing, IT, and leadership to ensure a coordinated and consistent approach to internal communication.

> Use technology

Invest in technology and tools that facilitate communication, such as intranet platforms, employee engagement software, and communication analytics tools.

> Measurement and feedback

How do you know what’s working and what isn’t? Continuously assess the effectiveness of internal communication efforts through metrics and feedback from employees. Adjust strategies based on the results.

> Promote a culture of openness

Encourage a culture of open communication within the HR department and throughout the organization. Lead by example by fostering transparency and active listening!

> Stay Informed

Stay updated on best practices in internal communication and HR trends to adapt strategies accordingly.


Common struggles & solutions

Of course, even when a to-do list is clear, it is easier said than done. Professionals working in internal communication & HR face various challenges & the list can be quite lengthy. Here are some of the common struggles & issues to be aware of:

> Information Overload

Managing the volume of information and messages can be overwhelming. This makes it challenging to ensure that critical messages are noticed and properly absorbed by employees.

> Message Consistency

Ensuring that messages remain consistent across different channels and departments can be difficult, especially in larger organizations with multiple communication touchpoints.

> Audience Segmentation

 Tailoring messages to different employee groups with varying needs and interests can be a challenge, as one size does not fit all.

> Employee Engagement

Keeping employees engaged and interested in internal communications can be difficult, particularly when employees are bombarded with information from various sources. 

> Technological Hurdles

Managing and optimizing communication through digital tools and platforms can be challenging due to technical issues or employees struggling to adopt new software.

> Cultural and language differences

In multinational organizations, language barriers and cultural differences can hinder effective communication and understanding.

> Resistance to change

Employees may resist changes in communication practices, especially when transitioning to new technologies or communication platforms.

> Measuring Effectiveness

Determining the impact and effectiveness of internal communication efforts can be challenging, as it often involves intangible outcomes and requires robust measurement techniques.

> Information Security

Balancing the need for open communication with maintaining information security and data privacy can be a delicate challenge, particularly in industries with strict compliance requirements.

> Remote Work Challenges

In the era of remote work, ensuring that remote employees receive timely and relevant communication presents unique challenges, including issues related to connectivity, engagement, and isolation.




Open and two-way communication: feedback & whistleblowing

When it comes to internal communication, some things are nice to have and some are must-haves. Evidently, the need for open communication among employees is one of the most crucial aspects of effective communication. However, ensuring a safe space to be heard is also one of the biggest challenges that internal communication & HR professionals face.

As challenging as it might be, you must comply with whistleblowing laws. The new Whistleblowing Decree is set out to protect people who report violations of regulatory provisions that could affect the interest or the integrity of the public administration or a company. Companies that employ at least 250 employees are required to comply with the new Whistleblowing Decree since 15 July 2023. 

It means that all companies with more than 250 employees must have whistleblowing channels to protect the identity of the individual whistleblower and to safeguard their confidentiality. In simpler terms – all employees must have an opportunity to convey anonymous feedback.

Of course, keep in mind that only the opportunity to leave feedback does little good if there are no set processes in terms of how to deal with voiced issues and conflicts. Allocating a person responsible for managing this communication channel & making decisions on how to properly deal with the problem at hand is critical.



We have a whole list of challenges to look out for when embarking on a journey to a more effective internal comms. Now, allow us to give you some advice that might help to address and overcome! 


> Segment your audience 

Again – one size does not fit all. Messages and the channels that the information is disseminated through should be determined based on the audience. Usually, the audience is segmented based on the employee specialization, department & other personal attributes. Personalizing it as much as possible is always a good idea.

 > Leading by example

If your employees are reluctant to fill out important questionnaires or join internal initiatives, try upper management leading the way for the rest of the team. Your CEO uploading a picture from an internal initiative or writing a reminder about the deadline of an important survey can really go a long way.


Young woman student laughing while talking in cafe


> Experiment

These days there are so many communication channels to choose from and there is no way of telling which one will work for you and your team, so you must experiment and find the golden key. Good rule of thumb – make it as easy & convenient as possible. Another good tip – don’t overdo it, as having messages coming through multiple different channels can feel overwhelming and might have the opposite effect to what you’ve expected.

> Two-way communication

As touched upon before, an opportunity for two-way communication is not only a recommendation but a must in some companies. Besides having a chance to leave anonymous feedback, you might want to think about the opportunity for employees to react or reply to your messages, this way sparking the conversation. 

 > Show and (hopefully, kind of) let go

Best examples of truly engaging internal communication always have one ingredient – the participation of team members. Building upon the previous point of a need to have two-way communication in terms of team members expanding the conversation, this advice goes a tad further. The truth is, if you can lead the way initially, a big part of internal communication can become a self-driving thing. 

> Reward

Building on the last two points, it is always a good idea to notice, recognize, and reward any feedback, suggestions, or other examples of employees actively engaging in or even driving internal comms and initiatives. 


Smooth internal comms play a crucial role in employee engagement, satisfaction, retention, and productivity. HR professionals have a big role to play in building effective communication practices & we hope this concise summary helps you and your organization. 

Q&A with Juris Zalāns: creating Smart HR & thriving in the people business

We’re excited to introduce you to Juris Zalāns – the founder of Smart HR & educator in the HR-tech community. We met Juris in October 2022 and soon became one of the Smart HR partners in Lithuania and Latvia. We’re happy to continue our partnership and grow together! We asked Juris some questions about creating the Smart HR concept, its vision, goals, and how to keep motivated & inspired in the fast-paced HR industry.

Smart HR is definitely an interesting and innovative concept in the HR community. Could you tell us how did idea transformed into a successful business?

We’re HR-tech consultation providers who educate businesses about HR-tech trends, implementation & integration of innovative tools for smoother HR processes & happier employees. We began our journey in 2017 with a similar product to MELP – a platform named Benefits, which was focused on employee benefits & communication management. We soon found out we had a lot of strengths in technology, implementation and integration & our clients often asked for our support in managing and implementing different HR tools. That got us thinking that there is a gap in the market, as there were few resources for companies to learn about innovations in HR-tech and get support in integrating those great new ideas into their practices.

We decided to create our own HR community for professionals who are interested in learning about technology, and data, and want to be more data-driven in their approaches and actions. We’re here to keep everyone updated on HR-tech trends & prepare businesses for the future. We are constantly finding loads of new, innovative tools and technology within the Baltics & beyond, and invite those innovators to share their expertise with us and our clients. Currently, Smart HR is the oldest & biggest platform to offer these specific services.

Could you give a little sneak peek about what is in the future for Smart HR?

We’re currently focusing on the Estonian market – actually, we started that before the pandemic, but that hindered our progress. So we could call it a re-start. Next year we’re introducing our services & events in Poland. So expansion is the main focus as of now.

Being the ones who bring the news about HR-tech trends, you must always be up-to-date. How do you stay on top of things & bring reliable information to the clients you consult?

We keep in touch with the news in the market through extensive research & networking. We have allocated team members who are always browsing the tech market all over Europe, so we constantly find new HR tools and smart solutions. While conferences are also great sources of information, and we must be on top of the latest HR legislations and job market situation, we put a huge focus on technology. That means we are sourcing conferences where we can find tech representatives who are hands-on. We meet with those innovators who have extensive knowledge in certain fields and listen to their ideas & best practices. Going to the visionaries and the dreamers & listening to them really helps us not only to know what is happening at the moment, but make some predictions about the future and see the big picture.

You work in the people business with a lot of listening, talking, and networking. How do you and your employees keep going & stay inspired in this fast-paced industry?

We are dreamers too, in a way! Seeing our clients implementing the solutions that we bring to them & improving the employee and employer experience is a really good feeling. We dream of a time when businesses will be even more analytical, step away from Excel sheets and have more tech to make their daily lives easier. but we understand that small change is also a good change. One new tech system in our clients’ HR practice might be the biggest and most effective step they have taken in years. So I think the most important thing to stay motivated and inspired is to level the expectations & enjoy the small wins.

Update on MELP | August

Nice to see you keeping up with MELP news. We finished our summer season strong with these new developments:

HR platform:

  1. Expense Overview in One Table: We understand the importance of efficiency in managing expenses. To make your job easier, we have now introduced a consolidated view of all expenses in one table. This feature not only simplifies expense tracking but also allows you to apply filters to find specific data quickly. Additionally, you can now export expense data directly to Excel, providing you with more flexibility and control over your financial reporting.
  2. Improved Performance in Assigned Benefits Pages: We recognize that the performance speed of our platform is crucial for your day-to-day tasks. We’ve invested in optimizing the performance of Assigned Benefits pages to ensure that you can access and manage employee benefits swiftly and efficiently.
  3. Timeline for Actions in Alternatives: In our Alternatives section, we have introduced a new timeline feature. This timeline allows you to track and review the assignments taken for each employee. This additional level of detail empowers you to stay informed and make well-informed decisions regarding employee benefits alternatives.


  1. Active Alternatives on the Homepage: We understand that employees want easy access to their benefits information. To enhance the employee experience, we have added a dedicated section for “Active Alternatives” on the homepage of our mobile application. Now, employees can quickly and conveniently access their active alternatives, making it easier than ever to stay engaged with their benefits.
We believe these updates will not only streamline your HR management tasks but also empower your employees to make informed choices about their benefits. We value your feedback, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or suggestions for further improvements!

When it comes to new welcomes:

1. We officially launched MELP app with 15min group – more than 150 employees from their companies can now access benefits easily and participate in Recognition program, accumulating points for various good deeds.

2. Hennordic began their journey with MELP Benefits feature & are already planning to use MELP Communications opportunities for more effective two-way connection with their employees.
3. We’re happy to welcome Hotel Pacai, our first client from hospitality industry. This team can now enjoy our Recognition module, which was set-up to host a custom Benefits shop with Pacai own products and services. The client is using our Communications module as well, so whole range of used features should guarantee strong & successful partnership with high standards from both sides.

Not just a passing trend: WFH trends & future

Since 2009, the number of people working from home has increased by 159%. Millions of employees swear by the benefits of working from home, highlighting not only better work-life balance, but increased productivity and work satisfaction. Most of the businesses have allowed (well, were kind of forced to) their employees to work from home, but more and more companies are going back to mandatory office-only policies. Some employees feel no difference, some make peace with it, some find it difficult to deal with the change, some even change jobs, and many more are left dreading an email announcing the end of their WFH rodeo. What are the reasons companies are switching back to work from the office, what do employees think about it, and do the benefits of WFH outweigh the challenges?

WFH pre-pandemic

Most experts would agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has not started the work-from-home trend but definitely accelerated its popularity. Companies had no choice but to do everything to go online and keep their business afloat. This inevitable experiment taught us that this way of working was possible, but not always effective.

In the EU, before the pandemic, remote work was already becoming more common. When it comes to occasional WFH, it was enjoyed by around 9% of the pre-pandemic workforce. In 2019, approximately 1 in 20 employed people in the EU usually worked from home. In 2020, this number more than doubled, with 12.3% of employees usually working from the comfort of their home environment, and in 2021 this number rose to 13.5%.

Pre-pandemic, Nordic countries were leading in remote work adoption, with around a third of the workforce working from home regularly or at least sometimes, however, the upward trend in WFH was seen in most EU countries. The share of regular or frequent remote workers was above 30% in a range of knowledge-intensive business services, as well as in education and publishing activities. It was also high – around 20% – in telecommunications, finance, and insurance. In contrast, the lowest number of remote workers were employed in administrative and support services, as well as in the sectors that involve physical work, such as manufacturing.

WFH today

As of 2023, 12.7% of full-time employees work from home and nearly 30% of the workforce work a hybrid model. Although significant, it still means that the majority of the employees (59.1%, to be exact), still work in the office. In fact, only 16% of companies operate fully remotely, whilst 44% of businesses do not allow remote work. Here are some interesting numbers, demonstrating the employee sentiment about the current state of the way of working:

> 98% of workers would like to work remotely at least for some time

> 97% of people would recommend remote work to others

> 56% of employees would prefer fully remote work

> 11% of workers prefer to go to the office occasionally

> 3% of employees would choose the office-first approach but would still like the remote option to be allowed

While remote work is typically seen as beneficial for workers, it also offers a list of advantages for employers:

> Increased productivity

Based on a recent study, 77% of those who work remotely at least some time show increased productivity, with 30% doing more work in less time and 24% doing more work in the same period. This demonstrates that an effective remote work policy can lead to increased work output and effective time management.


> Work satisfaction

Remote work is a highly sought-after employee benefit associated with higher employee engagement. In today’s competitive landscape, a remote work policy is crucial at all levels to foster employee satisfaction and organizational goals, while restricting remote or flexible work can limit employees’ career advancement, affecting talent retention and diversity in leadership roles.


> Continuity of operations

If you hack remote work in your company, you can ensure the ability to overcome unexpected shutdowns and crises, just like the pandemic. Adequate preparation for the unexpected enables companies to effective remote communication, the use of technology systems, leadership in remote meetings, and distance delegation.


> Expanded Talent Pool

Allowing remote work increases an organization’s ability to attract the most qualified candidates. Expanding the job pool improves the overall quality of the workforce, especially as a significant portion of the workforce approaches retirement.

How to make WFH effective in your company?

All the benefits and a strong general preference towards flexible work and still – we have 44% of businesses who want to hear none of WFH. Companies that are reluctant to provide their employees with an opportunity to work from home usually don’t do it out of spite – it is as simple as the number of challenges outweighing the perks. Such businesses often name issues such as accountability, data security, technical challenges, a hit to company culture, employee engagement, uneven work distribution, and leadership adaptation as the most challenging when it comes to shifting to more flexible work environment arrangements. While we have plenty of examples of companies overcoming these hardships, it can be a lengthy process. Here are some things to think about:


> Establish clear expectations regarding work hours, communication, and deliverables. Ensure that employees understand what is expected of them while working remotely by setting KPIs. Do not forget to include security protocols, data protection, and reporting requirements in your policy.

> Provide necessary equipment and resources to ensure regular communication. Ensure that remote workers have the necessary equipment, such as laptops, software, and access to company systems, to check in with their supervisors and perform their tasks effectively.

> Use technology. As discussed, the pandemic period has accelerated the growth of connectivity and resulted in loads of amazing tools to stay in touch and manage projects remotely.

> Encourage work-life balance. Allowing WFH and micromanaging at the same time is a no-go. Employees should be trusted with their time planning & tasks as well as be encouraged to use their breaks, establish boundaries, and use PTO.

> Regular check-ins. Trust & autonomy doesn’t mean forcing your employees to run without any support. One-on-one check-ins with remote workers to discuss their progress and address challenges are critical, and regular recognition of their contributions can boost their motivation.

> Social interaction. The vast majority of employees wish to work remotely does not mean they don’t like their co-workers. Virtual team-building activities and social events are important to maintain a sense of unity.

If your company is joining the WFH trend just now, educate your employees on the best ways to manage their time and work from home effectively. Some simple tips for creating a designated workspace, establishing a routine, minimizing distractions, setting realistic goals, taking breaks, and utilizing available digital tools for organization and connectivity can do wonders.

The future

57% of workers would look for a new job if their current company didn’t allow remote work. That is not surprising, as millennials will comprise around 75% of the global workforce by 2025, and they are not afraid to job hop looking for the best opportunities and work-life balance. That alone definitely demonstrates that businesses are undergoing significant changes, and CEOs must embrace these changes to shape the future of their organizations. Companies that expect the need for employees to have flexibility when it comes to work location to be just something that will pass, should re-evaluate if the challenges of allowing such an option still outweigh the benefits.

For now, it is clear that the majority of workers expect to have a choice in the way they work. The amount of research on this trend has accelerated in recent years. The combination of these two factors will likely encourage the not-yet-too-sure companies to give in once they can make data-driven decisions.

Future of HR: what’s in the cards?

We don’t have a crystal ball, but it’s still fun to contemplate what the future of HR will look like. Based on the current trends, here are some things we think & hope will happen:

Remote-first culture ⬇️

While the pandemic has definitely shifted the way we work, with technological advancements and more distributed workforce, it is bound to persist. While remote working poses a number of challenges for organisations, the transformation 🚀 to overcome those in terms of policies, investment in technology, and changes in culture is already happening & will continue gather pace.

Supportive to strategic ⬇️

As most companies are shifting towards a more human-centric approach, the role of HR will likely step out from the back-office function to become a crucial strategic partner 🤝 , helping to formulate and implement strategic initiatives to navigate complex business environments.

Focus on well-being ⬇️

Employee well-being is already transitioning from a nice-to-have to a strategic must – instead of reacting to burnout and lack of engagement, well-being initiatives are becoming more proactive. Therefore, the future of HR is likely to focus on the integration of the employee well-being into the very DNA 🧬 of the workplace.

Employer branding ⬇️

With talent competition, creating a character of yourself as an employer will become crucial to attract 🔎 and retain talent. HR will work closely with marketing and communications teams to create an authentic, engaging, and powerful employer brand that reflects values, culture, and people in the organisation.

Comprehensive analytics ⬇️

With evolving technology, HR world is bound to have more numbers to make decision making more data-driven. People analytics will help talent acquisition, management, employee experience, engagement & more. 💡 It will help to shift from simply solving the problems at hand to proactively addressing any potential issues before they affect employee satisfaction and productivity.

Au-to-ma-tion ⬇️

Nothing surprising here – HR will continue to utilise AI and other technology to further streamline all processes and boost efficiency. 🤖 From what we already witness today, such as bots screening candidates to automated onboarding, to more difficult tasks that will reduce inaccuracies and risks, it will help for HR specialists to make more time for strategic aspects of people management.

Upskilling ⬇️

With changing sets of skills needed to navigate in the business world, more and more attention will be put on ensuring learning and upskilling opportunities for employees. 📚 This has already become an aspect in nurturing and retaining talent but the importance of future-proofing the workforce will become even more critical for not only employee engagement and value, but also for the success of all organisations.

Diversity ⬇️

With more distributed global workforce, Diversity and Inclusion will have to become a strategic pillar of all companies. To ensure competitiveness and success, businesses will have no choice but open their horizons to diverse perspectives and experiences 🌏 that diverse team brings to the table. HR will be tasked with creating and nurturing a culture that makes all employees like they belong & can bring their unique ideas.

Update on MELP | July

In July, we managed to prepare these updates for our clients:


  1. We have introduced a new Wallet functionality that consolidates employee benefits budgets into one, empowering them to purchase higher value items. For instance, let’s consider a scenario where an employee receives €30 for their birthday and has an additional free budget of €20 to spend at the MELP shop (two distinct benefits). With the Wallet feature, they can now utilize the combined budgets to acquire items like a relaxing wellness massage valued at €50;
  2. On the home screen, we have relocated the MELP shop budget balance to enhance employees’ understanding and visibility of their remaining budget, empowering them to make better-informed decisions on how they can use it;
  3. A new MELP shop page (along with the wallet) has been added to make it easier and faster for employees to access all the goods;
  4. On the MELP shop page, we have added the option to filter by the benefits for which the employee has an allocated budget to use in the MELP shop;

HR platform

  1. We have implemented the functionality to manually add costs by deducting the budget from the employee’s accumulated recognition points;
  2. We have added the total amount of accumulated recognitions points, the points used, and the remaining balance of points to be visible on the employee card;
  3.  HR professionals will now have a possibility to disable the conversion of recognition points into monetary units, leaving the accumulation in points only;
  4. We have added a feature in the Benefits Alternative module that allows the HR admin to select or change benefits for an employee;
  5. We have added the ability to filter out Alternative selections based on various variables;
  6. We have improved the speed of the list view for an employee’s assigned benefits.

Although there were no official launches last month, we are glad to announce that we’ve signed contracts with an exciting bunch of businesses: Inmedica, Dotnuva Baltic, 15min group, Hotel Pacai. We are glad to have a variety of clients from different industries and work further to understand their & their employee needs. Hurray to new beginnings!

Q&A with Auksė Žukauskienė: future of work & self-development for HR specialists

Auksė is the founder of the organizational & people practice @EY, with solid track record in helping local & international client to build stronger leaders and enter organizations. Prior to EY, Auksė proved herself as a senior HR professional, with corporate experience in PMI, Barclays & SBA Group both in Lithuania & Internationally. Her exceptional expertise lies in HR Strategy, Transformation, Organizational & Personal change management, and other areas of organisational development. We asked Auksė a few questions about what the future of work will look like, how to strike that work-life balance, and what HR specialists should consider when beginning their self-development journey. Enjoy!

Future of Work – which few pillars would you mention to describe how you see it evolving in the nearest 5 years?

There are a few trends emerging in the world of work globally as well as in the Baltic states. The most typical one to mention is Remote or hybrid work, but a lot has been said abut it so I’d rather mention  a few others:

> Digital Transformation and Automation: As technology continues to advance, organizations will increasingly focus on digital transformation and automation to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and robotic process automation (RPA) will play a pivotal role in automating repetitive tasks, enabling employees to focus on more strategic and creative work.

> Upskilling and Reskilling: The rapid pace of technological advancements and automation will lead to a shift in the required skill sets in the job market. To stay relevant, employees will need to focus on upskilling and reskilling to acquire new capabilities. Employers and educational institutions will likely invest more in training programs to ensure their workforce remains adaptable and equipped with the necessary skills.

> Emphasis on Well-being and Mental Health: The remote work revolution has highlighted the importance of employee well-being and mental health. In the next five years, companies are expected to put a greater emphasis on creating a supportive work environment that prioritizes mental health, work-life balance, and employee engagement. Flexibility as well as personalization is key here, throughout employee journey.

> Decentralized Workforce and Global Talent Pool: With remote work becoming more prevalent, companies will have the opportunity to tap into a global talent pool. Geographical boundaries will matter less, and organizations may adopt a decentralized workforce, hiring talent from various regions and cultures.

> Environmental Sustainability: Concerns about climate change and environmental sustainability will influence the future of work. Companies will likely adopt greener practices and strategies to reduce their carbon footprint, and employees may seek opportunities with environmentally responsible organizations.

> Agile and Adaptable Organizational Structures: Hierarchical organizational structures may give way to more agile and adaptable models. Companies will seek to be more responsive to changing market dynamics, customer needs, and technological innovations.

While these pillars are expected to shape the future of work in the next five years, it’s essential to remember that the landscape is ever-evolving, and new trends and challenges may emerge beyond what we can anticipate today. Adaptability, innovation, and a willingness to embrace change will be crucial for individuals and organizations to thrive in the future of work.


What would you advise for HR people to consider, when they are planning self-development path?

There is no „one size fits all“ to this question. I would recommend to make a choice between breath (i.e. HR Partnership) or depth of HR expertise (i.e. Reward, talent acquisition management, organizational development, etc.) and commit yourself to this path. Having said that   – new skills are evolving as a requirement for HR professionals, for example critical & systems thinking,  project management, organizational design, to name a few. 


Work-life balance is so important these days – how organizations could better respond to this challenge?

Whether we talk of Work-life balance or Hybrid work or any other aspect within the workplace – my answer to that is always TRUST. If we manage to establish a trusting culture, where people are ok to speak up, share their ideas and concerns, they will also be responsible for the deliverables as well as personal wellbeing and will reach out to management should they need any support. When you reach this type of relationship, there is no forced Work Life balance programs needed, things come natural and and organization functions like a healthy organism.


You are working with transformations – could you please tell about your personal transformation that made a big impact in your life? 

Interestingly – the hardest experiences leave the strongest marks in our lives. For me  – it was the closure of BGOL (Barclays Group Operations Center) in Lithuania and ensuring the transition of 1500 people into new opportunities on labor market. As a head of the organization i set myself a target – make this hard and painful project something that counts  – not just in my life but also for the lives & careers of all impacted people. And i sincerely believe (and feedback i received) that we mostly succeeded! And that has transformed me as a leader, as a citizen but most importantly humbled as a human being.

Creating a PTO-friendly work environment

Unused Paid Time Off (PTO) has doubled since the pandemic. Why some employees are reluctant to take PTO, why is it important to the welfare of both your team and your business, and how to encourage a pro-rest work environment? Let’s discuss everything-PTO.

Why employees are reluctant to take PTO

> Workload and deadlines: your employees don’t feel able to prioritise time off over their deadlines and worry about falling behind or leaving their coworkers with additional responsibilities.

> Lack of flexibility: your team doesn’t feel comfortable with planning their PTO due to the uncertainty with the current workload or projects or a lack of support from their managers.

> Workaholic workplace culture: there is a “constant availability” culture in your workplace, where employees see long hours as a norm and feel like PTO would demonstrate a lack of dedication or commitment.

> FOMO: the fear of missing out on opportunities or developments (such as missed promotions, critical projects etc.) while they are away might hinder your team members from feeling free to take some time off.

> Lack of coverage: employees might believe that their absence will create stress for their colleagues and like there are not enough resources to enjoy their PTO without creating chaos in the office.

Why time off is important

All work and no fun is not a good idea – not for your business or your employees. Encouraging employees to take regular breaks and vacations is beneficial for the overall long-term productivity and well-being of the organization:

> Taking breaks allows employees to rest and recharge. It helps combat burnout, reduces stress levels, and promotes overall well-being. Rested employees are more likely to be energized, focused, and motivated when they return to work.

> Taking regular breaks and vacations actually improves productivity in the long run. Time off allows employees to regain their mental and physical energy, which leads to increased concentration, creativity, and problem-solving abilities.

> Time away from work promotes better mental health. It allows employees to disconnect from work-related stressors, unwind, and engage in activities they enjoy. This can help reduce anxiety, prevent burnout, and improve overall mental well-being.

>When employees have the chance to take breaks and vacations, they feel valued and supported by their organization. This fosters a positive work environment and enhances employee engagement and motivation. Employees who feel well taken care of are more likely to be committed to their work and contribute positively to the organization’s goals.

> Breaks and vacations can provide opportunities for personal growth and skill development. Employees can use this time to pursue interests outside of work, learn new things, or engage in personal projects that enhance their skills and knowledge. These experiences can bring fresh perspectives and insights to their work when they return.

> Taking time off allows employees to explore new environments, cultures, and experiences. Exposure to different stimuli can spark creativity and innovation. Vacations and breaks provide opportunities for employees to gain inspiration, broaden their horizons, and bring new ideas back to the workplace.

Make flexible and accessible PTO a norm

Encouraging employees to take PTO requires a proactive approach from the organization. Here are some strategies to promote and encourage employees to utilize their PTO:

> Lead by example.

Leaders and managers should prioritize taking time off themselves and communicate openly about their own PTO plans. When employees see their superiors valuing and taking advantage of vacation time, it sets a positive example and reinforces the importance of work-life balance.

> Communicate PTO policies.

Ensure that employees are aware of the organization’s PTO policies, including the amount of PTO they are entitled to, any carryover rules, and the process for requesting time off. Clearly communicate the value and benefits of taking time off for personal well-being and productivity.

> Create a positive vacation culture.

Foster a work environment that supports and encourages employees to take time off. Celebrate employees who take vacations and recognize their well-deserved breaks. Encourage sharing vacation experiences and photos to inspire others and generate excitement about taking time off.

> Plan and schedule in advance.

Encourage employees to plan and schedule their PTO in advance, allowing for proper workload management and seamless workflow continuity. Provide guidance on how to effectively plan for time off, considering project timelines and team coordination.

> Provide backup and support.

Ensure that employees feel supported and have a backup plan when they are on vacation. Establish clear protocols for delegating responsibilities and assigning temporary coverage. This helps alleviate concerns about work piling up during their absence and encourages employees to feel confident about taking time off.

> Promote work-life balance.

Emphasize the importance of work-life balance and well-being in your organization’s culture. Encourage employees to prioritize self-care, personal activities, and spending time with family and friends. Foster an environment that values and supports employees’ personal lives as much as their professional commitments.

> Limit PTO accumulation.

Consider implementing policies that limit the accumulation of unused PTO days. By setting a cap on carryover or implementing “use it or lose it” policies, employees are more motivated to take time off rather than hoarding their PTO days.

> Provide PTO tracking tools.

Offer user-friendly tools or software that make it easy for employees to track and manage their PTO balances and requests. Automated systems can help streamline the process and ensure transparency, making it more convenient for employees to plan and take time off.

> Communicate PTO benefits regularly.

Remind employees about the benefits of taking PTO through regular communication channels such as newsletters, intranet updates, or team meetings. Highlight the positive impact of taking breaks on overall well-being, productivity, and job satisfaction.

> Conduct PTO checkups.

During regular performance reviews or one-on-one meetings, discuss PTO utilization with employees. Inquire about their vacation plans and address any concerns or barriers they may have. Show genuine interest in their well-being and encourage them to make the most of their PTO.

> Make it more flexible.

Consider implementing flexible PTO policies that allow employees to use their time off in a way that suits their individual needs. Instead of allocating specific days for vacation and sick leave, provide a combined PTO bank that employees can use for any purpose. This gives employees more autonomy and allows them to take time off when they need it.

Some ideas for flexible time-off

> Unlimited PTO.

Offer an unlimited PTO policy where employees have the freedom to take time off as needed, within reasonable limits and with proper communication. This approach allows employees to manage their own time and encourages a culture of trust and responsibility.

> Half-day or hourly PTO.

Provide the option for employees to take half-days or even hourly increments of PTO. This flexibility allows employees to address personal matters, attend appointments, or take short breaks without needing to use a full day of PTO.

> Remote Work and PTO.

Combine remote work options with PTO to create a flexible arrangement. Allow employees to take PTO while working remotely, enabling them to balance personal obligations with professional responsibilities. This can be particularly beneficial for situations where employees may need to be away for shorter durations or have specific time-sensitive commitments.

> PTO rollover and carryover.

Enable employees to roll over or carry forward unused PTO from one year to the next. This provides flexibility for employees who may want to accumulate their time off for longer vacations or specific occasions in the future.

> Short notice PTO requests.

Allow employees to request PTO on short notice, within reason. Sometimes unexpected personal events or emergencies arise, and having the flexibility to take time off without extensive planning can alleviate stress and support employees during such situations.

Unlimited PTO

Unlimited Paid Time Off (PTO) is a policy that grants employees the freedom to take as much time off as they need, within reasonable limits and with proper communication and approval.

> 72% of employees would choose unlimited PTO as a benefit.
> 50% of American workers would prefer unlimited PTO to higher compensation.
> Employees at Netflix say that unlimited vacation is the most valued non-healthcare benefit
> 82% of employees feel positive about unlimited PTO policies.

The benefits of unlimited PTO include flexibility, autonomy, increased trust between the workplace and the employee, improved work-life balance, and employee attraction & retention. However, professionals agree that this policy can lead to unequal distribution of free time among employees and dips in performance if no clear structure and guidelines are present.

No unused PTO

It’s important for employers to foster a healthy work culture that encourages work-life balance, acknowledges the value of time off, and provides adequate support to ensure workload management and coverage during employees’ absences. Encouraging and normalizing holidays as essential for rest and overall well-being can help alleviate the reluctance some workers may feel about taking time off.

Remember, creating a culture that values and encourages employees to take PTO requires ongoing effort and reinforcement. By promoting work-life balance, setting a positive example, and communicating the benefits of time off, you can encourage employees to take the well-deserved breaks they need for their overall well-being and job satisfaction.

How to hack offboarding process?

With the cooling-off period after the great resignation phenomenon, some HR specialists are outright tired of saying goodbye to the employees exiting the company. Still, it’s important to understand that an offboarding, if done right, can be a great opportunity to showcase company values, receive some extremely valuable feedback and add to the employer image of your business. What is offboarding, why it pays to do it well & how to hack it?


What’s offboarding?

While the process often varies among companies, offboarding is a set of actions that accompany the formal end to an employer’s journey with your company. If you think that the offboarding process is only concerned with an employee signing the paperwork and returning any company equipment, you should know that these steps are only the tip of the iceberg. You can do more, and you should do more.

Why complicate the often-times already complicated process of employee departure?

> A nice goodbye can turn your departing employees into loyal alumni. This keep-in-touch attitude means not only knowledge-sharing opportunities, but your alumni becoming your company’s ambassadors, customers or even suppliers.

> If you do it well, sooner or later you can expect some boomerang employees. Actually, studies reveal that boomerang employees tend to demonstrate a higher level of commitment to a company. 40 percent of employees say they would consider coming back to a company where they had worked before, and, importantly, boomerang employees usually come back with more expertise and know-how that can help to reach your goals faster.

>A well-managed and creative offboarding can add to your employer image – not only through the public reviews and word of mouth by those exiting the company but also the current employees who can see how much care, empathy and respect you are demonstrating with the leavers.

And what if the breakup was not that nice?

Despite the risks, a whopping 71% of organizations have no formal offboarding process. How can it affect your company?

> Online reviews

We know it’s rare, but some ex-employees can really go out of their way to leave negative feedback on online review platforms or social media. A study found that more than 50 percent of job seekers checked these reviews before applying for a job, so needless to say, this is an important part of your employer brand.

> Word of mouth

Everyone loves a good quitting story, but we can all agree we can exaggerate some bits for the drama. The thing is – word travels fast and you don’t want to be remembered as a toxic place to work, so ensuring a pleasant goodbye should be something to strive for every time.

> Intentional harm

We don’t want to believe it, but there are people out there who can do harmful things to the ex-employer if the company doesn’t set some security measures in place. Leaking important data, stealing intellectual property and similar harmful actions can be a real hit to the reputation of your company. 1 out of 5 companies have experienced data breaches by ex-employees – it isn’t that surprising, because 1 in 4 departed employees still have access to information and accounts from their ex-workplaces.

What to consider? 

To ensure you protect the reputation, intellectual property, and remaining employees, think about these beyond-paperwork processes:

Notifying other teams

Keeping teams informed about employee departures demonstrates transparency within the organization. It fosters a culture of open communication and trust, where employees feel valued and included in important organizational updates.

Notifying other teams when an employee is leaving the company is an important step in ensuring a smooth transition. When an employee departs, they take with them their unique skills, knowledge, and expertise. Notifying other teams in advance allows for knowledge transfer to take place before the employee leaves. This enables the redistribution of critical information, documents, and processes, ensuring that essential knowledge is not lost and that others can seamlessly continue the work.

Additionally, knowing that an employee is leaving allows teams and managers to assess their resource needs and plan accordingly. It provides an opportunity to evaluate workload distribution, identify any skill gaps that need to be addressed through hiring or training, and ensure that the team can continue to meet its objectives without overburdening other members.

Exit interview

Exit interviews play a vital role in the employee offboarding process, providing valuable insights and feedback that can contribute to organizational improvement. This feedback can help identify patterns, address systemic issues, and make necessary changes to enhance employee satisfaction and engagement.

Exit interviews help uncover the reasons why employees choose to leave the company – these underlying factors behind employee departures can help identify trends, such as issues with leadership, work-life balance, career growth, or compensation.

Moreover, by conducting exit interviews, organizations demonstrate that they value their employees’ opinions and experiences. This can help departing employees feel heard and appreciated, even in their final days with the company. Here are some questions to include in your exit interview:

> Did you have enough resources and support you needed to perform your work successfully

> Did the job match your expectations?

> Is there anything we could have done to change your mind about moving on from the company?

> Would you consider returning to this company?



It’s not only about returning the work laptop and phone – think about your intellectual property and sensitive information. Ensuring the security of intellectual information when employees exit the company is crucial to protect sensitive data and prevent unauthorized access.

Regularly review and update access privileges throughout an employee’s tenure. Implement strong access controls, such as unique user accounts, role-based permissions, and multi-factor authentication, to restrict access to sensitive information. When an employee leaves, immediately deactivate their accounts and ensure their access rights are revoked across all systems.

If necessary, you should consider requiring employees to sign confidentiality agreements that outline their responsibility to protect intellectual property and sensitive information. Emphasize the importance of maintaining confidentiality even after leaving the organization.

Of course, don’t overlook physical security measures. Retrieve any physical access cards, keys, or other physical assets that grant entry to company premises. Change relevant codes or passwords for security systems to prevent unauthorized entry.

Alumni network

An alumni network helps maintain connections, fosters a sense of community, and provides ongoing opportunities for engagement and collaboration.

Former employees can serve as a valuable talent pool for future hiring needs. They are already familiar with the organization’s culture and can potentially bring new skills and experiences gained elsewhere. Engaging with alumni can help tap into this talent pool and facilitate rehiring or referrals. This can be facilitated through online forums, networking events, webinars, or mentoring programs.

Maintain an up-to-date database of alumni contact information. This can include email addresses, LinkedIn profiles, and any other relevant details. You should regularly communicate with alumni through newsletters, email updates, or social media announcements. Share relevant news, organizational updates, professional development opportunities, and exclusive benefits or events.

41% of former employees report wanting opportunities to network. Networking events specifically for alumni, both in-person and virtual are also a good idea. These events can provide opportunities for former employees to reconnect, share experiences, and build professional relationships.

It all comes down to values

Whatever you decide to do as a part of your offboarding process, remember – your company values should be your Northern Star when it comes to your actions. It’s always a good idea to show care, and empathy, and wish the best to the employee who is moving on.

Don’t let your employee exiting process be just that – when the dust settles, you should use all the important information you gathered to improve your organisational culture, existing employee experience, data security etc.

Workations: a cure to the office summer blues

A workation, also known as a “working vacation” is a concept that combines work and leisure by allowing your team to work remotely while enjoying a vacation-like experience in a different (often awesome) location. It involves temporarily relocating to a destination away from the usual work environment, such as a beach resort, mountain cabin, or cultural hub, while maintaining work responsibilities… More or less.

During a workation, employees typically bring their work devices and have access to stable wi-fi to perform their job duties remotely and then enjoy leisure activities together during their free time. Workations have become increasingly popular with the rise of remote work – it offers a cost-efficient way for remote teams to meet up and work together by strengthening relationships, brainstorming, and having a good time together.

What makes a workation?

Remote work. Workations are based on the premise that individuals can effectively perform their work remotely, utilizing technology and communication tools to stay connected with their colleagues and complete their tasks.

Change of environment. Workations provide an opportunity to break away from the usual work setting and experience a different location. This change of scenery can offer inspiration, relaxation, and a refreshing perspective.

Flexibility. Workations offer flexibility in terms of location and schedule. Participants can choose destinations that align with their preferences and have the freedom to explore and engage in activities outside of work hours.

It’s important to note that workations require careful planning and coordination to ensure that work responsibilities are fulfilled while also allowing for a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Communication with colleagues, setting clear boundaries between work and leisure time, and managing expectations are crucial for a successful workation.

Can they boost morale?

> 70% of US employees are less likely to quit after a workation.

> 83% of workers think workationing helped them cope with burnout.

> 81% of workers experienced a creativity spike after workationing.

> 60% of employees believe they are more productive while on workation.

Here are the benefits of hosting regular workations?

1. Increased productivity. A change in environment can boost productivity and creativity. By stepping away from the usual office setting, your team can experience a fresh perspective, reduce distractions, and find a renewed focus on their work responsibilities.

2. Work-life balance. Workations provide an opportunity to integrate work and leisure, enabling employees to balance their professional responsibilities with personal relaxation and enjoyment. A step back into a relaxing environment can lead to a healthier work-life balance.

3. Reduced stress and burnout. Taking a workation can help prevent burnout. The combination of work and leisure activities as well as having a less formal time with coworkers can provide your team with a much-needed break from routine, allowing them to recharge, unwind, and return to work with renewed energy and motivation.

4. Enhanced creativity and inspiration. Exploring new environments, cultures, and experiences during a workation can stimulate creativity and inspire fresh ideas. Being exposed to different surroundings and engaging in leisure activities can provide a more innovative mindset when approaching work-related tasks and challenges.

5. Improved focus and concentration. Workations offer an opportunity to work in a setting that suits personal preferences and promotes better concentration. Some individuals find that being away from the typical office environment allows them to focus more effectively, leading to increased productivity and efficiency.

6. Networking and collaboration. Some workation experiences bring together remote workers from various teams, fostering networking opportunities and collaboration. Engaging with like-minded people can lead to new valuable connections, knowledge sharing, and potential collaborations on future projects.

Are you ready to plan a workation?

It’s worth noting that the benefits of workations can vary based on individual preferences, work requirements, and the specific nature of the workation experience. Careful planning, clear communication, and managing expectations are essential to ensure a successful and beneficial workation for both individuals and organizations. If you plan it carefully and communicate clear boundaries and expectations – it should be awesome for your both business and your employees.

Update on MELP | June

What’s up with MELP?

In June, we have launched MELP at Vilniaus šilumos tinklai, Vilnius Coding School, CargoGo Logistics, Hotrema & Baltic Assist! We are glad to help these companies to take their employee engagement & satisfaction to another level.

More happy news – Travel Retail Vilnius has launched their recognition programme using MELP Recognition feature.

We have also had our long-term client Ignitis Group signing a plan to shift their internal Recognition programme to the MELP app & expand their additional employee benefits selection and its administration with us. With our one-in-all HR tool employees will be able to reward each other in an interactive & gamified way and the HR professionals will have their mundane tasks automated. We’ll start the preparation soon!

We’re excited to announce new partnerships and integrations of MELP platform! In June MELP has signed cooperation agreement with HiBob – one of global leaders in HR management. HiBob offers agile technology that wraps all the complexities of HR processes into a game-changing, user-friendly tool that touches every employee across the business. So even more clients and their employees will have freedom to choose flexible benefits and communicate smoothly with this new integration.

Another partner, that will offer it’s services to MELP clients – Goindex, Lithuania’s first pension fund management company, specializing exclusively in II and III pillar pension funds composed of index funds. Pension is one of the largest employee benefits globally, so we aim to partner with important players in this field, to provide more seamless experience for the end-users managing their benefits.

We are preparing some awesome new features for you, so last month’s updates are mostly about making our app even more user friendly:


  1. In order to elicit more employees feedback in surveys, we introduced a popup-style invitation within the MELP app that appears when employees open it.
  2. Other minor design improvements – from changing button positions to texts and links, all to make your MELP app more colorful and user friendly.

HR platform

  1. Minor style and UX changes, including easier export to XLS, improved search and sorting.

We have also been working with improvement of Benefit form, that was launched in May, working fast with requests from our clients and enhancing performance of the platform.

Q&A with Helo Tamme: HR trends in Estonia & shifting to fintech

We met Helo at the first-of-a-kind HR Expo in Tallinn and admired her energy and passion for the world of HR. As one of the founders of the Estonian HR Society, she is very well-connected in the industry and actively engages with the community. So it is a sheer pleasure to interview Helo for People Pleaser! After more than a decade at ISS, Helo has recently shifted to fintech HR at Estonia’s Unicorn Wise and has agreed to share a few things about this change, Estonian HR trends & the importance of making time for dreams.


1. You have been working for a large corporation and now joined a well-known fintech company Wise. Can you share some insights on why you decided to take this new step?

Past (almost) 15 years I was working at ISS, a global FM and workplace experience company. 15 years is a long time and for me, it was definitely challenging to find a comparable company. For me, there were at least those key factors that I was looking from my next employer: a successful international organisation, with multicultural and diverse teams, with great company culture, and a place where I can create value with my experience as well as to learn a lot and develop as HR professional. The role at Wise ticked all the boxes for me and, therefore, I decided to apply for the job.

2. What main trends in the HR industry do you see currently ongoing in Estonia and do you think that they are the same globally or is Estonia somewhat unique?

That is a great question – early in spring Estonian HR Society together with Fontes launched its second annual HR survey. In total, we had 369 responses this year. Among other topics, we also explored what are the current HR priorities. In the top 5, we had: hiring, employment relations, employee experience, L&D, and well-being (incl. mental health). It is quite unique to see that hiring is still number one (it was also the priority in 2022). This also shows that we need talents to be successful in our business and there is still a focus on finding and hiring the right ones.

3. Can you name one crazy thing you did and how do you think stepping „out of the normal“ helps us as individuals?

In March I decided to take a bit longer workation in Spain. It doesn’t sound too crazy at first, but here is the trick – I packed my car and took my 3 little children, and drove to South Spain. It took me 8 days to get us there. Probably many people dream about taking a longer vacation somewhere in a warm country (or somewhere else) but they never get there as there is always something else that comes up.

My message is: follow your dreams, don’t put them on hold! To find time, we need to take time.

Flexibility as a benefit – why is it crucial in a contemporary workplace?

In the current workplace as we know it, employee flexibility has become an increasingly important factor for companies to consider or better yet – implement immediately. Although workplace flexibility most commonly refers to the ability of employees to work in a way that allows them to balance their work and personal responsibilities, it could be argued to be a much broader and ever-growing concept. Let’s discuss employee flexibility, its importance and how to create a truly flexible work environment to better engage and retain talent.

Why is employee flexibility important?

> Work-life balance. Burnout is scary. When employees can balance their work and personal responsibilities to create their routines, they are less likely to experience burnout or feel overwhelmed. A balanced life has a direct positive impact on engagement both in personal life experiences and in the workplace. Gallup research reveals that companies with engaged employees experience 40% fewer quality defects and more than 20% higher profitability.

> Morale and motivation. Most of us want to work to live and not the other way around. When employees are given the flexibility to manage their work hours and shuffle around their workload based on their personal out-of-work responsibilities, they are more likely to feel valued and supported by their employer. Needless to say, this leads to increased job satisfaction and, if managed properly, can improve productivity and performance. 65% of employees believe that they would be more productive working from home than in a traditional office environment.

> Attracting and retaining talent. It is that simple – employees are looking for jobs that offer flexible work arrangements. A decade ago, offering flexible work options would have made you stand out from your competitors. These days, it’s almost a non-negotiable. In fact, 82% of employees say that they would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible work options.

How to create a flexible work environment?

Creating a flexible work environment involves several key steps. First things first, you should assess your current work policies and identify areas where you can be more flexible. Flexible work schedules, remote work options, job-sharing opportunities, and freedom to choose benefits are just a few examples.

Grand ideas are good but providing tools to use flexible opportunities is a crucial step. Can you afford and ensure the technology and infrastructure in place to support flexible work arrangements? This may involve investing in software, updating IT infrastructure or even hiring some additional help.

After identifying flexibility opportunities, implementing them into your policy, and ensuring all the needed tools for employees to use them effectively, you should put effort into clear communication. Written policies or handbooks that outline the types of flexible work arrangements available and any guidelines or expectations for employees who choose to use them are a good idea.

What can be arranged flexibly except the way we work

In short – a lot, even compensation. Some companies allow their employees to choose how often their salary is paid, from monthly to weekly or bi-weekly. But the biggest trend is flexible employee benefits.

One size does not fil all and when it comes to benefits, your employees should be able what benefits them most individually. Maximise your allocated benefit budget by allowing your employees freedom when choosing what to get. Here are just a few examples:

> Budget in restaurants, cafes, and food delivery services
> Allowance for active leisure, such as gym memberships, workout classes, waking, skiing, rock climbing lessons… you name it
> Personalised health insurance package
> Learning and development budget
> Budget for commuting options

& many more – the more options you can offer, the more competitive you can be

You should do it

In conclusion, flexibility in a workplace turned from a nice-to-have into a must-have. To make flexibility work as a benefit on its own, you must consider that the best benefits… are personalized benefits.

Flexibility in work location, hours, or employee benefits is not about one policy for everyone but the freedom to customize and apply it to your individual circumstances. When doing it right, companies can improve employee morale and motivation, improve work-life balance and engagement, and, most importantly, attract and retain top talent.

Cost of living crisis: what can you do for your employees?

The cost of living crisis has become a significant issue for many individuals and families across the world. This crisis has caused many individuals to struggle to make ends meet, leading to increased stress levels and financial hardship. How can you help your employees during this difficult time?

What can you do?

Due to the fact that the cost of living crisis is not just an economic issue but also a huge moral burden, a combination of workplace benefits can make a difference. While it should depend on the employee’s preference and individual circumstances, health and wellness as well as financial benefits prove to be the most popular when in recession:

> Healthcare. By providing healthcare benefits, HR can help employees to access the physical and psychological care they need without having to worry about the cost-based availability. While this can be particularly beneficial for employees who have chronic health conditions or who have family members who require medical care, a striking 85% of all employees think that health insurance is a must-have benefit.

> Retirement plans. Many employees are worried about their retirement savings, particularly as they struggle to make ends meet in the present. By offering additional help with retirement funds, HR can help employees to plan for their future and reduce their financial stress levels. While this can be particularly beneficial for younger employees who may not be thinking about retirement just yet, it is the older employees who are expecting it more often. Although 10% of surveyed employees said that retirement plans are the most significant factor for workplace satisfaction, a lot of employers are careful to offer this benefit due to unstable costs.

> Paid time off. Many employees are worried about taking time off work, particularly if they are struggling financially. By offering PTO, you can help employees to take the time they need to rest and recharge without worrying about lost income – this is confirmed by 61.9% of the surveyed employees with PTO who say that this contributed to their healthy work-life balance.

> Employee assistance programs (EAPs). For example, some companies may choose to pay for their employees’ utilities, childcare or offer transportation assistance to help offset the high costs of commuting. Additionally, some companies may offer employee discounts on products and services, such as groceries, to help employees save money on their essential expenses.

Why do it?

What’s best for business is what’s best for its people. Not cutting current benefits and providing additional ones during the cost of living crisis can help increase their loyalty to the company in several ways.

> Offering benefits demonstrates to employees that the company cares about their well-being beyond their work performance. When employees feel that their employer is invested in their financial and emotional well-being, they are more likely to be satisfied in their work.

> Help in the time of need can also help to increase employee retention. When employees feel valued and supported by their employer, they are more likely to stay with the company long-term. Offering benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and paid time off can help to create a sense of stability and security for employees, which can increase their loyalty to the company.

> Economic burden is moral burden. When employees feel that they are being fairly compensated and have access to valuable benefits, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work. This can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction, which can in turn lead to higher levels of employee loyalty.

Is now the time?

HR departments have an important role to play in supporting employees during the cost of living crisis. By offering a range of benefits, from healthcare and retirement plans to simple benefits such as flexible work schedules and EAPs, HR can help employees to manage their finances and reduce their stress levels.

Regular market research, employee “temperature checks” and a culture of active listening in the workplace will let you see the alarm bells early and implement smart and calculated solutions to keep your team strong in the difficult times.

G(re)en Z is taking over. How to adapt?

Gen Z – employees born between 1995-2012 – are going to make up around 27% of the global workforce by 2025. That is why, in the face of challenges related to employee retention and great resignation, it is now more important than ever to explore, understand, and implement factors important for Gen Z in the workplace. One of the most crucial factors to Gen Z employees is the company’s sustainability efforts – why is it so important and how to satisfy the need for green initiatives and benefits in your company?

Gen Z has increased expectations from employers when it comes to their outlook and actions towards solving societal challenges. It is reported that Gen Z employees value their core beliefs as much as their financial security. A recent US report revealed that 51% of surveyed students would take a lower salary if the workplace would be environmentally responsible.

Why do GenZ’ers care so much about sustainability?

Whilst the globally disruptive pandemic is not what started the sustainability craze, it has accelerated with youth activists taking it to the next level and changing the economy as we speak. The lockdown taught us how to consume less and showed us that changing our travel and buying habits can work in replenishing Earth’s resources.

Now, activists like Greta Thumberg or Jamie Margolin fight for facing societal issues and leading a huge movement among digital natives and beyond. Gen Zers say that global warming is their top concern and 71% of Gen Z are anxious about their future in terms of the environment.

How does this context relate to GenZ employment?

> 77% of Gen Z candidates say it is important to work in a company with values that match theirs.

> 59% of candidates aged 18 to 22 say they would be willing to stay longer with an environmentally responsible organization.

> 83% of Gen Z candidates consider the commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion as an important factor when choosing a place to work in.

With GenZ changing jobs at a 134% higher rate than before the pandemic and struggling with engagement at the workplace more than other generations, here are some suggestions to consider to please GenZers in relation to green initiatives and benefits:

> Ensure remote working options to increase work-life balance and avoid unnecessary carbon footprint. 70% of Gen Zers say they would change jobs if their work requires working from the office full-time.

> Tackle climate change one step at a time (literally) by encouraging walking and cycling initiatives. This will lower your carbon emissions and increase the fitness and creativity levels of your employees.

> Provide regular opportunities for green volunteering to build eco-friendly habits. Beyond paid volunteering hours, consider a green budget to help employees make environmentally friendly choices without financial strain.

> Make green changes around the office. Small actions like complimentary reusable water bottles and lunch boxes, reconsidering the need for water coolers, introducing more convenient recycling and educating your employees about sustainability topics can go a long way.

> Looking for a new company car? It’s time to go electric and set an example to your employees and beyond. You can do it with smaller purchases as well – choose ethical and sustainable suppliers for employees’ home office creation, all the necessary electronic gadgets, and office supplies.

Extra tip – listen to the concerns of your employees and provide them with solutions to increase their engagement and satisfaction.

Onboarding: how to do it right?

First impression matters! That is why a well-designed onboarding process can make all the difference between a new hire who hits the ground running and one who struggles to find their footing. Effective onboarding is not just about filling out paperwork and getting employees up to speed – it’s about creating a comprehensive experience that fosters engagement, productivity, and a sense of belonging from day one.

Let’s explore the importance of the onboarding process and share key strategies to ensure a smooth and successful transition for new employees.

Why onboarding process is important?

The onboarding process is a critical step in integrating new employees into an organization’s culture and values. It sets the tone for their entire employee journey and can greatly impact their long-term engagement and satisfaction. In fact, an effective employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 82%. What benefits a structured onboarding can bring to your company?

> Businesses with effective onboarding saw a 60% year-over-year improvement in revenue. A well-structured onboarding program accelerates the time it takes for new hires to become productive and reach their full potential. It equips them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources to perform their roles effectively.

> New employees with good onboarding experience were 18x more committed to their employer. When employees feel supported and welcomed during the onboarding process, they are more likely to develop a sense of loyalty and commitment to the organization. Engaged employees are also less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere, reducing turnover rates.

> 93% of businesses agree that onboarding can help new hires decide whether they want to stay. Onboarding is an opportunity to familiarize new hires with the organization’s values, norms, and practices. It helps align their expectations with the company culture, fostering a sense of belonging and promoting cultural assimilation.

How to create an effective onboarding process?

Only 12% of employees agree that their company does a good job of onboarding new employees, while 1 in 3HR professionals reported that the quality of their onboarding was not up to the standard. Try these things in your onboarding process:

1. Pre-boarding. Pre-boarding refers to the process of engaging with and preparing new hires before their official start date, typically between the time the job offer is accepted and their first day on the job. It aims to make the transition into the organization smoother, help new employees feel welcomed, and provide them with the necessary information and resources to hit the ground running.

> Provide them with relevant information about the company, team, and their role. This can be an email to introduce the immediate colleagues so there would be some familiar faces on day 1 on the job.

> Send a welcome package or introductory materials to help them feel excited and prepared. Arrange for the new hire’s technology needs, such as setting up their work email, user accounts, and access to necessary software or systems.

> First day and week can be stressful. Provide an outline of the onboarding schedule, including the first-day agenda and any training sessions, meetings, or orientations they need to attend.

2. Structured orientation. Design a comprehensive orientation program that covers essential information such as company policies, procedures, benefits, and organizational structure.

> Identify the topics and information to be covered during the orientation. This may include company history, mission, values, organizational structure, policies, benefits, safety procedures, IT guidelines, and any other essential information. Offer training materials, manuals, or job aids that new employees can refer to for ongoing learning and support.

> Explain the employee benefits package, including healthcare, retirement plans, vacation policies, and any other perks or programs offered by the organization. Share information about employee resources, such as employee assistance programs, wellness initiatives, professional development opportunities, and employee resource groups.

> Provide ongoing support and resources to new employees beyond the initial orientation program. This can include regular check-ins with a mentor or buddy, additional training sessions, and access to HR or support channels for any questions or concerns.

3. Setting expectations. It’s difficult to hit the road without a clear roadmap. Set clear performance expectations and communicate short-term and long-term goals to your new hire – this clarity helps new hires understand their role within the organization and align their efforts accordingly.

> Identify the specific goals and objectives that are relevant to the new employee’s role and communicate the key performance indicators (KPIs). These goals should align with the broader objectives of the team and the organization.

>Collaborate with the new employee to establish development goals that align with their career aspirations and the organization’s needs. This is crucial because 41% of respondents named a lack of career development and advancement as a number 1 reason for leaving. This can include acquiring specific skills, gaining industry knowledge, or pursuing professional certifications.

> Document the agreed-upon goals and objectives in a clear and accessible format. This can be included in the employee’s onboarding materials, performance management system, or shared in a dedicated goal-setting platform. Regular communication and reinforcement of the goals throughout the onboarding process ensure alignment and keep the employee motivated and focused.

4. Mentorship and buddy programmes. Assign a mentor or buddy to each new employee. This person can provide guidance, answer questions, and help the new hire navigate the company’s culture and dynamics from professional nuances to where to get the best coffee around the office.

> Decide on the program structure and timeline that best suits your organization’s needs. Options include one-on-one mentorship, group mentoring, or a combination of both.

> Invite volunteers to participate in the program or identify potential mentors and buddies based on their expertise and compatibility with the new employees. Provide training or orientation sessions for mentors and buddies to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to support new employees effectively.

> Provide guidelines on the frequency and format of meetings, communication expectations, and the level of support expected. Provide suggested discussion topics or conversation starters to guide the mentorship and buddy relationships. This can include sharing experiences, discussing challenges, setting goals, or exploring opportunities for growth and development.

Don’t forget to schedule regular check-ins with new employees to assess their progress, address concerns, and provide feedback. This demonstrates that the organization is invested in their success and well-being, which always feels nice in a new work environment.

Leaning on technology

Incorporating technology into the onboarding process can streamline administrative tasks, enhance efficiency, and create a more engaging experience. Consider utilizing tools such as online learning platforms to deliver onboarding materials or AI to automate digital documentation – this not only makes it easier for your HR specialists but also allows new hires to learn at their own pace.

Lockdowns have taught us that almost anything can be done virtually – in the era of remote work, you can have an effective virtual onboarding by harnessing video conferencing and virtual collaboration tools.

Make it a party!

To reduce the stress for the new employee, the onboarding should be viewed as a celebration of a new beginning. If you have enough resources, here are a few tips for you to make the onboarding process more fun – most of them can be done online:

> Icebreaker games and activities

> A scavenger hunt to get to know the office

> Creative welcome kits

> Team building activities

> Welcome luncheon

> Employee spotlight or introduction videos

> Gamified learning

> Employee recognition


An effective onboarding process is a strategic investment that pays dividends in terms of employee engagement, productivity, and retention. By prioritizing comprehensive orientation, clear communication, ongoing support, and leveraging technology, organizations can set their new hires up for success.

Remember, onboarding is not a one-time event but an ongoing journey that continues well beyond the first few weeks. By nurturing and supporting new employees from the start, organizations can build a foundation for long-term success and create a culture of engagement and excellence.

Update on MELP features | May

What have we been working on?

The biggest change to MELP platform in May was refactoring of a Benefit form. To put it in simple way, we have rewritten code of an important part of our system (describing how Benefit data could be input and show to users), that it would be both more adapted to the flexible needs of HR, work faster and be more future-proof for further developments. The first benefit code that was created 2 years ago, needed revision and improvements, so we have dedicated time and resources to make this step.

MELP app
Trust box:
> ability to take a photo and upload it when leaving an anonymous or public feedback

> ability to reach attached files such as MS word, excel, pdf files

>added read/unread functionality for users to easily noticed newly added benefits

HR platform
> ability to view attached photos in Trust box
> ability to attach multiple files in News
> updated benefit creation form for users to create benefits more easily and conveniently & to add benefit expiration date if necessary

Q&A with Jurgita Lemešiūtė: recruitment trends and Gen Z candidates

Jurgita Lemešiūtė – managing partner at the leading recruitment agencies in Lithuania and Latvia “PeopleLink” and “TripodLink”. Master of organizational psychology, speaker and moderator at various HR conferences and events, Jurgita is also actively involved into sports and has won numerous awards in Lithuanian bicycle racing competitions.

We asked her a few questions about recharging after a long day of HR-ing, some recruitment trends and hiring Gen Z candidates.

Let’s talk about the process of recruitment – how is it changing and what trends we should anticipate in the upcoming few years?

First of all, most of the recruitment process now is online and it’s absolutely normal to hire somebody without a face-to-face meeting, as many people work remotely sometimes even in a different country. We encourage companies to use that in their advantage – have a nice presentation about the company or the team, show some visuals to ensure best candidate experience, demonstrate the benefits and perks packages, etc.

Secondly, competition between employers is not getting any smaller and candidates are dropping out the recruitment process easier. So it is smart to make sure that your candidates would have the best positive experience about the company from the first point of contact – make sure your job adds are representative, first call to the candidate is positive, interviews and recruitments process is clear to all parties.

Gen Z candidates are becoming increasingly important in the job market – how companies could attract the best candidates from this generation?

Our survey shows that career motive is the strongest while choosing an employer, so make sure you can explain or even better visualise potential career possibilities in the company.

Also Z generation candidates want to work in a company culture that is close to them personally. Ask your team how can you show the company culture the best, again try to visualise your company values and what impact a person can make joining your team.

Lots of people in HR seem to have quite a work load. What are your recommendations for a recharge after long working day or steps to start it better?

We best at doing things that we love doing. So make sure you know your WHY, why you chose this job at the beginning, what makes you feel needed. Of course, don’t forget your rest, active rest (loved activity, sports) shows to give best recovery from work results. Also do not forget that there is a great HR communities that can help you build your motivation back and inspire for new challenges.

Setting up a recognition programme that works

Although it seems that recognizing your employees is an utterly obvious thing to do, many companies struggle to set up a recognition programme that works. And by working, we mean increasing employee satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty as a result. The thing is, there have been many changes in the way and frequency you should recognize your employees. In fact, if you had created a successful recognition programme a decade ago, it might be no wonder if it no longer works like it used to. Let’s talk about what employee recognition is, how it can benefit your workplace, how it has changed, and how to set up a recognition programme that actually works (both for you and & your employees).

What is employee recognition?

As you might have noticed in your personal life, appreciation is a fundamental human need. Therefore, appreciation is also crucial when it comes to a workplace – it confirms to employees that their work is valued by others and inspires them to maintain and improve their efforts. Gallup research proves that employee recognition is a key factor influencing engagement & in turn, affecting the performance of the organization.

To put it into one sentence, employee recognition is the acknowledgement of behavior, effort, or a result that aligns with the business values and meets or exceeds set expectations. However, it could be argued to work beyond the level of individual employees, as it creates an image of what success & appreciation look like for other team members, this way reinforcing a positive work culture.


Then vs. now

As mentioned above, when it comes to employee recognition, the same old formula might no longer bring the results you have hoped for & witnessed decades or even a few years back. This is due to a few factors – a huge shift to remote working after the pandemic, increasing diversity when it comes to generations in the job market and other cultural changes accelerated by technology.

The above illustration demonstrates how recognition programmes worked in the past and how things have changed. These shifts can be summarized in 3 dimensions:

> Looking beyond the result. While in the past it was common to reward employees for exceeding set expectations when it comes to performance & loyalty, employers realized that effort-based recognition is a much better idea.

> You snooze, you lose. Focusing not only on past behavior but also noticing the current actions is connected to the fast-paced & high-tech environment in the contemporary work environment. Decision-making happens fast, which means that there is no time to design once-a-month honor boards – you should recognize as soon as you see and get express delivery on that reward. Naturally, ready-to-go rewards usually involve technology.

> Everyone is involved. And to involve everyone, you must do it frequently & transparently. Decentralized recognition, personalized rewards and a gamified way to do it mean more involvement, engagement, and satisfaction.

Overall, modern-day recognition programmes embody the concept of employment as a mutual relationship. To have a relationship with every single one of your employees, you must get to know them & offer a personalized experience.

Why should you create a recognition programme?

The numbers speak for themselves:

> 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt appreciated
> 58% of employees say that recognition from their leaders is the best way to improve their engagement
> companies with employee recognition programmes report a 31% lower employee turnover

Recognized employees = engaged employees. Creating a recognition programme is a cost-effective way to gain all the benefits of an engaged team:

> Increased productivity. If you recognize and reward good behavior, your employees are more likely to repeat it. If this reinforced action supports the goals, values, or purpose of your company, you must not let it slide.

> Greater satisfaction. Have you noticed that a huge portion of complaining about your workplace is connected to the lack of appreciation that you feel for your effort? By recognizing employees, businesses can increase their sense of purpose in the workplace and make their daily tasks more enjoyable.

> Higher levels of satisfaction results in less stress & increased loyalty. Smaller rate of turnover is not just something that adds to your employer brand image but also affects business results.

> Recognition programmes can become a competitive advantage when recruiting. Only 14% of companies report having recognition programmes features in their employee value proposition.

Let’s talk HOWs

#1 How to recognize your employees?

It is clear that you should recognize based on company values and goals & in a personalized and consistent way. Beyond that, there is no one correct answer to tell you exactly how to recognize your employees – in fact, there are hundreds of different theories you can apply. Have you heard of the framework (and a famous book) about 5 love languages? Raphael Crawford-Marks argues that these 5 languages can help when thinking of how to recognize your employees – words of affirmation = verbal or written compliments, acts of service = offering to help with the workload, gifts = bonuses and other tangible benefits and so on.

Although this way of looking at it is interesting, it doesn’t offer much help to those businesses that are only trying to adopt recognition practices. Identifying opportunities to praise and taking action to acknowledge someone is easier said than done because it takes training and a receptive mind not to miss these occasions in a fast-paced environment.

Employee recognition remains an undervalued management technique mostly due to the lack of principles and procedures that help them apply recognition effectively. In other words, to recognize based on company values, goals & in a personalized and consistent way, you must set up a recognition programme.

#2 How to set up a recognition programme?

We’d argue that this question is much more important than all the other “HOWs” if you’re ready to harness this cost-effective, engagement-boosting initiative. Here is your 7-step guide to creating & reinforcing a recognition programme that works:

> Setting clear goals

What do you want to achieve with this initiative? Better employee satisfaction, increased retention? Think about it and set measurable and realistic goals as well as KPIs to check on a regular basis.

> Getting support from your leadership.

Leading by example is something that will help your recognition programme to take off. Support from the leadership (beyond the assigned budget) will motivate other employees and instill recognition in the company culture & DNA faster.

> Finding a programme owner.

Assigning one person to lead the programme is a good idea. This person should be organized and enthusiastic to make sure the programme is clear to managers and employees, communicate and remind of the programme regularly, take care of giving out awards, track KPIs & handle additional tasks that might arise in the process.

> Assigning budget for awards.

Although everyday interaction matters, awards are crucial to motivate people to do well and recognize each other. This is why leadership should support this initiative with an allocated budget. The usual size in US is 1-2% of the annual salary budget for each employee, but don’t be afraid to start smaller and increase later or even use intangible rewards based on your company culture.

> Setting up interaction rules.

What actions, initiatives, behaviors should be acknowledged and rewarded? Who can recognize and be recognized? We recommend having a list of occasions where recognition & award is absolutely necessary but also leaving some freedom (& budget) for colleagues to award each other for smaller good deeds, as employee recognition shouldn’t only come from managers. It is also important to reward people who give out recognitions and awards, especially when the programme is new.

> Leveraging digital tools.

If you want your programme to be a self-driving thing, it’s a good idea to explore some new methods and tools that help automate mundane tasks. For example, have you considered recognizing someone’s achievements publicly by posting it on social media? Have you tried an app or other platform to give-out awards? If your team is remote, how do you ensure a virtual space for people to recognize each other?

> Communicating (x1000).

You don’t have to have the answers to all possible questions right away, but it is a good idea to have a communications plan & be consistent in your messaging. Communication should definitely include messages from the leadership as well as the celebration of good examples. Think about how to best reach your people online and offline and how to make recognition messages stand out.


#3 How often should you recognize?

As often as you can, as long as you stick to the company values and goals & can ensure fair and personalized awards. Here are some ideas but you can definitely think about your own business:

> Promotion
> A job well done or a project finished
> Exceeded results and going an extra mile
> Being a *vibe* & improving office morale
> Ambassadorship on social media & beyond
> Anniversary
> Other business values-based initiatives that impact your people or clients

Mistakes to avoid in the proces

What are the most common mistakes when building a recognition programme?

> Not considering the situation in the job market and the fact that we have multiple generations working for us. This means more care needs to be put into how to create a programme for a diverse team and how to communicate it effectively.

> Not customizing your rewards. The goal of recognition is to show someone you appreciate them and one-size-fits-all rewards won’t cut it. 

> Not enough freedom related to who can recognize whom and not being able to choose the perks. Creating a recognition programme just so you have a recognition programme won’t do you any good – listen to what people want and give some freedom.

> Not utilizing technology. This is connected to all other mistakes companies tend to make – automating can help you with award customization, personalization, more freedom in who can participate in the programme, and so many more things.


Is it worth it?

Some would argue that time spent designing and implementing the programme is costly (training the managers, acquiring the awards etc.). But so is the introduction of any new process.

Another argument could be related to the measurability of this initiative. How can you measure profitability when a recognition programme is just one of many factors that influence employees in their job?

The bottom line is – case studies and research talk for themselves. And even if you cannot measure direct profitability, scroll back and read through other KPIs that can be measured, such as satisfaction and retention rates or finding star performers in your team.

You can do it

Even if you’re not ready to start a recognition programme, keep in mind that day-to-day recognition remains important. You can create immediate reinforcement and encourage desired behavior through small daily interactions. This goes both ways – even if you’re not a manager, be aware and alert for occasions to recognize your teammates. It feels good & does good.

Recruiting must-haves for 2023

The struggle (to attract talent) is real


Running into difficulties finding & attracting candidates? No surprise here, as the talent market is getting more and more competitive. We are sure you are trying your best to utilize all the tools available to you, but with hundreds of tips & tricks coming your way, it can become confusing and lead to a lack of consistency and understanding of what really works. To have an effective and up-to-date recruitment process, it’s important to step back once in a while and make a checklist of what can be added or improved. Here are some must-haves for successful recruiting in 2023:


> Adopt new methods & embrace new technologies.


From no-CV applications, telling company stories on social media and QR codes to AI-generated job descriptions, you should not snooze on what candidates expect in this new era of recruiting.


New technologies usually relate to automation – while it’s definitely a good idea, it is important not to lose personal touch in your recruitment process. In other words, automate, but do it well so no one can tell that it’s not Brenda from HR writing these informative, personal, and persuasive emails.


> Attract Gen Z.


Connected to the previous point, your recruitment process should appeal to Gen Z, who will soon constitute 30% of the global workforce. While it’s easier said than done, you can rely on research and focus groups to find out what makes them tick.


It doesn’t have to be costly or overly difficult – go to your local high school and talk to students there about what they would consider as attractive when applying for a job. If you don’t want to do that, simply scroll through social media, where you will find loads of Gen Z content about their experiences, expectations, and don’t-do-its when it comes to work culture.


> Reconsider your benefits offering.

With heated competition, it is a perfect time to put focus on authenticity, transparency, and personalisation.

Again, finding an effective benefits package for you will take some research, soul-searching, and serious planning (mainly related to budgets and implementation). As discussed, there are different recipes for what works for different generations and you must diversify your benefits to reflect that. For example, with bigger flows of Gen Z coming into the workforce, you won’t be able to skip benefits that relate to social and environmental impact.


> Rethink your criteria for education and experience.

With the supply and demand gap, you should ask yourself what qualifications are truly necessary & search for transferable skills.


People these days are more likely to change their sphere of work and explore different roles before finding THE ONE. Good for them. However, it is important that you can be understanding and considerate about employment gaps, transferable skills as well as motivations and other types of experience when it comes to candidates.


> Create alumni networks (and nourish them).

This starts with the overall company culture & attitude when employees quit. It’s important to continuously keep in touch with talents that might have left you – in fact, people in this database should be the first you contact when you have a new vacancy.


It can be regular newsletters about the company and the team or a casual LinkedIn message from an ex-manager. You can also consider hosting alumni meetup events, which can not only be beneficial for keeping in touch but also for knowledge and experience sharing. Win-win.


> Make onboarding fun.

Yay, your offer was accepted! And we all know that onboarding is crucial for you to increase employee lifetime value and maximize their potential immediately after starting their job. You should definitely put a lot of effort to make sure that all the important information and tools are introduced effectively.


However, being informative doesn’t have to be boring. More and more companies are introducing fun and memorable first-day or first-week experiences. From picking new joiners up with a limousine to after-first-day meals and drinks and other entertainment, make it a celebration to remember. It will demonstrate that you are happy to welcome them, demonstrate the company culture & create an opportunity to make those important personal connections faster.


> Tell your story.

As mentioned, different generations of workers are considering different company values as important. You don’t have to please all people, but having strong values and telling your story will attract candidates who will match your culture and goals.


By telling a story we don’t only mean company history – it’s also important to create a vision of what it is like working at your company and what opportunities await when people join. Social media is a great way to do it, as it offers multiple different formats and ways to express these important factors. If you feel like it’s not something you can do consistently as an HR specialist, think about having an employer branding specialist on your team.


> Referrals, referrals.

Yes, we have to come back to basics – encourage everyone in your company to become a recruiter. We are sure that you have tried referral bonuses in the past and one reason it might not be working like it used to is the increasing pace of life in the workplace.


Instead of one payout after 3 months, you should consider having 2 or 3 payouts after a smaller period of time has passed. Additionally, you should definitely consider personalized gifts to both the new hires and the person who referred them – it keeps them engaged.



Do you have any additional must-haves? Let us know!

Q&A with Giedrė Teresevičienė: developing a company culture & getting support from CEOs

When you look for organizations which take care of the people’s health, look no more than Affidea – European leader of advanced diagnostics and outpatient services.

We have asked few questions a person who takes care of the people at Affidea Lietuva – Giedrė Teresevičienė, HR director at the company that employs 900 professionals in 24 healthcare centers.

Which personal qualities would you advise to develop for HR managers and why?

One of an HR manager’s role today is to be a strategic business partner to the business and the organization. This means that a successful HR manager must first understand the business and the market it operates in. Strategically thinking HR managers are able to design and align HR policies to the needs of the business.

Moreover, an HR manager should also be an exclusive communicator to be able to communicate and collaborate with different people and groups – from employees to executives. In my opinion, this is one of the most essential qualities in HR managers’ position.

Finally, HR managers must strive to become empathetic business partners, as they often have to empathize with other people’s situations, be it employees or customers.

What would you name as the easiest action to improve culture in the organization?

Well, organizational culture is not born overnight. This is something we all nourish and build every single day. In some organizations the word “culture” is still associated with a fuzzy concept. Luckily, the fact that culture is gaining more and more attention from senior executives who understand that the right culture can lead to success or failure forces HR leaders to emphasize culture daily. One of the “quick fixes” could be to engage our cross-functional teams more often so that we create a room for more interaction, expertise sharing, and problem-solving together.

Our organizations still greatly lack cross-functional teamwork, projects are usually designed to work in isolation, function by function. And this creates a lot of mistrust and missed opportunities. One of the means to improve organizational culture could be cross-functional team buildings and projects.

How can HR managers get more support from their CEOs?

HR managers should build a sustainable HR role brand within their companies. I sometimes hear excuses from my HR peers in other companies that an HR role is somewhat undervalued in their organizations and usually overshadowed by other functions.

I would say that this is a two-way street: HR managers must demonstrate the strategic value and impact of HR role to the overall organization and its success, talk about HR related matters to their CEOs daily, bring people agenda on the table, and establish strong and credible relationships with other executives. Modern HR leaders today understand their impact and how they influence the bottom line of their companies.

All you need to know about employee lifetime value

What makes a good employer? Why do people stay at some organizations, whilst others struggle to retain talent? The truth is, when we’re talking about employee engagement and retention, we have to delve into details. Overall good vibes and small interactions, such as a smile or an offer to help out a colleague should not be overlooked, it is important to look deeper and check in at different points of an employee’s journey. That is where employee lifetime value (ELTV) comes in handy.

What is employee lifetime value?

Deriving from the concept of the customer lifetime value, ELTV is a framework suggested by Maia Josebachvili. It is getting more and more popular among HR professionals in the aftermath of the pandemic, with the great resignation, growing need for resource optimisation, and an increasing struggle to attract and retain talent.

ELTV is defined as a quantitative measure of the long-term contribution that an employee provides to an organization over their time (lifetime) with the company. Professionals also refer to ELTV as an ROI that touches upon all HR initiatives in the workplace.


Why should you measure ELTV?

The answer is quite simple – the obvious benefit of ELTV as an ROI is that it helps to test, amend or justify your people strategy and all activities related to investment in people and talent.

In a sense, ELTV helps to see the big picture and encourages management to focus on a long-term point of view instead of basing their decisions on short-term transactional terms. Using the framework can help not to overlook employee temperature at different stages in their lifetime value and develop a healthy and stable relationship with your employees, at the same time maximizing the output of the team member.

Understanding the framework

This graph showcases lifetime value, with the X axis representing time from the start to the end of the employment, and the Y axis representing employee contribution. Here are the stages to focus on:

> Stage 1: At this point, the employee has not started to provide any output and is taking the resources such as recruiting, hiring, and onboarding. Therefore, the contribution is negative.

> Stage 2: This stage encompasses a fully trained and motivated employee who just started their new role and is actively providing value to the business.

> Stage 3: The max potential stage emphasizes the point at which career development and knowledge growth flattens. They might feel like they have outgrown the role and start thinking about new opportunities elsewhere. 

> Stage 4: At this point, the decision to leave the company is made and the employee productivity, along with their focus, has shifted and is decreasing rapidly.

> Stage 5: Employee’s contribution stops with their last day at the workplace.


How to measure ELTV?

Calculating employee lifetime value can be relatively simple when data is correct and ready to collect. The more information on employee performance, productivity and training you can gather, the more accurate and helpful the results are going to be.

Mike West suggests 4 steps to calculating ELTV:

> Estimate the average human capital ROI (HCROI). 

> Estimate the average annual compensation cost per segment.

> Estimate average tenure per segment.

> Calculate the estimated ELV per individual or segment by multiplying it out.

You can find more information on each of these steps in this useful LinkedIn article.


How to increase ELTV?

The 3 yellow circles in the graph represent actions that must be taken to maximize employee lifetime value from the beginning of the employee’s journey with your company.

> Recruitment and onboarding – creating a head start

  1. Employing the best fit. Applying well-planned, modern and data-driven interviewing and hiring processes will help you to make the right choice and save you resources and funds in the long run.
  2. Pre-boarding and onboarding. Introducing all the needed information for a new team member to excel in a well-tested, structured, and clear manner will help them to reach their output potential sooner. With the right preparation and digital tools, it can start before their first day at the office.

> Engagement and development – helping employees excel

  1. Coaching. Invest in your management, their knowledge and well-being. Well-managed employees can feel their purpose and get continuous assistance in excelling in their role, this way demonstrating increased productivity and engagement.
  2. Lifetime learning. Invest in opportunities for your employees to upskill themselves in their areas of expertise and beyond. 70% of surveyed employees said they would consider leaving their current employment for an organization that offers development opportunities. You can create an internal learning platform or collaborate with an abundance of external knowledge suppliers to meet the individual needs and interests of your workers.
  3. Career internally. Do not let good ones slip away by introducing new opportunities for talents within the company. Mobility can help employees migrate and excel in a new role without feeling like they must leave the company to try something new.
  4. Increase engagement. Provide your employees with the opportunity to be heard and involved with regular 1-1s and temperature checks. Finding time for personal and genuine care for an employee’s well-being can help to spot attitude changes early and allow fixing what needs to be amended.

> Employee experience and culture – maximize their time with your company

  1. Recognize and award fairly. Be on top of measuring the pulse of your team so as not to miss opportunities to recognize a job well done. Recognition from the management team can outperform any other forms of awarding your employees, with 53% of employees saying that positive reinforcement is what encourages them to stay at the workplace longer. Although, accessible and individualized benefits should not be underlooked so it is best to have a healthy mixture of both.
  2. Communicate and get feedback. Beyond regular manager-to-employe communication, organize opportunities for your employees to get to know each other and the top players in the company. This human connection, accompanied by a freely accessible space to express feedback, constructive criticism, and suggestions (both anonymously and publicly) can encourage identifying issues to be solved.
  3. Allow flexibility. We are in the new era of the workforce – a whopping 92% of people born between 1980 and 2000 say that flexibility is their priority when looking for a job. However, flexibility should not only be the question of working location – it should reflect in employee benefits, the creation of individual work-life balance, work tools, techniques, and other aspects.


Some takeaways

ELTV is one of the leading frameworks to measure employee output and help to inform decision-making when it comes to building an effective people strategy. When it comes to people, you have to think about the details. Whilst ELTV works as an ROI for all HR efforts, it also points out things to look out at the different stages of the employee lifecycle and helps to adopt some practices to help with employee engagement and retention.

How do you communicate your benefits to employees?

Few weeks ago Juozas was presenting our survey results at HR Savaitė Lietuva, so special thanks to CONFINN, Arturas Laucius and Giedrė Kapočienė.

We asked HR managers a question “How do you communicate your benefits to employees?”
Results are here (HR):
74% via emails
50% via intranet
16% other tools
10% do not communicate at all..

Then we asked employees how would you like to receive communication from HR, so results are:
59% via emails
41% via intranet
55% mobile app.

Unlimited vacation – is it still a trend?

I found an interesting topic at Baremetrics, so wanted to share it with you.

During an interview for a new job, do you hear how HR managers or CEOs tell you about the benefit – unlimited vacation? You can work from anywhere. Take all the time you need! Yeah.

If you still have such an option in your company or you would like to have it, so here are some tips on how to prepare for it:
✔️ Minimum Vacation – each member is expected to take at least 4 weeks (or less) off throughout the year with at least one week-or-longer vacation.
✔️Accountability – even if it is not limited, let’s track it. Create an internal spreadsheet (link in comments) available for everyone to see. This also will help track who hit the target to have not less than 4 weeks.

How these tips will affect all teams:
✔️Some will feel guilty for taking too much time off.
✔️Same responsibility for CEO’s as well not to take too much time off.

Marshmallow test

Do you know what a marshmallow test is? It is about the patience and reward.

Some time ago, we asked people about their saving habits. And here are the results:
46% will choose to receive 100 euros now.
54% will choose to receive 168 euros for their pension plan.

We understand both parties as many people commented their decision about that so no judgment who is right who is not 😊

5 perks managing issues

We had conversations with tens HR’s recently about what issues organizations meet in managing the perks for their employees. These are really great insights that we would like to share with others.
👉 Issue No. 1. The benefit package should play an important role to attract the top talents. Each candidate is unique, with its own needs, which means that you should provide a wide list of choices to offer the relevant benefits package. But you can’t do this… Why? Because of administration difficulties. About 90 % of organizations in Lithuania, use Excel to store and manage employee benefits data. Just imagine, the organization has 200 employees, and everyone with his needs… It takes a lot of time and effort.
👉 Issue No. 2. Needs tend to be changing. And if the benefits package aims to keep employees engaged, it means employees have to be able to change their benefits as the needs have been changed. Yes, it is possible when you have 20 employees, but again… If you have 200 employees and you use Excel for benefits management? So, the issue is to keep the offer always relevant to your employees.
👉 Issue No. 3. To encourage employees to use the benefits. By asking employees what can help them use benefits more often, the most common answers are to get notifications and check your balance. If you use Excel, you have no such possibility.
👉 Issue No.4. Benefit for the organization is an investment. Human resource managers are always analyzing the data and making reports for top management. It is a quite long and difficult process as you are using all data in Excel tables. Some data you can’t get at all, so your final report for the investment is not extended.
👉 Issue No. 5. Each perk usually is provided by different providers. Finally, you have at least three links to follow the news, three contacts for collaboration, and three reports of use. It would be great to have all providers in one place.
The aim of using Perks is to attract, engage and retain the best talents. In many ways, organizations are not able to use this motivational benefit in all 100 percent. Solving all these issues organizations could expect a higher payback.

What can make employees safe and the role of benefits in face of it?

To feel safe is one of the main factors that impact employees’ intention to join or leave the company.
In one case is to feel unsafe when the company is the cause of it (today I’m not going to talk about that case) and another one – when the employer stands as intermediate to avoid or eliminate such feelings caused by external factors.
All employers understand the value of healthy employees, so how employee benefits could help them feel safer?

Know your employees

To get to know how you as an employer can help your employees, first of all, you have to understand the reason for that feeling. And I think I will not surprise anyone, the pandemic situation plays the main role there. Employees fear for their own and relative’s health, about their financial stability, and even about belonging to the social community. I understand, that we all are helpless to eliminate this reason, but companies can contribute to minimizing the consequences.

Insurance – make it great again. You say, nothing new? How to stand out from the competition with health insurance? Boring! I say – I agree! Nothing new! But the secret there is not about WHAT but HOW!


I had never seen the importance of health insurance more than it is now. And first – TO AVOID for. In face of a pandemic, visiting the doctor becomes a challenge. Visit times are fully booked and you have to wait for weeks just to explain your problem. The process is so complicated that we choose to wait for our disease to go away on its own in some cases. And as a result, we feel unsafe. Health insurance, to cover the medical expenses of the insured is the way employees could avoid such inconvenience. You can skip the public hospital queues and use this benefit to check in the private medical institutions.


In many cases, an early visit to your doctor – saves lives. I understand how it is unpleasant to talk about your own life and those worst cases, but in order of pandemic we all, even for few seconds took thoughts about it, agree… What if? And the first thing what about we are thinking is FAMILY. Protecting your family against financial difficulties can make you feel safer. Life insurance is a type of insurance that pays out the sum of money on the death of the insured. Other events such as terminal illness or critical illness can also trigger payment.


We can never know what awaits us the next day, especially now. Financial stability or having savings for at least one year, makes people feel safe. Investment life insurance has even two benefits – protection against death, injury plus investing capital. IT means you can feel safe about your family finances in case of your ability to get income.


And it is an important factor too. We are not to be valued, not to be accepted, not to be understood. Belonging to any social community gives us a feeling of safety. So, how companies could use benefits in this case? I am talking about vaccination, and no, not just about the covid vaccine. Belonging to the community means the ability to contact each other, to spend time together not just online. Vaccination can help us to stay in touch with communities. Employees could use health insurance there.

Insurance – same options, different values. Don’t underestimate it, talk about the values in your Employer proposition.