Lyssa Test

Lyssa Test

Lyssa Test is a Sr. Content Specialist at Namely, the HR, payroll, and benefits platform built for today's employees. Connect with Lyssa and the Namely team on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Recent Articles


Ditch the Cake. Here Are 14 Creative Ways to Celebrate Work Anniversaries.

Just like birthdays, employee work anniversaries are the perfect time to celebrate your tenured employees and thank them for all their contributions through the years. While a cake and a card are nice gestures, some companies go even further to make their employees feel valued their first year, second year, and beyond. 


Looking for some inspiration for your own office celebrations? We asked 14 companies to share how they recognize this important employee milestone. From decorating desks to crafting custom beers, here’s how these companies celebrate employee work anniversaries and make employees feel recognized and valued on such an important day. 


1. Let Them Work From Home

“We let employees work from home for the week of their anniversary. It’s a really great motivational booster that allows them to avoid the traffic and nuisances of driving into the office.” — Sean Pour, SellMax 


2. Thank Them for Their Service

“We have the employee start their day with a surprise greeting on our company chat. We send it the day before so it's the first thing that everyone sees upon logging the day of their anniversary. We also ask their closest colleagues to prepare a short speech or message to thank them for their contributions. It's really simple, but it's something special and personal.” — Carissa Cascaro-Mujar, Hilsoft Inc.

3. Give Them the Day Off

“We give our employees the day off on their yearly anniversary. If their anniversary falls on a weekend or a public holiday, we allow them to take the Friday or Monday off instead. If they insist on coming in on their then we allow them to use the free day at any other point in the year. Plus we get them a cake to reward their commitment to work!” —Tom Buckland, HQ SEO & Ghost Marketing

4. Gift Them Something They Love

“When employees join the company, we have them fill out a questionnaire which asks about their hobbies, their favorite beers, films, chocolates, etc. When a milestone anniversary comes around, we know exactly what items to get them on behalf of the team. It shows consideration and the employees really appreciate it.”  — Charles Floate, DFY Links

5. Decorate Their Desk

“We usually decorate the person's desk and give them a small token of our appreciation in the form of a gift certificate or a customized trophy.” — Martin Luenendonk, Cleverism

6. Throw a Party

“We are all kids at heart and love a good old fashioned party. Our organization has a huge family feel, so whenever there’s a workplace anniversary we celebrate as a team with the employee’s favorite cake and ice cream. We take a break away from meetings and phone calls to just enjoy each other's company. It might sound simple, but this is something we all enjoy.” — Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.

7. Get Crafty

“We're a creative marketing agency first, but we also brew our very own craft beer in-house to share with our clients and to celebrate milestones. For an employee's anniversary, they get to create their own beer. They get to choose the style of beer, come up with a name, design the branding, and work with our head brewer to brew their custom beer.” — Colin Hill, PH3 Agency + Brewery

8. Add Some “Pop” to Their Day

“At Namely, we give everyone celebrating a work anniversary a giant silver numbered balloon. It’s fun to look around the office and see a sea of silver balloons. There’s always lots of 1’s and 2’s floating around, but it’s also cool to see the 4’s and 5’s from the ‘Namely OGs,’ who’ve been with the company since early on!” — Olivia Small, Namely

9. Create a Video

“If you've worked with us for more than one year, we make a video to celebrate you and your memories at the company. Every month we have an organization-wide meeting and we watch the video with the entire team. It definitely makes us feel appreciated and is a sweet, personal way to boost morale.” — Ciara Hautau, Fueled

10. Encourage Them to See The World

“We're an entirely distributed team, so in-office cupcakes wouldn’t cut it. Since I'm a bit of a travel-hungry individual, I've let that influence how we reward our employees. We give employees the day off and a stipend to spend towards an experience. I'm all about living life and having meaningful experiences, rather than receiving material items, and I'm fortunate to work with a team that feels similarly!” — Chane Steiner, Crediful

11. Gift Them Time Off

“We celebrate our employees' work anniversaries by rewarding them with an extra holiday for each year of service. After five years of service, employees then receive a fully-paid one month sabbatical which they can use to do as they wish, be it traveling or simply spending more time with their family and friends.” — Fiona Kay, Nigel Wright

12. Boss for the Day

“On an employee’s work anniversary, we let them become ‘the boss’ for a day. They can’t make big policy changes, but they do get some nice perks: the best parking spot in the lot and the choice of where we order take-out from for lunch. That’s not all, they also get to pitch a new business idea that we work on for the day. We keep iterating on past pitches and a lot of these new ideas have helped our business grow tremendously.” — Russ Nauta,

13. Take Them Out

“The employee’s manager takes the team out for a lunch or a soiree at a venue of the employee’s choosing. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to reminisce about the good old times and enjoy some drool-worthy dishes together. Once, everyone has had some good food and has a drink in hand, we go around the circle sharing why we appreciate the employee and are glad to have them on our team.” — Gargi Rajan, Head HR at Mercer Mettl

14. Give Them a Gift

“Employees celebrating a work milestone get to spin our “Wheel of Fortune,” which has special prizes up for the lucky winners. Prizes include the option to take a half-day on a Friday, Amazon gift cards, and ‘Adventure Day Tickets’— where employees get the chance to enjoy a fun day out trying something new, such as paragliding, windsurfing, or riding zip wires.” — Samuel Johns, Resume Expert 



Whether they’ve been with you for one year or five, it’s important to honor and thank your employees for their service and tenure at your company. That means giving them the recognition they deserve and helping them feel like a valued member of your team. 


Don’t want to miss an important employee milestone again? Namely Analytics’ birthdays and anniversaries dashboard lets you see who you need to celebrate in the coming days, weeks, or months. That’s not all—Namely’s timeline feature makes sure every employee’s work anniversary gets the recognition it deserves, helping you and your team congratulate them and show your appreciation! 

Namely's Anniversary and Birthdays analytics dashboard

Want to learn more about how Namely can help you engage your employees? Sign up for a demo today! 


8 Creative Summer Workplace Perks

Summer doesn’t just mean great weather, barbeques, and beach days. Depending on your workplace culture, it might also mean summer work perks. “Summer Fridays,” relaxed dress codes, and beer on tap are just a few ways companies encourage employees to relax, unwind, and make the most of the warmer months. 

To help inspire your own summer fun, we asked eight companies to share their unique summer workplace perks. Here are some fun ideas to add to your company’s summer bucket list: 


1. Get Outside

“We’re based in Santa Barbara, California so we’re very close to the ocean and have beautiful weather in the summer. We often host beach events, have employee field trips to get locally-made ice cream, and enjoy lunch on our rooftop deck.” — Emily Flinn, WELL Health Inc.

2. Offer Flexible Scheduling

“This summer, we kicked off an expanded work from home program. While we previously allowed staff to work from home two to three days a week, this summer our team has the option to work remotely all week. This allows staff to more easily coordinate summer travel, childcare, and other flexible scheduling needs.” — Alex Membrillo, Cardinal Healthcare Marketing


3. Host a Summer Happy Hour

“We have a few different kegs on tap in the office every week. We’re based in San Diego, so there’s no shortage of local breweries around here. We all get to taste new beer and have fun, all while doing our jobs.”  — Sean Pour, SellMax


4. Organize a Spirit Week

“We host a spirit week each summer in our office. This is a week-long 'camp' experience in the office where all employees engage in fun camping and spirit week themed activities, like dressing up in tropical beachwear, making s'mores, and playing softball.” — Deborah Sweeney,

5. Plan a Company Lunch

“Every Friday in the summer, we either treat everyone to a free meal at a food truck or we let everybody off early at 2 p.m. so they get a jump start on their weekend. The Friday schedule rotates every week and our employees look forward to it every week.” — Matthew Ross, The Slumber Yard

6. Join a Sports Team

“Summer is a great time to encourage your employees to get outside and stay active. We sponsor a company sports team that plays in a local league. In the past, our team has played kickball, soccer, and softball, but right now we are in a softball league! It’s a great way for employees to meet colleagues from other departments and spend time together outside of the office.” — Olivia Small, Namely

7. Take a Vacation

“Every summer we rent a couple of houses on Cape Cod and have a long weekend for our employees and their families. We always end the weekend with a huge lobster bake. It’s an annual trip we all look forward to because we can relax and celebrate our successes with our families.” — Russ Nauta,

8. Go Green

“Everyone at our company gets £100 per year to spend on plants, either for their own home or for the office. So in summer, the office is full of green foliage and beautiful flowers. It's amazing to work in a plant-filled environment, and there are a lot of mental health benefits too.” — Sam Coppard, Candide Gardening 


Fun perks are a great way to reward your employees and showcase your unique company culture. Looking to help your employees have a great summer? Try introducing one of the summer perks above or think of your own ways to celebrate the season with your team. 


Meet Namely: Brett Berman

When Brett Berman first joined Namely in 2014 as a software engineer, the company only had 15 employees. At the time, he had no idea Namely would grow to become the company it is today. Five years later, Brett is now an engineering director and Namely has over 500 employees. When Brett isn’t helping his team enhance the product, he loves roasting his own coffee and training for marathons. 


We sat down with Brett to learn more about his role and what it’s been like to be a Namely engineer over the years. 


How did you end up in your role at Namely?

I was always fascinated by computers and business. My father was a programmer and had his own software company, so I was always fortunate enough to have a computer—or more—around the house. When I was about six or seven years old, I taught myself basic coding language and would make text games. Later in middle school, I taught myself HTML and played around with making websites. It seemed really natural when I went to college to pursue a degree in computer information systems. 


When I graduated from college, I moved to New York and held various roles in IT consulting and web interactivity, which exposed me to a ton of different technologies. At one point, I found myself working at a small agency that actually helped develop some of the alpha versions of Namely. I didn’t get to work on the project then, but it piqued my interest so I kept in touch with some of the engineers. When I was looking to take the next step in my career, I realized I wanted to work on a product and reached back out to a few of them.

Namely was still really small when I joined. We only had about 15 employees and a small number of clients. I started out as a software engineer (engineer I), but I found that as time went on I spent more of my efforts building our engineering team and processes to support our growth and help push the platform forward. That gradually led me to do more and more of the management work that I do today as a director.  


What’s your favorite thing about your role?

I was the engineering team’s first payroll engineer. Seeing how far we’ve come and what our plans are for the future is really fulfilling. Every day I get a high-level view of all the areas we’re building on, how much progress we’re making, and how much progress we’re going to make in the near future. 


What does your average work week look like?

At this point in my career, I spend a lot of time in meetings. Sometimes they’re higher level meetings driving alignment around our company or department OKRs, and other times I’m in one-on-ones with my peers and direct reports.

One of the most important things we can do to be successful is to be aligned. We need to make sure everyone understands our goals and is working towards the same thing. Basically, I do whatever I can to remove roadblocks, drive alignment, and help my team and individual engineers succeed. 


Is there something that would surprise people about your job?

My area of focus is on our payroll product. You might think that sounds dry, but payroll is actually very interesting. You don’t realize how nuanced and complex of a space it is until you work in it!  


If you weren’t in this role, what would you be doing?

I love coffee! For a while, I roasted my own coffee and sold it as a side hustle. Now I just home roast for myself, but if I wasn’t working I think I would devote more time to that. It’s fun to make a product that everyone loves!


What’s your favorite thing about working at Namely?

It’s exciting. Throughout my time at Namely, there’s been a lot of growth and change. It never feels stale and it never feels the same. There’s always a lot of opportunity for employees to grow and take on new challenges. Over the years, it has been exciting to watch my teammates grow to take on new roles and responsibilities. 


What’s your favorite thing about working in the engineering department?

As cliché as this sounds, it’s the people I get to work with every day. We’ve built an engineering team that’s full of smart people. Everyone is respectful and has great opinions—from my boss down to our junior engineer. That leads to a lot of lively conversations and debates around how best to grow our platform, but we make sure that everyone feels they have a voice. There are no big egos here. We’re all in this together to build the best products for our clients and help them build better workplaces. 


What’s your favorite office snack?

The angel on my shoulder wants me to say the fruit and the avocados, but depending on the’s probably the Chex mix or pretzels. It’s all about balance.


What's something your coworkers don't know about you?

I once won a hot pepper eating contest. I ate three ghost peppers. I don’t recommend it, but it can be done. 


Do you have any advice for someone who wants to do your job?

You have to be someone who gains more satisfaction from the accomplishments of your team than from your own individual tasks. As a manager, you don’t always get to work on the most glamorous projects. I think if you’re doing a good job as a manager, you end up giving the more fun, technical work to your engineers. You have to want to help them succeed. 


What do you like to do outside of work?

I love running. I’m currently training for my fourth marathon. I just signed up for the San Francisco Marathon. I’ve done the New York City Marathon twice and the Chicago one once. I also love cooking and spending time with my fiance, Krystal. 


What was your best day at work?

I love the day after any successful new feature release. We can see how many people are using and engaging with what we created. It makes the hard work all worthwhile. 


Who has inspired you to get to this point in your career?

It would be a combination of all the incredible people I work with. My boss and my team push me to be a better engineer and to bring great ideas to the table.


Anything else you want to share about yourself or Namely?

We’re always looking for talented engineers and engineering managers! Check out our careers page to see and apply for our open positions.



At Namely, our coworkers are one of the top reasons we love what we do. The Meet Namely series spotlights real Namely employees across the company. Read on to learn how our employees are helping us build better workplaces.


HR’s Guide to the Fourth of July: What Happens When a Holiday Falls Midweek?

The Fourth of July is a summer favorite for employees across America. Whether you celebrate the nation’s independence with family, friends, or fireworks, there’s no better way to celebrate than with freedom from the office. While most offices are closed in observance of the holiday, this year’s schedule is a little atypical—July Fourth lands on a Thursday.

While many employees are expected to report to work the days before and after the holiday, some companies are getting into the patriotic spirit by giving employees a four day weekend. Could this be the new normal for holidays that fall midweek? We looked at Namely’s database of over 250,000 employees to learn more about this emerging trend.

Patriotic PTO

Last year, the Fourth of July fell on a Wednesday, leaving employers even more baffled. However, that didn’t stop employees from taking advantage of the mid-week holiday. Namely data revealed that Thursday, July 5 and Friday, July 6 were the two most popular requested days off of the summer in 2018. This year, with the Fourth landing on a Thursday—even closer to the weekend—it’s no surprise that 8.5 percent of employees are taking Friday off to extend their weekend.


Is your company giving employees time off on Friday, July 5?



Some companies are taking an even bolder stance on the Fourth of July long weekend. About 20 percent of Namely clients, are giving July 5 the “day after Thanksgiving” treatment and giving employees an additional day off. Since it is not an official holiday, here’s how companies are recording the extra day off in their system:

  • July 5th
  • 5th of July
  • Bonus Holiday
  • Day after the 4th of July
  • Day After Independence Day
  • Floating Holiday
  • Independence Day Extended Weekend
  • Independence Day Extra Day
  • Post-Independence Day
  • Summer Office Closure

Fireworks aren’t the only way to get your employees attention this week! Adding an extra day of PTO can help encourage some much needed relaxation and leave employees refreshed and ready to hit the ground running on Monday. Too last minute to give employees the fifth off this year? Why not continue the celebration in the office with a catered barbecue lunch or team picnic?


And don’t worry—next year’s holiday falls on a Saturday, so you won’t have to face the midweek holiday dilemma for another two years. Happy Independence Day!


Leadership Lessons With UCLA Gymnastics Legend ‘Miss Val’

As many HR professionals know, our careers don’t always play out the way you’d expect them to. If you asked a young Valorie Kondos Field or “Miss Val,” if she would go on to become the award-winning head coach of UCLA gymnastics, odds are she would have never believed it. This year, Miss Val stepped down after 30 years of being UCLA’s head coach—but left behind a legacy that will last long after her departure. Under her guidance, UCLA’s women’s gymnastics team won seven NCAA Championships as well as 29 Pac-12 and NCAA regional titles. 


So how did a classical ballet dancer and choreographer find herself thrown into the world of gymnastics? At this year’s HR Redefined conference, Miss Val shared how she tumbled into the world of gymnastics and how she became one of today’s most inspiring leadership figures. Below is an excerpt from her talk.


Don’t Be Afraid of Failure

When I was 22 years old, I picked up the phone and called up UCLA’s head coach at the time. I told him I had heard they were looking for a dance coach and while I had never done or coached gymnastics, I had 17 years of classical ballet training under my belt. He told me they couldn’t offer me a salary, but he could give me a full scholarship. That was all I needed to hear. I retired from dance and I moved to Los Angeles in 1982 and have been there ever since. 


My 37-year-long career never would have happened if I had been too afraid to pick up the phone and make the ask. You can’t fear failure. Failure is just a word some mean-spirited person made up to make us all feel bad about ourselves. Tell yourself failure doesn’t exist. Then pick up that phone and make your ask. 


Be Yourself

When the head athletic director invited me into his office some years later and asked me to be the new head gymnastics coach, I laughed out loud. I told him I didn’t know the first thing about gymnastics. He told me he had seen the way I worked with our student-athletes. He commended me for being firm, but compassionate. He told me he trusted me to figure out the rest on my own. 


I was a little intimidated by the challenge, but I knew I would be able to pull through. After all, I grew up on stage. I knew how to act, so I figured let’s act like a coach. For me, Bobby Knight represented everything a good coach should be: tough-minded and relentless. I channeled my inner Bobby Knight and did everything I could to embody his legacy. In fact, I did it so well that we finished dead last at championships that year. 


I was ready to resign when I had the biggest “aha” moment of my career. I was leafing through a book on leadership in the UCLA school store when I landed on a page with this definition of leadership: “Success is having peace of mind, which is a direct result of knowing you have done your best.” I realized I had a very narrow understanding of what a coach is. I thought coaches were hired to win. I realized I had spent so much time trying to be someone else. If you’re pretending to be someone else, you will always be a second-rate “them.” You’ll never become a first-rate you.


Watch Miss Val’s full speech below: 



Athletes, Champions, and Superheroes 

When people ask me what I do, I don’t say I develop athletes. I say I develop superheroes. Athletes work hard and are relentless, but they are myopic because all they want to do is win. Great athletes are champions. When you are a champion, you are still just as driven and relentless, but you are just as concerned about yourself as you are with those around you. True champions make everyone around them better. Superheroes go a step beyond. Superheroes are champions who are willing to take a hit to protect someone less fortunate. They work hard, they are great athletes and champions, and yet when the time comes where they have to throw themselves on the sword, they do it. I urge you to consider the following questions in your own life. Which genre are you in now? Which genre would you like to be in? And what do you need to do to get there? 


My advice is don't worry about the wins. The wins will work themselves when you develop a culture of champions. This year—my last year coaching—we did not win the national championship. But we went around the room with all of our athletes and coaches to debrief. I asked them all, “Do you have any regrets? Would you have done anything differently?” and the answer all around the room was “no.” We may not have won the championship, but it was still a success. We were all champions. We all left the arena without any regrets. I hope you can say the same. 



Get ready to flip with excitement—there’s more great HR Redefined 2019 content where that came from! Keep your eyes peeled for conference highlights and session recaps on the Namely Blog or sign up for our newsletter to have updates delivered straight to your inbox.  



Want to Be Happier at Work? Try This.

We all want to be happy, but why does happiness seem to come more naturally to some people? Shawn Achor, New York Times best-selling author and HR Redefined 2019 keynote speaker, says there’s hope for even the most negative-minded pessimists to find happiness.

So what’s the secret? Achor says even small daily mindset changes can have a lasting impact on how we see the world.

To push past the negative news, social media comparisons, and wealth of information our brains are overwhelmed with every day, Achor says we all need to practice “happiness hygiene.” In just two minutes a day, Achor says you can boost your mood and contribute to long term happiness. Here’s what he had to say about finding joy and embracing positivity in your life:


You’re a best-selling author and one of the foremost experts on happiness. How did you discover your passion for the “field” of happiness?

I was at the Harvard Divinity School studying Christian and Buddhist ethics and how a person’s beliefs impact their happiness. Some people from the school’s psychology department were asking similar questions with a more scientific lens. They wanted to quantify if someone was becoming more compassionate, optimistic, or positive—something I hadn’t previously thought possible. They told me if we can measure depression, we should be able to measure happiness. I was immediately hooked. I’ve been working with companies and schools to figure out how to make our institutions better suited to promote happiness and positivity ever since.


How have you noticed the way we define happiness change over time?

I think that more and more people define happiness as pleasure which causes us to pursue happiness the wrong way. We pursue a dopamine rush that has a diminishing effect over time so we need more and more pleasure to have the same impact.

When I was researching happiness, I looked at how the ancient Greeks approached happiness. They defined it as “the joy you feel moving towards your potential.” Happiness is not a static idea or complacency because you can actually feel joy even when the world is not pleasurable. It’s an emotion that motivates change in that person’s life. It’s growth producing. As soon as you embrace that way of thinking, you get a completely different understanding of happiness.  


We’re about to welcome a new generation to the workplace: Generation Z. HR has to take on the challenge of keeping them, “millennials,” Gen X, and baby boomers happy in the workplace. Are there differences in the way these generations perceive and define happiness?

I find that the younger generations are demanding greater levels of meaning and well-being at work, while older generations prefer talking about the value of doing good work and the effort that goes into it. I think that all generations learn from one another. We all do better work when we are positive and happy.

The younger generations want happiness, but they’re going about finding it in the wrong way. Happiness is not just something that is given to you by an organization. You have to co-create it as well. Organizations have to create the conditions for happiness, but individuals have to create or bring work routines, behaviors, and mindsets that embrace happiness. The more I get into positive psychology, the harder I have to work on my happiness. Happiness is not something you just choose, it’s something you have to create.


View the full presentation below:

Human resources departments play a huge role in shaping the day-to-day employee experience. What can HR do to fostering a spirit of positivity in the office?

Happiness is fascinating to study because it’s not just an individual choice. The organizations and power structures in our world have an impact on how easy it is to choose happiness and optimism in our lives. My goal in this research is to both empower the individual to believe his or her behavior matters, at the same time I want to show a connection between levels of happiness and optimism and business performance and productivity. Once we find that connection, organizations can find an invested interest in creating workplace conditions in which positivity and happiness can flourish.

We find that the organizations that focus on wellbeing in their HR departments perform better, have higher levels of happiness and retention, and see their share prices rise. If you can make those connections between the individual and the organization, you have a system that’s easier to choose happiness and more people will make that choice.


We hear a lot about burnout these days and the World Health Organization recently classified it as a legitimate medical condition. Why do you think today’s employees are spreading themselves too thin?

Depression rates have doubled over the last decade. I think that indicates it’s not just hard to be human, it’s increasingly hard. Something has changed over the past ten years and I think it’s twofold. I think you’re constantly bombarded by information, we can fill every moment without any time to process or recover, which leads to burnout. We’re hype comparing with unrealistic expectations and when that occurs, regardless of what you’re doing, you feel exhausted. In the mix of that, we’re doing even more than ever before with our brains and feeling like we should do more. It’s a recipe for burnout.


Many studies reveal that taking time off from work can greatly increase employee happiness and reduce burnout. How can companies encourage employees to use their PTO?

Employees lose out by actually not going on a vacation. Leaving paid time off days on the table means you’re accepting a pay decrease. Not taking enough time off dramatically decreases your happiness and productivity. Employees who do take all of their vacation days have a 7 to 10 percent increased likelihood of getting a promotion. At the individual level, we need to consciously take every single one of our allotted days off. At the organizational level, we have to encourage employees to take all of their days off. If we really value our talent’s well-being, we can’t just give lip service to “you matter.” Given the fact that there’s such a positive correlation between taking days off and increased productivity, then I believe companies should incentivize that you take all your days off. If you’re not incentivizing people to take their days off you’re trying to get less out of your employees.


What are some things we can do in our everyday lives to make ourselves happier?  

I recommend two small personal habit changes that can have a huge impact on your personal happiness. Happiness isn’t something you inherit, it is something you cultivate. Gratitude exercises can turn genetic pessimists into default optimists. Practicing these two habits helps you work on your “happiness hygiene” and when they become a part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth. That’s how you start to view the world a little differently.

The first habit is to write down three things you are grateful for that happened in the last 24 hours and why they are important to you. After about 21 days, your brain begins to consciously look for those pinpricks of positivity throughout your day and that changes the way you see and interpret your life.

The second is to write a positive email praising or thanking a person in your life. You’d think you’d run out of close friends and family in a week or so, but then you realize all the other people that impact your life, like your kid’s soccer coach, your high school English teacher, etc. Once you start thanking people, your brain gets addicted to it. You spend the whole day thinking about how great you are for sending that email or text and it improves your relationship with that person.

At the end of the 21-day period, your “social connection score”, which is the breadth, depth, and meaning of your relationships with other people, would be in the top 10 percent of the world. This score is the greatest predictor of your longterm happiness, performance, and resilience. It’s as predictive of how long you will live as obesity, high blood pressure, or smoking. That means a two-minute email or text could impact your life as much as if you stopped smoking.


Is there anything else you want to share about your understanding of happiness?

There are three things that I want everyone to know about happiness:

1. Happiness can be a choice if you apply behavior habits.
Happiness is contagious.
3. Happiness is the greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy.

Radical change is possible. We’re not just our genes and environment. If we find a way to creating these positive habits in our lives and our workplaces, we can tip our world away from negativity, stress, and uncertainty to a more positive world.



Smile, there’s more great HR Redefined content where that came from! Check out the Namely Blog for more conference highlights and session recaps or sign up for our newsletter to have updates delivered straight to your inbox.  


Your Employee Engagement Calendar

Company milestones, birthdays, work anniversaries, and fun holidays—there’s always something to celebrate. Who says HR can’t be the life of the party? We’ve put together an employee engagement calendar of some serious (and not so serious) holidays you can celebrate in your workplace.




Month-long celebrations: Mental Wellness Month, National Mentoring Month

1/4   - Trivia Day

  • Whip up some company trivia and see who knows your industry the best!

1/14   - Clean Off Your Desk Day

1/19 - Popcorn Day

1/22 - Hot Sauce Day

1/24 - Compliment Day

1/28 - Data Privacy Day

1/30 - Croissant Day

  • Cater breakfast for the office with this French pastry favorite.




Month-long celebrations: Black History Month, American Heart Month

2/5 - Chocolate Fondue Day & Chinese New Year

2/9 - Bagel and Lox Day

  • Carb lovers rejoice! Offering breakfast and bagels is a popular workplace perk.

2/11 - Clean Out Your Computer Day

2/14 - Valentine’s Day

2/17 - Random Act of Kindness Day

  • Encourage employees to help each other out and share their good deeds on your company feed or on social media with a hashtag.

2/24 - Tortilla Chip Day




Month-long celebrations: National Disabilities Month, Women’s History Month

3/1 - World Compliment Day & Employee Appreciation Day

  • Plan a company happy hour, give out awards, or host an open-mic all hands meeting so employees can thank their coworkers.

3/8 - International Women’s Day

  • Celebrate and honor women’s achievements by having a speaker and networking event.

3/14 - Pi Day

3/17 - St. Patrick’s Day

3/23 - Puppy Day

  • Partner with a local shelter to bring adoptable puppies into the office. Puppy playtime can brighten your employees days and a pup might even find its forever home.

3/25 - Waffle Day




Month-long celebrations: Financial Literacy Month, National Volunteer Month, Stress Awareness Month

4/1 - Fun at Work Day / April Fools

4/5 - Walk to Work Day

  • Lace up your sneakers and encourage your employees to hoof it to work!

4/9 - Be Kind to Lawyers Day

  • Hopefully, you’re kind to your lawyers every day, but here’s an excuse to give your legal team a little extra love!

4/12 - Grilled Cheese Day

4/14 - International Moment of Laughter Day

4/16 - Wear Pajamas to Work Day

4/20 - Look-Alike Day

  • They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. Encourage employees to dress up as a teammate or coworker.

4/24 - Administrative Professionals Day

4/25 - Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day




Month-long celebrations: Asian Pacific Heritage Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, National Bike Month

5/4 - The Kentucky Derby

5/5 - Cinco de Mayo

5/6 - National Nurses Day

5/17 - Pizza Party Day

  • Pick up a pie for the team and chow down!




Month-long celebrations: National Safety Month, LGBT Pride Month, National Caribbean American Heritage Month

6/3 - Leave the Office Early Day

6/7 - National Doughnut Day

6/19 - Juneteenth

  • Have a potluck lunch to celebrate freedom and equal rights in the United States.

6/14 - Bastille Day

6/21 - Take Your Dog to Work Day




7/1 - International Joke Day

7/4 - Independence Day

7/9 - Sugar Cookie Day

  • Forget the beach body and order up some tasty cookies for the office.

7/21 - Ice Cream Day

  • Cool off from the summer heat with a build-your-own sundae bar.  

7/28 - Milk Chocolate Day



8/2 - Ice Cream Sandwich Day & International Beer Day

8/31 - Eat Outside Day

  • Encourage your office to get some vitamin D by having a picnic outside if the weather permits!




Month-long celebrations: German American Heritage Month

9/3 to 9/7 - National Payroll Week

9/10 - Swap Ideas Day

9/21 - National Clean Up Day

  • Organize a Saturday volunteering squad to help clean up a local park, trail, beach, or mountain.

9/16 - Guacamole Day

9/30 - Hot Mulled Cider Day




Month-long celebrations: German American Heritage Month (cont.), National Cyber Security Awareness Month, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, National Work and Family Month, Polish American Heritage Month

10/1 - International Coffee Day

10/4 - Taco Day & World Smile Day

10/5 - Card Making Day

  • Partner with a local children’s hospital to create fun cards for kids.

10/8 - Pierogi Day

10/16 - Boss’s Day

10/27 - American Beer Day

10/30 - Candy Corn Day

  • With Halloween right around the corner, celebrate the spooky holiday with a candy and dessert bar.

10/31 - Halloween




11/3 - Sandwich Day

11/11 - Veterans Day

11/12 - Happy Hour Day

11/13 - World Kindness Day

11/28 - Thanksgiving

  • Celebrate Thanksgiving with your work-family with an office potluck before the craziness of the holidays.

11/26 - Cake Day

11/30 - Computer Security Day




12/3 - Make a Gift Day

12/12 - Gingerbread House Day

12/20 - Sangria Day & Ugly Sweater Day

  • Encourage everyone to sport a chunky and funky holiday sweater and host a hot cocoa happy hour.

12/26 - Thank You Note Day

Unfortunately, work can’t be all parties. Sure, you know the date of National Donut Day off the top of your head, but do you know when your company’s Form 941 is due? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our 2019 HR Calendar, so you’ll never miss a reporting deadline. 


How to Supercharge Your HR Analytics

There’s arguably nothing as influential in shaping HR’s role in the modern workplace as data. Data allows us to identify areas of opportunity, measure the impact of our initiatives, and plan for the future. But in order to use data effectively, you need access to clean, customizable reports you can pull whenever you need them.

Namely’s new analytics dashboards give you a detailed view of your organization by department, office location, employee type, and more. We’ve highlighted some of the most popular dashboards and how they can help your HR team below.

Birthday and Anniversary Dashboard

Never miss an employee milestone again! This dashboard pulls a list of all upcoming employee birthdays and anniversaries so you know exactly when to order cupcakes or book a team happy hour. When it comes to recognizing employees, these milestones are the perfect way to show your employees you care and value their contributions. According to Namely data, the most common employee birthday is September 14, so you might want to start brainstorming office birthday celebration ideas now.


Headcount Dashboard

The headcount dashboard is Namely’s most popular analytics tool. It gives you a birds-eye view of the comings and goings at your organization and lets you compare changes for custom date periods, so you understand how your hiring and turnover rates have changed over time. You can filter new hires by employee type (contractor, freelance, full-time, or intern) to better understand what type of workers your company is gaining and losing.

Odds are that your executive team asks a lot about headcount, so this dashboard is a helpful tool to keep in your back pocket. You can even give company leaders access to the dashboard so they can view it whenever.


Diversity Dashboard

Looking to get more serious about D&I? Namely’s diversity dashboard lets you see a breakdown of your workforce by gender, ethnicity, and age and allows you to segment your talent by department and/or office location. Employee tenure and manager diversity can help you to see if your organization lacks diversity at different levels of seniority or identify retention issues across certain demographics. Poor numbers in these areas could suggest larger issues with your hiring practices, career advancement practices, and even culture.

Namely Diversity Dashboard

Diverse employees can often be overlooked during promotions and hiring decisions. Namely’s 2018 Diversity Report linked this phenomenon to similar-to-me bias, a type of unconscious bias that makes you more likely to think favorably of someone who is similar to yourself in any multitude of ways—age, gender, educational background, etc. Namely’s diversity dashboard helps you dive deeper into unconscious bias at your organization and see if it could be affecting your employees’ internal mobility and your hiring decisions.


Company Insights

Having all of the information above is a great start, but you need context to truly understand how your organization is performing. Namely’s company insights dashboard compares your organization’s data to one of 24 data sets that closest aligns with your organization’s industry and size. You can see how your company stacks up to the competition in terms of employee turnover, tenure, and more.

Namely's Company Insights Dashboard

Curious to see where your business stands? Schedule a demo to see the company insights dashboard in action. Existing Namely clients have full access to benchmarking data this summer at no extra charge. If you haven’t already, check out your company insights dashboard and benchmarking data on Namely Analytics today.



As HR professionals continue to assert themselves as people analysts and strategic business partners, it’s increasingly important to have access to accurate, easy-to-use reports that give you the information you need fast. Whether it’s an important board meeting or routine team sync, you can quickly access and filter data for your presentations.

Want to check out these dashboards and more? Log in to Namely, navigate to Analytics, and try one of the ten dashboards out for yourself. You’ll be a data guru in no time!


Meet Namely: Stephen Chapman

Stephen Chapman is one of Namely’s newest account executives. But while he’s a seasoned deal closer now, Stephen wasn’t always sold on a career in sales. Stephen originally thought he wanted to be an actuarial scientist before an internship helped him realize the field wasn’t for him. When a sales position opened up that let him fulfill his dream of living in New York, Stephen jumped at the opportunity and hasn’t looked back.

We chatted with Stephen about his role and how he found a passion for sales.


How did you end up in your role at Namely?

I grew up in North Carolina and went to school at Appalachian State University, where I studied actuarial science, which is a finance and math degree that studies trends in data. It’s actually the exact opposite of sales. My junior year of college, I got an actuarial science internship in New York. I loved being in New York City, but I hated being an actuary. I applied for as many jobs as I could find and I was able to get an analyst job at a startup in Long Island. I lived in Brooklyn and would commute out to Long Island every day.


I had a friend at Namely who was an SDR at the time and they recommended I join the team. Sales runs in my family—my dad started a sales institute at UNC-Greensboro and my brother works in sales at Google. I always knew I had an interest in sales, so I thought I’d give it a try. I got the job and have been here ever since.


What’s your favorite thing about your role?

It’s really interesting talking to so many different people across different industries and learning all their outlooks on the HR space.


What does your average work week look like?

When I was an SDR team lead, my workweek was split between the day-to-day managerial tasks for the inbound team, as well as making calls, sending emails, and feeding opportunities to the account executives. I was recently promoted to an account executive, so I’m excited to see what my new role brings.


Is there something that would surprise people about your job?

As a team lead, there’s a lot of workflows and technology that we use behind the scenes that not everyone knows about or gets to see. Keeping that all in line is interesting and a bit tough.


If you weren’t in this role, what would you be doing?

I would be an astronaut. I have a weird obsession with space. I recently read Neil deGrasse Tyson’s book, “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry,” and it got me really interested in the idea of space. One of my favorite movies is Interstellar, so I think being an astronaut would be pretty cool.


What’s your favorite thing about working at Namely?

Definitely the culture. Namely does a good job making the workplace a joy to come to every day. People are free to do their own thing and there’s an underlying sense of trust.


What’s your favorite thing about working on the Sales Development team?

Everyone’s just great. Everyone has a positive attitude and is so smart. It’s great to come and work alongside such talented people. I learn from them every day and I’ve made some great friends along the way.


What’s your favorite office snack?

Tough question. I try not to eat a lot of snacks. But, I have a sweet tooth, so right now the peanut M&Ms are my favorite.


What's something your coworkers don't know about you?

I have never watched Game of Thrones.


Do you have any advice for someone who wants to do your job?

Life in sales is a grind. It’s a lot of work. You have to have a hunter mentality. Learn how to balance and manage your time. That’s the ultimate key to success.   


Namely’s women employee resource group, WomenIN, has a speaker series called “SpeakHer Mind.” Word on the street is that the name was your idea. How did you come up with ‘SpeakHer Mind?’

I wish I had an amazing story of how I came up with this, but it’s pretty anticlimactic. I was sitting with my coworker Carly brainstorming names and it just came to me. “SpeakHer Mind,” boom! Should I go into a career creating brand names? Maybe something to keep in mind for the future!


What role do you think men can play in creating a more equal workplace?  

Men can create a more equal workplace for everyone by being better advocates for women, making sure there is a 1:1 male:female ratio on teams, ensuring women are part of the conversation, and by making sure that everyone’s voice can be heard. Sometimes I think this means taking a backseat and allowing others to voice their opinions and ideas. I think you have to be proactive about this, not reactive.   


Why are you passionate about Namely's WomenIn group?

Women have always played an important role in my life, there are so many women that have helped to get me to where I am today. When I came to Namely I forged some great bonds with a lot of amazing women here, so I felt compelled to join WomenIN and do my part to help further their initiatives and vision.


What do you like to do outside of work?

I’m pretty active. I played soccer in college, so I try to play that as often as I can. I also like to go to the park, play basketball, and just be outside. When I want to chill, I usually go to the movies.


Who has inspired you to get to this point in your career?

Definitely my two older brothers. They have always driven me to be the best version of myself and taught me to never settle. I really look up to them as role models.  



At Namely, our coworkers are one of the top reasons we love what we do. The Meet Namely series spotlights real Namely employees across the company. Read on to learn how our employees are helping us build better workplaces.


How to Train Managers to Give Great Performance Reviews

Your performance management strategy may look great on paper, but its success depends entirely on execution. Because managers are the ones driving the process, their commitment is what makes your strategy a hit or miss. Their buy-in and participation are crucial to launching a strong performance management strategy and fostering a feedback-rich culture.

But in order for managers to be great coaches, they may need a little coaching themselves. Here are some tips to help shift managers’ attitudes toward performance management and improve your current system.

Constructive Criticism Training

No one likes giving or receiving negative feedback. One study found 37 percent of managers feel uncomfortable delivering direct feedback and criticism about their employees’ performance. But employees crave feedback—good and bad. Nearly 60 percent of employees felt their manager’s feedback did not help them improve their performance, according to Leadership IQ. Professional development and continuous learning are important factors for retaining talent and keeping employees happy and engaged, especially millennials and members of Gen Z.

Train your managers on how to give and frame constructive criticism so everyone comes out on top. Managers will feel more prepared for these conversations and their employees will get the actionable advice they need to succeed.  

Ongoing Feedback

Taking the time to deliver the highly personalized performance feedback employees need isn’t always possible for time-strapped managers. Encourage managers to meet weekly or bi-weekly with their direct reports to give, receive, and act on feedback.

The “ongoing feedback” approach lets managers keep pace with change by monitoring performance, reassessing goals, and discussing strategies. More frequent one-on-one meetings actually end up saving managers time by providing a forum to address and resolve problems before they become larger issues.

Acknowledge Success

Money can’t buy happiness. Nearly 70 percent of employees say they would likely leave their job if they didn't feel appreciated. While raises and promotions are traditional ways to reward outstanding employees, sometimes a simple “thank you” can go a long way. One study found that most employees said the most meaningful accolade they had ever received held “no dollar value.” Encourage your managers to regularly recognize their direct reports and consider implementing a fun employee recognition program.

Make It Easy

As much as employees fear them, managers dread paper-ridden annual reviews, too. Consider abandoning paper forms in favor of an online performance tool. This approach can simplify and expedite the review process. Rather than keep track of physical forms, managers and their direct reports can easily revisit feedback throughout the year. Maintaining reviews electronically also helps both managers easily track and report on performance metrics.

Your organization’s managers play an integral part of your performance management strategy, but they aren’t the only key stakeholders you want in your corner. Download our 8 Practical Tips for Great Performance Management and learn how to build a strategy that doesn’t just deliver results come review season, but year round.

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