Archive for the "Global Recognition" Category

The Secret to Effective Global Employee Recognition

by Andrea Gappmayer

Image of people working togetherRecognize This! – There is no secret “list” for how all employees in all cultures in all countries and organizations around the world like to be recognized.

I’m excited to join the Recognize This! blog. My plan in the coming months is to let you in on all the secrets, like: Do people in Japan believe in recognition? What motivates employees in India? How do people like to be recognized in Norway? At Globoforce we hear questions like these all the time. Customers and prospects want us to have the “List.” The list that describes how employees in every country like to be recognized, motivated, and engaged.

So you ready for the secret? We don’t have that “list.” In fact, nobody has that “list,” because that “list” doesn’t exist. Anyone who tells you they’ve got recognition and engagement in other cultures compiled into a neat little “list” isn’t being entirely truthful. What they’ve got is a list of clichéd stereotypes. How gauche. How anachronistic.

I had the opportunity to attend the “Engage the World” summit (provided by the UK Engage for Success organization) in London recently and the overall message regarding cultural recognition and engagement? Be open-minded, listen, learn, and never, ever impose your ideas and ways of doing things onto a different culture.

Oh, and by the way? Don’t get too comfortable with that culture you just figured out, because it’s going to change. Cultures constantly evolve.

The next time you want to know how employees like to be recognized in China, don’t try to find the list. Start by asking questions and learning. Learn about the culture of China for starters. Then try to understand the culture within a particular organization that is rooted inside China. Then study the culture of the department, within the particular organization that is rooted inside China. And finally, get to know the culture of the individual from the department within the particular organization that is rooted inside China.

And then you’ll know unequivocally, without a doubt, how one person likes to be recognized in China. Now do you understand why there is no “list”? There is however, much to be learned from a deeper cultural appreciation and understanding. This is always the first step in building a strong, positive, appreciative company culture, and Globoforce has done some great work in this area. See these posts for more:

It’s all about making the effort to better understand all of the unique cultures within your organization. Breaking down the barriers takes time, an open-mind, and a desire among all cultures involved to achieve something amazing together.

How do you like to be recognized? What engages you?

Stop Working So Hard at Change Management and Change Your Company Culture for the Better

Number 3 representing 3 critical elementsRecognize This! – Creating the culture your organization needs to succeed in good times and bad is, perhaps, simpler than you imagine.

This excellent article in Strategy + Business explains why complex “culture change” initiatives often fail to achieve the desired objective. More importantly, the article authors (Jon Katzenbach, Rutger von Post, and James Thomas) share the three specific elements – the “critical few” in their terms – that do lead to effective, lasting culture change in the shortest amount of time.

  1. Critical Behaviors – “Those ways of doing things in your current operations that can easily spread from one employee to another; they have the potential to generate a real business impact, particularly when they become habitual and widespread. Moreover, you would recognize them right away if respected leaders at various levels throughout the organization started putting them into practice.”
  2. Existing Cultural Traits – “Three or four emotional elements of the current culture that are distinctively clear, wisely profound, emotionally powerful, and widely recognized; these traits together are a manifestation of the organization’s collective sense of identity. They play a prominent role in supporting the most important behaviors.”
  3. Critical Informal Leaders – “Those few authentic individuals who motivate others by what they do and how they do it. They are recognized by their colleagues as credible, trustworthy, and effective—and they know how to influence behavior.”

Let’s look at these through the lens of social recognition, which is designed to identify your critical behaviors and traits, then encourage all employees to notice others demonstrating these behaviors/traits and recognize them very specifically for doing so. Yes, your critical informal leaders are crucial to getting the momentum going, but making it easy for anyone and everyone to share positive praise quickly turns nearly all employees into leaders of your culture.

The S+B article recommends:

“Take stock of the positive aspects of your current culture and consider which elements could be harnessed to drive the behaviors you seek most. At the same time, ask yourself:

  • How visible would these behaviors be if a senior executive or an authentic informal leader started exhibiting them? (Would others throughout the organization see and recognize the change?)
  • Will these behaviors be contagious enough to be spread through social networks and peer relationships? (Will key people begin to envy and emulate them?)
  • What potential do the behaviors have to create real, measurable business impact? (Can you find ways to measure and track the impact early on?)”

I would add:  How do you make these behaviors more visible, more contagious and more measurable? Social recognition achieves all three – behaviors become more visible when everyone is empowered to notice them in the work of others; recognition itself makes them more contagious because people enjoy praising others as much as receiving the praise themselves; and built-in measurement systems concisely report out where and how those recognized behaviors are having a real impact on business needs.

How do I know this is true? Aside from many clients I’ve had the pleasure see realize these goals, we have at Globoforce, too. I’m thrilled and very proud to share with you that Globoforce has once again been named a Great Place to Work in Ireland, ranking number 3 in the medium-sized workplace category. I know our own investment in our culture of recognition is a primary contributor to our continued success.

What are your critical behaviors and cultural traits in your organization? Are they visible to all employees? Do they drive what you want them to drive?

Compensation Cafe: It’s Weather, Not Climate

Recognize This! – Know your goals for recognition versus incentives: broad impact on all over the long term, or short-term impact on fewer.

Are you as tired of this endless winter as my New England-based team is? Check out my most recent post on Compensation Cafe my reaction to news stories pointing out: “It’s weather, not climate.” What’s the difference? Weather is immediate. It’s what’s happening outside your window right now. Climate is long-term trends. It’s what’s happening across the globe. Sure, the Northeast U.S. is suffering through one of the coldest, snowiest winters in years, but the overall climate trend is for on average warmer temperatures year-round. And while New England might be suffering in the cold now, Europe suffered through a terrible, hot summer last year.

Why am I discussing weather and climate in a compensation-focused blog? Because the difference between weather and climate reminded me of the difference between incentives and employee recognition. Incentives are immediate and focused on short-term goals and fast results. Strategic recognition programs are focused on the long-term business goals and reinforcing the underlying behaviors necessary to achieve those strategic objectives and goals.

Read the entire post for the rest of the story.

Compensation Cafe: 3 Lessons for Truly Global Employee Recognition

Recognize This! – Simply exporting a domestically designed program to global locations will create unintended consequences through poor program design and implementation.

Globalization of any domestic-designed program can have unintended consequences from the mild to the downright terrifying. That’s why careful consideration of local expectations and implementation must be considered in any employee compensation or benefits program, and especially in an employee recognition program designed to unite all employees into a culture of appreciation and positivity (and not further distance them by creating an in equitable structure).

I dove into this much more deeply in my post on Compensation Cafe: “3 Lessons for Truly Global Employee Recognition & Rewards Programs.” Click through for more on these lessons:

  1. Recognition and rewards are not compensation.
  2. Equitable awards do not equal currency conversion.
  3. Standard of living is relative.

(Also not to be missed is the comment added to the post by Jim Brennan on employees turning murderous – literally – due to a poorly implemented life insurance program.)

Compensation Cafe: Why Recognition Matters – Communicating the Value of Work

Recognize This! – Your direct appreciation of another’s contributions or successes matters far more than you may think.

Check out my most recent post on Compensation Cafe in which I share a brief case study of Frank McKenna, Vice Chairman of TD Bank. His approach to personal recognition that transcends hierarchical lines is an excellent, instructive look at why (and how) recognition is a critical component of communicating to employees “meaningful work.”

Read the post here.

Top 10 Favorite Posts on Recognition & Appreciation for 2013

Recognize This! – At the end of each year, I like to reflect on my favorite posts. This year, however, I wanted to share your favorite posts for the year.

5 Most Read 2013 Recognize This! Posts

  1. How to Use Words of Appreciation & Recognition More Effectively This post was inspired by the US national spelling bee and potential new rules requiring contestants to know the definition of the words. I explained why this change makes sense to me because knowing more words and how to use them correctly benefits the learner with expanded knowledge as well as those who may read or hear the learner use those words appropriately because much more information can be conveyed clearly and accurately. The same is true with appreciation. The value of recognition goes so much further than knowing the words “thank you.”
  2. Company Culture: What It Is, When It Should Change, and How to Change It In this post from early 2013, I examined why the culture of the organization we work within plays a profound role in how we experience work itself as well as the attitude we bring home with us from work. I looked at the definition of culture, when culture should change, and steps to change a culture when needed.
  3. Barclay’s CEO on Company Values – Live Them or Leave Barclay’s CEO Antony Jenkins took a powerful, fearless stance to lead culture change in his organization based on the company core values “Live and work by our values, or leave.” This statement from the CEO is all well and good, but how do you make those values stick? I dug deeply into this in this post.
  4. Culture Drives Employee Engagement, Not the Other Way Around This post looked at Deloitte’s Core Beliefs and Culture survey. The importance of company culture and it’s foundation – the core values and beliefs – are indisputably important to employees and their ability to engage in the organization and their work. Yet executives are still missing the mark on several points – executives ranked tangible elements (financial performance, compensation) as more important to employee engagement, where employees valued intangible elements (communications, leadership access) more.
  5. How to Achieve Success: Rewire Your Brain for Positivity & Happiness This terrific Ted Talk from Shawn Achor is well worth another watch. He explains how we can train our brains for positivity, not negativity. And when we do, our brains function 30% more effectively, changing the formula for success.

3 Favorite 2013 Compensation Café Posts

I also blog regularly on Compensation Café. My personal favorite posts for 2013 were these.

  1. Are Your Employees Volunteers or Robots? Employees are human and not machines. We get paid to do a job. We volunteer to do it exceptionally well. Read this post for more on why appropriate and fair compensation is critical to establishing a contract with employees. But if you want to establish a relationship, then you need to invest beyond contractual elements of pay.
  2. What the Oreo Cookie Teaches Us about Global Employee Recognition Why should HR and recognition pros seek to understand the local wants and needs of their globally distributed employees? In this post, I shared an example of the Oreo cookie and how it nearly failed in the Chinese market until Oreo producers Mondelez International changed the cookie formulation to change the shape, sweetness and filling flavor (green tea is most popular in China) to align with local tastes. Now, Oreo sales in China account for nearly half of all global sales of the iconic cookie.
  3. When You Can’t Differentiate Based on Compensation, What Do You Do to Stand Out? Merit increases and compensation packages are no longer enough of a draw to lure top talent away from competitors or to keep your top talent from jumping ship. Companies must differentiate on something more. Your culture – how your employees experience the work environment every day – is your most powerful differentiator in today’s market.

2 Favorite 2013 Globoforce Blog Posts

I would be remiss if I didn’t also share my two favorite posts from Darcy Jacobsen on the Globoforce Blog.

  1. 101 Effective Words to Use in Recognition Darcy explained the simple, but tremendous power of words in the right combination. She shared a list of some powerful words that have been proven to have positive, lasting impact when used for recognition, praise and appreciation.
  2. How Written Words Drive Behavior On a similar vein, this post dives into how written words make us think and change our behavior. As Darcy says, “Face-to-face interaction is good for communication. But if you want to really use positive feedback to encourage reflection and drive meaningful behavior, consider also writing that feedback down in words. It will make them matter all that much more.”



Top 5 Ways to Say Thanks

Recognize This! – There are countless ways to express appreciation, but keep these top ways in mind.

I’m in a mood to share top ways to say thanks. While the below are written with the workplace in mind, all can (and should) be applied in our personal lives as well. The power of thanks goes deep, at work and at home.

  1. Actually say it! – You’d be surprised (or perhaps not) how many people just never say the words. They may think to themselves, “Joe did a terrific job in the meeting today. I should tell him that” but then never get around to it. Taking the time to meaningfully, personally express your appreciation powerfully communicates not just appreciation, but value and worth to others.
  2. Beyond the thanks – Sometimes, people don’t express their gratitude because they limit “thanks” to those who they feel have personally helped or benefited them. Remember, true appreciation looks to recognize those who also demonstrate desired behaviors and contribute to the success of the company, the client, the team, or other colleagues. There are countless opportunities to appreciate others, if we look for them.
  3. In a team meeting, publicly – Make recognition a standing agenda item at every meeting. Recognize a successful initiative of the entire team or an individual who went above and beyond. (Just make sure the individual enjoys public appreciation.)
  4. In person, privately – For those that don’t enjoy the spotlight, knowing their work is noticed and appreciated is still critical to engagement and happiness at work. Stop by their workstation or invite them into your office and spend a moment telling them how much they and their efforts are valued.
  5. More than a gesture – Add memorable value to your recognition efforts by giving employees awards they can redeem for the reward of their choice. They will long associate their reward with the value you see in what they do every day.

BONUS: Top 5 Ways to Make “Thanks” More Effective

  1. Make It Timely Don’t wait for the annual bonus or “employee appreciation day.” If someone deserves recognition, give it to them in the moment or soon after! This ensures the recipient knows what they did that was deserving of recognition and is now encouraged to do the same again and again.
  2. Make It Personal – Broad recognition announcements can serve to demotivate in that people don’t feel their personal efforts or contributions were acknowledged. Get to know your team members and colleagues. Learn how they like to be recognized and follow suit.
  3. Make It Specific – Similarly, generic recognition messages (“Thanks, great job!”) have little impact. Far more impactful are messages that call out what the person did and why it mattered. Share how their efforts helped you, the team, the client or the company achieve greater success.
  4. Make It Meaningful In addition to personal and specific messages, give the gift of ongoing memories through a substantive reward, too.
  5. Make It Frequent – There should be no limit on the amount of recognition given. Do you see excellent behaviors, results or progress made? Recognize the contributors – every time!

What are other important ways to say “thanks?” What’s your favorite way?

Today on Compensation Café * More Themes from WorldatWork “Trends in Employee Recognition” Report

Recognize This! – Old-school approaches to employee recognition do not deliver the business results companies need.

Today on Compensation Café, I shared additional insight into the 2013 WorldatWork “Trends In Employee Recognition Report.” In this space last week, I discussed the overarching theme of companies moving to recognition programs that drive desired behaviors. In Compensation Café, I dig more deeply into four more themes running through the research:

  • Theme 1: Companies are moving away from traditional approaches to recognition to new forms that drive business results.
  • Theme 2: Strategy is still lacking in many programs, limiting the real results that can be achieved.
  • Theme 3: Global recognition programs are making strides, but too many companies still treat international employees as second-class citizens.
  • Theme 4: Just as senior management buys into the importance of strategic recognition, training efforts for managers are falling.

Click over to Compensation Café to read more.

On a separate note, I proudly share with you launch of Globoforce’s latest book, The Crowdsourced Performance Review, by the CEO of Globoforce, Eric Mosley. If you happen to be reading this post in your spare time while at the annual SHRM conference in Chicago, be sure to swing by the SHRMStore for your own copy, and stop in on Eric’s speaking session where he will discuss this more fully:

 The Crowdsourced Performance Review: The New Social Era in HR?

06/19/2013 10:00 AM – 11:15 AM | N228

Track: Talent Management

Learn of ways to leverage crowdsourcing tools & social techniques to redefine performance management and find out who & what is driving your business.

Crowdsourcing is much more than idea generation and problem solving — it has the power to transform the entire HR industry and the traditional ways employee performance is evaluated. With real-time, authentic feedback from employees’ peers, you can get a social yet unbiased view into what and who is driving your business. You will learn why you must crowdsource in order to foster a unified employee environment, increase performance and engagement levels and get unbiased, foolproof insight of your employees. Gain the knowledge necessary to successfully implement a social recognition program that will have all your employees inspired to aid in a new crowdsourced approach.

Today on Compensation Cafe: What the Oreo CookieTeaches Us about Global Employee Recognition

Recognize This! – Never assume the local approach for employee recognition and rewards will work equally well globally.

Today on Compensation Cafe, I discuss why HR and recognition pros must seek to understand the local wants and needs of their globally distributed employees. I share an example of the Oreo cookie and how it nearly failed in the Chinese market until Oreo producers Mondelez International changed the cookie formulation to change the shape, sweetness and filling flavour (green tea is most popular in China) to align with local tastes. Now, Oreo sales in China account for nearly half of all global sales of the iconic cookie.

Click over to Compensation Cafe for the full story and how you can apply the lessons of the Oreo cookie to your global employee recognition and rewards programs.

Recognize This! – Never assume the local approach for employee recognition and rewards will work equally well globally.

3 Lessons for Employee Engagement through Recognition from XL Axiata

Recognize This! – Learning from others’ success can enhance our own efforts for engagement.

I enjoy Abhishek Mittal’s Mumblr blog. Abhishek is a senior consultant for Towers Watson based in Singapore. Recently he shared a case study on XL Axiata, an Indonesian mobile services operator and division of Axiata Group. In the case study, Xl Axiata explains four key steps they took to create an engaging work environment for employees, including a Performance-Based Culture:

“XL Axiata knew that if it wanted the employees to display the right behaviours, it had to recognize and reward these behaviours. The leaders shaped a culture where people and performance are talked about in the same breath. Employees who were creating value for the company were being recognized through company-wide emails and there was a focus on celebrating small successes in the long journey to achieve the vision. It also placed a higher emphasis on differentiating rewards based on performance. Mittal says,These initiatives helped employees build a clear line of sight to the company goals and sent a clear message that the company values high performance above everything.”

From this one focus alone, I see three clear lessons for employee engagement:

  1. Recognize and Reward the How not just the What Results (the What) can be achieved in many ways, not all of them positive (think Enron or any of the other recent scandals were the end was more important than the means). By focusing recognition and rewards on the right behaviours, XL Axiata is reinforcing that how the work is accomplished is as important as what is accomplished.
  2. Celebrate progress on the way to the big win While everyone must understand and work toward the ultimate vision and “big win,” small successes and progress along the way make the big win ultimately possible. Research conducted by Harvard Business School and reported in the book The Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer proved the single greatest motivator for employees is making progress in meaningful work. Doing so increases engagement.
  3. Offer multiple, differentiated awards Recognition and rewards must be differentiated based on several factors including level of effort, contribution and results achieved. Offering the same level of recognition to someone who came up with an innovative idea that could transform product direction as you also offer to someone who contributed as part of a team to a lesser initiative merely serves to demotivate those who achieve great ambitions. Offering differentiated awards (awards at various levels) ensures both proper recognition and reward activity as well as eliminating any concerns around recognition becoming expected or run-of-the-mill.

What major initiatives has your organization undertaken to encourage employee engagement?