Archive for the "Power of Thanks" Category

2 Steps to Reduce Voluntary Turnover to Zero

by Lynette Silva

Complex call centerRecognize This! – Understanding the importance of the work and the people doing it make work matter and make work more human.

The new year is nearly upon us (and I, for one, am ready to put paid to 2016). With the new year often comes the opportunity for evaluation of our lives and our priorities. Many of us start a new year with new ambitions, goals for change, ideas for improvements. And for some, that means thinking about a new job or a new career.

If I were to ask you, what types of jobs do you think might have people reconsidering their career path I’m willing to bet call center worker likely would appear on your list. Rightly so – call centers rank among the highest turnover jobs in the world at 30-45%. And that adds up to a lot of money (often in the multimillions of dollars) in terms of finding, hiring, training and coaching new inbound customer service representatives.

So what if I told you about a call center with workers who deal with irate customers call after call, day after day, and yet their turnover has been zero – ZERO – for several years?

SpotHero, a startup online company that rents out parking spaces, has figured it out. (Check out the full Planet Money podcast or transcript for the full story.)

1. Recognize the importance of the work being done

All work matters. Otherwise, why bother doing it? And for the customers of the product or service being provided, the work of the providers particularly matters. Yet sometimes we can fall into the habit of elevating one role over another. “Sales is king. Everyone else serves us.” “Product rules! Without a good product, Sales would have nothing to sell.” There’s no good endgame in this attitude, though. Instead, recognizing the importance of every role in creating a powerful whole is what creates organizational success.

Case in point at SpotHero: Their customer service team is called Customer Heroes. Because to the customer in the middle of a problem, that customer service rep is their hero in that moment. As one employee from the Product group explained:

“The rest of us are trying to make a good product and help our company grow. The Customer Heroes are on the front lines making those minute improvements to humanity all the time, all day, every day… We think of them as the heroes of the company because they’re heroes for individual humans out there in the world.”

2. Recognize the importance of the people doing the work

“Being heroes for individual humans” – what a wonderful way to remind people why their work matters. But knowing your work matters isn’t enough. As humans, we also need to know we matter. SpotHero addressed this important point in multiple ways, including capes for their heroes to wear and Hero Appreciation Day. They also strongly acknowledged what it means to work human by providing a room where people could get away after a hard call. To take a break, to reflect, to restore, to rejuvenate. They call that room the Zen Den.

When pressed about why a Zen Den matters, why adding people to reduce call loads wasn’t enough, call center manager Leah Potkin replied:

“Well, where’s the fun in that? Then maybe they won’t be burnt out from how much work they have, but they’ll be burnt out emotionally from just feeling empty and not really thinking their work matters, when the work they do is just so, so important.”

Think about the people you work with every day. Think about your own work. As we wrap up 2016 and prepare for a new year, how can you remind others – and yourself – that your work matters, that you matter?

The Gift of Saying “Thank You”

by Traci Pesch

Give wrapped globe

Recognize This! – The gift of giving thanks is as powerful as receiving it.

Last week my colleague wrote about the holiday gift every employee wants to receive – the gift of thanks. While true, a video making the Facebook rounds reminded me that same gift is what employees want to give, too. There is just as much power in the giving of thanks as in the receiving.

Here’s the video with my comments after the jump. (Email subscribers, click through.)

The students wanted to celebrate someone who means a lot to them. Officer Mitch clearly cares about each individual student. He shows them respect, guides them through tough personal situations, and acknowledges them as the important human beings they are. And that certainly deserves thanks.

The kids had help to create this powerful experience of recognition for Officer Mitch and to produce this moving video. And the flash mob, basketball tickets and signed jersey are certainly nice. But it’s the quiet messages of thanks, the somber stories of how Officer Mitch impacted each teen’s life – those are what made me tear up at my computer as I watched the video.

Remember, your employees are humans, too. They likely want to say “thank you” as much as they want to hear it. Make it easy for them to share those deeply personal and meaningful messages of thanks and share it through social recognition.

And to my son’s school resource officer – Jackie Ketterer, Security Manager – thank you for keeping my son safe and for caring about him as a person as well as about his well-being as a student. We all appreciate you!

Who will send a personal, meaningful message of thanks to this holiday season?

Secrets to the Holiday Gift Every Employee Wants

by Lynette Silva

Give the gift of thanksRecognize This! – The best gift anyone can give or receive is the gift of thanks.

What’s the most fraught HR decision/situation this time of year? Easy answer – the office holiday party. Setting aside some of the more drama-filled scenes and stories (though I enjoyed Tim Sackett’s holiday party rules), the holiday party is a good way to celebrate a year’s worth of hard work and success as well as an opportunity to strengthen relationships with colleagues.

If the holiday party is the most fraught situation, what’s the second most? I submit, it’s the holiday gift, end-of-year bonus, etc. Why would a gift or a bonus (arguably, both desired by the recipient) be such a challenge? The top reason is because it’s annual. When recognition and rewards are held in reserve, expectations and anticipation often grow exponentially (and out of whack with realities of the business). That’s why frequent and timely recognition throughout the year is a top driver of more human workplaces.

A recent blog post by Ben Eubanks highlights three factors of social recognition that have the most impact on creating a more positive employee experience:

  1. Aligned with Desired Behaviors – How do you need people to behave, every day, in every role? The answer is likely codified in your core values, but do your employees even know what your core values are? (This recent survey says nearly half of employees don’t.) Make it easy for anyone in your organization to recognize and appreciate colleagues for living those values in their daily work. That makes your core values come alive – in people’s hearts as well as their heads.
  1. Differentiated based on Contribution — What did the person do that’s deserving of recognition? Leading a significant project that potentially saves the company millions certainly deserves far more than a pat on the back and casual, “Thanks for all you do.” Instead structure multiple award levels differentiated based on level of effort, contribution, time invested and result achieved.
  1. Appropriate to the Person – Never forget the incredible variability of us humans. What’s personal and meaningful to you (a donation to your favorite charity, perhaps) could be very different than what’s personal and meaningful to me (a runaway escape weekend). Avoid the nightmare of the unwanted (or worse, insulting) gift. True stories include the giving of a steakhouse gift card to a vegan and tickets to the latest hot theater production to a single mom who couldn’t get childcare for the night of the show. Instead, make it fun and easy for the recipients to choose their own meaningful rewards.

Finally, this holiday season, the greatest gift anyone can give or receive is the gift of thanks. Because to say “thank you” means “I see you. I notice you. You are valuable. You matter.”

Who will you give the gift of thanks to this year?

You Are Not Chopped Liver * The Role of Technology in the People Business

by Lynette Silva

The universe in the palm of your handRecognize This! – Technology, especially HR technology, enables our better human instincts to help us create more human workplaces.

Technology and HR. How does that compute? (Sorry – couldn’t help the pun) Isn’t HR about humans? If the obvious answer is yes, then why is so much effort expended on HR technology? These aren’t trivial questions in terms of investment – in business and in people.

I like a perspective recently cited by CIPD:

“[With technology,] we can really get down to what human resources should have been all along – the job of humanising the rest of the business. There’s never been a better time to be an HR professional because tech is dissolving the supposedly critical routine that kept your vision capped to date.”

That’s the role of tech in the human space – as an enabler of a better, more human workplace and a more positive employee experience overall. Especially in our increasingly distributed workplaces where my closest work colleagues might be physically located half a world away, systems like social recognition facilitate the strengthening of connections and relationships between people through the power of thanks.

Another area where technology can help facilitate our very humanness lies in helping us overcome some of our human nature tendencies that hamper our own success. Case in point (as shared in a Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University article) is squandered work time – time lost to “dysfunctional workplace dynamics—more commonly known as ‘people problems.’”

The researcher/authors of the article describe a study in which rival groups within the same R&D department were given the option of investing budget in the idea of their internal rival or in the idea of an outside competitor. We’d rather a completely external third benefit than the rival we know and feel threatened by.

These very human – if dysfunctional – behaviors cost companies on average $15.5 million.

Are we stuck with the consequences of the more negative tendencies of our humanness? No – in fact, the path forward is by switching on our more positive tendencies. In the example described above, the “shortest path to valuable insights” – and success for the team and company – is often in selecting the rival’s idea. So how do you get people to overcome their human nature and select a rival’s idea? Study co-author Leigh Thompson provides the answer:

“List one or two things you’re particularly proud of. Perhaps you just published a book or a well-received case study; perhaps you had an above-average performance review last quarter. Now all of a sudden, when I hear about the accomplishments or ideas of a colleague, I am more receptive to it—because I have just reminded myself that I am not chopped liver.”

And that brings us full circle to the roll of technology in enabling the employee experience – the human experience. With a social recognition system, it’s even easier to log-in and remind yourself of the tremendous contributions you’ve made (and been praised for by your colleagues).

What are you particularly proud of? What memories or accomplishments remind you of just how valuable you are?

Answering Important Questions – How Does Social Recognition Work in Manufacturing?

by Traci Pesch

Traci Pesch, Globoforce, and Jennifer Sweda, EatonRecognize This! – All employees can benefit from the power of thanks, regardless of job type, function or role.

I get asked lot of questions. As a mother, I hear interesting questions like: “Why does Moose’s (our pet guinea pig) nose move up and down and not side to side?” and “If the earth is round, do rainbows circle the earth? And if they do, where does the pot of gold go?” From my 7-year-old, these are excellent, inquisitive questions that help him learn about and understand the world around him.

As an employee recognition strategist and consultant, I hear interesting and important questions from dedicated professionals seeking to understand how they can make work more human for their colleagues. One of the more common questions often sounds like, “Social recognition sounds interesting if you work in an office all day. But does it really work for employees in manufacturing facilities?”

While I might not know where the pot of gold goes, I definitely know the answer to “does social recognition work in manufacturing facilities?” And that answer is a resounding, “Yes!”

Join me and Jennifer Sweda, compensation manager for power management company Eaton Corporation, on Thursday, October 27, at 2:00pm Eastern to learn how Eaton uses E-STAR, their social recognition program, to engage a workforce of more than 95,000 employees around the world – with 50% of those employees offline. (You can register for the webinar here.)

We’ll be discussing how recognition powers Eaton’s workforce, including:

  1. Just 6 months after the launch of E-STAR, 68% of employees were participating in the program. Another 82% of employees received a recognition moment in the first year.
  2. A creative E-STAR Wars campaign on “May the 4th” resulted in 551 additional awards given by employees.
  3. Every 65 seconds, a recognition moment is captured in E-STARs.
  4. In an employee survey, Eaton found that 79% of employees agree that E-STAR makes them feel valued and appreciated.
  5. That same survey showed a high correlation between giving and receiving of recognition and higher employee performance.

In the webinar, Jennifer and I will also talk about how Eaton has kept the recognition program fresh year after year and how you can find similar success at your company.

You’ll learn about:

  • How to get executive buy-in and drive employee adoption of recognition
  • Real employee stories from Eaton’s E-STAR program
  • The powerful impact recognition has on retention, performance, and employee sentiment

Don’t forget to register here.

 

How to Assess Your Company Culture in One Easy Step

by Lynette Silva

People First alwaysRecognize This! – How your employees experience recognition and appreciation for daily efforts and results can determine the success of your organization culture.

Is there an easy and quick way to judge the culture of a company and assess potential for future performance? According to David Novak, former CEO of Yum! Brands, yes. Simply look for telltale signs of a culture of recognition and appreciation at work. (Investor and portfolio manager James Dodson’s Parnassus Workplace Fund bears this out. Companies included in the fund are selected based on how well they care for their employees. The fund regularly outperforms the S&P 500 by 4%.)

How do you create a strong culture built on social recognition? Mr. Novak makes these recommendations:

  1. Put people first

“Focus on their capabilities and recognize what they do to satisfy more customers, build more business, make more money and drive results.”

  1. Tie recognition to what matters most for success

“Recognition can be a catalyst for results if it is directly tied to the important goals and objectives of your organization.”

  1. Make recognition frequent and timely

“One of the most important tasks for any leader is…to make people feel appreciated and respected in their daily work.”

  1. Make recognition meaningful and authentic

“The key is to champion recognition every day and make it meaningful and authentic.”

  1. Energize employees through recognition

“An astonishing 82% of employed Americans feel that their supervisors don’t recognize them enough. That lack of recognition takes a toll on morale, productivity, and ultimately, profitability. In fact, 40% of Americans say they’d put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often.”

This doesn’t mean you can toss off casual, “Hey, thanks. Great job!” comments as you race past a colleague in the hall. Following Mr. Novak’s points above, meaningful recognition makes for a much better understanding of the meaningfulness of work, an important driver of a more human workplace.

HR pro turned consultant Sharlyn Lauby expanded on this in her HR Bartender blog, discussing the need for quality recognition. People want and need acknowledgement of what they did that was deserving of the praise. And it needs to be given sincerely in a way that reflects how the recipient likes to receive recognition. (Please don’t embarrass people.)

Combining the advice, a much better recognition might read:

“Hey, thanks! Great job on the Simpson project. You went above and beyond by taking the time to pull in additional data points I didn’t even know to ask for. That extra detail really helped me out with the client by showing them the ‘proof in the pudding’ of how their own numbers stack up against others on a spectrum of success. Your efforts demonstrated perfectly what we mean when we say ‘Make Customers Happy’ is a core value. Thank you!”

If Mr. Novak walked into your offices, what would his assessment of your company culture likely be?

I Dare You to Make Work More Human

by Traci Pesch

Text Quote from AliRecognize This! – Regardless of role or level, we are all responsible for making work more human for ourselves and our colleagues.

“We make work more human.”

What’s your reaction to that statement? Do you cheer along in belief we can and are doing just that? Or do you scoff, saying to yourself, “This is business. We’re here to make money, not happy employees.”?

My position is simple. Not only can we make work more human, we must make work more human. In honor of the life that was legend, Muhammad Ali, I support his statement, “Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare.”

To those who say human workplaces are an impossibility, I say, “I take that dare.” Even better, in the words of my son, “I double-dog dare you to make work more human.” Because we all own the responsibility of working human. Regardless of the level or role we play in a workplace, each of us can make the choice to be kinder instead of impatient, to be more appreciative instead of more demanding, to lend a hand instead of demanding help, to pass the praise instead of passing the buck.

That’s the goal of the WorkHuman movement. To collaborate to ferret out the incivility and inhumanity that’s become common in work today and replace it with an acknowledgment that we are all human. We are not cogs in a machine. We all have more of our human selves we could offer if only our entire humanity was welcome at work.

How do we start? Leaders certainly bear significant responsibility. In fact, research shows that when employees believe their leaders care about creating a more human workplace, they are more motivated to work hard for the organization and colleagues and they are able to find a solution for any challenge. Managers of people are responsible for ensuring their employees feel as though work-life balance isn’t something to be achieved, but a natural blending. (Of course going to your child’s soccer game is important!) Individual contributors are responsible for caring for the humanity of their peers and colleagues, for looking out for each other, encouraging each other, helping each other. Everyone is responsible for recognizing and rewarding the work achievements of those around them. Let’s do it the Muhammad Ali way: “Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

How can you make your work more human? What can you try today?

Recognition, from Culture to Practice!

By Traci Pesch

Photographic light spiralRecognize This! – A sustainable culture of recognition starts with “why” to inform positive spirals between culture and practices.

Why does employee recognition matter? What elements make social recognition a success? How do we even define “success?” What types of significant results are achievable through social recognition?

These are a few of the most common questions I hear about social recognition. Beyond the obvious, “Yes, it’s important to say ‘thank you’ – to notice, acknowledge, and appreciate the efforts of those around you,” social recognition does have significant impact on how our people experience work. (So why not make it a more WorkHuman environment?)

So, why is recognition important?  More importantly why is creating a culture or recognition vs just implementing another program so important?  A culture of recognition contributes to success by creating a positive spiral effective, encouraging greater alignment with core values, and reinforcing key behaviors that drive businesses forward.

In turn, connections between employees are strengthened, leading to greater engagement and satisfaction, as well as improved trust and collaboration.  Employees who are recognized for their contributions are more likely to bring their whole self to work, resulting in a range of outcomes and results.  Essentially, recognition done right, drives top priorities and business results.

Illustration of culture spiral text

We’ve thought about this a lot. It’s our passion. We’ve been refining this with our customers for years, codified in our book The Power of Thanks.

Recognition BlueprintThis blueprint for social recognition success involves the elements illustrated here, starting with securing executive sponsorship and defining your goals and metrics for success, then continuing though creation of a strong program designed to reach all employees for that engaging recognition experience, and then offering a great choice of rewards in order to ensure every recognition moment has the longest emotional tail possible.

These are the elements from which our best practices and benchmarks are derived.  These best practices and this approach, is proven with large, global companies across many verticals.

With these elements in mind, have a look at your employee recognition program and the current state against each key element of success.  Our vision for all of our clients is to truly build a culture of recognition and appreciation that lives, grows and is sustainable.  As a matter of fact, this year we’re celebrating 10 years of partnership with several clients, who transformed their thinking from “let’s have a recognition program” to “let’s build a sustainable culture of appreciation and recognition and have quantifiable results to back up the WHY.”

What are some of your company’s ambitions for establishing a culture of recognition?

Top 3 Drivers of Employee Satisfaction (and Salary Isn’t One of Them)

by Traci Pesch

Rabbit on a benchRecognize This! – Company culture, career opportunities and trust in senior leaders drive employee satisfaction far more than salary.

Have you ever gone down rabbit holes on the web, where you start reading one article, then click an embedded link that seems intriguing, and then do it again in the next article? The next thing you realize, three hours have passed, you missed a phone call with a colleague, and worst, you missed your regular infusion of Diet Coke (okay, maybe that last part is just me).

I have Glassdoor to thank for my latest trip down the rabbit hole through the innocent entry point of their list of the 25 highest paying companies in America. Unsurprisingly, all 25 spots are held by consulting and high-tech firms. Far more interesting to me was this paragraph at the end of the article:

“While the companies on this list pay handsomely and a Glassdoor survey shows salary and compensation are among peoples’ top considerations before accepting a job, Glassdoor research also shows that salary is not among the leading factors tied to long-term employee satisfaction. In contrast, culture and values, career opportunities, and trust in senior leadership are the biggest drivers of long-term employee satisfaction.”

It’s that second link that proved my undoing. As a passionate believer in the importance of core-values-driven cultures, especially those reinforced through recognition, I had to click. It took me to this report from June 2015, which included several thought provoking statements: (largely quoting below, emphasis mine):

“A 10% increase in employee pay is associated with a 1 point increase in overall company satisfaction on a 0-100 scale, controlling for all other factors. In other words, if an employee making $40,000 per year were given a raise to $44,000 per year, his or her overall employee satisfaction would increase from 77 percent to 78 percent. And it’s important to note that there is a diminishing return to happiness for every extra $1,000 in earnings.”

Glassdoor then dug further into the findings to find out, if money isn’t the main driver of employee satisfaction, then what is? They went back to their employer review survey (another link!) to add controls for employee ratings on business outlook, career opportunities, culture and values, compensation and benefits, senior leadership and work-life balance. The results:

“In this regression, all of these control variables were statistically significant predictors of workplace satisfaction. And the model predicts overall satisfaction pretty well, explaining about 76% of variation in employee satisfaction. From this model, we find an employee’s culture and values rating for the company has the biggest impact on job satisfaction. And not surprising given the findings above, we find an employee’s compensation and benefits rating has the second smallest effect on overall satisfaction, ahead of business outlook rating.”

[Tweet “Employee perception of company culture and core values has highest impact on #EmployeeEngagement” @WorkHuman]

Company Culture ImportanceWondering why the culture and values rating is so influential, Glassdoor determined, “An employee’s culture and values rating probably represents a combination of factors that contribute to overall well-being such as company morale, employee recognition, and transparency within the organization.”

Why did this fascinate me so greatly? Culture matters. And every employee in your organization owns, influences and benefits from the culture – whether it’s the culture you want or the one allowed to “just happen.” And let’s not ignore the statement in the original quotation above about the importance of trust in senior leaders. Don’t forget the findings from the latest WorkHuman Research Institute employee survey showing the dramatic impact of recognition on trust for leaders.

Recognition Impact on Trust

What most drives your satisfaction and engagement in your work?

How Recognition Makes WorkHuman

by Lynette Silva

Coffe mug with foam in shape of a smileRecognize This! – We all have the ability to create more human workplaces for ourselves and those around us, simply by saying thank you.

Recently we released our WorkHuman Research Institute Spring 2016 report, The ROI of Recognition in building a More Human Workplace,” assessing the attitudes and expectations of those fully employed from their workplaces today. (Be sure to tune in Thursday, April 14, for Derek Irvine’s discussion with Sharlyn Lauby of the findings of the report. You can register for the webinar here.)

The report is quite detailed, offering “a blueprint for what practices will drive employee behavior, attitudes, and business results. Specifically, [how] employee recognition is a foundational element of building a human workplace.” To me, the greatest value in the report is in the questions it answers, which I’ve highlighted here.

Why is recognition such a foundational element for building a human workplace?

A human workplace is one that fosters a culture of recognition and appreciation while empowering individuals, strengthening relationships, and providing a clear purpose aligned with achievable goals. Social recognition is vital for many reasons, especially for:

  1. What it communicates – Recognition lets people know, “You are noticed. You and your work have value and meaning.” The research reveals the WorkHuman connection – when employees believe organization leaders care about creating a more human workplace:
    • 90% say work they do has meaning and purpose
    • 78% feel like opinions, voice and ideas matter to leaders
  2. How it helps build relationships – The act of appreciating others naturally connects people more closely, at work and at home. In the survey, 70% of employees say recognition makes them feel emotionally connected to peers while another 70% say recognition makes them happier at home. Timeliness of the recognition matters, though. When recognized in the last month, 86% of employees say they trust one another, another 86% say they trust the boss, and 82% say they trust senior leaders. Again, the WorkHuman connection is clear – when employees believe their leaders care about creating a more human workplace:
    • 93% feel they fit in and belong in the organization
    • 91% say they are motivated to work hard for my organization and colleagues
  3. How it boosts performance and productivity – Knowing our work is valued and appreciated by others naturally makes us want to contribute more. 79% of employees say recognition makes them work harder, and 78% say recognition makes them more productive. Interestingly, recognition also helps employees feel better equipped to handle the constant change common in today’s workplaces, which is often a detriment to productivity. When recognized in the last month, 69% of employees say they are excited or confident about change, vs. 41% saying the same who had never been recognized. What’s the WorkHuman connection? When employees believe their leaders care about creating a more human workplace, 90% say they are able to find a solution to any challenge.

Perception is reality. How our employees perceive their own recognition and their leaders’ commitment to human workplaces dramatically impacts the bottom line.

How do I join the WorkHuman movement?

The best place to engage with others who care deeply about creating more human workplaces for all employees is the WorkHuman conference, May 9-11, in Orlando, FL. There’s still time to register. Use code WH16RT300 to get the blog reader discount.

And a final bonus question – do you work in a human workplace today, and if not, what would need to change?