Archive for the "Social Recognition" Category

Compensation Cafe: Engagement, Business Decisions and Books

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! — Social Recognition is a business decision that is also a powerful means of employee engagement.

Today, I’d like to you point you to my most recent posts on Compensation Cafe and a new book written by 3/8 of the Compensation Cafe Team:


Is It a Reward, a Perk, or a Business Decision?

In this post, I look at recent news of the US government investigating taxation of employee free-food cafeterias such as the benefit offered by Google. How companies perceive the benefit itself will weight most heavily in the ultimate decision on what to do about employee benefits such as free-food offerings. If you think of the cafeterias as merely a “perk” designed to increase your corporate reputation as a “cool company,” then your motivation is coming from the wrong place. However, if you think of fully loaded, free-food employee cafeterias as a business decision, then I’d be willing to wager the programs will continue even in the face of 30% increased taxes (which are paid by the company, not the employee, in most cases). Many companies perceive this benefit (as well as free on-site dry cleaning, day care, and many more) as a terrific way to keep employees on campus, focused and working hard for longer hours at a stretch. It is a business decision that directly impacts productivity and potentially profitability.


The “I’ve Got Your Back” Measure of Employee Engagement

Knowing your boss and teammates have your back is powerfully engaging for employees. In this post, I look at three ways you can communicate “I’ve got your back” to members of your team. Read the post for the full details on these techniques below:

  1. Compensate them fairly
  2. Look for ways to recognize efforts, contributions and achievements
  3. Communicate publicly and privately


Read the Book: Everything You Do in Compensation is Communication

Here’s the description of the book from the Compensation Cafe contributor authors, Ann Bares, Margaret O’Hanlon, and Dan Walter:

“You’re an expert at your job, so why do you need this book? We bet that like us you want your compensation work to have more impact. That’s why you are always looking for a way to do your work better.Whether you are an analyst or vice president, there’s a good argument to be made for thinking about compensation in a different way. Looking beyond Excel spreadsheets. Finding the significance of our work and the influence we can have. We have one goal, to share with you what we’ve learned:  When we acknowledge that everything that we do in compensation is communication, our work has far greater influence on our company’s success.”


3 Reasons Why Mobile Recognition Matters

by Derek Irvine

Image of Globoforce Mobile AppRecognize This! – Making recognition easy to give and receive anytime, anywhere is a powerful contributor to creating a Positivity Dominated Workplace.

Usually, I write more about the strategic side of employee recognition and how social recognition, when done right, can drive bottom-line business results through increased employee engagement, retention, productivity and performance.

But that doesn’t negate the importance of the enabling technologies that make social recognition possible in today’s fast-moving work environment. Once such technology is mobile recognition –putting the ability to specifically, meaningfully and personally recognize others when they live your core values into the palm of your hand, wherever, whenever.

Mobile matters because it makes recognition:

1) Easy to give – Think about when you want to recognize someone for work well done. Often, it’s in the moment – you’ve just left a meeting or seen outstanding behavior on the fly. Recognition should be just as quick and easy to give while ensuring it’s also recorded and tracked for deeper analytic application.

2) Timely to receive – Timely recognition is most effective for the recipient as it immediately reinforces good behaviors, contributions or outcomes. This makes it easy to know what is desirable and repeat those actions again and again. Mobile recognition lets deserving employees receive recognition quickly and on the go.

3) Actionable in the moment – When a continuous newsfeed of recognition activity is at the forefront, people within a workgroup or across the organization can see the goodwill flowing throughout the company, contributing to creating a Positivity Dominated Workplace. A visible newsfeed encourages viewers to take action and add their congratulations to the messages of recognition for achievements by their colleagues.

Indeed, I’m particularly proud of Globoforce’s innovation in mobile recognition, with native apps tied directly to our online platform for seamless a seamless recognition experience regardless of how you access and consistent reporting. Just last week, we were honored for our innovation in Mobile Recognition by the Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) with the Mobile Technology of the Year award.

Our VP of Product, Grant Beckett, had this to say:

“Globoforce’s social recognition programs are backed by the best technology in the world. The ability for our customers to recognize good work from anywhere in the world at any time through our unmatched mobile technology is a driving force in our success. We are honored to receive this prestigious award and dedicate it to our team who work tirelessly to make our mobile capabilities the very best in the industry.”

Many congratulations to our mobile innovation team!

How do you make recognizing others and celebrating success fast, easy and always available for everyone?

How Do You Choose to Experience Your Work?

by Lynette Silva

sign saying 'keep calm and lets go red sox'Recognize This! – How you play the game often matters as much as the outcome.

I’m a Red Sox fan. People accuse me of being a “fair weather” fan because I didn’t start following the Sox until the 2004 season (the year they finally won the World Series again after an 86-year drought), but that’s not why I started watching baseball. The fault for that lies entirely with my husband, to whom I became engaged in early 2004. I’m pretty sure he was born wearing a Red Sox cap.

All of that to say, I was at the Red Sox / Toronto Blue Jays game yesterday – a perfectly pointless game in terms of it having any impact on the outcome of the season. We’re bottom of the league, with no hope of making the playoffs. Our season is effectively over. And yet… the team played their hardest, running out every hit, chasing down every ball.

The fans were just as invested. The stands at Fenway Park were packed – all the way through to the end of the 9th inning (with, once again, no hope of a win). The cheering was no less vociferous. We love our Sox.

Over the last decade, I’ve had the chance to experience many a game at Fenway – some clutch to our playoffs hopes, some so early in the season it didn’t seem to matter. And that’s the difference – the experience. That’s what makes us keep packing the stands, keep cheering our hearts out – the experience of being at Fenway, together, with our team and fellow fans, willing a win.

Sometimes, it’s like that at work, too. Sometimes, we get the plum projects, the exciting opportunities, and all the glory that comes with them. And sometimes, we get the grunt work. The jobs that just need to get done so we can, perhaps, clean up a past failure or lay the groundwork for a future and as-yet-unimagined success.

What really matters is how we choose to perform in both situations. Whether we’re in the last stages of a surefire success project, or doing the scut work to prepare the team for a new era, we choose if we’re going to give our best to our fellow teammates, to the company, and to the customers (the fans) who are relying on us to give them the top-notch experience they’ve come to expect and deserve.

And that’s where our decisions on how choose to help and support each other really matter. Do you cheer on your fellow teammates? Do you recognize them for a “good play” or exceptional effort? Take a moment today to say thank you to those around you who make it fun to play through to the end.

Who will you thank today?



Employee Recognition: It’s Just Not that Hard

by Andrea Gappmayer

Image of square balls in a game of pool.

Don’t make things harder than they need to be.

Recognize This! – Because recognition is so valuable, we often try to over-complicate what can be a very simple message.

When you think of “recognition in the workplace,” what are some words that come to mind?  Chances are that the words and ideas on your list include things like “plaque,” “watch,” “pizza,” “cake,” or “balloons.”  Am I right?  Admit it, I’m right!  (In the words of John McClane, “I hate being right all the time.”)

Can I be honest?  You’re making it too hard.  The minute recognition becomes a hassle—as in “How am I supposed to take everyone out of the office to go to lunch?” or “Where do I buy a plaque and what should it say?”—that’s when recognition stops happening altogether.

Sometimes recognition can be as simple as “How was your weekend?” or “What was your time on the 5K?”  Showing sincere interest in someone is the best recognition of all.  I’ve worked with employees before who aren’t sure that their bosses even know their names—no, really, that’s absolutely true.  And how in the world can you show sincere interest if you don’t even know someone’s name?

Recognition doesn’t have to be as hard as you’re making it.  Your challenge?  “Recognize” your coworkers by showing that you care: learn something new about one of your coworkers today.  At the very least, learn that person’s name!

Labor Day Lesson: Why “Hours Worked” Is a False Metric for Recognition

by Traci Pesch

Image of man working from home at nightRecognize This! – You can’t build a Positivity Dominated Workplace by recognizing your high performers alone.

Now that Labor Day is behind us, we’re back into the full swing of “normal” daily life. In my world, “normal” can be quite crazy. I have two children, both very active in various sports and activities. I travel a good bit for my work, as does my husband. We live close to extended family and are very involved in our community. We are busy! But we love it.

The Labor Day holiday got me thinking about this more, especially coming back to work and chatting with colleagues about their weekends. My colleague and fellow blogger Lynette Silva mentioned her long weekend was “a whole lot of nothing,” which sounds lovely but is also the complete opposite of my weekend of picnics, cook-outs, sleepovers and family gatherings. If I’m completely honest, however, I love the “busy.”

The same is true for me at work. I’d rather be busy than bored. I love the work I do, and I look for opportunities to help customers spread appreciation and create Positivity Dominated Workplaces. I can function (and even thrive) at a very high level of “busy” for long stretches. But that is certainly not true of everyone. Some people can work intensely within set hours each day, but need to shut down at 5:00. Others can run for long hours during the work week, but are completely unavailable for work on weekends. Acknowledging and allowing for these different work styles and tolerances is also a form of recognition.

This is also a good example of why restricting recognition to the top 10% of high performers is incredibly harmful to creating a culture of recognition. Certainly, these high performers deserve recognition for their exceptional level of work (and they will likely receive more frequent and higher levels of recognition over time), but your “Steady Eddies” also deserve recognition, too. Their consistent efforts are often what make it possible for your star performers to shine. “Hours worked” is a false metric as a reason for recognition. Recognizing employees for demonstration of your core values, combined with level of effort, contribution, and results achieved, is the strong foundation for creating a culture of appreciation and a Positivity Dominated Workplace.

What does your work schedule look like? How different are the styles of the people on your team? Does recognition happen more often for “hours worked” or contributions and results?


Compensation Cafe: 3 Reasons to Empower All Employees to Give Discretionary Rewards

Compensation Cafe blog logoRecognize This! — Empowering all employees to recognize others also empowers all employees to live your culture every day and appreciate others for doing the same.

Yesterday in Compensation Cafe, I riffed on a post published last week by Compensation Cafe Editor Ann Bares. In her post, “Discretion and Disempowerment,” Ann highlighted challenges of leaving discretionary rewards to the discretion of managers alone. As I point out in the post, these boil down to:

  1. The length of time between action deserving of recognition and reward and the actual receipt of that reward (because such programs most often take the form of annual bonuses).
  2. The memory of a single person (the manager) over time to appropriately reward someone.
  3. The unintended reinforcement of the manager and his or her concerns as the primary focus of employees.

I went on to give three solutions to these problems – all possible by empowering all employees with the ability to recognize and reward others. To summarize:

How does empowering all employees impact the challenges referenced by Ann and enumerated above?

  1. In-the-moment recognition reinforces much more strongly the actions, behaviors and results you need to see to achieve success metrics.
  2. Even the best manager cannot see everything good happening every day or remember all those instances of excellence over many months. That’s why empowering all employees to recognize and reward each other is so powerful.
  3. When all employees are empowered to recognize each other for certain actions, behaviors and results in line with core values and key objectives, then the priorities of the organization become first and foremost.

Click over to the full post for more detail on each, and tell me who you think should “own” discretionary recognition and rewards.

Why Employees Must Be Both Aligned and Engaged

by Derek Irvine

Image of people passing baton in relayRecognize This! – A disconnect between alignment with strategic goals and engagement can lead to many negative consequences for performance and productivity.

I appreciate a good analogy, especially when it comes to terms that can be defined in multiple ways. Employee engagement and alignment are a good example. Here’s a brilliant analogy from a local business journal:

“Employee engagement is essential to an organization’s success, and alignment is arguably even more important. As an example, consider a 400-meter relay race. The winning team carries the baton past the finish line first. The direction of the finish line represents alignment between employees and the organization’s vision and goals. The speed of each runner is akin to engagement. To win, every runner in the team must run fast (i.e. be engaged with the organization) but also run in the direction of the next runner or the finish line (i.e. be aligned).”

This is quite illustrative of how the power of thanks aligns employees with what we need them to do again and again (through frequent, timely recognition of precisely those actions and behaviors) and to engage them in the greater goal (when that recognition helps them link daily behaviors to the big picture).

Think of the alternatives:

1) Highly engaged, but unaligned employees

Attributes: They work hard and are excited to contribute to success, but are spending their time on all the wrong things. These employees often appear as high-potentials who struggle to get clarity on priorities.

Risks: They can burn out very quickly because they don’t see their efforts having a significant or valuable impact on greater goals. Because they can’t get the clarity or direction they need, they feel like they’re spinning their wheels.

What to Do: Management needs to step up to provide prioritization of projects to keep to turn these high-potentials into high-performers. Social recognition tied to your company’s core values and strategic objectives is also very effective as an ongoing reinforcing tool to help these employees realize how their efforts contribute to achieving the bigger priorities.

2) Highly aligned, but disengaged employees

Attributes: They know what they should be doing, they simply choose not to. In best case scenarios, they understand and agree with priorities strategic initiatives, they just don’t know how their work contributes to it. In worst case scenarios, they are actively working against your organization with subtle forms of project sabotage such as delaying project deliverables or hording knowledge.

Risks: They have an abundance of stored up potential, but seemingly no effective outlet for it.

What to Do: For worst case scenario employees, there can be coaching and performance improvement plan type activities to eliminate their negative behaviors. But if those mitigating steps don’t work, then the difficult step of termination may need to be taken. The good news is these types of employees are few and far-between. For the majority of employees in this category, helping them see how valuable they and their efforts are to the team can often do wonders to restore engagement. Again, social recognition from peers and leaders alike, works well to communicate this message of personal value and important contributions.

Think about yourself or your team members? Which category do you find yourself or those around you – highly engaged/unaligned; highly aligned/disengaged; highly aligned/highly engaged?

Creating a Culture of Recognition Requires Viral Communications

by Lynette Silva

Members of the Tonight Show cast dumping ice water on their heads

Tonight Show Ice Bucket Challenge

Recognize This! – If you want to create a culture of recognition in your organization, then you must engage, energize and excite all employees around the power of thanks.

Have you done the ice-bucket challenge? For readers outside the U.S., the ice bucket challenge is a pretty cool effort to raise awareness for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) that went viral after Boston College student Pete Frates (who has ALS), challenged his friends to either dump a bucket of ice water on their heads or donate to ALS research. Per Wikipedia, the rules are that within 24 hours of being challenged, you must video record yourself announcing your acceptance of the challenge, then dumping a bucket of ice water over your head. You can then challenge three others to take the challenge.

How does this benefit ALS? If you don’t accept the challenge, you must donate to ALS research. The good news is many are doing both – to the tune of $31.5 million since July 29 when the challenge went viral. (That’s compared to $1.9 million collected in the same time period last year.)

Now, a confession. Outside of LinkedIn and Twitter (which I use for work, follow me at @lynettepsilva), I’m not really a social media user. I’m pretty sure I have a Facebook account, but I haven’t been on it in years (and not really on it before then). I don’t SnapChat, Instagram, or YouTube (except for remembering Robin Williams by watching many of my favorite routines). For the ice bucket challenge, a video of yourself is required, which you then share through social media (hence, how it became viral).

It’s easy to reach people on social media, but what about the people like me? Sure, I know all about it from news reports, but without the news coverage, would I have been compelled to participate in my own little (non-viral video) way?

Making Recognition Go Viral

Clearly, I’m enamored of the ice bucket challenge, but what does this have to do with employee recognition? Part of my role as a recognition strategist and consultant is working with companies to ensure rapid adoption of new social recognition programs, helping to create lasting cultures of appreciation. Achieving that goal requires detailed and very comprehensive change management, communications and training strategies targeting all employees.

We work very hard with our clients to ensure all employee populations are included in communications about the coming social recognition program – not just the ones it’s easy to reach, but everyone. That includes offline employees, working on a manufacturing line or out in the field all day, every day. They often don’t have access to company email and rarely (if ever) visit the company intranet. Field employees don’t even have the benefit of a poster in a breakroom. But just because it’s not as easy to reach them doesn’t mean they are less important contributors to the company’s success and its desired culture.

The morale of my story is simply this – if you want to create a culture of recognition in your organization (and that’s the definition of making your recognition program go viral), then you must engage, energize and excite all employees around the power of thanks. Inherent in social recognition are enabling systems such as newsfeeds, digests and a fully integrated native Mobile App, but you can’t wait until a new program is launched to begin the excitement. We’re always happy to chat with you further about the various ways to do this.

Is recognition and appreciation viral in your organization? How did it become so? What excites you about recognizing others or being recognized?

Compensation Cafe: Metrics that Matter

Compensation Cafe blog logoRecognize This! – “What gets measured gets managed” is true, but determining the correct metrics is the real trick.

We all know metrics matter. The real question is which metrics.

That’s the theme of my latest post on Compensation Cafe, in which I explore the metrics that matter from three points of view – the HR practitioner, the HR industry leader, and the CEO.

The theme emerging from all three is not surprising. As I say in the post:

Whether on an individual, departmental or organizational level, metrics that matter are those that illuminate company success. The challenge lies in clearly defining what the business success metrics are, then translating them into departmental, team and individual goals. The even greater challenge is ensuring every person then understands how he or she contributes to those goals in their daily work. The fastest path to success is constant feedback. Praise when you’re on track and provide course correction when needed.”

Read the full post and tell me, what metrics matter the most to you?

Who’s Responsible for Employee Engagement?

by Traci Pesch

Picture of hands joined in a circleRecognize This! – Engagement doesn’t belong to a department, role or function. It’s the equal responsibility of all of us.

I’ve been with Globoforce well over a decade now. In that time, I’ve seen first-hand the transition from “employee satisfaction” to “employee engagement.” In early days, we would often need to define employee engagement and explain the value of increasing engagement (and thereby employee personal investment in contributing to company success).

Nowadays, “employee engagement” seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongues, which is good in most ways. However, I also see a lot of blame-shifting going on, too. Any parents of multiple children reading this blog will understand. My two kids have chores and responsibilities around the house, yet the refrain “My sister was supposed to do it” is an all-too-common excuse for why something didn’t get done.

The same can be true with employee engagement. From the employee perspective it’s often, “My boss doesn’t give me engaging work.” Or from the manager perspective, “HR doesn’t give me the tools I need to increase my own engagement or that of my team.” HR isn’t innocent of the blame-shift, either: “Employees need to find their own internal motivation for true engagement.”

So whose responsibility is it? All of ours! We all have responsibility for our own engagement and those around us. During the last several years, the UK has done remarkable work on employee engagement through its “Engage for Success” initiative. Recently, Nita Clarke, director of the UK’s Involvement and Participation Association (and co-author of the original “Engage for Success” report presented to the UK government), had this to say on employee engagement responsibility:

“I don’t think engagement belongs to HR,” Clarke recently said at an event for the London HR Connection, which was held at London School of Economics. “I think HR and Comms are very helpful in raising this stuff — there’s lots of different bits of evidence — but at the end of the day there is an element of common sense about this which is people who are fulfilled at work perform better and there comes a point that you just have to accept that there is a reality here.”

Employee engagement needs to happen at the manager to employee level, and it needs to take the form of simple, common-sense activities that can help employees feel more valued. It can cross many departments, functions and even business applications. Clarke notes that having greater focus on employees with the right leadership behaviors, and coaching and training and developing people to adopt the behaviors and carry forward the mantra, is the most effective method for encouraging employee engagement.

There is a good bit of wisdom packaged up in this statement. To summarize:

  1. Engagement is all about helping employees feel valued for the work they do.
  2. Engagement is not a department or title or role, it’s a responsibility of every employee.
  3. Engaging each other and ourselves revolves around helping each other behave in ways that make us all more successful, valued and engaged.

So how do we do that? When I’m trying to help my children engage more in getting their chores done, I’ve found recognition and praise for a job well done (individually or, better yet, together) to be particularly effective. While employees certainly are not children, we all appreciate a little appreciation and praise when we do something well or collaboratively. That’s what makes social recognition such a powerful contributor to employee engagement (and, according to several studies, it’s the top contributor to increased engagement). Simple, heartfelt, specific and timely expressions of praise, appreciation and congratulations from those we work with every day – that’s a powerful means to engagement we are all responsible for.

Are you engaged at work? What helps you engage? How do you help others engage, too?