Archive for the "Social Recognition" Category

Adiona: Making Employee Recognition Mobile, Social, and Global

By Derek Irvine

smartphone-1445489_960_720Recognize This! — Social recognition is well suited to enable business success in response to growing trends in globalization, social networking, and mobile technology.

The modern organization has been drastically transformed in recent years by the confluence of three major trends, each of which has had a large impact on how employees expect to interact with one another. Global boundaries have disappeared, social connectivity has become easier, and mobile technologies have enabled both greater freedom and access.

In an article in the July issue of Adiona Magazine, I analyze the impact that these trends have had on the workplace. It’s an important issue, especially as businesses face stiffer competition for top talent and look to sustain their competitive advantage.

One of the ways in which companies can successfully navigate these trends is through social recognition. A social recognition solution can balances the flexibility desired by a dynamic workforce with a consistent “one company, one culture” framework that improves efficiency and effectiveness.

Here are just a few excerpts from the larger article that help to illustrate that point:

“Thinking globally and acting locally is necessary… [but] it takes the right technology and the right global knowledge to work.” When these two things are in place, recognition can resonate across the world, as boundryless and as fast as the work that is being recognized, and aligned to a single set of shared core values.

As the workplace becomes more social, “recognition reinforces the attitudes that facilitate cooperative work… and encourage all to contribute.” And much like social networks, recognition can provide a timeline of all employees’ contributions and provide data to uncover pockets of excellence and hidden patterns of performance.

Finally, as employees are increasingly on the move, they “need the power to recognize and receive appreciation on the go, [which is] key to ensuring an engaged and motivated workforce.”

Companies that effectively leverage these practices will be well-positioned to compete in today’s business environment and better prepared to leverage their workforce to adapt to future changes.

How has your company used recognition to respond to the changing world of work?

Compensation Cafe: Superpower-based Compensation

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! – As work roles become more fluid, compensation needs to transform to include solutions that are more social, dynamic, and engaging.

I came across an interview with Tony Hsieh the other day, as I wrote recently in this post on Compensation Cafe, where he was describing the experiment of holocracy at Zappos and what the implications were for HR practices. One interesting comment stood out when he described his thinking on how compensation was being transformed.

In the interview, he describes “badging” in which “individuals could earn various ‘superpowers’ or badges which would represent the potential they bring to the organization and upon which their compensation would be based.”

That sounds pretty cutting edge! But if we reframe what this process really represents, perhaps the idea is less radical and the practice more accessible than one might think:

It may very well be less of an imposing idea when we think of it as social recognition, which provides many of the benefits of a self-managed workforce without the full risk of a holocratic structure.

Social recognition among peers empowers employees to catch the “superpowers” or instances of high performance and contribution of their coworkers.

Collections of these moments over time demonstrate an employee’s potential in living up to core values, and the breadth of contributions that employee can make across the organization. Because peer-based social recognition follows contributions and performance instead of roles, it is well suited to this notion of encouraging an entrepreneurial and engaged workforce.

You can read the entire post here, but in essence, social recognition offers companies a way to transform their compensation budgets and practices to more effective means, with the end result of a higher performing and more future-proof workforce.

What is your take on how compensation is or should be transforming?

A More Connected Organization

By Derek Irvine

ChainsRecognize This! –Organizations need to provide strong links between stakeholders to ensure that all can benefit from the business.

The Marketplace radio program is running a feature on “The Price of Profits” looking broadly at the purpose of organizations. In a recent installment in that series, the host opens with this question: “Whom do companies serve?”

I’m sure that many of you have a gut answer to that question, whether you believe shareholders, customers, employees or the public good to be paramount. This kind of framing tends to miss the mark, however, assuming that one set of stakeholders should be prioritized over others (a perspective that has persisted across centuries).

The answer as to “whom” in the question above should be plural, rather than singular. We should look towards organizations in their ability to link together value for multiple stakeholders simultaneously.

Perhaps it was easier to have a singular focus in the past, but the modern business environment has made this position untenable. Work today is more complex, interdisciplinary, and interdependent. In addition, the workforce is more diverse and more globally connected. The speed of business has also increased, requiring frequent shifts and pivots.

There shouldn’t be anything surprising in this list, but these attributes come together to create complex organizational systems driven by the interactions and relationships between different sets of stakeholders. Within these systems, it is imperative to link activity in such a way that mutual benefits are achieved, rather than assume a linear cause-effect chain that creates the most value for a single group.

The foundation of these “linking” practices is rooted in finding ways to work human, empowering employees through purpose in their own work and future growth, the contributions they make to colleagues, and their work relationships with both vendors and customers to deliver the best experience.

These practices enable organizations to mobilize and energize employee behavior in a manner that is aligned with organizational values that are both operational, shareholder, and community oriented. That alignment creates the positive effects across stakeholder groups.

Linking practices can span aspects of culture, performance, or social recognition that achieve this desired outcome, and create deeper connections within and between different groups.

The assumptions we hold about whom companies serve are not only a philosophical question, but one that has implications for the purpose we find in work, and the ability to perform in ways that benefit all the stakeholders of an organization.

What practices help you to link your own work with all the stakeholders that benefit from that work?

5 Research-backed Ways Recognition Leads to Meaningfulness

By Derek Irvine

Path up mountainRecognize This! – Companies can create cultures that encourage meaningfulness through the impact that social recognition can have.

One of the more powerful ways to make the workplace more human is through establishing meaning and purpose. For many HR and business leaders, that task can seem abstract and challenging to achieve. On one hand, we all know meaningfulness when we see (or experience) it, but scaling meaningfulness across an entire organization is another thing entirely.

A good place to start, however, is with an understanding of what makes work experiences meaningful, and alternatively, what factors can easily sap meaning away. Research just published in MIT’s Sloan Management Review addresses precisely these questions, to help organizations better understand the dynamics of meaningfulness in the office.

Reading through the findings, many of the qualities that define meaningful work speak directly to the impact that social recognition can have in creating a positive culture focused on scaling meaningfulness more broadly.

Below is a brief summary of the 5 qualities that define meaningfulness, alongside how recognition can amplify those qualities across employees and the organization as a whole:

1. Meaning occurs when work impacts others more than just the individual worker. Recognition is the opportunity to see how your work has positively contributed to others in the organization, as well as to express your gratitude to colleagues where their work has impacted you.

2. Meaning is frequently associated with rich experiences of achievement and perseverance, not merely happiness or euphoria. Individuals can be recognized for the hard work and effort put into overcoming challenges or dealing with complex problems, as well as the results that stem from that work.

3. Meaning occurs through discrete, memorable moments rather than in a more sustained manner. Recognition that is timely, frequent, and specific can be directly tied to these types of moments, reinforcing their memorability and impact.

4. Meaning requires a level of thoughtful retrospection, when connections can be drawn between completed work and its wider value. Recognition provides a moment of pause for giving and receiving alike, to step out of the stream of everyday work and call attention to the positive impact that work has accomplished.

5. Meaning touches upon a person’s whole self, both within and outside of their professional identities. Central to the WorkHuman movement, recognition signals an appreciation of each and every employee’s full set of strengths as humans, connecting work and personal lives.

As the research suggests, meaningfulness at work is about the larger culture and environment that supports these qualities and empowers employees to find meaning for themselves. A social recognition solution is an incredibly powerful tool in helping to build that culture and ultimately, make work more human.

How have you found meaning in your own work?

Compensation Cafe: Recognition in Support of Talent Mobility

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! – Internal talent mobility can reinvent the traditional career, but will require a shift towards more flexible solutions like social recognition to be successful.

Long gone are the traditional employee expectations of having an entire career play out within a single organization or even within the same functional area. Instead, modern careers are much more kaleidoscopic, comprised of transitions between a number of different employers and increasingly, across functional boundaries as well.

In light of this trend, and the need to reinvent how we think about careers, Josh Bersin of Deloitte has advocated for internal talent mobility. As I write in a recent post on Compensation Cafe, this solution is well-suited to respond to several converging trends affecting the workplace:

The talent market is more transparent than ever, offering an endless supply of potential opportunities. Organizations themselves are increasingly flatter and more agile, requiring less middle management and more project or team-based leadership. Finally, there is also a greater demand for on-the-job development as opportunities and assignments appear within those teams.

Internal mobility means that opportunities for growth and development can be brought inside the organization, to retain and engage top talent that would otherwise seek those types of opportunities at another employer. It can also transform the organization into a more dynamic and relationship-oriented system, expanding upon the cumulative capabilities and knowledge of the workforce.

To make talent mobility work, programs will be required that are similarly dynamic and relationship-oriented. Social recognition is one such program that offers a number of potential benefits. As I write in the full post, some of those include the following:

As employees move around the organization, recognition follows, providing a complete view of contributions and connections made across the different areas.

Managers themselves can be recognized for a wider range of behaviors in support of talent mobility, including the extent to which they support their direct reports or provide opportunities for development within and outside of their areas.

It provides everyone in the organization with visibility into what teams are forming and what projects are being undertaken… facilitating the collective knowledge of skills, abilities, and experiences, increasing the likelihood that employees are successfully matched with their roles.

A social recognition solution provides a record of the outstanding work that is happening around the company and who is contributing to that work. This information can be leveraged to inform talent mobility decisions, uncovering pockets of success or unsung heroes, and most importantly, getting the right people aligned with the right opportunities.

How do you think talent mobility would work in your own organization?

Compensation Cafe: Have You Thought About Former Employees Recently?

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! – Social recognition can help ensure that “alumni” employees turn prior positive experiences into benefits for their former companies.

Today’s employees will rarely spend their entire careers at a single organization. Instead, they will have multiple employers and potentially even multiple careers. One of the chief benefits of this trend is the expansion of professional networks that “alumni” of a company possess as they move throughout their careers.

The benefits of these networks are not restricted to the individual employee; organizations can benefit in a number of ways as well. Responding to some recent research along these lines in a post on Compensation Cafe, I make the argument that:

Compensation professionals can have extraordinary impact [on transitioning employees] through well designed total reward portfolios that drive positive financial and emotional experiences. The most powerful drivers, like moments of recognition, will be able to touch upon both simultaneously.

What are those financial and emotional experiences, exactly?

Financial, influenced by existing compensation levels, as well as additional inducements to retain the employee. To the extent that both are perceived as fair, transparent and authentic, employees are likely to perceive the relationships more positively.

Emotional, influenced by the interpersonal treatment leading up to the transition and whether the value and contributions of the employee have been acknowledged and communicated back. These messages, from bosses and colleagues, have a strong effect on the goodwill of former employees.

Through these positive experiences, former employees can serve a number of important roles for their past employers. They can serve as ambassadors, future customers, strategic partners, or even become “boomerang” employees. To achieve these benefits, recognition can be a powerful driving force:

Each moment of recognition communicates a financial investment in the form of an award, as well as an emotional investment in the accompanying message of the employee’s importance and value within the company. Moreover, these moments can be sourced from anywhere in the organization, amplifying the potential for a positive experience.

Click here to read the post in its entirety.

Does your company work to ensure that former employees leave with positive experiences?

3 Steps to Impactful Recognition

By Derek Irvine

StairsRecognize This! – Investments in employees need to account for value, visibility, and level of contribution to maximize their effectiveness. Social recognition is the ideal solution across all three.

One of the challenges that some clients bring to us involves getting the right mix of recognition and other investments in their total rewards portfolio. This is an important question because the strength and duration of some of those investments, especially in the form of incentives or bonuses, has been called into question.

At the same time, there is a growing body of evidence that illustrates how important recognition is in creating a more human workplace, which itself is foundational across a number of pressing HR challenges in talent attraction, engagement, and retention. Together, these dynamics suggest that the better investment is towards strengthening social recognition, the effects of which may be more impactful and also more enduring.

For some companies, this can present something of a paradigm shift in thinking: often from a blend of tactical yet inconsistent recognition alongside bonuses and incentives, towards a strategic and unified social recognition solution. This shift also requires thinking about what it is about recognition that ultimately makes it an effective motivator vis-à-vis other potential investments a company can make.

Here are three attributes that impact the ways that employees perceive investments in them that ultimately determine their effectiveness:

  1. Value. Employees may assign a financial and an emotional value to the investments that companies make in them, but the relative weighting of each depends heavily on the particular type of investment. Bonuses and other like incentives fall more squarely into the financial side, while traditional recognition (e.g., a written thank you) fall more squarely into the emotional. Combining both- a recognition moment which includes a tangible award- is well positioned to have the largest impact by touching upon both financial and emotional drivers.
  2. Visibility. Looking again at the types of investments that a company can make, there are differences in the extent to which those investments are public or shareable, as well as the source most often associated with them. Bonuses and incentives, much like pay, tend to be less transparent in nature and less shared. Recognition, on the other hand, spans private and public acknowledgement through a variety of potential channels and from all across the organization. Social recognition lends structure to the amount of visibility, with flexible control of who can see what to ensure that moments of great work are shared where possible and privacy is maintained where needed or desired.
  3. Level of Contribution. Matching the investment to the level of contribution is another crucial factor to consider. Often, bonuses and incentives are metered out at predetermined intervals, rather than in real-time according to the work being performed. Traditional recognition, in the form of a verbal or written thank you note, can be timelier, but may also fail to accurately reflect the employee’s investment in contributing great work. Again, social recognition can provide a solution that is both timely and structured to capture the differences in contributions across employees, resulting in perceptions of fairness.

The full range of best practices outlined here and here can supplement the factors above to ensure that organizations benefit from robust and meaningful recognition. Successful recognition programs are flexible to account for these differences in an elegant fashion, ensuring that the recognition moment itself remains both simple and natural.

What other factors do you think need to go into planning for effective social recognition?

Compensation Cafe: Keeping Investments in People Top of Mind

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! – The investments that companies make in employees can be difficult to keep top of mind. Recognition is one solution that communicates the value employees have on a frequent and timely basis.

The business world seems to moving faster than ever, challenging employees and leadership teams alike to keep up. These changes are affecting a wide range of HR processes and systems as well. From the annual employee census to pulse surveys for engagement, from infrequent performance appraisals to ongoing coaching and development, it is becoming ever more important to provide frequent and high-touch experiences for employees.

In today’s post on Compensation Cafe, I discuss what these trends mean for the full range of investments that companies make in their people- spanning salary, incentives, and benefits- and how difficult it can be to keep those things top of mind. Looking across just some of the trends above, I argue:

A similar transformation is needed in the way that companies communicate (and keep top of mind) the value and investments that they make in their employees. For the sake of argument, I suspect that salary, incentives, and benefits are not top of mind for the typical employee on a frequent basis. Much like traditional performance appraisals, there are certain times of the year when these aspects are at the fore (e.g., open enrollment and the pay discussions within the performance review period). But there are also large portions of the year when these issues rarely rise to the top.

While there are clear exceptions to the above, for the typical employee, daily work responsibilities can easily consume most of one’s attention and effort. As a result, the investments that companies make across salary and benefits can be easily overlooked. At a minimum, employees may miss out on the personal value that benefits may confer; at worst, they may perceive better opportunities elsewhere.

To guard against these consequences, companies need to find better ways of reinforcing the value they place in employees. As I write in the full post:

One such approach within the scope of a total rewards portfolio is through social recognition. Social recognition can provide a daily reminder of the value that companies find in the work their employees do. It provides ongoing communication of the investments that a company makes in their employees, through messages of gratitude and appreciation from both managers and peers.

In pure value, investments in recognition (typically around 1-2% of payroll) may also go further than investments in other incentives or salary increases. Complementing the total rewards package, recognition is one investment that a company can make that will remain top of mind.

How does your company communicate the value it places in employees?

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?

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?