Archive for the "Social Recognition" Category

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.


What’s Ahead for HR in 2017?

By Derek Irvine

doors-1613314_960_720Recognize This! – Trends in HR for the year ahead will emphasize empowerment, the employee experience, and ultimately a more human workplace.

What will some of the big themes be for HR leaders in the year ahead and how can we begin preparing for them? For some answers, I attended a session at HR Tech based on Josh Bersin’s new report, HR Technology Disruptions for 2017.

One of the key findings from that report is a much greater emphasis on empowerment and the whole work environment, increasing the robustness of how we think about employee engagement and cultural fit.  HR technology is playing a large and disruptive role in accelerating this philosophical shift, bringing together sophisticated people analytics, always-on self-servicing, and greater social connection.

These trends deeply resonate with the WorkHuman movement and community. We collectively stand at a pivotal moment for HR to integrate technology and humanity in creating a better workplace and a better employee experience.

It is clear that employees now expect much more out of work, and by extension, many of the HR systems that contribute to the work experience in some way. In Josh’s analysis, we can see how these trends have emerged across HR functions (see his Figure 2: Evolution of HR systems below).


Early technologies aimed to automate and integrate existing processes, streamlining most administrative tasks across benefits and compensation and talent management. Because of that streamlining and perhaps other factors, HR professionals and employees alike began to realize that existing processes were no longer working.

They needed to be fundamentally rethought and rebuilt.

Alongside cloud and mobile technologies, there is now an opportunity to rethink those processes and more fully engage the hearts and minds of employees. There is also an opportunity for HR to move at the speed of business, integrating these processes into the stream of everyday work.

Social recognition is one example that Josh mentions, which empowers all employees to recognize the contributions of others in real time, avoiding the costly process of top-down nominating committees and the pitfalls of having a small “winner’s circle.” Next-gen performance feedback is another area where this kind of empowerment is quickly growing, basing processes in ongoing growth-oriented conversations instead of annual forms or ratings.

Across these and the other emerging “apps that make work life better,” the notion of the workplace is expanding to include more human elements and meeting employee’s expectations for autonomy and control over those elements. These changes will result in a better employee experience, and as research by Globoforce’s WorkHuman Research Institute and the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute has shown, that will lead to better business results.

How is your company preparing for these more human trends ahead?

Who Inspires You to Get Out of Bed in the Morning?

Woman in a bedby Traci Pesch

Recognize This! – Simply expressing to others they are appreciated and important powerfully and positively impacts both the giver and receiver of the praise.

How do you change someone’s perspective of themselves? How do you change your own perspective of yourself and your mission? One step – recognize someone. Celebrate the good in them. Tell them how they are special, how what they do matters.

It really is that simple. The act of recognition – both giving and receiving – fulfills a basic human need, the need to be noticed. The need to be seen. The need to be of value to others and to be valued by others.

Take a 6-minute positivity break and watch this video of teachers telling students they are important and appreciated.

Wow. Powerful. I admit it – I welled up a bit watching that. Why? It’s the faces and the reaction of the students who are the recipients of the messages of praise and appreciation. You can see their faces and entire demeanor change in an instant from cautious “What did I do wrong?” to blushing “Really? I didn’t know I had that impact on you.”

And it’s precisely that nuance of the message of appreciation that’s so important. Every message was not just “Thank you. You do good work.” Every message included the important specific element of, “You are the reason I come in every day to do my job. You inspire me. You make my work have value and meaning.”

That’s a critical lesson for us in our jobs, too. Yes, praise and thanks are important. Even more so are the personal, sincere and specific messages of how someone made a difference and how they and their efforts had a lasting impact.

This positivity project worked by focusing on the human experience. Jamie McSparin, the teacher behind the project said in an interview, “It started that dialogue between teachers and students, which humanizes the whole experience. It’s not, ‘Here, I’m teaching you.’ It’s ‘Let’s build a relationship and make this an experience.’”

We all need that reminder. We’re not working with robots, but with humans. What fuels humans? Interaction. Relationships with others. A sense of greater meaning and purpose. Experiencing work and life together. (That’s a large factor of the research resulting in the new IBM/Globoforce Employee Experience Index announced at HRTech – a positive employee experience requires trust, relationships, meaningful work, recognition, empowerment and balance. Read the report.)

Who would you recognize in your workplace? Who inspires you to get out of bed in the morning? What is it about them and their work that makes a difference? Most importantly, when are you going to tell them?

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?

Compensation Cafe: An Active Approach to Core Values

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! – A social recognition solution aligned to core values helps ensure that those values are lived by all employees and actively managed by leaders.

Have you thought about where the core values at your company came from?

In all probability, they were developed as a way to successfully drive a specific culture and achieve organizational success. A senior leadership team spent a lot of time thinking through all of those relationships and what they wanted the company to be.

Far from a straightforward task, developing core values can be challenging. It all comes down to ensuring the right balance between aspirations and reality of how work gets done. As I wrote in a recent post on the Compensation Cafe, core values can often fall short of the goals for which they were developed.

This is especially true when “those core values aren’t embedded in the everyday experience of work, when they are unrelated to what drives success for the organization, or both.”

As I write in the full post, there are two ways that social recognition, when aligned to core values, can help avoid these problems and ultimately increase the effectiveness of the organization.

First, recognition allows colleagues to recognize each other on the basis of living core values through daily behavior and examples of positive performance. It takes advantage of top-down as well as bottom-up dynamics to spread an understanding of what the core values mean to the organization.

Second, social recognition provides a valuable feedback mechanism that allows leaders to actively manage and improve how core values are being lived. The data created by recognition moments can provide leaders and managers with insights into which core values are being recognized, how often, and how their definition may change over time or across locations.

Social recognition provides a way for companies to both ensure that their core values are being lived, and that they contribute to the success of the organization.

Does your company effectively leverage its employee recognition efforts to support core values?

Compensation Cafe: How to Develop Consistent Performers

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! – A combination of coaching and social recognition can help consistent performers to realize their potential and reach higher levels of performance.

It has become commonplace for businesses to differentiate between high performers, consistent performers, and those who need more development. A majority of programs tend to focus solely on high performers, as those who can bring the most value to the organization.

Effective organizations though also need to mobilize and develop the largest of these three groups: the consistent performers. As I write in this post on Compensation Cafe, a culture of reward and recognition can enable leaders to reach deeper into this group through smaller, more frequent moments. Doing so can motivate a greater proportion of that group, as well as keep the momentum of motivation high.

Another unique feature of this group is the variability across performance, owing in large part to the size of the group. Some individuals may be striving upwards, others content with the level of their effort, and still others for whom a change could derail their otherwise consistent showings. Taking these differences into account, two distinct strategies emerge that support a culture of recognition and performance.

As I write in the full post, they include the following:

Feedback or coaching conversations can be geared to help provide some insight … [empowering] employees to not only direct their own work, but also spend time thinking about the larger mission of the organization and how their work contributes to that.

The second strategy emphasizes building potential over time through social recognition. Each moment, where an employee has demonstrated a core value or contributed above and beyond to the team or colleagues, can be a launching point for a discussion about growth and expansion.

Taken together, these strategies can help a company develop its pool of consistent performers, delivering a collective impact that could rival that of the high performers.

What does your organization to do help develop those consistent performers?

Growth Starts with Working Human

By Derek Irvine

board-752051_960_720Recognize This! – Growth within a human workplace combines traditional learning opportunities with the recognition of a challenge- and fun-oriented mindset.

In today’s post, I wanted to revisit a set of findings from the 2016 WorkHuman Research Institute ROI of Recognition survey. As we explored the sets of practices that contribute to a more human and caring workplace, a concept emerged that emphasized the importance of growth and development.

In particular, I was thinking about this concept as I read through a recent post from Bersin by Deloitte on scaling a culture of continuous learning. Two parallels are of note. First, like continuous learning, growth within a human workplace requires a different mindset and approach to learning and development activities. Second, both of these forms of development need to be deeply embedded within the cultural fabric of the organization, practiced on a daily rather than intermittent basis.

Let’s dig deeper into each of these in turn.

Our concept of growth within a human workplace builds upon traditional approaches to learning and development. As our own research has found, there needs to be a foundation of learning activities. For example, employees that perceived “opportunities to grow and learn in their jobs” were 2x more likely to perceive that their leaders care about creating a human workplace.

And yet employees also spoke to a mindset that was broader in nature.

That mindset speaks to the presence of challenge and fun within the workplace as levers for continuous employee development. Within more human workplaces, employees were almost 2x more likely to believe that they are able to “find a solution for any challenge.” That mindset is more likely to also occur where employees perceive a “company culture that is fun and enjoyable” and “passionately believe in the organization’s core values.”

Not merely seeking pleasure for its own sake, “fun” and “challenge” transform into a sense of striving towards one’s potential, seeking out problems to solve, and achieving growth that is aligned with core values and purpose.

How can this mindset become a part of the fabric of everyday work?

Perhaps not surprising, social recognition provides a timely and frequent way for everyone in the company to call attention to colleagues finding solutions, expanding their own skills and knowledge, and working together to overcome challenges. Each recognition moment reflects an instance of growth happening in real time. The data provided by these moments can allow managers to have richer developmental conversations with their reports, and allow greater awareness across the company of where expertise exists.

Across the organization, recognition embeds the acknowledgement of learning and growth opportunities into everyday work, to help ensure that it is a continuous process and ultimately contributes to the creation of a more human and more adaptable organization.

What type of growth opportunities do you see on a daily basis that could be recognized?

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?