Archive for the "Strategic Recognition & Company Values" Category

Compensation Cafe: A Paycheck Is Not Recognition for a Job Well Done

by Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! — Psychologically healthy employees require appropriate compensation and praise for their efforts. Are the two in balance in your organization?

At a recent meeting discussing what contributions qualified as eligible for recognition, a meeting participant piped up, “Well, our hourly employees already get overtime pay for going above and beyond, so recognizing them would be like double-dipping.”

No. It doesn’t matter if you’re exempt or non-exempt. If you demonstrate desired behaviors in a commendable way, you should be recognized for it. It’s the classic discussion of the difference between compensation and recognition, which was the top of my most recent post on Compensation Cafe.

Check out the post for more on the topic, including a graphic illustrating the relationship between raises and recognition in terms of the amount invested vs the length of impact, Freakonomics research shared by Ben Eubanks, and even findings from the American Psychological Association.

Our “Stickiness” Problem: Retention, Opportunities or Feedback?

by Derek Irvine

Overcoming sharing of feedbackRecognize This! – Employees need more opportunities, more regular conversations on performance, and more frequent recognition to overcome retention challenges.

“People just don’t stick around like they used to.”

How often have you heard that phrase in terms of employee retention goals, usually coupled with statements about “there’s just no loyalty anymore.”

History shows that’s just not true. For the last 25 years, tenure has been consistently low across nearly all age ranges. And the youngest generation in the workplace tends to stay the shortest amount of time (which is not surprising considering where they are in their careers).

Chart showing average tenures over time

More recent data published in the Wall Street Journal shows average tenure across occupations doesn’t even reach 5 years.

Chart from WSJ showing less than 5 year retention average

This article focused on big data analysis for retention, looking at many different predictors to determine who might live so you can intervene. But, as the article points out, “The big challenge for employers is what, exactly, to do with the information.”

My suggestion is the rather obvious: Get out ahead of the situation whenever possible. John Hollon pointed out in TLNT that too many companies are “stuck in recession mode” and are not investing in current employees as they should – either with opportunities for internal growth or ongoing feedback.

3 Key Steps to Address our “Stickiness” Problem

Addressing the “retention challenge” requires an attack on three fronts:

  1. Create Opportunities – Employees of all ages and career stages are looking for opportunities to increase their own knowledge and grow their careers. They will either do that in your organization or elsewhere. Sometimes we make it easier for employees to look for growth opportunities elsewhere. We need to refocus our efforts (and often our budgets) on learning, development and career advancement for our current employees.
  2. Talk to the Them More! – People need ongoing constructive conversations with their leaders, mentors and managers throughout the year (and I’d argue throughout the week). Too often, we allow the structured performance review process to dictate when we hold these conversations. Frequent and timely feedback, both positive and constructive, helps employees stay on track and stay personally invested in short- and long-term outcomes.
  3. Recognize them before the traditional 5 year anniversary marker – In traditional years of service anniversary programs, why do we typically recognize people at 5, 10, 15, etc., years? Because that’s when the US and Canadian tax laws offered tax-free award options. Tax law is a terrible reason to follow a specific approach. The Wall Street Journal graphic above is the perfect illustration as to why – you won’t capture the vast majority of your employees if you wait that long. Celebrating anniversary milestone achievements is important, but it should start much sooner and occur in conjunction in ongoing peer-to-peer and manager-based recognition of desired behaviors and values.

How does your organization address retention, feedback and recognition needs? What do you seek yourself?

Creating the Culture You Want Requires Common Behaviors

by Lynette Silva

Man driving taxiRecognize This! – People drive your culture through the behaviors they exhibit every day.

Sure, getting an entire company of very different and unique individuals to align behind your mission is difficult. Even more so is getting them all to behave in the specific ways you or the leadership team have identified as most pivotal to company success.

But if an entire country can do it, what’s your excuse?

Ron Thomas is a blogger I’ve enjoyed reading and learned a great deal from for many years. In a recent post appearing on TLNT, Ron shared an experience of leaving his wallet in a taxi in Dubai, his current country of residence and employment as an expat. On the one hand, this is very concerning as the wallet contained all of his identifying documents, which are required for nearly every aspect of life in Dubai and carry heavy fines if needing replacement after loss. On the other hand, he didn’t need to worry (as he was constantly reassured by everyone from the police to customer service representatives) because he was in Dubai. As he was told, “Mr. Ron, we do not really have any crime here; whoever finds it will return it.”

And, sure enough, the taxi driver himself found the wallet, made calls to determine how to contact Ron, and then went to the effort to return the wallet – all without prompting from the police, his employer or anyone else. Why? Because that’s the way you behave in Dubai.

In the post, Ron explains the themes for “Dubai in 2012” defined by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. They read similar to the core values of an organization. Ron concludes his post by saying:

“Positivity can’t be manufactured, dictated, or created. People have to believe in the whole mission of what they are doing. The driver of the police golf cart told me that, “I am only trying to help you” as he kept asking me questions that I had already answered as I became impatient during the hunt for my wallet. I can truly say that “I love Dubai.” It’s a city that thrives on being positive.”

An entire country focused on the well-being of its citizens as well as its visitors – that makes me draw parallels to an entire company focused on the well-being of its employees as well as its customers. The culture of Dubai is distinct (as is the culture of every country) in how it treats people. Similarly, the culture of every company is distinct in how it, too, treats people. When we treat people well, greater success can be achieved.

Companies that treat employees better achieve greater market success. See this latest report from last week:

Glassdoor, a Web site for employee reviews, salary content and job listings, released a report examining the correlation between companies that have been recognized for their cultures and their performance in the stock market. It found that over the past six years, investors who bought shares in companies on its annual Best Places to Work ranking, which is based on the anonymous employee ratings on its site, would have significantly outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index. The same held true for companies on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list.”

Focusing on the humanity of the people we work with every day as well as the humanity of the people we serve is the most positive of cultures we can build in any organization. The power and result of that effort is almost incalculable. Join us in Orlando, June 8-10, to learn more at WorkHuman, our conference dedicated to harnessing the transformative power of human relationships at work.

How would you describe the culture of your organization today? What do all people know to be true about your company?

3 Benefits of CEO Video Messages for Social Recognition Programs

by Traci Pesch

Setting Up a CEO Video ShootRecognize This! – Video messages powerfully communicate passion along with important messages, especially when delivered by top executives.

One of the best parts of my job is the creative work I get to do with our customers around change management, communications and training. As I’m sure you can imagine, that encompasses a fairly expansive suite of potential materials and mechanisms to get out the message about the Power of Thanks to transform an organization.

But if I had to pick a favorite means of communication to develop with a customer, it would be the CEO video, for three key reasons:

1. People pay more attention. I know when I get an email from Eric Mosley, our CEO, I open it immediately and read it carefully. That’s even more true for video messages because I know the time investment to create them. If Eric is taking the time to record a video message instead of dashing off a quicker form of communication, then that tells me it’s a message I’d better pay particularly close attention to.

2. Expectations are more clear. The best CEO video messages do not beat around the bush on what behavior changes or actions the CEO expects from those viewing the video. When launching a new approach to social recognition and creating a culture of appreciation, that message is often about the CEO expecting all employees to notice and formally recognize the great work of those around them.

3. Video illuminates the humanity of recognition. One of the greatest benefits of a well-designed social recognition program is in the fostering of deeper interpersonal interactions between employees, even if they are located across the globe from the each other. Executive videos, by their very nature, show the humanity of the CEO In a new way. This article on expresses the point well:

“Using video as a means to communicate CEO messaging helps employees to see the leader’s passion and enthusiasm. Establishing this personal connection—even distantly through video—increases confidence, trust and loyalty.”

The Ragan article goes on to offer several how-to tips for getting top-notch footage of your CEO to drive home the messages you want to resonate most with your employees, so it’s well worth the read.

Does your organization use CEO videos to communicate? What are the key messages you’d want your CEO to deliver?

Lessons from “Best Companies to Work For”

by Derek Irvine

WorkHuman 2015Recognize This! – Great companies are great only because of the people in them.

Yesterday on Compensation Café, I shared three commonalities experienced by companies that appear on Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work For” list:

  1. Better stock performance
  2. Higher retention of top employees
  3. Increased employee energy and engagement

Read the full post “3 Reasons Why You Should Treat Employees Better” for more on each of these, but really – isn’t it obvious? People who are recognized and appreciated for their contributions in line with needs of the company, the customer and their colleagues know their efforts matters. When we know what we do matters, we’re more willing to engage more deeply in it and expend more energy to accomplish it, thereby driving greater company success and confidence in the stock market.

That’s why I’m excited by Globoforce’s designation, once again, as one of the best workplaces in Ireland by The Great Place To Work® Institute. This year, we are number 2 in the medium workplace category, up from number 3 in 2014, and in addition to our designation as a top workplace in Europe and in the US.

Making these lists is not what matters, though. The underlying effort and desire to create positive workplace cultures built on the Power of Thanks – that’s what matters. And it matters because of the impact it has on the people. Great workplaces built on positivity, appreciation and thanks fuel the human need to both give and take recognition in validation of our efforts. And when the people in our workplaces are happier, so our customers. When the customers are happier, so are our investors. But it starts, always, with the people and how we WorkHuman together.

What makes your workplace special?

“Good Job” – 2 Most Harmful Words in the English Language?

by Brenda Pohlman

Recognize This! – Consider carefully the words we use to recognize others and whether go-to phrases like ”good job” have a place in our recognition vocabulary.

Poster Advert for Whiplash MovieIf you were among the millions of movie fans around the world who tuned in to the Oscars yesterday, you may know that the title of this post refers to a line from one of the films nominated for Best Picture. Whiplash involves a relentlessly cruel bandleader who takes extreme measures to encourage (or crush perhaps – it was hard to tell – therein lies the brilliance of the film) the hopes of a young student musician aspiring to become one of the jazz greats. The movie poses lots of questions about how far people will go to achieve their dreams, and the motivations of others who support those dreams.

In one of his misguided motivational attempts the bandleader declares to the student, “The two most harmful words in the English language are ‘good job.’” I envisioned talent management professionals in cinemas the world over gasping in reaction to the blasphemy. The leader’s point is that these words imply “good enough,” and only thwart any extra dedication to doing what it takes to achieve a goal. In other words, if talented people are told “good job,” they are likely to settle and miss an opportunity to become truly great at something. Conversely, the words “not good enough” are more effective in encouraging them to work harder, practice more, do better. The leader claimed that if history’s jazz legends had frequently heard “good job” versus “not good enough,” they likely wouldn’t have become legends at all.

Hmm. After the shock in hearing the line, which goes against the very premise of the work I do everyday, I considered the idea. There may be validity in it, but I suspect it’s only in rare situations involving exceptionally driven and exceptionally talented people in certain highly competitive pursuits – musical phenoms, world-class athletes, scientific masterminds, and the like. With uniquely specialized talent, where a high-achieving individual has the potential to become truly the best in their field, perhaps it could be detrimental to recognize using words that might lessen one’s expectations of themselves.

For the rest of us, however, “good job” works wonders.

The real power of workplace recognition is not in motivating the most elite levels of talent in the organization. It’s in mobilizing the mass majority – recognizing the vast middle tier that helps move the organization forward everyday. While recognition for a job well done may be demotivating to a rare few of the most talented among us, it’s exactly the thing that pushes the rest of us forward.

This line did leave me wondering, though, about the words we use to recognize others. Despite being a fixture in our lexicon, “good job” alone hardly qualifies as bona fide recognition. So, while not the most harmful two words in the English language, maybe in the most literal and generic sense “good job” isn’t really quite good enough at all.

Recognition should be impactful and memorable and leave the recipient with a positive connection between the words spoken or written and their own actions. Overused and vague phrases alone like “good job” or “thanks for everything” or “congrats on your success” with no substance don’t quite fit the bill. Here are five tips, which apply for both verbal and written recognition, that take the experience beyond shallow platitudes to meaningful, effective recognition moments:

  1. In order to reinforce the action that you’re acknowledging, ensure recognition is timely by acknowledging the contribution soon after it’s made.
  2. More than just a couple of words are required to show appreciation effectively. Be specific – go into some detail about how your colleague’s contribution made a difference.
  3. Make recognition feel sincere by using the words “thank you” (maybe the two most beneficial words in the English language!).
  4. Describe the personal characteristics that made this person’s action or achievement special.
  5. The words you use, and anything that accompanies those words in the form of an award, should be aligned with the level of result achieved by the person you’re recognizing.

Check out this 2014 Globoforce blog post on 101 Effective Recognition Words for more tips on conveying recognition in impactful ways.

What are your favorite words, phrases or tips you use to effectively recognize others? (Or perhaps our star-struck readers might prefer to weigh in on a more classically Oscar-oriented topic….who won Best Dressed?)

Compensation Cafe: Millennials on the Market

by Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! — Career advancement can be perceived as only possible by changing organizations. Good leaders — and good cultures — give employees reasons to stay.

Recognition and retention are inextricably linked with each other. There is extensive research showing employees who do not feel noticed or valued are far more likely to leave for a workplace where they are. Blend this with the seemingly endless reports that Millennials are particularly likely to jump ship if they don’t feel praised, and it can seem like a bit of a firestorm on the topic with Millennials potentially targeted unfairly.

Why do I say “unfairly?” Yesterday on Compensation Cafe, I shared a recent study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (reported in the Washington Post), that shows how much you earn in the first 10 years of your career is a primary factor in determining your lifetime earnings.

This should give us all pause to consider are we giving our early-career employees enough opportunities to grow and develop? Are we compensating them commensurate with their increasing duties? Are we giving them enough reason to stay and build their careers in your organization?

Read the full post on Compensation Cafe, then come back and tell me, what else are we doing or should we be doing to make the current workplace nearly impossible to leave?

Compensation Cafe: Instead of Employee of the Month…

by Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! – Employee of the Month programs don’t deliver the recognition employees deserve.

My post this week on Compensation Cafe was inspired by the HR Capitalist, Kris Dunn. In his blog, he shared a couple ideas to revitalize “lame” Employee of the Month programs and asked for more ideas.

Read the full Compensation Cafe post for more on my two ideas for what to do about tired Employee of the Month programs:

  1. Get rid of them.
  2. Use the data in your social recognition program as the primary selection tool.

I’ve heard too many times that people think of Employee of the Month programs as “teacher’s pet” or “who’s turn is it this time?” Our employees deserve much better recognition than that for their efforts that help us achieve our success.

What do you think about Employee of the Month programs?

Core Values Leads to Increased Engagement Resulting in Bottom-line Results

by Derek Irvine

Road Sign Reading "Core Values"Recognize This! – Whatever underpins your company’s culture will impact your company’s success. Building a strong foundation on your core values is proven to increase employee engagement.

In the first chapter of The Power of Thanks, Eric Mosley and I introduce a very important concept that is a foundational principle of the book:

“At the heart of great corporate successes and failures is a single observable phenomenon: the behaviors and values that constitute a company’s culture largely determine its fate.”

Of course, we dive much more deeply into why this is true, but to summarize – the values underlying your culture are the defining factors for how all employees should behave to achieve the organizational objectives. They also give employees a sense of greater meaning and context of their work.

There’s no end of research supporting this assertion, and more keeps coming. Since the publication of The Power of Thanks, Don MacPherson, CEO of ModernSurvey, wrote about how employee understanding of their company’s core values impacts their own engagement:

“When someone says their organizational values are known and understood, that person is 51 times more likely to be ‘Fully Engaged’ than someone who works at an organization without values that are known…

“On Modern Survey’s twice annual study of the U.S. Workforce, we ask a very simple question: Does your organization have a clear set of Values that most employees know about and understand?

“Respondents are given three choices – Yes, No, Maybe. If you say ‘Yes’ to that question, there is nearly a 20% chance you will be ‘Fully Engaged.’ That’s a significant improvement compared to the 16% of ‘Fully Engaged’ employees across the entire U.S. workforce.

“On the other hand, if you say ‘No’ to the values question, it is next to impossible to be ‘Fully Engaged.’ In fact, just 1 in 260 people who responded ‘No’ are ‘Fully Engaged.’ That is less than one-half of one percent!” (all emphasis original)

That is a powerful finding. If you’re employees don’t know your core values, it’s nearly impossible for them to be fully engaged.

If you’re a skeptic asking, “so what?”, the research is equally powerful on the bottom line impact of employee engagement. One recent study from Aon Hewitt showed that every incremental percentage point increase in employee engagement resulted in 0.6% of sales growth. The example shared in that study was quite compelling:

“For example, a $5 billion organization with a gross margin of 55 percent and operating margins of 15 percent increased operating income by $20 million with just a 1 percent improvement in employee engagement. With a 5 percent improvement in employee engagement, operating income jumped to $102 million.”

That’s a lot of money to leave on the table simply because your employees don’t know or understand your core values. And having employees carry your values on a wallet card or attached to their security badge isn’t the answer. At best, that means they might be able to recite your values when asked. No, the most effective way to deeply embed your company values into the hearts, minds and daily work of all employees is to recognize them – and have them recognize each other – every time they demonstrate one of your values in their work. That’s what makes your values real.

For example, “Integrity” is a common value at many companies, as it should be. But it can also be a bit philosophical for employees – “I know I’m a person of integrity, but what exactly does that mean in my day-to-day tasks?” If you were to recognize an employee with a specific, detailed message like this, think how it might encourage repeat behaviors and increase the employee’s engagement in their work and your company:

“Sean, I noticed your work on the Millersville project. The client contact came to you with a very difficult scenario, and they initially seemed unwilling to listen to our proposed solutions. The way you presented options to the customer, clearly outlining why some were more advantageous to them even to our own loss, showed how committed we are to the client’s success. That is a clear demonstration of our core value of ‘Integrity,’ and I and the team appreciate how you handled the situation. Thank you!”

That’s the power of thanks – and it can directly impact your bottom line.

What are your company’s core values? Are all employees in your organization aware of them and committed to living them out in their daily work?

What “Amazing” Did You Miss Today?

by Lynette Silva

Picture of man on his phone while a humpback whale breeches beside him.Recognize This! – Amazing work is being done by brilliant people around us every day, but it’s easy to miss unless we create more avenues for exceptional effort to be seen, acknowledged and appreciated.

Here’s a photo that encapsulates the world we live in today. (Email subscribers, click through.)

Eric Smith, the photographer who captured this image, said about the experience:

“The whales were breaching off Redondo (Beach) and this small sailboat maneuvered into the spot where the spout occurred. I was roughly 50 feet from the whale and her calf when they surfaced next to the sailboat. The guy never looked up from his phone throughout the entire breach. Two women at the front of the boat were taking pictures but he didn’t notice.”

Notice how Eric captioned the picture – “A sign of the times.” Indeed it is.

How much “amazing” do we miss because we’re distracted by the mundane? I have no scientific study to point to, but I have to imagine the percentage of “Missed Amazing” is quite high. And that’s not necessarily through any fault of our own, but the nature of the busy-ness of our world and our work.

2 Reasons We Miss Seeing the “Amazing” around Us

In thinking about it more, I think we miss out on the amazing people and occurrences around us for two key reasons: we’re distracted by other inputs or we ignore potential.

1) Distraction

The humpback whale photo is the perfect illustration of this phenomenon in the wild (pun intended), but it’s no less prevalent in the workplace. We are busy. We acknowledge the great work and contributions by others that we see, but how much do we miss? That’s why we so strongly encourage full peer recognition in true social recognition programs. As I’m known to say in strategy sessions I lead, “Even the very best manager can’t see all the good happening around them every day.”

By empowering all employees to recognize their colleagues for demonstrating your company’s core values in their work, you are adding far more “eyes” on the lookout for “amazing” every day. You are ensuring that good work is noticed, appreciated and praised, and that you are capturing the knowledge of those achievements in an actionable way.

2) Ignoring Potential

To illustrate this point, I, as a loyal New England Patriots football fan, must use the example of Malcolm Butler, the cornerback who made the game-winning play in the Super Bowl. Butler was an undrafted rookie free agent, which means no football team selected him prior to the start of the season. He had to fight for a position on a team. As I learned in this TLNT post:

“Butler played for West Alabama after starting in junior college. He got an assist from Chan Gailey, who coached Butler in the Medal of Honor Bowl and is the current New York Jets offensive coordinator. Gailey recommended that Butler pursue the Patriots given coach Bill Belichick’s willingness to look past draft status and assess raw talent.

“This ability to see talent without the typical indicators for future high potential status likely affected not only the Super Bowl, but both Butler’s and the Patriot’s legacy.”

Sometimes, we miss “amazing” because we’re too locked into what we think “amazing” should look like. Did a member of your team complete a project with an outcome or deliverable that was different than you expected? Too often, we discredit those “different” outcomes because it’s not what we would have done ourselves, even if it was actually a better end result.

Giving people a chance to spread their wings and try new things helps overcome this tendency. In a well-structured social recognition program, peers can recognize cross functional colleagues or teams that might not be part of their own hierarchical structure. This can reveal a team member who contributed to a project and delivered an outcome outside of their “job description.” That might inform you about an avenue for career growth and development for that team member, a key need for loyalty and longevity.

What are other reasons we might miss “Amazing” around us?