Archive for the "Strategic Recognition & Company Values" Category

Why Tracking Employee Recognition Patterns Matters

by Traci Pesch

graphic display of informationRecognize This! – We can learn much about the culture of our workplaces, departments and teams just by deliberately observing and interpreting the pattern of positivity.

We have a new joiner on our team (Welcome, Jessica!) who shared with me this terrific article on how one elementary school teacher is tackling the horror of school bullying one child at a time. As a mother, I was of course interested in this article at face value. But as I read deeper into how this teacher battles bullying, I saw so many parallels to the workplace.

Here’s the method:

“Every Friday afternoon, she [the teacher] asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student who they believe has been an 
exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.

“And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, she takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her, and studies them. 
She looks for patterns.

“Who is not getting requested by anyone else?

“Who can’t think of anyone to 
request?

“Who never gets noticed enough 
to be nominated?

“Who had a million friends last week and none this week?

“You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed 
by their peers. And she’s pinning down—right away—who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.”

I read this and hoped for such teachers for my own children. But then, as I read the patterns the teacher is looking for, it reminded me of the similar patterns we also look for through social recognition programs. It’s the same idea, applied to the workforce. It’s the heart of what it means to “Work Human.”

Social recognition, when monitored and tracked appropriately, reveals similar patterns – both positive and potentially negative. Once those patterns are identified, then deeper investigation and possible corrective actions can be more easily taken.

Who is not getting recognized much at all?

  • Do these people work in very independent roles with little interaction with others? If so, what can I do as a manager to recognize their efforts more myself or look for projects in which they can join in with a team?
  • Is there a potential underlying performance issue resulting in little to no recognition? How can those issues be addressed with additional training or development opportunities?

Who is getting recognized but not by members of their own team?

  • Is there a personality conflict going on amongst team members that needs to be addressed?
  • Is the person getting recognized by those outside the team because he is doing a lot of work to help others on their projects? If so, is this a potential career development path as it’s clearly an area of interest?

Who is not recognizing others?

  • Does this person not have the visibility into the work and contributions of others in order to recognize them? How can we broaden their interaction, perspective or (perhaps) sense of ownership and responsibility for recognizing the valuable contributions of others?
  • Do we need to reeducate some on the importance and value of recognition, even for making progress?
  • Is there a culture of fear or an expectation that recognition is for managers only? Do we need to intervene in some departments directly?

Recognition and appreciation are very human needs. We need to know that what we do is noticed, valued and appreciated. Depriving people of the opportunity to either give or receive recognition and gratitude are features of a bully culture. Understanding and overcoming impediments to the free-flow of positivity through recognition are critical to success.

What kind of culture do you work in?

Cultures of Recognition Don’t Create Themselves

by Traci Pesch

Lead by Example planning groupRecognize This! – Leadership, involvement by all, and strong communications are critical to making recognition and appreciation part of the daily rhythm of work.

During my career at Globoforce, I’ve had the pleasure of working with dozens of companies across nearly every industry type. While my role is consult with and guide them on their recognition journey, I’ve also learned from them over the years.

One of my current customers is a great example of this. They’ve taken to heart our critical message about the importance of metrics to measure success in achieving their ambitions for recognition, sending out weekly metrics scorecards and key learnings to the core recognition culture team. One such recent scorecard highlighted key learnings as they’ve achieved a milestone in social recognition availability. We see these key learnings across customers as they are fundamental for most any company to achieve their own ambitions for recognition.

Here they are as reported by our customer along with my own additional comments.

Key Learnings

1) “Building a culture of daily recognition and appreciation doesn’t happen overnight. [Our recognition program] puts the power of thanks into the hands of our employees (or into their mobile devices).”

All employees must feel they own the responsibility of sharing recognition, appreciation and praise with their peers, colleagues and superiors. True “everyone-to-everyone” recognition is the foundation for building a culture of daily recognition, which encourages everyone to “catch someone doing something good” and thank them for it. When everyone’s involved, achieving a true culture of recognition happens much more quickly.

2) “[Recognition program] adoption, as measured by unique nominators and unique recipients, is highest when senior leaders express, model, and reinforce the importance of recognition.  When senior leaders use [the recognition program] to recognize employees, we see increased usage.”

The number one item in the blueprint for successful social recognition is “The Tempo Starts at the Top.” Executive and leadership modeling of the recognition behaviors desired from all employees is the most effective way to communicate to everyone, “This matters to our success. It’s important. Take a few minutes to notice the great work happening around you and thank your colleagues for it.”

3) “Senior leaders who have used [the recognition program] to recognize employees have been surprised and amazed to receive heartfelt thank-you responses.”

Recognition and appreciation quickly becomes a virtuous circle with those receiving praise reaching back out to those who recognized them to express gratitude for “having been noticed.” The power of thanks is palpable, especially when you know the boss sees and values you and your work.

4) Communication is key to success.  When we use well-placed messaging, we see an immediate increase in [recognition program] usage.

A well-structured social recognition program is a font of great news and stories to share beyond the system to continually communicate and reinforce desired behaviors and the importance of celebrating others. Establishing a strategic communications and change management plan then executing against it flawlessly ensures recognition becomes “just a way we do business around here.”

As Derek Irvine recently mentioned, if you’re constantly talking about your culture rather than pointing it out as you see it happening around you, then you likely haven’t achieved the culture your truly seeking to create. These key learnings help make your desired recognition culture a reality that’s easy to see blossoming around you every day.

What other ways do you see your culture of recognition coming alive?

Trends in Employee Recognition: Culture-Oriented/Results-Driven

by Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe blog logoRecognize This! — Results-driven recognition programs that focus on deeply embedding recognition into the company culture have the greatest impact on employee engagement, motivation, satisfaction and retention.

WorldatWork released their latest“Trends in Employee Recognition” report this week. I shared key trends and insights on the report on Compensation Cafe today (click over for more).

To summarize, top trends highlighted are:

1) Prevalence of recognition programs in organizations continues to grow with emphasis on those that drive results. While length of service continues to be the most prevalent of program types, those that have real results-driven impact continue to grow in popularity, especially programs celebrating above-and-beyond performance, motivating specific behaviors, and encouraging peer recognition.

2) Top goals for recognition continue to align with types of programs offered. Motivating high performance, reinforcing desired behaviors, and creating  positive work environments through a culture of recognition continue to top the goals list for recognition programs.

3) Results-driven programs gain in importance in organizations overall, with an emphasis on increasing employee engagement, motivation, satisfaction and retention.

4) Creating at true culture of recognition and appreciation is a driving factor for increases in employee engagement and motivation.

“Through further analysis it was found that organizations with a strategic and/or embedded culture of recognition indicate that their employees have higher engagement, motivation and satisfaction. Additionally, organizations leveraging result-driven recognition programs, in particular, may be experiencing greater overall success.”

As I said in Compensation Cafe, Good planning matters. Employee recognition is not a nice-to-have soft-skill. When done strategically to reinforce desired behaviors and drive organizational strategic objectives, recognition can have a significant impact on the factors most closely related to increased employee performance, productivity and customer service. That requires detailed planning up front and continual evaluation as organizational needs change for two critical factors: (1) your primary goals and ambitions for the program and (2) the metrics you will use to measure success against those factors.

What trends for recognition are you seeing in your organization?

Trends in Work Environments: Finding the Balance to WorkHuman

by Traci Pesch

Balanced rocksRecognize This! –Benefits for some can be perceived as detractors by others. Finding the balance to serve all is key.

As part of my work, I get involved with many different customers across a wide variety of industries, located around the world. When I step back from a particular customer’s situation and look across the spectrum of customers and how they think about the work environment and how people work best together, patters emerge.

1) Physical Space – There’s definitely a difference in how “cool, trendy” companies treat physical office space vs more traditional organization. However, across the board, I’m seeing a lot of detailed attention being paid to how employees get work done within a physical space. Open offices are the trendy approach, but even in these spaces, I see many little tweaks and configurations to give a semblance of “personal space” and even privacy. So, who benefits from an open office structure? Company leaders claim the primary benefit is in increased collaboration, innovation, productivity, etc., but research is showing the opposite. Too much noise and distraction in open offices can actually lower productivity depending on the collaboration scenario. But for some teams and work structures, the ability to easily and quickly collaborate with colleagues is a distinct benefit.

Find the Balance – Structure work environments that give employees ample opportunity to spontaneously collaborate as well as work heads-down in a physical space ideal for concentration. This requires acknowledging different people and teams work best differently and allowing for space ideal for everyone.

2) Perks – Free food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and nap rooms. On-site dry cleaning, laundry services and car washes. On-site doctors and dentists. These and many more perks are truly a benefit for employees. But everyone also knows companies often offer these services as a way to eliminate these distractions so employees can work longer and more intense hours. That’s not a bad thing, necessarily, but it all lies in how these benefits are perceived by both the employer and the employee. If there is a dentist on-site, will I be frowned upon for leaving work early to go a dental appointment with a doctor I prefer?

Find the Balance – Invest in perks that ease tiresome burdens for employees and allow them to focus on what matters most to them, but be sure employees are fully comfortable with the option to take advantage of the available perks or not.

3) Recognition – In my nearly 15 years in the industry, I’m seeing a much more rapid adoption of employee social recognition as a driving factor of both individual fulfillment and team and organization success. But as more and more people gain a deeper understanding of the Power of Thanks, I’m also seeing less and less valuable, meaningful and personal recognition experiences. It’s easy to jump on a “Hey, thanks!” bandwagon, but much more important to put the extra effort into crafting a true culture of recognition in which deep, detailed appreciation between peers and leaders alike. (There’s an art and science to this discussed in much greater detail in the book linked above.)

Find the Balance – Recognition, when given specifically and personally, strikes a deep chord and feeds an important human need. Yet how individuals give, receive and process recognition is very different. Be sure to think about the person receiving recognition as much as the person giving it.

The common theme here? Everyone is different. Humans are complex beings. Understanding how we can best work together is an equally complex, but deeply important undertaking. That’s why I’m looking forward to WorkHuman 2015 (June 8-10 in Orlando). I’ve just scratched the surface of the many ways in which we need to think better, harder and deeper about how we WorkHuman together. I hope you’ll join me there. (Register here and enter code DIBLOG100 for a $100 discount).

What do you find to be the most important aspects of a human work environment?

Compensation Cafe: Fair Pay, Differentiated Rewards

by Derek Irvine

Unbalanced beamRecognize This! — Differentiating recognition and rewards for top performers is critical while still allowing for all to participate in the opportunity to be recognized for work well done.

I intentionally stirred the compensation and recognition pot in my last post on Compensation Cafe. With a title like “An Argument for Unfair Pay,” I’m sure you can imagine the post received several insightful and detailed comments.

So, in my post yesterday on the Cafe, I took advantage of the very smart readers and fellow bloggers to showcase some of those comments and learnings. Click over for the details, but here’s a taste of thoughts around the appropriate balance between paying and recognizing people fairly while allowing for the differentiation necessary for the top performers:

  • Jacque Vilet: “Let them have access to high level management to discuss progress and to get help in removing any organizational barriers that are keeping them from solving the problem.”
  • Jim Brennan: The Pareto Principle still applies.
  • E. K. Torkornoo: “Keep them away from terrible managers, narcissistic leaders and distracting politics (to the extent possible); assign them to teams with others they respect, listen carefully and respond to them.
  • Ted Weinberger: I refer you to an article in Personnel Psychology 2012 on “The Best and the Rest: Revisting the Norm of Normality of Individual Differences” by O’Boyle and Aguinis for an academic discussion of this subject.”
  • Tony Bermann-Porter: The notion that you can provide meaningful performance differentiation with a 2-3% budget is fanciful.”

How do you differentiate for top performers?

You Asked: Answering Your Questions about The Power of Thanks (Part 2)

by Derek Irvine

Cover of Power of Thanks BookRecognize This! – Social recognition is a very powerful means of creating and managing culture, when structured in a considered, thoughtful way.

Continuing on my last post, below are the remaining questions asked in our recent webinar about our new book, The Power of Thanks. (Download a recording of the webinar.)

Q10: How should companies balance positive recognition with encouraging people to offer candid criticism, as well? In other words, is there a risk that focusing on encouraging positive recognition risks silencing negative feedback?

There is a far greater risk to negative feedback outweighing positive. Both are important, but one thing to be sure to avoid is the “feedback sandwich,” which is just confusing to all. Check out these posts on research showing it takes 5 positive comments to outweigh one negative for feedback recipients and Gallup research showing employees whose managers acknowledge their strengths are far more engaged than those whose managers focus on their weaknesses.

Q11: I am in management in a department that has just completed a hostile takeover of another department. There is a great deal of mistrust and dysfunction. How can we turn this around without undermining the needed authority we have to maintain?

While departmental, many of the principles for any kind of merging of cultures likely applies. I recommend the information in this post: “The Power of Thanks during M&A – 5 Steps to Merge Company Cultures.”

Q12: I give recognition frequently, but I do not receive it (personally) because upper management doesn’t believe in it. I purchase recognition items out of my own money, but just can’t seem to get buy-in from the top.

A strong business case for recognition that appeals to what upper management cares about most would likely be a strong approach. I refer you specifically to chapter 8 in The Power of Thanks, “Driving ROI and Business Results.” Working with customers to create solid business cases is also a service my team offers. Reach out through the email link above if we can help further.

Q13: In today’s environment, we are getting very impersonal and managers miss the little things that count when it comes to employee recognition. Agreed?

Agreed. It’s the many little things that make us a success. Even the very best managers can’t be expected to see all the good occurring around them every day, especially in today’s distributed workforces. That’s why peer recognition is vitally important to empower everyone to “catch someone doing something good. This post has more detail: Open the Floodgates of Recognition.

Q14: Is it effective to do a “recognition” program within a smaller group–if you can’t impact the entire company? And can you give more examples of the best ways to do that?

It can be effective to structure a program in a smaller group, but the same principles of best practice program design apply. No matter the size of the group, follow the blueprint for recognition success outlined in chapter 7 of The Power of Thanks, “Building a Social Recognition Framework.” Doing so will not only ensure success of the program within your smaller group, but also prove the value of your efforts to the company as a whole (hopefully enabling you to expand the positivity to the entire organization).

Q15: Is there a blueprint/best way to measure employee engagement? Cultural health?

That’s a question the various employee engagement survey providers would want to weigh in on, I’m sure. My advice would be to be sure any survey you conduct, you’re prepared to take action on feedback received in a very timely fashion. Otherwise people think their time spent offering their opinions is wasted. For measuring culture health, there’s no better way than staying on top of the factors you’ve determined to be the markers of your culture – your core values (in most cases). Chapter 9 in The Power of Thanks, “How Social Recognition Impacts HR” addresses this topic in much greater detail, delving into the power of big data and people analytics.

Q16: Is there a value to doing a recognition program that simply acknowledges and gives thanks without actual awards?

“Thanks Only” recognition programs have a couple of challenges, first of which is no calibration of recognition to level of effort, contribution, result achieved. Someone who led a cross-departmental team on a project with company-wide, lasting impact should be recognized at a higher level than someone who contributed as part of team to achieving a short-term goal. Without that calibration and differentiation, recognition becomes devalued very quickly. Also, research shows employees themselves find ethanks to not be memorable or have a lasting impact.

Q17: Do you have any research on gamification tools and their impact on social collaboration and recognition. Any success stories or key things to look for in gamification software?

Gamification is a tricky issue. In a true incentives or contest scenario, then gamification techniques make good sense. But in true recognition, you want to be sure all praise and appreciation activity is organic. You don’t want people to game recognition in terms of wanting to be a “top recognizer” on a leaderboard, as that only encourages people to recognize others for the wrong reasons. Again, my colleague, Darcy, has done a terrific job of explaining this in more depth in this post: “5 Myths about Gamification Everyone Should Know.”

Q18: What would be the difference between current social recognition actions and actions like “employee of the month”?

Employee of the Month programs, as traditionally implemented, are often seen as “Teacher’s Pet” programs (John is always the winner as he’s the boss’s favorite) or “Who’s Turn Is It This Month?” (rotating the award through the team, regardless of how deserved the acknowledgement is). There is way to salvage these programs through social recognition practices, which I’ve discussed in this post: “Is Your Employee of the Month Program Recognizing the Right People?”

Clearly, we enjoy addressing your questions here on Recognize This! Feel free to reach out through the email link above any time or in comments on any post. I often address those questions in posts directly.

What are your biggest questions or concerns around social recognition?

You Asked: Answering Your Questions about The Power of Thanks (Part 1)

by Derek Irvine

Cover of Power of Thanks BookRecognize This! – Social recognition is a very powerful means of creating and managing culture, when structured in a considered, thoughtful way.

Last week, Eric Mosley and I had the opportunity to participate in a webinar about our new book, The Power of Thanks. (Download a recording of the webinar.) The webinar, led by Laurie Ruettimann, was a very enjoyable experience with terrific questions from attendees. As is always the case, we ran out of time before we were able to address all of the questions. I’ll do my best to answer them here, often pointing to prior blog posts on similar topics. Due to the number of questions, I’ll be breaking this into two posts, with the second to appear on Monday.

Q1: A company maintains its most valued assets not by compensation, but by appreciation?

There’s no question that fair compensation matters. Employees need to satisfy their base requirements for safety, security, food, etc. But once those needs are met, additional compensation doesn’t necessarily lead to the higher orders of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for self-esteem and self-actualization. Maintaining your most valued assets requires an appropriate blend of both compensation and recognition. Read more on the topic on Compensation Café: “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Is More Fluid than You Think.”

Q2: Are there specific rules for employee appreciation?

There are. First and foremost, recognition should be specific. A casual, “thanks for all you do” is often received as insincere and ultimately meaningless. (Recipients of such a comment often think, “Do you even know what I do?”) This is easily resolved by taking a few minutes to add a couple more well thought-out sentences around how the person’s contributions helped you. To summarize the rules for effective recognition: Timely, Personal, Specific, Meaningful and Frequent. This post highlights each of these elements in more detail: “Top 5 Ways to Say Thanks.”

(This question is similar to another one asked: “I have found that giving thanks *is* very powerful, but it can come across as insincere sometimes — even if it isn’t. How can leaders keep the thanks ‘real?’” The answer above applies here, too.)

Q3: Can you give a concrete examples of a good example of a best practice social recognition?

At it’s heart, social recognition requires the involvement of the broad community – both passively and actively. Passive involvement means sharing recognition given and moments of goodwill so others can pile on with their own messages of congratulations (think newsfeed similar to Facebook but secure within your company and organized to show you the people you know best in addition to regular communications on goodwill given). Active involvement means opening the opportunity to give personal, meaningful recognition to everyone. Peer-to-peer recognition is as important as manager-to-employee. Often the people we work with every day see and understand the value of our contributions better than those who may manage us from a distance. Frequent recognition is also an important component as anytime a person demonstrates a desired behavior, he or she should be recognized for doing so. As to what constitutes a good message of appreciation, I’ll defer to this post: “5 Must-Haves for a Meaningful Message of Appreciation.”

Q4: Eric is talking about “blanketing your company in positivity and good will.” Can he provide more specifics?

This topic is largely all about not limiting the opportunity to share positivity in a formal way to any particular group. Too often, we say managers are responsible for this, but really all employees hold responsibility for creating and sustain a culture of recognition built on daily moments of positivity and goodwill. These two posts offer additional color: “Creating a Contagion of Positivity in the Workplace” and “The Power of Positivity at Work.”

Q5: Do you ever notice a lack of appreciation or an expectation from employees with rewards like service rewards? How do you address these situations or revamp the program to make it eagerly anticipated?

Ah, long service or years of service awards. As traditionally implemented, these types of awards add little value as they tend to be an exclusive experience between the manager and employee (at best). However, when you make the anniversary award achievement an inclusive experience, inviting stories and sharing from the recipient’s friends and colleagues, the anniversary becomes a true celebration of that person’s entire history with your organization, acknowledging all of their contributions and achievements over time. What’s that experience like? Read this story from a member of my team: “How to Avoid the Seven-Year Itch.”

Q6: For the 14% of employees who don’t like public recognition, what’s the best way to recognize them without causing a negative/embarrassing experience for that resource?

Acknowledging people’s personal preferences for recognition is a form of recognition itself. Private recognition should certainly occur one-on-one between the giver and receiver in a detailed way. However, I caution to not take this too far. For example, if John (who prefers private recognition) was a contributor to a major team project and success, you wouldn’t specifically mention all the other team members by name and exclude John’s name. For more, this is one of my favorite posts on recognition gone wrong: “How Not to Recognize * Mortification ≠ Motivation.”

Q7: Have you seen start-up companies embrace this type of value/recognition system and processes vs. just large companies? Can you share start-up examples who have built this into their DNA from the beginning and how their leadership has seen the value here?

I’m not sure I can share a better example than Globoforce itself! Our Globostars recognition program has been part of our culture since the beginning. Recognition is very much in our DNA and blanket Globoforce with positivity every day. It’s also a significant contributor to our achievement of becoming a “Best Places to Work” in Ireland, Europe and the U.S. This post shares a detailed interview with Eric about how we’ve built our culture, values and recognition experience: “Spreading Positivity at Work – The Globoforce Story.”

Q8: Do you think the combination of technology and pace of the work world we live in are responsible for why we need to be reminded of how to be human?

I do think that’s a large part of it. I also think we’re all focused on achieving immediate needed goals. Sometimes we need to be reminded to pick our heads up out of our daily work and notice the great efforts of those around us. That’s an essential element of “being human,” whether we’re at work, at the grocery store, or chatting with our neighbors. More on how we “Work Human” is very much a part of our upcoming conference (learn more and register at www.workhuman.com). I hope you can join us. (Use registration code DIBLOG100for a special blog discount of $100).

Q9: How does this style of recognition apply to more communal (non-individualist) cultures, where open recognition might be seen as embarrassing? I would assume there are similar mechanisms to recognize teams and team efforts, and not just individuals?

Recognition – and the need to be noticed and appreciated – is a universal human need, regardless of culture. That said, there are nuances. My colleague, Darcy Jacobsen, wrote several posts on this topic that dive more deeply than I can here. I recommend in particular: “Recognizing across Cultural Borders,” “Is Your Culture Holistic, Monochronic or Collectivist?” and “Recognizing across Cultures: China.”

Stay tuned for the next post for the answers to the remainder of questions from the webinar.

Compensation Cafe: An Argument for Unfair Pay

by Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe blog logoRecognize This! — The combination of pay and recognition drives the greatest reward for employees – of all abilities and levels.

Is unfair pay a good approach to workplace transformation? Laszlo Bock, legendary SVP of people operations at Google, advocates for it as part of his “10 things to transform your team and your workplace,” which was my topic of discussion earlier this week on Compensation Cafe.

Of course, this is a title created to draw attention, and Mr. Bock’s point is more along the lines of rewarding the 10% of the people on the team who do 90% of the work. On Compensation Cafe, I also draw attention to another tip that takes first place on Mr. Bock’s list – “Give your work meaning.” I think that’s a much better message and draw for 100% of your employees. As I comment in the post:

“Help people draw this connection. When people demonstrate desired behaviors in line with core values or strategic objectives, recognize them for it. Make this recognition quite explicit to help them connect the dots and see the deeper meaning. Better yet, offer differentiated recognition awards calibrated to various factors such as level of effort, contribution, and result achieved. This enables you to involve more people (hopefully, the vast majority of employees) in recognition activities while also ensuring those who go above-and-beyond are recognized as doing so.”

As usual on Compensation Cafe, my fellow bloggers and the broader Cafe community weighed in with additional wisdom and insight in the comments. I encourage you to click over for the full post and the comment, both.

Top 3 Cruelest Office April Fools Pranks

by Lynette Silva

Cube office with all items covered in foilRecognize This! – It’s time to deliver on the promise of positive work cultures through the Power of Thanks.

Today is the day when pranksters push the boundaries of acceptable office “humor” – from wrapping an entire cube in tin foil (actual photo from our office today) to less funny and potentially more harmful pranks that can negatively impact others (Ex-Lax brownies come to mind).

But those aren’t the worst pranks. No, the truly terrible are those that most employees endure every day in workplaces around the world. They are:

  1. “Our employees come first.”
  2. “Our core values are important to us.”
  3. “We cultivate a culture in which people can thrive.”

Why do I call these pranks? Because all too often, people are lured into new positions in an organization with these promises, only to find out employees only come first as long as the company is meeting or exceeding the crazy demands of customers or shareholders. Or that the core value of “integrity” is truly only valued if “integrity” doesn’t get in the way of “profit above all else.” The last example is perhaps the most pervasive. A positive, empowering, appreciative culture is a powerful lure for employees who want to spend the majority of their waking day in an atmosphere where they can work hard and well, but also be recognized and appreciated for it. Too bad that promise of a culture of recognition can be forgotten when pressure mounts.

It’s time we bury these awful pranks for good. It’s time we use the Power of Thanks to create and sustain just that kind of culture through which employees really do come first and the core values become more than a plaque on a wall. When we recognize and appreciate people for living the core values, we cultivate a positive culture in which employees do thrive.

What are the worst “pranks” you see being perpetrated against employees in your office?

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.

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