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Posts Tagged "recognition’

Love at Work * 3 Ways to Get It Right

Heart with words "Thank You"Recognize This! – We should be encouraging love at work, particularly companionate love, to increase employee engagement and retention.

Love at work. If you’re in HR and reading that statement, likely you shuddered, even just a little. Usually, “love at work,” means some kind of relationship gone wrong, necessitating a new policy about relationships in the workplace, etc.

New research out of Wharton (and reported in Knowledge@Wharton) shows, rather, we should be encouraging love at work, particularly a form of love called “companionate love.” Wharton management professor Sigal Barsade defines companionate love as “when colleagues who are together day in and day out, ask and care about each other’s work and even non-work issues. They are careful of each other’s feelings. They show compassion when things don’t go well. And they also show affection and caring.”

Barsade and co-author Olivia O’Neill conducted a study on the effects of companionate love at work in what is often a tough work environment – long-term health care. Goals of the study were to see how companionate love impacted employees as well as patients and the patients’ family members. Finding showed a culture of companionate love (quoting):

  • Reduced employees’ withdrawal from work… Units with higher levels of companionate love had lower levels of absenteeism and employee burnout.
  • Led to higher levels of employee engagement with their work via greater teamwork and employee satisfaction.
  • Rippled out from staff to influence patients and their families… [Patients] would be in a better mood if the culture among the staff was more loving.

All that is well and good in a company in which one would hope the employees are more geared for compassion and caring. But what about other industries? The researchers asked the same question, performing a second study involving 3,201 employees in seven different industries (including real estate, finance and public utilities). Finding remained very similar, showing: “A culture of companionate love positively correlated with job satisfaction, commitment to the company and accountability for performance.”

What does this mean for us in our workplaces? Ask yourself:

  • What can I (as a manager, leader or HR professional) do to promote a culture of companionate love among my team members or those over whom I have direct influence?
  • What can I (as an individual) do to show companionate love to others, even if similar behaviors are not initially returned?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Proactively seek ways you can encourage, support and recognize others for work well done. Where can you do a better job in looking up from your own hectic work schedule to notice the efforts of those around you and thank them for it?
  2. Offer small acts of service to others. If you’re going to the local café for a cup of coffee, offer to pick one up for a busy team member. (This is especially powerful if you are the person in power in the relationship.)
  3. Care about the other person’s life outside of work and beyond how it may impact their work effort. Make a habit of asking others about weekend plans, child sporting successes, or generally how their family members are doing.

What other ways can we show companionate love our colleagues? Has anyone shown companionate love to you? If so, how did it affect you?

3 Tips to Become an Exceptional Manager

3 tips graphicRecognize This! – Selflessness, good assumptions and recognition are the most powerful tools in the good manager’s arsenal.

In my most recent post on Compensation Café, I referenced a quote from Don Knauss, CEO of Clorox, about the “head” part of leadership. In Don’s terms, the “head” is focused on, well, focus – how you communicate to and reinforce for employees the tightly focused priorities need for organizational success. Today, I’m digging deeper into the same interview with Mr. Knauss to look at the “heart” part of leadership. He said:

“On the heart side, the lesson is that it’s all about your people. If you’re going to engage the best and the brightest and retain them, they’d better think that you care more about them than you care about yourself. They’re not about making you look good.  You’re about making them successful. If you really believe that and act on that, it gains you credibility and trust. You can run an organization based on fear for a short time. But trust is a much more powerful, long-term and sustainable way to drive an organization.

“The other thing I’ve learned is that you’ve got to assume the best intent of people, and that they’re really trying to do a good job. I’ve seen organizations that are based more on fear than trust because senior management really thinks people are trying to get one over on them, that they’re just punching a clock. People really are trying to do a good job, and they want to be proud of where they work. Understanding that helped make me a bit more patient.”

Once again, Mr. Knauss offers three essential lessons to be a good, effective manager:

1) Always put your people first. When digging deeper into the truism “People leave managers, not companies,” a constant refrain from employees is, “My manager took credit for my work or made me look bad so he/she could look good.” The mark of a truly good manager is the members of his or her team are universally successful in their individual roles.

Ask yourself – Are you leading your people to be the best they can be or to make you look the best you can look?

2) Assume good intent. People don’t start a new job with the goal of doing it poorly. Even those who are less than fully engaged still want to deliver against their goals. When managers assume good intent of those on their teams, it leads to looking for the impetus – the driving force, if you will – behind the action or result.

Ask yourself – When following up on a project status or meeting with your team, do you ask first why a task has not been completed or review all successes to date?

3) Tell people when they’re doing good work. People want to do a good job, but they need to know when the work produced is good in order to continue to deliver at that level. Besides, it’s obvious that if you want someone to continue doing something, let them know! It’s as simple as saying, “I notice what you do and am grateful for it.”

Ask yourself – Do you take the time, every day, to pause, notice and recognize your employees for contributions, efforts and results that achieve the bigger goals? Do you make your recognition specific, personal and meaningful so employees can be “proud of where they work?”

Think for a moment about the best manager you had the pleasure to work for. What made them good?

Compensation Cafe: 3 Steps to Get Even More Out of Compensation

Compensation Cafe Contributor buttonRecognize This! – In it’s most broad definition, “compensation” can encompass all of Total Rewards. How are you bringing the power of your Total Rewards to drive what is most important your organization’s success?

Today on Compensation Cafe, I use the insights of Clorox CEO Don Knauss to share a 3-step roadmap on how to get even more out of how you reward employees (in the “Total Rewards” sense of the word):

1) Focus – Nobody can focus on 10 critical priorities and give the same attention and excellence to all. Narrow down the priorities to no more than three things that can be easily understood by everyone.

2) Communicate – An annual goal-setting meeting or a pretty plaque on the wall are never enough to help all employees understand their role in achieving the mission. Of course, communication must happen specifically and often.

3) Reinforce – Use every instance of positive reinforcement, incentive, or recognition to drive home your key areas of focus.

Click over to Compensation Cafe to read more on what Mr. Knauss said as well as how to bring more focus, communications and reinforcement to your employees on what matters most for your organization’s success.

The Real Reason to Worry about Indicators of Employees Ready to Quit

Recognize This! – “I quit but forgot to tell you” employees are costing you more than you think.

Making the round of blogs lately is a Utah State University study of indicators an employee is about to leave your organization. Among the indicators are these behavioral changes people often make 1-2 months before leaving (quoting):

  • They offered fewer constructive contributions in meetings.
  • They were more reluctant to commit to long-term projects.
  • They become more reserved and quiet.
  • They became less interested in advancing in the organization.
  • They were less interested in pleasing their boss than before.
  • They avoided social interactions with their boss and other members of management.
  • They suggested fewer new ideas or innovative approaches.
  • They began doing the minimum amount of work needed and no longer went beyond the call of duty.
  • They were less interested in participating in training and development programs.
  • Their work productivity went down.

Looking at this list, I’m not as concerned about these as indicators of employees looking to leave but as classic indicators of “disengagement.” Remember, disengaged employees (and those looking to leave) are not delivering 100% at work – they are distracted with one foot already out the door.

Helping employees overcome these signs – re-engage at work, if you will – isn’t important only for retention, but also for the daily value and quality of the work being done. That’s why each of these items is also a timely reminder that helping employees engage at work is a daily effort.

How do you do that? Ask yourself:

  • Are you praising people for making constructive contributions in meetings (even if they disagree with you)?
  • Are you helping people understand how their individual tasks or deliverables contribute to advancing the organization?
  • Are social interactions with management geared to help employees build deeper personal relationships across hierarchical lines or do they only serve as obligatory parties at key holidays or the like?
  • Are you recognizing and rewarding people who bring new ideas or innovations, every time?
  • Are you making room in people’s work schedules for them to participate in training and development without adding burden?

I’ve only addressed a few of the indicators, but I believe my point is clear. You get the behaviors your recognize. Your employees give you the level of engagement you encourage. That’s why social recognition is such a powerful method to improve engagement (and the associated quality of work) as well as quickly reduce voluntary turnover. And we all know the cost savings of improving our retention and engagement scores.

Think back over your own career. When you were ready to leave a prior organization? What early indicators showed you were beginning to disengage? What was the “final straw?” Now think about that same organization and why you initially chose to join it. What could have been done differently (by your manager, by leadership, by colleagues) that might have kept you engaged and on their payroll?

Don’t Tame Your Workplace “Wild Ducks” – Avoid These 3 Creativity & Innovation Killers

Recognize This! – Creativity and innovation must be actively encouraged and supported or complacency can easily set in.

My recent post, “Millennials Leading Change at Work,” led to an invitation to join the “IBM Wild Ducks” group on LinkedIn. The name alone is intriguing, so I had to do some research. Apparently, the name comes from former IBM Chairman Thomas J. Watson, Jr., who said (emphasis mine):

“In IBM we frequently refer to our need for ‘wild ducks.’ The moral is drawn from a story by the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, who told of a man who fed the wild ducks flying south in great flocks each fall. After a while some of the ducks no longer bothered to fly south; they wintered in Denmark on what he fed them. In time they flew less and less. After three or four years they grew so lazy and fat that they found difficulty in flying at all. Kierkegaard drew his point: you can make wild ducks tame, but you can never make tame ducks wild again. One might also add that the duck who is tamed will never go anywhere any more. We are convinced that any business needs its wild ducks. And in IBM we try not to tame them.”

The line in bold is the crux of the story – “You can make wild ducks tame, but you can never make tame ducks wild again.”

How do you tame wild ducks in the workplace? There are several ways:

1) Punish failure – Failure is often the inspiration to success. Post-it Notes, WD-40 and many other popular consumer brands wouldn’t exist without investment in failures. Critical lessons are learned through failure. Winning organizations know they must allow room for their “wild ducks” to experiment and sometimes fail to come up with innovations that change the market. Punishing failure is one of the surest ways to tame your wild ducks and encourage them to never innovate again.

2) Recognize only the “big wins” and not important progress along the way – It takes time to arrive at a new, marketable product or service. In some industries (most notably, bio-pharmaceuticals or bio-technology), it can take years to bring a new product to market. To sustain motivation and keep the wild ducks flying, it’s important to recognize small successes along the way.

3) Permitting a stagnant culture – Complacency can sneak up on anyone. Success today does not necessarily herald success tomorrow. Creating a culture that encourages forward thinking and risk taking is critical to ongoing success. Recognizing and rewarding those who take calculated risks helps avoid taming your best wild ducks.

For more on the IBM Wild Ducks culture, watch the video below (or available here). Created as part of the IBM Centennial celebration, the video shares insight from four IBM customers who are themselves Wild Ducks. I particularly appreciated these points:

  • From Howard-Yana Shapiro, chief agricultural officer of Mars, Inc.: “Any movement begins with absurd gestures.”
  • From Carolyn McGregor, PhD SMIEEE, Canada Research Chair in Health Informatics, University of Ontario Institute of Technology: “Any time you try and change the way something is done, you come against resistance.”

How does your organization keep your Wild Ducks flying? What absurd gestures are you recognizing? What resistance are you helping overcome?

Millennials Leading Change at Work * Shouldn’t Ethical, Meaningful Impact Matter to Us All?

Recognize This! – Don’t dismiss Millennial needs as “entitled generation requests.” Their need to make a greater impact on the world can teach us all.

In 10 years, Millennials (also known as Gen Y) will make up 75% of the global workforce. With that reality staring us in the face, it’s time to stop marginalizing Millennials and their needs in the workplace. We can no longer say, “They were coddled too much as kids and now expect recognition for every little achievement” as we dismiss the need for feedback on their work.

Besides, this is all a fallacy anyway. Millennials aren’t asking for praise and appreciation at every turn. They are saying, “I’m new in this job and in the workplace in general. I don’t know if what I’m doing are the right things to do. I need you to give me more feedback on the value and importance of what I do.”

Let’s be honest, weren’t all of us (regardless of generation) in need of the same thing when we were new in the workplace? That said, Millennials are asking for more than their elders – but not what you think. This article (along with others) makes a strong case for the Millennial employee need for the work they do to have greater impact and meaning.

“According to the Engagement Guide, Millennials value corporate citizenship more than salary, job flexibility, and even corporate culture. And with Millennials representing the fastest growing demographic in the workplace – and turnover costing an average $24,000 per employee – companies have needed to become more competitive as ever in the labor market.

“The solution? Well, there are a few. Adopting responsible business practices might be enough for some companies to stay in the game. But be wary; most leading thinkers on this topic agree that Millennials are not easily fooled by empty PR stunts. And while responsible practices are certainly a good start, a smart company likely realizes that a reputation as ‘not-unethical’ is probably the bare minimum.

“Employees, especially Millennials, thrive when they are engaged in the workplace and developing as professionals.”

This is another reason why strong, vibrant, “living” core values are critical to engaging employees in their work and thereby driving company success (because engaged employees are far more productive and less costly to the organization). Your company values, however, can’t be merely lip service or pretty art on your walls. They must be real and lived by every employee, every day. More to the point, every employee must see just how these core values are – well, valued – by the organization’s leaders.

That’s where social recognition comes in. Recognize employees regularly (and encourage them to recognize each other) for living the core values. Make sure every recognition is very specific, detailing how the actions, behaviors or results demonstrated a core value and the impact those efforts had on the person giving the recognition, the team involved, the client or the company itself. Give your employees – of every generation – the context they need to see the impact of their work within a bigger picture and, critically, how those efforts uphold the values the organization operates under.

How are you serving your Millennial employees?

What Is “Good Recognition?” The Student Becomes the Teacher

Recognize This! – Anyone can write powerful, personal, meaningful messages of recognition, with thoughtfulness and a little effort.

A fundamental component of social recognition done right is very specific messages of appreciation. Not an off-the-cuff, “Hey, thanks!” but a detailed, “I saw the way you did X. Your efforts had impact Y, and the benefit to me, the company and the customer is Z.”

Such detailed, specific messages that focus on the contribution, impact and outcome convey to the recipient not just appreciation, but true recognition of the value that person brings to the organization and the meaningfulness of the work they do.

But these powerful messages aren’t only limited to the workplace. Sometimes, the best teachers are the students (literally). See below (courtesy of Huffington Post) the note from a high school student in Texas to her math teacher, Jennifer Davis (who said the note “gave her goose bumps.”)

As you read the below, look for the hallmarks of well-written message of appreciation:

  1. Specific reference to contribution made or effort demonstrated
  2. Impact of that effort on the writer
  3. Sincere appreciation

Compensation Cafe: 3 Ways to Boost Colleagues’ Spirits during the Holidays

Recognize This! – We each have the power to directly impact our colleagues through positive, personal praise. What better time of year to do so than the Holidays?

Check out my holiday post today on Compensation Cafe — 3 Ways to Boost Colleagues’ Spirits during the Holidays — in which I share 3 lessons I’ve learned from the growing US tradition of Layaway Santas. These people embody the true meaning of the holiday – giving out of the goodness of your heart to those in greater need. How does this translate to the workplace? Read the post to see more on these three ideas:

  1. Consider your fellow employees who are in greater need than you.
  2. Look for opportunities to put “others first.”
  3. Be a “Secret Santa” when possible.

What other ways can we spread holiday cheer in the workplace?

Top 5 Ways to Say Thanks

Recognize This! – There are countless ways to express appreciation, but keep these top ways in mind.

I’m in a mood to share top ways to say thanks. While the below are written with the workplace in mind, all can (and should) be applied in our personal lives as well. The power of thanks goes deep, at work and at home.

  1. Actually say it! – You’d be surprised (or perhaps not) how many people just never say the words. They may think to themselves, “Joe did a terrific job in the meeting today. I should tell him that” but then never get around to it. Taking the time to meaningfully, personally express your appreciation powerfully communicates not just appreciation, but value and worth to others.
  2. Beyond the thanks – Sometimes, people don’t express their gratitude because they limit “thanks” to those who they feel have personally helped or benefited them. Remember, true appreciation looks to recognize those who also demonstrate desired behaviors and contribute to the success of the company, the client, the team, or other colleagues. There are countless opportunities to appreciate others, if we look for them.
  3. In a team meeting, publicly – Make recognition a standing agenda item at every meeting. Recognize a successful initiative of the entire team or an individual who went above and beyond. (Just make sure the individual enjoys public appreciation.)
  4. In person, privately – For those that don’t enjoy the spotlight, knowing their work is noticed and appreciated is still critical to engagement and happiness at work. Stop by their workstation or invite them into your office and spend a moment telling them how much they and their efforts are valued.
  5. More than a gesture – Add memorable value to your recognition efforts by giving employees awards they can redeem for the reward of their choice. They will long associate their reward with the value you see in what they do every day.

BONUS: Top 5 Ways to Make “Thanks” More Effective

  1. Make It Timely Don’t wait for the annual bonus or “employee appreciation day.” If someone deserves recognition, give it to them in the moment or soon after! This ensures the recipient knows what they did that was deserving of recognition and is now encouraged to do the same again and again.
  2. Make It Personal – Broad recognition announcements can serve to demotivate in that people don’t feel their personal efforts or contributions were acknowledged. Get to know your team members and colleagues. Learn how they like to be recognized and follow suit.
  3. Make It Specific – Similarly, generic recognition messages (“Thanks, great job!”) have little impact. Far more impactful are messages that call out what the person did and why it mattered. Share how their efforts helped you, the team, the client or the company achieve greater success.
  4. Make It Meaningful In addition to personal and specific messages, give the gift of ongoing memories through a substantive reward, too.
  5. Make It Frequent – There should be no limit on the amount of recognition given. Do you see excellent behaviors, results or progress made? Recognize the contributors – every time!

What are other important ways to say “thanks?” What’s your favorite way?

Employees and HR Agree! Recognition Most Important for Engagement – What Are You Doing about It?

Recognize This! – Make it easy for anyone to meaningfully recognize others and track the impact on your culture.

ADP in the UK recently conducted a survey of employees and HR Directors (HRDs) in the UK. (Full report and infographic.) When asked what as the most powerful motivator and lever for engagement at work, both groups responded with praise and recognition.

Employee View

HRD View

Great! HR and employees agree! As in the case of any survey, however, results without action are meaningless. So, more importantly, what are you going to do about it? Your employees need recognition to be more engaged in their work. You want them to be more engaged because you know more engaged employees are more productive.

3 Easy Steps for Powerful, Motivating, Engaging Recognition and Praise

  1. Make recognizing others easy for everyone.
    No manager, no matter how good, can see all the good happening around them. Make it possible for anyone, anywhere, any time to easily recognize others. Peers and colleagues alike must be able to recognize team members, anywhere in the company or the world, and do so however is convenient for them and how they work.
  2. Be sure you’re recognizing the right things.
    To have the most impact, make sure all recognition is also deeply meaningful and focused on the right behaviors, not just results or outcomes. What are your company’s core values or operating principles? Encourage people to notice when those around them behave in ways that demonstrate these values and recognize them for it.
  3. Track and measure the impact of recognition on your organization.
    When you empower everyone to recognize the right behaviors in their colleagues, you can begin to track the impact of recognition on your culture as a whole and tie to that to how your engagement scores change.

What’s most motivating for you? What do you think most motivates others?

Image credit: ADP – “The Workforce View in 2013″