Posts Tagged "recognition’

Why We Must Bring More Romance to Work

by Lynette Silva

Book Cover ImageRecognize This! – Romance at work is about focusing not on the end goal, but the experience in getting there (and the people we get there with).

Today, I’m continuing my series of book reviews in preparation for the WorkHuman panel with the authors on “Unexpected Innovations: Changing How We Think about a Human Workplace.” (Be sure to register and use blog code DIBLOG100 for a $100 discount.)

It is possible to be both a romantic and a solid businessperson. In his book The Business Romantic: Give Everything, Quantify Nothing, and Create Something Greater Than Yourself, Tim Leberecht writes about business romance, but not the kind you might expect.

In my review of his book, I’d like to start at the end – the Acknowledgements. I admit to rarely reading book acknowledgements – at least before I started working at Globoforce. Now, I love them. They tend to serve as a perfect mirror of what “good recognition” looks like. Tim’s acknowledgements, however, gave me one of the greatest insights in his entire book:

“So here are my closing credits, the moment I’ve been waiting for. As I was writing them, it occurred to me that it might serve us well – as workers, consumers, and citizens – to begin each project, each tenure, each life endeavor with a draft of acknowledgements, pondering the question ‘Whom, in the end, would you like to thank and why?’ rather than ‘What would you like to have accomplished?’ This will hone our humility, our ability to estimate our own position in the world more realistically.”

This resonated so strongly with me because, in the end, we’ve accomplished very little alone. There’s always someone (or many someones) who helped us along the way, lending help, wisdom, heavy lifting or even just a heartfelt cheer. And that’s the first element of adding some romance to a more WorkHuman workplace – always be thinking first about the people around you.

Why does finding ways to be more romantic in our attitudes toward work matter? Because in many ways, we’re moving away from the consideration of what it means to be human in many aspects of our lives. Tim points out: “What was once the heart and soul of our education [liberal arts core curriculum], the foundation of our most basic notions regarding our humanity, has now become a field of study pursued only by dreamers and rebels.”

Because a workplace is nothing more or less than a group of humans collaborating together towards an end goal, we must put humanity back at the center of our work. Doing so is the essence of romance – seeking not the end, but the experience getting there. The people we get to share experiences with along the way, they help to define the meaning we find in our work and ultimately our lives. Tim uses a phrase I love – “modest moments of intimacy” – or creating ways for people to feel close and connected. What does this mean at work? In Tim’s words, “A good work experience is less about bland company values and manifestos and more about small moments of intimacy, humor, and pleasure.”

And this doesn’t have to be hard. We certainly can’t change other people, but we can change ourselves. So keep in mind the power and impact giving has on you. Referencing research, Tim says, “We constantly underestimate the importance of small moments of attachment… Those who engaged in casual social interactions reported overall more positive emotions.” That’s partly why Tim also encourages: “Force people to look up and interact. Bring departments together for no other reason than to discover each other.”

We find recognition to be a powerful way to do this, by making everyone responsible for looking up from their work to notice the good work and contributions of others, then recognize them for it. Tim references the research of Adam Grant (also a WorkHuman speaker) and his book Give and Take: “Companies should have a strong interest in fostering giving behavior as it enhances key aspects of their performance, including effective collaboration, innovation, service excellence, and quality assurance.”

How do we most typically measure employees today? Through the performance review, which is another reason giving everyone responsibility for recognition of the good work of others is important. Tim illustrates:

“We all wear masks at the workplace, too. We perform by completing tasks and accomplishing goals set mostly by others. But we also enact our own narrative by choreographing our interactions and playing different social roles. These types of performance have become ever more essential to our ‘performance review.’ The knowledge economy has automated many of our quantifiable, concrete tasks and left us with only the fuzzy space or subjective tasks: shaping perceptions; building and cultivating relationships; managing our reputation; curating and sharing tacit knowledge; earning respect, popularity, authority, and influence… If one were to grossly exaggerate, one could say we are no longer what we make or do – we are who others think we are.”

That certainly gave me pause to consider what others think I am. Am I bringing humanity to work? Are you?

Earlier posts in this series:

5 Reasons Surprise Matters (and how to embrace it)

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?

Employee Appreciation Day Is EVERY Day

by Derek Irvine

Cheering groupRecognize This! – Appreciation is due every day, to everyone.

Today is officially “Employee Appreciation Day” – a day that frustrates me somewhat. The intent of the day is good and valid – remind managers to recognize and appreciate those on their teams. And yet, it more often highlights the sad fact that all too often recognition and appreciation is reserved for a special “day” or event.

This might not be “Employee Appreciation Day” in your organization. It’s more likely it’s the annual bonus event. When such events are structured, it gives managers an excuse to hold off on recognition until the prescribed date. Worse yet, such an approach reinforces the false notion that it is the responsibility of the manager alone to express appreciation and give praise.

Every employee in your organization owns the culture of the company. How they choose to behave and interact with each other and with customers every day dictates the culture and the daily employee experience. You have a choice if that is a passive culture or an intentional one directed towards proactive, positive praise from all employees to all employees. What’s a better approach? Consider this advice from Globoforce CEO Eric Mosley, shared in Inc. magazine:

“Companies should look at Employee Appreciation Day like it’s Valentine’s Day, or Mother’s or Father’s Day. The sentiments we share and the way we make others feel on those days is how we should act every day. In the same way, Employee Appreciation Day is a reminder of how companies should treat their employees all year long. The energy and happier-than-usual mood that bringing in breakfast or hosting an awards ceremony creates in an office will certainly be palpable, yet this can be done throughout the year. If Employee Appreciation Day is the only day companies recognize or appreciate their employees’ achievements, then they’re missing a big opportunity to engage and keep them happy.”

Think what kind of impact you might have if you were to gather your team together (or just chat with those in your local workgroup) and say, “Today is Employee Appreciation Day. Because I want to commit to you to do a better job of noticing and appreciating in a timely way the great work you do throughout the year, I’m not going to appreciate you today in a casual, ‘Hey, thanks!’ kind of way. Instead, I’m going to commit to telling you specifically, frequently and sincerely how you and your efforts, ideas and contributions have helped, inspired or excited me.”

That’s an entirely different scenario. Take today as an opportunity to change your habits around recognition going forward for years to come.

Who can you appreciate more sincerely, more specifically, more authentically?

 

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?

3 Principles to Help Everyone Give Their Best

by Lynette Silva

Casual gathering of business colleaguesRecognize This! – We all have a responsibility to pay attention, encourage and support our colleagues as we become excellent together.

Above and beyond – that’s a common theme for what types of employee contributions should be recognized. And it’s a good theme. This is so important to some of our clients that they’ve even branded their recognition programs “Above and Beyond.”

But what about “completely different?” Or “entirely outside of the job description?” Sometimes we recognize and reward these individuals, but all too often we punish them instead, forcing them back into the box and encouraging them to “just get the job done.”

And then there are people like Charles Clark, custodian at Trinity High School in Euless, TX. Featured in a recent CBS Sunday Morning story, Mr. Clark does his defined “job” very well. He is committed to providing a clean and comfortable environment for the students and faculty. But it’s his “extra” work that perhaps has the most lasting and profound impact.

Here’s the story (email subscribers, click through for the video):

Mr. Clark pays attention and watches out for the students that might need a little extra encouragement and guidance to stay on the right path. He serves as a counselor of sorts, one who the professional counselor on staff acknowledges is better than the pros at working with some of the students. And his results are outstanding. The students Mr. Clark targets for special attention tend to go on to graduate college.

The principles he applies to students work just as well with our colleagues. When applied thoughtfully, these principles can have profound impact on others.

  1. Pay attention – Mr. Clark gets his job done, but he also pays attention to those around him. He is intentional in looking for those who need bit more support. Then he actually gives it.
  2. Offer words of encouragement and support – Many of us know others who need additional support, but not all of us are willing to give up our own time to spend a few minutes to offer the recognition and help they may need. Often, kind words of praise and appreciation are all that’s needed.
  3. Seek out the good in others – Mr. Clark tends to reach out to the students who might be on the brink of “trouble” or seeking the wrong path, but he looks beyond that. He sees their potential and the good they have to offer. Think for a moment about your colleagues. Who are the most difficult to work with? Do you tend to avoid them because of their reputation? Now pause and rethink, what does that person do particularly well? How can you seek out ways to engage with them to benefit from their strengths? Praising others for their strengths is a powerful way to help them refocus on what matters most.

How can you be more intentional in noticing your colleagues and their efforts? How have words of encouragement from others helped you?

 

It Just Shouldn’t Be This Difficult! – Eliminating Barriers to Recognition

by Brenda Pohlman

Broken wall with "Thank You!"Recognize This! — Sharing appreciation and gratitude for others should be simple to encourage frequent, timely praise and recognition.

When was the last time you used a fax machine? I recently had the pleasure (ahem) of being re-acquainted with this office equipment fixture of old while trying to execute a recognition moment of sorts. I wanted to do a nice thing for a co-worker on behalf of our team. It was intended as a small gesture – nothing elaborate, nothing designed to convey serious feedback or emotion, just a simple acknowledgement. It should’ve been soooo easy.

We were attending our annual company holiday celebration with our guests, and my colleague, who was bringing her husband (known to most of us as ‘Mr. Wonderful’ by the way), planned to stay the evening at the hotel party venue as a little overnight getaway. It would be a well-deserved break in the midst of a very busy time at work as well as personal circumstances our teammate had faced this Fall. We decided to surprise the two of them with a basket of treats delivered to their room as a show of support. But it proved to be much easier in thought than execution.

I coordinated the details with the hotel, credit card at the ready to pay over the phone. The hotel wouldn’t take it. Payment authorization was required in advance, involving a cumbersome form filled out and returned to them immediately….via fax. I protested, “But it’s just cookies and brownies. I’ll be there in a few hours and can show my credit card in person. I’m connected to the company that’s hosting its big party there tonight.” Nope. No form means no cookie delivery.

Our receptionist looked up our fax number so the hotel could send the form (who has such things memorized anymore and why was email not an option)?. I eventually received it after three trips across the office to check. Hours passed as I went from meeting to meeting, and eventually I got a call from the hotel looking for my completed form and reminding me “no form, no cookie delivery.” I scrambled as the old familiar fax machine challenges came back to me. Dial 9 first or not? Document face up or face down? And alas, an error message. In my head I heard, “No form, no cookies.” Aaargh! A colleague came by, saw me struggling, and asked what I was doing after some teasing about the passé nature of the experience. I blurted out, “I’m just trying to do something nice for someone! It shouldn’t be this hard!”

Eliminate Barriers to Recognition

We encounter companies all the time who have inadvertently constructed barriers to recognition – things that make recognition more difficult than it needs to be, steps and rules that make well-intentioned employees feel hassled by the experience of simply trying to do something meaningful for a co-worker. These barriers rarely serve any legitimate business purpose at all. They’re hold-outs from old school recognition programs that don’t align with the goals and ambitions of today’s initiatives and modern programs. In my ‘nice gesture gone bad’ example here, all the jumping through hoops was supposed to be for my own protection, as the hotel put it.

Things That Make Recognition Harder Than It Should Be:

  • Cumbersome nomination processes, where employees are required to complete lengthy forms to recommend a colleague for recognition (Formal recognition should take as little as 60 seconds).
  • Slow selection or approval processes. We’ve seen systems where committees of HR and business leaders meet quarterly to choose winners for $100 awards! (48-hour award approvals at most – by one or two managers -is ideal).
  • Eligibility rules that prohibit employees from recognizing others directly themselves, forcing them to ask a manager to place a nomination on their behalf instead (Peer-to-peer nomination eligibility is the #1 most powerful way to breakdown barriers to recognition).
  • Recognition systems that aren’t accessible to offline populations or are entirely manual (Mobile apps and computer kiosks are the best hassle-free work-arounds for offline employees).
  • Partial eligibility where some locations or business units are eligible to participate in the recognition program and some are not. These rules can leave employees guessing or force them to investigate a co-worker’s eligibility status (Company-wide participation in a centralized program conveys a simple and inclusive message about recognition).
  • A lack of structure. In the absence of guidelines and tools, many employees will simply do nothing (Elimination of bureaucracy is good, but recognition is not likely to be prevalent in your environment without some rules and systems).

These barriers can be the root cause of a recognition program manager’s worst nightmare – the employee who is inspired to recognize a colleague, makes a decision to take action, seeks out the system or process to do so, and then gives up when faced with daunting administrative red tape. Recognition must be fluid and easy. Otherwise, it can feel inauthentic and meaningless at best, or nonexistent at worst.

As we come into a new year, make a commitment to create an easier, more natural recognition experience at your organization. Find ways to overcome those obstacles that leave your would-be recognizers feeling frustrated and uninspired. In other words, let those barriers go the way of the fax machine.

Start by choosing one recognition barrier to eliminate. Which would you eliminate first?

 

 

 

What Do Employees Want Most? Appreciation and Good Relationships at Work

"thank you" translated into multiple languagesRecognize This! – Research from the Boston Consulting Group and The Network show employees around the world most need to know their work is valued and appreciated.

“They are different in [insert country other than your own.] They want different things than we do.”

How true do you believe that statement to be? Do you wonder if anyone’s recently tried to quantify those perceived differences or, better yet, find the commonalities?

This Fall, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Network did just that in their “Decoding Global Talent” report, which aggregated 200,000 survey responses on global mobility and employment preferences from employees in 189 countries. The survey primarily looked at what would make employees willing to work abroad, regardless of home country. But one particular finding struck me as most enlightening – regardless of desire to relocate, all respondents “are putting more emphasis on intrinsic rewards and less on compensation.”

Chart from BCG reportThis chart (Exhibit 8) from the report shows the most important job elements to survey respondents, with appreciation for work and relationships with others leading the list.

It’s no surprise “appreciation for your work” leads the list. We need to know our work matters. One survey respondent, a logistics supervisor in Morocco, put it best: “What you do is what you are and what you are is what you do. You must be appreciated.”

We invest so much of ourselves in our work. We need to know that others notice and appreciate our efforts. It’s more powerful validation than a paycheque alone, and a basic human need.

Good relationships with those with whom we spend the majority of our time is no less a need. That’s why it’s also not a surprise that good relationships with colleagues and supervisors also top the list. Indeed, the top two key findings of our most recent Fall 2014 Workforce Mood Tracker report found that (1) peer relationships are critical to the modern work experience because of amount of time we invest at work, and (2) having friends at increases commitment to the company.

The global study from BCG pointed to an additional finding on relationships at work I found fascinating. Level in the organizations determines, in part, the types of relationships I value most. That’s why peer recognition and appreciation programs are vital to employee happiness and engagement at work.

“Workers lower down on the hierarchy assign more importance to their relationships with colleagues than to their relationships with superiors—exactly the opposite of higher-level managers.”

And finally, the importance of these factors to recruiting and retaining employees cannot be underestimated. The BCG report summarizes this way:

“Even as employers have begun to modify the branding they use to recruit workers—correctly anticipating the shift to a postcrisis world in which money isn’t everything—companies have not really done much to push their reward systems toward new and compelling “total offers” that include many of the attributes relating to culture, relationships, and appreciation that employees covet these days. Instead, company rewards are still largely built around compensation, and the culture inside many companies remains hierarchical, with complex guidelines, limited flexibility, and highly political agendas. It’s the rare employer that has found a way to institutionalize appreciation—the attribute that workers, especially younger workers of Generation Y, now seem to crave…

“But there need to be other kinds of expertise, too. In particular, HR needs to find ways to get more involved in shaping corporate culture, in encouraging meaningful relationships between and among bosses and workers, and in ensuring that appreciation for a job well done gets the company-wide attention it deserves. Otherwise, the most talented employees will leave and companies will face a strategic disadvantage.”

There no more effective, efficient way to shape culture, encourage meaningful relationships, or ensure appreciation for a job well done than a social recognition program that encourages all employees to frequently, sincerely and specifically recognize and praise their colleagues for good work in line with company core values. This is what is proven to build cultures of recognition quickly across global organizations, big and small.

What is your most important job element?

Surprise Someone with Gratitude This Holiday Season

by Traci Pesch

Ward Quote: "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.Recognize This! – Expressing gratitude and appreciation for others is a powerful way to show how much we care.

You’re running late to work. Maybe you’re going a tad bit too fast. You look up and…oh, no…you see the flashing lights in your rear-view mirror.

What goes through your mind at this moment? Does your stomach jump into your throat? Do you think, “Not now. I don’t have the time! I’m already late.” Or perhaps, “Not this time of year. The budget’s already tight for Christmas presents. I can’t pay a speeding ticket, too!”

I imagine that was the experience for many of the people in this video – an effort by local police to brighten the holidays for motorists in Lowell, MI.

Officer Scot VanSokema pulled over motorists for minor traffic violations that might not have warranted a traffic stop. He engaged them in conversation, casually asking top gifts on their Christmas lists. Then colleagues listening in from a nearby store quickly raced to buy the items and bring them to the motorists.

A dark, worrisome moment, quickly turned into a positive, happy interaction – actions such as this are particularly important at this time of year which, for many, can be quite stressful.

The same is true at work. Think about the boss calling an employee into the office, “John, can you spare a quick minute? I have something to discuss with you privately.” Even in the best of relationships, there’s likely some measure of trepidation with a request like that. Perhaps John is thinking, “I wonder if I didn’t do a thorough enough job on that last project.” Or “No, I don’t have a quick minute. I’m slammed over here! How can you not see how busy I am?”

What a great opportunity for the boss to share a deeply personal and sincere message of appreciation and praise. Think how John might feel if he hears from the boss, “John, I wanted to take a moment to pause in our hectic schedules and tell you how much I appreciate your dedication and commitment to excellence in everything you do. I know how busy you are. I see the hours you’re working and the quality deliverables you’re turning in. I very much appreciate your work and generally positive attitude. What can I do to help?”

Did you watch the video through to the very end? The last screen shows this message:

“While we don’t encourage minor traffic violations, it’s important for police departments to take the time to show their citizens just how much they care.”

That’s valuable advice for all of us – just twist it slightly to: “It’s important for leaders to take the time to show their employees how much they care.” Actually, that’s too limiting. We can all make the day brighter for others. So perhaps a good reminder for us all is:

“It’s important for everyone to take the time to show their colleagues how much they care.”

What have you done to show your colleagues you care? What’s something special someone has done for you?

How to Succeed in the Human Economy

by Lynette Silva

Help someone out - show your humanityRecognize This! – Our work is no longer about what we do or what we make, it’s about who we serve and how we behave.

This week was a week of meetings. Usually that’s a groan-inducing phrase for many employees across the world, but these meetings were with the strategy and consulting team. That means we dealt with the “big picture,” diving into good, meaty discussions that often verge into the philosophical as well as the practical. I enjoy them immensely, primarily because of the people in the meeting. These are the colleagues I have the opportunity to work with most closely day-in and day-out, and that is a rare privilege.

During one of our more philosophical moments, Derek Irvine (our chief blogger here on Recognize This! as well as the head of our strategy and consulting group) began to discuss what truly sets us apart. It’s not just what we offer to the market (social recognition solutions) or the way in which we deliver it (world-leading SaaS technology). No, it’s far more than that. It’s the people across Globoforce who engage deeply with our customer partners, often to the extent our customers refer to our relationship as “family.”

Derek went further to describe this as the human factor. That’s what we bring most – our humanity, our fundamental understanding of the needs of employees as not just workers, but also as friends and colleagues, and as people with rich lives outside the workplace. This brought to mind an article by Dov Seidman I read recently in Harvard Business Review.

“Over the course of the 20th century, the mature economies of the world evolved from being industrial economies to knowledge economies. Now we are at another watershed moment, transitioning to human economies—and the shift has profound implications for management.

“What do I mean by the human economy? Economies get labeled according to the work people predominately do in them. The industrial economy replaced the agrarian economy when people left farms for factories; then the knowledge economy pulled them from factories to office buildings. When that happened, the way workers added value changed, too. Instead of leveraging their brawn, companies capitalized on their brains. No longer hired hands, they were hired heads.

“In the human economy, the most valuable workers will be hired hearts. The know-how and analytic skills that made them indispensable in the knowledge economy no longer give them an advantage over increasingly intelligent machines. But they will still bring to their work essential traits that can’t be and won’t be programmed into software, like creativity, passion, character, and collaborative spirit—their humanity, in other words. The ability to leverage these strengths will be the source of one organization’s superiority over another.”

I believe this to be true. We’re already seeing the human economy at work all around us. So the question becomes, how do I encourage “humanity” among all employees? How do I reinforce these now-primary desired behaviors for humanity? What attributes do I look for in others to contribute well in this new economy?

This is where the fundamentals of humanity come into play:

We owe it to each other – we owe it to ourselves – to truly acknowledge the people around us. In the end, it’s the way we will now measure success.

What other attributes of humanity do you see at play at work or elsewhere around you?

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