Archive for July, 2008

Global Crossing's Strategic Recognition Success Makes the Cover!

Check out the cover story of the latest issue of HRO Europe! Engagement Worth Celebrating: Global Crossing Needed a Tailor-Made Recognition Program. Globoforce Was a Perfect Fit.

Global Crossing launched their global strategic employee recognition platform recently and are already seeing excellent results. This cover story digs deeply into Global Crossing’s experience with Strategic Recognition.

Bruce Colligan, vice president of human resources at Global Crossing, is quoted in the article, “Recognizing employees for their contributions to our strategic initiatives has proven its mettle. When people feel they’re valued, they become more motivated, and that drives better overall performance.”

And as Russ Banham, the reporter, concludes, “By fostering a ‘thank you’ culture in an organization, motivating employees to take pride in their work, and encouraging workers to recognize the service of their peers, recognition programs are differentiating companies from the competition. Senior executives may get the big bucks and much of the kudos, but it’s the rank and file that truly make a difference.”

So, what are you doing to recognize your “rank and file” and engage them in your company’s strategic initiatives?

Happy Employees = 1,000% Shareholder Return

Time magazine recently published an article, “How to Succeed? Make Employees Happy,” which included interviews with the highly successful CEOs of The Container Store (Kip Tindell) and Whole Foods (John Mackey). Both men discuss their epiphany that the 1990s philosophy of trying to please shareholders at all costs is faulty. Mackey says, “Simultaneously we hit upon the philosophy that I think will be dominant philosophy in business in the 21st century. It’s the principle that the purpose of business is not to maximize shareholder value.”

If the proposal is to tear down this foundational principle, what is to replace it? An emphasis on employees, says Tidwell. By focusing on all stakeholders, but the employee most of all, “There’s a harmonic effect that takes place. It not only provides a higher return – compensation for the employees, return for the shareholders, this crafting of a mutually beneficial relationship with the vendors – but it enriches the lives of those people.”

I’ve blogged before about the success that can be found by putting employees first. Now there seems to be quantifiable proof. Buried in an much longer transcript of the interview with Tindell and Mackey is a reference to a 2007 book: Firms of Endearment. The authors identified 28 firms that, by their standards of measurement, “are truly loved by all who come in contact with them – customers, employees, suppliers, environmentalists, the community, even governments! These companies pay their employees very well, provide great value to customers, and have thriving, profitable suppliers. They are also wonderful for investors, returning 1025% over the past 10 years, compared to only 122% for the S&P 500 and 316% for the companies profiled in the bestselling book Good to Great — companies selected purely on the basis of their ability to deliver superior returns to investors.”

It’s hard to argue with numbers like that! And when taking care of employees can be as simple as saying “thank you” – frequently, sincerely, and in ways that are meaningful to the individual employee, companies cannot lose.

What firms are on your Firms of Endearment list? Does the company you work for make the list?

Recognition: A Powerful Tool at Performance Review

Companies still committed to tactical employee incentives programs or informal programs miss out on one of the top benefits of an online, structured, strategic recognition program – accountability.

I’ve heard throughout my career complaints from managers at all levels who hate doing performance reviews, finding the time in their busy schedules to recall a year’s worth of effort and comment effectively on it. A strategic recognition program gives managers one avenue of insight into an employee’s ongoing performance levels based on recognitions received. For example, trends can be identified such as the lack of recognitions received by one team member while all other members have received several or an employee receiving recognitions helping on projects not identified as priorities.

Employees also benefit from the recorded recognition, pats-on-the-back and other kudos tracked through the system at review time.

What about you? Do you have kudos to show at review time? What do you rely on to show accomplishments throughout the year?

Job Satisfaction & Retention Survey: The Importance of Recognition recently issued its 2007/2008 Employee Job Satisfaction and Retention Survey, finding that employers are out of touch with employee satisfaction levels and continue to underestimate employee job search activities. This is a costly disconnect as the survey also shows employee replacement costs due to turnover increased 40% from $15,000 in the 2006/2007 survey to $21,000.

Consistent with previous surveys, “insufficient recognition” once again was a top reason employees’ cited for leaving a job. Recognition was nearly equal in importance to both men and women with only one percentage point difference in their reporting.

It’s concerning to me that the reporting on the value of recognition does not seem to change year over year, but employers do not seem to be learning from it. This tells me companies are either not changing their recognition practices in any meaningful way or they are tackling the challenge through ineffective methods.

In the case of recognition, perception is reality – employees must believe they have been positively recognized for their efforts and then have some means of remembering that recognition for it to have lasting impact on job satisfaction and ultimately employee engagement.

Employers: do you feel you are recognizing your employees appropriately? Employees: do you agree?