Archive for the "Employee Experience" Category

Don’t Make Your Employees ‘Prisoners’

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! – Motivating employees requires more than compensation, which can create “prisoners.” Instead, companies need to emphasize a richer employee experience.

There is an interesting “iceberg” effect when it comes to employee motivation. Company leadership tends to focus on what is immediately visible, both for top talent and for severe underperformers for example. This focus can come at the expense of less visible, but no less impactful dynamics

What can get missed are the employees in the middle, an interesting proportion of whom show up and stay at their jobs despite being generally unmotivated, performing just enough to not bring attention to themselves. As I write on the Compensation Cafe, this group of employees was the subject of some recent research:

A report in the Wall Street Journal highlights a study by Aon Hewitt that looked at this group of employees. That study found 8% of employees fit into this profile of “prisoner” employee – defined as those “who stay at their jobs despite feeling unmotivated” – which was related to both longer tenure and salaries above market rates.

The article goes on to suggest that compensation is generally an ineffective lever in increasing motivation, and in fact may only contribute to increased feelings of being “held prisoner.” The net impact is a reduction in functional voluntary turnover, negatively affecting colleagues and sapping the company’s potential.

The solution is probably two-fold. For employees who are either unwilling or unable to become more motivated and productive performers, the business and HR need to have processes in place to identify and move those employees out. For everyone else, there is much more hope.

As I write in the full post, I argue that it may be helpful to leverage solutions that can create a more positive employee experience. Some of those solutions can include:

  • Developmental coaching and ongoing feedback can help to uncover barriers to that employee’s motivation and find solutions in the form of new roles or responsibilities.

  • Social recognition can also be a powerful motivator that builds on those conversations, amplifying examples of good performance and engaging a positive cycle of behaviors that align with the company’s core values.

  • Finally, a greater proportion of the overall compensation portfolio can be aligned towards real-time performance, creating more opportunity for motivation creation.

What are your thoughts on the best ways to transform “prisoner” employees into productive and energized contributors?

What’s Ahead for HR in 2017?

By Derek Irvine

doors-1613314_960_720Recognize This! – Trends in HR for the year ahead will emphasize empowerment, the employee experience, and ultimately a more human workplace.

What will some of the big themes be for HR leaders in the year ahead and how can we begin preparing for them? For some answers, I attended a session at HR Tech based on Josh Bersin’s new report, HR Technology Disruptions for 2017.

One of the key findings from that report is a much greater emphasis on empowerment and the whole work environment, increasing the robustness of how we think about employee engagement and cultural fit.  HR technology is playing a large and disruptive role in accelerating this philosophical shift, bringing together sophisticated people analytics, always-on self-servicing, and greater social connection.

These trends deeply resonate with the WorkHuman movement and community. We collectively stand at a pivotal moment for HR to integrate technology and humanity in creating a better workplace and a better employee experience.

It is clear that employees now expect much more out of work, and by extension, many of the HR systems that contribute to the work experience in some way. In Josh’s analysis, we can see how these trends have emerged across HR functions (see his Figure 2: Evolution of HR systems below).

bersin-model

Early technologies aimed to automate and integrate existing processes, streamlining most administrative tasks across benefits and compensation and talent management. Because of that streamlining and perhaps other factors, HR professionals and employees alike began to realize that existing processes were no longer working.

They needed to be fundamentally rethought and rebuilt.

Alongside cloud and mobile technologies, there is now an opportunity to rethink those processes and more fully engage the hearts and minds of employees. There is also an opportunity for HR to move at the speed of business, integrating these processes into the stream of everyday work.

Social recognition is one example that Josh mentions, which empowers all employees to recognize the contributions of others in real time, avoiding the costly process of top-down nominating committees and the pitfalls of having a small “winner’s circle.” Next-gen performance feedback is another area where this kind of empowerment is quickly growing, basing processes in ongoing growth-oriented conversations instead of annual forms or ratings.

Across these and the other emerging “apps that make work life better,” the notion of the workplace is expanding to include more human elements and meeting employee’s expectations for autonomy and control over those elements. These changes will result in a better employee experience, and as research by Globoforce’s WorkHuman Research Institute and the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute has shown, that will lead to better business results.

How is your company preparing for these more human trends ahead?

Who Inspires You to Get Out of Bed in the Morning?

Woman in a bedby Traci Pesch

Recognize This! – Simply expressing to others they are appreciated and important powerfully and positively impacts both the giver and receiver of the praise.

How do you change someone’s perspective of themselves? How do you change your own perspective of yourself and your mission? One step – recognize someone. Celebrate the good in them. Tell them how they are special, how what they do matters.

It really is that simple. The act of recognition – both giving and receiving – fulfills a basic human need, the need to be noticed. The need to be seen. The need to be of value to others and to be valued by others.

Take a 6-minute positivity break and watch this video of teachers telling students they are important and appreciated.

Wow. Powerful. I admit it – I welled up a bit watching that. Why? It’s the faces and the reaction of the students who are the recipients of the messages of praise and appreciation. You can see their faces and entire demeanor change in an instant from cautious “What did I do wrong?” to blushing “Really? I didn’t know I had that impact on you.”

And it’s precisely that nuance of the message of appreciation that’s so important. Every message was not just “Thank you. You do good work.” Every message included the important specific element of, “You are the reason I come in every day to do my job. You inspire me. You make my work have value and meaning.”

That’s a critical lesson for us in our jobs, too. Yes, praise and thanks are important. Even more so are the personal, sincere and specific messages of how someone made a difference and how they and their efforts had a lasting impact.

This positivity project worked by focusing on the human experience. Jamie McSparin, the teacher behind the project said in an interview, “It started that dialogue between teachers and students, which humanizes the whole experience. It’s not, ‘Here, I’m teaching you.’ It’s ‘Let’s build a relationship and make this an experience.’”

We all need that reminder. We’re not working with robots, but with humans. What fuels humans? Interaction. Relationships with others. A sense of greater meaning and purpose. Experiencing work and life together. (That’s a large factor of the research resulting in the new IBM/Globoforce Employee Experience Index announced at HRTech – a positive employee experience requires trust, relationships, meaningful work, recognition, empowerment and balance. Read the report.)

Who would you recognize in your workplace? Who inspires you to get out of bed in the morning? What is it about them and their work that makes a difference? Most importantly, when are you going to tell them?