Archive for the "Social Recognition" Category

This Thanksgiving, Who Can You Validate?

By Lynette Silva

Recognize This! – Part of the human condition is needing validation from others. The good news is we are all capable of providing that validation to others through recognition and appreciation.

Post-it note reading "express your gratitude"I’m coming off a whirlwind of events where I had the opportunity to share my passion for creating more human workplaces by helping millions of employees feel noticed, valued, and appreciated for who they are as well as for what they do. As always at these events, I learned more from the other speakers and from conversations with attendees. So here I share with you my two biggest takeaways from the events.

Lesson 1: We all need validation.

At the IQPC CHRO Exchange, one breakout session led by BraveShift was particularly innovative in that it had top HR executives sit in a circle and discuss together how we can improve trust in the workplace. I was fascinated to watch the conversation develop and build among these professionals who so very clearly care about their employees and the work experience they help to create for them. One participant shared powerful insight from a keynote delivered by Oprah at another event. To give full credit to Oprah, I’ve found a similar reference when she spoke at a Harvard University commencement:

“What we want, the common denominator that I found in every single interview, is we want to be validated. We want to be understood. I have done over 35,000 interviews in my career and as soon as that camera shuts off everyone always turns to me and inevitably in their own way asks this question “Was that okay?” I heard it from President Bush, I heard it from President Obama. I’ve heard it from heroes and from housewives. I’ve heard it from victims and perpetrators of crimes. I even heard it from Beyonce and all of her Beyonceness. She finishes performing, hands me the microphone and says, ‘Was that okay?’ Friends and family, yours, enemies, strangers in every argument in every encounter, every exchange I will tell you, they all want to know one thing: was that okay? Did you hear me? Do you see me?”

As humans, we need to know that we are seen, that we are valued, that we bring value to others. This is a universal human truth. Often in strategy sessions I lead, I’m asked, “At what level to do we exclude participation?” This is usually in reference to senior-most leaders. As the leader of my group, Derek Irvine, has often said, “The only factor determining who needs recognition is if you are human. I’ve yet to reach a point in my career where I didn’t appreciate or need recognition of my contributions.”

Lesson 2: We are all capable of giving validation to others through recognition and appreciation.

The Greater Good Science Center (based at University of California, Berkley) hosted a wonderful one-day conference on Gratitude and Well-Being at Work. (Do yourself a favor and check out their online courses and tools. I can personally vouch for their free, eight-week MOOC on the science of happiness for a deep dive into the research and outcomes of practicing gratitude and happiness.) Through multiple keynote presentations and breakout sessions, attendees dived deeply into the many aspects of bringing gratitude into the workplace and the benefits of doing so.

One thread of thought, most heavily emphasized by author Mike Robbins, was the concept that there is a difference between recognition and appreciation. From Mike’s perspective, recognition is about results while appreciation is about people. It’s a good point, but we shouldn’t lose in the nuance that both are intensely important in the workplace. We need to acknowledge and praise people for both what they do as well as who they are. And we all have the power to do so. Remember, at its essence, saying “thank you” is the same as saying, “I see you. I see what you do. You are valuable.”

During this season of gratitude, who are the people in your life – at work and at home – you can validate through your appreciation and recognition?

2 Principles for Effective Performance Management

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! – The next generation of performance management will be employee driven and focused on contributions. Social technologies are the tools that make it effective.

Across the landscape of companies redesigning performance reviews, there is a diverse range in the way those systems are designed and implemented. Yet regardless of the specific path chosen, the common thread is to streamline and make the evaluative process more efficient while also increasing validity.

At the same time, the big data revolution in HR has begun to provide a wealth of more information about performance events, in real-time and from different platforms. Performance management processes are beginning to take advantage of that trend, leveraging continuous conversations about performance and development.

As I wrote in a recent post on Compensation Cafe, social technologies and tools are well suited to take advantage of these changes in the performance management space.

Specifically, two features stand out among these next generation performance management approaches:

The first is that performance is largely employee-driven, the organization focused on providing the tools that facilitate goals, conversations, and feedback around performance. These tools help to establish both a cadence and continuous improvement mindset. The data provides insight on both current progress and future direction.

The second is the clear separation between discussions around base pay and merit increases (reflecting one’s core skills and abilities) and variable pay and bonuses (reflecting one’s specific contributions over the year). For the purposes of the latter, a majority of employees fall into a group defined by consistent performance (operationalized as having met at least three-quarters of one’s goals). The simplicity of the approach allows for much more focused and ultimately more developmental conversations.

These features balance the needs of individual employees to grow and meaningfully contribute, with the needs of organizational and compensation decision-makers. These approaches will be employee-driven, data-rich and process-light.

What tools is your organization providing to contribute to performance?

Recognize the Givers in Your Company

Compensation Cafe logoBy Derek Irvine

Recognize This! – Givers find energy when they give in self-protective and personally meaningful ways, and when they are recognized and reminded of how their contributions matter.

It’s not just about giving and taking anymore.

Recent research by Adam Grant and Reb Rebele shows that the type of giving matters – specifically whether you are a “selfless” or a “self-protective” giver.

The selfless types often give indiscriminately, without regard for their own limited resources or time. They can easily become overloaded with requests and are more susceptible to burnout.

Self-protective givers, on the other hand, focus on high-impact, low-cost giving aligned to their strengths and interests. They are more likely to gain rather than lose energy from their giving.

As Adam and Reb point out, positive giving spirals “free you up to focus on helping where you have the most impact – which replenishes your energy by reminding you how much your contributions matter.”

As I wrote recently on Compensation Café, that last bit reminded me of a conversation I had recently with a colleague:

He recounted [to me] something his spouse, a palliative care physician (and a fan of Adam’s work), had told him about giving in a healthcare setting: When you give, it is more than giving your time, resources, or even “capital” … fundamentally it’s about giving of your whole self.

Giving in self-protective and mindful ways, we all are more personally invested and find greater meaning in the help we provide.  When we are recognized for that investment and reminded of how our giving matters, we are rejuvenated.

Recognition plays an important role in sustaining the energy of givers, particularly as the level of personal investment and meaning increases. Through a strong culture of recognition, the organization is poised to benefit from the positive spirals of self-protective givers.

How does your organization support giving and the recognition of those givers?

Recognition as a Driving Force for Potential

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe blog logoRecognize This! – Changes in the business world are rapidly accelerating. To keep up, companies will need to recognize more of potential and creativity, and less past performance.

Keeping up with the changing world of work is becoming more and more difficult. No longer just about the pace of change, leaders must now also react and respond to the complexity of interacting and overlapping changes.

As I wrote in a recent piece on Compensation Café, the profile of competencies required of all employees – and how organizations recognize and reward them – needs to change in order to keep pace. What follows is an excerpt from the original post.

The imperative for leaders is in the creation of a compelling vision and how to motivate employees around that vision. Unfortunately, those seem to be the skills that are lacking among high-potential (HiPo) employees in leadership pipelines. Recent research published in the Harvard Business Review found that nearly half of participants in HiPo programs are below average when measured on leadership effectiveness.

A portion of these findings might be explained by a “how/best” mindset that has traditionally guided organizational decision-making. Leaders seek out which decisions are the best and then how to implement them. Where data from past performance or best practice exists, that mindset is both effective and efficient. However, that same mindset presents a barrier in response to situations that are novel or uncertain, situations that require creativity in response to change.

To be future-proofed, organizations need to move away from the types of processes and structures that reward a “how/best” mindset and past performance. Instead, they will need to place more emphasis on how to identify and develop a broader range of employee attributes, including potential and creativity.

One way that business and HR leaders can shift the emphasis is through the strategic use of rewards and recognition. Not only will that contribute to a more positive employee experience overall, but social recognition can also provide leaders with the data on which individuals are being recognized for their innovation, their curiosity in solving challenging problems, and for experimenting with new processes.

Click on this link to read the full post on Compensation Café.

Encourage Talent Networks in Your Company!

Compensation Cafe logoBy Derek Irvine

Recognize This! – Research shows talent deployment matters more than the raw amount of talent. One effective strategy is to encourage talent networks through social recognition.

The war for talent is most often described in terms of a company’s ability to attract and retain employees with the highest levels of productivity and/or the most potential.

An assumption of that “war”- given that talent is a scarce resource – is that the company with the most talent will be successful. Recent research has tempered some of that assumption, taking a closer look into how talent actually relates to organizational success.

Summarizing some of that research on the Compensation Cafe, I wrote about how the “deployment” of talent matters much more than the raw amount of talent. Highly successful companies differentiate themselves from average companies by clustering their talented employees around critical functions and roles.

I went on to discuss some of the potential implications of that research. One explanation of why clustering is effective can be summarized as follows:

“Teams and networks of talent drive success. When talented employees are clustered around critical areas, there are more opportunities for those networks to grow, for collaboration to occur, and for relational ties to strengthen. If one talented employee can have a large impact on a core area, then the impact of a team of talented employees might be exponentially greater.”

These internal “talent networks” can be a critical factor in ultimately driving success, particularly when they are cultivated and encouraged through human-centered technologies.

Social recognition is one such solution that can help an organization to deploy its talent in networks, especially when paired with complementary practices like continuous conversations, coaching, and feedback.

Recognition moments themselves serve to strengthen the relationships and collaborations between talented employees, as they work across functions and areas to do the critical work of the organization. The data and analytics provided by a social recognition platform offer leaders visibility into these networks in real time. They can pinpoint where interactions and collaborations are having impact, through existing teams as well as less formal collaborations that would otherwise be hidden from view.

How does your company empower talented employees to connect and succeed?

The Benefits of Looking Back

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! – Technology can help us look back at all we have done over the year, celebrating accomplishments and increasing our sense of meaning and belonging through work.

The year’s end offers an excellent opportunity to look back at all of one’s accomplishments. Not merely for the sake of nostalgia, taking time to review one’s own body of work reinforces the depth and meaning of connections that have been made at work.

But as I wrote in today’s post on Compensation Cafe, getting an accurate picture of one’s accomplishments over the span of 12 months is challenging.  It seems we have all gotten busier and the pace of change has sped up as well. So I posed the following question:

Do you remember everything you’ve accomplished over the past year? You might do fairly well with a couple of recent projects or especially big wins, but what about when you think all the way back to January and all the work that has occurred since then.

It turns out that humans have a poor track record of memory over time. We have a strong tendency to focus on recent events at the expense of ones that are older, for example, forgetting much of the work we actually did. Opportunities to look back have also largely been informal and unstructured, which can compound the challenge.

HR technologies, like social recognition, can help change some of that. A record of what one has accomplished can be created in real-time. That record can be easily integrated into continuous conversations between manager and direct report, or even shared more widely among peers to celebrate wins and progress.

Why is it worthwhile to bring more of this into the work day, especially around this time of year? Well, as I wrote in the full post:

Employees derive a sense of meaning and belonging through the work they do. At times, it comes through in how work contributes to a greater purpose or mission for the company. At others, it is about how people have come together to get work done, solve challenging problems, or delight a customer.

Recognizing what people have accomplished and which relationships were built is a way for companies to create a positive employee experience, and ultimately make work more human.

Have you set aside any time to take a look at everything you have accomplished over the past year?

The Gift of Saying “Thank You”

by Traci Pesch

Give wrapped globe

Recognize This! – The gift of giving thanks is as powerful as receiving it.

Last week my colleague wrote about the holiday gift every employee wants to receive – the gift of thanks. While true, a video making the Facebook rounds reminded me that same gift is what employees want to give, too. There is just as much power in the giving of thanks as in the receiving.

Here’s the video with my comments after the jump. (Email subscribers, click through.)

The students wanted to celebrate someone who means a lot to them. Officer Mitch clearly cares about each individual student. He shows them respect, guides them through tough personal situations, and acknowledges them as the important human beings they are. And that certainly deserves thanks.

The kids had help to create this powerful experience of recognition for Officer Mitch and to produce this moving video. And the flash mob, basketball tickets and signed jersey are certainly nice. But it’s the quiet messages of thanks, the somber stories of how Officer Mitch impacted each teen’s life – those are what made me tear up at my computer as I watched the video.

Remember, your employees are humans, too. They likely want to say “thank you” as much as they want to hear it. Make it easy for them to share those deeply personal and meaningful messages of thanks and share it through social recognition.

And to my son’s school resource officer – Jackie Ketterer, Security Manager – thank you for keeping my son safe and for caring about him as a person as well as about his well-being as a student. We all appreciate you!

Who will send a personal, meaningful message of thanks to this holiday season?

Secrets to the Holiday Gift Every Employee Wants

by Lynette Silva

Give the gift of thanksRecognize This! – The best gift anyone can give or receive is the gift of thanks.

What’s the most fraught HR decision/situation this time of year? Easy answer – the office holiday party. Setting aside some of the more drama-filled scenes and stories (though I enjoyed Tim Sackett’s holiday party rules), the holiday party is a good way to celebrate a year’s worth of hard work and success as well as an opportunity to strengthen relationships with colleagues.

If the holiday party is the most fraught situation, what’s the second most? I submit, it’s the holiday gift, end-of-year bonus, etc. Why would a gift or a bonus (arguably, both desired by the recipient) be such a challenge? The top reason is because it’s annual. When recognition and rewards are held in reserve, expectations and anticipation often grow exponentially (and out of whack with realities of the business). That’s why frequent and timely recognition throughout the year is a top driver of more human workplaces.

A recent blog post by Ben Eubanks highlights three factors of social recognition that have the most impact on creating a more positive employee experience:

  1. Aligned with Desired Behaviors – How do you need people to behave, every day, in every role? The answer is likely codified in your core values, but do your employees even know what your core values are? (This recent survey says nearly half of employees don’t.) Make it easy for anyone in your organization to recognize and appreciate colleagues for living those values in their daily work. That makes your core values come alive – in people’s hearts as well as their heads.
  1. Differentiated based on Contribution — What did the person do that’s deserving of recognition? Leading a significant project that potentially saves the company millions certainly deserves far more than a pat on the back and casual, “Thanks for all you do.” Instead structure multiple award levels differentiated based on level of effort, contribution, time invested and result achieved.
  1. Appropriate to the Person – Never forget the incredible variability of us humans. What’s personal and meaningful to you (a donation to your favorite charity, perhaps) could be very different than what’s personal and meaningful to me (a runaway escape weekend). Avoid the nightmare of the unwanted (or worse, insulting) gift. True stories include the giving of a steakhouse gift card to a vegan and tickets to the latest hot theater production to a single mom who couldn’t get childcare for the night of the show. Instead, make it fun and easy for the recipients to choose their own meaningful rewards.

Finally, this holiday season, the greatest gift anyone can give or receive is the gift of thanks. Because to say “thank you” means “I see you. I notice you. You are valuable. You matter.”

Who will you give the gift of thanks to this year?

What happens when work becomes a hobby?

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! — In the gig economy, a growing portion of people are working for reasons other than pay. That could mean big shifts for how companies motivate and attract workers in the future.

The gig economy has gotten quite a bit of press recently, as the popularity of technology-enabled platforms has made it easier than ever for people to find and get paid for gigs. The most popular options continue to be ride hailing and online tasks, but the sector is growing to include ad-hoc project work, professional services, and even personal help.

Although the gig economy is still relatively small in comparison to the traditional economy (approximately 8% or so), the dynamics of gig work could end up having a large impact on the ongoing evolution of the employer-employee relationship. Compounding the issue is the rise in automation and machine learning that is spreading from industrial settings to service and knowledge-based jobs.

As I wrote in this post on Compensation Cafe, one of the more striking shifts has been toward a growing segment of workers that participate in the labor market because of reasons other than pay – referred to as “hobbyists.” They seek out opportunities to socialize or have fun, or simply have a desire to do something productive with their time.

The idea of working human is deeply resonant with this approach to gig work – prioritizing a sense of belonging and meaning over pay (although adequate compensation is still vital). There are also implications for the changing landscape of how businesses and HR leaders will need to adapt to this shifting mindset among workers.

Below are some of the biggest implications, summarized from my original post, as some of these changes spread outside of the gig economy:

  • Increasing pressure on organizations to create positive work experiences that can attract and engage these workers, as a solution to high rates of churn and an unpredictable supply of talent over time.

  • Shifting focus away from traditional attractors, such as benefits and employee perks, to leverage more fluid and immediate aspects of their rewards portfolios, such as social recognition.

  • Continuing evolution of performance, balancing the need for one-off gigs with repeat or ongoing work, concurrent with a greater emphasis on continuous performance conversations.

What are some other implications for employees and employers when work becomes less like work and more like a hobby?

You Are Not Chopped Liver * The Role of Technology in the People Business

by Lynette Silva

The universe in the palm of your handRecognize This! – Technology, especially HR technology, enables our better human instincts to help us create more human workplaces.

Technology and HR. How does that compute? (Sorry – couldn’t help the pun) Isn’t HR about humans? If the obvious answer is yes, then why is so much effort expended on HR technology? These aren’t trivial questions in terms of investment – in business and in people.

I like a perspective recently cited by CIPD:

“[With technology,] we can really get down to what human resources should have been all along – the job of humanising the rest of the business. There’s never been a better time to be an HR professional because tech is dissolving the supposedly critical routine that kept your vision capped to date.”

That’s the role of tech in the human space – as an enabler of a better, more human workplace and a more positive employee experience overall. Especially in our increasingly distributed workplaces where my closest work colleagues might be physically located half a world away, systems like social recognition facilitate the strengthening of connections and relationships between people through the power of thanks.

Another area where technology can help facilitate our very humanness lies in helping us overcome some of our human nature tendencies that hamper our own success. Case in point (as shared in a Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University article) is squandered work time – time lost to “dysfunctional workplace dynamics—more commonly known as ‘people problems.’”

The researcher/authors of the article describe a study in which rival groups within the same R&D department were given the option of investing budget in the idea of their internal rival or in the idea of an outside competitor. We’d rather a completely external third benefit than the rival we know and feel threatened by.

These very human – if dysfunctional – behaviors cost companies on average $15.5 million.

Are we stuck with the consequences of the more negative tendencies of our humanness? No – in fact, the path forward is by switching on our more positive tendencies. In the example described above, the “shortest path to valuable insights” – and success for the team and company – is often in selecting the rival’s idea. So how do you get people to overcome their human nature and select a rival’s idea? Study co-author Leigh Thompson provides the answer:

“List one or two things you’re particularly proud of. Perhaps you just published a book or a well-received case study; perhaps you had an above-average performance review last quarter. Now all of a sudden, when I hear about the accomplishments or ideas of a colleague, I am more receptive to it—because I have just reminded myself that I am not chopped liver.”

And that brings us full circle to the roll of technology in enabling the employee experience – the human experience. With a social recognition system, it’s even easier to log-in and remind yourself of the tremendous contributions you’ve made (and been praised for by your colleagues).

What are you particularly proud of? What memories or accomplishments remind you of just how valuable you are?