Posts Tagged "employee experience’

A Little More Conversation, Please

By Derek Irvine

Recognize This! – Building relationships through conversations, appreciation and feedback is fundamental to the human condition.

Sincere words have a profound impact on a life.With apologies to Elvis, we need a little more conversation. Conversing together, sharing with each other, is a hallmark of what it means to be human. And yet, many of the interactions we have at work are action-oriented, outcome-driven, or meeting-based (and very few meetings in my career have fostered true interpersonal conversations).

If we want to make work more human, we need to facilitate more and better conversations – along the full spectrum of what it means to engage with other humans in a supportive and developmentally relational way. This may not always be easy, but it is simple.

Simply do a little more in these three areas to make your relationships at work more meaningful and more productive.

  1. Talk More – Start building strong relationships by reaching out and talking with others – engaging with them in meaningful ways and, critically, in ways that are meaningful to them. My team just completed a very interesting communications styles profiling and training session in which we each learned our own communication style based on our dominant brain preference. More importantly, we learned how to engage others more effectively by communicating with them based on their dominant brain preference. That’s the essence of both powerful communication as well as powerful connection – approaching from the other perspective first, rather than your own.
  2. Thank More – Once even a tenuous relationship is built through simple communication, step it up by looking for opportunities to sincerely thank the other person for who they are and for what they do. This requires us to pick our heads up out of our own work and busyness to notice more fully those around us, their own busyness, the contributions they are making, and the impacts they are having on ourselves and on others. The need to be seen, to be noticed, to be valued, to be appreciated is also a fundamental human need. Sincerely, specifically and meaningfully saying “thank you” is a great gift to others as well as a sure path to deepen relationships.
  3. Ask More – A strong relational foundation of appreciation also creates a level of trust to ask for feedback on how to grow, learn, develop, and improve. We all have areas where we are strong as well as areas where we can do better. Imperfection is also a part of the human condition. Acknowledging that no one is perfect (and neither am I), gives us the freedom to ask others for the feedback we need. And when we step out first to ask others for feedback, we also give them the psychological safety they need to give us the feedback we need to hear.

Openness with others (and honesty with ourselves) leads to more meaningful relationships. And our relationships with co-workers is one of the strongest drivers of a positive employee experience and to our sense of belonging in an organization. Being more open requires that we talk more, thank more, and ask more.

With whom do you have solid relationships at work? Who do you talk with the most? Who are you most comfortable asking for the perhaps hard-to-hear feedback? And who comes to you when they need to hear the same?

3 Steps to Build a Positive Employee Experience

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe blog logoRecognize This! – With a thoughtful approach, positive organizational strategies contribute to a better employee experience.

The impact of positivity in the workplace is a subject of some debate. Some point to its tangible benefits, but others are somewhat more cynical. While the truth may take some time to uncover, the ultimate impact may be attributable to variability in how positive organizational strategies and initiatives have been implemented.

As I wrote in this post on Compensation Cafe, creating a positivity-driven workplace typically follows some variation on one of two potential paths: “At one end of the spectrum: a fad-like approach to tick a box off the list. At the other end, a holistic approach to integrate positivity into the fabric of the business.”

The closer an organization can get to the latter, the more benefits they are likely to see from building a positive employee experience.  With that in mind, there are three main things to consider to successfully build towards a more positive workplace:


1. Focus on drivers that lead to the outcome of positivity. Too often, positivity is treated like a driver instead of an outcome. In reality, organizational practices and norms are the drivers that lead to a positive employee experience. Keeping the two distinct allows leaders to think through the relationships between those practices and positivity, and why those relationships matter to business performance.

2. Focus on long-term practices that tap into enduring aspects of human motivation. Positivity fads focus on quick-fixes that only lead to momentary benefits or unsustainable behavior change. Instead, HR and business leaders need to consider practices that are more durable, tapping into attributes that make work meaningful and create a sense of belonging.

3. Focus on aligning multiple practices into a cohesive strategy. A single practice, no matter how effective, set against a company’s current culture is unlikely to be effective in creating lasting change. Creating a positive work experience requires a set of practices and norms that reinforce one another, gradually creating culture shift that influences everyday work experiences.


Click here to read more from my full post on Compensation Cafe. Together, these steps can help an organization to create a more positive employee experience.

What has been successful for your organization in creating a better work experience?

Make Thanksgiving Every Day of the Year!

by Lynette Silva

GloboThanks 2016 - Team photosRecognize This! – A powerful employee experience at work is built on everyday practices of gratitude, appreciation and thanksgiving.

What’s the employee experience like in your organization? How would you describe it (briefly) to others?

After experiencing our latest GloboThanksgiving (where we gather as a team in both our HQ offices in the US and Ireland), I’d have to describe our employee experience at Globoforce as “GloboThanksgiving every day of the year!”

Two things every employee experiences at Globoforce, without question:

  • Gratitude and continual expressions of thanks, appreciation and recognition of contributions, help given, and work well done.
  • Food – lots of food. Sure, food is important as fuel to energize the great work we do. But we also realize food is a powerful way to draw people together informally, to pause in the midst of busy days, to share life, to build closer relationships with colleagues who are much more than co-workers.

Is a holiday office celebration the best way to understand the employee experience in your organization? Perhaps not. But how else do you measure the employee experience?

Our holiday gift to you – for the first time, an index to measure employee experience derived from a global survey of more than 23,000 employees in 45 countries and territories across all job functions for a 5-dimension, 10-item index measuring how employees experience work:

  • Belonging – feeling part of a team, group or organization
  • Purpose – understanding why one’s work matters
  • Achievement – a sense of accomplishment in the work that is done
  • Happiness – the pleasant feeling arising in and around work
  • Vigor – the presence of energy, enthusiasm and excitement at work

If those are the factors defining an employee experience, how can you influence it? First and most importantly, employees are humans with all the complexity that brings. Through the survey, we identified key human workplace practices that drive a more positive employee experience.

Graphic of Employee Experience Index, Drivers and Outcomes

This holiday season, give your employees the gift of a powerful, positive, appreciative employee experience. Read the report here.


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).


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?

Recognition is Key to Successful Socialization

By Derek Irvine

learning to waterskiRecognize This! – Social recognition can help new employees rapidly feel more connected, engaged, and aligned.

The transition to a new job, either at a new organization or just a new department, can be a stressful time. Although new employees are often prepared for the sheer amount of things to learn, they are often far less prepared for the time it takes to ramp up.

Part of the challenge is the level of enthusiasm and energy that new employees bring, which can be at odds with the downtime between the initial onboarding activities and achieving full utilization.

Filling in these moments with meaningful recognition can help keep the level of energy and motivation high, as well as provide useful feedback to the new employee that they are on the right track. Ultimately, it can provide a much stronger new employee experience.

There are a number of different ways you might get an employee started off on the right track, and even speed up the time it takes to get to that fully utilized state.

Immediately connect work with core values. As a part of the initial onboarding, new employees often learn about a company’s core values and culture. But it shouldn’t stop there, to be forgotten among the all of the packets and introductions. Instead, as new employees begin working on their key responsibilities, managers have ample opportunity to communicate how and why those tasks and behaviors align to core values. Recognition offers the new employee better insight into expectations and priorities, as well as a sense of the purpose.

Build social relationships. Although the direct manager is a crucial source of information and guidance, other members of the team can play an equally important role in the socialization and onboarding experience. They offer opportunities to build important relationships, both interpersonally and through collaborative work. Peer recognition from the team can reinforce these opportunities to create a greater sense of belonging, as well as more quickly increase knowledge of the skills and abilities across the team.

Encourage proactive participation and engagement. A crucial transition for new employees is the gradual transformation from a learner to a contributor. Ensuring that new employees are not only recognized, but have the opportunity to recognize others can speed up that shift. It creates a collective mentality where everyone is empowered to contribute and recognize the contributions of their colleagues.

Organizations that successfully leverage social recognition as a key solution within the onboarding and socialization process will not only minimize the time it takes for new employees to be brought up to speed, but perhaps more importantly, create a stronger and more connected employee experience right from the start.

How has your own company incorporated recognition in the socialization process?

Compensation Cafe: What’s Happened to Worker Productivity?

By Derek Irvine

Recognize This! – Compensation Cafe logo

Numbers have come out recently from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on worker productivity, and the conclusions aren’t all that positive. According to the report, productivity has been on the decline in the US for the previous four quarters at an annualized rate of 0.4%. Yet, number of hours worked over the same period have increased by 1.5%.

What’s going on?

There are a couple of opinions out there, summarized in a recent post I wrote on Compensation Cafe:

One argument is that all of that innovation and technology aren’t doing much to help productivity. … Another argument points to lower levels of investment by companies, responding to greater uncertainty in markets and talent pools alongside downward pressures on profits.

Underpinning both arguments is the idea that fundamental changes to the employee experience and the expectations of the employee-employer relationship may be playing a role. Gone are the days of long-term relationships built on mutual investment, in personnel and technology.

As I write in the full post:

Instead, employers need to rethink the terms in a way that maximizes benefits to employee and employer alike. The emphasis needs to rest on enriching the employee experience beyond the standard quid pro quo. One way is to introduce greater humanity into the workplace, specifically in ways that allow employees to feel valued and empowered to maximize their own productivity.

A particularly valuable approach along those lines is in building a culture of recognition, which allows a company to signal its investment in its people while also reinforcing more human ways of working. It can be an effective solution supporting change management and innovation, ultimately improving productivity.

What types of factors are important to your own productivity?

Compensation Cafe: Pay Transparency as One Part of a Larger Culture

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe blog logoRecognize This! – Organizations can benefit from integrating greater pay transparency with aspects of the organizational experience that also share the emphasis on transparency and participation.

Modern organizations seem to be moving towards less structure and more transparency. At times, these shifts are the result of careful and deliberate discussions of leadership teams. At other times, they reflect reactions to external pressure, especially as technology facilitates the open sharing of data and information that was once more closely held. At the confluence of these trends, discussions around pay transparency have become increasingly popular.

As I write in this post over at Compensation Cafe, pay transparency is one aspect of crafting an employee experience that benefits from an overall emphasis on transparency and participation. Here’s how:

…pay transparency is actually one part of a larger culture. A culture of transparency is focused broadly on employee inclusion and involvement, contributing to a positive organizational experience. The discussions encouraged by transparency – whether focused on pay, performance, or other aspects – allow an organization to accurately and collaboratively set expectations and goals. But that is only half of the picture.

The second part of the employee experience is an equal emphasis on closing the loop, recognizing the effort that has gone into meeting or exceeding those goals and expectations. As I go on to note:

The ultimate value for organizations lies in combining pay transparency with mutually reinforcing solutions like recognition into a shared culture. Much like pay, moments of social recognition provide opportunities to discuss performance and reinforce motivation. More importantly, they develop a shared understanding of the behaviors that are valued by the organization, transparently aligning employees to a set of core values, mission, or purpose.

Click through to read the entire post, which covers the pros and cons of pay transparency, as well as how combining multiple solutions can deliver an improved employee experience.

What do you think of pay transparency, as an individual practice and as a piece of your entire experience at work?