Posts Tagged "Social Recognition’

“I don’t see color.” (Maybe you should.)

By Lynette Silva

Recognize This! – Inclusion welcomes all that makes another person fully themselves.

mohamed-nohassi-175530I am deeply proud of my company and our leaders for the stand we have taken for greater diversity, inclusion and belonging – both in our own organization and through the WorkHuman movement. This isn’t about political correctness. This is about creating safe workspaces for people to bring their whole human selves to work, in all of their passionate, creative and sometimes messy human glory.

That said, in the interest of being inclusive, I acknowledge tone deafness at times. How often have you heard the phrases “I don’t see race.” or “I don’t see gender.” This misses the point of inclusion and belonging. In saying “I don’t see an essential part of you” – whether that be your gender, your relationship preference, or the color of your skin – we are also choosing to deny a large part of what makes the other person essentially them.

Each of us is, yes, more than the color of our skin, or who we choose to love, or our gender, or our religion, or our ethnic background. Yet all of those elements are what make me unequivocally me.

See me for who I am and all that I am.

That’s what makes social recognition perceived through the WorkHuman lens so powerful – it’s about recognizing the person for what they do and for who they are. It’s acknowledging that you – uniquely, specifically, beautifully you – and your talents, skills and perspectives that arise from all that it means to be fully you – are what enable you to make important contributions and achieve results for organization success. It’s about recognizing and appreciating the whole human. It’s about truly seeing the entire person in all their humanity.

As Verna Myers said beautifully, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” But how do you do that? She’s also explained, embracing inclusion requires “the institution’s ability to fully integrate its understanding of and appreciation for the diverse cultures and backgrounds of its employees.”

True inclusion sees, welcomes and respects everything that makes each of us, well, us. And when I’m seen for who I am, in all my facets, and welcomed anyway, that’s how I know I belong.

What makes you uniquely you? How do you seek to understand others in their fully unique humanity?

(Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash)

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?

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?

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?

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?

Off to HR Tech 2016!

By Derek Irvine

international-conference-1597531_960_720I’m packing my bags and heading to Chicago for the 19th Annual HR Technology Conference and Expo. It’s a fantastic show for seeing what the future of HR holds and what the leaders of the field are thinking about today. I always come back to the office with a ton of energy and ideas.

If you’ll be at the conference, I hope that you can stop by a pre-conference session I am hosting alongside Jay Dorio of IBM (October 4th at 2:30 pm). We will be sharing the results from a new global study conducted by the WorkHuman Research Institute at Globoforce, and the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute. The session will introduce a new Index and set of leadership and organizational practices that help to make the workplace more human.

I am truly excited about this research because it provides HR and business leaders with actionable ways to give employees a better experience at work and demonstrates why that can drive results. What can our organizations become when we think about human potential in terms of “giving” rather than “taking” (and take Adam Grant’s work to heart)?

Later in the week, also be sure to catch Globoforce’s Eric Mosley and David Sparkman of UnitedHealth Group (October 7th at 9:30 am). They will share the story of UHG’s cultural transformation, based on core values of integrity and collaboration, and driven by social recognition. It is yet another great example of how organizations can emphasize giving to achieve positive results.

I hope to see you there!

A Mandate for Positivity?

By Derek Irvine

signature-962354_960_720Recognize This! – Encouraging positivity at work can be challenging, but is achievable through a strong culture of recognition and making work human.

It’s no surprise that positive workplaces can help contribute to a whole host of beneficial results, from better health to greater productivity. The challenge that many companies face is how to go about creating a more positive and human-centered workplace.

It’s often a goal that requires walking on a fine line between promoting a positive culture and ensuring that positivity remains authentic and unforced. For many leaders, it boils down to one of the core questions behind a recent piece in The New Yorker: “Can you actually create positivity by mandating it?”

The short answer, after reviewing the available research, is a qualified yes.

Leaders can create positivity, but not through generalized policies or broad directives. Instead, it needs to be fostered through calling attention to authentic and specific examples of leaders and coworkers bringing positivity to their own work and work relationships.

The cumulative power of these moments, amplified through social recognition, can help drive a culture of positivity and ultimately, working human.

What makes this approach successful is striking the right balance between establishing expectations while allowing for individual flexibility in how to meet those expectations. Past research, for example, has found that rules or norms in this middle area are optimally effective – neither too vague to hamper action nor too prescriptive to be demotivating.

Social recognition hits that sweet spot. At a company-wide level, it provides a shared framework that aligns expectations behind a set of core values. Within each unit or location, leaders and coworkers are empowered to recognize the specific behaviors that are locally relevant but still deliver upon those shared expectations. The combination captures the unique way each person can contribute to the purpose of the overall organization and find meaning in their work.

An additional benefit stems from the collective awareness that is created by those recognition moments, of the number of different ways that employees have brought positivity into the workplace and been recognized for their contributions. Rather than forcing a single exemplar that may not fit everyone’s personality or style, employees can see how their own personal approaches to positive work can fit into the same culture.

Finally, social recognition can help connect this positivity to the bottom-line, ensuring that employees are motivated and energized to contribute their best selves at work, living the core values that drive the organization forward.

What does your organization do to help you bring more positivity to work?

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?

Need Change to Succeed Quickly? Try Recognition

By Derek Irvine

SpeedometerRecognize This! – Social recognition is a simple, fast solution to ensuring the success of change efforts.

One of the broad challenges faced by many of the global companies I speak with comes down to change management. For them, it is not only a question of the ultimate success of a given effort, but also their ability to diffuse those changes rapidly across their global employee base. As markets demand more frequent pivots and increased flexibility, this ability becomes especially crucial.

There are a few usual suspects that come to mind as solutions, well-received practices that support the diffusion of change across functional units and geographies. Communication plans, participation in decision-making, training around what new behaviors are expected.

Still, one set of practices is often overlooked, yet has the ability to quickly align employees behind new sets of expectations and encourage new behaviors in a more rapid fashion. Creating a culture of recognition may be one way that organizations can quickly reinforce new business priorities or focus areas throughout an entire organization.

To understand why, it’s important to call attention to several key attributes of a culture of recognition.

Within such a culture, employees have built a capacity for mobilization and involvement. Not only are they more attuned to the contributions of their colleagues, they are also more likely to see opportunities where they can positively contribute to the work of others.

Organizations with cultures of recognition can leverage those social relationships to enhance and improve other important dimensions of the organization’s people or business culture. Because recognition moments are frequent and timely, involvement is similarly built into everyday work.

These dynamics speak to the collective magnitude of employee effort, but direction also plays a key role. Within a culture of recognition, activity and behaviors are closely aligned to core values, ensuring that individual effort and organizational success are aligned. In emphasizing behaviors that reflect core values, there is flexibility for leadership to call attention to the new ways that those values should be demonstrated.

Whether across the organization or locally within a single department, key behaviors can be recognized that support change and are appropriate to each office and employee. Importantly, aside from the social process of highlighting those behaviors, programmatic changes are not required, facilitating the speed with which new expectations can be carried throughout the organization hierarchy.

The final point speaks to the incidental creation of positive and proactive attitudes towards change. A culture of recognition allows individuals to focus on the benefits of how new ways of working are positively impacting their own roles and the organization as a whole. In short, it creates a more human workplace in which individuals are more engaged, challenged, and motivated.

Through the combination of direction, magnitude, and positivity, a culture of recognition is a powerful tool for organizations looking to improve their ability and speed in implementing change.

How have you seen coworkers positively respond to change?

Compensation Cafe: How to Develop Consistent Performers

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! – A combination of coaching and social recognition can help consistent performers to realize their potential and reach higher levels of performance.

It has become commonplace for businesses to differentiate between high performers, consistent performers, and those who need more development. A majority of programs tend to focus solely on high performers, as those who can bring the most value to the organization.

Effective organizations though also need to mobilize and develop the largest of these three groups: the consistent performers. As I write in this post on Compensation Cafe, a culture of reward and recognition can enable leaders to reach deeper into this group through smaller, more frequent moments. Doing so can motivate a greater proportion of that group, as well as keep the momentum of motivation high.

Another unique feature of this group is the variability across performance, owing in large part to the size of the group. Some individuals may be striving upwards, others content with the level of their effort, and still others for whom a change could derail their otherwise consistent showings. Taking these differences into account, two distinct strategies emerge that support a culture of recognition and performance.

As I write in the full post, they include the following:

Feedback or coaching conversations can be geared to help provide some insight … [empowering] employees to not only direct their own work, but also spend time thinking about the larger mission of the organization and how their work contributes to that.

The second strategy emphasizes building potential over time through social recognition. Each moment, where an employee has demonstrated a core value or contributed above and beyond to the team or colleagues, can be a launching point for a discussion about growth and expansion.

Taken together, these strategies can help a company develop its pool of consistent performers, delivering a collective impact that could rival that of the high performers.

What does your organization to do help develop those consistent performers?