Posts Tagged "WorkHuman’

Recognize This! Expanding to Work Human – Join Us in Our New Home

By Derek Irvine

subscribe to the Globoforce blogFor the last 10 years, my colleagues and I have shared with you research, insights, and lessons we’ve learned here on the Recognize This! blog. Over the years, you’ve shared with us your stories and experiences on the power of thanks, helping us and the broader community learn and grow as we worked to share the ROI and human impact of social recognition. We’ve cherished this platform and this experience with you.

Now, as the community has embraced the WorkHuman movement, I’m excited to announce we’re retiring Recognize This! to join the multi-contributor blogging community at the Globoforce blog where we share insights on social recognition, employee performance, diversity and inclusion, and the many ways we all contribute to making work more human.

A few of my favorite recent posts on the Globoforce Blog include:

All relevant content and history from Recognize This! has moved to the Globoforce Blog, so be sure to subscribe here and receive new posts 3-4 times a week. I hope you’ll join the community and share your knowledge with others who are committed to making work more human.

2 Steps to Reduce Voluntary Turnover to Zero

by Lynette Silva

Complex call centerRecognize This! – Understanding the importance of the work and the people doing it make work matter and make work more human.

The new year is nearly upon us (and I, for one, am ready to put paid to 2016). With the new year often comes the opportunity for evaluation of our lives and our priorities. Many of us start a new year with new ambitions, goals for change, ideas for improvements. And for some, that means thinking about a new job or a new career.

If I were to ask you, what types of jobs do you think might have people reconsidering their career path I’m willing to bet call center worker likely would appear on your list. Rightly so – call centers rank among the highest turnover jobs in the world at 30-45%. And that adds up to a lot of money (often in the multimillions of dollars) in terms of finding, hiring, training and coaching new inbound customer service representatives.

So what if I told you about a call center with workers who deal with irate customers call after call, day after day, and yet their turnover has been zero – ZERO – for several years?

SpotHero, a startup online company that rents out parking spaces, has figured it out. (Check out the full Planet Money podcast or transcript for the full story.)

1. Recognize the importance of the work being done

All work matters. Otherwise, why bother doing it? And for the customers of the product or service being provided, the work of the providers particularly matters. Yet sometimes we can fall into the habit of elevating one role over another. “Sales is king. Everyone else serves us.” “Product rules! Without a good product, Sales would have nothing to sell.” There’s no good endgame in this attitude, though. Instead, recognizing the importance of every role in creating a powerful whole is what creates organizational success.

Case in point at SpotHero: Their customer service team is called Customer Heroes. Because to the customer in the middle of a problem, that customer service rep is their hero in that moment. As one employee from the Product group explained:

“The rest of us are trying to make a good product and help our company grow. The Customer Heroes are on the front lines making those minute improvements to humanity all the time, all day, every day… We think of them as the heroes of the company because they’re heroes for individual humans out there in the world.”

2. Recognize the importance of the people doing the work

“Being heroes for individual humans” – what a wonderful way to remind people why their work matters. But knowing your work matters isn’t enough. As humans, we also need to know we matter. SpotHero addressed this important point in multiple ways, including capes for their heroes to wear and Hero Appreciation Day. They also strongly acknowledged what it means to work human by providing a room where people could get away after a hard call. To take a break, to reflect, to restore, to rejuvenate. They call that room the Zen Den.

When pressed about why a Zen Den matters, why adding people to reduce call loads wasn’t enough, call center manager Leah Potkin replied:

“Well, where’s the fun in that? Then maybe they won’t be burnt out from how much work they have, but they’ll be burnt out emotionally from just feeling empty and not really thinking their work matters, when the work they do is just so, so important.”

Think about the people you work with every day. Think about your own work. As we wrap up 2016 and prepare for a new year, how can you remind others – and yourself – that your work matters, that you matter?

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?

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?

Compensation Cafe: Focus on the Contribution, not the Hours

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe blog logoRecognize This! – Companies that emphasize cultures of contribution rather than hours spent at a desk are better positioned to achieve success.

Everyone seems to be much busier these days, rushing between meetings or from project to project, with even less time being spent away from work. It can seem like being busy has become a competition.

Recent data has started to confirm some of these perceptions, that the number of hours worked has become a symbol of status and prestige. As I wrote recently on Compensation Cafe, this data is largely in opposition to conventional wisdom where a sense of status should be associated with having more leisure time and not less.

Indicative of a culture of long hours and face-time, it’s time for a shift towards a culture of contribution instead. What exactly is that?

Within a culture of contribution, organizations strive for the promises of a better workforce where efficiency leads to flexibility and greater life balance are normal. A culture is built that empowers employees to work in ways that allow them to be productive contributors, regardless of time and place. As a result, employees are more likely to ask themselves “What value can I bring?” and not “How many more hours should I work?”

To get there, companies need to focus on greater humanity in the workplace. They need to build interpersonal trust and strong relationships to ignite collective energy and motivation. They need to invest in social technologies that can reinforce those dynamics and help people to share ideas, connect on deeper levels, and be more productive.

As I write in the full post:

Together, these types of solutions can go a long way in creating more productive and also more flexible workplaces through a culture of contribution.

So, how does your own company emphasize your contributions instead of the hours you’ve put in?

Want to Learn How to WorkHuman? Go to Jail!

by Lynette Silva

Alcatraz

 Alcatraz – Inside the Main Cellhouse, CC BY 2.0 – By Daniel Ramirez, Honolulu, USA

Recognize This! – Respect is a foundational element of working more human, in any work environment.

What’s the most inhumane work environment you can think of? Hard field labor in the blazing sun? Dangerous construction or energy work? After listening to an NPR interview with a Mother Jones reporter who went undercover as a prison guard in a for-profit prison, I’m thinking prison certainly makes the list of potentially the most inhumane work environments. And I’m talking about the conditions for both prison employees and inmates.

If working human means we strive to celebrate the strategic, business and human imperative to bring more humanity back to how we work and how we work together, we would be remiss if we also didn’t consider who we work for. In prison work, the community of law-abiding citizens would ultimately be the customer. I would argue the inmates are customers, too, in that by better serving the inmates as humans in need, we can reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for the greater community when prisoners serve their time and return to that community.

So, how can we make prisons more human for everyone involved – the correctional officers as well as the inmates? Bob Garvey serves as an excellent example. He is sheriff of Northampton, MA, and is retiring after more than 30 years as the superintendent of the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction. Highlighted in a Boston Globe report, Garvey’s work to honor the humanity – all of the humanity – within the correctional system is inspiring and a lesson in why working more human matters.

Respect Critical in Human Workplaces

Throughout the article, the clear respect officers and inmates have for each other is clear. And it’s that respect that lays a foundation for better outcomes for everyone. Respect shows itself in three ways:

  • Respect for staff and their training needs.

“We’re also trying to create an atmosphere here,” Garvey says, “where the employees feel safe and positive about what they’re doing for the client population… One of the most important things we do is screen the people who want to work here. We want people who aren’t overly aggressive and who really think. All our officers are heavily trained. They know how to de-escalate. We want both sides to respect each other.”

  • Respect for inmates and their human needs.

“They used to think that punishment was cleansing,” Andrea Cabral, former Massachusetts secretary of public safety, said in 2014. “We now know that’s not how humans actually work.”

“Most of these guys come in angry,” [Garvey] continues, “and if they’re angry, addicted, or even hungry, you can’t treat them. To get their attention, you have to get the drugs out of their system, feed them, show them respect, and hope they’ll deliver the same back. And, surprisingly, when they get over the shock of being treated well — at first they think we’re toying with them — they usually do.”

  • Respect for each other’s connection needs.

“Garvey and his staff regularly have meals in the cafeteria with the inmates, sitting at the same rows of shiny stainless steel tables and eating the same food as the inmates… Garvey sees eating together as a way to show that but for different circumstances and behaviors, staff and inmates are all the same. It’s also a way for him to connect.”

What kinds of results can be achieved when we respect the humanity in everyone? In Garvey’s world, the success is clear.

3 Signs of WorkHuman Culture – in Prison

  1. Inmates ask to get in, writing repeatedly to ask Garvey for transfers into his prison.
  2. Inmates see the prison experience as one of the best things to happen to them.
  3. Inmates don’t come back with recidivism at 19% in Garvey’s jail (compared to 60% nationally).

How did Garvey manage to accomplish this? Perhaps it’s because he wasn’t trained in corrections. In a nod to lessons learned in Adam Grant’s latest work Originals, “Garvey’s knowledge of corrections is largely self-taught, which his supporters see as a good thing, allowing him to approach problems in a different way.”

How can you approach WorkHuman challenges differently in your organization? What small teaks could you make to build respect, connections, and ultimately better outcomes?

2 WorkHuman Lessons from the NFL

by Lynette Silva

Bennett BrothersRecognize This! – Working more human requires we allow our humans to be fully themselves, inside and outside work.

You could call me a football fan if, by “fan,” you mean I sit and a read book next to my husband while he watches the Patriots game. But I seem to have picked up more than I realized by this fan-through-proximity method. Being in Patriots country (and a communicator by nature), I’ve noticed how Patriots team members communicate with – or rather, don’t communicate with – the press. And that’s why I was intrigued by this story from ESPN on the Bennett brothers, the younger of whom (Martellus) is now a Patriots tight end. Let’s just say the Bennetts don’t hold back on their thoughts and opinions.

A couple of points in the wide-ranging article really struck home with me, especially from a context of making work more human. Reading the article, even a football neophyte like me can see that working in the NFL, especially as a player, isn’t really an experience of honoring the human at work. That’s why I particularly appreciated these two comments from elder-brother Michael Bennett (defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks).

When bosses “let you be you,” magic happens.

“The Bennetts maintain that, contrary to the beliefs of certain traditionalists, they play better when they’re given the freedom to improvise, both on and off the field. Michael found that equilibrium in Seattle. ‘A lot of white coaches want to be fathers to black players,’ he says. ‘Pete Carroll’s not like – “You gotta tuck in your shirt.”’ He shakes his head. ‘Do you know how much easier it is to work for somebody when you can be yourself? Why do you think Google, Apple and Facebook are so successful? When people can be who they really are, they do so much better.’ The Seahawks, he says, are the Google of the NFL. ‘They let you be you.’”

In a WorkHuman culture, it’s understood everyone can bring much more to the table when we don’t ask our people to pack up parts of themselves and leave it at the door on the way into the office. When we do, we’re often asking them to pack up exactly the parts we need most – their creativity, their passion, their desire to make a difference and an impact.

Making success about more than work makes work more successful.

“Michael says he doesn’t care about making it to the Hall of Fame. ‘Success is measured in so many different ways,’ he says. ‘To me, success is being super happy and enjoying your family. You look at these people who have so much money…and they can’t even be themselves… When I win, I watch a movie with my daughters when I get home. When I lose, I watch a movie with my daughters when I get home.’”

Clearly, I’m no athlete, not even on a casual level. Yet I’m sure when a pro athlete can keep a loss in perspective, rebounding to return and win is easier. Michael’s statement here is a tremendous example of achieving a good work-life balance. It’s all about perspective and remembering priorities. And having the team behind you to make it possible.

What makes work more human for you?

WorkHuman by Leaving Work – Why Vacations Matter

by Traci Pesch

beach sceneRecognize This! – We cannot create more human work cultures if we don’t honor the human need to rest, reflect, and breathe.

I’m just back from vacation – enjoying family and friends immersed in sun, sand, and ocean. The ability to step back, relax, and rest my mind certainly made it possible to bring a rejuvenated spirit to my work. And this experience reminded me of recent podcast from NPR’s Shankar Vedantam and Dan Pink (author of Drive): “What Science Says about Taking a Great Vacation.”

In the podcast, Shankar and Dan discuss research that shows three interesting findings:

  1. Relationships (or at least relatability matters), even while on vacation.
  2. Shorter but more frequent vacations may be the ticket to keeping the positive impact of vacation going.
  3. Experiencing awe may be the best vacation memento because it can “increase ethical decision making and generosity.”

From a WorkHuman perspective, we need to honor the very human need to rejuvenate the soul, the spirit and the mind. As Lin-Manuel Miranda (creator of Broadway sensation Hamilton) said on Twitter, “No accident that the best idea I ever had in my life (Maybe the best one I’ll ever have) happened on vacation. With a second to breathe.”

Sadly, it seems workers hesitate on taking vacation. This survey found the top 5 reasons workers skip vacation:

  1. Fear of returning to a mountain of work(40%)
  2. The belief that nobody else can do the job (35%)
  3. Inability to afford taking time off (33%)
  4. Fear of being seen as replaceable (22%)
  5. To show greater dedication to the company and the job (28%)

And Americans seem to be worst about this. This article describe us as “a nation of vacation-deprived, work-obsessed, business casual-attired zombies.”

If our best ideas possible come when we give our brain a chance to officially switch off, and if our companies ostensibly support the idea of vacation, then how can we as leaders encourage the behavior of actually taking a real break? Because we must. Our people deserve it. Our humans need it.

Do you use all of your vacation days? If not, why not?

Growth Starts with Working Human

By Derek Irvine

board-752051_960_720Recognize This! – Growth within a human workplace combines traditional learning opportunities with the recognition of a challenge- and fun-oriented mindset.

In today’s post, I wanted to revisit a set of findings from the 2016 WorkHuman Research Institute ROI of Recognition survey. As we explored the sets of practices that contribute to a more human and caring workplace, a concept emerged that emphasized the importance of growth and development.

In particular, I was thinking about this concept as I read through a recent post from Bersin by Deloitte on scaling a culture of continuous learning. Two parallels are of note. First, like continuous learning, growth within a human workplace requires a different mindset and approach to learning and development activities. Second, both of these forms of development need to be deeply embedded within the cultural fabric of the organization, practiced on a daily rather than intermittent basis.

Let’s dig deeper into each of these in turn.

Our concept of growth within a human workplace builds upon traditional approaches to learning and development. As our own research has found, there needs to be a foundation of learning activities. For example, employees that perceived “opportunities to grow and learn in their jobs” were 2x more likely to perceive that their leaders care about creating a human workplace.

And yet employees also spoke to a mindset that was broader in nature.

That mindset speaks to the presence of challenge and fun within the workplace as levers for continuous employee development. Within more human workplaces, employees were almost 2x more likely to believe that they are able to “find a solution for any challenge.” That mindset is more likely to also occur where employees perceive a “company culture that is fun and enjoyable” and “passionately believe in the organization’s core values.”

Not merely seeking pleasure for its own sake, “fun” and “challenge” transform into a sense of striving towards one’s potential, seeking out problems to solve, and achieving growth that is aligned with core values and purpose.

How can this mindset become a part of the fabric of everyday work?

Perhaps not surprising, social recognition provides a timely and frequent way for everyone in the company to call attention to colleagues finding solutions, expanding their own skills and knowledge, and working together to overcome challenges. Each recognition moment reflects an instance of growth happening in real time. The data provided by these moments can allow managers to have richer developmental conversations with their reports, and allow greater awareness across the company of where expertise exists.

Across the organization, recognition embeds the acknowledgement of learning and growth opportunities into everyday work, to help ensure that it is a continuous process and ultimately contributes to the creation of a more human and more adaptable organization.

What type of growth opportunities do you see on a daily basis that could be recognized?

3 Ways to Make Work More Human

by Lynette Silva

WorkHuman NYC CommunityRecognize This! – Regardless of industry or company size, all employees need authenticity, mindfulness and recognition.

Why do we WorkHuman? Simple – how else could we possibly work? We are human, after all. And yet, our workplaces or work experiences often aren’t structured to honor, support or encourage the very humanity we bring to the office.

During the last two weeks, I’ve had the honor and privilege of hosting several WorkHuman Regional Forums across the United States (check out our 2017 WorkHuman Regional Forum schedule). The conversation and collaborative learning in these sessions has been enlightening in many ways.

Three recurring themes I’ve seen throughout the conversations in the three local WorkHuman communities to date are:

  1. Authenticity and vulnerability – As Amy Cuddy says, when we are comfortable being our true, authentic selves, we can also be more open and vulnerable with those around us. When we feel safe enough to be authentic, we can bring our whole human selves to work.
  2. Mindfulness and time to pause – Our days are often hectic, dashing between meetings, projects, and priorities. We need time to pause, reflect on and process what was just discussed, accomplished or requested. Building time into the day for short 5-minute reflection and mindful meditation breaks increases focus and productivity. One way to start is simply ending meetings 10 minutes early.
  3. Recognizing the whole human—There is much to celebrate in the people around us. Yet the focus of celebrations is often on the projects or outcomes, and not the humans that delivered the results. Recognizing the people behind the results is critical, as is celebrating the uniqueness each of us brings that creates a far more cohesive and successful whole.

How do we make work more human?

Answering that question is the responsibility of all of us – of any human who has worked, will work, or works today. We owe it to our fellow humans to contribute to a work environment that not only “pays the bills” but also brings us into closer community with others, fulfills our need for greater meaning and purpose from our contributions, and increases our sense of gratitude and appreciation.

How can you join the WorkHuman conversation?

How does your organization WorkHuman today? What are your priorities for making your workplace more human?