Recognize This! – Innovation is not just the big, market-transforming end result, but the little ideas along the way.
What’s the most powerful word in business today? Innovation.
Read any blog, any news source, any prospectus and you will quickly stumble over “innovation.” How the company pursues innovation, how innovative the products are, how “innovation” is a core value of the company. And this is all well and good – innovation truly is what propels industries and markets ever forward.
But the real question smart companies should be encouraging every employee, in every role, to ask is: “What can I do, in what I do every day, to be more innovative? How can I innovate our product, our service approach, to better serve our customers, change the market, or push the company forward?”
Unfortunately, too many people think innovation is too big for them or “not in my job description.” I believe that’s because we as leaders have failed to explain what real innovation actually looks like. David Steinberg, chief executive of XL Marketing, gives a much better definition of innovation in a recent New York Times ...
For years, workplace psychology was all about correcting things that were wrong. How can we fix people? How can we improve human capital metrics? How can we just do better? It was a reactive approach, where we focused on things that we thought needed solving, like turnover or poor morale.
Then Professor Martin Seligman was elected president of the American Psychological Association.
Seligman is the founder of ‘positive psychology’, a field of academic study that examines healthy states, such as happiness, strength of character and optimism. He looked at psychology through a different lens; rather than concentrating on pathology, he urged that we proactively identify and build on things that are going right.
In other words, what if we stop focusing so much on unhappy people and what isn’t working, asked Seligman, and instead we amplify happy people and what is working? By figuring out how to replicate that success, we can move the needle on human metrics like happiness, satisfaction, productivity and engagement.
According to Seligman, positive psychology “is about identifying and nurturing [people’s] strongest qualities, what they own and are best ...
Recognize This! – Only the employee can define what is meaningful work to them. Leaders, however, are critical for helping them catch the vision.
Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of engaging in meaningful work for employees. But what, exactly, does “meaningful work” mean? As I was catching up on my (admittedly large) backlog of news and blogs in my reader, I found this nugget from the Switch & Shift blog (which is rapidly becoming one of my favorite daily reads):
“Managers cannot make work meaningful for employees. Managers, however, can shape the workplace environment to let meaningful work become possible for employees. With a context set to let meaning be experienced, employees can leverage the environment to derive meaning from their work.
“Meaningful work is vague. What exactly is it? Assuredly it begins quite selfishly. But this is out of necessity. For work to be meaningful, it is the employee who must label it so. This requires a belief that meaningful work is a desired outcome from managements’ actions. And employees believe managements’ intentions and see actions aimed to let meaning emerge.”
Recognize This! – You can’t order people to move faster or be more responsive. You can encourage them and praise them to achieve change more quickly.
Did you see the news about IBM CEO Virginia Rometty’s video to employees? Here’s a summary and insight from The Wall Street Journal:
“International Business Machines Corp. IBM +1.17% Chief Executive Virginia Rometty delivered a rare companywide reprimand in the wake of a poor earnings report last week, saying the sprawling technology company needed to move faster and respond more quickly to customers.”
Regular readers know I come down much more strongly on the side of reinforcing the positive rather than the negative. (And research shows you need five positive comments to balance out every negative one.) But reprimand is a strong approach. I wonder if it wouldn’t have been more effective to tell employees, “We have a challenge in that we’re not responsive enough to customers. It’s affecting our business this way. I need everyone to focus on being more responsive, and this is how we’re going to do it.”
Later in the article, the WSJ points out:
As you might know, Globoforce’s office is in the Boston area, specifically in Southborough, a western suburb one town north of Hopkinton, MA—where the Boston Marathon begins.
Last week was an emotional and transformative one. It affected everyone who was paying attention, to some degree or another. Whether you live locally or not. Our hearts have been frightened and broken, and we are all struck by the senselessness and utter waste in such destructive acts.
Here in Massachusetts, it was also one in which our identities have shifted momentarily. “One Boston.” “Boston Strong.” These have become the watchwords over the past week. In the greater Boston area, people who normally identify themselves by their towns or neighborhoods have suddenly redefined themselves as part of the greater identity that is “Bostonian”. And indeed, across the country, people who ascribe to other identities have aligned in solidarity with ours.
This is a common reaction of a group identity to outside pressure, stress or threat.
Humans are pack animals, fundamentally, so our natural instinct is to seek people who are similar to us—who share ...
My mother always told us there were three skills she wanted her children to learn before we grew into adulthood:
- To drive a car with a stick shift. (I think I can do this, in theory—but people don’t seem to trust me with their transmissions.)
- To speak a foreign language. (I could get a hotel room or to the train station in Paris, Florence, and Ancient Pompeii.)
- To play poker.
On this last point, I’m sorry to say I have failed Mom—in part because I need a cheat sheet to know what is a good hand, but mostly because I don’t have a very good poker face when I’m excited.
Which is relevant how? Well, because once again I find myself sitting on a treasure trove of amazingly cool statistics—from not one but TWO different surveys we’re partnering on—and I’m having trouble keeping my excitement to myself.
You see, not only are we putting the finishing touches on our first-of-a-kind global survey on recognition with the Hay Group—which will be revealed in our joint webinar on April 24 at Noon ET , but I’ve just today had a sneak peak at our newest SHRM/Globoforce Report. I have to say ...
Recognize This! – Give all employees the tools and systems needed to reinforce your desired culture every day for everyone.
Your company leadership makes a commitment to build a strong culture. They understand how powerful of a differentiator culture can be in the market. They know what kind of positive culture they want to instill and they take steps to make it happen. Yet over time, the culture changes into something else. What happened?
Over on the Fistful of Talent blog, Suzanne Ramsey tells a parable that ends this way:
“So, now we’re at the point in the story where the company is at a crossroads. To those who have been around a while, there is a feeling of the founding culture being unappreciated and not cared for by new employees coming in. To those newly joining, there is a feeling of having been slightly duped; that the descriptions of cool culture and being a different kind of firm, etc., shared during the recruiting process aren’t really true. Both groups are frustrated, and sad, and the early founders are befuddled. Their principles and priorities for the company, for differentiating itself through its awesome culture, have not changed. So ...
Recognize This! –HR should make as many decisions based upon evidence and data as finance or engineering do.
I was at HCI Human Capital Summit this week in Atlanta co-presenting with Globoforce client Quintiles. Two great themes really flowed through the entire summit. VUCA was the first, a military term that seems to sum up the environmental reality that so many of us HR professionals face today. VUCA it describes an environment characterized by constant Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity.
V = Volatility U = Uncertainty C = Complexity A= Ambiguity
Is this your HR world? It certainly seemed to be for a majority of attendees. Markets are changing faster than ever, we’ve acute talent shortages in certain skills and abundance in others, innovation cycles are quicker than ever, and all around us the economic climate behaves like the weather in Ireland! All four seasons in one day!
So what does the military do to cope with VUCA? Data is a major component of coping within this world. The time for soft, “gut feel” decision ...
Recognize This! – Narrow research must not be used to define the power of truly strategic recognition solutions.
As long-time readers of this blog know, I like to stay on top of the latest research and news in the employee recognition, rewards, engagement and motivation industries (and there is quite a good bit of it). And I’m glad I do, because research like this out of Harvard Business School proves the point of a narrow focus being used to paint results much too broadly. The research working paper is titled “The Dirty Laundry of Employee Award Programs: Evidence from the Field.” Here’s the abstract:
“Many scholars and practitioners have recently argued that corporate awards are a ‘free’ way to motivate employees. We use field data from an attendance award program implemented at one of five industrial laundry plants to show that awards can carry significant spillover costs and may be less effective at motivating employees than the literature suggests. Our quasi-experimental setting shows that two types of unintended consequences limit gains from the reward program. First, employees strategically game the program, improving ...
Recognize This! – Big data will continue to drive HR and talent management, especially when we allow that data to flow from everyone, not just managers, and we then apply it to broken processes such as the traditional performance review.
I recently had the opportunity to participate in an Argyle Conversation by Argyle Executive Forum. I enjoyed to give and take very much, and appreciated the chance to close out the discussion with a look into the future on major trends coming for HR and talent management. Below is my answer, but I also encourage you to read the full conversation to understand how we arrived at this point with employee recognition and engagement:
There are three large trends that I see out there. One is the importance of big data, which is obviously not a brand new trend. But if you think back about some of the things that I mentioned about how strategic recognition differs from traditional recognition, and how big data is a key driver of that, then Globoforce certainly is a leader in bringing data to the recognition topic. We’ve invested way beyond the curve in reporting capabilities, predictive analytics and being able to use data to drive ...