Globoforce Channel on Youtube

Globoforce has launched a video page on! We invite you to view our collection of videos.

Just one of the available videos is below. Our CEO, Eric Mosley, appeared on Ireland’s TV station, RTE1, in a highlight of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalists.

Be sure to check out our youtube channel at and let me know what you think!

Nortel Achieves Recognition Program Success to Drive High Performance

Nortel Networks recently joined Globoforce on a webinar discussing their global strategic recognition program, Excellence@Nortel. While Nortel had a recognition program, the company’s employee satisfaction scores reflected poor results regarding recognition.

In the webinar, several Nortel team members share their experience, including their recognition key principles, program structure and communications including their ongoing Recognition News Network global effort, and training and change management initiatives. Thanks to those efforts, 96% of Nortel managers report they understand Nortel’s philosophy on recognition and 100% believe that recognizing, acknowledging and celebrating employee’s contributions is important.

Nortel also discusses the success they achieved including in just the first eight weeks, nearly 10% of employees have been recognized through Excellence@Nortel, a dramatic improvement. Under their original recognition program awards took an average of six weeks for delivery. Globoforce delivers 70% of awards for Nortel on the same day (the remaining 30% are delivered within days), which ensures the reason for recognition is at top of mind for the recipient. Moreover, 83% said that receiving an award motivated them to sustain high performance – a critical measure during a tough economy when individual high performance is more important than ever.

And most important – Nortel accomplished all of this on the same small budget investment they had in place for their previous program of few, infrequent awards to a small percentage of employees.

Learn more by requesting to download the webinar.

Be Creative with Your Motivation

In its Motivation Theory and Leadership section, recently discussed seven methods of intrinsic motivation:

• Motivation through Challenges
• Motivation through Curiosity
• Motivation through Control
• Motivation through Fantasy
• Motivation through Competition
• Motivation through Cooperation
• Motivation through Recognition

While I certainly agree with these ideas as effective methods of motivation based on the unique needs of the person being motivated, “motivating through recognition” should actually be woven throughout the other six. By effectively recognizing the behaviors and actions you need for the company or project or team to succeed -- regardless of the type of "motivation approach" used -- you are reinforcing in the most positive way the value the individual's effort has to you, the manager, the team, and even the company. Recognizing the person’s ability to meet challenges, achieve through curiosity, control their environments, dream big, compete healthily with others, and cooperate for ultimate success all deserve recognition.

What’s your favorite means of self-motivation? How do you most often tend to motivate others? Join the discussion in comments.

Bad Gifts Negatively Affect Relationships

Psyblog recently published research on the affect poorly chosen gifts have on interpersonal relationships.

Between gift givers and recipients in established relationships, men who received poorly chosen gifts that did not reflect their personal preferences determined their future relationship with their partner to be much shorter. Women who received a poor gift, however, perceived a longer future with their partner. Researchers ascribe this dichotomous result to women’s desire to protect against a potential “threat” to the relationship. Men simply stated they didn’t like their partner’s gift choice and, by extension, their partner.

The report concludes:
“Over the long-term, the story is likely to be the same for both sexes: bad gifts damage relationships by chipping away at their heart - the feeling that in this big, bad world you've found someone who really understands you, and knows what you like.”

I believe the same holds true in work relationships. At work, just as at home, people need to believe they are valued, understood and appreciated. Bad “gifts” in the form of inappropriate recognition damage employees’ relationships with their managers and the company, just as bad gifts damage interpersonal relationships between couples. We have heard countless stories from employees of our clients who have been put off and even insulted by pre-selected rewards sent to them. The examples are countless – a gift certificate to a steakhouse restaurant for a vegetarian employee, a clock for a Chinese employee where such an item signifies death, a fleece coat for an employee in Nairobi.

A far better solution is to give the employees the recognition they deserve through a heartfelt message commending them for their effort along with the opportunity to choose a personally meaningful and culturally relevant gift from our more than 25 million options available in our Gift of Choice network.

How about you? Have you seen this gifting phenomenon play out in your personal relationships? How about your work relationships? What’s the worst gift you received from a significant other? How about from your company? Share your stories in comments.

The Gift of Choice * Thank Your Employees with Substance AND Style

Incentive magazine came out this summer with their latest report on gift card/gift certificate use in recognition programs. More than 80% of companies surveyed used gift cards in their programs, with nearly 80% of those companies using them to recognize performance, more than 30% for non-sales recognition awards, and more than 30% for spot rewards.

An October article in the same magazine cited gift cards as “the most desired gift among women, and the third-most desired gift among men” according to Tower Group.

Rich Killan, a past president of the Incentive Gift Card Council, commented: “"We're not suggesting using gift cards to ever [supply] diapers, cigarettes or gas," he says. "But also look at their income. You don't want to give a minimum-wage worker a twenty-five-dollar Tiffany gift card, because they won't be able to get anything worthwhile with that. Often it's better to give them two or three cards to choose from."

How about 2,000 gift cards for the recognition recipient to choose from – from shopping, entertainment, dining and adventure outlets in more than 100 countries around the world? That’s the unique offering of the Globoforce platform, giving recognition recipients more than 25 million reward options in their own backyard or anywhere in the world.

And these rewards beat cash for their “trophy value.” As I’ve said many times before and Killan reiterates in this article, cash has no trophy value because you can’t brag to your friends about a cash bonus. But you can invite them over to watch TV on your new flat-screen TV, or enjoy dinner out at your favorite restaurant, or play with your kids on your new backyard play set.

Recognize your employees for their hard work and efforts to achieve your company goals and reward them with the Gift of Choice – let them enjoy the experience of limitless choice alone or with their family and friends.

What was the worst recognition you ever received? How about the best? Did you share it with others? Share your story with us in comments.

Cash-Based Bonuses the Cause of the Recession?

People Management recently asked: “Are Bonuses to Blame for Banking’s Downward Spiral?”

The article quotes the CIPD advisor Charles Cotton: “Bonuses have become a recruitment and retention tool rather than a reward for good performance. There are so many corporate governance issues around permanent salaries that the only ‘wriggle room’ has been bonuses. That’s why in recent times there have been sums that have been seen as excessive, and the phenomenon of people asking for guaranteed bonuses – degrading the principle of paying for performance.”

The International Financing Review recently published a report, “Strategic Risk and Reward,” which was also cited in the article: “Goldman Sachs has gone further than other investment banks in developing a multi-dimensional reward strategy and in emphasising loyalty through its culture, which might explain its relative resilience compared with rivals Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch.” (emphasis mine)

Cash bonuses and rewards have been the downfall of many recognition programs, and yet many companies continue to rely on them. In fact, Bnet author Joanna Higgins recently wrote an article: “Cash Is Still the Best Comfort in a Crisis.”

Why? Because employees say so? Surely HR professionals don't take employees at their word on other matters: “We don’t want more training, just save the money and spend it on a bonus”…yet we do invest in training and development. “We don’t want any benefits, just save the money and spend it on a bonus”…yet we do invest in benefits.

Not only has research shown that a “thank you” has more impact in driving results, but the promise of a bigger bonus in eight of nine tasks actually significantly decreased performance.

What does work? As the Strategic Risk and Reward report found: emphasise loyalty through culture. Use recognition tools that thank the employee for his or her efforts while also explaining why that exceptional effort was of importance to the company achieving a strategic goal -- especially when times are challenging.

What do you think about cash vs. non-cash bonuses? Tell me in comments. My next post will discuss in more detail the proper rewards.

Tips for Managing "Economic Mayhem"

David Zinger in his Employee Engagement Zingers blog recently made several excellent suggestions for “Managing Economic Mayhem: When Life Throws You a Lemon…Duck!”

His points were:
• Expect disengagement
• Include yourself in the points made above.
• Look for loss and give it voice.
• Engage fully in your work as a powerful antidote to fear.
• Eliminate Pollyanna positive thinking now.
• Practice authentic optimism.
• Upturn your resilience to balance the economic downturn.
• Laugh to last.

I encourage you to read his post for the details. Our clients, in general, are handling this downturn well. We’re seeing our customers and other thoughtfully led companies increasing their investment in their strategic employee recognition programs right now because they truly understand the need for people to get some good news — to know they and their efforts are still appreciated in a frightening time. Some are also using the programs as an additional means to communicate modified company goals and how each person’s behaviors and actions can help the company achieve those goals during that time.

Now is the time to rise to a true position of leadership and engage your employees through positive recognition and reinforcement of company goals, objectives and values. What are you doing to make them feel appreciated?

Kick Cash Rewards to the Curb and Generate Higher Performance & Engagement

Phred Dvorak in the Wall Street Journal recently reported on company efforts to shore up employee reward and incentive pay plans in the face of plummeting stocks.

The article cites Deloitte Consulting research showing survey respondents were “worried about keeping key workers and boosting morale in the turbulent economy.” As Mike Kesner, head of Deloitte’s executive compensation group, said, “The last thing [companies] need now is for employees to throw in the towel and say, ‘I’m not going to work so hard.’”

The Deloitte survey, which covered companies of all sizes and industries, found that more than two-thirds said earnings declined or were flat over the past year, and 58% predicted their bonus plans would pay out less than their targeted amount; 10% were expecting no bonus payouts at all. Bonus plans generally pay eligible employees if companies meet preset targets such as earnings per share.

Perhaps these companies should consider a more proven alternative than cash rewards, which do not deliver the anticipated return and only come to be expected as part of compensation.

A Japanese National Institute for Physiological Sciences study found “paying people a compliment appears to activate the same reward center in the brain as paying them cash.” White Water Strategies found acknowledging staff achievements – praising employees – had the same impact on job satisfaction as a 1% increase in pay, which would equal £5.2 billion for UK businesses alone. These 2008 studies reinforced research results from a 2004 University of Chicago study that found non-cash incentives were 24% more powerful at boosting performance than cash incentives.

Are you making changes in your rewards structure due to the recession? Are you still relying on cash rewards as part of your recognition package? Have you turned the page to non-cash for greater engagement results? Tell us what works – and what doesn’t – in your environment.

Communicate and Invest to Ride Out the Downturn Successfully

Mark Royal and Will Werhane of research firm Hay Group Insight recently discussed the importance of employee engagement in an ailing economy in a recent Talent Management article.

Royal and Werhane note, importantly, “Savvy talent managers recognize key contributors are the greatest flight risks, as they are likely to have opportunities elsewhere, even in a strained labor market.” So what do you do to kill the rumor mill and motivate employees in this ailing economy? A couple of Royal and Werhane’s suggestions are particularly pertinent:
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – Talent managers need to help employees understand the company has a coherent strategy that will allow it to succeed in the current business environment, that both the company as a whole and its individual divisions are making progress relative to strategic objectives and that all employees have a role to play in helping the organization carry out its plans.”

Individuals need to know their individual contributions contribute to organizational success. Help them understand that by recognizing their efforts to meet and exceed company goals by specifically calling out their actions that support these goals. Then share their success with others to clearly demonstrate what the company needs individuals to do.
Sweat the Small Stuff, which represents not only financial outlays but also important opportunities to reinforce that the organization values employee contributions. In an environment in which leaders are asking their teams to do more with fewer resources, maintaining high levels of employee engagement is critical. A little discretionary spending may be a wise investment if it promotes greater discretionary effort from employees.”

For just a very small investment of percentage of payroll in strategic recognition, companies can reap dramatic rewards in increased employee engagement, performance and motivation. Often companies don’t even need to spend more, just uncover funds already being spent that are not being tracked or measured. Almost every company will admit managers have a goodie drawer for over-achieving employees, or pay for a gift card or a dinner out from their own pocket, only to seek reimbursement on an expense report. Uncover that budget, consolidate it and repurpose it into a far more strategic and universally meaningful investment in strategic recognition to impact the success of the entire company.

What steps are you taking to encourage employees to higher performance in today’s economic environment? Share your tips in comments.

Motivating Employees for Operational Excellence

Workforce Management recently addressed a question on motivation and empowerment of employees in its “Dear Workforce” column. The writer asks, “What type of tool could we use as a process to measure our personnel’s awareness of the relevance and importance of their activities and how they contribute to the achievement of the quality objectives?”

The answer is no different than in a strategic recognition program – structure the program so that the quality objectives are included as specific reasons for recognition, then require one of these objectives be selected as the primary reason for recognition. Be sure to then recognize “personnel activities” that achieve these objectives. The recognition recipient will then have a very clear understanding of what activities or actions the company wants repeated. This positive performance management method strongly supports program success – in any kind of program.

The respondent also included other critical elements to success:
1) Secure a champion, preferably the CEO or close to that level.
2) Allow all employees to participate
3) Measure program progress and success

Do you have any additional suggestions on how to address a similar situation? Share them in comments.

Building a Culture of Appreciation for Increased Productivity

Human Resources Executive and The Financial Post both recently reported on new research by the Kenexa Research Institute that surveyed more than 20,000 employees from 14 countries on their level of engagement.

Critical findings include:
* Engaged employees are aligned with company goals and are personally vested in the outcomes.
* Engaged employees are inspired by their leaders with confidence in the future.
* An engaged workforce delivers superior business results.

In today’s economic climate, no company will say they do not need superior business results – especially if achieving those results is as simple as gaining greater productivity out of their current workforce by inspiring them through the current company goals.

But many ask, “How do we do that?”

The problem lies in the fact that most employees couldn’t tell you what their company’s goals or values are, much less how their every day actions on the job demonstrate those values or help the company achieve those goals. Sure, a plaque or poster may hang in the hallway or breakroom, but that is often meaningless and certainly forgettable for the average employee.

To make the values come alive and give each employee vested interest in accomplishing the goals, it’s as simple as recognizing employees for those actions that demonstrate the values or achieve the goals. Did an employee demonstrate “Teamwork” to deliver a project ahead of schedule? Recognize them for that effort and specifically call out the teamwork aspect. Did someone’s effort on a potentially small task lead to the entire organization delivering a key project? Thank them and help them see their role in the big picture.

Be sure to take our weekly poll and tell us your thoughts on engagement.

Increasing Employee Engagement One “Thank You” at a Time

Robin Stuart-Kotze recently discussed the cost of employee disengagement in the UK in her Bnet article “Whatever…Why Employees Stop Caring about Work.”

Stuart-Kotze reports on recent UK civil service engagement results:
* 12 per cent of UK public sector workers are highly engaged; 22 per cent are disengaged
* 84 per cent of highly engaged public sector workers in the UK believe they can have an impact on the quality of the organisation’s work — compared to about one-quarter of disengaged workers.
* Engaged employees generate 43 per cent more revenue than disengaged ones.

I particularly appreciate her comment:
“We know what most people want: they want to feel valued. They want their contribution to be recognized. One of the consequences of not feeling valued or not being recognized is that people withdraw and do less and less.

“This has a major impact on an organization, lowering morale and productivity, draining resources, and blocking performance. It is also infectious — negative behaviour has a multiplier effect on the behaviour of others.”

This parallels exactly with our findings working with our clients. It really is as simple as showing appreciation – saying “thank you.” Just as negative behaviour is infectious, so is positive behaviour, but it requires effort to change company culture to one of appreciation. Tying manager goals (MBOs/KPIs) to regular recognition targets can help to change habits.

But not just managers are responsible for recognition. All employees should be empowered to not only thank their peers, superiors and subordinates, but to do so in an easy to use system that tracks those recognitions and communicates them to all constituents.

So who is ultimately responsible for engagement at work? Both the company leadership and the employees themselves. All play a role in their own and their colleagues' engagement levels.

What are you personally doing to show appreciation for your colleagues’ efforts? What have your colleagues or managers done to show appreciation for your efforts? Share your stories in comments.