Black and White or Shades of Grey?

Do you see the world in black and white or are you more of a “shades of grey” kind of person? Turns out, it matters in the workplace.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal discussed the topic, describing shades-of-grey people as more ambivalent – more likely to see both sides of an argument and waffle on decision making – than people who see things more concretely as black or white who tend have “unequivocal” views and less ambivalence.

What’s the impact of these two personality types at work?
“One of the most widely studied aspects of ambivalence is how it affects thinking. Because of their strongly positive or strongly negative views, black-and-white thinkers tend to be quicker at making decisions than highly ambivalent people. But if they get mired in one point of view and can't see others, black-and-white thinking may prompt conflict with others or unhealthy thoughts or behaviors.”
If you’re a black-and-white manager, that could have profound impact on your people. Research from GreenPeak Partners found:
“In fact, executives who lack interpersonal skills – executives who just focus on numbers and processes and wreak havoc on their people – perform badly over all but the shortest of time periods. And their businesses do as well. This is a verifiable fact. Executives who are bullies – who are arrogant, “too direct,” impatient or stubborn – are poor performers, not only as people managers, but also at developing strategy and delivering bottom-line financial results. (emphasis original)

“Executives who are good “people managers” (i.e. possess strong core leadership skills) on the other hand, produce better strategic and financial performance as well. In other words, soft values drive hard results. …

“The study shows that ‘results-at-all-costs’ executives actually diminish the bottom line, especially over time, while self-aware leaders with strong interpersonal skills deliver better financial performance.”
This backs up the Gallup research that found causation, not correlation, between employee engagement and financial performance:
“We find that the path from the individual engagement elements to financial performance is stronger than the path from financial performance to engagement.”
And as we say in our new book, Winning with a Culture of Recognition:
"The connection between engagement and higher performance is obvious, and while there are many ways to inspire engagement (and even more to kill it) all involve communicating and rewarding desired behaviors based on defined values.”
If you pride yourself on being a black-and-white thinker, you may want to consider adding some shades of grey. Your team and company performance will be better for it.

Finding – and Feeding – What People Want

Do you know what people want at work? If you’re not completely jaded, what do you fundamentally want at work?

I was struck that in the space of a week, I read essentially the same statement from two very different sources. From Talent Management magazine, in an article written by Madeleine Horman Blanchard, a business coach:
“Employees want to be successful at work. It makes people feel good to perform well. But to perform well, employees need to understand what a job well done looks like.”
And from a New York Times interview with Kevin O’Connor, chief executive of
“People want to be good. They want to be successful. They need help believing in themselves. Sometimes they just need help to get going.”
Do you believe in the innate desire of employees to do well at work? I do. But I also think we, as leaders, play a critical role in feeding that desire – helping them to do well by helping them understand what it means to do well in their daily work.

As I’ve written frequently, the best way to do this is with strategic recognition that frequently and in a timely way recognizes an employee every time he or she demonstrates a company value or contributes to a strategic objective in their work. This kind of positive reinforcement clearly lets an employee know what you need from them – what success look like – in their own jobs and daily tasks. This is not at all abstract. Rather, it is concrete. It is personal. It is real.

Wally Bock, in his excellent Three Star Leadership blog, addressed this very well:
That's good, but it's not enough. Most bosses put all their attention on "bad attitude." What about good attitude? Define the observable or measureable things by asking the same question. "What does he or she do that makes me think they have a good attitude?" The answer to that question might be behavior or performance. It's also something that deserves some positive feedback. Recognize it, praise it, thank your team member.
What’s the benefit to you of feeding the people what they want? Garry Ridge, president and CEO of the WD-40 Co. explained it quite well in the Talent Management article referenced above:

“One positive benefit of defining what success looks like is that you can acknowledge and applaud success when it occurs. At WD-40, our engagement number is 93 percent, which I believe is three times the average. It means that people come to work doing things that mean something to them, that they feel is making a difference in the world today, and that is developing them internally as well. … WD-40 enjoyed the best year in the history of the company in spite of the down economy.”
Acknowledge and applaud success while helping your employees understand how they make a difference in the world today. Who doesn’t need that?

The Power of Thank You * Free Webinar THIS Thursday, October 28

Today on Compensation Cafe I wrote about the power of a simple "thank you." In a series of studies, scientists have now proven that saying "thank you" increases the likelihood of future help by 100%. Surprisingly, this isn't because people narcissisticly need to be thanked. Pop over to Compensation Cafe to find out the real reason behind the power of thanks.

In the same vein, Eric Mosley and I will be leading a free webinar on our new book Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Join us this Thursday, October 28, at 8:30am PT/11:30am ET/4:30pm GMT for a webinar packed with case studies on the power of simple appreciation, strategically applied.

Eric and I will be specifically addressing:

• How to strategically manage a company culture using the power of employee recognition
• Why recognition is the fastest and most effective way to positively impact employee performance
• What recognition program components foster employee engagement and deliver bottom-line profits
• How recognition has evolved from a tactical program to a strategic management discipline

Click here
to register now!

Positivity Psychology * Choosing to Make the Workplace Better

In talking with thought leaders in HR consulting and practice recently, the topic of “Positive Psychology” came up. The goal of positive psychology, as I understand it, is to make life better, more fulfilling, more fun and enjoyable – not just to treat mental illness. The question under discussion with my colleagues was, “How does positive psychology impact the workplace?”

Research from Barbara Frederickson, cited in the Positive Psychology at Work blog, says:
“When we experience emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio of positive to negative, we cross a psychological threshold and function at our very best. The trick is knowing how to cultivate this positive outlook and how to call upon it on a regular basis. Tools developed and sharpened by the science of positive psychology allow us to self-generate positivity whenever we choose-even during these trying times. Indeed, positive emotions are at the heart of what allows people to bounce back from hardship and become stronger than ever.”
In the last two years have you regularly experienced positive emotions on a 3-to-1 ratio in the workplace? Has anyone at work given you a reason to feel positive? Sure, there are many good and valid reasons for employees at any level to experience negative emotions in this economic climate – fear for their job, stress at assuming laid-off colleagues’ workloads, and many more. But it is within our power – every employee in every workforce – to create positive emotions.

It’s as easy as saying “thank you.” It’s as simple as saying to a peer, colleague or subordinate, “I notice you and your work. I appreciate what you do. Your efforts are valuable to me, to the team, to the company if we are to succeed.”

Positivity at Work

But the reality is, by and large, we don’t. Other research cited in the same blog notes that happiness is contagious – “people who are happy or become happy boost the chances that someone they know will become happy…by up to 34%.”

Here’s the catch, though. “Surprisingly, happiness had no such effect at work. The researchers speculated that work relationships may have different dynamics.”

If choosing positivity for ourselves is within our power (and I believe it is – we choose our attitude every day), why are we neglecting positivity in the workplace? Is it because we work in a highly competitive culture? Is it because we believe we can only thrive in the workplace at the expense of others?

These are important questions to answer. The research shows: “Happy people tend to be better off in a myriad of ways, being more creative, productive and healthier.” Who would argue we don’t want that outcome? Who would suggest the simple act of recognition is too much to offer if it could result in such benefits?

What’s your level of positivity in the workplace? Do you feed into the positivity or detract from it?

The Link between Employee Recognition and Engagement

I blog frequently on the topics of employee recognition and employee engagement, but what’s the link? It’s simple. Employee recognition, when done strategically, is a powerful tool for fostering employee engagement. In fact, our customers repeatedly see a double-digit increase in their employee engagement scores within months of implementing strategic recognition.

How is this possible? It’s like Eric and I said in our new book, Winning with a Culture of Recognition:
“Strategic recognition gives company executives the tools to create and manage a culture of appreciation at their firms for competitive advantage. For the first time, employee appreciation emerges as a sound management method that moves recognition from anecdotal morale-booster to data-driven business discipline.”
I was struck when reading recent research from Towers Watson, “Incorporating Employee Survey Metrics in Incentive Design,” how similar our statement above aligned with Towers Watson’s statement on engagement:
“We believe that actively managing engagement provides companies with a similar tool that can influence the overall performance of the organization while working within its strategic and competitive context."
“Actively managing engagement” – that’s precisely what we believe results from actively managing your company culture through strategic employee recognition as outlined in the book. Why does this matter? As Towers Watson says:
“In short, leaders create the ‘culture of engagement,’ while managers play a critical supporting role in bringing the culture to life, serving as day-to-day distribution mechanisms for engagement programs.”
This mirrors what I preach consistently about why CEOs must lead strategic recognition efforts. Leaders put in place the desire for a culture of recognition, but managers bring that culture to life. Managers must both frequently recognize their own employees for the actions and behaviors that demonstrate company values and achieve strategic objectives as well as encourage their staff to also recognize and appreciate their colleagues and peers in the same way.

Only in this way can a culture of recognition be created, which actively feeds a culture of engagement.

What Type of Company Culture Do You Have?

In my last post, I talked about recent research from Towers Watson on the important role company culture plays in a company achieving its strategic objectives. Other research from Randstad confirmed the same:
“Two thirds of working adults (66%) believe that company culture is very important to the success of their organizations. The survey also found that employees believe company culture has the greatest impact on employee morale (35%), followed by employee productivity (22%). 23% of younger workers, ages 18 to 34, say it plays the biggest role in building job satisfaction.”
Workers also cited several elements as critical to company culture with the top three being:
• Employee attitudes (69%)
• Effective management (64%)
• Strong trust relationships (57%)

One challenge of the research lies in its attempt to have surveyed employees describe their work culture in terms of the four categories of company culture Terrance Deal and Allan Kennedy outlined in their book Corporate Cultures: The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life:

• All hands on deck culture (everyone works as a team)
• Process culture (heavy emphasis on procedure, lacks creativity)
• Work hard/play hard culture (deliver results, but enjoy time with co-workers)
• Tough-guy/macho culture (high criticism, little direction)

While I appreciate this research for pointing out the undeniable importance of culture, I can’t help but notice the decade-old list of cultures is missing a few (as 16% of those surveyed agreed). Like a culture of innovation, perhaps, or most definitely, a culture of recognition.

A culture of recognition, in which people are acknowledged and appreciated for their contributions, behaviors and actions that demonstrate company values and help achieve strategic objectives, seems to be the antithesis of the “though-guy/macho culture” described above. Such a culture of recognition is most successful at driving business results, yet it’s not reflected in this study.

What other cultures do you see missing from the list? How would you classify your culture?

Winning with a Culture of Recognition * Webinar Oct. 28

As regular readers of my blog know, I'm quite excited about the launch of our first book, co-authored by me and Globoforce CEO Eric Mosley, Winning with a Culture of Recognition.

Abishek Mittel, author of the Mumblr blog, had this to say about the book:

"I particularly liked their concept of Strategic Recognition programs which make recognition a modus operandi for businesses, rather than remaining something that is elitist, infrequent and often not intrinsically motivating. Indeed, recognition, if measured and managed well, can help companies drive behaviours that benefit it. The authors make use of a “Values Distribution Graph” to track the percentage of employees recognized across departments for demonstrating behaviours aligned with the Values and Mission of the organization. It is powerful! Imagine if the data tells you that more people are being recognized for producing “reliable results”, whereas the focus of the organization is really on innovation (risk-taking)!"

If you'd like to know more about the book or ask us questions about creating a culture of recognition in your firm, join us Thursday next week, October 28, at 8:30am PT/11:30am ET/4:30pm GMT for a webinar packed with case studies.

Eric and I will be specifically addressing:

• How to strategically manage a company culture using the power of employee recognition
• Why recognition is the fastest and most effective way to positively impact employee performance
• What recognition program components foster employee engagement and deliver bottom-line profits
• How recognition has evolved from a tactical program to a strategic management discipline

Click here to register now!

If you have any questions you'd like to submit earlier, please let me know in comments.

Why You Should Care about Your Company Culture

What role do you think the culture of your company plays in the company’s success? Wait. Let’s back up. What do you think your company culture is? Intimidation? Get it done at any cost? Supportive? Innovative? How does that culture influence people’s attitudes and actions?

Towers Watson recently published a report that removes all doubt about the importance of culture in high-performing organizations:
In a high-performance organization, workplace practices must actively influence the employee behaviors needed to execute its strategy and reinforce its market focus. …

When the culture and strategy align, both people and functions work toward a common purpose. … Culture, and all the systems that support it, must reinforce and reward these actions, behaviors and attitudes.
I think we can all easily agree that employee behaviors and actions are what ultimately execute company strategy. But the challenge is company culture often does not encourage the needed behaviors and actions or doesn’t tie them directly to company strategy. Again from the Towers Watson report:
Many companies’ cultures are not aligned with their business objectives, because their leaders, who by and large focus on the financial and operational aspects of the business, simply allow corporate culture to evolve. In some cases, the responsibilities of day-to-day management intrude, or leaders do not have the tools necessary to identify and close the gaps between culture and strategy.
What’s the tool that identifies and closes the gaps between culture and strategy? Strategic employee recognition. As Eric and I explain in Winning with a Culture of Recognition:
“Organizational culture is the most powerful force in business, and yet it is one of the most neglected (and misunderstood) attributes of any organization. Every organization has a culture, whether it is the culture the leadership wants or the one that has come to exist through inertia and management neglect. …

“Understanding your company’s culture and shaping it deliberately, based on your values, is critical to achieving your strategic objectives. It is critical to gaining competitive advantage. …

“Strategic recognition adds the ultimate layer of value, which is culture management. Strategic recognition is linked to strategic goals such as engagement, employee satisfaction, or culture change. But also, because you have those tools, you get to then use strategic recognition to manage the culture. In other words, you can emphasize a single value that you feel doesn’t have the traction you need to meet your strategic objectives.”
Do you have tools you need to identify and close the gap between culture and strategy? Are you equipping your managers with what they need to help their employees see the connection between their behaviors and actions and achieving the company’s strategic objectives?

Rehumanizing the Workforce: Telling Stories that Resonate

This week I’ve discussed the death of trust and loyalty in the workplace and the dehumanization of the workforce, but I didn’t offer many solutions.

Of course, I believe the obvious solution to much of the outfall of these practices is strategic employee recognition. Restoring trust and humanity begins with a simple “thank you” – an acknowledgment that people are noticed, appreciated and recognized for what they do that matters.

But for recognition to be strategic – indeed, for recognition to overcome the death of trust and dehumanization – it must resonate deeply with employees. It must help them see that they are not cogs in the machine, but deeply valued and appreciated contributors that are helping to achieve the company mission. And the best way to do that is to link every recognition to a story that resonates in that way.

Going back to the Financial Times article I’ve referenced all week:
“Generation Y is looking for a different relationship with employers. ‘Gen Y wants to feel part of a team, a community, rather than being an individual cog in a big corporate machine.’ They expect companies to offer more than a pay cheque, and look to its values to accord with their own. …

“Communication with employees relies on telling them a story that resonates. The organisation’s narrative – ‘where we’ve come from, who we are, where we’re going and how we’re going to get there” – is boring for many employees. But if a colleague can provide a real example of how she put the company’s vision into practice by, say, helping an angry customer, it will have more impact than a mission statement from HR. ‘More important are the personal stories that people tell to bring the organisation’s story to life.’”
I’ve written before on the research in which GenY reports the most important thing to them in an employer is the company mission and values aligning with their own. For all employees, regardless of generation, knowing they are contributing to the company’s success helps reconnect to the organization, re-energizing and re-engaging them in your company’s mission.

As I said in a comment to a TLNT article on restoring trust with candor:
“Tell people how each of them can make a difference. Objectives/goals are a moving target in many organizations right now. Employees may know what their "tasks" are, but they don't know any more why those tasks matter -- how they're helping the company pull out of the recession and regain a sound footing. That knowledge alone goes very far giving employees a reason to reengage, recommit and trust again.”
What are your solutions for restoring trust and rehumanizing the workplace?

Unions, Recognition & Engagement on Compensation Cafe

Today on Compensation Cafe I wrote about Unions, Recognition and Employee Engagement.

An excerpt:

"In today’s workplace, unions still have power when they need to step in for employee rights. There are strong arguments that the union has run its course in some fields. Anger or just disbelief over union actions in France this week is making headlines around the world. Regardless of your position on unions, the bottom line in private-sector companies is that leadership would not have to be concerned about unionization in their workforce if they create a work environment in which employees do not see a need unionize, in which employees feel their interests are attended to, they have a safe and fair work environment, they are not just allowed but encouraged to work and achieve to their full potential."

Click over to Compensation Cafe for the full post, including Gallup research on engagement and unions, and let me know what you think.

Inmates or Teammates: Rehumanizing the Workforce

During the last couple of years, I get the feeling that corporations have reverted to workplaces of the Industrial Revolution, where people are seen as just another cog in the machine that can be easily pulled out and replaced if necessary.

This dehumanization is no small matter. In the Financial Times article I reference in my last post, Jonathon Hogg, head of the people and operations practice at PA Consulting, commented:
“Too many human resources departments became fixated with systems that make an organisation more efficient but dehumanise management. Companies have put in all sorts of process to measure and evaluate performance, an arithmetic approach to assessing people. This puts the focus on compliance and fulfilling quotas, not engaging with staff.”
This reminds me of the prison system in which inmates are assigned numbers. To the prison guards, they are not called by their names or referred to by name in any way. They are their number: Inmate 173658.

Even outside of the performance appraisal process, employees know they are viewed as nothing but cogs in the machine. A recent Wall Street Journal article made this abundantly clear, discussing the “near historic” profits U.S companies are pulling in after “re-tooling their operations.”
“For all U.S. companies, the Commerce Department estimates second-quarter after-tax profits rose to an annual rate of $1.208 trillion, up 3.9% from the first quarter and up 26.5% from a year earlier. … The data indicate that big companies are recovering from the downturn faster and more strongly than the overall economy, helping send stock prices higher this year. To achieve that performance, companies laid off hundreds of thousands of workers, closed less-profitable units, shifted work to cheaper regions and streamlined processes. … Despite the hefty profits, executives aren't expected to boost spending on new employees, products and equipment anytime soon.”
Companies know they’re putting the squeeze on employees, as noted in this Market Watch article:
“Some companies acknowledge that workers are feeling squeezed. Among all employers, 61% said their cost cutting has increased employees' workloads, while 53% said cost cutting has made it harder for employees to manage their work-related stress.. …

“And workers are feeling under-appreciated, other recent data indicate. Fifty-two percent of employees said their employer has done nothing to reward their achievements in the past year, and 59% said they are making the same or less than they were two years ago, according to an August survey by, a career and workplace community.”
What’s the likely outcome if this dehumanization continues? Workers looking out for themselves, especially as the economy improves, as this BlessingWhite research notes:
“Employees are weary of cost cutting, organizational triage, and anxious business conditions. Star performers in particular may be tired of performing heroics for their employers. They're ready to crawl out from the safe place of 'at least I have a job' to think about their future.”
How are employees viewed in your workplace? As inmates who are nothing more than a number, interchangeable at will and not to be troubled about? Or as teammates with value and worth that should be honored, noticed and recognized?

Employee Trust in Its Death Throes

Employee trust in and loyalty for the employer has been dying a slow, agonizing death for the last several decades. It began with massive layoffs in the 1970s-80s when employees who thought they had a job for life, like their parents before them, found themselves pounding the pavement looking for work. The children of that generation are now the Generation X workers, who have seen the pain experienced by their parents repeated at least two to three times from the late 1990s dot-com bust to today’s Great Recession.

The result? No one expects their employer to look out for the employee’s best interests. Employees are out for themselves, with all the implications that implies for teamwork, community and social integration in the workplace.

An excellent article last week in the Financial Times, “Give More Power to Your People,” dealt with topic brilliantly, using the example of a cultural turnaround at British Gas. The article raises three themes I deal with throughout the week in my posts, the themes of employee trust and loyalty, the dehumanization of the workplace, and rebuilding an employee relationship with stories that resonate.

On trust, the article cited two experts on the topic:
Octavius Black, chief executive of the Mind Gym, a performance consultancy, warns that while staff retention has held up during the downturn, that could soon change. “Over 60 per cent of employees currently say they plan to switch companies, with 25 per cent actively looking for a new job,” he says. “The risk is even more acute with top performers, whose feeling of engagement with their employer has dropped three times faster than the average employee’s in the past 12 months.”

Jonathon Hogg, head of the people and operations practice at PA Consulting, a leading management and IT consulting firm, says the recession has changed how employees view their relationship with employers. “Employees are disappointed with business.”
Is there an opportunity to restore employee trust? The answer to a plea submitted to the “Dear Workforce” article in Workforce Management gives some guidelines, mostly around open, honest communication with no hidden agendas. Of course, in an environment when trust has already been lost even getting employees to believe you are honestly communicating with them is a struggle.

I believe the trust relationship can be restored, but not until overcome the dehumanization of the workforce – the topic of my next post. What do you think? Is trust dead? Can it be restored? Should it be restored? How?

How to Help Employees Get Engaged

I’m sure you’ve read just as many articles, blog posts and research on this topic as I have (which is far too many to count). But after my last post on all the benefits and bottom-line results companies with high employee engagement see, I thought I should give you one simple guideline to help your employees decide to engage.

Let’s be clear. You cannot engage your employees. Being engaged with your work is an individual decision every employee makes every day. The best you can do is create work environments and positions with which your employees want to engage.

To that end, here are three things you can do to create such an engaging environment:

1) Match job/role to personal abilities
– Everyone is passionate about something. And everyone has things they “can do, but don’t really like to.” Too often, however, we shove people into positions that let them do what they’re passionate about and love doing 25% of the time. Like having your sales reps fill out spreadsheets. I’ve met few sales reps who like spreadsheets – they’d rather be selling! (And you need them to be selling.) So why not give the spreadsheet duties to someone on the team who much prefers to make sure everything is orderly, reported properly and kept track of?

2) Thank employees for their efforts
– And be sure to acknowledge progress, not just results. People need to know if they’re doing what you need them to do in the way you need it done. If the only feedback you give is the negative or corrective kind, then most of the time, they’re functioning under the belief that they are doing the right thing because you’re leaving them alone. How much more effective would it be to tell your employees, “Joe, great job working on project X. Your efforts at A, B and C, have really helped the team meet their objectives for delivery much more quickly and at a higher quality. Well done!’

3) Help employees see the greater meaning and purpose in their work – If you make your appreciation and expressions of thanks specific as I illustrated above, you automatically help employees see the bigger picture of their role in contributing to achieving larger company objectives. CLC-Genesee and its parent company, the Corporate Executive Board, proved this in recent research, reporting:

“For instance, ‘One of the biggest levers that we’ve identified is a feeling of connection between what it is an employee does and what the company is all about,’ [Sarah] Johnson, [managing director of CLC-Genesee] says. ‘So if I feel that my work is essential to this business, that it reflects what our company is all about [and] I can see that link and the value of what it is I do, that drives engagement – which then has all sorts of positive consequences.’

“A company’s reward and recognition efforts, Johnson adds, can help reinforce an employee’s feeling that ‘I am valued by this organization, that I am important here and that I make a contribution.’”

What steps are you taking to help your employees want to engage? What’d I leave off my short list?

Be sure to check out our new book "Winning with a Culture of Recognition," available on Amazon now!

Employee Engagement Continues to Fall, along with Shareholder Return

Why should you care about employee engagement? Because it directly impacts shareholder return, EPS, financial improvement and competitive advantage.

Hewitt research found a 63% differential in total shareholder return for companies with high employee engagement vs those with low engagement:
“Organizations with high levels of engagement (where 65 percent or more of employees are engaged) outperformed the total stock market index even in volatile economic conditions. During 2009, total shareholder return for these companies was 19 percent higher than the average total shareholder return. Conversely, companies with low engagement (where less than 40 percent of employees are engaged) had a total shareholder return that was 44 percent lower than the average.”

Gallup research found companies in the top 25% for employee engagement have (as compared to bottom 25%):
• 37% less absenteeism
• 25% less employee turnover in high-turnover organizations (such as retail)
• 49% less turnover in low-turnover organizations
• 27% less shrinkage
• 49% fewer safety incidents
• 60% fewer product defects
• 12% higher customer metrics
• 18% higher productivity
• 16% higher profitability

And that’s just the start. Gallup also found :
• EPS exceeds competition by 28% (top 25% for employee engagement)
• EPS exceeds competition by 72% (top 10%)
• Growth trajectory (for financial improvement): 2.5 times the competition (top 25%)
• Growth trajectory: 3.9 times the competition (top 10%)

What did the level of employee engagement mean to companies during the recession?
• Those in the top 25% that were trailing competition before the recession surpassed the competition in 2008.
• Those in the top 10% were already ahead of their competition in 2007, but widened the gap further in 2008.
• Those in the bottom 25% for engagement in 2007, however, followed the same downward trend as their competition during the recession.

Still think employee engagement doesn’t matter?

Strategic recognition is one of the most powerful methods for improving employee engagement. Be sure to check out our new book "Winning with a Culture of Recognition," available on Amazon now!

Winning with a Culture of Recognition * Launched Today!

Today is a very exciting day for me and for Globoforce. Our first book, co-authored by me and our CEO, Eric Mosley, launched today.

In Winning with a Culture of Recognition, Eric and I address the question: How do some of the world’s greatest company cultures succeed? The answer: They’re strategically managed using the power of employee recognition.

It really is that simple – the power of a “thank you,” strategically applied, gives you the ability to directly manage your company’s social architecture and, ultimately, culture. Winning with a Culture of Recognition demonstrates how strategic recognition is fastest and most effective way to impact employee performance and productivity and deliver positive bottom-line profits.

In the book, we give you a step-by-step guide for creating a culture of appreciation with strategic recognition. We share with you the stories of several of the world’s most respected companies who have achieved just that and the business benefits they’ve realized through simple appreciation, tied specifically to their company values.

I’m particularly proud of the advance praise we’re receiving for the book:

From Dan Pink, best-selling author of Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us: “Recognizing mastery, communicating purpose, encouraging autonomy, Eric and Derek offer practical guidance on how to create a company culture that feeds our true motivators,”

From Bill Catlette, co-author of the Contented Cows books: “A must read for any organization that wants to unify a global workforce, Winning with a Culture of Recognition captures the essence for why recognition is critically important for any organization that wants to engage employees and create a better culture. With case studies, industry data, and expert tips, Eric and Derek demonstrate why recognition is no longer a tactical HR program; it provides real business value. This book is a welcome addition to the business and HR shelf.”

Order your copy today on Amazon. I look forward to hearing your feedback.

What’s Your Attitude at Work?

For the majority of the time you’re at work, let’s say 75% (we all have off days), what’s your attitude? Gung-ho get-it-done? Excitement? Just happy to have a job? Get through the day so you can go home?

I started thinking about this after reading Alexander Kjuerulf’s (The Chief Happiness Officer) examination of “What the heck is work anyway?” (quoting)
• If work is simply what you do because you have to, then happiness at work is almost impossible by definition.
• If work is only what you do for money, it eliminates all volunteer work.
• If work is only what you do for a purpose, then all aspects of your job that are not productive are no longer work.

I’m not claiming to have the answer yet, but as I see it here are some elements of a definition if work that is conducive to happiness:

• Work is something you choose to do. You may not have a choice of whether or not to work but you have choice in what work you do.
• Work is something you’re valued for. Either someone pays you for your work or someone takes the time and resources to organize your work.
• Work is an activity where you make a positive difference for someone else.

Whether or not you agree with where Alexander is going with this, he is absolutely correct that work is a choice. You can choose not to work (and face the consequences on your lifestyle), you can choose the work you do.

But a critical element that Alexander leaves out – you can also choose your attitude. If the work you do every day is not something you “love,” you can choose to do it with an attitude that expresses your desire to do a good job, deliver an excellent end product, and respect those around you.

Even if you tend to love the work you do, but occasionally get an assignment you don’t enjoy or teammates who rub you the wrong way, you can still choose your attitude.

To Alexander's credit, a more recent post on his blog included this excellent example of choosing your attitude at work with this restroom attendant:

It’s that ability to choose that sets us apart. Those around us (bosses and colleagues alike) make it easier to choose a positive attitude by appreciating our efforts and the attitude we demonstrate in accomplishing our goals. Encouraging and reinforcing the right attitude as well as the right results is a large part of the discussion in our new book, Winning with a Culture of Recognition, as well.

What attitude will you choose today?

Be sure to check out our new book "Winning with a Culture of Recognition," available on Amazon for pre-order now!