Observations from the 2011 HCI Human Capital Summit

Recognize This: Can recognition help build a great culture?  Dan Pink & Facebook think so!

I’m at the HCI Human Capital Summit this week in Atlanta and have been really taken by two presentations.  First, Dan Pink, whom I love for his passionate exploration into the new truth about what motivates us at work.  He once again set down his manifesto of what’s required for a win-win relationship between corporation and employee. Dan’s agenda of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose is set to create better performance and personal satisfaction in equal measure. He tells how “now that” instead of “if then” rewards and feedback plays a vital role in this, helping to create the culture that sustains these core motivators.

Without any formal overlap, I earlier saw a presentation from Stuart Crabb, Director of Learning and Development at Facebook, and couldn’t help but think about how all of the HR strategies he described where so aligned with Dan’s mantra. He spoke about freedom to choose work, a strengths-based HR philosophy, and of course lots of passion!  A real eye opener about Stuart’s presentation was research he shared about how Facebook finds that their high proportion of GEN X and Y workforce. These groups are in need of constant praise and constant feedback, with GEN Y having a particular preference for co-worker recognition. This is such the case at Facebook that they have actually abolished the annual appraisal and instead rely on a constant feedback and a constant “Thanks” recognition mechanism. 

Not to mix the presenter’s words too much, but it seems like Facebook has really have figured out that constantly recognizing and feeding back on mastery, purpose and autonomy creates a company culture that feeds our true motivators.

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