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Recognition in The Real World
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Shuck: EVP explores the optimal way to recognize employees

Posted By By Jess Myers, RPI, Wednesday, November 15, 2017
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If you want to win football games, it’s simple. Just look at what Tom Brady does, and do that. If you want to make money, study what Warren Buffet does, and copy it.

If only life worked that way. It does not.

In his recent webinar hosted by RPI, noted recognition expert and researcher Brad Shuck, PhD, notes that copying the practices of what other successful companies have done to reward and recognize employees doesn’t always work. Your efforts are more successful when they are rooted in principles, not practices.

“Recognition is not about parties or casual Fridays, it is an underlying message of value that tells people they matter,” said Shuck, who is an associate professor of human resources and organization development at the University of Louisville.

In his new RPI-sponsored webinar, entitled “New Rules of Recognition: Moments You Can Leverage,” Shuck tells his audience that successful recognition is less about individual initiatives and more about creating a strong winning workplace culture that can be sustained over time.

“There are lots of ways to recognize employees, but what are the optimal ways to do it?,” he asks early in the presentation, then proceeds to answer his own question.

Shuck believes strongly in the concept of Employee Value Proposition (EVP), which asks why a talented person would choose to work in a given workplace. EVP puts the responsibility on the employer, not the employee, and it strongly encourages not only getting talented people in the door, but keeping them engaged once they are in the door.

He states some important numbers related to EVP, noting that 93 percent of employees who feel recognized and appreciated say they will go above and beyond on behalf of their employer and 91 percent are unlikely to leave.

“EVP breeds and fosters creativity, and encourages employees to give their best ideas,” he said. And creativity is at the heart of his call for a principle-based strategy around employee recognition. It’s easy to look at a renowned company like Google, which famously offers employees three meals per day and has offices with rooms for gaming and napping, but that model is not one that every office can easily or practically replicate.

By objectifying the practices of other companies, Shuck feels you may miss the human element, hence his call for focusing more on principles and establishment of organizational culture rather than focusing on the practices that others use to attract and retain good people.

The full webinar is available free to RPI members in the RPI Learning Center. For more of Dr. Shuck’s insights, his Twitter handle is @drbshuck.

Tags:  culture  engagement  human resources  organization development  recognition principles  recognition research  Shuck  talent development 

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IRF Whitepaper

Posted By Jess Myers, RPI, Monday, September 25, 2017

There’s a running joke in the sports world that when a player is holding out for a better contract, and they say “it’s not about the money,” that means it’s totally about the money. But when successful companies focus on recognizing and rewarding their top employees, it seems that experts agree it’s not about the money.

In a recent whitepaper from the Incentive Research Foundation, they conducted an intensive study of the 10 things that top performing companies do differently. They found that among the best of the best, things like smart budgeting, strong support, advanced analytics and innovative design are all important factors. But among the top performing companies – defined as those that have high revenues, good growth, excellent customer ratings and excellent employee ratings – the most important thing they do well is treat their own people right.

From the study, the top factor in company success is “They have a strong belief in non-cash rewards and recognition.”

“When asked about their attitudes toward non-cash rewards and recognition, respondents at top performing companies were—across 11 metrics—significantly more likely to strongly agree with the benefits of non-cash rewards,” the study summary noted. “Notably, top performing companies were over 20% more likely to assert that their non-cash reward programs were effective recruitment, retention, and engagement tools. Top performing companies were also over 30% more likely to believe that their non-cash reward and recognition programs effectively influence behavior.”

IRF did a deep dive into successful companies to compile the study, reviewing more than 900 entities and selecting just over 300 of them for inclusion. The standards were strict. To be included companies needed $100 million of more in revenue, a revenue growth or stock price grown of greater than 5 percent, a customer retention rate of better than 90 percent or customer satisfaction of greater than 90 percent (along with a new customer acquisition rate of 5 percent or better), and employee satisfaction ratings of 90 percent or better.

The study found that top companies do things dramatically differently for their employees in terms of non-cash rewards and recognition. It echoes the mantra of countless RPI members about the growing importance of creative and consistent employee recognition, especially in this job market where attracting and retaining top talent has rarely been more challenging and important.

For more information and to download the full report, visit the IRF website.

Tags:  ertified Recognition Professional  ncentive Research Foundation  PI 7 Best Practices  recognition research  uman capital performance 

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We Need to Get Inside People's Heads to Fully Appreciate Recognition, Says Author

Posted By Jess Myers, RPI, Friday, April 28, 2017
There’s a little rush of a chemical called dopamine inside the brain when you take a bite of chocolate, or when you hit on a winner at the card table, or when a big fish bites your line. It's the neurobiological mechanism behind why we find something pleasurable. It’s hard science.

Similarly, when you are recognized for good work by your employer or receive an incentive for a job well done, you get that same jolt of pleasure in your brain. That’s part of the message keynote speaker Rodd Wagner will deliver at the RPI Annual Conference in Fort Lauderdale. His presentation, entitled “Inside the Mind of an Employee: The Good, the Bad and the Neurobiology,” explores the science behind employee reciprocity and how good companies use that science to their benefit.

Wagner is the New York Times bestselling author of Widgets: The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees As If They're Real People. He’s also a regular columnist in Forbes, and Vice President of Employee Engagement Strategy at BI Worldwide, based in Minnesota.

“You could make the case that we don’t need to know what's going on inside people’s brains,” said Wagner. “I can prove survey research and performance data that there’s every reason to ensure a company recognizes solid performance. I don’t need the brain science.”

Yet for years, Wagner says employee engagement has been considered a “soft science” because it could not be observed in the same way as operations, accounting, or one of the more traditionally concrete aspects of running a business. He believes sharing the evidence of what predictably happens inside employees’ brains has the potential to help skeptical executives understand how the science of motivation is just as reliable as any of the other disciplines.

“Getting recognized at work tickles something in a part of the human brain, and people who are happiest reciprocate that emotion with dedication. Humans are very reciprocal creatures,” he said. “We find that when companies take a genuine interest in keeping people happy, those people will take a genuine interest in making the company succeed.”

Wagner enjoys doing a little myth-busting in his columns and speeches. One he has taken on lately is the widely circulated idea that a minority of people are “engaged” at work. Engagement could be better, he said, but “there is no crisis.”

“Most people at least like their jobs, and some love them,” Wagner said.

He also argues with current assertions in the engagement industry that employee happiness is not the right goal for a business.

“Happiness remains very important to employees,” he said. “It’s still the overriding reason people take a job and stay in a job. Any properly fielded and analyzed research shows the pattern.”

Wagner frequently speaks on similar topics to business and industry groups around the country. While some of his keynote will be taken from his most recent book, he will also be showing first at RPI new analyses from the most recent of BI Worldwide's annual studies on employee’s relationships with their employers.

Among the lines on inquiry in his most recent study is what psychologists call “theory of mind.”

“It’s a uniquely human characteristic to be able to estimate what the other person is thinking or intends, and it’s turning out to be an intriguing area for engagement research,” Wagner said. In his most recent study, Wagner asked people three questions about their companies' intentions, among them the statement, “My employer is seeking to make me happy.”

“Now, of course, people don’t know for certain what their leaders’ intentions are, but it is fascinating to me how predictive these types of core motivation questions are of a person's commitment to the company,” said the author. “Employees are most driven to perform when they believe the company is not investing them just because of the potential return, but because they feel a moral obligation to their people.”

Wagner wrote about the results in a recent Forbes column, where he advised employees to calibrate their commitment to their companies with those core intentions of the firm. “Organizations often deliver similar perks and benefits for different reasons.” he wrote. “A mismatch between your company’s intentions and yours can hurt your career.”

For more information on Wagner’s keynote and a full schedule, please visit the conference web site.

Tags:  recognition  Recognition Research  recognition strategy  Research Studies  Trends 

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