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Recognition in The Real World
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How to Write a Great Employee Engagement Survey

Posted By Ava Ewald, Thursday, February 13, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

RPI is at the forefront of employee engagement practices, developing the 7 RPI Best Practice Standards® based a wealth of knowledge collected from academics, industry leaders and conferences. These standards are designed to help grow your organization’s recognition program.

Standard 1 is Recognition Strategy and the second is management responsibility. Both are essential in growing engagement in your organization. Harvard Business Review suggests that surveys are one of the greatest ways to make your employees feel heard.

Built In, an online technology news platform recently published a comprehensive guide to creating an effective employee engagement survey. Here are some of the best takeaways:

 

1.      Identify a goal for your survey

Consider what you would like to see change as a result of your survey. Do you want to see more enthusiastic interactions with clients? Would you like to see more teamwork between employees? Make sure there is a clear direction to your survey.

·         Tailor your questions to fit your goal. Where you see areas that need growth, make sure they are addressed on the survey to get your employees’ take on those areas.

·         Keep track of these goals. Growth can not be achieved without measurement to inform change.

2.      Avoid yes/no questions

Simple yes/no questions do not fully explore a person’s opinion or feelings on the question at hand. It does not give room for explanation. For example, “are you happy at work?” could warrant a vast range of responses and opening up the question will give you more thoughtful responses and better insight.

·         Remember who, what, when, where, why and how. These question starters will help you get the responses you want.

·         Putting open-ended questions on your surveys gives your employees the space to articulate their opinions and feelings in a detailed and thoughtful way.

3.      Utilize Scaled Questions

Contrasting open-ended questions, scaled questions can be a great way to get quick results or mix up questions types within a larger survey.

·         These questions are often a 5- or 10-point scale, giving a range of 1- “very unsatisfied” to 10- “very satisfied,” for example.

·         Built In suggests that in general, answers on a 10-point scale ranging 8-10 are positive and 1-4 means improvement is needed.

4.      Analyze your results

A survey does not mean anything if you do not utilize the information you gathered to inform change. Once your survey is completed, take the time to sit down and carefully review the results.

·         Compare your results to industry standards. Decision Wise compiled the results of many engagement surveys so you can see how your results stack up against others. This article also has ideas for survey questions.

·         Create a plan to implement the ideas you received in the survey. When your employees see real change from their feedback, they will be encouraged when completing additional surveys in the future.

 

To learn more about RPI’s 7 Best Practices click here.

Check out our new resource hub here!

 

Tags:  employee engagement  recognition  RPI 7 Best Practices  survey 

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Practical Ways to Implement Engagement Practices Today

Posted By Ava Ewald, Thursday, February 13, 2020
Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2020

RPI is at the forefront of employee engagement practices, developing the 7 RPI Best Practice Standards® based a wealth of knowledge collected from academics, industry leaders and conferences. These standards will help in growing your organization’s recognition program.

Standard 1 is Recognition Strategy and the second is management responsibility. Both are key in growing your recognition program and driving engagement. Below are some simple ways you can grow engagement today.

1.      Emphasize your company’s purpose

Why does your company exist? This is a great question to revisit to reinforce your company’s mission. It also defines purpose, which according to Forbes helps employees perform better because they are confident in what the mission is and how they contribute to it.

·         Harvard Business Review suggests envisioning an inspired workplace. Think about how to connect your employees to the overall mission and identify concrete actions you can take to get them there. Finding a positive example of an inspired employee can demonstrate what you are looking for.

·         Make sure your employees know and understand why your company exists and continue to reinforce the message. This can be done in a weekly newsletter, repeated frequently in meetings or posted in highly trafficked areas of the office.

·         Lean into your inspired staff. Have them help you spread your message and give you feedback on what more you could do.

2.      Set Goals for your teams

A study done by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services found that both individual and organizational goals are strongly tied to an organization’s success. Setting goals with your teams reinforces your mission and drives engagement.

·         A Gallup study found that only 13% of employees believe that their employers set clear goals, which often leads to low engagement. However, Gallup also found that 72% of employees that had goals communicated to them are engaged.

·         On the Clear Review Blog, Stuart Hearn wrote that collaborative goals are crucial when fostering engagement. Setting individual goals shows that one employee contributes to the goals and purpose of the company.

·         Hearn also suggests revisiting goals. Check in with your employees and make sure they feel comfortable with their work as they move toward the goal. Communication is key.

3.      Create an engagement survey

One of the best ways to foster engagement is simply to ask! Create an engagement survey in order to analyze and measure engagement in your office.

·         Survey Monkey posted on their websitebusinesses not only should measure employee engagement—they can’t afford not to.” Engagement translates to more effort, happiness, and profit. Measuring engagement via a survey allows you to track your progress.

·         Bamboo HR recommends against using yes/no questions in your surveys. Give your employees the space to express how they feel about the company and how it works.

·         There are plenty of templates online, so you do not even need to take the time to write your own survey. For example, check out the survey by Bamboo HR here.

4.      Come up with a routine for consistent recognition

We know recognition is a key factor in employee engagement and building it into a regular routine will help you create an even more positive, engaged company culture.

·         Andre Janus, CEO of Cristaux International suggests that employers are missing key opportunities to recognize their employees if they do not do it on a daily basis. Find little things to recognize your employees for each day.

·         Janus recommends adding recognition to your daily to-do list as it should be just as important as any other business task. This could be as simple as a tweet or Facebook post about a top performer or a drop-in chat at an employee’s desk.

·         Set recognition goals for yourself. For example, one could decide to recognize three employees a day. As we know, setting goals are key to producing results. Make recognition one of your goals and watch the engagement that follows!

 

 

To learn more about RPI’s 7 Best Practices click here.

Check out our new resource hub here!

 

 

Tags:  employee engagement  engagement  practices  recognition  RPI 7 Best Practices  strategy 

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5 Things Engaged Employees Need

Posted By Kathie Pugaczewski CRP, RPI, Monday, February 3, 2020

5 Things Engaged Employees Need

RPI is at the forefront of employee engagement practices through recognition strategy based on the 7 RPI Best Practice Standards® The RPI Best Practice Standards® are based on knowledge gained from academic literature, professional conferences, and shared experiences in developing successful recognition programs. They are designed to be useful for the creation and evaluation of recognition programs in the public and private sectors, large and small organizations, and organizations with single or multiple locations or functions.

Standard 1 is Recognition Strategy and Standard 2: Management Responsibility. Both are crucial when trying to increase engagement. Below are ways you can recognize your employees by ensuring they have what they need to be engaged.

1.      Coaching

Ken Royal, a contributor for Gallup said, “coaches individualize, and bosses generalize.” Coaching, rather than managing, promotes growth and positivity in employees.

·       According to Gallup, 70% of a team’s level of engagement is a result of the manager.

·       When a manager acts as a coach, they ask questions such as “do you know what you are expected to do with this project?” or “how can I help you succeed?” rather than “why isn’t this done yet?”

·       A good football coach knows each players’ strengths and weaknesses on the field and will position them to utilize their strengths while also nurturing their weaknesses. This is a great practice to use in the workplace. Put your employees on projects you know they will be good at but help them grow in areas they may be lacking.

·       Putting a focus on coaching rather than managing helps your team develop and grow while also feeling respected and valued.

2.      Culture

Having a well-developed company culture is key to developing and sustaining employee engagement.

·       Michael O’Malley, author of Organizations For People explains that the most important attribute of company culture is that it creates institutionalized standards for respect. He explains that, when there is a set culture of respect, employees are less likely to show up late to a meeting and they are more willing to help each other.

·       O’Malley also says that a company can continue this respect by being transparent with their employees. This brings employees into the loop and allows them to feel part of the larger company culture.

·       Team building events have always been a great way to develop company culture, but they are especially important now that many companies have more flexibility work options. Scheduling company outings, or even having regular team meetings can bring employees back together to sustain the culture you have built.

3.      Flexibility

Gallup’s engagement research found that employees were more likely to be productive and engaged when they were allowed flexible work environments.

·       A study from the American Sociological Association found that employees who are allowed job flexibility (such as working at home) had greater job satisfaction, less burnout, and less stress compared to those from the same company who were not allowed flexibility.

·       Humanity, a workplace scheduling software explained in a blog post that employees feel more support from their bosses when they are trusted with flexible options. It gives them time to help with family or simply work in a more comfortable environment.

·       A survey by Deloitte found that 11% of millennials look for flexibility as their top priority in a job. Flexibility is becoming what people expect.

4.      Career Development

Engaged employees want to know that they are growing as a professional. Managers can make their employees feel valued and more engaged by helping them develop professionally.

·       According to Fast Company, professionals are being told they should switch jobs every three years to maximize development. Now more than ever, employees are looking for growth. Asking questions such as “where would you like to be at this time next year?” can show you care about their careers.

·       Bamboo HR suggests having a set succession plan to show your employees that there are opportunities to advance in your company. Do you promote employees or choose outside hires? What is the process if an employee wants to switch departments? These are all great questions to think through to be prepared to help your employees grow.

5.      Purpose

Engaged employees want to know that their work has a purpose, otherwise they will feel like they are simply completing tasks for a paycheck.

·       Forbes suggests that this can be done by asking “why does this company exist?” Having a mission not only helps your employees feel like they are contributing to the greater good, but it can also help you better determine if prospective candidates would fit with that mission.

·       One great example of an employee who found his mission was a janitor at the NASA Space Center. President Kennedy stopped his tour of the facility when he noticed the janitor carrying a broom. When Kennedy asked what he was doing, the man responded: “Well, Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon.”

·       When employees understand their company’s purpose, they have greater job satisfaction and are more engaged. This not only benefits your employees’ wellbeing but your company’s work and culture as well. 

Read more about RPI's 7 Best Practice Standards®

Tags:  employee engagement  recognition  standard 1  standard 2 

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2020 Trends in Recognition

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 30, 2020

Recognition Professionals International strives to stay on top of the latest trends in employee recognition and engagement. Some of our leaders and other experts shared their thoughts on what actions will lead to success in 2020. Leadership attention on six trends will help keep your organization’s recognition strategy on target in the coming year.

The Wholistic Recognition Program

“Companies are taking a hard look at what they are recognizing — and more and more, they are taking a more wholistic approach to their programs,” says R. Scott Russell, CRP, CEP, Director – Engagement Strategies at C.A. Short Company. “An organization that once only recognized performance is now recognizing wellness, performance and safety — tying all three areas together into a well-planned and strategic initiative. In some instances, organizations are even recognizing employees for community involvement and volunteerism. Companies are learning how to utilize their platforms and vendors to create an atmosphere of appreciation and overlapping areas of engagement.

A Focus on Wholistic Wellness

It is crucial to focus on employee wellness when creating an engaged workplace, but it is so much more than just physical health. Employees are more engaged when their emotional and mental needs are met, and they can see their work as beneficial to their health. R. Scott Russell says, “While wellness and recognition have been partnered trends for some time, we are now seeing this as a bigger factor in the marketplace.”

A 2018 study by Gallup found that 54% of disengaged employees believe that their work has a negative impact on their health. However, 62% of engaged employees believe that their work has a positive impact on their health. As you can see, wellness and engagement go hand-in-hand, and wellness has the potential to change employees’ attitudes toward their work.

According to Forbes contributor and Total Wellness founder Alan Kohll, wholistic wellness can be achieved by fostering a positive community in the workplace. This might include creating health-oriented habits together or participating in challenges. Caring for employees’ wellness makes them feel important to the team and creates more positivity.

A Virgin Pulse survey found that 85% of companies believe their wellness programs fostered engagement. When employees are healthier and happier, they are more motivated and more willing to see work as beneficial to their own lives.

Quality Performance Feedback

The effectiveness of annual performance reviews has often been debated, making employers wonder if they are worth the effort. However, when properly conducted, performance meetings can motivate your employees and help you improve, too.

James R. Bailey, professor of leadership at the George Washington School of Business, encourages leaders to give feedback the way that they would want to receive it. This can be done by using specific examples and ending on a positive note. Theresa Harkins-Schulz, SPHR, CCP, CRP, senior VP of Customer Experience at Inspirus, says, “Don’t just share feedback, ask how you can help. Seek their feedback and thank them for sharing.”

According to Erika Rasure, assistant professor of Business and Financial Services at Maryville University, annual reviews should not be the only time your employees receive feedback. Informal check-ins set a consistent tone and set expectations, allowing employees to feel more comfortable and confident in the work they are doing.

According to Business News Daily writer Kiely Kuligowski, feedback sessions also open up space for your employees to give you feedback and help you see what is and is not working in the workplace. This shows that the employee’s opinion is valued and important to your mission as a company.

Social Media Recognition and Integration

Millennials now make up the largest share of the workforce, and Gen-Z is already starting to arrive in offices all over the world. Many Gen-Z employees do not even remember a world without social media. For them, it is a natural way to communicate, and embracing it will help you motivate your new generation of employees.

Stephen Baer, Forbes contributor and head of Creative Strategy and Innovation at the Game Industry, explains that social media fosters collaboration. For example, the office of Volkswagen Ireland has about 195 employees that began using Workplace, a social media platform created by Facebook. After using the platform, the company reported greater efficiency and fewer emails.

John O’Brien, vice president of Employee Performance at BI Worldwide, explains that these generations value recognition through social media. In an increasingly mobile and flexible workforce, social media is a great way to show appreciation to your employees.

Experience-Focused Rewards

Contrary to popular belief, monetary rewards are not as satisfying as other employee rewards. In RPI’s 2019 virtual conference, Dr. Brad Shuck explained the difference between the should-self versus the want-self. If you give an employee a cash bonus, their should-self will likely want to use that bonus for something practical such as gas or groceries instead of something they want. Dr. Shuck encourages employers to think outside the box and give employees something that will bring more joy.

John O’Brien of BI Worldwide explains that giving employees experiences like cooking classes or movie passes is far more effective than cash bonuses — you are giving them a memory to treasure. R. Scott Russell adds, “It’s not only the Millennial generation that values experiences over product; others have come on board to support this emerging trend in recognition. Experiential award options are now the norm in any great recognition program.”

Dina Gerdeman, writer for Forbes India, says employees want to feel appreciated by their managers. Allowing them the flexibility to work at home, giving them a gift card to their favorite restaurant or just a genuine thank-you are all ways to make your employee feel appreciated and motivated.

It Starts at the Top

Theresa Harkins-Schulz emphasizes the importance of top leaders in enriching the employee experience. “Candidates and employees want to understand a company’s purpose and how they will make an impact on the world with their product and service. Today’s employees look for authentic leaders who listen and seek ways to share wisdom and connect employees with opportunities to learn and grow.”

Access to Dr. Brad Shuck’s session from the 2019 RPI Virtual Conference is available for purchase in the RPI Learning Center.

Read more about RPI's 7 Best Practice Standards®

Tags:  employee engagement  employee experience  performance  social recognition  trends in recognition  wellness 

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Future Trends in Recognition: How Research is Pulling Us Forward

Posted By Kathie Pugaczewski, Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Recogniton Plan Training

Dr. Brad Shuck, University of Louisville was a featured speaker on RPI’s first ever Virtual Conference in October. Below are some key highlights and summary of his session. You can get the full on-demand session at the RPI Learning Center.

When we think about recognition, we think about engagement, value propositions and how all that wraps up into an employee experience.  Years ago we didn't have the research that helped us understand that employee experience. But today we do have evidence-based research that can help us drive that practice.

What we found that we were really missing was a framework to understand how engagement really happens. We knew that engagement existed and it is connected to recognition. We knew that if we could develop cultures of engagement, that if we could dive into that, we could drive these outcomes that were really important. And that when people felt recognized for their work when they said things like, “I'm doing meaningful work here”, “I feel like my coworkers have my back, “when I feel like my work is connected to something that's bigger than me.”  

When people had these things, they reported higher levels of engagement overall. So now there's this real kind of deep understanding about engagement. Let me just give you my definition of when I say employee engagement or job engagement or work engagement – “the maintenance, the intensity and the direction of effort and energy that we give to something.”  I'm maintaining a presence and a place in this space. I'm giving it direction. That engagement without, for just engagement sake is in a vacuum. But real engagement has maintenance, it has direction, and then it has this balance of intensity. This feeling of I'm going towards something and seeing this is, this is what distinguishes engagement from almost every other job attitude variable out there from things like job satisfaction or organization commitment that when we really dig into the idea of engagement as being dynamic and having a balance of intensity, that I'm moving towards something, it transforms into something that is uniquely special.. The other thing that I love about engagement when we frame it from this perspective is that not only is it life giving and so many ways it's people who tell us that they work in places where they believe that their work matters, that they, they have joy, that they feel cared for.  

Recogniton Plan Training

Where engagement is high, they tell us that their lives are transformed and so engagement is not transactional. Engagement is transformational. It's you give to me and I give to you and this dynamic proportion, but engagement is this transformational variable that takes everything to the next level. What's really, really clear about this in the research for us is that spaces have recognition. Experiences of recognition are directly connected.

For the full presentation of this compelling research, go to the RPI Learning Center. All five on-demand virtual conference sessions with handouts are now available for purchase on the RPI Learning Center. Each hours is $25 for premium and business partner members and $35 for others.

Tags:  employee engagement  employee experience  recognition strategies  trends in recognition  value proposition 

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Why it’s important to recognize employees and how you can plan the perfect celebration

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Updated: Monday, June 3, 2019

Why it’s important to recognize employees and how you can plan the perfect celebration

Engaged employees are an important asset to companies today and it’s no secret why.

According to The Ultimate Guide to Employee Recognition by Achievers and RPI’s CRP program, “Engaged employees perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to leave their organization”. It doesn’t stop there though. Higher rates of engagement among employees also correlate to a more profitable and productive company.

So, what is the best way to drive employee engagement?

Recognition. The study Employee Performance: What Causes Great Work found that “94% of respondents who were exposed to an excellent recognition practice perceived it to be ‘very effective’ at causing them to produce great work”.  Especially with this statistic, there is no reason to not give employees the recognition they want and deserve.

Based on RPI’s Seven Best Practice Standards, the most successful programs are balanced and provide a combination of day-to-day, informal, and formal recognition. While day-to-day and informal are more spur-of-the-moment and less structured, formal recognition requires extensive planning and can be overwhelming.

It doesn’t have to be though. Virginia-based technology company and RPI Best Practice Overall award-winner BAE Systems has proved just how stress-free formal recognition can be. Illustrated through BAE Systems, here are five tips to help you plan the perfect celebratory formal event to recognize employees:

1.     Pick a date and make sure it’s timely

One of the necessary first steps to take in planning a celebration to recognize employees is to set a date for the event. Do this well in advance to allow enough time to plan it. Make sure that it does not conflict with religious, work, or school holidays, and that the employee is being recognized at an appropriate time. BAE Systems celebrates service anniversaries and birthdays as part of their recognition strategy, ensuring the events are held in a timely manner.

2.     Create an event plan

The plan should include everything related to the event such as the goals, branding, sponsorship, and venue logistics. Having a master plan will help organize the planning process and will ensure a smooth celebration.

3.     Have an events team

Planning an event takes a lot of time and effort. Having a team dedicated to organizing the event, details, and logistics can help make sure it is a success.

4.     Give the award to reinforce beneficial behaviors

Successful employee recognition programs reflect the values of the company. Employees who are recognized should behave in a matter that upholds these values, acting as a model for others. When recognizing employees, BAE Systems uses their core values as a guide and honors those who are:

a.     Trusted to deliver on commitments

b.     Innovative in finding and turning ideas and technologies into solutions

c.      Bold in accepting new challenges and managing risks

5.     Make the event specific to the individual

If an employee is being recognized, others should know why. Explain the importance of their work or behavior, and do so in a way that is meaningful. To go the extra mile, include the employee’s family by inviting them to the celebration. BAE Systems does this by offering multiple awards that recognize employees’ individual achievements and contributions to projects and programs.

Employees value recognition, no matter the size of the gesture. It’s important to incorporate formal recognition and events, but don’t let event planning get the best of you. With these tips, you’re on the way to creating the perfect moment that they will cherish forever.

Learn more about BAE Systems and their award-winning recognition strategy.

Event planning and celebrations are only one of RPI’s Seven Best Practice Standards. Learn about the others here.

Want to learn more about employee recognition? Checkout RPI’s Certified Recognition Professional® (CRP)/Recognition program to expand your knowledge, excel in your job and maximize your recognition program.

Tags:  Employee Engagement  Formal Recognition  Recognition Strategy  RPI 7 Best Practices 

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Recognize me! Why your organization needs a recognition program to stay ahead of the game.

Posted By Kathie Pugaczewski, RPI, Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Recognize me! Why your organization needs a recognition program to stay ahead of the game.

Recruitment and Retention. These two terms are at the top of the minds of most organizations these days. Workers of all skills levels and experience now have their pick of where they work, it is now up to prospective employers to set themselves apart from the competition and, not only recruit new employees but retain their current workforce. According to the research presented in the 2018 Trends in Global Employee Engagement report from AON, each of the three elements composing their engagement index improved across the globe: “Say,” which measures employee advocacy, went from 68 percent of employees a year ago to 70 percent this year. “Stay,” which measures the likelihood that employees will remain at their current employer, rose one point to 61 percent of employees. “Strive,” which assesses willingness to give extra effort, improved by two points to 64 percent.” It is clear that employees want to feel recognized for their contributions to the organization and seek out and stay at those organizations who provide this recognition.

With “Rewards & Recognition” topping the list of preferred engagement opportunities again this year, of which “recognition for contributions (beyond pay and benefits)” being a key factor in this ranking it is clear that recognition programs can make or break an organization’s workforce. The question then becomes, with such a larger number of employees reporting recognition being a high motivator for their work, how can your organization tap into this motivation and build a recognition program that not only lasts but impacts your culture.

As per RPI’s Certified Recognition Professionals program, there are 8 key steps to designing a program that is responsive and true to your organization culture.
  1. Create a centrally-managed and global program
    Make sure the program is a single program, not many small unrelated pieces. Make giving recognition quick and easy for all employees. It needs to be consistently branded across all platforms.

  1. Ensure accessibility of the program
    Empower your employees by creating a program that can be accessed by everyone, everywhere.

  1. Recognize most employees every year
    The best practice is to reach at least 80% of your employees annually (Gallup asks if each employee has been recognized in the past 7 days). It can be as simple as a thank-you email or shout-out in a meeting.

  1. Give consistent and ongoing feedback
    Frequency of recognition helps keep employees satisfied in their jobs. Be cautious though, recognition should not be a quota, instead should be authentic and based on employee performance.

  1. Be specific in your recognition
    On the topic of authenticity, most generations in the workforce now can route out inauthentic statements in half a second. While generalized statement may be easy for leadership to “plug and play”, they can cause more harm than good. Be as specific to the employee’s contribution as possible.

  1. Program should be accessible from all platforms
    95% of Americans own a mobile device of some sort, 77% of them are smartphones and it is estimated that by 2019 the total number of mobile users worldwide will surpass the 5 billion mark. Any recognition program you develop should be mobile friendly and accessible from any platform.

  1. Be proportional in local vs national/international awards
    Whether you are a local organization or international, any monetary awards should have equal value, regardless of location. Awards should be location appropriate and have the same lasting emotional impact regardless if the recipient is in Brazil or France.

  1. Make it social
    All of the awards should be visible to other employees to encourage peer-to-peer recognition and increase the impact of the award.


Well organized and thought out recognition programs not only help drive engagement, but can help your organization be up to 40% more profitable.


“Why Recognition? Organizations that give regular ‘thanks to their employees far outperform those that do not” Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloitte

Expand your knowledge, excel in your job and maximize your recognition program with RPI’s Certified Recognition Professional® (CRP) program.

Tags:  employee engagement  recognition strategy 

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Learn from the best, tips from MIT on building employee engagement

Posted By Kathie Pugaczewski CRP, RPI, Monday, October 29, 2018

Each year, companies are spending almost $750 million per year on engagement. Companies know that creating an engaged culture is important, but the problem is that the spend is not being returned with only 50% of the potential market has been tapped, with only half of the organizations stating an interest in engagement programs actually investing.

So the question needs to be asked, how can you increase employee engagement and create a recognition culture within your organization?

In 2016, RPI awarded Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT as it is better known as, the top award amongst recognition professionals, the RPI Best Practice Standards® Award. The institute began their award winning recognition program in 2001. Prior to this, the Institute was seen by staff as a “praise free zone”. So how in the span of 15 years did the Institute create a major internal cultural shift and build a recognition program that continues to grow? The answer lies within the seven RPI Best Practice Standards®.

Make it robust (Standard 1: Recognition Strategy)

By creating a robust recognition strategy, MIT was built a recognition program that has legs. A multi-tiered model approach, like the one used at the Institute, allows leaders and employees to provide rewards and recognition for all levels of behavior. As we know, recognition does not always have to mean a large ceremony every time an employee or coworker does something worthy of recognition. Instead, building daily “on the spot” awards into a program allows for flexibility and authenticity to the awards. Making the accomplishments measurable ends credibility to the program and removes questions of favoritism, a plague that we know can sink a recognition program in an instant.

Top Down Buy In (Standard 2: Management Responsibility)

To kick start their program, MIT tapped into their senior leaders and staff to be their program champions. From the start, they were included in the development and roll out of the program. Senior leaders and managers serve as key role models by encouraging attendance and presenting at the recognition events, and utilizing the program themselves. Often times, these leaders make up half or close to half all of the “on-the-spot” awards submitted and are frequent nominators for the larger awards.  

Train, Teach, and Train again (Standard 5: Recognition Training)

The MIT model does not only work because of it’s multi-tiered approach to recognition, but because at the start of their employment with MIT, staff are trained on the program. Throughout their careers, MIT provide staff with additional trainings on the program and ample opportunities to be involved in planning of the large year end event. There are articles and tools readily available to all staff and employees on the program and an intranet site dedicated solely to the program creating a single location for all program information.

The MIT Recognition program is a phenomenal example of a program that is built to last. These are only 3 of the key ways the MIT program has grown into an adaptable and award winning part of their culture.

Read more about MIT’s award

Learn more about the 7 best practices for building your recognition program and how you can become a certified recognition professional.

Tags:  employee engagement  employee recognition  employee retention  MIT  RPI 7 Best Practices 

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10 Tips to Help Make Professional Training More Exciting

Posted By Rachel Niebeling CRP, Tuesday, September 18, 2018

By Rachel Niebeling, CRP, E Group, Inc.

Professional. Development. Training. The mere thought can strike boredom in even the most academic of hearts.

“61% of workers said their employers are providing upskilling opportunities in the technical and soft skills of the future, only 50% said their employers provide career development opportunities that meet their needs and chances for advancement. (Access Perks)

Companies who boast engaged workers outperform those without engaged workers by 202%, according to a Dale Carnegie study. Clearly, training and learning opportunities at work are a pretty important factor. So how do we help cure the workforce of the “snoozefest” stigma associated with training? How can we possibly make professional training more exciting?

Fear not, training managers! Below, we share with you our proven tips to make professional training more exciting, thus driving employee engagement.

  1. Provide Variety
    Personalities learn and engage differently. With modern technology, it’s easy and affordable to offer a variety of training and learning opportunities at work. For example, a webinar led by a subject matter expert (SME) can be offered live for groups and individuals, and then can be archived for a self-paced learning experience later.
  2. Offer Clarity
    Learners need clear learning objectives shared prior to registration. This helps individuals decide if the topic is truly interesting or useful, as well as focused on specific learning objectives. Clarity also keeps presenters on track.
  3. Have a Good Team
    In order to make professional training exciting, you must deploy a team effort. You also must have the right team. GovLoop, a resource for public sector professionals, has put on hundreds of online trainings. They suggest having a moderator, an SME and backend support. It’s important to have an SME that’s a good facilitator who keeps the topic interesting. Humor and plain language are great tools!
  4. Facilitate Engagement in Training
    It’s important to create an emotional connection with the learner. Storytelling is a great way to facilitate engagement in training. Case studies are a great way to tell a story and show impact.
  5. Gamification
    Gamification is a #buzzword. There’s a reason the Twitterverse is abuzz with gamification… It works! There are many strategies to implement gamification, and it’s proven to work. Ask your current platform provider about their capability for gamification.
  6. Make it Interactive
    If gamification isn’t in the cards, find other ways to make professional training exciting. In an online training, try weaving in poll questions and sharing the results immediately. In a live training, call on people from the crowd. Also, always make sure to leave time for Q&A. Finally, get rid of the text heavy slides and add some graphics.
  7. Reduce the Time
    No one wants to sit through a full day of training, especially online. If you need more than an hour, break it down into shorter sessions and offer breaks. Make sure to leave 10-15 minutes in between each section.
  8. Make the Connection
    Make a connection between each training and job performance. Provide context and relevancy by choosing the right content. Employees need to know what to do after the training and how to connect it with their role. It’s important to define and communicate expectations and objectives.
  9. Get Managers Onboard
    In order to make the connection, manager support and participation is critical. According to a BizLibrary infographic, 49% of disengaged employees are due to problems with direct supervisors. Managers can support learning by encouraging participation and setting a good example. Managers should also seek results from trainings and give recognition.
  10. Community and recognition
    Use social and collaboration tools to build company culture around training. Social tools can help with relationship building, enhance information flow and promote the sharing of ideas. They also provide a platform for recognition both peer-to-peer and manager-to-employee.

    Bonus: Follow up for learning effectiveness. The best training in the world will be wasted if there is no follow up. Follow up with tip #8, make a connection with employee objectives.

Keep up the good work, training managers! Now that you have a few additional tricks to increase engagement during trainings, you can decide which ones to try during your training sessions.

About The Author
Rachel Niebeling, CRP, is Sr. Director, Training, Rewards & Engagement with E Group. She is dedicated to building best practice engagement programs and has a passion for making your work day better.

Tags:  career development  employee engagement  employee training 

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Recognition Drives Employee Engagement at the University of Calgary

Posted By Sue Yoemans, Monday, August 20, 2018
By Elena Rhodes and Iryna Leonova on behalf of the University of Calgary

How to build a culture of recognition if you have more than 5,000 employees and your workforce is incredibly diverse? The University of Calgary approached this challenge by creating its Employee Recognition Strategy. The initiative is focused on recognizing individual and team behaviors and achievements which support university’s strategic goals and core values, while promoting a positive and respectful workplace.

However, creating a strategy is not enough. The university formed a dedicated recognition team in Human Resources to lead management of the strategy. It was also essential to find advocates across the organization to support its further development, implementation, and evaluation.

Three groups of recognition advocates help build a culture of recognition. The first one is the Employee Recognition Steering Committee. This committee of representatives from diverse employee groups worked on the Recognition Strategy. Following that, the Steering Committee has been guiding the strategy implementation. The Recognition Steering Committee is also responsible for using available resources, such as the information from a recognition preferences survey, to provide guidance on what recognition programs and practices are relevant to the employees. The recognition team collaborates with the Steering Committee in developing best practice recognition programs, education, and communication.

Local engagement or recognition committees in various faculties, schools, and departments represent the second group. Given that the University of Calgary is very diverse, the same practice will not fit all. The local committees help tailor university-wide recognition programs and practices to the units’ and faculties’ culture, goals, and unique landscape. The recognition team supports local committees through an ongoing consultation process.

Finally, the third group is the Employee Recognition Champions Network. The Network is a relatively new group created through an open call. Recognition champions are faculty and staff who are committed to acknowledging the great work that is happening across campus through formal recognition programs and informal recognition practices. Local recognition committees often provide a representative for the Recognition Champions Network. 

The champions learn about a variety of recognition tools and programs that are available at the university and exchange ideas among each other. They aim to promote effective recognition practices in their faculty or unit – individually or as part of a committee – with focus on peer-to-peer recognition. They also help the recognition team with feedback on recognition tools, practices, and programs and information on challenges and successes in their areas. The recognition champions meet bi-monthly to learn about recognition and exchange ideas. Between meetings, they communicate through a dedicated SharePoint site.

Together, these three groups of advocates provide robust guidance to the recognition team. They also help develop recognition into a grass-root culture campus-wide. The recognition advocates help build connections between different groups of employees, and create flexible and sustainable recognition programs and practices.

To learn more about this RPI award-winning initiative, please visit the University of Calgary website at https://www.ucalgary.ca/

The University of Calgary won the RPI Best Practice Standards® Award in 2018 form Recognition Professionals International (RPI). The RPI Best Practice Standards® Award honors organizations who implement the RPI Best Practice Standards®, which are based on knowledge gained from academic literature, professional conferences, and shared experiences in developing successful recognition programs. Standards are designed to be useful for the creation and evaluation of recognition programs in the public and private sectors, large and small organizations, and organizations with single or multiple locations or functions.

Tags:  employee engagement  employee recognition  RPI 7 Best Practices(SM) 

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