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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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Don’t Get Skunked: The Health Risks of a Dysfunctional Workplace

Posted By Jess Myers, RPI, Friday, June 9, 2017
You come home from the stereotypical “bad day at the office” feeling like you need a drink to calm down. You eat a big meal – bigger than normal – to take some comfort and forget about the stresses of the workplace. That night, you have trouble getting to sleep, replaying the previous day’s workplace stress in your head. Happens to all of us, right?

If that happens routinely, you might be getting “skunked” by a dysfunctional boss, or a dysfunctional workplace. That’s the term coined by Brad Shuck, an associate professor in the University of Louisville’s Department of Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development has coined for bad workplaces that literally can be hard on your health.

If you’ve ever come across a skunk in the wild and felt the full brunt of their natural defense mechanism, you know what a smelly situation it creates. You let off an odor that affects those around you, and you need help and time to get that stench off.

The effects on your long-term health from working in a challenging environment can be similary damaging.

“Think about incredibly high stress, high pressure work environments,” Shuck said in a recent radio interview. “The mechanisms that people use to cope with that stress – excessive drinking, overeating, a lack of exercise – can directly contribute to long-term health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure.”

Shuck, a renowned expert on employee engagement, is co-author of a study on the topic entitled “Skunked: An Integrative Review Exploring the Consequences of the Dysfunctional Leader and Implications for Those Employees Who Work for Them.” He developed the term, along with co-authors Dr. Kevin Rose, Dr. Matt Bergman and Dr. Devon Twyford. In the study, they noted that somewhere between 13% and 36% of employees in the United States work with a leader whose approach could be described as dysfunctional.

That’s trouble, not only for the employee, but for the company when you consider long-term healthcare costs.

“The essential idea is this: when you work in a place that is dysfunctional, meaning high chronic stress and lots of negative things going on, that impacts your long-term health,” Shuck said. “Leaders who work in these kinds of places are called ‘stinky’ leaders.”

Shuck jokes that “stinky” is not exactly an academic or highly technical term, but sees it as fitting.

“A dysfunctional boss will do the same to their employees as a skunk does to people in the wild,” Shuck said. “It takes a real effort and intentional healing to move on from a dysfunctional work situation.” The good news is that for the first time, research by Shuck and others is able to show a real return on investment for companies who intentionally develop engaging places to work. If employees are engaged, feel appreciated and are happier at work, they’re healthier. Productivity and profitability go through the roof. Higher levels of engagement equates to better workplace health.

As Shuck notes, even for a medium-sized company, the potential savings in healthcare costs alone run into the millions.

So if those bad days at work are becoming more frequent, and leading to unhealthy behaviors, he stresses that employers and employees alike should be aware, and make sure they’re not getting skunked in the workplace.

Tags:  Culture  Human resources  Leadership  Management responsibility 

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