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Recognition in The Real World
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Recognizing Employees Everyday: 4 Tips for Maximizing Recognition

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Updated: Monday, June 3, 2019

Recognizing Employees Everyday: 4 Tips for Maximizing Recognition

When thinking about employee recognition, the first thing that comes to mind might be an extravagant event or a ‘years of service’ award. While annual and scheduled activities are both important formal ways to celebrate the contributions of employees, one that is equally as important is informal everyday recognition.

Before diving into everyday recognition, the question needs to be asked: why should organizations recognize employees in the first place? The answer is easy: everyday recognition is a great way to encourage employee engagement and show appreciation for their hard work without a large cost. Furthermore, author and industry expert Josh Bersin notes that “Organizations that give regular ‘thanks to their employees’ far outperform those that do not”. When it comes down to it, everyday recognition seems like a simple way to support employees, while simultaneously benefiting the organization.

And it is. Everyday (or day-to-day) recognition is simple. It doesn’t have to be fancy; it is cheap, and it encourages everyone in the organization to participate. And most importantly, everyday recognition is sustainable because it makes it easy for managers and employees to keep the recognition program ongoing.

Based on RPI’s Seven Best Practice Standards, successful recognition programs are balanced -- they incorporate day-to-day, informal, and formal recognition. Want to make your employee recognition program a success? Here are four effective and meaningful ways to recognize employees everyday:

  1. Verbal
  2. It seems obvious, but verbal recognition is one of the easiest and most meaningful ways to incorporate recognition every single day. Even a simple and specific “thank you” in the moment is powerful and can make someone’s day.

  3. Emails and notes
  4. Even the busiest workers can make time to recognize employees. Emails and notes are another simple, quick, and meaningful way to recognize individuals, even if you work remotely or are on the go.

  5. Encourage peer to peer recognition
  6. Managers aren’t the only people who can provide recognition. Letting everyone participate not only fosters relationships between coworkers, but also creates a positive work environment.

  7. Calls, instant messaging, and social media
  8. Most people have access to a mobile or work phone throughout the day, making it easy to give recognition via instant messaging or on the organization’s intranet and open social media channels. While it may not be the most popular option, never underestimate the power of even a brief phone call.

When it comes to recognition, the payoff is not something tangible. It is in the act itself. Maximize your time, money, and employee potential by incorporating everyday recognition into your organization’s program.

Recognition strategy is just one of RPI’s Seven Best Practice Standards. Learn about the other standards here.

Want to go deeper? Check out Recognition Fundamentals to expand your knowledge, excel in your job and maximize your recognition program.

Tags:  7 Best Practice Standards  Recognition  Recognition Strategy 

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Reporter on the Scene: Demonstrating and Elevating the ROI of Recognition Programs

Posted By Rebecca Wegscheid, Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2019

Reporter on the Scene: Demonstrating and Elevating the ROI of Recognition Programs

At the 2019 RPI Annual Conference Dr. Charles Scherbaum shared something that many recognition professionals experience; most organizations invest considerable resources into employee recognition programs, but a vast majority underutilize their recognition programs as a strategic tool that can help elevate their performance. Throughout his presentation “Demonstrating and Elevating the ROI of Recognition Programs”, Dr. Scherbaum discussed how recognition analytics can be used to link employee recognition program data to key business outcomes like employee engagement, customer experience, or sales to formulate return on investment (ROI). Applying recognition analytics to an employee recognition program can help organizations clearly understand how the ROI can be enhanced by developing managers and employees to be more effective at recognition. 

Key Session Takeaways

Effective managers create effective programs. Mangers are the key to making recognition programs work. By training managers individually on their needs and weaknesses they create better appreciation at work, better customer loyaty and better performance. ROI can be established when effectiveness is tied to employee, customers and business ourcomes.

Putting it into Practice/Aha-Moments

Since managers are the key to making a recognition program work, the focus needs to be on training managers on an individual basis on how to produce better experiences for recipients. Measuring the ROI of your program will then come next. Based off the information from Dr. Scherbaum, you can do this by utilizing the perspective of the recipient, not the manager. Using this frame, you will be able to measure recognition ROI by frequency, velocity, reach, authenticity over time.

 

Reporter on the Scene

Donna Mitsos

Innovation Meetings

 

Tags:  recognition  recognition strategy  ROI on recognition strategy  RPI conference 

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Reporter on the Scene: What can Higher Education Teach Your Company about Recognition?

Posted By Rebecca Wegscheid, Thursday, April 18, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Reporter on the Scene: What can Higher Education Teach Your Company about Recognition?

At the 2019 RPI Annual Conference, Brenda Naegel of Yale University, Iryna Leonova of the University of Calgary, and Cori Champagne of MIT presented an insightful presentation to attendees focusing on what higher education can teach us about recognition. Throughout their presentation the team highlighted how to build, promote and measure a recognition program along with how to navigate any challenges along the way.

Key Session Takeaways

By taking attendees through the “recognition lifecycle” from building a program in house, to including a diverse workforce, measuring impact and evaluating results, the presenters provided some great insights into crafting a recognition strategy that fits your company or organization. Some key points that I will be utilizing in my work are:

  • A “one size fits all” strategy just will not work when it comes to recognition programs because for each program the audience varies.
  • Getting your leaders on board at the beginning is crucial. Once you have your leadership bought into the program, they can cascade the recognition message.
  • Measuring the success of your program is an on-going process. Maintaining clean reporting and analytics will help you communicate the value of the program and identify any potential areas for improvement.

Putting it into Practice/Aha-Moments

I really enjoyed this presentation by the team of Brenda Naegel, Iryna Leonova and Cori Champagne. I think my biggest takeaway was something all recognition professionals know, but should be reminded of from time to time, “Recognition is important to all businesses and organizations”. The key is to not utilize a recognition strategy just because it worked for someone else but make it unique and your own to meet your goals.

 

Reporter on the Scene

Vicki Hargrove

Hargrove Business Consulting 

Tags:  Higher Education  Recognition  Recognition Strategy  RPI conference 

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Excuse Busting: Top 4 "Reasons" Managers do not use recognition

Posted By Kathie Pugaczewski CRP, RPI, Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Excuse Busting: Top 4 "Reasons" Managers do not use recognition

“Not enough time.” “It’s meaningless to my team.” “It’s not appreciated so why try?”

We all know these managers, the ones who look at employee recognition and scoff. Employee Recognition Programs have been shown as key indicators of a company’s culture and a resource for employee retention. In a time when high employee retention is at the top of every organization’s wishlist, it is time to get buy in from your leaders and managers. Bust the most common excuses and engage your leadership to create and build a successful program that will leave your team motivated and committed.

Top Excuses from Managers and how to “bust” them

  1. It’s not a part of my job to provide recognition/it’s not important

    Yes it is.

    As mentioned above, almost all employees expect to receive recognition for their work, and they should. According to the 2017 Gallup State of the American Workplace, committed and engaged employees are 17% more productive, stay with their organization for 24-59% longer and have a 21% higher profitability than employees who are not engaged and report low commitment to their organizations.

    Recognition programs should not just be direct managers to employees. The not-so-new concept floating around many leadership and HR circles is peer-to-peer recognition. By having a recognition program that is multifaceted, not just peer-to-peer based or management recognition based, the responsibility for recognizing team members is spread around. Key recognitions should still come from company leaders and managers, but by building a program that includes shout-outs, day-today recognition from fellow employees, a company culture of support and appreciation can be developed and the weight of recognition does not just rest on one leaders shoulders.

  2. “We do not have the money to provide recognition to our team”

    Recognition does not have to be costly, it can be as simple as a thank you to a hardworking member of your team. That being said, it is widely agreed that the cost of retention of an employee is far less than replacing. A paper from the Center for American Progress determined that companies can expect to pay about one-fifth of a departing employees salary to replace them, depending on the employee’s skills and position, while Josh Bersin of Deloitte Consulting, LLP estimates the cost to be anywhere between “tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5-2X annual salary.” With these numbers, creating the time to start and actively participate in your organization’s recognition program is a no-brainer.

  3. I don’t know how to recognize my employees

    While this seems like the easiest excuse to refute, it can be the hardest to overcome. With more generations in the workplace than ever before, Traditionalist, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y (Millennials), and Gen Z, navigating what works best for each employee and the nuances of generational divide can be difficult. The Wall Street Journal cautions against following a blanket stereotype, while Kimberly Abel-Lanier, vice president and general manager of Maritz Workforce Solutions, advises organizations to reinvent their recognition strategy by considering their general motivations. Whatever your organization’s hurdles may be to creating a recognition strategy, sometimes the easiest way to find out how your employees would like to be recognized, is to ask.

  4. Who has the time?

    If leadership at some of the top companies in the world can send thank you notes and take the time to recognize their teams, you have time to provide recognition to your team. As Kevin Kruse of LEADx.org puts it; “increasing engagement takes minutes, not hours”. The truth is, everyone is busy, not just the company leaders. Set an example as a manager that recognition is important to your organization. There is time in your day to say a simple thank you to an employee that handled a tough account, give a shout-out to a member of your team that offered their time to help on an additional project, fill out a recognition form for an employee who took time out of their weekend to finish a project on a tight deadline. Make the time and see the results.  

Manager Responsibility is a key pillar of the RPI Best Practice Standards®. Learn more about the Standards here.

Gain more insights into building your recognition program and become a certified recognition professional through RPI’s Certified Recognition Professional® (CRP) program – four courses designed to guide you through the latest information and research on building a successful recognition program.

Tags:  employee retention  recognition  recognition program 

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Standard Success Stories: Kforce Recognition Strategy

Posted By Jess Myers, RPI, Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Updated: Monday, January 29, 2018
Untitled Document

Note: RPI’s Seven Best Practice Standards are the cornerstone of successful employee recognition and rewards programs. In 2018, we are taking a closer look at each of the seven standards and RPI members who have been recognized for their practice of those standards. In the first installment, we take a look at Recognition Strategy, and the award-winning way that Kforce practices this standard. The RPI Best Practice Awards are now open for nominations through February 1, 2018.

Kforce, a professional staffing firm based in Tampa, Florida, with more than 60 offices and 2,000 employees, was honored as Best in Class for Recognition Strategy in 2016 by RPI.

Recognition at Kforce is real. So real that they has an entire department dedicated to strategizing, implementing and evaluating recognition programs, contests, events and rewards. It’s all spelled out right in the Kforce Recognition and Engagement Mission Statement:

We want all Kforcers to feel recognized, inspired and valued. We will celebrate and share the Kforce culture of appreciation and performance (it’s what sets us apart).  By doing this, we create a strong, united and engaged Kforce Family.

Known as “Kforcers,” the company’s people have created a culture of recognition by constantly celebrating Great Results in a truly unique and informal fashion. Each office knows the Kforce art of celebration and recognition.

Day-to-day recognition is easy to see at Kforce. Their digital Snapshot feature illustrates this culture of recognition in real time. Associates simply submit a photo and caption that showcases the Kforce recognition culture and it will be posted front and center on their intranet. Hats Off is another informal example that happens all day, every day. This is a digital, peer-to-peer recognition program that’s also on their intranet and is accessible to everyone.  Kforcers are encouraged to make spontaneous recognition posts about their coworkers and partners, then the post is published on the intranet for all to see. Managers receive an email notifying them of their associates’ good deed.

Performance and milestone reports help fuel informal recognition and celebrations. Kforce has numerous ranking reports that are emailed on a monthly and quarterly basis to a select audience. These reports are highly anticipated and are used for interoffice contests and even firm-wide competitions and celebrations. Immediately after a report or ranking is emailed out, a barrage of emails is circulated recognizing those with top standings or improvements.

Formal programs keep Kforcers engaged and connected on a monthly and quarterly basis. The most well-known of these is the Performers’ Incentive Program which inspires competition and performance through new, exciting trip destinations each year. Formal qualifications and rankings are developed and communicated via email.  Ranking reports are monthly to show qualifiers their positions. Each year the destination changes to keep the program engaging and exciting. Mission: $2 Billion is the firm-wide campaign that engages associates in our business strategy, collective goals and advantages for the next few years. Kforce developed this theme and uses it for formal recognition programs such as the on-going Cup competition and Quarterly and Annual Awards.

Their formal milestone programs aim to further create a feeling of value and pride for those being recognized.  Kforce service awards recognize those celebrating a 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-, 25- or 30-year anniversary with a firm-wide email and a special desk memento. Their career milestone program is called Moving UP! and recognizes associates who have achieved notable growth in their career. Whether an official promotion (reported by HR) or a sales milestone (reported by Finance), the employees are recognized a monthly firm-wide email.

Whether day-to-day, formal or informal Kforcers are engaged within a strong culture of recognition. It is an obvious differentiator for the firm and the main reason they are all a part of the Kforce Family.

For more information on Kforce, the Chairman’s Awards and their success with Recognition Strategy, please visit the company website at: www.kforce.com.

Tags:  7 Best Practice Standards  recognition 

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Standard Success Stories: RBC’s Recognition Strategy

Posted By Jess Myers, RPI, Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Untitled Document

Note: RPI’s Seven Best Practice Standards are the cornerstone of successful employee recognition and rewards programs. In 2018, we are taking a closer look at each of the seven standards and RPI members who have been recognized for their practice of those standards. In the first installment, we take a look at Recognition Strategy, and the award-winning way that RBC practices this standard. The RPI Best Practice Awards nominations are now open for nominations through February 1, 2018.

RBC, based in Toronto, was a recipient of the Overall RPI Best Practice® Award in 2017, and is a shining example of how to do recognition strategy right. From their award-winning entry, they offer several samples of the ideas and actions behind their recognition strategy efforts.

All of RBC’s recognition and reward programs under the RBC Performance brand align with their Purpose, Vision and Values to become a leader in financial services wherever in the world they serve customers. That vision and those values help drive their recognition programs and are part of the criteria within the RBC Performance recognition and reward program.

RBC Performance, which is their flagship program, was launched in 1993 as a sales incentive points reward and recognition program and now serves over 75,000 employees. Among the core points of the program are:

  • Day-to-Day Recognition – RBC associates give and receive recognition to and from their peers and from retail branch managers and regional leaders on a regular basis.
  •  InstantThanks – RBC’s social recognition program permits employees so say thanks and send commendation comments and recognition for demonstrating our values and excellent customer service.
  • Branch Huddles – These happen before the bank door opens. Here customer service and product information is given. Managers and team members weave in recognition as often as they can.
  • Informal Recognition – RBC Performance is a comprehensive recognition system dedicated to improving RBC’s financial and service performance results.
  • RBC Performance Nominations and Awards – Employees can recognize individuals and teams who consistently go beyond expectations and make a difference in the business. RBC employees can nominate a colleague or team with RBC Performance’s online nomination feature. Nominations are based on RBC’s values and other key behaviors, and are expected to focus on outstanding performance in these categories. Managers select nominations based on merit and can award point values to send to the employee. The number of nominations and awards received contributes to selecting who attends the RBC Performance Conference.
  • Scratch ‘n Win Cards – Managers can give these cards for on-the-spot recognition. Employees virtually “scratch” a bar online to reveal a point value or the chance to be entered into a monthly draw.
  • Sales Campaigns – Managers in retail banking can recognize and reward employees and teams with points for achieving highest sales or service activities in any quarterly sales campaign.

The company also believes in more formal recognition, with a series of events and awards:

  • Leo Awards – This is RBC’s Academy-award-style celebration event. Employees who showcase the very best in sales, service or support are recognized at a special event during the RBC Performance Conference with “The Leo” Award. Regional leaders select Leo Award recipients from RBC Performance Conference recipients.
  • RBC Performance Conference – This is the best-of-the best annual conference for RBC’s top performers. Each region has a set number of eligible nominees to select. Quarterly Point Award winners are eligible candidates. Regional presidents and senior leaders choose conference attendees from across all roles. Conference winners are announced at each Regional Gala event. Each awardee receives a registration package to attend the Conference.
  • RBC Service Awards – Employees receive a choice of a gift award item on their milestone anniversary at two, five, 10, 15 years and in five-year increments up to 50-year level.

The results have not only been award from RPI, but recognition of RBC as one of the best places to work in Canada. For more information on RBC and their success with Recognition Strategy, please visit the company culture website at: https://www.rbc.com/careers/people-culture-awards.html

Tags:  employee engagement  formal recognition  RBC  recognition  recognition strategies  RPI 7 Best Practices  Strategy  success stories  Toronto 

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Charlotte Blank: Knowing Human Behavior Aids In Recognition Efforts

Posted By Jess Myers, RPI, Monday, August 21, 2017

We are all unique individuals, with our own tastes and preferences and voices. But a study of human behavior shows that people are remarkably similar in their ways of reacting to certain stimuli. Knowing those similarities and using them in developing recognition and rewards can greatly benefit your organization.

That was the primary message conveyed by Charlotte Blank, chief behavioral officer of Maritz, in a recent webinar hosted by RPI. Blank is a highly-regarded expert and speaker who leads Maritz’s practice of behavioral science and innovation through expert applications of social psychology and behavioral economics. Her passion is exploring the truths about human nature and discovering what “makes us tick.”

She began with a study where people were asked to complete a complicated set of tasks on paper – a lengthy and time-consuming effort, for which they were compensated with a decreasing amount of cash each round. The researchers studied how long the workers would persist, before giving up the task. Upon completion of the tasks, they were told to turn their paper in to an instructor at the front of the room. The instructor reacted to the papers being turned in one of three ways:

  • with a simple nod of acknowledgement
  • with no reaction at all
  • by dropping the completed paper into a shredder

Somewhat predictably, the subjects whose papers were shredded were the first to give up. Those whose work was ignored, came in a close second. Interestingly, those whose work was acknowledged with a simple nod of the head persisted much longer than did those who had been ignored, or those who had seen their papers shredded. The lesson, Blank said, is that well beyond compensation, acknowledgement matters, and gives people’s work a sense of meaning. Even a simple nod goes a long way.

The webinar explored important questions, like what makes someone take the time to recognize another’s efforts? Why is this so important? How can firms create a culture of gratitude and recognition?

The scientific study of human behavior reveals fascinating insights into the motivation of recognition – and surprisingly simple tactics to nudge behaviors that contribute to this virtuous cycle. A huge part of Blank’s work is to learn how taking a scientific approach to recognition can enhance employee engagement in the workplace.

For example, it’s human nature that most people are delighted by receiving an unexpected gift. Studies in the workplace have shown that gifts can be as efficient a tool as adding another worker in terms of boosting productivity. If part of a worker’s payment for a job is framed as an unanticipated gift, it predictably boost output and job satisfaction.

Blank also espouses the power of the nudge – a small change to the environment that can have positive outside effects on behavior. Among the tactics she advocates to make a positive change include:

  • Using image-based vision statements. For example, an abstract notion like “delight our customers” is less powerful than an image-based statement like “put a smile on every child’s face.”
  • Operational transparency. People better understand the value of something if they see the work and the steps that are taken on the way to the finished product. An example of this is restaurants that have a window into the kitchen, so diners can see the steps being taken to create a meal, and better understand the value of it.
  • Make recognition a social norm. Behavior studies show that often people like to conform. So for example, a hotel room sign asking people to re-use their towels is less effective than a sign stating, “Most guests staying in this room re-use their towels.” If we feel similar to others, we are more compelled to do what others do.

With years of research behind her, Blank has much more to offer and share on the topic. Her most recent webinar and additional contributions she has made to the field of study are available for RPI members at www.recognition.org.

Tags:  Charlotte Blank  Maritz  recognition 

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RPI Success Stories: CalSTRS

Posted By Jess Myers, RPI, Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Established more than a century ago, when much of the Golden State was still the nation’s unexplored frontier, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) has grown to serve more than 900,000 educators in the nation’s most populous state. As of 2017, CalSTRS is the largest teachers’ retirement fund in the nation, providing retirement, disability and survivor benefits for educators who cover every level of schooling from pre-Kindergarten to community college.

With a portfolio worth nearly $200 billion, CalSTRS is the 11th-largest public pension fund in the world. It’s also a great place to work as evidenced by CalSTRS receiving the 2012 Best Overall Program award by RPI. CalSTRS, headquartered in West Sacramento, Calif., receives honors like that one due in part to successful employee recognition programs based on the Seven Best Practice Standards.

Assessment

Their journey to better employee recognition began in 2008 when CalSTRS made a commitment to creating a culture of recognition. Part of their employee survey is devoted to recognition questions. They also did focus groups and spot surveys to determine recognition preferences and which existing programs to keep.

As a result, they transformed highly-valued programs that dealt with internal and external customer service, yet kept the personalized elements that staff and managers found meaningful (example: balloon deliveries to an employee’s work location).

The Recognition Design Teams saw the need to reinforce Core Values, so they designed a specific informal program to recognize the desired behaviors and actions.

Recognition Strategy

Through extensive benchmarking with private and public-sector industry leaders, internal surveys and the efforts to two employee design teams, CalSTRS established a thriving culture of appreciation with active use of seven recognition programs within the strategic recognition platform.

Virtuosity – CalSTRS Powered by You

The CalSTRS Employee Recognition Program theme, Virtuosity, was developed to support and enhance the CalSTRS brand, and specifically to communicate appreciation to the staff for their valuable work.

From their own materials:

Vision – Our culture of appreciation powers a thriving workplace where each person is valued.
Mission – We design and deliver fully integrated recognition programs, processes and tools that support our Strategic Business Objective 4.2: being a destination employer, as well as our Balanced Score Card strategic initiatives.


The CalSTRS case study is included in the course materials in the Certified Recognition Professional program. For more information on CRP certification, please visit http://www.recognition.org/?page=crp_certification. To view a webinar on CRP, click here.

Tags:  culture  recognition  recognition strategy 

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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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Recognition, the Southwest Way

Posted By Jess Myers, RPI, Monday, April 3, 2017

Known for innovation in plane boarding and creating a lively, fun atmosphere, Southwest Airlines has earned a reputation as an innovator. While preferred seating and other “normal” tenants of the air travel world are sought by some travelers, Southwest has found that a vast number of their passengers just want to be treated equitably -- and the same is being said for employees.  The airline is taking recognition to a new level by making sure all employees are treated fairly and with equity. 

The goal began inside the company’s Texas headquarters when it comes to recognizing great work among employees – a successful program that Tonda Ferguson has had a vital role in running during her 30-plus years with the airline. Today, she can admit that at one time there was very little equity in the program, which was a problem.

“It varied so much. In one department a top employee would be rewarded with a free car, and in another they’d get a free lunch,” Ferguson recalled. “Employees want equity in the workplace. It all needs to feed into one system.”

Southwest undertook a large-scale revamp of its employee recognition system, and emerged with two programs that have proven to be both popular and successful. “SWAG” is an acronym for Southwest Airlines Gratitude” and it’s a program by which employees can earn points which can be applied for shopping sprees and space available airline seats that can be given to friends. It was an important perk for airline employees who are used to flight privileges. The SWAG system allows points to be accumulated so employees can fly with friends, family and others, and they can even get a confirmed seat.

Ferguson also runs the bigger program, called “Kick Tail” which rewards employees for the company meeting goals, and furthering its legendary culture of customer service.  It’s a rapid reward for things like the company ranking atop airline service surveys or being the top on-time airline.

“It shows how you can take company goals and turn them into an employee recognition effort,” she said. “Employees really love the program.”

Recognizing that getting an award in front of your co-workers is in itself a reward, Southwest also directs the Kick Tail Prize Patrol, which makes a big show of surprising employees with an award, complete with balloons and cheers, that gets noticed by others. They’ve even been known to have the company CEO show up to hand out cash rewards for good work.

“Sometimes companies struggle to make it fun, but now everyone is pulling in the same direction,” said Ferguson, who will offer a presentation on the Southwest way of employee recognition at the upcoming RPI Annual Conference in late April. “Now we can move quickly, and when people are living the Southwest way, we can recognize them at the drop of a hat.”

Tags:  recognition  southwest 

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