If you’ve ever flown the Delta Shuttle between New York City, Boston, and/or Washington D.C., you’ll find that it caters to the corporate leaders and business travelers. You know the ones: a cell phone for work glued to their right ear, another phone hanging on their hip for home use and a third in their $500 Tumi carry on bag for direct access to Dieter, their personal trainer. I’ve never seen so many navy blue suits, white shirts and ties in my life as I awaited my turn to board.
As I eventually eased into my seat and waited for takeoff, typical cell exchanges went like this:
When it comes down to it, we all like to be appreciated for our accomplishments at work. Employees the world over want their efforts to be noticed, their performance”“and the results it creates”“to be rewarded, and key milestones in their career celebrated.
Even so, while basic human similarities outweigh our differences by far, there are subtle cultural nuances from country to country. Recognizing someone in France? Say thanks face-to-face. In India, China and Mexico, make sure employees are recognized in front of leaders. And in Brazil, the best employee rewards are those that further an employee’s career.
Blogged from SHRM’s 2012 annual conference in Atlanta, GA.
Leave it to Malcolm Gladwell to take one of the most talked about topics and give it a spin no one’s done before. In the second day’s opening session of SHRM 2012, he addressed one of the biggest challenges facing organizations today: employee recruitment and retention in the face of the new social paradigm Millennials bring to the multi-generational work landscape. Every 30-40 years, Gladwell maintains, generations make a shift in some aspect of how they see the world, and that shift creates profoundly different notions of how organizations engaging the next generation should go about it.
To illustrate his point, Gladwell contrasted two powerful social movements. The civil rights movement, under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and today’s Occupy movement that has quickly spread throughout the world. These two groundbreaking events highlight the difference between the old and the new: hierarchies and networks.
Employee engagement levels are at an all-time low. Surveys reveal that 60% of employees plan to leave their current employer within a year and another 21% are activity taking steps to prepare to leave. Those numbers are daunting. How can HR leaders deliver a positive work environment and engage employees when more than half of their staff has already checked out?
Employee recognition and incentive programs are a big part of the answer”“they’ve proven to be extremely effective at improving employee engagement levels while delivering a high return on investment. Investing in an employee recognition program can improve individual and corporate productivity and avoid the costly exodus of your best employees. Increasing employee satisfaction will also increase employee engagement, which in turn will increase your bottom line.
Blogged from SHRM’s 2012 annual conference in Atlanta, GA.
Driving human potential was the rallying cry as SHRM 2012 kicked off in Atlanta. The powerful sounds of the soulful classic, “Georgia on my Mind,” followed by the Atlanta Drumline had the crowd cheering from the first note. In the opening remarks, this analogy was made: the drumline is the heartbeat of the band. It sets the tone, keeps everyone in synch and the rest of the band depends on it. Anyone who’s performed with a band at a halftime show can relate to the reliance on that steady beat. If embracing this perspective leads to critical outcomes, how do you become the drumline for your organization?
Two great leaders gave their unique perspectives on how “the drumline” unlocks human potential. Hank Jackson, President and CEO of SHRM, quoted famous baseball player Yogi Berra, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else.” In conjunction with SHRM 2012’s theme “Be,” he challenged attendees to “be imaginative, be innovative and understand major trends.” And further challenged HR professionals to go from owning a seat at the table to literally “taking the seat at the head of the table.” For when you own that seat and lead out, you’re positioned to inspire, engage employees and motivate people to bring their best to work every day.
Michael R. Bonsignore, the former CEO of Honeywell recently said: “As we move into the 21st century, it’s increasingly clear that the key elements of social responsibility–especially how we support our workers, their lives and communities–will be key elements in a company’s productivity and competitiveness.” (Italics added.)
All companies want to be productive and competitive in the marketplace. To achieve that, you must build your organization around employees who are engaged in living your particular brand values and delivering your unique brand experience to customers. Employees choose to engage in the company cause when they feel valued and have clarity around the company vision and strategic values.
This sense of feeling valued is key. Research tells us that the leading driver of employee engagement is a sense of opportunity and wellbeing in the mind of the employee. This sense is achieved through frequent, specific and timely recognition: essentially, shining a light on each individual employee and the contributions they make.
Today’s webinar featured Gary Beckstrand, Vice President of Marketing at O.C. Tanner and Christina Chau, Manager of Research and Assessment Service at O.C. Tanner. Gary and Christina have traveled the world, gaining a deep understanding of what appreciation means to people of different cultures and countries. Today they shared their knowledge and insights on global recognition. Below are some highlights from the webinar.
When it comes to global recognition, the similarities outweigh the differences. Everyone likes to be appreciated and recognition is valued by employees in all areas of the globe. Although there are cultural nuances to be aware of, recognition best practices hold true in each country.
I loved high school English. We read everything from Potok to Shakespeare to Angelou. I was introduced to new ideas and spent a great deal of time working out my feelings about those ideas by writing essays I knew only my teacher, Mrs. Chavez, would read.
In the spring of my senior year, Mrs. Chavez asked me if I would apply for a particular state English award. “The English faculty would be particularly delighted if we could recognize the strength of your skills publicly,” she said. I was floored. English? Me? Although I loved discussing great authors, I had never considered writing to be a core skill of mine. “Really?” I questioned. “Really,” she responded. “Think about it.”
I did. And still do. Often. I applied for the English award and I won”“in many ways. I went on to major in Journalism. Writing remained a core skill as I moved through my graduate program. A simple observation by an astute leader changed my course. The truth is, Mrs. Chavez did for me what any good leader should do for their people: observe, recognize and encourage strengths.