Author Archives: Alex Grande

About Alex Grande

Founder and CEO of Recognize.

17 Great Ideas for Halloween and Autumn at Your Company

Thor, a ballerina, and a skeleton are having a meeting to discuss an upcoming project. Einstein is making a coffee. The CEO is robin and the CFO is batman. This is normal behavior, at least on Halloween. I argue that this makes your office so much cooler and more productive. Everyone lets their guard down and comes together in silly costume fun. Here are a few ideas to make your office awesome throughout the fall season.

Office halloween costumes

Company Halloween ideas

1. Encourage everyone to wear a costume and if someone doesn’t want to, that’s okay.

2. Promise rewards at the end of the day for best costume.

3. Throw a halloween party at the end of the day.

4. Set up trick or treat through out the office.

5. Play pranks on people, especially people in leadership.

6. Get all the classic props, such as peeled grapes for eye balls.

7. Post photos on your social collaboration tool, like Slack, Yammer or Workplace by Facebook.

8. Invite the employees’ families for the halloween party and trick or treat.

9. Set up a photo booth for staff to take photos together.

10. Provide extra costumes for people who don’t have one, but still want to participate.

Other company fall event ideas

1. Chili cook off with poem or song accompanying the chili.

2. Plan a bad sweater party on or offsite.

3. Use Recognize to vote on the worst sweaters or best Halloween costumes. Give a recognition badge for the top winners.

4. Host a Thanksgiving dinner.

5. Sponsor a white elephant giving party.

6. Volunteer time at a food bank or shelter.

7. Compete with other offices on participation and best outfits.

Having these events isn’t just about having fun, it is about building long lasting relationships and connections. It is about relaxing and being creative, which leads to inspiration and innovations. Try to take advantage of any situation to bring your employees together this fall season.

101 Top Employee Recognition Ideas

A feed of employee recognitions

The Recognize Team interviewed customers, researched strategies, surveyed the public, and used stories from our lives to produce 101 Top Employee Recognition Ideas. It was so important to us, we needed something more flexible than the blog to host it. So we put it on the main website.

To see the employee recognition ideas, go here.

Happy Friday! How People Get Fired

Cardboard cut out of a person makes it look like they are working

Trick people into thinking you are working.

More now than ever, people are skipping out at work. How many times has someone said, “I’m working from home today” and sure they are on Slack and Skype, but when you call them they are clearly at the beach or a day time rave.

Check in next Friday for another How People Get Fired!

Facebook Workplace

Top 10 employee engagement tips on Facebook Workplace

Facebook Workplace is a communication and productivity tool for businesses. It utilizes the great parts of Facebook to help companies work together more effectively. Take a look at the 10 creative ways to engage employees on Facebook Workplace.

1. Move daily communication into Workplace chat

Let’s face it, workers get a lot of email. Guide employees to move conversations from email to Facebook Workplace chat. This way email can focus on the larger form letters or correspondence with clients. For the daily chit chat, keep it in Facebook Workplace.

2. Login to Facebook Workplace with single-sign-on

If your employees can sign in with their omnipresent SSO username and password, it makes logging in that much easier. That’s why companies should be utilizing Okta, Lastpass, Microsoft Azure, or one of the many single-sign-on (SSO) providers. Both Recognize and Facebook Workplace support SSO.

3. Create groups to organize projects or teams

Facebook Workplace really shines with how content can be organized into groups. Recognition group, cycling group, engineering group, investment group, leadership group, are a few examples you can create. Plus, you can always remove groups later so don’t be conservative.

4. Add integrations from existing business tools

Employees do not want more websites to visit in their daily work. Instead, integrate all of your tools and services into one place, like in Facebook Workplace. For instance, add your employee recognition program, your cloud storage, and other processes into Facebook Workplace.

Facebook Workplace Recognize integration

5. Add an employee recognition integration into Workplace

Tying into #4, employee recognition fits really nicely into Facebook Workplace. People naturally praise others in Facebook Workplace, so your organization might as well turn those ad hoc recognitions into official endorsements. That’s what we are doing at Recognize.

6. Use Facebook Workplace events to schedule meetings

The more we are in one app the faster we can move around. Facebook Workplace events gives you the power of Facebook events, but for your company. For example, create discussion groups around events for your team.

CEO doing a live video stream in Facebook Workplace

7. Improve culture with Facebook Workplace

Facebook Workplace allows leaders to share their vision in a live video feed, like Facebook Live. It will connect leaders with the rest of the organization. Also in Facebook Workplace, use a group for a newsletter to keep the company up to speed.

8. Get consensus on an issue using reactions

Facebook gives your company instant feedback on any topic with a range of responses. With enterprise products that offer employee surveys for $500 a month, this added benefit helps clarify the ROI of adding Facebook Workplace.

People in colorful phone booths in an office

9. Share authenticated content in Facebook Workplace

Most companies have an intranet in Sharepoint or a custom internal website, but sharing that content on Facebook isn’t trivial and will take a bit of setup. To learn more go here.

10. Empower users by making them admins of specific groups

Employees crave more than money. Employees want autonomy, power, status, and access. Allow employees to create their own groups or assign passionate, top employees to be admins of groups. Ideas include a green initiative, project management improvements, ideation, sports and hobbies, or any KPI you want to drive. Help your employees feel empowered by having autonomy over processes or groups.

Facebook is just getting warmed up

Facebook Workplace launched last year and the attention is growing. With the advent of more apps to integrate, Facebook Workplace may become a major player for enterprise intranets.

The State of People Analytics Infographic

People analytics graphic

9% of companies use predictive analytics or big data to analyze people trends

Sierra-Cedar 2014-12015 HR Systems Survey


3 types of analytics

DESCRIPTIVE PREDICTIVE PRESCRIPTIVE


192% increase in HR reporting employee engagement being very important between 2014-2015

Global Human Capital Trends 2015: Leading in the New World of Work


60% of HR and business leaders do not have an adequate program to measure or improve employee engagement.

Global Human Capital Trends 2015: Leading in the New World of Work


12% of HR and business leaders have a program to define and build company culture.

Global Human Capital Trends 2015: Leading in the New World of Work


7% of HR rate themselves as excellent at measuring, driving, and improving employee engagement and retention.

Global Human Capital Trends 2015: Leading in the New World of Work


75% cited talent analytics as an important issue, while
8% believe they are strong in this area.

Radical Group, April 2010


60-70% of company expenses are human capital costs

Jeff Higgins and Grant Cooperstein, Managing an Organization’s Biggest Cost: The Workforce


20% drop in employee engagement in first six months on job.

https://training.sirota.com/Springboard_introduction/

Infographic preview
Download the infographic

16 Must-Answer Employee Engagement Questions for Your Staff

A pink pattern

When was the last time you or your HR initiated an employee engagement survey at your company? In Recognize, we provide a way to ask these questions when you start the program and six months later.

Employee Engagement Survey Statements

The following statements are answered on a 1 to 5 scale, 1 being most disagree and 5 being most agree.

  1. I feel connected to my employer.
  2. I feel encouraged to come up with new and better ways of doing things.
  3. My work gives me a feeling of personal accomplishment.
  4. Supervisors encourage me to be my best.
  5. I am rewarded for the quality of my efforts.
  6. I am valued by my supervisor.
  7. Overall, I am satisfied with my job.
  8. Overall, I am productive in getting the job done.
  9. The company clearly communicates its goals and strategies to me.
  10. I have a clear path for career advancement.
  11. My job requirements are clear.

Additional Employee Engagement Questions

  1. How long have you worked at your company? (Less than 3 months, Less than 6 months, 6 months – 1 year, 1-3 years, 3-5 years, More than 5 years)
  2. Do you feel that employees are recognized as individuals? (Yes, No)
  3. How motivated are you to see the company succeed? (Very motivated, Somewhat motivated, Not very motivated, Not at all motivated, Not sure)
  4. Would you advise a friend to apply for a job at your company? (Yes, No)
  5. Overall, how satisfied are you with your position at your company? (Very Dissatisfied, Dissatisfied, Neutral, Satisfied, Very Satisfied)

Five take aways from Startup School’s How to Think about PR

Sharon Pope does a great job providing a high-level overview of the dos and don’ts in public relations for startups. Here are essentially the cliff notes for this video:

  • When writing a reporter, start with the what instead of the why. Be brief. Say ‘We are the X of Y’. Have X be something that reporter has written about. Example: The Spotify of Meditation.
  • Find a user story. Look through your existing users. Has anything newsworthy happened to a user thanks to your app? Tell reporters about the user story – have that be the story.
  • Respond to other articles. “Your story about XYZ”. Possibly you disagree with that or shed a different light on the topic. Comment on articles with something thoughtful, not self-promoting. Reddit and Quora are places to do this. Create your own content – Medium/Linkedin.
  • Exclusives are when only one publication has access to this article. Embargos are when you ask multiple reporters if they will hold news at a specific time or place.
  • Exclusives are great to have an in-depth article that can be a beacon for your company.

14 Employee Recognition Tips and Trends of 2017

From forward-thinking companies from all over the world, this is what we see as trends, advice, and tips for employee recognition and employee rewards.

Automatic Employee Recognition

Don’t rely on a paper-based system any longer. Incorporate automatic recognition for anniversaries, email clients, and more.

Intrinsic Motivation as Employee Rewards

Dan Pink’s Ted Talk changed the way companies look at motivating knowledge workers. Look beyond monetary rewards in a program to maximize results. Try status, access, or powers as other forms of incentives.

Leadership Buy-In

Gallup poll found recognition from executives or management is far more significant than from peers. Encourage leadership to recognize staff for all-for-one mentality.

Start Small, Think Big

Start with a program people can wrap their heads around, while having vision for the future. This increases adoption at early stages, as well as keeping it fresh later on.

Accessible to Everyone

All levels and departments of the organization should have access to the employee recognition program.

Have a Result

Incorporate monthly awards, give special responsibilities, give to charity on staff’s behalf, or create a rewards catalog. Give staff a reason to keep recognizing.

Timely, On-the-Spot Employee Recognition

The more instant and on-the-spot a recognition, the more the impact. Psychology research from behaviorism and beyond back this best practice.

Easy to Access

Employee recognition needs to be visible and top of mind if it is to be adopted. Utilize TVs, mobile, print, and staff computers.

Easy to Use

Recognition shouldn’t take more than 1min to send and be one click away. Plus, keep the required fields in the recognition form to a minimum.

Employee Recognition Based on Values & Behaviors

Tie in company values to the recognition program to get the most out of it. Promote specific behaviors based on leadership vision.

Promote Exceptional Behaviors

Don’t recognize employees for tasks they should already be doing. Focus on exceptional behaviors. For example, getting in on time is not exceptional, but getting in early is exceptional.

Incorporate All Types of Employee Recognition

Recognition programs include anniversary and service recognition, above and beyond recognition, and peer to peer recognition. Use all three.

Have a Result

Incorporate monthly awards, give special responsibilities, give charity on staff’s behalf, or create a rewards catalog. Give staff a reason to keep recognizing.

Gain Insights

The recognition program should provide management, HR, and leadership insights into engagement in the program and people analytics.

Top Five Goals

According to World at Work survey 2015:

  1. Recognize years of service.
  2. Create/maintain a positive work environment.
  3. Create/maintain a culture of recognition.
  4. Motivate high performance.
  5. Reinforce desired behaviors.
Employee recognition and employee rewards best practices such as use technology, provide experiences as rewards.

Employee recognition and employee rewards best practices

Contact us for a high quality PDF of the Best Practices

A Culture of Extraordinary

A star gazer with sights on the milky way

Lightweight steel corporations are the last to come to mind when thinking of exceptional companies. That’s not the case with Alcoa. They revolutionized the industry.

In 1987, Alcoa appointed Paul O’Neill as the new CEO. It was his decisions that led investors to advise shareholders to sell-off stock of the already tumbling Alcoa.

Years later one investor said looking back, “It was literally the worst piece of advice I gave in my entire career.”

Optimizing the workforce is just now starting to be a priority for companies. For the newly appointed CEO of Alcoa to say he was going to solve all of their problems through improving workplace safety, you can see why the investors were skeptical.

What O’Neill knew that most didn’t was that good habits spread to other new habits. He knew he had to transform Alcoa’s culture, and he would focus on one habit – workplace safety. If they can succeed at having zero workplace safety accidents, other positive effects will occur, such as an increase in productivity and less PTO days.

Keystone habits

Workplace safety at Alcoa is what is known as a keystone habit, or a habit that ripples and causes other habits to form. An example at the individual level, making one’s bed in the morning, causes us to be more productive. Every company has their own keystone habits that can be promoted for overall stronger employee engagement. When Alcoa started to promote workplace safety, what was once exceptional, such as cutting their incidents in half, soon became the norm.

When Paul O’Neill retired 13 years later, Alcoa’s net income was five times higher than when he started, because workplace safety habits spread to other good habits that helped the company grow their bottom line.

The cycle of exceptional behavior

Start a culture of exceptional behavior

Coincidently, Recognize is working with companies to improve workplace safety. They have identified specific behaviors that are causing workplace safety incidents. To fix this problem, Recognize is providing the platform to easily reenforce positive habits that prevent incidents. What are habits in your company that need to become the norm? Utilizing an employee recognition program with built-in behavior-changing mechanisms will help.

Observe habits

To determine the success of your new program, begin measuring against your already established KPIs in structured and unstructured data. Structured data is true/false binary survey questions or multiple choice, time on email, time on social networks, number of incidents, and other information that is organized. Unstructured data is email content, recognition content, phone call logs, and other types of freeform text.

Inside Recognize, we provide surveys to collect structured and unstructured feedback from your employees. This helps to determine the outcome of the behavior change program. Correlate this information with data you receive through other channels, such as safety incident records, to connect to tangible results.

Evolve the habits

This is where things get interesting. The effect of creating a culture around exceptional behaviors is they stop being exceptional and start being the norm. At which point, we evolve the behaviors your company is actively promoting towards being even more extraordinary.

By utilizing an employee recognition program that saves this data, company leaders can report on past behavior data even after specific behavioral encouragement is retired. This data helps company leaders look for trends in their human capital’s behavior and make hypotheses to further refine their workforce.

Psychology studies have shown that how we dress effects our performance. When participants are told to put on a lab coat verses a painters jacket, the participants wearing the lab coat performed better. This is symbolic of a behavioral-change framework where attitudes and mindsets are encouraged through direct habits and keystone habits. What is your company’s lab coat?

If you have any questions on how to incorporate these strategies into your company, contact us.

The story of Alcoa came from the book Habit.