Author Archives: Alex Grande

About Alex Grande

Founder and CEO of Recognize.

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/

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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.

Employee Nominations the Smart Way

A tree

We are staying true to the goal of using psychology principles instead of profit as our north star in Recognize’s product roadmap. We want your staff to be motivated intrinsically, and not just by monetary rewards. That’s why our nomination system doesn’t incorporate any cash value. Companies can choose to add monetary rewards for employees who are nominated or awarded, but that is for them to decide, not us.

How does Recognize employee nominations work?

The nomination system makes it really easy to democratically decide who is to be awarded for special mention. Staff can secretly vote on who deserves any award.

Examples:
+ Employee of the month
+ Employee of the year
+ Safety Award for construction companies
+ Innovation Award for consulting companies

Choosing a nomination badge

Choosing a nomination badge

Sending a nomination for employee of the month

It is a lot like sending a social recognition

The admins go into the Company Dashboard to see who has been voted the most times for a nomination and the reasons employees gave for that nomination. Since staff are voting, it is easy to see runner-ups to whomever you choose as the winner.

Viewing nominations in Admin Dashboard

Viewing employee of the year votes
Viewing reasons for nominations

Viewing reasons for nominations

To set up a nomination, it is as easy as creating a badge. Go into the Custom Badges and enable “nominations” on a badge. That’s it!

You should also change the sending limit. Typically you will want to allow someone to nominate once a quarter. So change it to once and a quarter. And make the points worth zero

Creating a nomination badge

Creating a nomination badge

You may want to also create a badge that is the award version of the nomination. When you decide on a winner and award them in the dashboard, you can send a recognition for that accomplishment only the CEO or an admin can send.

Creating custom roles

Creating custom roles

Now it will be easy to see who deserves recognition at your quarterly and yearly ceremonies. Admins and leaders will simply login to Recognize, see the nominations that occurred all year, and make decisions on who to mention and why. No more favoritism, no more last minute illogical decisions. Recognize is helping companies recognize and award their employees in ways grounded in science and not solely gift card profits.

Contact us to learn more

Emerging Tech HR Trends in 2016

Get over hiring difficulties and talent development. As we enter 2016, we welcome a promising year of new HR trends with changing mindsets and increasing integration of technology. Here are the top 3 Human Resource predictions to watch for.

High Demand of Data and Analytics Tools

Big Data is an emerging trend and plays a vital role in gathering, processing and analyzing data, thereby being the lifeline of business lifecycles. Any new-age business wanting to stand out from the crowd needs to be at the top of their game as far as data analytics is considered. Business decisions are getting increasingly data-driven, and for a good reason. Data is what helps you plumb the depths of your workforce so you can strategize HR operations right from recruitment to meeting employee goals according to shifting trends. According to Julie Stich, Director of Research at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, “Employers are trying different things to see what works for them—a lot of it depends on company culture.”

Increased Focus on Employee Recognition

Experts believe that the key to increased productivity lies in employee recognition and engagement. In fact, it is directly linked to better performance, profitability and customer engagement—outcomes that businesses of all types are seeking. If your employees feel appreciated for their efforts, it is natural that they will actively contribute to your organization’s growth. If employee rewards are a part of your workplace culture, you can also do away with talent retention worries. If you’ve used Slack’s team-based messaging software or Yammer’s collaborative social environment for businesses, you already know what we’re talking about. “We’re seeing an evolution here; it’s becoming more about total employee well-being” says Stich. With platforms like Recognize on the rise, it is clear why employee recognition is on the HR’s radar this year.

 

Rise of Integrated Workforce Management Systems

Any organization dealing with over 50 full-time employees will be aware of the monthly requirement to report and track data, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. If paying penalties or spending hours collecting data from multiple systems is not an option, integrated human capital management solutions come into the picture. While we’re on the topic of data, it is worth mentioning the focus on prevention of data breaches in 2016. The digital era poses various threats such as hacking of employee and customer data and has a direct impact on the business community, so time for companies to pull up their socks for extensive data management and security!

How Successful People Make Introductions

Rock climbing bouldering in Bishop Buttermilks

At a party in Palo Alto, David Traub calls me over, “Alex I want you introduce you to someone.” Turning to his colleague, he says, “Alex has an amazing spirit and is a great eye for design. He’s working on something groundbreaking in the world of workplace positive feedback. Alex, I think you will get along really well with my colleague Tim. I’ve never met anyone like him, he is one of the kindest and most successful investors I know in social enterprise .”

People like David Traub and Allan Young both taught me how to introduce people. They have a natural gift of seeing the best abilities in people and highlighting those abilities when they make introductions. It shows that they act with selflessness and look for the positives in people.

Benefits of this approach:

  1. The people introduced will be pleasantly surprised by the attention you have given them.
  2. People may not even know about those positive characteristics in themselves. It may boost their confidence and better prepare them for the conversation that will follow post-introductions.
  3. It shows sincere care because the compliments are real.
  4. It sparks the start of a new conversation between two strangers.

I’ve been practice this approach for a couple of years now and can see the benefits. I think about people’s abilities before introducing them. When I make introductions, I say what is amazing about these people and why they should be introduced. I’m not as good as David or Allan yet, but I’m getting there.

Reposted from Alex Grande’s LinkedIn post.

What Millennials Want In a Company

Company leaders are showing a real concern for what is to come with the largest generation – millennials. Millennials want autonomy, they want things to matter, and they want to be mobile. This different mentality from previous generations has been a two-decade-long shift first from video games, then internet, and now mobile.

Millennials on the phone

1. Instant, Always-on, Global Information.

The millennial comedian Aziz Ansari gave a comparison to the millennial mindset in the context of gay marriage. He said, “Two dudes are kissing? I’m about to watch every movie ever, right now! They [millennials] don’t care at all.” Instant global information has made millennials see the world in a whole new light. They look past issues that are not important in the global scheme, because now with Twitter and Facebook they can connect on a deeper level with people all over the globe about any issue as soon as events unravel.

2. Mobile

An endlessly expanding encyclopedia is in your pocket. Every person you have ever known is a short search away. College students complete their studies from anywhere on ultralight laptops. Being anywhere and still connected is the new norm.

3. Instant Feedback

Pinball to Nintendo to Gameboy to mobile computers, instant feedback has gotten more omnipresent. Millennials expect results fast. Increased internet speeds are inflating millennials already hyperactive expectations.

A Blueprint for Companies Seeking to Attain and Retain Millennials

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves” – Vicktor E. Frankl.

1. Autonomy and Idealism

By incorporating autonomy and causes, companies can reap the rewards from both a marketing standpoint and an employee’s lifetime value to the company. Companies with skunk groups for independent innovative projects receive both innovative ideas and prototypes, but also increase employees dedication to the company. Follow the startup incubator model by cycling through groups of people, or batches, in the skunk group. Then, many people can be a part of the skunk group generating more employee to company rapport.

To show your company cares, involve environmental or social initiatives. Give a percentage of profits to a charity, match employee donations to nonprofits, or create your own ice bucket challenge. Make a culture staff is proud to promote and show the company trusts its employees.

People looking at ipads around a desk collaborating

2. Mobile

Working from home can lead some to become complacent. The solution is to make working from home a privilege and not a right. If staff shows up for meetings on time, communicates effectively, and complete tasks on time, then they can work from home. Be transparent on what exactly has to happen to make working from home a reality. If done right, your staff can be producing quality work from a Mexican beach.

3. Instant and Transparent

Support communication tools that support working from anywhere. Give staff immediate feedback. Tools like Slack and Yammer for staff to communicate, and Recognize for employee recognition and rewards should be part of your overarching human resources and company communication strategy.

Companies must embrace with open arms a new way to operate. The industrial revolution is behind us and from the perspective of millennials, the world needs new modalities if we want to keep a healthy planet for the future.

I myself am a millennial. I founded Recognize after discovering the power of employee recognition at former employers. I want to help all companies have a simple employee recognition strategy. It makes work more like a game. When things are more like games, they are more fun and more profitable.