Author Archives: Alex Grande

About Alex Grande

Founder and CEO of Recognize.

Employee Recognition and Health in the Workplace

Employee giving a congratulations for a job well done

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A report called ‘The 7 Key Trends Impacting Today’s Workplace’ revealed that recognition is one of the top five motivating factors for employees. The report, which surveyed 200,000 people, also showed that monetary compensation didn’t even make it to the top five. Not enough managers know this to be true, with most just waiting for the annual performance review to offer praise and recognition to their employees.

The benefits of employee recognition

A man enjoying coffee at his work table

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Entrepreneur notes that employees should be recognized every day and every office should have active employee recognition programs. Chron explains that recognition helps minimize employee turnover because workers who get regular recognition tend to stick around longer than employees who have been taken for granted. Happier employees also tend to be more productive, which in turn leads them to perform better. When you constantly recognize your team members, it becomes a positive cycle that helps in terms of productivity and good performance.

Employee recognition doesn’t only help promote productivity in the office; it also improves the overall health and well-being of your workers. For one, productive employees don’t need to stay late in the office. They go home on time, rest as much as they need, and enjoy a good work-life balance. And since technology has continually changed the way people work, it has become imperative to implement a good working culture. Positive work cultures encourage happier employees and this makes a difference in industries where the demands of the job are high, which often leads to the employees getting easily stressed.

How stress affects work performance

A woman frustrated on a computer

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Stress is quickly turning into a health crisis, with Healthline revealing that 60-80% of doctor visits are stress-related. According to the article, symptoms of stress include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Rapid breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle tension
  • Headache
  • Nausea

This, in turn, is putting a huge strain on a healthcare industry that is already stretched. Maryville University reports that the shortage of primary care physicians is anticipated to reach a minimum of 100,000 by 2025, with a greater scarcity in rural and inner-city communities. With more workers getting ill due to stress, the chances of them being properly treated is decreasing. This is why it is vital that employers create a good working environment. The more stressed the employees are, the more time they will take off work, and with a stretched healthcare industry the cycle will just continue.

A wellness program can help employee engagement

Someone tying their running shoes

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Leading HR professionals are saying it is time to think outside the box with employee benefits. It’s another form of employee benefit that you can provide in addition to your employee’s health insurance. You don’t need to spend millions of dollars on wellness programs—the simpler and the more frequent, the better. It’s a great program if you want to improve employee engagement and minimize, if not eliminate, employee burnout. In our post ‘Employee Appreciation Day: 8 Ideas Your Staff Will Love’ we listed straightforward ideas that will show employees you recognize and appreciate them. These include:

  • Taking your employees out to lunch
  • Writing thank you cards
  • Flexible hours
  • Prizes

Exercise and mindfulness are great options, too

A woman doing yoga

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Most of the time, mindfulness and exercise are already lumped together into one wellness program. It’s important to make them their own category. Exercises can include community runs or nature walks, while mindfulness can include volunteer work, gratitude exercises, yoga, and meditation. 

It’s all about the small gestures

Employee being thanked through a handshake

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You can also copy what DSi co-founder, CEO & Steward of Purpose, Tom Turner did for his team when he upgraded the company rewards bulletin board and turned it into an “applause board”. Now, when employees see fellow co-workers going above and beyond their duties, the employee fills out an applause card and posts it for everyone to see. This not only gives the hard-working employees the recognition they deserve but motivates their teammates. We call this the Kiosk Mode where recognition can be displayed at the office and employees can see their achievements. It’s a great way to create friendly competition among your team members.

As this article shows it is vital that managers see the value of recognizing their employees. Those who don’t will quickly find themselves with an unmotivated and unproductive workforce. 

Article by Alicia Nicole

An employee retention strategy

An illustration showcasing 10 years with an employee

Recently on Quora I answered the question, What is a great employee retention strategy? Here’s my list of important topics to answer the question:

Five Worst Employee Reward Stock Photos

Hey Shutterstock, we should talk. We love your product, and pay a monthly subscription to use your services. But what’s up with some of these bizarre stock photos? Considering your industry, you’ve surely seen the TV show Corporate, in which the opening credits satirize the unnaturalness of these business “candids.” As frequent users of this platform, we regularly weed through these photos, so we aggregated our favorite worst types of employee rewards shots below.


Man holding tiny trophy, and he is very excited.

Why we love/hate this photo: Not obviously weird, but definitely is

At first glance, this photo doesn’t seem particularly odd. Sure, you may notice that the trophy is unusually small to be that excited, but the mystery truly grows as you look closer. Note that the man with the reward isn’t next to anyone – why? Did he receive the reward from someone, walk up to the front of the room, stop whatever presentation is happening in the background, and start cheering himself on? Why does everyone else feel this is acceptable behavior, and that they should support him by clapping?


Employees earning an employee reward through a trophy

Why we love/hate this photo: So relatable, and yet so awkward

Ever been on a team that won a trophy? Correction: ever been on a super competitive team that can’t decide on who gets to hold the trophy? I can hear the photographer’s instruction now: “Okay everyone, settle down. You there, move your hands down so that everyone can touch at least part of the trophy. Even a finger will do. Everyone, get closer… closer… got it!”


Employee receiving employee reward

Why we love/hate this photo: Violence in the workplace should never be celebrated

Why is this man about to punch this trophy? Did he receive it for doing something unsavory? Did he lose a championship in an annual competition and is now forced to give it to someone else? Unless it’s one of those two circumstances, there are no logical explanations for anyone would find themselves in this position. So who is using this photo in their promotional materials?


Employee doing a trust fall by herself

Why we love/hate this photo: Excitement or the moment before applying for worker’s comp?

This is what happens when companies splurge on team-building exercises once a year but don’t follow up with necessary HR resources when needed. This woman is about to do a trust fall, but wait, there’s no one there to catch her!


Employee thanking another employee

Why we love/hate this photo: Mansplaining summarized in one photo

Here’s a thought experiment: imagine this photo from the woman’s perspective. A man hovers over her, steadily approaching with outstretched thumbs. Is he going for her eyes? She covers herself for protection, laughing to keep him happy, but is moments from running away. A chilling image for sure, Shutterstock.

Ready to go deeper with your employee engagement? To schedule a meeting, visit us at 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


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.

Infographic preview
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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.