Category Archives: Rewards & Recognition

Where’s the Trust?

Data Point Tuesday
According to the American Psychological Association’s 2014 Work and Well-Being Survey released last Wednesday, only half of U.S employees believe their employer is open and upfront with them, indicating that despite the mending U.S economy and the return of many organizations’ profitability employees are still struggling to trust their organizational leaders. This distrust comes with serious negative consequences. The APA reports that trust and engagement play important roles in the workplace, accounting for 50.8% of the variance in employee well-being. In predicting trust, the dimensions of employee involvement, recognition, and communication predicted 54% of the variance. Employees reported having greater trust in companies when the organization endeavored to recognize them for their contributions, provide opportunities for involvement, and communicate effectively. In predicting work engagement, employees’ positive perceptions of their employer’s involvement, growth and development opportunities, and health and safety efforts accounted for 27.1% of the variance.

An interesting and positive finding from the APA survey, is in strong contrast to the recent reports that have suggested upwards of 70% of employees in the U.S. are not engaged or are actively disengaged. APA’s Work and Well-Being Survey finds approximately 50% of working Americans reporting average levels of engagement, with around a quarter reporting low or very low levels and just under a quarter reporting high or very high levels. The mean engagement score for working Americans was 3.62 on a six-point scale (zero representing never being engaged and six representing always being engaged). Additionally, the survey finds that 70% of U.S workers report that they are satisfied with their jobs, however, just 47% continue to be satisfied with employee recognition practices and 49% with growth and development opportunities offered by their organizations.

Taking a closer look at the statistics on trust, about one third of respondents say their employers are not always honest and truthful, and nearly a quarter say they don’t trust their employers. Interestingly though, this lack of trust does not necessarily correlate to feelings of unfair or bad working environments. The survey found that 64% of employed adults feel that their organization treats them fairly, despite that only 52% believe their employer is open and upfront with them. Does this mean as an organization you can cultivate fair and honest practices without any transparency? Does this mean that leaders get a pass on being trustworthy as long as they provide safe working environments? These are interesting data to be sure. But perhaps the bigger question is how productive are employees who don’t trust their leaders? What levels of discretionary effort and personal development will employees expend who feel physically safe but don’t trust their leaders? As a leader, the question I would ask is “how long can I rely on an employee population that doesn’t me?”

APA Center for Organizational Excellence April 2014
The APA’s findings come after surveying 1,562 adults aged 18+ who reside in the U.S. and who are employed full time, part time, or self-employed.

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Filed under American Psychological Association, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Engagement, Employee Recognition, Managerial Effectiveness, Rewards & Recognition, Worplace Trust

From the Archives: We can’t succeed without Millennials

This was a very popular post from April, 2012. The data is pretty much the same. And it bears repeating.

Managers and supervisors (especially in the Baby Boomer cohort) in almost every type and size of business have been known to lament the lack of loyalty and so-called business savvy in the Millennial generation.

  • “They want to be promoted too fast!”
  • “They don’t want to pay their dues!”
  • “They don’t understand how things work!”
  • “They want too much flexibility!”
  • “When things don’t go their way they quit!”
  • “Why won’t they stay?”

The bottom line is that organizations are finding it challenging to keep Millennials engaged and on the payroll.  In fact, with the average employment tenure of workers in the 20-24 year -old age group at 1.5 years (per the BLS), it’s challenging to keep all our employees engaged and the on the payroll.  (See my previous post on the Quits vs. Layoffs gap.  It might not be what you think!)

Achievers and Experience Inc. fielded their annual survey of graduating college students in January.  The data are eye opening.

Despite what we think we know about them, the vast majority of these about-to-enter-the-workforce Milllennials would really like to stay with their next (in most cases, first) employer for 5 years or longer!  Wait.  What?  Look at the chart below:

47% of the 8,000 college graduating respondents in the Achievers/Experience Inc. survey indicated that they expected to stay with their next employer five years or longer.  Note the language:  expect to stay not would like to stay!  That means when they join our organizations they have every expectation of making a career with us.  They’re not just accepting a job.  They’ve evaluated our EVP (Employer Value Proposition) as a match for the meaning they want to create in their lives through their work.  (Interesting to note that the biggest percentage of respondents expect to stay with their employer for 10+ years!)

So, OK.  This has got to be their youthful exuberance and relative inexperience speaking, right?  Well, I wonder if that really matters.

Employers need these Millennials.  Employers need these Millennials now.  Employers will need these Millennials more every day.  (See my recent post here.)

And employers need them to stay a whole lot longer than 1.5 years!

So what happens between “I expect to stay with my employer for 10 or more years…” and “…after one year with the organization I’m leaving for a better opportunity”?  I think we all know that answer to that question.

We don’t live up to the EVP we sold them.  We don’t engage Millennials the way they tell us they want to be engaged.  Instead, we…

  • make sure they fit into our existing career paths and job descriptions
  • focus on making sure they “pay their dues” – the way we did
  • keep our processes and rules rigid and unbending – and only pretend to listen when they offer up “different” ways of working
  • resist the notion that work can be done with excellence anywhere but in a cubicle
  • make it difficult for Millennials to interact with senior leaders
  • make it difficult for Millennials to collaborate with colleagues
  • designate social responsibility activities a perk instead of a foundational value
  • try to “lure” them to stay with tenure-based plaques and timepieces

These data are a wake-up call for employers.  It’s a message from our talent pipeline that they really do want to engage with us; they believe our employer brand marketing messages; they want to learn and grow with us.

It’s time to listen harder and make sure our employer brand messages aren’t experienced as bait and switch tactics.

I don’t know about you, but I’d hate for the Millennials to have such negative employment experiences at the beginning of their careers that they opt out of organizational life altogether before they’re 30.  We’d really be in a pickle then!

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Filed under Achievers, Baby Boomers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Business Success, China Gorman, Demographics, Employment Data, Engagement, Millennials, Rewards & Recognition, Student Job Search, Talent pipeline, U.S. Department of Labor

Tying Recognition to Values: Who Knew?

data point tuesday_500

Organizations that believe in driving an intentional culture – whether for engagement purposes, recruitment purposes, performance purposes, innovation purposes, or all of the above – might think it logical to tie their recognition programs directly to their values. But as it turns out, maybe not.

The new SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey Winter 2012 Report has some interesting survey data and thought-provoking findings. The survey, sent to 6,000 SHRM members at the manager level or higher, had a response rate of 13% and a margin of error of +/- 3%. So, with 770 randomly selected HR professionals employed at organizations with more than 499 employees across North America, the sample size is large enough for the results to be interesting.

The broad findings are a little surprising – although the survey questions focused entirely on recognition, engagement and core values. (So, for example, the challenges of implementing healthcare reform don’t show up, nor do the issues of perceived talent or skills shortages.) But even within that context, these findings make me scratch my head:

#1  Employee engagement tops the list of HR challenges.

#2  Performance management remains stuck in neutral.

#3  Recognition programs fill the feedback and appreciation gap.

#4  Recognition programs have an observed positive impact on business results.

#5  Recognition aligned with core values leads to more effective managers.

#1  Employee engagement tops the list of HR challenges:  well, I do find that surprising – especially given the rest of the survey data. I might have thought that the issues of performance management done the same way it’s been done for 10-15 years (or not at all) would top the list of HR challenges. But no, employee engagement is at the top of the list. Despite (or maybe because of) the fact that most HR professionals haven’t been able to make the business case for investing in creating higher levels of engagement, it’s at the top of the list.

#2  Performance management remains stuck in neutral:  Performance management is the talent management infrastructure weak link. Most CEOs and other members of the C-Suite report that they know their system is ineffective. And what’s more they know their employees don’t like their current system either. That HR folks are “stuck in neutral” in this regard is perplexing. With the billions of dollars being spent on ineffective, unpopular legacy systems, this would seem ripe for corrective action — not being stuck in neutral.

#3  Recognition programs fill the feedback and appreciation gap:  so investing in new solutions that fill a gap rather than fixing the full system seems shortsighted to me. Don’t get me wrong. I think that there are recognition programs that powerfully engage teams, inspire individuals and create positive momentum for employers and their customers. Some of the new entrants that utilize social technology and are natively mobile are stunning. And worthy of investment. But should we be thinking bigger than filling gaps?

#4  Recognition programs have an observed positive impact on business results:  that’s research-speak for “we can’t quantify it yet but we think it’s real based on anecdotal evidence.”  ‘Nuff said.

#5  Recognition aligned with core values leads to more effective managers:  that’s it! If the data clearly support this finding, then this is the foundation for the business case that HR has been looking for. I’ve long believed that if the middle manager cohort was effectively trained and managed, the incidences of workplace drama and their resulting legal issues – and the resulting time-suck for HR – would be hugely reduced. Managers would be held accountable for managing. And HR could get to the strategic business of workforce planning and talent management leadership.

The following charts from the report show the “observed” connection between values-based recognition systems and managerial effectiveness in “acknowledging and appreciating” employees:

SHRM Globoforce Fig 8

SHRM Globoforce Fig 13

*Note:  the red circles on the charts are mine.

The finding that managers do a better job of effectively acknowledging and appreciating employees when recognition programs are directly tied to core values seems to stack up. But it also appears that managers do a better job of effectively acknowledging and appreciating employees simply by being given a recognition program to use. Either way works for me. And either way clearly works for employers and their employees.

But I’ll go out on a limb with the observable improvement in managerial effectiveness and agree that tying recognition programs to values is a winner. In fact, I’ll go so far as to opine that tying talent management in its entirety to organizational values will provide quantifiable improvement, not just observed improvement.

Interesting findings in this report. If you haven’t looked at some of the innovative new solutions in the recognition space maybe you should.

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Filed under Achievers, Annual Performance Reviews, Business Case, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Globoforce, Managerial Effectiveness, Rewards & Recognition, Talent Management

HR’s 2013 “To Do” List

data point tuesday_500

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions.  Everyone else, though, has their top ten lists of resolutions for 2013.  And for HR, everyone wants you to go socially mobile into the Cloud.

Me?  Not so much.

I am big on “to do” lists, though.  And, while there’s lots for HR to do in 2013, here are my top 4:

to-do-list iPad1.)  Have a tactical plan to stay on top of regulatory (pay particular attention to NLRB rulings and timetables for implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act) and legislative changes coming from your city, your state house and Washington D.C.

2.)  Review your HRIS providers and products:

  • Can you move to the Cloud in 2013 to reduce software and hardware expenses?
  • If any of your providers have been acquired or are likely acquisition targets do you know what your options are?

3.)  Schedule a review of employee programs that are 5 years or older. There are more effective, next-generation solutions that are generally cheaper to deploy and more employee friendly. Likely candidates include:

  • Performance management systems
  • Rewards and recognition programs
  • Learning management systems

4.)  Get a handle on your Big HR Data. Explore some of the new products that gather all the employee data from your disparate HR systems and help you and your organization’s managers make more intelligent, fact-based people decisions.

That’s not a long list.  But it is a powerful list.

Just think how you’d feel at the end of 2013 if you implemented a new rewards and recognition program that actually incented engagement and productivity.

Just think how you’d feel if you installed a system that made getting accurate, timely employee data into the hands of front line managers easy.

Just think how you’d feel if you saved your organization thousands of dollars by moving essential HRIS programs to the Cloud.

It’s good to feel powerful and effective.  It’s even better to BE powerful and effective.

How’s that for a New Year’s Resolution?

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Filed under Annual Performance Reviews, China Gorman, Connecting Dots, New Year's Resolutions, Performance Management, Rewards & Recognition, To Do Lists

Data Analytics: Too Sophisticated for HR?

Mercer and WorldatWork have collaborated again on a survey and report about current total rewards/compensation trends in metrics and analytics.  The focus of the research was to understand what types of analytics are currently being conducted and what technologies are being used to conduct them.

It’s an interesting report – especially from the vantage point of what it says about the relationship between HR and data and HR and analytics.  The survey was fielded in February, 2012 to compensation leaders who are WorldatWork members (the dataset held 560 scrubbed responses , a final 10.9% response rate), so they all have more than a passing knowledge of the total rewards function.

The big takeaways of the survey data are that:

  • Rather than use sophisticated analytical approaches like projections, simulations and predictive modeling to support decision making, organizations are more likely to use ongoing reports and benchmarking from internal and external peer groups.
  • Survey respondents report lack of access to and confidence in data regarding education competencies/capabilities and training investments – critical to workforce analytics.
  • Compensation professionals may be falling behind their colleagues in other HR functional areas in their adoption of more sophisticated analytics methodologies.

The report discusses why adoption of more powerful analytics is low despite 67% of respondents indicating adequate skill levels to engage in higher level analytics and almost half (47%) having 1 -2 FTEs tasked with HR-related analytics.  More important, 75% of the respondents reported that C-suite executives in their organizations have asked for workforce projections, simulations or predictive modeling.

Mercer and WorldatWork point out that while respondents report that some data is not available or of poor quality, 75% of respondents say their organizations are working to improve the consistency of their data. Paradoxically, 52% are unclear where responsibility for data integrity lies.

I found it interesting that the researchers suggest that “unavailable” data may result from a lack of interest in the data rather than an ability to access it.  A compelling point.

From the responses outlined in the exhibit above, one could readily agree with the researchers that critical workforce information about education, competencies, prior work experience and investments in training aren’t top of mind for compensation professionals. It could easily be that compensation professionals believe these datasets and their analysis more naturally belong to other HR functions:  learning/development and talent management/acquisition.

The writers argue that rewards/compensation professionals have a preoccupation with the behavioral side of rewards and overlook the “asset side” – the impact of rewards on the ability of the organization to acquire appropriate talent.

The bottom line for the researchers is to encourage rewards/compensation professionals to begin to think more expansively – and use higher levels of analytics – on the role of rewards in driving human capital development and business success and focus a little less on salary competitiveness and pay-performance sensitivity as performance drivers.

A very interesting report and very useful data as you begin to plan your 2013 budget.  Stepping up your workforce analytics sophistication could be a game changer for your organization.

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Filed under C-suite, China Gorman, Employee Benefits, Engagement, HR Analytics, HR Data, HR Technology, Mercer, Rewards & Recognition, Talent Management, Total Rewards, WorldatWork

HR Rockstar Tour

If you live in Dallas, Chicago, New York, Miami, Los Angeles or San Francisco I’d like to invite you to attend a complimentary seminar that introduces and discusses groundbreaking new research and analysis about Recognition and Rewards.  Sponsored by the good folks at Achievers, this will be great morning with a little breakfast, a little networking, a couple of HRCI credits — and a whole lot of new data about what’s working to engage employees more effectively.  Join me, Josh Bersin and Razor Suleman.  I guarantee that you’ll leave smarter than when you arrived.  It happens to me every time I’m with Josh and Razor.  It can happen for you too.  Just  send an email to Loren Maisels at Achievers asking for an invitation (Loren@achievers.com) or call her at 415-967-7809.  Tell her I invited you.

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Filed under Achievers, China Gorman, Demographics, Engagement, Josh Bersin, Razor Suleman, Rewards & Recognition, Uncategorized