Six years ago, I left the world of technology sales to join the “employee recognition” industry. At the time, trophy manufacturers and fulfillment houses were giving prizes to people for their organizational tenure. Much in the way one receives a class ring, employees were rewarded a milestone award that was centric to their company brand. These mementos served as badges of honor to certain employees. Then technology took over.
David Kovacovich is an Engagement Strategist, Organizational Culturalist, and Behavioral Economist. He has been a member of the SHRM Annual Conference Social Media Team since 2013 and is a keynote speaker in the NCHRA lecture series.
David is on Twitter at @DavidKovacovich and blogs at Dave's Weekly Thought.
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Articles by David Kovacovich
"In life there are creators and destroyers, which one are you?"
- George Lucas
Gallup recently reported that 70 percent of American workers are disengaged. In a recent Forbes article, leadership development experts Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman claim that this data is wrong. They “question the accuracy of this number” and “are particularly concerned about the impact this message has on the executives of organizations.”
There once was a shepherd boy who was bored as he sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. To amuse himself he took a great breath and sang out, "Wolf! Wolf!
Gallup released it's "State of the Global Business" report for 2013. The results are unbelievable.
According to Gallup:
1. Worldwide, only 13% of Employees are Engaged at work.
2. The Actively Disengaged outnumber the Engaged 2 to 1 in the workplace.
So, if 2 of every 10 of your employees are engaged you are an above average organization?
More people hate their job than those who love it?
Are you willing to accept that?
...because I'm not!
Culture has become a buzz word in the #HR world. We went from Employee Benefits to Employee Rewards to Employee Recognition to Employee Engagement which has created an emphasis on Organizational Culture. Google has created a city to engage their employees; Zappos has re-invented old town Las Vegas for the same purpose. With our personal brands now more prominent than our company logos, the emphasis on culture is no longer the exception but the rule.
My occupation allows me to swim in many waters. I work with Marketing, Sales and HR Leaders across the Globe. While we want to believe we live in a time of organizational alignment, we simply do not!! Marketing wants Big Data, Sales wants to see the ROI and HR wants to be accepted for their Leadership contributions. We say our mission, vision and values align us; but far too often they are swept under the rug in difference to our more immediate goals.
Wanna see a bunch of HR people cry? Put them in the an expo hall the size of an airplane hanger and put Mr. Blake Mycoskie on stage. We HR folk are often called upon to put our emotions in-check....no such luck on Monday morning in Chicago!
A few weeks from now you will grab your favorite travel accessories in preparation for the 65th annual Society of Human Resource Management Annual Conference. I’m sure you are bursting with excitement to get to Chicago to learn, network, and build your strategic toolbox. By the time you return from the Windy City many of you will be recertified or adding a letter to your post name credentials. Whether it’s your first SHRM conference experience or your 65th, maximizing your time is essential.
"My model for business is the Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other's kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That's how I see business: Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people." – Steve Jobs
When it comes to recognizing employees an either/or scenario is often presented: “Should we recognize only our top performers, or should we recognize all of our employees?” The answer is both…and more.
I have done over 300 speaking engagements on the topic of Employee Engagement over the last 6 years and I am getting tired. My quest to find the essence of what creates organizational culture and how we can empower workforce awesomeness has been trumped by a number of things:
"Who do you want next to you in court?"
There seems to be a reluctance to release the performance review handcuffs in the HR world. Let's be honest: we conduct performance reviews so that we have legally binding documentation in the event we need to fire someone.
In reality, effective performance management requirements are directly in-line with Tom Chatfield's 7 Ways that Games Reward The Brain:
A fairly recent World at Work survey listed "lack of opportunity" and "dwindling faith in leadership" as key contributors to employee disengagement. This bell rings very familiar! Early in my career, I experienced ongoing disappointment at my own expense. I was young, energetic, and full of motivation. I understood the core functions of my job and executed them like wild fire. I volunteered to do extra work and read the books suggested by management. Still, the opportunity for advancement was not offered.
Remember when companies were run as dictatorships? We simply cannot do that anymore. There are too many people in too many places with too much work to be done. Nowadays, one man or woman cannot run a start-up -- let alone a global corporation.
In the past, while formulating an employee engagement strategy I would often hear, "The CEO wants it that way, so that's the way we are going to do it." Today, the CEO-centric program may be the very thing that drives tomorrow's talent away.