Posts tagged: John Schaefer

“How to Get Twice the Productivity Out of Your Employees . . . and They’ll Thank You for it!”

By John Schaefer, November 4, 2014 10:49 am

Employee Engagement and Performance Management are challenges that every company executive agrees are important to their organization’s growth and profitability. But with past Downsizing, continued Outsourcing, continuous New Technology and a Younger, more Diverse Workforce, many of their traditional Recognition and Performance Improvement programs are proving to be ineffective – and they want to know why!

The psychological studies of Maslow, Gallup, Dr. Ken Kovach, Walker Information and Great Place to Work Institute agree on the benefits of focusing on the emotional aspects of the work experience, rather than the logical. Yet, more and more companies are moving to more cash-equivalent recognition programs, believing they’re giving their people “What They Want”. While the response seems valid, it usually yields less than satisfying results.

Why the discrepancy between what the experts have proven and what employees respond in company surveys? A 2004 University of Chicago Study may offer part of the answer.

For their study, the University of Chicago selected two groups of people and had them play a word game with the goal of improving performance. One team was offered cash as an incentive and the other was offered non-cash rewards of the same value. When the scores were totaled, the performance increase of the non-cash group was more than twice that of the cash group (39% vs. 15%), not an insignificant difference. However, as the rewards were about to be presented, they asked the non-cash group if they would prefer to receive the cash value instead of the reward item. Amazingly, almost 80% said they’d prefer the cash.

Why did this happen? It has to do with the answer given to another question – “Would you likely purchase the reward item offered if you did not win it here?” Surprisingly, the people who answered that they were least likely to buy the item with their own money, correlated highest with the “I’ll take the money!” answer. The study supports the ineffectiveness of cash, but also points to the benefits of offering unique, luxury or experiential items that employees are not likely to buy for themselves.

This is all well and good, but if you were to sit down with all of your employees and ask them the open-ended question, “What do you want us to provide for recognition”, the top three answers would be the same as they have been for decades:

1. Cash
2. A Day Off
3. Something that I can use (a cash-equivalent retail reward).

This shouldn’t be that big of a surprise, because it’s like asking the Third Grade Class what they want for lunch and assuming they’ll say broccoli, not ice cream. Maybe it has something to do with the question? Perhaps employees are reluctant to admit they are satisfied with their pay. Maybe they just don’t trust your motives behind the question.

Asking employees what they want tends to imply that you don’t know and really don’t care all that much. The moment they think that you are using recognition more out of obligation than desire, they will emotionally disengage, feel a bit insulted, and give you the answer they think you want to hear –
“ . . . Aw, what the heck, just give me a gift card!”

Bottom line, you don’t have a recognition or awards problem, you have a communications problem. The reason that this is so prevalent in many organizations, is because employees just don’t believe you really mean it. Overworked supervisors don’t need anymore “to do’s” on their already full plates, so they’ll prioritize your requests to recognize employees based on their personal beliefs and styles. When under pressure, that style is all too often a version of the old, autocratic view – “yea, I recognize ‘em, every two weeks with a paycheck; now quit whining and get back to work!”

Sure, that’s a bit over the top, but I’ll bet it’s not too far from how the message is perceived by many of your employees during the hustle of a normal work day. And because it’s a habit, your well-meaning supervisors aren’t even aware that they come across that way.
It’s all about perception, Making it Real, and being Genuine in the eyes of your people. When that happens, and they believe you Truly Care, they’ll bring their “A” Game to work (and all of the productivity, creativity, profitability, teamwork and cost savings that entails) . . . and you get it for free!

This is one of the secrets of today’s great companies, and the best part is, it’s easier to make it happen in your organization than you think!

To learn more about Awards, Rewards and the best ways to use them to optimize our investments in your people visit http://www.SchaeferRecogntionGroup.com or email me personally at john@SchaeferRecognitionGroup.com.

Great Article on the Four, Soon to be Five, Generations in the Workplace

By John Schaefer, October 31, 2014 12:00 pm

I was recently sent a new white paper on Managing the Multigenerational Workplace by Dan Bursch, Program Director at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. What I anticipated to be an other recap of what I already knew, was anything but. Burch does an excellent job of not only defining and simplifying the five generations, but showing clear and concise recruiting and recognition ideas for each. I think that you will find, as I did, that this is a balanced, complete and accurate view of where the workplace is going and how companies that embrace intergenerational communications will have a distinct advantage in the future. You can view and download the article here – http://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/~/media/Files/documents/executive-development/managing-the-multigenerational-workplace-white-paper.pdf

Throughout my 26 years involved in recognition, employee engagement and performance management I’ve seen a growing interest in the challenges of the multiple generations in the workplace. The fact that Millennials now out number Baby Boomers and are well on their way to representing half of the entire workforce (46% by 2020), as well as the pending influx of the new Gen Z will continue to make HR’s interest in effectively dealing with generational issues an area of growing opportunity for many years to come. Knowledge is king, so we can all benefit from understanding and embracing the differences, rather than fighting and lamenting them.

To learn more about Awards, Rewards and the best ways to use them to optimize our investments in your people visit http://www.SchaeferRecogntionGroup.com or email me personally at john@SchaeferRecognitionGroup.com.

Keynote presentation on Employee Engagement at HRMAsia Congress in Singapore

By John Schaefer, October 12, 2014 10:49 am

Last month I was honored to be invited to present the Keynote presentation at HRMAsia Congress in Singapore. What an amazing place! While it’s halfway around the word, I felt very welcomed and appreciated as part of an impressive group of experts. While everyone spoke English, I was joined on stage by accents from Asia, Europe and India … it felt very international and I hope I represented the USA appropriately.

The Asian audience is quiet and respectful, as well as hungry for new ideas on how to effectively engage employees, recognize key contributions and get the most out of their Performance Management investments. The other speakers included some very experienced HR professionals from companies like eBay, PalPay, American Express, Intel and more. Mr. Yoke Fei Phan, Group Human Resources and Administration Head at Auric Pacific Group Limited, put on a skit with two of his young employees demonstrating the difference between Gen Y and the upcoming Gen Z employee base … better get your mobile applications ready; it appears that Gen Z will do nothing that isn’t on their smart devices!

While I tweaked my message a little, my main points remained strong … it’s all about Employee Perception and the effectiveness of recognition is directly related to your level of trust, transparency, vulnerability, and whether your people believe your motives are true. Because I had two hours, I was able to lead the group in several exercises around identifying which of the Ten Levels of Workplace Disillusionment were most prevalent in their offices, Which Love Languages motivated them the most and how some of their specific recognition, employee engagement and performance management programs were working. It was a very enlightening opportunity to share how top organizations are using a combination of old-school communications and new technology to optimize their most valuable resource – people!

I want to thank my hosts for bringing me to their beautiful city and making me feel both valued and welcome. Thanks also to the many participants who make me confident that the future of the world’s workforce is going to be in good hands. Being part of the international community is humbling and I look forward to more opportunities to work with and grow in my knowledge of how the goals of improving employee behaviors toward shared goals will be one of the ways that we as a planet will emerge from our struggling economy. The future looks very bright to me!

We use this same approach to help our clients organize all of their company’s recognition, performance management, motivation and training programs into a single strategy – it’s called the Umbrella Recognition Solution.  To learn more, visit us at http://www.SchaeferRecogntionGroup.com .

What Organizations Need Now From Human Resources

By John Schaefer, August 20, 2014 9:34 am

Louis Efron has written a very timely, new article for his Forbes magazine column that it well worth your consideration, if you’re an HR executive. The changing landscape of HR has come a long way, but perhaps not yet far enough. Louis shares five keys to relevance in HR in today’s economy. It boils down to helping to define and harness corporate purpose, align with employee purpose, then measure key behaviors, skills and goals to prove ROI (Return on Investment) and ROE (Return on Engagement).

Employee Engagement is the key to everything productive in any sized company, no matter what you do, where you are or the demographic make up of your team. By first focusing on defining your corporate purpose, your organization is poised for success. By next aligning with employee who have complementary purpose, you will improve recruting effectiveness, reduce turnover costs and build the potential of a highly engaged team. Then, but identifying, tracking, measuring and reporting on the behaviors that support your purpose, mission, values, goals and objectives, your company is able to maximize ROI and ROE.

Sounds easy, but it requires a strategic approach and a comprehensive, all inclusive program. Together, Louis and I are working with clients to help them on the front end to define their purpose, plans and goals and educate their team. Then on the back end we work to coordinate all of the ways they touch employees with a single employee engagement, recognition and performance management strategy that saves money, improves results and proves both ROI and ROE.

Check out the article – http://onforb.es/1uWWibj, then feel free to contact Louis or I for more information on how may be able to help you optimize yo ur most important asset – people!

John Schaefer -America’s Employee Recognition Expert
www.SchaeferRecognitionGroup.com

“If you can’t say it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”

By John Schaefer, June 23, 2014 8:14 am

Just read a great new article in Forbes by my friend Larry Myler, it’s called -”You’ve Got .00193 Nanoseconds to Sell Me. Go”.  http://onforb.es/UAnNZ2  He’s using the 1979 Skylab Early Warning story as an example of just how little time we all have to get the attention of our customers in today’s busy business climate.  I tend to think he’s not far off!

One of my favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein – “If you can’t say it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”.  I keep this in mind whenever I’m developing content for my web site, a flyer, PowerPoint or any other materials that I’m hoping a potential client will read.  It’s got to be brief, imformative, unique, timely and relevant or you’ve lost them and it takes somewhere around .o0193 Nanoseconds or so.

In this time of social media, instant Tweets and the ability for your content to be found, copied, revised and repurposed immediately, it’s no wonder that everybody is using the same buzz words, soundling a lot the same and ultimately confusing the heck out of their prospects.  The challenge is in being fresh, catchy and quick.

If you’re lucky and you gain interest in the first few Nanoseconds, you might get the opportunity to make your case in 5 to 15 minutes or so, so keep it tight, make it strong, and be different!

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