Feedforward

Feedforward – How to integrate it with feedback?

Moments of evaluation are moments of reflection, feedback sharing, and alignment of expectations. These expectations can be of performance, evolution, and rewards. Self-knowledge is the first step in the process of development and self-development. How can feedforward and feedback help with this?

Firstly, we need to be aware of the consequences of good and bad feedback.

BAD FEEDBACK

Bad Feedback

Bad feedback creates a defensive and confrontational attitude because it is focused on guilt. Furthermore, it does not promote the development of competence and decreases confidence and self-esteem. It also leaves the interpretation to the other, consequently leading the person to feel judged.

GOOD FEEDBACK

Good Feedback

Creates trust and cooperation, because it is focused on possible improvements or achievements. Promotes the development of competence and increases confidence and potential. Moreover, it clarifies exactly “where I am” and “where I am going”. Lastly, it leads the person to feel “helped”.

A great way to achieve this is by integrating feedback with feedforward…

FEEDFORWARD

The concept of feedforward was created in 1976 by Peter W. Dowrick in his doctoral thesis. Feedforward, according to cognitive-behavioral theories, is a method of teaching and learning that illustrates or indicates a future behavior or path desired for a goal. It values the strengths and potentialities and strengthens what you can become better at. Unlike feedback, it encourages people to think about how to direct the future.
Moreover, it focuses on opportunities and solutions, and not on weak points. When the focus is the past it becomes very negative. Feedforward is part of the result of the performance and reorientation. Often when giving feedback to a colleague or team member we focus only on negative points… is limited to analyzing. As Andrea Fontes said, the focus should be on the present and the future – What must I change, optimize, or improve?
Build on the potential, strengthen where to become better, and encourage people to think about how to direct the future. Ask yourself, what do I do well? We will hardly be excellent at the negatives. We can and should improve them, but do not focus on just that.
Feedforward
Most importantly, feedforward values strengths and people’s potential. Besides that, it encourages people to think about how to control their future. It concentrates efforts on opportunities and solutions, not weaknesses.
People do not view feedforward as personally as feedback and tend to listen more closely to it. Feedback can reinforce personal stereotypes and negative self-fulfilling prophecies. Feedforward tends to be much faster and more efficient than feedback.

Therefore, feedback should focus on the potential for development, by being integrated with feedforward!

How to respond to receiving feedback

Take an active role because it is YOUR evaluation. Do not assume a defensive role – ask questions, ask for examples. Reformulate, translate until both have the same perception. Ask for guidance on how to reach the goals.

How to give feedback

Have the objective of developing and strengthening confidence always present. Ask questions – listen – do not debit. Feedback must be consistent – schedule periodic status.

Ask for feedback. This article can help you on this matter as it perfectly shows how to ask for feedback at work. The link between feedback and feedforward is essential for development. Coaching works with the same feedforward concepts, aiming at the focus on development through mechanisms of self-regulation and consequently the attainment objectives.

Tap My Back not only helps you understand how to give and ask for feedback, as it provides you with the right tools to achieve a continuous feedback culture.

Feedforward coaching

How to improve feedback within your company

Maybe you have already ended up thinking that something is missing on your feedback processes at your company, or from another hand, why do your employees claim about the feedback they receive. Have you thought that probably your company members are not actually taking advantage of the feedback they receive? Would you like to improve feedback processes? I’m here to help 😁

Think about a feedback moment at your company. Normally you raise a set of events that were not very positive and talk about them true? You try to understand the reasons why that specific thing failed. In this process, you usually don’t mention any positive event the person did or praise him/her.

The goal here is to understand how you can give continuous feedback on daily basis and also how you can give it in a more future-oriented perspective.

Here comes the feedforward concept.

Feedforward is a simple way of giving feedback to employees, but instead, on focusing on past events, it focuses on the future goals and in each person strengths. With feedforward, you look to the future as the starting point.

Looking to a real-life example:

You’re going to give feedback to John about his presentation yesterday. You have two options:

1- Point out what was wrong with the presentation and focus on the negative aspects –> Feedback. 

2- Tell him what he did the key strengths of the presentation and focus on what he can add in future presentations –> Feedforward.

With this example, you understand that with feedforward you point the future goals and developments. In contrast with feedback, you point negative aspects which already happened and that you can’t do anything different about them.

If you’re reading this article it’s also important for you to keep in your mind that people accept much better positive and future-oriented feedback, than negative and past-oriented one. Employees don’t want to feel judged when they fail, they want their leaders to help them so they have the confidence to improve.

In an empirical approach, it was made a study, which in a universe of 22.663 observations, 1/3 of them show a decline in performance a month after the feedback session. Individuals were worse when having feedback than not having feedback at all.

Feedforward increases motivation to reach the desired goals and for self-improvement – Kevin Kruse in Forbes.

Individuals motivate themselves through a positive light.  As an HR manager or director, you need to care about your employees satisfaction.

Feedforward is a supplement technique for the feedback processes and not a substitute! To know more about feedforward click HERE.

With Tap My Back you can guarantee a continuous feedback culture, that at the end of the day it will enable managers and leaders to have more motivated employees and more tools for the coaching processes. To read more about continuous feedback importance click HERE.

personal growth

Drive Personal Growth through Engagement

Employee engagement doesn’t mean employee happiness or satisfaction. That is not enough. Tap My Back is an employee feedback app that enables a continuous feedback culture by supporting personal growth.

An engaged employee is both happy and satisfied but one also has an emotional commitment to the organization, its goals, and values. The best way to increase loyalty and retention in your company is to give your employees the ability to grow with you and vice-versa.

Statistics say only 30% of employees are engaged and even worse, that 26% are actively disengaged from their company culture. Those numbers cost around $350 billion a year to U.S. companies. As a recent study by Towers Watson points out, companies with high levels of engagement increase their income by 18%. On the other hand, low levels of engagement can mean a 33% decline in productivity.

So, how can companies engage employees to retain top talent and have a great company culture? Money is not the answer as only 29% of employees at companies with money based rewards feel recognized. Money lacks the trophy value that gives status among peers and it is already part of the day to day motivation, it’s the reason we all work. So cash is not an extra incentive to give employees the extra boost to their morale.

Peer-to-peer recognition and continuous feedback are some of the most valuable forms of motivation as it provides the feeling of wanting to keep improving and succeeding as a team. This leads to better employee engagement which reflects directly on the happiness level of employees and boosts the company’s performance and productivity.

Make everyone engaged by using Feedback Hub

It is exactly for that reason that Tap My Back has developed a new way of looking at feedback. It is no longer just important to give, but also to ask for feedback proactively. And what a better way to do that than to have it all in one place? With Feedback Hub, you are able to ask and give feedback based on specific skills. These skills are defined by managers so that each employee can improve on the goals that truly matter to them.

Achieve personal growth with Tap My Back’s new user Profile

However, because tracking your own performance is as important, Tap My Back also improved its personal user profile! Now, everyone is able to keep track of their personal information and find growth opportunities as a person and a professional. Personal growth not only gives you motivation, but also a sense of purpose and the desire to achieve mastery.

Nevertheless, it is as important to track your own performance, so now everyone has access to their data on recognition, feedback, and even mood. Like so, personal growth comes from the awareness of understanding yourself better and being able to develop old skills and discover potential ones.

In the Recognition section you can see:

  • Who gives you the most taps;
  • People you haven’t given a tap for a while;
  • How many taps you gave and received during a specific period of time;
  • Data by day, week or month.

Feedback shows you:

  • The number of feedback given and received;
  • The top skills according to the feedback you receive;
  • Skills you need to work on based on feedback;
  • Your score per skill;
  • Your data by day, week or month.

And finally, Mood allows you to track:

  • Mood evaluation based on your answers;
  • The number of times you have selected each mood;
  • Your data by day, week or month.

 

Let’s try these out? Create your free trial account or Login in into your Tap My Back’s organization 😉

how to ask for feedback

How to ask for feedback at work – 4 steps

Learn how to ask for feedback in your workplace with these 4 easy-to-follow steps. Increase your employee engagement and build up a continuous feedback culture!

Building a “continuous feedback culture” might have greater effects than you can imagine. A research conducted by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer showed that a sense of progress is one of the most powerful motivators in the workplace, even more than personal or economical recognition. Progress impacts performance and usually high performers offer more positive feedback to peers. Tap My Back is an employee feedback app that helps organizations building a continuous feedback culture and improving employee engagement.

As a matter of fact, high performing teams share almost six times more positive feedback than average teams! Getting useful feedback can be the fastest route to growth and improved performance. The better your team will perform, the more positive feedback it will be sharing, and the better the overall vibe and engagement within your team will be.

So, why wait for the formal annual performance review? The adult brain learns best by being caught in the moment; productive feedback requires giving it frequently. Start taking control of the feedback you can give and receive. First, by learning how to ask for feedback, and therefore building that continuous feedback culture that will improve your personal and team’s performance!

Learn more 

Here are 4 useful and easy tips on how to ask for feedback in the workplace:

Concluding, stop waiting for the final annual review to receive or give feedback to your teams! Another great way to give feedback and ask for it is by having integrating it with feedforward.

Start asking for feedback now – try Tap my Back for free!


Tap My Back
is an employee feedback app that allows employees real-time appreciation and continuous feedback from managers and peers. No day is better than today to start making your workplace a better and happier place 🙂

Learn more

 

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Continuous Feedback vs Annual Performance Reviews

We all know that annual performance reviews are old fashioned and help in no way to provide critical feedback. The workplace has changed. The workforce has changed. Annual performance reviews remain the same. Is continuous feedback the solution?

HR leaders on performance review:

“45% of HR leaders think annual performance reviews are NOT an accurate appraisal of employee’s work.” – SHRM/Globoforce Survey, 2012

Employee comments on performance review:

36% say they rarely or never receive performance feedback (67% wished they did)
28% say they never discussed future goals and tasks with their bosses (70% wished they did)
74% feel in the dark about how managers and peers think they’re performing.
>50% reacted to an annual performance review by looking for a new job.

In fact, lack of continuous feedback and recognition is one of the main causes for lack of talent retention:

64% of employees quit their jobs because they aren’t recognized for their work. – U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
82% of leaders said not providing appropriate feedback was the biggest problem to keep their teams together.

Annual Review

Inaccurate
Discouraging
Boring

Costly – Deloitte reported that 58% of HR executives considered reviews an ineffective use of supervisors’ time. In a study by the advisory service CEB, the average manager reported spending about 210 hours — close to five weeks — doing appraisals each year.

Continuous Feedback

Real-time
Culture of recognition
Feedback from managers and peers

Set better goals

Companies that set quarterly performance goals generate 31% greater returns than those that review goals annually. Those that do it monthly get even better results. Feedback from employees is essential for setting goals that have organizational buy-in and aren’t just top down.

The Continuous Feedback Big Wave

“Accenture will disband the once-a-year evaluation in 2016. It will implement a more fluid system, in which employees receive timely feedback from their managers on an ongoing basis” – In Washington Post, July 2015

Other big companies joining the wave: Adobe | Gap | General Electric | Lilly | Goldman Sachs

6% of Fortune 500 companies have gotten rid of rankings and once-a-year evaluations, according to management research firm CEB.

Join in with Tap My Back

Tap My Back is an employee feedback app that provides employee engagement with real-time recognition and continuous feedback. Like so, we allow organizations to grow and learn how to give, ask and respond to feedback.

Public recognition: give and receive badges in a public way so that the whole team can see who’s giving a positive contribution.

Peer evaluation: allow team members to evaluate their peers’ performance with a simple drag-and-drop interface and in a private way.

«People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.» – Zig Ziglar

Create your team and try Tap My Back

How to Measure Employee Engagement and How to Use that Information?

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Several studies and opinion-makers emphasize the importance of measure employee engagement from different angles. In some cases, the question in order is the negative impact on talent retention and turnover of low levels of recognition and engagement of employees. In other cases, the focus is on the costs of disengagement or the benefits of engagement to business.

Despite the consensus about the importance of employee engagement, how can we measure it? Measuring engagement does not necessarily depend on complex techniques and technologies. As shown by the biologist Jacob Von Uexkull, any living creature, humans included, is gifted with a system of interpretation and a set of sensors perfectly fitted to interact and give meaning to the surrounding world. By observing our co-workers postures and gestures, or by paying attention to their words or tone of voice, we are able to sense their motivation or their satisfaction levels.

Yet, it is impossible to pay attention to all co-workers all the time, especially those working somewhere else. In addition, modern techniques and technologies may improve the precision of the analysis and help discover new explanations for many questions. The purpose of this article is to show how to measure engagement with digital tools and its utility. Our intent is not to establish a standard of engagement metrics, but to illustrate our experience at COmon, a marketing agency, an experience possibly useful to other organizational contexts.

Our need to measure engagement popped up when we were trying to solve an internal problem. Some years ago, we were growing fast and our workplace culture was paying the price. We were too focused on delivering, and our levels of engagement were not the same as before. After some research and based on the advice of human resources specialists, we discovered that we needed to improve peer-to-peer recognition. As a company in the digital business, we decided to develop an application with social networking and gamification features to praise and evaluate colleagues in real time. Additionally, we wanted something simple, quick, effective, accurate and fun. Following these guidelines, some of the traditional practices to enhance and evaluate engagement (e.g. surveys or polls, or annual performance reviews) were out of the question. In alternative, we developed an integrated system that combined real-time recognition with engagement metrics. Tap My Back allows colleagues to give badges (taps) to one another and endorsing those badges (re-taps) according to their performance or attitude. This activity shows on a public news feed visible to everyone.

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We defined two main indicators to measure collective and individual engagement: a quantitative, i.e. an intensity indicator, and a qualitative indicator. The analysis is completed by crossing both indicators and adding the time variable.

Intensity refers to the level of interaction on the application. The more badges (taps and re-taps) given and received, that is, the more the expressions of appraisal, the greater the workplace cohesion should be. We can observe intensity over time and interpret it according to the respective context. For instance, we noticed that breaks in interaction were associated to the pressure of tight deadlines, not necessarily to lack of engagement. After accomplishing the deadlines, the numbers of appraisal went back to normal.

Badges define the quality of interaction. Each type of badge represents a type of recognition (i.e. value or behavior) given and received by co-workers. By crossing this information with the number of taps, we are able to relate the frequency of a certain value or behavior (e.g. knowledge share, fast and furious, a job is well done, creative thinker) to a person, a team, a department or the whole company.

This analysis allows team leaders or managers to know the better individual and collective strengths and weaknesses. This represents an opportunity to improve this or that skill through training, incentives or a simple conversation. At the same time, we can measure what people value the most (i.e. the kind of behavior that co-workers reward the most). Better knowledge on teams and individuals’ values allows getting the best out them. Crossing both indicators is also useful to understand the circles of influence. In other words, individuals who receive more taps in this or that domain (i.e. different badges) are the ones who inspire the most who expresses appraisal. For us, this information is interesting but requires no particular action.

In addition, each individual receives a weekly report regarding his or her «performance». By being aware of his strengths or weaknesses, individuals can be more proactive in adapting to the requirements of their professional context. The time variable allows seeing individual and collective evolution in each domain. Finally, these metrics can be compared to the course of business.

So far, the results have been encouraging. We were able to increase the levels of engagement by measuring it and by acting on what needed to be improved.

Bottom line, being sensitive to engagement is a good starting point to change a workplace for the better. However, it is much easier to do it if you are equipped with the right tools.

 

Create your team and try Tap My Back

How to increase employee engagement

Employee engagement is driven by intrinsic motivation. Certainly, money is a motivator and if your employees are not being paid enough they won’t be encouraged to work. However, once money isn’t a problem, employees will need other kinds of motivation.

According to Daniel Pink, extrinsic motivators that promote a reward and punishment approach only work for tasks with a simple set of tools, a narrow focus, and a clear objective. Rewards by their nature narrow our focus and concentrate the mind. So in fact, rewards are not a good approach to reach engagement in the long term.

A social experiment done with students showed that with mechanical skills, rewards worked as expected – the higher the pay, the better the performance. In contrast, with rudimentary cognitive skills, a large bonus led to poorer or even worse performance.

Tasks that involve creativity, motor skills and concentration require intrinsic motivation, which is the desire to do things because they matter, or feel somehow important to us.

As stated by Daniel Pink, intrinsic motivation has three elements that work as drivers to engagement: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.

Achieve engagement: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose

These are the elements that will help you understand how to achieve engagement within your organization – and Tap My Back can support you in conquering this.

1. What does autonomy mean?

Autonomy is the urge to conduct our own lives. If managers want to create engagement, self-direction is the way to go.

There are four main aspects of autonomy: time, technique, team and task. When employees have control over their time and tasks, for example, it allows them to explore creative ideas and innovative solutions.

Furthermore, being flexible with working practices and having great relationships with teammates also helps with autonomy.

Likewise, Tracey Maylett agrees that autonomy without trust is impossible. Ultimately, employees who make more decisions are more content and devoted to their jobs. This helps to improve retention.

2. How is mastery a motivational element?

Mastery is the desire to continually improve at something that matters. This is actually what Pink considers to be the biggest motivator at work: making progress!

Many social scientists argue that managers should arrange tasks that push employees out of their comfort zone. They should be neither too simple or overly exigent. When someone is motivated by mastery they will likely see their potential as being unlimited, constantly seeking to improve their skills.

3. In what way does purpose contribute to engagement?

At last, the final element that contributes to work engagement is purpose, one of the most powerful. Pink describes purpose as the desire to do things in service of something larger than ourselves. People intrinsically want to do things that matter, to contribute.

In that sense, feeling that you can make a difference is more important than profit maximization.

According to Forbes, employees that have purpose at work are more likely to grow within the organization, to recommend the company, to stay longer, and to have strong relationships with their peers.

Tap My Back and employee engagement

      1. Autonomy

A key factor for autonomy is trust. With Tap My Back, you can create trusting relationships between employees by establishing a real-time feedback and recognition culture. Consequently, trustworthy relations enables accountability and work autonomy.

       2. Mastery

Personal achievement is highly valued by employees since it contributes to their inner drive. Having real-time feedback from managers and colleagues can trigger this because it accelerates personal growth. This is a plus when working with Tap My Back as it provides personal analytics that helps tracking new personal development opportunities.

        3. Purpose

By having the company’s values, mission and goals connected with employees, managers are able to add purpose to their lives and workday. Employees need to know and understand these and appreciate how their work fits into what the organization is about. Tap My Back allows organizations to reinforce their values and make employees feel more impactful through continuous feedback and recognition.

 

By improving employee engagement you are also able to increase retention in your organization!

 

Boost employee engagement today by setting a free trial with Tap My Back 😉

 


 

Motivate Your Team a Day At a Time

Sometimes a simple public appraisal can make the difference to motivate your team.

Taking that into consideration, we added a new feature to our employee recognition software. We now provide a simple way for a team leader to share a message with his or her team. It can be an inspiring quote from Einstein, a share of an interesting article or just a fun video to wish all team a great weekend.

The team admin just has to go to Menu>Manage>Team Message and type the message up to 500 characters he or she wants to display on the public feed to all the team.

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After clicking save, the user is redirected to the main feed where the message is already available.

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To change or delete the message the user just have to go to the previews screen and edit or clean the message.

It’s a simple new tool to promote engagement and to give an extra boost for the extra mile.

Tap My Back is an Employee Engagement Software available on your browser or mobile app.

 

Create your team and try Tap My Back

How to motivate employees

Wondering how to motivate employees?

Tap My Back  – Employee Feedback App and Real-Time Recognition

The secret to motivate employees seems to rely on knowing your team individuals well, and consequently customize the way you recognize and motivate them according to their specific preferences.

Recent studies proved that the key to motivating employees is far from being money centered. Therefore, it is essential that you understand what you need to do in order to keep your team engaged and focused on the common goal. You’ll need to spend at least as much time building an engaging ecosystem as you’ll do hiring new people and motivating your staff.

 

How to motivate employees

1. Stop Micromanaging

Even though people often look at you as you were Superman, it does not mean you actually have his super-powers. Being a manager at the same time you are an employee is something that only Clark Kent could dream of.

Alysa Gregory
 wrote a pretty insightful post on how you can effectively address this common problem with specific techniques. The problem with micromanagement is that it will make your employees too much dependent on you for direction and therefore less likely to learn, think and produce quality outcomes for themselves. Provide direction and give assistance when required but also provide freedom for employees to do things their own way.

2. Give ownership

Over time workers can develop what’s called tunnel vision making them start focusing only on their own duties and deadlines. Rather than working for the company goals, they work towards meeting the minimum requirements.

Forbes article recently explores the advantages in leveraging something they defined as “psychological ownership” – the extent to which an employee feels as though their organization or their job is “theirs” (i.e., “this is MY company!”) to the point that the company becomes an important part of an employee’s self-identity.

In order to foster this mentality across your team, you should guarantee that each collaborator gets to understand how his role impacts directly the final customer as well as his colleagues. Only then it’s possible to motivate employees.

Make sure your team feels responsible for what the customer is buying

3. Push employees out of the comfort zone

Even though some managers feel their staff does little further from what it is required of them, the fact is that by nature most people do get bored of doing a specific task over and over again.
Therefore, a key ingredient to make people step out of the comfort zone relies on leadership. It starts with you. Step out of your comfort zone and describe the process to your staff as well as the reasons why. Your behavior will soon resonate. Then, be ready to identify barriers and understand what motivates the individuals in order to guide your employees’ breakthroughs.

Staying within your comfort zone is a good way to prepare for today, but it’s a terrible way to prepare for tomorrow – David Peterson, Director, Executive Coaching & Leadership at Google

 

4. Share information constantly

When you are growing fast, assumptions and goals change in the same pace. As a business leader, you have a clearer perspective on the bigger picture than your employees do.

Spreading the intel gets everyone on the same layer as you are and at the same time strengthens the feeling among workers that they are an important part of the organization. Nowadays, you can easily share information through several different ways:
– Standup meetings
– Daily wrap up emails
– Open Documents (Google Docs)
– Team instant messaging tools (SlackFacebook for teams )
– Project management tools (TrelloAsana )

 

5. Create an environment focused on the top performers

All the efforts you put into improving your team working conditions should always be focused in satisfying the top performing employees.

Eitan Sharir
 develops a thorough analysis on the impact a team build upon an high-performance culture may generate.
Your mission is to understand the best way to motivate your most talented employees in order to improve their production rate. Get to know what are the roadblocks they’re hitting and make sure you clear them so that they have no barriers to get the most important work done.

 

6. Use a simple employee recognition

Most recent studies indicate that employees feel recognition more fulfilling than any money rewards or gifts. Even though almost everyone already get this point, managers struggle to deliver constant recognition and feedback when there’s no system implemented that eases the process.

Tap my Back
 tackles most of these challenges. It is a tool designed to facilitate both upwards and downwards recognition in a fun and frictionless way. Either for remote or local teams recognition may be made public or privately to any specific worker. On top of it, team leaders have access to analytics on the taps given so that they can extract insights that make them better managers.

7. Fire underperformers

Even though it may seem a paradox in terms of team motivation, firing underperformers actually works well on motivating your best employees. When other employees see these individuals getting away with underperformance, then they start to underperform. Therefore, firing—as long as you explain to your team why people were fired—can actually motivate employees to improve daily.

8. Encourage Innovation and Creativity

As a manager, you must realize that the vast majority of innovations come from the people who are manufacturing your products or designing your services, who are interacting with customers.

Fostering creativity will not only bolster employee motivation within the organization but also help in creating a more flexible working environment as it creates an openness to change.

Disruption either in terms of products, markets or processes is the common ground of every growing company

9. Invest in staff learning opportunities

People who get the chance to grow their skills and expertise to take more pride in their jobs, you should motivate employees in your organization to gain new skills.

However, providing trainings and learning programs is not enough. You must ensure that employees are able to apply the knowledge gained to accomplish their work and further benefit their career utility.
You can do this in many ways, such as providing on-the-job training and other opportunities to teach your employees new skills.

10. Do not hire Clones

It often happens that new employees dress, sound and think the same way as the one who recruited them.
The last thing any entrepreneur should try is to recruit a bunch of”mini-me’s”. Rather try surrounding yourself with experts who excel in different areas and bring unique perspectives. It will create a much more exciting environment for everyone on your company.

 

Start now our 7-day free trial!

Interview with employee engagement expert: Margy Bresslour

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Margy Bresslour is the founder and CEO of Moving Messages, a company dedicated to encouraging the expression of appreciation, acknowledgement, recognition, and gratitude to people who make a difference to you and/or contribute to the success of your company or organization. Employee satisfaction is one of the top 3 priorities. She took the time to answer a few questions for Tap My Back that we are very glad to share with all of you.

TMB: Do you remember when you started to get passionate about employee engagement and leadership? Was there a defining moment?

Margy: I spent years working as an Executive Director of mentoring programs for youth at risk. At the organizations where I worked, we placed a focus on acknowledgements. Many of our youth came from dysfunctional homes where they rarely, if ever, heard a positive word about themselves. I could clearly see the difference it made to our young people when they heard an acknowledgment about their strengths and characteristics, many of which they hadn’t been aware of before. They began to grow and blossom. Shortly after leaving my job and starting my new business, I began to read about appreciation in the workplace. I found it disheartening to learn from the U.S. Department of Labor research that the number one reason people leave their jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated or valued for who they are or what they bring into the workplace. It doesn’t take much time or effort to let colleagues know you appreciate them and it makes a huge difference in how they feel about themselves and how engaged and productive they are at work.

TMB: Some people say engagement is not that important as it treats employees only as mere tools for productivity and not as human beings. What do you have to say about that?

Margy: Engaged employees are critical to the success of any organization. Engagement strategies won’t work if they are designed with the thought that “I’ll do this (recognize you) in exchange for an expectation of something (more productivity) from you.” The ulterior motive and the lack of sincerity will be obvious. In fact, those methods very likely will worsen the problem of disengaged employees. It’s not hard for those you deal with to pick up on your lack of sincerity or authenticity. If instead, you sincerely focus on the whole person and know that all humans want to be appreciated, valued, heard, and believe that they belong, then, you most likely will have a positive impact on engagement in your workplace. Individuals are engaged when the culture is human-centered. A human-centered culture encompasses a mission/vision that employees believe in, jobs that are challenging and fulfilling, and sincere acknowledgments for contributions made. In such a culture, individuals feel cared for, experience growth opportunities, and develop trust. Open communication leads to a culture of integrity and an environment in which employees are fully committed and engaged. Cultures based on human-centered models are a win-win for both the individual and the organization.

TMB: What are the best ways to measure engagement inside a team or company?

Margy: A well-crafted survey might get you the big picture and point out issues. However, the best way to interpret, and understand the results, and determine best strategies for making improvements is by speaking individually to employees. We interpret results through our frame of reference. Talking with individuals will help give voice and understanding to responses. You can learn more from conversations because you can dig deeper and ask tailored questions.

TMB: A study says that 64% of all employees who quit their jobs didn’t feel recognized for their work. Should we worry?

Margy: Turnover costs are expensive – advertising, interviewing, training, making up for lost work,increasing workloads, etc. It’s not just the dollar amount of replacing a good employee, it’s the toll the loss takes on the person who left and those left behind. When an employee decides to leave their workplace because they don’t feel valued, those emotions take a toll on that person who no doubt has begun to question their value. It’s a painful process. Also, those left behind often experience a loss – of that person, of the knowledge that person takes with them, of the camaraderie, of the tasks that person performed that may now be on their plate. The loss of a valuable employee takes a toll on the entire organization in terms of productivity, engagement, and the bottom line.

TMB: Can you give me five simple ideas any leader of any company can use to motivate his/her staff?

Margy:
1. Take time to get to know your individual staff members. Who are they? What do they enjoy doing outside of work? What makes them feel fulfilled? What motivates them to do their best?
2. Listen to their ideas and take steps to incorporate their feedback.
3. Acknowledge them for qualities and characteristics they bring into the workplace. Appreciate their good work.
4. Inquire about their longer term career goals. Help them grow and learn new skills. Help them develop a plan to reach those goals.
5. Provide them with the tools, skills, coaching they need to do their best work. Take an interest. Remove barriers to their success.
6. Make sure they are aware of the contribution the organization is making (mission and vision). Align the job they are doing to the mission. Help them to see the difference they are making through their contribution.

TMB: Traditional annual performance reviews vs continuous feedback? Who wins your heart?

Margy: Continuous feedback and traditional annual performance review are both important, but for different reasons. When done well, they should complement each other. It’s helpful to receive regular and frequent feedback so you know you’re on the right path and can make corrections if not. Performance evaluations at the annual review shouldn’t be a surprise if feedback is given throughout the year. Annual performance reviews are essential, too. If done well, annual performance reviews can provide the employee with wider feedback from multiple sources. Annual performance reviews can also help evaluate how each employee is doing towards achieving existing goals and can be used to establish new goals for the next year. The annual review can also help identify a career path for the future.

TMB: Millennials, do they have a great impact on how managers see employee engagement?

Margy: I have a hard time grouping a generation of people. I suspect there’s huge variation within a generation of people.

TMB: Is public recognition really so much better than money when it comes to staff motivation? And in the long run?

Margy: Each of us has a particular way that we best receive the impact of recognition, depending on how we are motivated. Some people love public recognition; others have a tremendous dislike of public displays of appreciation. For those people, public recognition does not resonate and the intention of the recognition misses the mark. Some people enjoy gifts or monetary gains or incentives. For those people the money is a sign of endorsement and a motivator. Some people are motivated by being given more challenges which is an expression of trust. All human beings want to know that they matter, that what they do and who they are matters. It’s important to understand what motivates each person if you want recognition to resonate.

Our many thanks to Margy for her time and awesome insights. If you want to know more about her, here are some links:
http://www.moving-messages.com/
@MovingMsgs

If you want to know more about Tap My Back, an employee engagement software, you can visit us and try it for free here.

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