Boss vs Leader

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More and more, leadership is evolving. People don’t respond as they used to traditional management. The old boss who gives the order is dying. Thank God! A leader should inspire and lead by example. To whom who might think they are the same, let’s see some differences:

Compassion

Boss: You’re having problems at home? And? You should keep your personal problems away from work.
Leader: You’re having problems at home? If you need to take a day of to sort them out, just let me know.

Team-Spirit

Boss: As I said yesterday…
Leader: As we discussed yesterday…

People Development

Boss: You should know how to do this with your eyes closed!
Leader: I signed you up for a workshop so you can learn how to do this.

Respect vs Fear

Boss: If you fail, you’ll suffer the consequences.
Leader: I’ve failed a lot of times. If you fail, it’s an opportunity to learn.

Management

Boss: Let me check everything you’ve done before you send it.
Leader: Just send it, I trust your decisions.

Action

Boss: Tomorrow you’ll have to work late.
Leader: Tomorrow we’ll have to work a couple more hours. Who’s with me?

Vision

Boss: We need instant results!
Leader: This will pay of in the future.

Trust

Boss: Bye,
Leader: Let’s grab a beer after work?

Processes vs People

Boss: We have to invest in better computers.
Leader: We have to invest in HR and talent development.

Recognition

Boss: I’m very proud of the work I’ve done.
Leader: Congratulations to all of you! You’ve done it again!

Fortunately, we think the old habits are dying and more and more team leaders are adopting and being hired by their inspirational side. Leaders praise, leaders recognize their staff to keep them motivated. A great way to start being a leader today is to use Tap My Back, an employee recognition app software that will boost your team engagement and make it stronger! You can try it here for free.

Create your team and try Tap My Back

What Is Employee Engagement Software?

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A quick search on Capterra will suffice to find dozens of these products. What are employee engagement software and its purpose? How to choose the best solution for your needs?

Following Bruno Latour’s studies on scientific working environments, one important conclusion caught our attention: any organization needs purposeful actions to attain its survival and development. Within the human resources context, a new kind of solution to assure a healthy organization seems to be gaining momentum: the employee engagement software.

This kind of solution aims at improving communication and helping people feeling motivated, more committed to their peers or hierarchy, and aligned with the values and goals of a team or a company. As a result, productivity should rise. How is this possible?

Employee engagement products are comprehensive toolkits. The difference between them lies in the different combinations of a wide spectrum of features, or in different priorities given to this or that feature. Despite the variety, most of the products converge to a basic set of solutions.

A TRANSVERSAL COMMUNICATION CHANNEL.

This type of software offers a transversal communication channel based on instant messaging and social networking features for the exchange of all types of information between teams, departments and levels of hierarchy. In addition, it can work across different devices (desktop or mobile) and it allows integration with email, social networks, slack, etc.. A transversal channel reduces dispersed and redundant information. It also allows overcoming barriers to communication created by the imperfect articulation between email, intranet, phone extensions, teams, departments and hierarchy. As such, relevant information (goals, ideas, results or proposals) gets to the right people at the right time. Additionally, members of a company get the chance to know each other better by having access to colleague’s profiles and by interacting more with each other. Bottom line, improved communication contributes to engagement in terms of clearer purposes and more collaboration.

EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION

Recognition refers to the fundamental set of tools of the employee engagement software. These are based on appraisal, evaluations and rewards. An employee or a decision-maker can receive badges, awards, kudos, taps, praising messages and rewards for their hard work, for helping colleagues, for spreading good vibes or for their skills. Within the market offering, different applications emphasize different types of recognition (rewards or appraisals). It is also possible to find software that allows customization by changing the balance between this or that form of recognition, by choosing a funnier or a more formal badge, or different types of rewards (vouchers, gift cards, access to different shopping platforms). Gamification elements such as points, levels or leaderboards make it even more exciting. Recognition can be public or private, it depends on the software or on what is best for the team or the company. Finally, some products offer survey features, which are supposed to give a voice to employee’s concerns, needs and to evaluate motivation. In the end, recognition promotes a positive emotional involvement, which translates into engagement.

ANALYTICS

Most of the applications include several diagnostic tools (graphs, charts and reports) based on different indicators for measuring engagement (the type of recognition given and received; levels of motivation, satisfaction, individual performance and interaction). This information is useful to take the pulse of an organization, to know better a team or an employee, to decide if it is necessary to intervene in this or that area and if someone needs some kind of incentive. In sum, analytics is useful to measure engagement and to foster it with precision.

A REAL-TIME AND CONTINUOUS SOLUTION

Recognition, metrics and transversal communication channels are not new. What is new in this software is the fact that it promotes continuity and real-time results. Contrarily to random or occasional recognition, or to yearly time-consuming surveys, evaluations and reports, a focus on real-time and continuity allows engagement initiatives to happen in the right context, at the right time. Employees are praised and helped when they should, ideas or solutions are used when they make sense and the view on the organizational situation is much clearer. In this way, engagement software helps workers feel that they count and everyone, managers included, is able to see the results and to try to improve them. In the end, everything converges to more productivity.

With so many options, how to choose the right software? Pricing information tells you if a product is suitable for your budget. It also informs you about the minimum and the maximum number of employees it supports and the price per employee. These details are useful to know if the software is appropriate for a team, a small or a big company. Are there any special prices for startups? Is there a trial period? Do you manage the sales department? Perhaps you should consider software with a good reward system and leaderboards. Are you a team leader? Maybe the product with nice peer-to-peer appraisal features is the right one for team building. Are you a human resources manager? Good survey and analytics tools will be useful. Do your team members work in different places? How good is the mobile application? Are you a corporate executive? Maybe you are interested in top-down communication features to promote corporate values and vision. The list of examples goes on. We hope that these tips will help your choice.

If you like this article you should also like this employee engagement infographic.

Boost your employee engagement now and create your team at www.tapmyback.com

 

Thoughts on HR and employee appreciation – William Tincup

Tap My Back  – The simplest Employee Feedback app

In this interview, William Tincup shares his thoughts on the current and future state of HR and employee appreciation. A curious soul, an easy-going conversation and a bunch of thoughts on employee appreciation best practices. William is the President of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a Writer, Speaker, Advisor, Consultant, Investor, Storyteller & Teacher. He’s been writing about HR related issues for over a decade. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 18 HR technology startups1. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama of Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.

For the few that might have never heard about you, how would you pitch yourself?

I think I’m just a curious soul. The way I came into HR is pretty interesting, I came from marketing. I owned an ad agency and a part of my role as the owner was to deal with talent, meaning payroll, benefits, internship programs, mentorship programs and kind of all the different pieces of HR.

Being a non-traditional practitioner of recruiting and HR the more I was dealing with this kind of tasks the more curious I was getting about HR.

By the time I decided to sell the equity I owned at the marketing agency I was already obsessed about what’s best, what works, what doesn’t and especially the intersection with technology.

Finding and learning how technology may help us, fulfills our hopes and dreams; it’s what makes me wake up more curious every day.

Do you agree that we are moving one step further from the concept of employee engagement into something broader called employee experience? How does this unfolds within the companies?

Yeah, there’s a couple of things that I really like regarding that evolution.

One is related to the fact that people already started to understand that engagement benefits everybody, it’s in everyone’s best interests. It’s in our best interests as employees, as leaders, etc.

We all want to be engaged, we all want to be in environments where we’re engaged and we also want to engage others. From a company’s perspective why do it? Well, companies do it for a couple of reasons, they do it to get more out of people, to get people’s discretionary effort. How do you get people to work beyond what they’re willing to work?

They have to be engaged, no one’s going to do more work for the same amount of money or less if they’re not engaged through something that goes beyond money.

Engagement is like recycling. We all know we should focus on engaging people. There are loads of research studies that show that more engagement leads to more production and therefore with engaged employees you’ll get better results. So we know it’s a good thing, we all agree it’s a good thing however the fall down or the discrepancy is related to how do you do it? What are the practical applications of engagement? What’s best for one company might not be the best for another company. The way we think of engagement is more or less something that changes as it relates to the employees, the managers, the company, the values, the market, the competition and we shouldn’t think one fits all.

Like a lot people look at Zappos and say they have a wonderful culture, they look at Amazon and say they have a bad culture. What’s lost in that is that it isn’t good and bad. I mean typically there are some things that are despicable and not despicable but not, good and bad.

Amazon’s culture focus on people being intelligent, working hard, in the end, a meritocracy oriented culture and so their systems of engagement need to be different than a company like Zappos.

It doesn’t mean they are either good or bad it just means that they fit the people that want to work there and so I think what I like about you kind of moving us over to employee experience rather than engagement is that the first encompasses the notion that you and me can walk into the same bit and have a different experience.

I like the idea of thinking about experiences because there’s the user experience, the customer experience, the employee experience, it’s a journey, it’s what you want people to feel, taste, smell and so companies should think about that in order to create it for people.

I WANT TO RECOGNIZE MY TEAM

Should companies invest as much as satisfying customers as having happy employees?

Well if you’re a consumer brand like Nike, employees are customers as well.  Now, with b2b it’s a little bit harder, products or government or something like that it’s a little bit harder.

I think it’s the treatment and let’s just put cost aside for a moment and think about how do you, as a company want to treat people.
What are your values, as a company you have shared values and that’s top to bottom, that’s left or right that’s everybody? How do you want to treat people? What’s the treatment of your customers? Do you want to make them feel special? Do you want them to feel like raving fans? Do you want to engage them in a way that makes them tell about you to other people in a good way? If that’s true then you spend money to help programmatically get that outcome then why wouldn’t you look at employees like that?

Everyone has a Twitter account everyone’s on Facebook everyone has a cell phone or a smartphone and they can text a thousand people at once. We’re to the point now where every single person has their own megaphone and so we treat customers because we want them to have a good experience, but if we treat them in one way at the exclusion of the employees then we’re failing.

It’s a commonly accepted fact that performance reviews currently do not work. What is the main reason behind that?

First of all, in recruiting you have a romance period, we find talent, we romance and we get all the way to a point where we drop them off to be on-boarded and it’s a soulless windowless take on the job and task at hands.

We kind of hope that it works out for people and at one point we then give them a performance review and in that performance review what we give them are pieces of advice that are best for them.

Performance management has always struggled and possibly will always struggle with whose interest is being served with performance management. I mean are you giving the employee advice for his benefit or are those for the company’s benefit. We like to think that it’s for both.

I want the employees to be better and the company as well but what if I have to give the employees advice that’s actually counter to the company’s interests. Do I as a leader should give him that advice?

Imagine this situation: I’ve seen that an employee has grown, he’s doing awesome but really what he needs is that next step, an international experience. However, our company doesn’t have any of that and we’re not going to have any for a while and it’s an employee’s best interest that I tell him: Hey, you should really take another job potentially outside of this company so that you can get this international experience and you’re better.

Now, would I ever give you that advice? And that’s the struggle of performance management, one of the many struggles of performance measurement is whose interest does it serve? Does it serve the company’s interest or does it serve the individual’s interests? And there are a few examples from the marketplace where companies actually give the employee career path advice which is just for the employee and not really tethered to the company.

However, most of the performance management systems that you see out there today, they serve the company’s interests and that’s what they are created for.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The problem is employers think that they’re doing employees a favour by giving them performance management, but even though it’s only in the company’s best interests they couch it in like: “no this is going to help you”. Well let’s stop lying about that, my opinion is let’s just stop let’s let that go and tell people: “hey this actually for us so that we do better so that we make sure that we’re on the right track and we get the most out of you because we want the best version of you while you’re with us. We’re going to train you we’re going to help you, we’re going to throw some stuff in but at the end of the day we want the best version of you while you’re with us, and that should be ok.

But now the game as an employee it’s like: “Ok I’m sure to play the game. If you’re not really trying to make me better and make sure that I perform at my highest so that I can get more money or knowledge or social accomplishment then I’ll develop myself off to the side, I’ll do it elsewhere.”

Managers just should be straight up front with people when doing performance reviews. So you wouldn’t agree Millennials are one of the reasons why performance reviews stopped working?

No, I actually don’t blame Millennials I think this would have happened no matter what. I think this is just where we are in a society that we’re in this era of transparency and I think that this would have happened regardless of being the millennials, generation X, baby boomers or whatever. So I think it’s just more of where we are as a society than it is about one particular generation or another.

Intelligence is a buzzword in HR. In your opinion Where does intelligence stand regarding HR and recruiting?

First of all, you should map it back to what’s important to the company. There are several ways people can be “intelligent”. You can strive in emotional intelligence or you know there’s personality and so I kind of look at all of those different things in spokes, not the wheel and so what are the spokes that are important to the company? The values of the company, the trajectory, the mission, the vision, all of those things. What’s really important to the company? And then how do those things align with what the company has going on.

So to put that in kind of a real-world example, one of the key cornerstones of emotional intelligence is empathy. Let’s say that a part of our company mission was to reduce homelessness in the world, having people that aren’t empathetic on staff is counter to the interest of the whole mission of the firm. So you kind of see how it dovetails like the mission set forth where we want to go what’s true north and if you don’t have the people with the right toolset that can help you get there, you won’t get there.

If we hired 100 really great people but they’re all lacking in empathy or really low scores of empathy, we’re not going to get there as there’s no way we can reach our goals with that team. It’s like having Champions League aspirations and not the roster or the talent or the payroll to support that.

So you set the dream, you set that vision first and you backfill it with the right people with the right skill set. I think that I would look at what’s the purpose of the company, what’s the mission, vision, values, where we want to go and then it’s sort of how do we staff this with the people the most competent the most passionate about what we’re doing.  By the way, the most competent and I would put emotional intelligence in there as a factor of competence not that one is more competent than the other one just more appropriate for the use than the other.

Speaking about intelligence, and being you at the intersection of technology and HR, how do you look to Artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc?

Machine learning, AI and so on are tools that speak for the data. Up till now, we’ve not had the expectation that databases or data would inform us. Now what you’re seeing, even though at very early stages, is the expectation of having data tell us something. I think we’re really living in a interesting time because, we expect, the practitioners expect, the vendors expect, the investment community expects that it’s not just about dumb databases, data has to tell you something and you and I are going to live through a phase where insights that used to be remarkable are going to become commonplace, a commodity. Everyone’s going to have access to similarly intelligent tools that will provide similar insights. The bigger question is, what will you do with it? How do you turn it into action?

So artificial intelligence in a near future will not only give you insights but also a rational decision of what you should do so that insights become action.

Currently, people are throwing a lot of stuff against the wall to see what sticks but you and I are going to see it play out. Expectations are completely changed and what people are willing to take and pay for is going to change as well. Insights are not going to be near as important as insights that lead to action.

Do I think that’s going to happen over one year or ten years? I have no idea there’s no way to know and so that’s the fun and fantastic phase where every time we wake up something completely new is being delivered.

What do you think companies can do to tackle the different needs every employee has? Can you give me any actionable tip managers, companies and HR staff can actually do to keep them engaged, motivated and therefore perform at their peak?

Here’s the hard thing, standards are our biggest enemy and it’s going to sound hard to say, because we’ve fallen in love with standards and the thing is that one of the premises of standards is that you should treat everyone the same, it’s just like cookie cutters, everybody gets to same treatment . It’s like a shortcut for our brain. We rely on standards because it’s easier thinking that everyone needs the same but we know in our hearts that it isn’t like that.

So you take a football example like Real Madrid or Barcelona. Imagine one of those players that are world class hall of Famers, with the likes of a Messi or Ronaldo. The point is those guys are so special and so unique and so good and gifted and talented. Can you imagine treating them the exact same way you would treat a seventeen-year-old that’s on the reserves? Well, you’d never do it. You’d never say to Ronaldo: look I’m gonna put you in the same hotel I’m going to give you the exact same bus service and whole the same treatment as a 17 years old reserve? No, hell no! There’s no way you do that right? So imagine if we were running this as if we were running a football club and I think it’s actually really good to think of talent like that because what football clubs do really well is that they treat people differently.

They know exactly what each guy needs and they give them that. You need more training, you need to spend more time with a goalie, you need to do this we’re gonna do that. If they need a private plane, a special car or anything else their “Manager” is going to provide. They give each guy on the squad exactly what they need, no more no less. They don’t give him extra stuff they don’t malfit him in any way they don’t treat him like cookie cutters they don’t do any of that stuff, they treat him uniquely as they should and as different people. I think we’ve hidden from that, we’ve run from that and we’ve latched on to standards far too long.

If you look at the most successful companies in the world currently it’s easy to notice that those companies are the ones that know better their customers, look at Google, Facebook and so on. They perform so well because they do their best to personalize the experience for every single customer. They understand people are different and have different needs so they do their best to know each customer and therefore provide the most personalized experience possible.

In the end, their competitive advantage is related to having much more data about people than any other company.
What’s funny about that is that it’s a part of every manager, HR staff role to be in tune and learn about what employees need and provide, that’s the game. I need to be great at kind of putting my ear to the ground and listening to what they need and then turn around providing what they need.

But I think that at the end of the day what we do is look at standards and you say to yourself are we using standards in a way that we should? Are we holding back the people that have the most potential and compromise our firm because we fall in love with standards? Because, one thing you can be sure of, that special person is going to be treated specially by somebody if not us someone will treat them special and so it becomes a game in which you either want to keep talent or you don’t? Imagine treating Messi or Ronaldo in a way that wasn’t respectful of their special nature. Do you think for a moment that those teams will be able to keep them? NO! They’ll go to Manchester or go somewhere else where the treatment is what they want. If that’s true of them that’s true of us, we’re no different than Messi and Ronaldo in that sense of if you know you’re special you’ll demand special treatment

A recent study showed that more than 15% of employees don’t see themselves working at their current company one year from now.
Should we look at this as a problem or market evolution? If you consider it a problem do you find it company’s or employee’s fault?

Here’s the deal, you want the best version of an employee while he’s with you and so if you know he’s only going to stay 1 year it’s up to you to change that. So you need to ask yourself what can you do as a leader, as a manager or as a company to keep that person interested? There are always ways you can keep them longer if you want to. The reason we have those stats is that we’re not doing stuff to make people feel special and to stay, we are not giving them a legitimate reason to stay and if we did that, if we gave them a legitimate reason to stay, guess what they would do? They would stay.

So we shouldn’t blame the Millennials or any other generation because it’s not their fault, if you feel like the company has given up or doesn’t care about you it’s time to move on.

I always used to tell my wife when she was working to corporate America: the moment you stop learning is the moment you should look for another job, that’s the very moment to jump out of the boat, it’s the very moment you say: yeah I’ll go do something else. The fact you’re not learning is both your responsibility and the company’s responsibility.

If the company’s not providing those opportunities and not building your skills and not caring enough to help you with your training and build the skill set that may get you to that next place, then why stay?

It’s like staying in an unfulfilled marriage, well would you stay? Go do something else! Life’s too short! I don’t blame a generation I think it’s really kind of comes down to the companies, they’ve got to think if they want to keep this talent, they need to be aggressive on their side and you know what? If it doesn’t work than it doesn’t work but at least the company tried.

A founder of a SMB company that can’t afford any HR Staff comes to you looking for advice because he’s struggling to keep his team motivated and focused on growing the company. What’s the best advice you would give him?

The best advice I’d give a guy in that stage, which is really pretty much anybody in the world that’s going through growth is, don’t get out in front of your skis, grow fast but grow the right way.

I learned this actually ironically enough by a phrase that came out of Liverpool Football Club and what I liked about is the fact that underlines the fact that it’s actually not just about winning , and especially in football and the sports that we love, it’s not just about winning it’s how you go about your winning . If you win and you’re a jerk or people don’t like you and your kind of throwing at people’s face and people are not rooting for you, but they’re really against you, then was winning worth it?

My best advice, I’ve been given from the triathlons guys on the swimming side, they used to say: you should “go slow to go fast” and so the whole goal when you’re swimming on that part of the triathlon is that you think about your fundamentals: your stroke, your breathing, little things. You should not think either about the guys in front of the guys behind you. When you’re just thinking about the fundamentals you slow things down and avoid wasting energies on distractions. The same should happen in the business world. If you’re running lean with no money to afford someone with HR knowledge go back to the basics. It’s people you’re managing, PEOPLE, the same species as you are. So, hear them, understand what drives them and meet their needs.

So for all the entrepreneurs, my best advice is Grow, comma grow the right way!

Employee engagement expert Patti Johnson on organizational change

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Patti Johnson is a career and workplace expert and the CEO of PeopleResults, a change and organizational development consulting firm she founded in 2004. She is the author of Make Waves: Be the One to Start Change at Work and in Life (May 2014). She took the time to answer a few questions for Tap My Back that we are very glad to share them with all of you.

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

Patti: In college, I was a leader in a student organization and saw how much commitment and buy-in mattered to results. It was my first realization that no matter what outcome you want if it involves people this couldn’t be ignored. Also, it played nicely into what I found and find interesting – human behavior, organizational culture, how change happens, etc.

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? 

Patti: We are to blame for this a bit because we have turned the discussion on engagement into surveys and metrics. Important – yes – but engagement happens one person at a time. Engagement is an individual decision and, as we know, we don’t develop our views on anything by a formula or a metric. It’s important to remember that engagement is measuring beliefs and feelings about work and organization – which is anything but concrete or constant. Good organizations want engagement and commitment, but it’s definitely not created by a tool or a metric.

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

Patti: There are many points of view on this and worth a long conversation. In my view, it’s a combination of factors: key questions on surveys, retention of the talent and skills you most want to keep, a vibrant referral network, and involvement from employees that demonstrates care for the greater “we”.  This pattern of information and the insights it gives you is richer and more accurate v. just looking at one survey metric.

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

Patti: Recognition and showing how much  you value the team is an essential part of being a good leader.  Also, recognition drives more commitment and engagement because it shows the behavior that is valued and should be repeated. We often think of recognition as a corporate program, but I don’t see it that way. When I ask people to share the moments when they felt most recognized, it is often not the big banquet or plaque, but the personal thank you’s and a manager that gave them individual recognition and often in front of others.

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

Patti:
1. Know your people as individuals. Everyone is motivated differently. Understand the differences – no one size fits all.
2. Listen more than you talk. It helps people feel heard and important and there is a great by product – you’ll learn something.
3. Don’t show up with all of the answers. This keeps everyone as a spectator. Determine how and where your team can get involved in the solution.
4. Say thank you often in a specific way and individually. Go beyond the “good job everyone”.
5. Be clear on outcomes and expectations upfront. Everyone likes to know what is expected and we are better when we do. Plus, if you can’t articulate what you want you’ll never get it.

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

Patti: Clearly continuous feedback. No contest. Think of being a parent – if your child is struggling or doing something great – do you think ‘I’ll remember that for our conversation in six months’? No, when you care about someone you give them feedback. It is the biggest favor you can do for someone you want to develop and grow to be better.

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

Patti: They should. Not all millennials are the same; however, there is a higher expectation of openness and feedback on how they are doing. I actually think this desire for more feedback is cross-generational, it’s just that other generations learned to disguise it more.

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

Patti: There is research that says that once the compensation package reaches the level of acceptance that the intangibles become more important. But, you have to reach that minimum hurdle first. Once you do, then other factors make a big difference – interesting work, environment, flexibility, manager, and recognition of course.

TMB: If I ask you what’s the worst approach to motivating and rewarding employees you’ve ever heard or seen (even if the intentions were good), what’s the first thing that pops into your mind?

Patti: Fear. It doesn’t always show up as yelling as it can also be the unspoken message of ’never make a mistake’ or that if you make one wrong move your career is over. This fear makes people cautious and keeps them on the sidelines – which is the exact opposite of what you want.

TMB: In your opinion, what are the three big trends in employee engagement for the next 5 years?

Patti:
1. Ongoing or iterative feedback and recognition
2. Greater emphasis on collaboration and community impact driven by the increase in millennials placing great importance on this.
3. Creating engagement in a constantly changing environment – which requires greater comfort with ambiguity, individuality, and flexibility.

Our many thanks to Patti for her time and awesome insights. If you want to know more about her, here are some links:
http://pattibjohnson.com/
@PattiBJohnson

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

Create your team and try Tap My Back

Leadership Feedback: What to do during a Crisis

Being a leader during a crisis: Things to do and to avoid

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Sooner or later, the best leader, the best team and the best plan will be challenged by unexpected circumstances. It can be anything: a problem concerning a vendor or a client, a sudden fall or increase in prices, a surge of flu in the workplace that hinders all deadlines, a natural hazard, or several of these things combined. How can a team leader or a CEO deal with a crisis, a situation that requires extra effort, creativity and determination? Can leadership feedback resolve this?

A leader must be present until the end

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Imagine yourself as a captain of a ship about to sink or on fire. What to do when everyone needs coordination? Would you abandon the crew in the middle of the crisis? Would you panic? The mission of a leader is to give guidance and motivate his or her group. This rule of thumb is particularly true during a crisis when a team is under stress and points of reference are no longer the same. That is why a leader cannot give up, or give in to anxiety. He or she must set the example in terms of determination, rationality, and focus. Whatever happens, a leader must stand adversity until the ship goes down or until is safe on shore.

A leader must stay positive and be a problem solver

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Picture yourself as a manager of a top restaurant in a busy day. The restaurant is full, a group of VIP customers arrives unexpectedly and someone accommodates them at the wrong table. In addition, the supplier is late and the ingredients for the chef’s special are about to end. Here, complaining, blaming others or losing your temper only increases the levels of stress, which does not solve anything. In fact, it only makes things worst. Instead, you should try to take some pressure off the shoulders of your staff, encourage them, assure that they are focused at solving the problems, and, if necessary, you should step in to give a hand.

A leader cannot control everything

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Being present and helpful does not mean giving in to the temptation of micromanagement. By trying to control everything, you risk interfering with everyone’s work. In regular circumstances, people know how to do their job. Therefore, instead of wasting your energy in useless efforts, you should use your experience, your broader view to defining priorities. Your main duty is to keep your team engaged, articulated and focused on the right solutions.

Avoid reactivity, you always need a plan.

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A plan is a way to organize resources and people according to a goal. Without a plan, reality will take control of your team and it should be the opposite. During a crisis, you need to evaluate your initial plan and ask yourself the following question: will the plan survive with some adjustments or is it necessary to conceive a new one? After deciding what is best, you need to communicate or discuss the plan with the group so everyone knows what to do and for what reason. Having a plan can make a big difference, the difference between focus and disorientation; anticipation and reactivity; solving problems and mending the damage.

Overcoming a crisis in the best way possible will reinforce team spirit, self-confidence and inspire the winning attitude.

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How to give Feedback to your manager – Manager Feedback Examples

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Whether or not socializing makes part of your daily routine at work, the fact remains that it is also part of your job and one of the reasons why you are being paid for. Even though many would disagree with the fact, a cornerstone report proves that the ones putting more effort into establishing a healthy work environment are the ones producing a higher return on investment for their employer. It is recurrent that employees don’t know how to give feedback to managers, in fact, it’s simple?

Further investigation on what component from socialization leads to a more productive workplace highlights the importance of constant feedback between co-workers. On-going feedback sets an honesty standard within the workplace, contributes to higher team cohesion and motivation and utmost guide people to desired actions.

Even though the importance of ongoing feedback is commonly recognized, you may be unsure of how to express it in your workplace and frightened about doing it with your manager. Therefore, this article is intended to guide you through the process of expressing your sincere opinion about the others and leveraging a positive outcome from doing it.

Why should I give Feedback to my boss?

There are many articles on the web referring to the importance of managers giving positive feedback to their team but only a few talks about the importance of upward feedback.

First of all, taking the initiative of giving straight-forward feedback will show your manager you are not afraid to do what it takes in order to sort out things, if you do it with your boss you’ll most probably do it with customers or any other task you are entitled of.

Secondly, your boss has a human brain and therefore an ego too. Every human being, no matter the status likes to be praised. We all yearn to feel important, it’s due to our brain morphology. Praise boosts one’s self-esteem, you must have experienced it yourself. When you receive genuine praise it makes your body release energy, you get a smile on your face, your spirits soar and you have a new aura on you. Based on the fact that your manager is indeed a human being the same will happen to him. And making your boss happy is certainly something positive for your wellbeing.

How to ask for Feedback?

Upward feedback is one of the most impactful actions when it comes to improving your career. However, the way you deliver your feedback may undermine its potential. For many years corporates fostered the unapproachability image of managers difficulting two-way feedback. You may still be frightened to express a sincere thought to your manager, but the tips below will help you address your fears and leverage the opportunity for upward feedback. To know more about how to ask for feedback check THIS.

The timing for upward feedback

Human relationships are all about context. In a utopian society, we would share the exact same context. Therefore, communication and people’s intentions would become much clearer.  A miss contexted feedback message to your manager will have the inverse impact you aim at first. If the out-of-context message is positive it will sound as you are aiming to please your boss. If it is negative it may sound like an insult.
Therefore, keep in mind to express your opinion on the right timing and context. According to specialists (Harvard Business review staff), feedback should be given as soon as possible after an achievement, making it easier for you and your manager to recall details.

How to express your feedback

The same way you mind timing you should consider the words you will use. When formulating your arguments, make sure you illustrate them with real examples. Also, describe exactly what you found to be positive and negative on their performance. A negative opinion should never be expressed by itself, it should be moulded into constructive and actionable insights. For instance, don’t say you don’t like the way your boss strictly controls your work hours. Say that you perform better with a less restrictive schedule and ask your manager to try it for a week. If he agrees it’s up to you to show a better performance.

Where to give feedback

Well, the place where you share your thoughts with your manager regarding his performance depends a lot on the emotional content of your message as well as on your boss personality. Tap My Back sorts this out offering a platform for instant recognition where you may choose to publicly (visible for the whole team) praise your boss or to send him a contextualized private message. The fact that the platform was built solely for feedback and recognition eases the social awkwardness of the whole process. This will also show your team how committed and motivated you are. If you are looking to ease recognition amongst your company/project so that you can all focus on driving business try creating your team.

Create your team and try Tap My Back

Employee recognition – A real problem

More motivation and happiness at the workplace through the power of peer-to-peer recognition is now available to any browser, browser extension, iOS and Android app.

THE PROBLEM

64% of employees that quit their jobs say they don’t feel recognized for their job.

INSIGHT

Studies say that public and immediate employee recognition is 10% more effective in terms of motivation than the usual money appraisal.
Teams are increasingly getting more disperse and geographically fragmented, which makes impossible a public and immediate recognition.
An effective employee recognition strategy means that all track record of the daily victories has to be saved.

HOW?

In the main feed, all taps are public and visible. Who gave, who received and why. Additionally to that are used gamification elements that drive team members to evolve, get better and check their progress on the personal profile area.
The administrator creates the team and chooses which badges are available for peer-to-peer recognition.
All team members can give a tap on the back to a coworker, all in 3 easy steps.
Activity dashboard, rankings and insights to help the administrator to better know the team.

THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT

Tap My Back is an Employee Engagement app, which is easy to use and makes peer-to-peer recognition fun.
The app allows the team leader to customize the type of actions he/she wants to promote on the team, helping him/her with valuable insights about the team.
Tap My Back is a web and mobile app that allows all employees to share recognition with each other.
Tap My Back complements the traditional annual evaluation process in the organizations, with the plus of being in real-time.

HOW DOES  IT WORK?

With Tap my back recognition flows in every level of the organization. Anyone included in the team may tap or re-tap other elements. A public feed, descriptive and personalized badges along with additional comments make part of an on-going solution that eases employee recognition through a pleasant solution.

Besides showing recognition publicly, you may use the peer evaluation feature for situations in which 1 on 1 feedback works better. Team members may evaluate others by providing feedback that can be changed constantly according to each employee momentum.

Tap my back was developed underpinned on a gamification structure. Therefore it provides managers with several insights such as top performers, low morale employees or even each person strengths and weaknesses.

Tap My Back is ideal to assess and boost employee engagement on a daily basis

“Happiness is the secret ingredient for successful businesses. If you have a happy company it will be invincible.” – Sir Richard Branson

Erika Andersen on performance and leadership

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Erika Andersen is the founding partner of Proteus, a consulting and training firm that focuses on leader readiness. She serves as coach and advisor to the senior executives of such companies as GE, Time Warner Cable, TJX, NBC Universal and Union Square Hospitality Group. Andersen is the best-selling author of Leading So People Will Follow, Being Strategic, Growing Great Employees, and Be Bad First (coming in March) and the author and host of Being Strategic with Erika Andersen on Public Television. She is also one of the most-read leadership bloggers at Forbes.com. She took the time to answer a few questions for Tap My Back regarding leadership and performance that we are very glad to share them with all of you.

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

Erika: It was in 1980. I had just started working for a small consulting company that was focused on helping people learn better at work. I was young and idealistic, and I kind of assumed that most people liked their jobs. Then we started working with a big telephone company, and I had a rude awakening. I saw how badly many people were treated at work, and how distrustful and disengaged they were as a result. It started me down a life-long path of wanting to help build better leaders, who would be better able to make work a more satisfying and productive experience for people.

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

Erika: Of course! We should worry — and be irritated at ourselves! How difficult is it to acknowledge people when they do good work? It’s easy. Think about the last time you said something kind to your kid or your spouse; “thanks for taking out the trash” or “I really appreciated you picking up the kids when I got stuck in that meeting.” Employees need exactly the same thing, and it’s that simple. Companies just need to help managers understand the impact it can have on the business (per your statistic), teach them how to do it consistently and honestly, and hold them accountable for doing it – make it part of what it means to be a successful manager.

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

Erika: People tend to think “perks” are motivating – parties, food in the break room, free tickets to concerts, etc. Those things are nice, but if you really want to inspire loyalty and results – to truly motivate people to do and be their best, it has to start with you as the leader. Who you are, how you show up every day. I’ve written and spoken about this a lot (in fact, I wrote a whole book about it called Leading So People Will Follow). What we’ve found is this: if you’re consistently Farsighted, Passionate, Courageous, Wise, Generous and Trustworthy in dealing with your people, that will be enormously motivating to them. It will elicit their respect and admiration…and they’ll do great things and follow you through whatever changes come.

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

Erika: Both. I think continuous feedback is essential – especially today, when we all read online reviews to decide whether to buy things, and watch reality TV shows where people get on-the-spot feedback about themselves or their performance. It’s also incredibly useful. At my company, Proteus, we’ve created a very feedback-rich environment, and once people get used to it, they really thrive on having real-time information about what’s working and what’s not. There’s no better medium for growth. At the same time, I think it’s very valuable to have a structured yearly conversation where you and your boss can look back and look ahead, take the long view and get a sense of how your career is trending overall – and where you need to focus your attention to keep growing.

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

Erika: There’s a lot of good data that shows that money is a good motivator only up to a certain point. After that point (which is whatever that individuals sees as a comfortable living wage), more money doesn’t motivate better performance. What does encourage higher performance? Opportunities at work for mastery, purpose and autonomy – that is, to be given the freedom and support to get good at things that are meaningful to you. These three things have been shown to be far more motivating for the vast majority of people. Dan Pink’s great book Drive gives the best explanation of and research around this of any popular book I know.

TMB: In your opinion, what are the three big trends in employee engagement for the next 5 years?

Erika: To build on the previous question: mastery, purpose and autonomy. I think we can build huge engagement by showing employees how the work they do is meaningful. Like, what they contribute to others or to the world through their actions. And also by involving them in conversations about how to make it more meaningful. We can also support their deep will to mastery by helping them to become great learners – masters of mastery, if you will. That’s a capability that’s deeply satisfying to people – and essential to building successful businesses. (It’s also the topic of my latest book, Be Bad First). And finally, I think we’ll need to satisfy people’s need for autonomy by figuring out how to make work increasingly flexible for as many people as possible: to start thinking in new ways about where, how and with whom our employees work. If we can focus on how to provide these three core elements in people’s work lives, I think we’ll be able to change today’s truly dreadful engagement statistics and build and stronger and happier workforce.

Our many thanks to Erika for her time and awesome insights. If you want to know more about her, here are some links:
http://erikaandersen.com/
@erikaandersen

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

Create your team and try Tap My Back

Top Tips and Tools to Improve your Productivity

Top Tips and Tools to Improve your Productivity

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Guest post from Signable.

At Signable HQ, we’re big believers in embracing technology – as you’d come to expect from a software company. But we don’t just rely on our own technology to help things along, we embrace a few other tools, too.

Today it’s easier than it’s ever been to find an app to help with a problem you’re having. Technology is everywhere you look, which has enabled enormous productivity gains for businesses everywhere. 64% of SMB’s are already adopting software solutions, and this is growing to an estimated 88% by 2017. But with such a saturated market, it can be difficult to spot the right solution. Which is why we’ve put together some of the favorites we use, and just how they help us achieve higher, improve productivity and a happy team.

1. Keep it simple – have a to-do list with Remember The Milk

Start with something simple. Remember The Milk is a straightforward app that you add your to-do list to. Easy right? You can organize whether you’re using for work or personal, set reminders for specific tasks, break tasks down into subtasks and of course, share your tasks with others.

By organizing your daily tasks and having the reassurance of set reminders, you can comfortably carry on with tasks, knowing that you’re not forgetting anything and reduce stress around any tasks that could have tight deadlines.

2. Be transparent and encourage communication – use Hipchat

Adopting this approach is a great start. Hipchat is a chat platform which we use every day to talk about all things Signable. And of course, all things not. It’s an incredibly useful tool which we’ve come to rely on as our central hub for communication and information. Having a central point for all your information means that you keep everything searchable, and if a team member is busy, they get to prioritize their work over being interrupted (breaking someone’s concentration is definitely not cool), by checking in with the chat when they’re ready.

By creating a culture where communication is completely open we rely less and less on internal email – this helps save time clearing down emails every morning! It also means cutting team members out of the loop is kept to a minimum, and gives us the option to work in a distributed way if need, or want, be. And giving your team that freedom means you’ll have one happy team, if Team Signable is anything to go by, anyway.

3. Keep it simple & plan your processes – use Trello

We just want to start by saying; Trello is great. Its idea is a simple one, but can be used in a lot of different ways – and Team Signable uses it to help with their day to day work.

Trello is essentially a software tool that helps you make lists. And that’s just how we use it. By creating boards specific to each department or project and within them, sections of lists for work that’s planned. Each list has individual cards with tasks which can be assigned to team members as needed. Within these teams are able to have conversations specific to that task, or add comments & updates, and notifications are sent to all parties involved in each task whenever a change or update happens.

Having work planned out in an interactive and visual way helps organize our workloads as well as encouraging collaboration. This means that as and when new ideas come to someone, it’s easier to contribute and can be done according to their schedule. While reinforcing a view that everyone’s opinion is valued.

4. Simplify sending documents – go paperless with Signable!

We might be a bit biased on this point, but if your business sends documents in any capacity, an e-signature solution is super beneficial. Signable helps to improve productivity by sending documents to its signer instantly and by removing a time consuming paper-based filing system.

Our electronic signatures are also a very effective way of making a recruitment process sleeker. As soon as you have selected your successful candidate you can immediately email their contract through the e-signature platform. They can then review and sign according to their schedule, or even on-the-go, and contracts are returned as soon as they’re completed. Removing the need for in-store visits and cut out printing and postage costs. Meaning that teams get to finish work quicker increasing their productivity and take their focus away from admin to focus on other aspects of their work.

So give them a try! By utilizing tools that up your team’s output, you’ll consequently see a boost in team morale. Cementing a culture where the staff is encouraged in a positive way to always be improving. Win-win!

 

How to motivate millennials at work

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Being a mobile and social employee recognition platform, here at Tap My Back we like to focus our attention on millennials and how to motivate them at the workplace. By next year, millennials will account 36% of the U.S. workforce, and by 2020, millennials will be half of all workers. Studies say most of them are not engaged in the companies, so how can we motivate them? Here some ways to do it.

Give them work-life balance and be flexible

Millennials have different needs when it comes to personal and social life. They are more likely to have low motivation when they are working in a rigid 9 to 5 schedule, every single day. See how they perform better and don’t be afraid to be flexible. Let them do their own schedule or even work at home. You’ll probably be surprised by the increase in productivity you’ll see. See a Millennial watching a YouTube video or browsing Instagram at work? Don’t worry, it’s just how they relax and has nothing to do with being lazy or unprofessional.

Invest in their training

Millennials are eager to learn. They are constantly absorbing huge amounts of information online and via multiple channels. They are great multitaskers and learn fast. Very fast! Invest in their training and let them try new things. They want professional development and that’s a key factor for millennial talent retention.

Give them continuous feedback

Millennials don’t like the formal annual evaluation process. Their world moves fast and is real-time. They like to have continuous feedback on what they are doing. Don’t wait for them to ask about their performance, use regular meetings, coffee breaks or other moments to advise constructive critics and compliments. You can also use some kind of continuous feedback and public recognition software, like Tap My Back 🙂

Give them responsibility

Millennials may seem a generation that doesn’t like responsibility but it’s all looks. If you want to motivate a millennial you have to give them tasks where they feel some kind of ownership. They want to make decisions and they like to take risks.

Give them mentors

Don’t think that by giving them responsibility you should leave them alone to take all decisions and to learn everything by themselves. On the contrary! Millennials have a special need for guidance and for having a mentor that they can look up to. Partner them with top performers and you’ll see a great boost in productivity and morale.

Use their techie DNA

They were born digital, connected and fast-paced. They learn about new technologies every day and they know how to use it to solve problems. Talk to them to know if they can help in any task with their technological skills and know how. They will feel appreciated for their skills and you’ll get problems solved in very creative ways.

COMPENSATION PACKAGE

Millennials expect more than just salary. The value paid lunch, health benefits and tangible rewards for their efforts. Stock options for startups are also a great incentive to engage recent grad employees. When basic compensation expectations are met, then recognition takes charge. If they are satisfied with their salary, you’ll probably get more motivation and productivity by giving them public recognition for their work, then by doing an upgrade in their paycheck.

By now, you are probably thinking «This motivation techniques should be done not only for millennials but for all employees!». You know what? That’s absolutely true. Millennials are regular people and more importantly, each person is unique and has different needs. For a leader to motivate employees, he or she has to know them on a personal level and understand what kind of person is behind the employee tag number. That’s the secret to staff motivation: to forget about the word staff and substitute it by the words human being.

If you do that, maybe you won’t get this kind of numbers between how Millennials see themselves and how HR Professionals see them.

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Want to test our team motivation feature for free? Just click here, create your team and start our employee engagement program.

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