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How to Find Budget Dollars for Employee Recognition

HR Bartender

I thought about this as I was planning my agenda for this year’s WorkHuman Conference , pioneered by Globoforce. Check out the promo code at the end of this post for a discount.). I saw that one of the sessions this year was titled “Show Me the Money: 5 Unexpected Places to Find Recognition Budget” and reached out to the speaker Rob Schmitter , solutions architect at Globoforce, to see if he would give us a sneak peek. Compensation. Let’s face it.

Cafe Classic: 3 Goblins of Employee Recognition

Compensation Cafe

Editor's Note: With Halloween fast approaching, today's Classic features Derek Irvine and his exposition of the ghosts that haunt - and can really mess with - your employee recognition efforts. On this day of ghouls, goblins and other frightening beasties, let’s look at three of the most common goblins of employee recognition I hope never grace your organization’s doorstep. This goblin looks good at first, enticing you with superficial pretty words and phrases.


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6 New Stats for Employee Recognition Skeptics


I feel lucky to work for a company that understands and invests in employee recognition and rewards. But we’ve all worked for companies or leaders who don’t buy into the concept of employee recognition. New research from Globoforce’s WorkHuman Research Institute can help you silence the skeptics. Here are six new stats from that finding: Meaningful work is more important than compensation. Compensation was third on the list.

How Employee Recognition and Inclusion Intersect

Compensation Cafe

When we talk about employee recognition in this space, the context is nearly always employee recognition and reward programs – how we recognize and celebrate employees who demonstrate company values and contribute to organizational success. But let’s not forget a basic definition of recognition: “acknowledgment of something or someone’s existence, validity, or legality.”. The simple act of recognition, to pause and say, “I see you. Recognition

Cafe Classic: Employee Recognition From The Psychology Perspective

Compensation Cafe

Editor's Note: What can Psychologists teach us about employee recognition. What do employees value most for recognition? A few findings to highlight: 1) A better recognition experience leads to better business outcomes. When these conditions are met: Recognition practices are fair. Direct supervisors provide recognition effectively. Employees value the recognition they receive. Recognition in other forms must fill the breach.

Cafe Classic: 3 Lessons for Truly Global Employee Recognition & Rewards Programs

Compensation Cafe

Editor's Note: Going global with your recognition and rewards programs? This post is inspired by Jim Brennan’s “Travel, Currency Issues and Compensation” post last week. This is a very broad example of unintended consequences from artificially controlling currency, but there are lessons we can learn about globalization of programs, especially those that impact compensation, recognition and rewards. 1) Recognition and rewards are not compensation.

Cafe Classic: Signs Your Employee Recognition Program Is in Trouble

Compensation Cafe

Editor's Note: In this Classic post, which focuses on recognition but truly speaks to employee rewards in a broader sense, Derek Irvine calls out some of the red flags that point to a program in trouble -- and offers some advice on understanding the issues and finding a way forward. I spend many hours and days with clients helping them evaluate their recognition practices and uncover areas for improvement. You retain the power of recognition.

The Business Case for Employee Recognition and Rewards

Compensation Cafe

Why do we compensate employees? But compensation professionals (and readers of this blog) know the pay cheque is but one part of a very complex agreement between employer and employee to maximize a mutually beneficial relationship. Latest in these reports is Mercer’s 2015/2016 US Compensation Planning Survey, which is well summarized in this SHRM report. Career-change opportunities within the company to keep employees on board while diversifying capabilities.

Cafe Classic: What the Oreo Cookie Can Teach Us about Employee Recognition & Rewards

Compensation Cafe

If so, then you likely experience many of the same stressors of global organizations in catering to local employee needs for appropriate compensation, benefits, recognition and rewards. It’s all too easy for HQ to think they know what employees want (in any capacity). The cookies were too big, too sweet and not at all appealing to Chinese consumers. This is a powerful lesson for HR pros creating global employee recognition programs, too.

Cafe Classic: 3 Steps to Get Even More Value Out of Compensation

Compensation Cafe

Why does compensation matter? Yes, compensation is a contractual agreement with the employee: X amount of pay for Y amount of work. In this context, compensation can be an integral element of how you focus employees and communicate to them your strategic goals.

Superpower-based Compensation

Compensation Cafe

By now, most everyone is familiar with the holocracy experiment at Zappos. One of the interesting implications, highlighted in a recent interview that Tony Hsieh gave at Wharton’s 2016 People Analytic conference, is for the topic of compensation. In a holocracy, hierarchy is based on “purpose and not people,” which frees employees to move around the company from role to role. It is possible to resign from or adopt a role or set of roles at any time.

Trends in Employee Recognition Show Growing Importance in Results-Driven, Culture-Oriented Approach

Compensation Cafe

WorldatWork’s latest “Trends in Employee Recognition Report” is out. Key highlights from this year’s report: 1) Prevalence of recognition programs in organizations continues to grow. 89% of organizations offer some sort of recognition program with an average of 4.6 different types of recognition programs in each organization. Recognizing loyalty through years of service celebrations remains the number one most common recognition program. Recognition

How Much Compensation Does it Take to Make Appreciation Unnecessary?

Compensation Cafe

Thanks to this article by Nestor Ramos and this one by Nicole Yang, both from The Boston Globe, I’m now also familiar with Brady’s compensation ($41 million in NFL contracts alone) and his sense of feeling underappreciated. Ramos’ article quotes Alison Green, author of the Ask A Manager blog, on why this phenomenon plays out, even among the highly visible and highly compensated: “I don’t think everyone feels underappreciated, but it’s true that many people do. Our U.S.

3 Innovative Compensation Ideas Ready for Prime Time

Compensation Cafe

A few innovative companies implement compensation practices that others quickly dismiss as (at best) “good for them but it will never work for us” or (at worst) “crazy, impractical and unsustainable.” They change employee commitment to their colleagues, their customers, and their company. Look at Zappos’ “I’ll pay you to quit” policy. After completing the 90-day new-hire training period, Zappos needs to know its newest employees are all-in.

3 Ideas to Get More Bang for Your Compensation Buck

Compensation Cafe

Stretching the compensation dollar isn’t always about cutting back. To get more from your compensation investment, consider these three approaches. Recent headlines told the story of the experiment conducted at Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand-based financial services firm in which CEO Andrew Barnes told employees to work 32 hours per week instead of the usual 40, but with no cut in pay. After all, employees are used to being told what to do by their employers.

Cafe Classic: Choosing the Right Currency for Compensation & Rewards

Compensation Cafe

If you polled your employees and asked them, “What kind of rewards would you prefer?”, But what employees say they want for rewards, what actually works best to motivate employees, and what employees enjoy as rewards are entirely different things. But the bottom-line we must all remember is this: Cash is the currency of compensation. Recognition and rewards requires an entirely different currency. Compensation and Recognition Rewards Are Different.

What’s the Point? Decoupling Performance Reviews and Compensation

Compensation Cafe

While I enjoy blogging here on the Compensation Café , my primary (selfish) benefit of doing so is the tremendous amount I learn every day from my fellow bloggers and readers who regularly share deeply insightful and thoughtful learnings, lessons and applications in the broad field of compensation. Today, I’d like to tap into your collective knowledge on the subject of performance and compensation. The image below is from my session at SHRM last month: .

4 Reasons to Consider Crowdsourced Compensation

Compensation Cafe

Are you just throwing money at your employees? It may seem like an odd question at first, but one that is increasingly considered. Organizations are facing greater pressure to address modern employees’ rising expectations and to also achieve greater levels of performance across the workforce. Leveraging compensation more effectively is just one area among many within HR that is coming under greater scrutiny and appears ready for transformation. Recognition

2 Unusual Markers for Compensation Planning: Focus and Relationships

Compensation Cafe

From Mike O’Neill, CEO of BMI , a music-rights management company: O’Neill’s overriding message is one of focus – focus on individual people such that you see them for who each person uniquely is; focus on the task at hand to bring your best self to each moment; and focus on the journey itself for the moments of joy possible in every understanding. And even though we felt he was a pain, he made us look at the question again. How does any of this relate to compensation?

Cafe Classic: When You Can’t Differentiate Based on Compensation, What Do You Do to Stand Out?

Compensation Cafe

A highly unscientific poll method of asking colleagues and friends about their experience with or recommendations for the annual compensation increase process (by whatever name you want to call it – merit increase, raise, cost-of-living increase) shows deep dissatisfaction with the status quo. It’s clear even companies with the best of intentions for compensation cannot compete for top talent based on pay alone. Anyone can copy your compensation plan.

The Tricky Business of Incentive Compensation

Compensation Cafe

The impact of these changes can be felt throughout the organization, from senior leadership teams responsible for successfully planning around those challenges to the front-line employees who adapt their roles and deliver on those plans. One solution has been to implement incentive compensation or “pay for performance” plans. Do all managers always take more risks when offered incentive compensation?’”. Follow Derek on Twitter at @DerekIrvine.

2 Things to Get the Most Out of Employee Recognition Programs

Compensation Cafe

Recognizing and appreciating employees for efforts, behaviors and results in line with what matters most to your organization is guaranteed to get positive results. But getting the most out of employee recognition programs requires empowering all employees to fully participate in recognition and giving managers actionable oversight of recognition itself through metrics and dashboards. 1) Trust Employees with Full Peer-to-Peer Recognition.

Inspiring Generosity through Reciprocity at Work

Compensation Cafe

At work, we are all busy. Crowdsourcing a portion of compensation through social recognition is an excellent example of how this works. How generous are your colleagues at work? He is a leader in the WorkHuman movement and the co-author of "The Power of Thanks" and his articles on fostering and managing a culture of appreciation through strategic recognition have been published in Businessweek, Workspan and HR Management. Compensation Philosophy Recognition

10 Things I Learned at Total Rewards


Brenda Pohlman (Globoforce) and Cesar Villa (The Hershey Company). It enables more humanity in the call center by empowering employees and creating happier customers. Recognition is an opportunity to drive bottom line business results. That’s what we learned in “The Power of Thanks to Empower a Multigenerational Workforce: Sweet Success at Hershey.” More individual, customized employee rewards are the future. Emotional intelligence is key to success at work.

Asked and Answered * Decoupling Performance Reviews and Compensation

Compensation Cafe

In my last post , I tackled the topic of decoupling the traditional formal performance review from compensation, asking why we hold onto old systems we are fairly confident do not work. Concern that managers won’t engage in any feedback exercise with employees without the review mechanism to force the issue. We need to serve our employees and our managers better. It is important to encourage employees to take risks. Follow Derek on Twitter at @DerekIrvine.

You Asked: Answering Your Questions about The Power of Thanks (Part 1)


Social recognition is a very powerful means of creating and managing culture, when structured in a considered, thoughtful way. Q1: A company maintains its most valued assets not by compensation, but by appreciation? There’s no question that fair compensation matters. Employees need to satisfy their base requirements for safety, security, food, etc. Maintaining your most valued assets requires an appropriate blend of both compensation and recognition.

Cafe Classic: The Power of Positivity at Work

Compensation Cafe

Have we done enough to prove engaged, happy employees are more productive and more inclined to deliver on needed success metrics? Inspiring one another at work. Buffer against negative events like stress, improving employees ability to bounce back from challenges and difficulties.

Recognizing People: A Recap of the WorkHuman Conference

Compensation Today

Not surprisingly, there was a lot of focus on the human and employee experience at the WorkHuman conference. A number of presenters shared projects that had impact on employee experience within their organizations. So as we begin to automate certain roles, HR should be at the table driving the discussion and defining new roles. 83 percent who have received recognition believe they’ve had a positive employee experience. Globoforce). Globoforce).

Cafe Classic: Is Pay a Critical Part of Culture or Not?

Compensation Cafe

They fit with our basic understanding of how organizations work, or at the very least could work better. That wasn’t the case with one of the findings from a report from The Workforce Institute at Kronos and The number one answer from 50% of those employees: pay.

Why Friends at Work Matter

Compensation Cafe

Several studies have hit the blogosphere in recent months on the importance of friends at work. It seems a “soft” topic, yet it’s friendships and deep relationships at work that drive key business factors – productivity, retention and wellness. And lately we’ve been hearing Millennials leave at an exceptionally high rate. The research also found Millennials to be much more likely to share personal details with friends at work. Follow Derek on Twitter at @DerekIrvine.

Cafe Classic: Tradition! How to Derive Great Value from Your Company’s Historical Lore

Compensation Cafe

Turning these historical moments into regular celebrations are a strong bonding element for employees to rally around. They are fully committed to the happiness of their employees and, through them, their customers. Follow Derek on Twitter at @DerekIrvine.

Cafe Classic: Empowerment is Great, But Make Sure You Have These Things First

Compensation Cafe

Editor's Note: Employee empowerment can be powerful and positive, but only if you have the right "scaffolding" in place to support the success of those empowered employees. It tells the story of a sales organization that ran an experiment in employee empowerment.

Cafe Classic: 3 Reasons Valentine’s Day (and Poorly Designed Employee Rewards) Often Goes Badly

Compensation Cafe

I think the same is true for many employee recognition and reward programs – for many of the same reasons. 3 Reasons Valentine’s Day (and Poorly Designed Employee Rewards) Often Goes Badly. They, too, are deserving of recognition for their consistently high-quality work.

Why Potential Rewards Matter More at Work than Fear of Punishment

Compensation Cafe

What motivates employees best? Or perhaps how employees feel about their work? First, published last week, research summarized in “What Motivates Employees More: Rewards or Punishments?” On the other hand, expectation of reward (promotion, recognition, bonus) triggers a response deep in the mid-brain to take action, to advance. The better employees feel about their work, the more motivated they remain over time.”. How are you most motivated at work?

Driving Employee Engagement Requires Baseline of Competitive, Fair Pay

Compensation Cafe

In the last week, a couple of research reviews have crossed my desk, both summarizing decades of research, surveys and analysis in the complex and many-layered topics of employee recognition, engagement and retention. Key findings of the report include (quoting): Employees who receive recognition are more likely to be engaged at work. Workers who receive recognition are less likely to quit. Compensation must be fair and appropriate or people will leave.

How to Alleviate Bad Days at Work

Compensation Cafe

When’s the last time you had a bad day at work? asked just this question of employees worldwide. The survey defined a bad day at as: “A day where you feel lousy on the job. You’re unhappy at work and when you come home, you definitely don’t feel like having more of those days.”. Since a bad day is influenced by numerous factors both internal and external to the workplace, it’s unsurprising that nearly all of us have had a bad day at work. Recognition

The Power of Positivity at Work

Compensation Cafe

Have we done enough to prove engaged, happy employees are more productive and more inclined to deliver on needed success metrics? From the article: In a research article published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science [Kim} Cameron and his coauthors [at the University of Michigan] found that a workplace characterized by positive and virtuous practices excels in a number of domains. Inspiring one another at work. Follow Derek on Twitter at @DerekIrvine.

Cafe Classic: Respect, Power and Results at Work

Compensation Cafe

What is your usual experience at your motor vehicle office? Regardless of what you call it, I’m learning the typical interaction at the DMV is something most dread. The actual time at the DMV was more painful, as she was shuttled to three different lines over the course of two hours. Why is this experience at the DMV so common, it’s the punch line in television commercials ? . What does this have to do with compensation? Words we use at work matter.

Cafe Classic: It Really Is the Thought (and Effort) that Counts

Compensation Cafe

Do I give a gift to my close friend at work? In specifics – don’t stop at merely saying “Thank you.” Follow Derek on Twitter at @DerekIrvine. RecognitionEditor's Note: A good time for Classic advice on giving.

When “Show Me the Money” Can Work in Your Favor

Compensation Cafe

What’s one of the least appreciated phrases for compensation professionals? Employee Experience. Why should you care if employees have a positive experience at work? Organizations that score in the top 25% on employee experience (as measured by the Employee Experience Index ), report nearly three times the return on assets and more than two times the return on sales as compared to organizations in the bottom quarter for employee experience.