Posts tagged employer
Employee Recognition - What Works?

While focusing recently on thoughts of Employee Engagement, recognition comes to the forefront to provide employees feedback on how they are doing. This can be done by a team lead, practice manager, peer, mentor, or mentee - anyone with whom the employee comes into contact. But I have a call to action today - I want to know what you’ve seen work, and what you’ve seen fail miserably.

One item that keeps being mentioned is the need for a remote connectivity tool with the workforce that is so physically scattered in today’s e-work environment. There are apps that can connect individuals where you can give “shout-outs”, make announcements, etc. Other apps, like Slack, allow you to do the same but are employee-controlled with regard to content creation and posting. Are these the best tools for remote engagement?

For in person, we know nothing replaces an in-person “atta boy”, a handwritten Thank You card, or shout-outs at the company meeting. Some companies have a discretionary bonus pool and award for core value recognition. Still others do peer-to-peer recognition on a regular basis.

We know what doesn’t tend to work: Intranets.

So what does work best for you and how often? 

Hit me up with your thoughts at

Job Expectations in Startup Mode

If you asked your employees today,

would they be able to say “Yes!” and answer with confidence, if you ask them, “Do you know what is expected of you in your job?”.

Do they know? If you asked your employees today, would they be able to say “Yes!” and answer with confidence, if you ask them, “Do you know what is expected of you in your job?”. Gallup ( contends that this is the first fundamental building block in having engaged employees. 

People who know what is expected of them have a sense of purpose and feel like they are both an active contributor to the company’s success, and feel they are part of something greater than themselves. But I would take that one step further with a startup environment: 

“Do you know what is expected of you in your job? And are you able to work toward that end on a regular basis?” I’m going to pose something radical here - Startups are different work environments altogether. And many times, putting out the fire in front of you is what the people making startups successful have to do all day, every day. Which is okay...sometimes. For a while. But how long until fire fighting becomes the modus operandi? And is it acceptable to expect your employees to firefight as their main job expectation? Or, at some point, does that begin to wear on an employee? Are your employees ever able to get to what they were hired to do before 5:45 pm on a Thursday?

What did you hire him/her for to begin with? If you hired him/her with the expectation of “You’ll be putting out fires for me on the daily.”, and he/she said, “Awesome! That’s what I’ve always wanted to do! And that’s the best use of my education and experience!”, then you’re likely in good shape. However, if you hired someone for a specific skill set, how often is that person able to use that skill set in their daily job purpose? Can they ever walk into work and be working toward that end before noon on a given day?

Make sure you’re looking critically at what you hired people to do, versus what their roles have become as time has progressed. Is that the best use of their talents, and therefore the best use of your money? Are they satisfied with what their role has become? And if not, how can you resolve it for them? Don’t settle with assuming your employees know what’s expected of them because they’re busy all day, every day. And don’t assume if they know their job is firefighting that it is an acceptable use of their time and your company’s cash to pay them for it. Ask the hard questions to determine if their assets are being used towards the optimal tasks for the maximum benefit of your company - And if not, devote the resources to adjusting it so your employees are engaged and your startup can continue down a path of success.

What #metoo Should Mean for Businesses

Between recent pressure on the film and entertainment industry, as well as the heinous crimes and cover-ups in the world of gymnastics, businesses should take current events as a wake-up call to review both current policy and practice. Here is a starting point of considerations for any business:

  • Does your company have an anti-harassment policy?

  • Is the policy written at a level that all employees in your workplace can comprehend?

  • Is it in the correct language(s) for all employees to comprehend?

  • If you have a policy, are your employees aware of it?

  • Is it in the company handbook, and if so, is the handbook acknowledged in writing?

  • Is there any type of orientation or training upon hire?

  • Is there regular (i.e. annual) refreshment training?

If you can say with certainty that all of the bullet points above are checked, you’ve got a great lead on many other businesses. But here are some additional points that businesses must ask themselves, and be forthcoming about the answers:

  • Does your culture support open communication?

  • Does your culture support a harassment-free work environment?

  • Does your business pay women and men equally for the same position with same experience?

  • Do your employees believe they can take any issue to management and have it addressed fully? Without retaliation towards them by peers or managers?

  • Has an employee ever raised a concern? About harassment or another work condition?

  • If so, how was it addressed?

So many businesses stop at the former list of bullet points; when, in reality, the latter reveals your true culture, and thereby, whether or not your workplace may have #metoo issues. Business owners must take a hard look at all points, working alongside HR, to have the minimum expectations addressed, with the culture of support to ensure the environment isn’t just tolerable for all, but ideal for all.

Connecting With Your Employees 101

I wrote in a prior blog that Connecting is 90% of what motivation is about, but I forgot something basic. For some managers, it is easy to form a bond with your employees. For many, it is incredibly complicated and is very unnatural. What is appropriate as far as communication; particularly, amount of openness? Where is the line between what should and shouldn’t be shared with regard to personal life and interests outside of work? How does a manager balance a line to not be overly friendly, and possibly blur the lines between work and friendship in a manner that could lead to misunderstanding?

More than anything, managers should attempt to form a bond with their employees. This article by helps with ten very basic ideas of how to do so: The ideas range from having lunch with your employees to working alongside them. The ideas are cost minimal as well and are key to extending the relationship with an employee beyond just work content.

When you attempt to connect with your employees, there are many things that can be discussed that are not taboo - family members, friendships, hobbies/interests, music, television, fitness, games, etc. Steering away from politics and religion is likely a good idea, especially in our current nationwide heated environment today. You want to be able to find common bonds with your employees while also not finding topics that can be abrasive or lead to discord.

It’s always the manager’s responsibility to make the effort, and make more effort, than the employee to connect. Being connected to your employees makes them more likely to be content in the workplace, as Gallup asks in their Q12 Employee Engagement Survey, “Do you have a best friend at work?” (source: While I’m not suggesting, nor would I think it appropriate, for a manager to become besties with their employees, this question inherently portrays the need for connection at work to the people with whom you are working.

Aside from overseeing daily functions, and managing the direction of the department/function, it is management’s responsibility to form connections with their employees to get to know them, thereby increasing the employee’s motivation. Which leads to job satisfaction and, ultimately, longevity and quality of performance in the employee’s role...and helping the company’s bottom line at the end of the day.