Posts tagged work
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

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.


March: Indiana's Disabilities Awareness Month

March happens to be Indiana’s Disabilities Awareness Month, and it is an awareness campaign very near to my heart. In addition to my role at FullStack, I happen to serve on the Board of Directors of Tangram (, an organization whose mission is to serve those with disabilities. But something that many people don’t know, or don’t think about, is whether or not disabled individuals can find and keep work.

Working with a disability is a huge key to independence, which is a vital part of an individual’s self-esteem. Most able-bodied and/or able-minded people can easily take that for granted. I know that I take for granted that my six year old will graduate high school, go to college and live on her own someday; but, unfortunately, I cannot assume those same things for my seven year old with high functioning autism and other developmental and behavioral disabilities.

So with March being the month of awareness here in Indiana, my Call to Action for you is this - Look around. Be aware of your surroundings. Do you currently employ individuals with disabilities of which you are aware? Do you have the workplace accessibility, for example, to have a person in a wheelchair gain access to your building? Once they gain access, can they use the restroom? Can they access the conference rooms? That is a good place to start, and the Americans with Disabilities Act dictates to employers what all is needed for those accommodations to begin with, so you’ll want to make sure if you answered “no” to any of those, that you’re looking at the requirements and may need to make changes.

But beyond that, have you ever considered hiring a person with an obvious disability? For example, a person with high functioning autism? Aside from filling an opening at your work and doing the right thing, there may be financial incentives as well involved. is a good place to start to see if this would benefit you. SAP has had a program since 2013 that is targeted at hiring individuals with autism for their workforce, and you can read more about it here:

At a minimum, if you perceive you don’t have a need that can be filled by an individual with a disability, explore the option to ensure your perception is correct. Many times we have misassumptions, and you are likely employing someone with an invisible disability about which you are not even aware (i.e. anxiety, bi-polar, depression). Basic HR 101 caveat: Whatever you do, don’t go around asking people if they have a disability about which you aren’t aware, but just be aware of your surroundings and your people and most of the time, you will find these things out as time goes on. Always be looking for ways to tap into under-utilized resources, of which individuals with disabilities - physical or mental, visible or invisible - are one of the largest pools.