HR Roundup: What Really Matters in your HR Organization

Top Areas of Focus for HR Departments

Top Areas of Focus for HR Departments


Today’s HR Roundup comes from Forbes’: The 3 Things Startup Founders Need To Know About HR, a guest post from TribeHR’s Joseph Fung.

The post is directed at startups, but it has a broader benefits to established HR organizations as well. The premise is simple – there are some things you can delegate to consultants or fumble your way through in a new or growing HR organization but there are some things that are core to your corporate health and you cannot afford to overlook them.

The three main recommendations from the article for a new HR Organization are:

1) Cultural Fit -

Hiring the right people can make or break your organization. Technical prowess or tactile expertise is great, but if your new employee doesn’t subscribe to your company culture, agree with your company values and understand your company mission, they’ll never perform to their full capacity and could quickly turn into a disengaged or disconnected employee. Culture fit should be a requirement. You can teach skills, its much harder to change behavior and character.

2) Transparency -

Make sure your employees have the information they need to be autonomous, act in the right manner to benefit the company and perform with an understanding of your company and little uncertainly in your company direction. Fung goes on to say “Be deliberate in the time you choose to share information. Information shared too early may cause employees to shift priorities too soon, and information shared too late may undermine employee confidence.”.

3) Provide a “Why” -

This is a great one. Fung states most companies are good at describing the ‘what’ (product) and the ‘who’ (customers) to employees, but they don’t describe the “Why”. Why is about your larger mission, your vision, your core values as a company. Get your employees to live and breath your values and understand that everything they do revolves around a common mission of everyone at the company and you can turn your average employees into exceptional ones.

Interested in more information about building a great company culture and leading in a world of shorter tenured employees, generational differences in employee motivation and social recruiting? Subscribe to our Manager 2.0 Newsletter where we’ll send you weekly updates on employment trends and what is most talked about on the web in the HR space.

HR Roundup: Praise Goes Far to Motivate Gen Y

Today’s HR Roundup post is pulled from the archives.  This post went live back in 2007, but it is still more relevant than ever in determining how to motivate generation Y and, more importantly, how to continue to think about recognition as a means to motivate your workforce in general.

The post comes from SHRM’s site and covers a study from Leadership IQ regarding a survey of over 11,000 respondents.  The key finding that the post describes is that of workers age 21-30, just 39% say they are recognized sufficiently by their manager and only 30% would recommend their workplace to their friends.  Mark Murphy, the head of Leadership IQ attributes this discontent with the level of recognition and praise they’re receiving at the office, saying that 6 out of 10 of the respondents are losing motivation because they aren’t receiving enough praise from their bosses.  The same questions posed to those between 61-70 found that 47% would recommend their workplace to a friend.  That considerable jump likely isn’t the workplace itself, its about the practices of management within those workplaces in how they manage and motivate different generations of workers.

The blog post goes on to say that it isn’t simply a lack of recognition in the workforce that is the problem, its that the expectation of recognition has changed generationally – the level of praise that was sufficient 10 years ago is insufficient with the new workforce.  Managers need to understand each generation is motivated by something different.  Luckily, for Gen Y workers, often times that is a simple “Thank You” or “Good Job” either privately or in front of their colleauges – and that fix is not only quick, but its free too!

Read the full post “Praise Goes Far To Motivate Gen Y” over at SHRM


HR Roundup: Moving from HR Metrics to HR Analytics

Today’s HR Roundup brings a great post from the HR Examiner on a topic that is near and  dear to our hearts at MeritShare.  The importance of data to help drive decisions in your HR organization.

The post calls out the traditional HR metrics as something that is important, but really not actionable – cost per hire, time to fill, turnover, etc.  Instead, the author argues looking at your HR data set like a marketer would – segment your data down by job title, merge it with your other known data about performance information, satisfaction survey results, participation levels, etc and try to draw actionable conclusions from the metrics.  Perhaps satisfaction scores are a bit low across your entire organization on average, but only one of your managers has a below-average satisfaction score – might be time to reach out to that person as they are an anomaly within their department and may need a new challenge or professional change to reinvigorate them.

We’re excited to see the next round of technology change the way HR operates.  Google is already working on it and MeritShare is doing our part to contribute to the cause with our recognition indexes, organization and employee level metrics and snapshots into who is most and least engaged in the recognition program at your organization.

Learn more about HR Metrics vs. HR Analytics in the full post from Cathy Missildine over on HR Examiner.

HR Roundup: HR For Startups – 5 Items Not To Overlook

Today’s HR Roundup post comes from the Lean HR Blog post titled “HR 101 for StartUps”.

The post points out that many startups are rightfully focused on building their business, growing their team and closing their next sale.  Having a robust Human Resource strategy for your startup is probably overkill, but the post points out 5 areas you should not miss – regardless of your size.

Lean HR says the 5 HR Items Not To Overlook for your Startup are:

  1. Discrimination
  2. Wage and Hour Laws
  3. Benefits
  4. Termination Policy
  5. Employee Handbook

Visit the Lean HR Blog to Read the Full Post

9 Characteristics of Great Leaders

I am writing this post live from the Seattle SHRM breakfast (so apologies for any typos or grammar issues).  There is a jack-hammer pounding in the background.  Everyone is awake now.

Today’s speaker is leadership coach Tammy Redmon.  You can find Tammy on Twitter @tammyredmon and  Based on Tammy’s work and interviews with Fortune 1000 leaders, she lists 9 characteristics of great leaders:

She opened up her presentation with a couple of questions to get the audience thinking:

  • Are you a leader of self, leader of others, leader of leaders of others.  HR tends to be leader of leader of others helping many in the organization lead.
  • Scotoma:  The greek word for blind spot.  You can find these dark corners in your habits, attitudes, beliefs, and expectations.
  •  Under-performers cost a company 10 hours of week in discussions and documentation.   People don’t show up to be poor performers, its a leaders job to find out the why behind the issues.
  • Good is the enemy of great.  Many times under-performers set the bar at good when a company needs to be great.

Based on Tammy’s work and interviews with Fortune 1000 leaders, here are her 9 characteristics of great leaders:

  • Exceptional communicators: they can communicate the good, the bad, and the ugly.
  • Sacrifice: great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice.
  • Revolutionary: tied to a vision and the motivation to change
  • Renegade:  ala Richard Branson of Virgin
  • Raise the standard for self and others : (Indra Nooyia, CEO of Pepsi)
  • Fail Forward (Jack Welch):  Be willing to fail for the opportunity to move forward.
  • Transparency: People don’t want to ask questions if you are not open.
  • Unwavering:  Steve Jobs. Moving forward with your vison at the risk of everything.
  • Decisive: put yourself in a position to be decisive with the information, expectations, and analysis you need.

Now think about the ones that you think you need help with above.  What is the first action item you want to make a change in.  Just pick one of the items above, get your swoosh on, and just do it.


How Do You Recognize Your Employees: Infographic just shared this stunning graphic on how to give recognition.   At the bottom they list 5 common recognition mistakes.  I would say the main and obvious one is not giving any recognition at all.  Let us know about any others in the comment section below.  

Looking for more tips on how to recognize employees effectively as well as other information on being a great leader in your organization? Subscribe to our Manager 2.0 Newsletter where we’ll bring you weekly updates on must-read articles from the web as well as best practices on leading your organization in the new era. Subscribe To Manager 2.0

Three Tips For Employee Recognition Success

Many customers look to us to help them craft a successful peer recognition program within their team or organization.  Research and experience has bubbled up a few key findings that we always try to share with new customers on our platform.  We hope you find the employee recognition tips below helpful in creating an active and effective culture of recognition within your workplace.

Tip #1 – Don’t Let Cash and Prizes Become a Demotivator

Recognition as motivation

Photo courtesy of walknboston

Customers, employees, executives and industry research have told us time and time again that prizes don’t motivate employees.  There is a growing body of research around monetary rewards in general as workplace motivators – the prevailing thought is that once a worker feels they are being compensated fairly for their work, its time to start focusing on other factors of motivators.  Recognition in the workplace from peers or managers can have a huge value to an individual, both emotionally and professionally.  Forbes contributor Meghan Biro states “Monetary rewards can skew this notion of value, linking it to cash when it should be linked to appreciation of extra effort and smarts.”

Tip #2 – Let Peers Drive The Bulk of Recognition

peer recognition

Photo Courtesy of Mr. Boombust

At MeritShare, we believe the value of recognition is the act and expression itself as well as the story that accompanies that recognition.  Recognition from a peer is often considered more treasured by the individual than recognition from a manager or executive as it isn’t viewed as an obligation.  Josh Bersin, principal at Bersin by Deloitte finds “Top-down recognition is often viewed as political and it rarely reaches the “quiet but critical high-performers” in the company…Peers know what you’re doing on a day to day basis, so when they “thank you” for your efforts the impact is much more meaningful.”  The additional upside is that peer-driven recognition can be more frequent.  A recent study on the U.S. workers found 32% of employee say they haven’t been recognized in the last three months.  With fewer managers in the workplace today and the growth of cross-functional teams, its challenging for people-managers to know what all of their employees are accomplishing on a consistent basis – peers are best suited to recognize each other and they can do so much more frequently.  One fantastic process we’ve seen is to let peers recognize each other for recognition and allow managers and executives to pick their favorites from the submissions and announce them at a company meeting or in a company newsletter.

Tip #3 – Don’t Forget to Recognize Upward

Thank your boss

Photo courtesy of bfishadow

It is lonely at the top, the American School Superintendent’s Association states “Often the decisions are difficult and unpopular, and the chief executive officer stands alone, sometimes without support and under attack from within and without the organization.”  When you’re thinking about recognition as a means to motivate and make your coworkers feel special, don’t forget to thank upward.  Let your manager know how important they are to your career development and employee satisfaction.  Let your executives know how much you value their leadership and willingness to make tough decisions. Meaningful recognition makes the recipient feel great – at all levels of the organization.

Simple Acts With Significant Results – The Power of Positive Praise

We’ll end our post with a simple message – say “Thank You” to those you work with.  Strive to do it at least once a week.  It takes just seconds.  Leading global researcher GFK’s research found that intent to leave a position within the next 12 months was 76% higher in those who fail to receive recognition from their manager.  Their research, which was focused on the UK goes on to state: ”UK employers are risking losing significant numbers of staff, in many cases because they’re not even taking the time to do something as simple as saying a formal thank you.”

Making People Decisions With Data

Have you heard about the “new” field of people analytics, using data as the poster nerd for reinventing human resources?

All other performance metrics like revenues and costs are tracked, so it seems logical that those related to the most important resource –people –are quantified into KPI’s.

Our own experience with companies using MeritShare  has shown that what gets measured gets done.    We have seen recognition activity increase with the addition of more feedback loops and analytics for both individuals and companies.  You can’t lose weight without a goal and a scale.  Several months ago we published a national recognition index and heatmap and data visualization of thanks being sent by US State.

Survey’s have always and will continue to be a key part of people analytics toolkit, but we are also starting to deploy other methods to measure and quantify the health of a company’s culture.  We recently published 4 Tips To Measure Action Based Engagement in HR Buddy, providing some thoughts on using more action-based people metrics.

Two of the best resources on how Google makes people decisions data can be found in this excellent TLNT article written by Dr. John Sullivan.  The “Michael Jordan of Hiring” explains how the GOOG organizes and directs their HR organization to “bring the same level of rigor to people-decisions that we do to engineering decisions.”

The other helpful  gem is from Google HR executive Kathryn Dekas presenting “People Analytics: Using Data To Drive HR Strategy & Action” at a Strata conference.  Her story will inspire you to put some people analytics into action,  and it is a must watch video for any HR or management executive.

Please share any advice or thoughts on the topic of people analytics below.    If you want more information on how we help companies get started people analytics, contact me at kevin [at]

Ten Creative Employee Recognition Ideas from Texas A&M

At MeritShare, we’re always looking for new ways to help managers recognize their employees in a timely and meaningful manner. One of the common requests we hear from customers is that they need the occasional reminder and inspiration to recognize their staff.  Managers today are busier than ever and employee recognition sometimes gets dropped to the end of the priority list. When you do have time to recognize, its sometimes a challenge to come up with a great reason on the spot.

Thank You in Sign Language

Photo courtesy of adihrespati on Flickr

Today we found a great online guide from Texas A&M’s HR department on Ideas for Low-Cost/No-Cost Employee Recognition.  We encourage you to check out the full list of 63 ideas on their website, but here are our ten favorite creative reasons to recognize your employees:

Ten Creative Employee Recognition Ideas from Texas A&M:

  1. Encourage and recognize staff who pursue continuing education.
  2. Establish a “Behind the Scenes” award specifically for those whose actions are not usually in the limelight.
  3. Have a recognition event/award created by a peer group that decides what they will give and why they will give it.
  4. If you have a department newsletter, publish a “kudos” column and ask for nominations throughout the department.
  5. Post a thank you note on an employee’s office door or cubicle.
  6. Publicly recognize the positive impact on operations of the solutions employees devise for problems.
  7. Recognize employees who actively serve the community.
  8. When you hear a positive remark about someone, repeat it to that person as soon as possible in person or electronically.
  9. Give a membership or subscription to a journal that relates to employee work.
  10. Find ways to reward department-specific performance.

If you’re looking for solutions to help with administering the employee recognition program at your office, consider MeritShare. We specialize in converting offline recognition programs (bulletin boards, monthly newsletters and company meetings) to online recognition programs (recognition communities, social sharing of awards and real-time notifications and nominations). We have a free version that teams can try out with no obligation, and a premium version that offers full employee recognition and employee engagement analytics for organization executives and admins for very reasonable rates.