Millennials At Work: Super Savers [Infographic]

I’m a baby boomer and I’m embarrassed by the debt we have left in the US for future generations to pay off.  Fortunately there is some hope with the new generation of workers who appear to be more fiscally responsible with their personal finances.

A new study out from Merrill Edge shows that Gen Y, defined by the study as those 18-34, is starting to save for retirement earlier than any other generation. This high savings rate reinforces data shared in the following infographic by Scarborough Research showing that 59% of Millennials are savers as opposed to spenders.

To me, the message is clear, if you want to attract Millennials you better make sure you have a good 401k program.

The 3 Key Forces Behind Motivation

It’s not about money.

In Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, best-selling author Dan Pink reveals the 3 key principles that drive motivation  – Mastery, Autonomy, and Purpose.  The need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world. In a interview with Harvard Business Review, Pink says  ”As for recognition, the diaries revealed that it does indeed motivate workers and lift their moods. So managers should celebrate progress, even the incremental sort”.  HBR adds, “recognition is a form of feedback which is essential to achieving mastery”.

If you have not seen this video by RSA Animate using Pink’s popular TED Talk, you need to.  Pink provides an undeniable case based on extensive research and studies including the work of Mihalyi Czentsmihaly on flow.

Do you work with people who have mastered an area, skill or characteristic?  If so, let them know with a public kudos and acknowledge their mastery and professional reputation on Linkedin and online.


Slideshare Now Has 10 Million Presentations

Congratulations to the Slideshare team on “stacking the deck” with over 10 million presentations.   SlideShare is the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. With 60 million monthly visitors.  You can share presentations, PDFs, videos and webinars.

Slideshare has been a great source of information for us on leadership, company culture, and the changing workforce.  One of my favorites is Netflix culture which is included in a “Best of Slideshare” section to celebrate the 10 Million served.

Owen Thomas from Read Write Web responded with the post There’s Already a GitHub For Business, And It’s Called “SlideShare”. He interviewed Slideshare founder Ross Mayfield who said “SlideShare is a place for businesspeople… there’s five times the number of small-business owners as other social networks.”

I always thought of the Slideshare as Youtube for Powerpoint.  Use whatever metaphor  you want, it is a great service for discovering and sharing helpful content.

MeritShare also has a presentation on Slideshare, “What Every Business Needs To Know About Recognition and Engagement.”

[slideshare id=16702423&doc=meritshareonrecognition-130222130055-phpapp01]

How To Motivate: The Research Behind Recognition

What motivates us?

In his popular TED Talk (see the full video below) behavioral economist Dan Ariely recently discussed not only why we work, but what kind of behavior and environments increase productivity and help people thrive in the workplace.

Ariely points out that there are examples all around us that show people are motivated by things beyond a paycheck, crossing a finish line or meeting a goal:

  • Mountain climbers face enormous challenges and setbacks on the way to climbing to the top of the mountain.
  • An employee worked on a project day and night for over 2 weeks when it was cancelled the day before the due date, leaving the worker, who said he felt quite happy while working on the project, feeling depressed when he realized that no one would see his work.

We want to receive recognition for the “fruits of our labor”, says Ariely, and know that our work has meaning. He conducted two experiments to explore this notion.

In a study using Legos, two groups of people were paid to build multiple Lego kits. In one group, the completed pieces would be disassembled at the end of the experiment; in the second, each person saw their first creation taken apart as they built a second.

Outside observers predicted that the first group – where their work had been acknowledged – would build more Lego kits, but thought the difference would be negligible.

  • In fact, the group whose work was valued showed over 63% more productivity compared to the group whose work was disregarded.

This dynamic is at play in the working world. At one company, 200 workers spent two years working on a project that was suddenly shut down. The employees reported feeling depressed and unmotivated and their behavior at work changed. They started:

  • Showing up for work later
  • Leaving work earlier
  • Possibly ‘fudging’ expense report items

When asked what could have made them feel that their work efforts were not wasted and drive employee engagement, they suggested:

  • Internal presentation of the project to the company
  • Analyze what aspects of their project could be incorporated into other aspects of the company

In  Ariely’s “Shredder” experiment, people were asked to complete a written puzzle, and then each paper was placed in one of three groups, where 1) someone looked at it quickly, uttered a quick “Uh-huh” and put it on a pile; 2) no one looked at the paper and it went into in a pile; or 3) the papers went directly into a shredder.

There’s good news and bad news coming out of this “Shredder” study:

  • Ignoring people’s  performance is almost as bad as shredding their effort in front of them, but
  • Minimal recognition can dramatically improve a worker’s motivation

The act of recognition provides acknowledgement and is the best source of motivation .  You don’t have to sit around and wait for this to happen, you can kick start a culture of recognition by starting with a simple thanks to a co-worker.

[ted id=1706]


Thank A Coworker On Fist Pump Friday

It’s Fist Pump Friday at MeritShare.

Thank a coworker today and then do a Fist Pump (instructions below) because you’re awesome!

Try out the new way to show appreciation and create a professional looking thank you that you can share on Linkedin and make your coworker look good.  Oh yeah, its free and you can do it in 2 minutes.  Get started here.

Don’t know what to say or who to thank? Here are some ideas:

The person you go to for advice and guidance -
Thanks for being great mentor…

The lifesaver on the last project you worked on -
Thanks for being a life saver…

A co-worker that goes beyond the call of duty -
Thanks for your extra efforts…

fist pump friday

Make Work Better: Hire Millennials [Infographic]

As the baby boomers to hit retirement age, they will be replaced by “Generation Y” or “Millennials,” who number almost 80 million.  This talented and diverse group of employees  want to learn and grow with their company.  Millennials are motivated by having a sense of accomplishment.   As this infographic shows, 80% of Millennials prefer on the on the spot recognition and real-time feedback.  You can now go online and instantly thank a co-worker with the new way to give kudos.  Millennials are tech-savvy social media enthusiasts.  You don’t have to friend them on Facebook or follow on Twitter, but at the minimum, connect with them on Linkedin and build out your own professional network of fresh talent.


 Infographic by UNC

Related Post and Infographic: Millennials are super-savers

8 Tips to Thank a Colleague from the University of Arizona

University of Arizona LogoToday’s post brings some great tips from the University of Arizona’s Human Resources department on ideas for recognizing and appreciating your coworkers.

You can go visit the full post on their site, here are our favorites pulled from the list:


  1. Include “kudos” as an agenda item in staff meetings. Being consistent around recognition makes it a habit and will increase the frequency of recognition among your employees over time.
  2. Add a recognition “Thank You” board to the office. It can be a bulletin board in lunch room, a white board in the lobby or, for the techies, a big screen TV in a common area that shows coworker recognition posted on a wiki or shared page provided by IT.
  3. Ask your colleague’s opinion or ideas on a project or help with a new process. Asking for advice/expertise is a more subtle form of recognition; advice says “You’ve shown to be an expert in this subject, I’d be honored to have your opinion on this” and can go a long way to making your coworkers feel appreciated.
  4. Create a picture poster of a recent team or group win as a way to reinforce team accomplishments.
  5. Wash a coworker’s car in the parking lot at lunch (year-round in Arizona, seasonal in Seattle)
  6. Write several ‘thank you’ post it notes and decorate a coworker’s cube or a team’s work space
  7. Make a personal or team gift to the coworker’s favorite charity – this can be a very personal gesture for those who align themselves closely with a non-profit or charitable organization.
  8. Thank coworkers who thank others – teamwork is about mutual respect and appreciation and do your best to encourage and foster that in your coworkers as well.

Check out the full list over at the University of Arizona Human Resources website and get out there and thank some colleagues!  If you’re looking for an easy way to thank your colleagues online, give MeritShare a try – we make peer recognition simple, fun and social and help you create a community of positive peer recognition inside your organization.