Water Fights, Karaoke and Scrapbooks – 6 ways to make employees feel special on a budget.

Sunset High Five

Photo Courtesy of johnwiechecki on Flickr

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou, Author

Making others feel good is not just a nice thing to do, but it makes you feel good too. Showing your employees and coworkers that you appreciate them inspires motivation and improves morale and productivity within a company. Giving worthwhile recognition is not dependent on the amount of money you spend, recognition is about sincerely appreciating the hard work others do and really meaning it when you say “thank you”. You can’t put a price on memories.

Here are a few Low Cost Recognition Ideas, as well as a Recognition Playlist to get you inspired and spreading the love.

1.  Greet employees every morning, reinforcing the message “I’m glad you’re here.”  It may sound corny, but that’s okay – your job isn’t to win popularity contests, its to make your employees and coworkers feel special.

2. Organize a department-wide water-gun fight in the parking lot in their honor. It’s unusual, it’s fun, employees will remember it for a long time.  Super soakers for employees, tiny water guns for managers – think about it.

3. Let them park in your parking space for a week.  Often times, it’s the little things that make people feel special.  Don’t have a parking space? Buy them a weekly pass at a nearby garage.

4. Put together a scrapbook of memories for an employee who is celebrating a milestone anniversary. Give each person on the team a blank page to fill out with stories or pictures of their experiences with that employee. Then, after the public recognition moment, the individual has not only a treasured award from the company but something from their coworkers that captures their feelings.

5. Create a homemade fun award that is appropriate to what is being recognized. MeritShare provides a fun way to give out virtual awards to your employees and peers that can be humorous yet meaningful.  Customize an award to your company culture, make it fun for people to give and receive!

6. Gather co-workers to sing a light-hearted rendition of a song such as “You Light Up My Life,” “We Are the Champions,” etc.  We put together an employee recognition playlist for you.  If you do this, be sure to record it and put it on Youtube – then send us the link.  Seriously. 

Recognition Playlist:

Is HR Employment Branding A Mistake?

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 9.25.35 AMMark Riston at Marketing Week thinks employment branding could be causing more harm than good.

Ritson taught brand management at London Business School, MIT Sloan, the University of Minnesota and Melbourne Business School – where he is currently an Associate Professor of Marketing.   His former clients include McKinsey, adidas, PepsiCo, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Baxter, De Beers, Ericsson, Sephora, and WD40. For eight years he has also served as advisor and in-house professor for LVMH – the world’s largest luxury group – working with senior executives from brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dom Perignon, Fendi, Tag Heuer, Dior and Hennessy. In a recent national survey in the UK Mark Ritson was voted one of the country’s most admired marketers.

It’s important to note that Riston appreciates the intent of HR promoting employer brands and says:

I appreciate that you are only doing what you are doing out of a misplaced sense of purpose and a naive miscomprehension of the branding concept but, please, you have to stop doing this employer branding stuff right now. It is terrible.

Riston’s key points from his Marketing Week Article Employer branding can do real harm so stop it:

  • Branding is fundamentally about the consumer
  • Branding is about differentiation and employer branding strategy all sounds the same.  Empowering Excellence with Integrity and Innovation’) is exactly the same as everyone else’s
  • You have to measure brand equity, yet most HR people are measuring job satisfaction via employee surveys.  If you want to position your employer brand on something, you will have to measure those values and how much employees think they experience them on an annual basis.

To me this sounds like this could me more of an issue of execution than an inherent problem or structural issue.  Do you think employer branding can be done right to support both the customer and the employee?  Please share your thoughts and insights below.

 

HubSpot: Creating a Company You Love

Improving Company Culture With Foosball

Photo courtesy of Flickr user @robscomputer

If there is one thing that separates the new generation from previous generations, it is that people are no longer willing to settle. Gone are the days when we would fall into a career and stick with it for the promise of stable paychecks. Money is not the top priority anymore. Now, what matters is that we find meaning in what we do, and that we love what we do.

In order to love what you do, you must appreciate the environment you are working in, as well as the people you are working with. This can be attained through working for a company that has the kind of company culture you are looking to be a part of.

HubSpot, pioneers in inbound marketing who help customers make marketing people love, describes in a recent presentation, how they built their culture and why it works for them and their employees.

Here are the crib notes of HubSpot’s 155 slide presentation on their Company Culture [link to the original presentation]:

“A great culture helps attract great people.”

A “culture” is a “set of shared beliefs, values and practices”. Not only do people want to be part of a great culture that aligns with their beliefs and values, but a company wants to create a great culture in order to attract the kind of people they want working for them. They don’t want people who just have a lot of skills or experience, but people who help further the company by sharing the same passion towards their goals.

The HubSpot Culture Code:

1. We are as maniacal about our metrics as our mission.

It’s not just about numbers. Yes, sales are important to the longevity of the company, but staying true to your mission is what will earn you the love of your customers.

2. We obsess over customers, not competitors.

Delight your customers, educate your customers, Solve for the customer (SFTC).

3. We are radically and uncomfortably transparent.

“Power came from hoarding knowledge, and decisions were made behind closed doors.” Now, power comes from sharing knowledge.

4. We give ourselves the autonomy to be awesome.

You don’t need packets full of company policies and procedures to know how to run a company. Use good judgement and remember that results matter more than where or when the work is getting done.

5. We are unreasonably picky about our peers.

Hubspot values employees who have HEART: humble, effective, adaptable, remarkable, and transparent (open and honest).

6. We invest in individual mastery and market value.

Compensate fairly while investing generously in learning and growth. Work hard as an individual and work hard as a team.

7. We defy conventional “wisdom” because it’s often unwise.

“Great companies don’t throw money at problems, they throw ideas at them”. The companies of today are much different from companies of the past. They do not operate the same way. Complexity always creeps in, so take risks and get rid of unnecessary factors.

8. We speak the truth and face the facts.

If you disagree, it is your job to speak up. An imperfect or controversial decision is better than no decision.

9. We believe in work + life, not work vs. life.

thennow

It is important to enjoy work AND life, not just working in order to make money so that you can escape to your life. Maintain a balance. Also, workers these days greatly desire flexibility when choosing a career.

10. We are a perpetual work in progress.

“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without”- Confucius

Always work hard. Never done iterating, learning, or rethinking.

With so many happy employees facilitating a great company culture that is helping more than 8,000 companies in 56 countries to succeed, other businesses striving to achieve the same success should take note. Becoming a great company does not mean being perfect, but doing your best to make your employees and customers happy while staying aligned with your values. Also, having foosball tables and a fridge stocked with beer doesn’t hurt.