Taking Recognition to the Next Level – MeritShare is Now Terryberry

Exciting News!  MeritShare is now part of Terryberry!

The new partnership with Terryberry offers MeritShare customers additional benefits, including:

  • Social Employee Recognition Platform, Give a WOW!
  • Plug-in Modules for Service Awards, Performance Points and More
  • Global Support System
  • Local Customer Service
  • Expanded Selection of Employee Recognition Products

Check out the full Press Release.

Terryberry announces the acquisition of MeritShare, an innovative employee recognition software company located in Seattle, WA – to support their objective of expanding their offering of advanced social-media style employee recognition platforms.

(PRWEB) December 2013

Global employee reward and recognition leader Terryberry proudly announces the acquisition of MeritShare of Seattle, a strategic move designed to help Terryberry continue to advance their very successful human resources-based initiatives and product lines that address employee satisfaction and engagement.

MeritShare was founded in July 2012 by entrepreneurs Travis Pearl and Kevin Nakao. MeritShare quickly garnered media attention from publications like VentureBeat, Recruiter.com, and Geekwire for their innovative software platform and mission make employee recognition fun, simple, and social.  New York Times best selling author and Forbes columnist Kevin Kruse named Pearl and Nakao to his list of “101 Top Engagement Experts” in his book “Employee Engagement for Everyone.”   MeritShare was also one of the first companies to come out of the 9Mile Labs enterprise accelerator program started by former Microsoft, HP, Adobe, and Gartner executives.

Terryberry’s acquisition of MeritShare will support their objectives for growth as they continue to lead the industry in social-media style employee recognition platforms.

“In a short amount of time since their launch, MeritShare has succeeded in making strides to advance the concept of social-media style recognition,” explains Mike Byam, Managing Partner at Terryberry.  “MeritShare’s mission of providing recognition in an innovative and fun way really compliments Terryberry’s business.”

“We started MeritShare because recognition is one of the most under-utilized, but powerful tools anyone can use to motivate people,“ says Kevin Nakao, CEO and Co-Founder of MeritShare.   CTO and Co-founder of MeritShare, Travis Pearl adds, “We proved that peer recognition works and we are very happy Terryberry will help MeritShare customers take their recognition program to the next level.”

MeritShare’s customers will have access to upgrade to Terryberry’s highly innovative and robust Give a WOW platform which provides many additional features and benefits like a branded interface, single sign-on, integrated service awards, and more award options.  The acquisition will also provide MeritShare’s customers with access to Terryberry’s comprehensive line of employee recognition programs, global support system, local customer service, and expanded selection of employee recognition products.

“We are pleased to bring MeritShare’s customers into the Terryberry family, and we are excited about how Terryberry’s mission supports the original vision of MeritShare of making work better through effective recognition,” Byam states.

About Terryberry

Terryberry serves more than 25,000 clients throughout North America, Europe and Australia. Family-owned for four generations, Terryberry specializes in employee appreciation and employee recognition gifts, products and services to keep employees engaged and motivated and companies growing in positive directions. For more information, please visit http://www.terryberry.com. 800.253.0882

 

5 Ways to Become an Extraordinary Leader

Boss vs. Leader

Some people are born leaders. They always know the right things to say and what needs to be done to achieve their goals. Naturally influential, they easily attract the respect of their followers and colleagues, able to motivate others to work towards a greater objective. But how do they achieve this? And how can others, especially those just beginning to take on a leadership role, emulate their success?

If you feel that you have been unsuccessful in gaining the respect of your employees, have been failing at motivating them, or just simply could not charm your way out of a paper bag, here are 5 ways you can improve yourself as a leader.

1. Do

Do rather than dictate. Just because you are a CEO, a supervisor, or manager, does not automatically make you a leader. Telling everyone what to do and making demands while you sit behind your desk is less than inspirational. Being active and involved in a project, actually getting your hands dirty, will show your employees that you know what you’re doing and that you care about the project. Rather than micro-managing or attempting to control your employees, be one of them. Work alongside them. Just as with team sports, seeing your team captain out there taking hits and putting his heart in the game will inspire you to play harder. Be an example of what you want them to be.

2. Listen

A lot of the time, following your gut and listening to your instincts can be extremely effective. But other times, what you may think is the best solution might not be. Before you make an important decision, get the opinions of others and open your mind to other ideas. What is pressing them? What works for them? What issues are they seeing that you are not? Not only is listening helpful to getting a better handle on the bigger picture and recognizing the existence of other factors, but it also shows your employees that their input matters to you. It shows that you care, and that you are not just out for your own personal interest. Working as team is important, and you must remember that not only are you leading a team, but you are part of that team.

3. Recognize

One of the best ways to bolster productivity and earn the respect of your employees is by showing that you respect them and appreciate the work they are doing. Effective employee recognition begins with finding meaningful and creative ways to make someone feel like the work they are doing is valuable to the company. You don’t have to be their best friend. Just show that you care. Realize that your employees are people who are trying to earn a living and have everyday struggles just like you do. Say thanks, and mean it.

4. Be Positive & Stay Calm

All too often I have dealt with Debbie Downer managers. People who have taken on so much responsibility that they become nervous wrecks, stressing out over anything and everything and taking out their frustrations on their employees as a result. I understand that work can be intensely consuming and overwhelming. With all the fires that need extinguishing, it is easy to forget about the feelings of others. Take a moment to realize that negativity can quickly permeate a room. If you are expressing yourself in an unpleasant way, others around you will might end up feeling anxious too. They will also be less likely to want to be around you or seek your advice. If you want people to follow you, and want to follow you, make it a positive experience. Don’t stress the little things, make yourself dependable and accessible so that others will give you the support you need. That way, everyone wins.

5. Be Extraordinary

As a leader, you are supposed to stand out. The greatest leaders are not just any Average Joes, but people who appeal to a crowd because they offer a new, exciting perspective that people want to be a part of. They are so passionate that they want others to share in it. They are inspirational because they demonstrate confidence and offer something that’s real. People should feel that, under your guidance, they can accomplish anything they strive to accomplish. And they can, as long as you truly want to share your dreams of success with them. Engage them. If you are extraordinary and allow others to be extraordinary, then extraordinary things will most certainly happen.

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” —Douglas MacArthur

Employee Engagement Is Everyone’s Job

employee_engagement_kruseThe following is a guest piece by Kevin KruseNew York Times bestselling author.  His newest book is Employee Engagement for Everyone: 4 Keys to Happiness and Fulfillment at Work.   Meritshare founders Kevin Nakao and Travis Pearl are listed as thought-leaders on in Kevin Kruse’s book, so we are offering a free Kindle download of “Employee Engagement for Everyone” through June 28th, 2013.  We thank both Kevin Kruse and Vania Mathas for their support of MeritShare.

The work of MeritShare and others has proven that peer-based public appreciation is a powerful way to foster a culture of Recognition. But what about Growth and Trust, which my research indicates are the other two primary drivers of engagement?

How can we teach all employees to take ownership for their own engagement and even drive the engagement of their peers?

First, employees should identify and focus on the areas that matter to them most. We don’t all have the same motivational triggers, so we must teach employees to focus on the areas that are most important to them. The Personal Engagement Profile, available online at www.MyEngagementProfile.com, is one way an employee can identify their highest engagement values.

Second, we need to teach employees mindfulness—specifically, being mindful of all the things companies and managers already doing to drive engagement. Ask team members to list all the things the company is doing for them, in the areas of Growth, Recognition and Trust. When they’re done, share the complete inventory of all relevant items the company is providing. Often, your list is much longer than theirs, and an “aha” moment occurs when they realize, “Well, I guess they are doing a lot more on communication than I realized.”

Third, we need to teach employees how to partner with their bosses. Don’t think the company is supporting your growth? OK, have you invited your boss to a meeting to discuss your career path? We can help our individual employees partner with their supervisors in a positive manner by providing “conversation starters” and topic ideas.

It’s time for an honest conversation around the individual’s obligations to be engaged and to drive the engagement of others. The cynical view is that this is just pushing it all on the employee or this enables out of touch C-level executives to say, “It’s their fault not ours!”

As we are learning from the peer-recognition movement, you don’t need a title or direct reports to be a leader, and everyone can contribute to a culture of full engagement.

Engaging employees like it’s 1974

http://www.glasbergen.com/

http://www.glasbergen.com/

Are your managers still sitting down with your employees once a year to review performance and set goals? Many of your employees have grown up in a “Facebook-Twitter-Instagram world” where immediate feedback is available.

Post a picture, get a like. Change your status, get a comment. If you thought social was all about someone, something or somewhere else, you are wrong. We live in a social world and companies who embrace rather than resist social are more successful and have lower levels of employee voluntary turnover.

The social era isn’t about more management responsibility. It’s about making feedback and recognition everyone’s responsibility, making it timely, and based on performance and behavior that align with company goals and mission.  Just showing up to get your five year service pin is a fail for both the business and employee.

 

Senior Executives Worst At Giving Recognition

In a recent study conducted by Globoforce and SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) shows  senior executives and human resources scoring the lowest marks for giving recognition.  This confirms our own data that shows that top-down recognition programs need to be reinforced with peer-driven recognition, giving every employee the power of appreciation.

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 5.51.30 AM
The survey was based on 803 HR professional respondents from a randomly selected sample of SHRM’s membership with the title of manager or above and from organizations with 500 or more employees.  The study was conducted March of 2013 and has a margin of error of +/- 3%.

Other key findings include:

  • Nearly half of HR professionals indicated “employee engagement” as the No. 1 HR challenge their organization faces. Other common HR challenges included “succession planning” (39%), “culture management” (35%), and “employee retention/turnover” (33%).
  • An overwhelming number of organizations (94%) believe positive feedback (reinforcing behaviors or performances that should be repeated) has a greater impact on improving employee performance.

Nice work on this Globoforce and SHRM!  Here is the full presentation:

The Business Case For Employee Engagement

With employee engagement declining in North America, the next question to ask is the toll and cost this disturbing trend is having on business.  The bottom line, low employee engagement may be costing you $6k per employee.

Halogen Software recently shared this infographic outlining the “dollars and cents of employee engagement”.  What I really enjoyed is the excellent write-up and analysis provided by Dominique Jones of Halogen providing both context, 3rd party research and a set of solid assumptions.  Dominique is the VP of HR for Halogen and I look forward to reading more great posts from her.

In her analysis she shows how a company with 500 employees may be losing $3m dollars per year due to poor employee engagement.  That’s a lot of coin not falling to the bottom line, $6,000 per employee.

There is hope with 76% of employees showing improvements in engagement with intervention.  One of the easiest things a company can do to engage employees is to implement a peer-based recognition program.  We have seen rates of +90% voluntary employee participation in these programs that get the whole team fired up.

I highly recommend your check out Dominque’s post to understand the logic and numbers behind the picture below.

The Dollars and Sense of Employee Engagement

 

 

Employee Recognition: What Employees Want The Most [Infographic]

Once again research shows that what employees want the most is recognition but employers think its about pay. Let’s keep it real simple:

It’s not about the money, it’s about the appreciation.

Mindflash published a great infographic on Visual.ly to illustrate this point. Let’s get to the bottom of this infographic now:

Employee Recognition Incentives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the full picture:

Workplace Incentives

Building a Company Culture: Live Your Values

protectculture

With the emergence of the Information Revolution and significant advancements in technology, the 21st century arrived with exciting promises of new opportunities for intellectual as well as professional growth. Unlike previous generations, the wage earners of today, many of them Millennials, are more likely to switch careers rather than stay at one job as more rewarding prospects are presented. So what, then, motivates an employee to remain with a company? What provides more satisfaction than the promise of a fatter paycheck?

Jay Wilkinson, president of Firespring, offers an answer.

In the mid 1990’s, Wilkinson launched a company that developed websites, one of the first to do it at a commercial level since the invention of the Internet. Along with a few friends, he started from the bottom and climbed his way to the top, eventually receiving money that allowed him to improve the company and expand into ten more cities around the country. Unfortunately, as tensions arose from infighting and as the economy “tanked” after 9/11, Wilkinson was removed as CEO of his own company. After years of planning and “lean[ing] very very heavy” on the people in the company, he eventually regained control of the company. Now the company has upwards of 70 employees, 3,000 customers in 12 countries, and was named one of 2011 Inc. Magazine’s top 50 Small Company Workplaces. Wilkinson attributes all of this success and the company’s redemption to the way they have built their Company Culture.

What is a Company Culture, and why is it so important to the people working a company? A culture is defined as a set of values and principles shared by members of the group. Some companies have generic values, while others seek to exercise values that coincide with the interests of their employees. People like to be involved, to be recognized, and to feel that the work they are doing is worthwhile. Just offering free coffee and snacks is not enough to make someone feel appreciated. Employees like to feel like they are part of family, all striving towards unity in a goal that benefits everyone.

At Firespring, there are 3 steps they use to “design a sustainable company culture”.

  1. Define your values- Instead of coming up with a predictable list of values, think of values that really resonate with your employees. Get them involved and see what inspires them.
  2. Hire your values- You don’t want just anybody working for your company. You want the people who are passionate about the same values because it adds to the unity of the workplace; everyone working towards one goal. It is more beneficial to a company to hire someone who shares the same mindset as the rest of the crew rather than someone who just has a lot of skills. As Wilkinson says, “Don’t hire the haters”.
  3. Live your values- “Create fellowship” among staff. Show employee and peer recognition. Offer an environment for your employees to grow, work hard, and learn while also providing a fun culture. Being serious all the time was never fun for anyone.

It is evident from Wilkinson’s presentation that Firespring has become a tight-knit community of people who love what they do and love the people they work with because of the culture they have created. They work together, learn together, and have fun together. If you are a company struggling to compete in today’s fast-paced society, it is important to remember that it’s the people, the cogs in the machine, who make a company great.

Improving Corporate Culture: Best Companies

With the recent news of employee engagement on a slight decline in North America,  it is a good time to look at who as doing company culture right. The website www.humanresourcesmba.net put together this infographic meets case study outlining the finer points of corporate culture from leaders Pixar, Patagonia, and Google.

At Pixar President Ed Catmill says in this in this video interview ”there is very high tolerance for eccentricity, very creative, and to the point where some are strange“.

Google covers things from birth to death in this quora discussion on the best Google perk.  Employee Paul Cowan says, “if a Googler dies, all their stock vests immediately, and on top of the (not atypical, I think?) life insurance payout, their surviving spouse continues to get half of the Googler’s salary for the next 10 years. And there’s an additional $1,000/month benefit for any of the Googler’s children”.

Finally, in an Inc interview with Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard says “Blurring the lines between work and play worked for us, because it was part of the core reasons we came to work every day“.

Corporate Culture Mindset
Image source: www.humanresourcesmba.net

Employee Engagement in North America Declines

According to a new study by AON, the economy in North America is improving while employee engagement levels in North America have declined to the lowest levels since 2008.  At the same time, the worldwide engagement showed modest improvement.

Worldwide Employee Engagement Trends

Worldwide Employee Engagement Trends

Aon Hewitt’s Global Engagement Report, which analyzed employee engagement trends of more than 2,500 global organizations representing 3.8 million employees, found that employee engagement in North America decreased by one percentage point to 63 per cent in 2012.  What can employers do about this disturbing trend?  MeritShare co-founder Travis Pearl shares this timely piece in today’s HR Buddy article: “5 Easy Way To Recognize Employees”.