HR Geeks: Using Losada Lines To Drive High Performing Teams

Today’s popular post of the day on LinkedIn is an uplifting story about executives at LinkedIn thanking staff and staff returning the favor by thanking ‘upward’ – back to the executives.  One point in this post stood out as its something that comes up a lot when we’re discussing employee recognition programs with clients.

What is the right balance of positive praise vs. negative feedback to give an individual in your organization?

The article referred to a mysterious term called the “Losada Ratio“.  We did some digging to find out more…

It turns out, three key researches have done extensive research into the right balance of positive praise and negative or constructive feedback in organizations.  Marcial Losada, Emily Heaphy and Barbara Fredrickson have contributed greatly to the body of research around the positivity ratio around feedback.  Losada’s research found high performing teams have a P/N (Positive to Negative) feedback score of 5.6, medium performing teams are at 1.9 and low performing teams are at 0.36.  What do these numbers mean? Losada’s study indicates that for every one piece of negative feedback that is given to individuals in high performing teams, they receive 6 pieces of positive feedback.

As Mary Poppins famously sang: A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.

Looking at the P/N ratios of high performing teams vs. low performing teams, you might naturally ask, is more positive feedback always better? The answer in Losada’s research is resoundingly No.   Fredrickson and Losada published an upper band of proper ratios as well. Once you get beyond a P/N ratio of 11.6, the quality of the relationship will languish, just like it can languish on the lower end of P/N ratios.  Therefore, Losada and Fredrickson state that there is a band of optimal ratios.

Keep positive-to-negative feedback ratios between 2.9 and 11.6 to allow your teams to flourish.

Too much positive praise and you reduce the impact of it; too little praise and you demotivate your employees.

It is worth noting, there is a lot of criticism around the Losada line hypothesis and way in which the research was conducted.  Key criticism implies the lower and upper levels of the range may be somewhat arbitrary and may be different for each individual.

Regardless of the exact P/N ratio that you use in managing your team for high performance, the research is directionally clear.  Make sure you delivery more positive feedback than negative feedback, and that ratio should likely be in the 3-to-1, 5-to-1 or even higher range depending on the individual that is receiving the feedback.

Are You A Top 10% Most Viewed Profiles On LinkedIn?

Did you receive an email from Linkedin congratulating you on being a top 1%, 5%, or 10% of all profiles viewed?

Both my Linkedin and Twitter streams are filled with posts from users that have received this distinction.

The LA Times posted an article yesterday titled “LinkedIn’s clever marketing: You’re special like 10 million others“.  The story estimates that 10 million people were sent an email to the 1% or 5% most viewed user profiles out of their 200 million members.

But wait, there is more.  Linkedin also sent awards to the top 10% most viewed profiles bringing the total to an estimated 20m users.  Katie Notopolulos at Buzz Feed was the first to update the initial estimate of 10m to the current of 20m.

Are there more to come? So far most of the commentary on Linkedin’s award-bombing has been mostly positive.  Michelle Wetzler, writes on the Keen IO blog” Props, LinkedIn marketing team. Props.”.

The top 10% of users who did receive seem quite proud..  You can tell it’s working from the stream of people tweeting this stat that “deserves to be shared”

We think this type of professional recognition is awesome and want to honor LinkedIn’s Top Users.  MeritShare will honor the top 1%, 5%, and 10% most-viewed profiles with a MeritShare online badge and public award page.  The benefit to the recipient is that a MeritShare award page is more permanent than a post in a social media stream.  The MeritShare award page is also optimized for search; many MeritShare profiles with a photo and a badge show up in the first page of Google results for someone’s name.”  A personal and professional branding win!

To receive a MeritShare award, just forward the email you received from LinkedIn to kevin@meritshare.com and we’ll send you a special “Connector” award through MeritShare.

Michelle Wetzler’s Linkedin Award invitation and share page:

 

MeritShare Featured in Top Tech Publication Venture Beat

The CEO and founder of Vungle, Zain Jaffer.  His company was one of our pilot customers and just share this:

“that is cool – the meaning of honey badger is so much stronger internally in our team since we got the physical award from you – it’s done great wonders for our culture!”

MeritShare has figured out a new way to give employees recognition through game-like incentives. The Seattle-based startup is one more company that is offering “gamification” services, or making non-game applications more engaging with game-like rewards.

Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2012/12/19/meritshare-finds-a-way-to-gamifiy-employee-recognition-exclusive/#7UpHMO8sTD0LHvRO.99

Zumobi For The Win, Best Seattle Companies To Work For

MeritShare would like to congratulate one of our first clients, Zumobi on winning Three! 2012 W3 Awards.

Zumobi’s MSN Autos app was named a Gold Winner and placed among the top 10 percent of all entries. The company also received Silver awards for their MSN Money and Sporting News NCAA Football apps. The 2012 W3 Awards competition drew more than 3,000 entries created by some of the best interactive agencies and designers worldwide.

Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi says: “Enabling the most engaging mobile experiences possible is at Zumobi’s core and we’re honored that our work is being recognized among some of the most innovative digital programs of the year,”.

Zumobi is also one of the best places to work in Seattle according to Seattle Business Magazine.  Rewards and recognition are a critical component of Zumobi’s winning formula.  Zumobi values their employees and is using MeritShare to help build a great culture of appreciation and recognition.

Many people at Zumobi have been honored with appreciation and recognition on MeritShare. Recent winners include:

Christina Elsberry
Ben Painter
Kristin Spanton
Daniel Clark
Michael Hradek
Pat Binkley
Brian Twigg
Charles Stuart
Andrea Bruch

Congratulations to everyone at Zumobi.

If you are looking for a great place to work and a company that is defining our mobile future, check out their jobs here.

 

 

Top 5 Reasons You Need Peer-Based Recognition

Companies are looking for low-cost and creative employee recognition ideas and peer-recognition can be one of the most effective ways to thank employees and keep them engaged.  Here is why you need peer-recognition more than ever.

Power to the people!
The era of top-down management is changing.  Successful companies are empowering employees to make decisions and take action.  Yet in many companies employee recognition and awards are still determined at the top.  Relatively few companies provide peer-based recognition.  We define peer-based recognition as a program that allows employees to nominate, vote, award or thank a fellow co-worker in front of an audience or group.  We have interviewed over 40 executives at Fortune 500 companies, hyper-growth start-ups and industry leaders to get their best practices on building a successful company culture.  Based on this research and our analysis, here are the top 5 reasons you need peer-based recognition at your company:

1.   Recognize as a team to win as a team.  A very senior ad sales executive we interviewed encouraged his team to give praise to others in engineering, accounting and product.  As a frequent flyer he realized he couldn’t fire up the team on his own and enlisted his team to give praise and create strong inter-department relations.  He added, “having the extra set of eyes, ears, and hands really helped move our culture to the next level… I unleashed the beast of appreciation! “.  Giving more people the power to give praise helps build a culture of recognition.

2. Silent but deadly.   Many companies have quiet superstars who are always heads-down and delivering spectacular behind-the-scenes results.  ”Every where I have worked there has always been the strong silent type who didn’t make a lot of noise but always over-delivers”, said a very experienced account manager.   “It’s more important for me to see the right people get recognition, I depend on these superstars and wouldn’t want to lose them”.

3.  No more straight lines.    It is difficult for managers to always know who to recognize in highly matrixed organizations and cross-functional teams.   Peers can have a better sense of who is really over-performing and making significant contributions on a team.   The head of a design department mentioned that she had dispersed her team to sit with the cross-functional teams they worked on to create quicker and more responsive design support.  This took her out of some of the day to day interactions so she spent a lot of time getting feedback with the team leads.  She felt that peer-based recognition would help create a spirit of team work and help her keep in touch with how her direct reports were performing with their cross-functional teams.

4.  Act like a manager to become a manager.  Learning to recognize and appreciate work is an important leadership skill every manager needs to know.  Setting the right goals, communicating  recognition with the right words, ensuring fairness — are skills all employees can learn.  One senior leader said she was having challenges with getting her new managers to take the time and provide recognition.  She added “now I make sure employees demonstrate the right characteristics of being a great manager before being promoted”.  If you are looking for that promotion to manager, you are well-advised to apply recognition and appreciation techniques now.

5.  I feel good!.  Why not share the love throughout the organization and let everyone use the power of recognition to inspire greatness?  For some, giving is better than receiving.  The former head of recognition and engagement programs for AT&T said her peer-based recognition initiatives were the most effective programs she ran.  She beamed with pride and her face lit up when she talked about this successful employee-driven recognition program that included a trip to Hawaii and dinner with the Chief Executive Officer.

The next time you are at a company meeting, notice the rise in energy-level and goodwill when awards are presented.  Here’s the deal,  you don’t have to wait until the next meeting or a senior executive to recognize outstanding work, you have the power to do this today with peer-based recognition.

Ready to get started with peer-based recognition?  Try it for free today at MeritShare, we give everyone the power of appreciation.

 

Say Thank You

Follow-up Fail
I’m amazed at the number of job applicants I have interviewed that fail to follow-up with a thank you note or email.  Except for engineering and technical positions, I won’t hire any business, sales, or marketing applicant if they don’t send a note.  As a consequence, I’ve had to reject some candidates.  I view the note like a background check,  the applicant must first earn the position based on their skill sets, experiences, and fit — the thank you note is on the “due diligence” check-off list.

Don’t HIre Someone Who Doesn’t Send A Follow-up Note:
The reason I reject candidates who fail to send the note is not that I expect some sort of gratitude, but I believe it is a true behavioral test of the candidates ability to follow-up and execute.  If the candidate fails to deliver on something as easy and free (email) as a thank you note, how will they perform on the job with colleagues and customers?  A resume can contain a lot of information about a candidate, but their behavior during and after an interview provides insights into how they might perform on the job.  I would never hire a candidate on this criteria alone, it’s just a basic requirement all good employees should follow.

Thank You Note Tips
The follow-up or thank you note also gives you another opportunity to make another great impression.  Consider the following ideas to include in a thank you note:

  • If you stumbled during a critical part of the interview, use the follow-up or thank you note to better explain your position & demonstrate your knowledge.
  • Make sure the potential employer knows you have the experience to deliver on the critical job requirements.  Provide an additional example of your relevant experience you didn’t bring up in the interview, giving the employer another proof point.
  • Many times an employer will mention a key challenge or opportunity they are facing.  Research the topic and find a relevant article and send a link in the follow-up note.  This shows the potential employer you were listening & stay current on relevant industry insights and information.
  • Block off time right after your interviews to send the thank you notes out.  With mobile devices, you can really impress by sending the note shortly after the interview.  Many companies need employees that can move faster and sending a note out quickly demonstrates this trait.

The most important action is to send the note.  If you don’t have time to utilize the above tips, a simple thank you will suffice.  Just do it, just say thank you.

Thanks for taking the time to read this ; ).