Discover insights on employee recognition and engagement, workplace culture, performance management, people analytics, and more.
Pride Month resources and activity inspiration for HR Leaders
It’s June 28, 1969, in New York City.
Homosexuality is still illegal, and most gay bars are run by the Mafia in exchange for protection from the police. Raids were quite common at the time, but the Mafia-run bars were almost always tipped off beforehand.
On the first day of the Stonewall Uprising, police raided the Stonewall Inn with a warrant, but without any warning. They arrested 13 people for bootlegged alcohol, and for violating the state’s gender appropriate clothing statute. The Stonewall Uprising continued violently for six days, while bar patrons and neighbourhood residents protested law enforcement’s brutality and discrimination. Drag queens and trans women of colour were some of the first to stand up against the police.
On the one-year anniversary of the riots, people were shouting, “say it loud, gay is proud” in America’s first Pride parade.
It’s February 5, 1981, in Toronto.
200 police officers set out on a series of coordinated raids, called “Operation Soap.” By the end of the night, 286 patrons of four downtown bathhouses were arrested.
The Toronto Bath Raids, and the demonstrations to follow marked a significant transition for the city, rooting it firmly in protest, he first Toronto Pride parade in June of 2021.
“As long as society continues to demand us as its victims and its human sacrifices, that anger is going to be there, waiting to get into us, again and again. It’s not going to go away for a long, long time,” – Excerpt from Ken Popert in The Body Politic, in Jamie Bradburn
On this 2023 Pride celebration, we put together a spectrum of resources, activities, charities, and learning opportunities to help you carry on the legacy paved by LGBTQ+ activists.
Tip: Encourage your internal experts and allies to participate as speakers in Pride Month celebrations or programs. To ensure inclusivity, extend an open invitation to all members of your organization, inviting anyone interested to step forward.
One universal way to connect is through music; this Pride, don’t let it go in one ear and out the other.
Within teams or company-wide, introduce a song or album of the week highlighting queer artists from your country. Start your meeting listening to the lyrics, then work together to decode them; research the artists’ inspirations, careers, and impact; learn more about the political environment during the time the song was released.
For example, one meeting could start to the tune of ‘Any Other Way,’ an album by Toronto Soul pioneer, Jackie Shane. Share how Shane’s words are emblematic of her time – hopeful, and meaningful to many people under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. Encourage your employees to listen more to the artist’s work and invite them to pitch their own song or album of the week.
If technology and community are key characteristics for your brand, take your playlist to the next level and host a radio-style live stream, inserting quick and informational voice-overs between each song. Or, pre-record short podcast-like segments and post them to Slack or Teams.
For a less performance-involved approach, utilize Spotify’s collaborative playlist function and curated Pride playlists; suggest Pride-themed radio segments for the whole team to tune into, like iHeart Radio’s Can’t Cancel Pride event, which raised $11.3 million in charity since its inception in 2020.
There are many non-profit Pride Film Festivals, some running all year round. These events are thoughtfully curated, socially driven, artful commentary only made more appropriate during this Pride season. Buy your team tickets to an LGBTQIA+ themed film screening and filmmaker Q&A to make memories with one another and learn in the process.
If a screening time doesn’t fit with your schedule, or you just want a more flexible option, suggest queer-made films already available on your employee’s streaming services. For example, you could offer your team a one-month subscription to watch Cheryl Dunye's ‘The Watermelon Woman’ the first feature film directed by a Black lesbian.
Book clubs are a close-knit way to create change. Starting a LGBTQ+ themed book club can promote inclusion and improve your company culture in the process. History and knowledge sharing are the backbone of Pride; now is the time to get people together and read for a purpose.
Consider finalizing the book club with a donation to Lamba Literary, an organization providing scholarships to emerging LGBTQ+ writers.
There are many authors for all types of readers:
Depending on the book, it’s important to provide employees with content warnings upfront. Screen your book club selections for trauma-triggering content, so that everyone can feel included without having to confront sudden emotions at work.
For more recommendations, check out Egale’s summer Pride reading list.
Tip: Having a digital hub to house the details for initiatives like the examples in this guide is critical to getting your team to participate. This could be a folder on your intranet, a channel on Teams/Slack, or Kudos Spaces.
Whether you walk in the parade or watch from the sidelines, pride parades are a welcoming rite of passage for allies and LGBTQ+ community members.
Start searching for “pride parade near me,” and ask what your team is up for. Check out this Pride 101 article by them, a diverse source for LGBTQ+ journalism. Within the article, you can find some virtual pride parade options for your remote team.
Companies have a great opportunity to utilize their platforms for good during Pride month; from finding group volunteer activities that get your team involved hands-on in their communities, to donating to local LGBTQ+ charities and supports.
Impact is best achieved with the right intentions, so it’s important to choose a cause that resonates with your brand. Here are a couple charities to choose from, and a hub detailing even more options:
On one note, it’s important for companies to publicly take a stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. On the other hand, it’s equally important for companies to turn inward during Pride and make sure their policies align with the values they promote.
“30% of LGBTQ employees in Canada report experiencing discrimination in the workplace compared to only 3% of non-LGBTQ employees,” – Egale
Beyond updating your diversity policies to include sexual orientation and gender identity, consider offering company-wide training to make your workplace a safe space.
Bain & Company offers a few more specific suggestions when it comes to policies and procedures:
Tip: if you are choosing to produce your own Pride content, the team at Copacino+Fujikado put together this guide, called Rainbow with a Cause to help brands create more thoughtful, purposeful, and inclusive Pride content.
Celebrating Pride in the workplace is not just a symbolic gesture, but a meaningful commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for all employees. HR leaders have a vital role in driving this change by updating policies, providing diversity training, and promoting initiatives that amplify LGBTQ+ voices. Let us seize this opportunity to stand in solidarity, honor the history of Pride, and actively work toward a future where everyone can bring their authentic selves to work without fear of discrimination. Together, we can create workplaces that truly embody the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Pairing rewards with recognition can have a transformative impact when building a thriving company culture.
In today’s dynamic business landscape, companies are continuously seeking ways to attract, engage, and retain top talent. While meaningful recognition remains an essential factor, organizations are recognizing the significant role that employee rewards play when paired with recognition.
"When you recognize and reward people, you ignite their inner spark, and they become unstoppable." - Tony Robbins
Employee recognition needs are continuously evolving. For recognition to be impactful for today’s workforce, it must be personalized, and the same logic applies to employee rewards.
Together, recognition and rewards can have a transformative impact on culture. Employee rewards can create an environment that fosters motivation, loyalty, productivity, and ultimately, business success.
Employee reward programs are initiatives that recognize and reward employees for their hard work and dedication. These can range from financial incentives such as bonuses and stock options to non-financial rewards such as time off work, complimentary lunches, and summer work hours.
Organizations need to offer curated and customizable reward options to meet the demands of what all their employees truly value. The days of only offering a small catalog of products and company swag as employee incentives are not enough – organizations need to shift their focus to robust reward options that are meaningful to everyone.
Employee rewards can be a motivational tool; they can inspire individuals to grow, learn, and improve. Rewards can be tied to goals and milestones, encouraging employees to stretch their capabilities and reach new heights.
Employee rewards act as powerful motivators, igniting a sense of purpose and commitment within individuals. Whether it's a performance-based bonus, a public accolade, or a personalized gift, the act of rewarding employees for their achievements reinforces a culture of excellence and motivates others to strive for greatness.
Employee engagement is the key to unlocking untapped potential and driving exceptional results. Rewards and recognition initiatives provide a clear link between an employee's efforts and the organization's success. As engagement increases, so does productivity, creativity, and overall job satisfaction.
Employee rewards and recognition programs play a pivotal role in creating a workplace culture that attracts and retains exceptional employees. Recognizing and appreciating their hard work and achievements not only boosts morale but also enhances loyalty – employees are more likely to stay at an organization that fosters a culture of recognition.
"Recognition is not a luxury; it's a necessity. It's what keeps us motivated, inspired, and striving for greatness." - Brendon Burchard
A SHRM article that discusses how to measure organizational health mentions the ROI of employee rewards and if implemented well, how investing in rewards can drastically reduce turnover.
Companies that prioritize employee wellbeing and engagement are more likely to succeed and thrive. Implementing employee reward programs is a simple yet effective way to build a positive workplace culture that benefits both employees and the company as a whole.
The key to an effective employee rewards program is providing flexible reward options that satisfy everyone’s preferences. Personalized rewards that align with employees' needs and values are more meaningful and contribute to overall happiness and loyalty.
Ignoring employee reward programs is a missed opportunity. Employee reward and recognition programs are powerful tools that can transform a company's culture. By investing in these initiatives, organizations demonstrate their commitment to their employees' wellbeing and success, paving the way for a highly productive and fulfilled workforce.
Meaningful rewards look different for everyone. Everyone’s needs are unique and there should be reward options that will be beneficial and meaningful to all employees. Kudos Rewards offers a world-class suite of options with merchandise, events, travel, charities, gift cards and custom rewards.
Maybe it’s tickets to a favorite sports event, an outdoor adventure, or some much needed family time spent at the zoo; rewards that offer experiences and travel can serve a wide range of different interests and create lasting memories for everyone. Here are some examples of experience-based rewards offered in Kudos:
Whether it’s a retreat, a stay-cation, or even a home gym – everyone needs time to relax, decompress and treasure moments of tranquility. Here are examples of wellbeing related rewards in Kudos:
Perhaps you’ve been eyeing something special for yourself, or you need a gift idea for someone else, the Kudos Rewards catalog is a great place to start:
While recognition has long been the bedrock of appreciation, organizations are awakening to the realization that employee rewards hold tremendous sway when combined with recognition.
Recognition paired with rewards is instrumental in attracting and retaining top talent, enhancing employee engagement and motivation, fostering a positive company culture, and promoting employee wellbeing.
By acknowledging employees' efforts and successes, organizations create a culture that embraces innovation and professional development. The result is a workforce that is constantly evolving, staying ahead of the curve, and driving the company towards sustainable growth.
Meet Jessie Lambert, Human Resources Director at Mistplay
HR leaders all have unique styles and approaches to the profession.
For Jessie Lambert, HR Director at Mistplay (a loyalty program for mobile gamers,) the key in her career has been to understand her unique style and use it to her advantage. She encourages all HR leaders to do the same.
“You aren't going to be the best HR professional in every situation, in every company, in every phase of the company, in every field,” she explains.
Jessie’s strengths lie in her intuition, relationship-building skills, and ability to move fast – a perfect fit for growing tech companies, where she has spent the last eight years of her career.
“As an HR leader, when you lean into your strengths, you’ll add more value to your career, your company, and the people you’re supporting,” she says.
We sat down with Jessie to learn more about her career and what’s on her mind in today’s fast-changing world of work.
I went to school in France at the Burgundy School of Business, which culminated in every student having to choose a career field. I chose HR back then, without knowing much about the field, but I thought, this is it.
From there, an essential factor in my career has been respecting my personal standards and expectations. I've had to leave roles because I wasn't aligned with how leaders wanted me to do things.
I’m impatient, decisive, and not risk averse.
The most defining moment for me was when I moved into tech. I immediately knew that these were the kind of companies I wanted to work with. Where I could best use my strengths.
With HR, things change fast. We are constantly developing new programs and finding new ways to build culture. Staying up to date is key.
I prefer to learn independently. I like to move quickly when I learn and often don't have the patience to sit in training sessions. I read a lot (all of Malcolm Gladwell's books) and follow the Harvard Business Review. And I listen to a lot of podcasts. That just suits me best.
Culture is how we behave toward each other. From an HR perspective, it's the behaviour you try to enforce, the behaviour you tolerate, and the behaviour you don’t.
The tricky thing with culture is that it exists regardless of whether you have an HR department [or not]. Even if you aren’t doing anything intentionally to build it – you put people together, and you have a culture. The question for HR leaders is, do you want to be active in shaping the organizational culture, or passive and just witness what's unfolding?
What’s key is to make sure there’s a connection between your company’s mission and vision, and what you're observing in your people.
For so long, we have been vague about what culture is, what we can do to drive it, and how we can measure results. That’s often why leaders hesitate to invest in culture, because the impact is hard to quantify.
For example, if someone says a culture is toxic, what does that mean? What can you do? Can you know if you've managed to change it?
Historically, HR wasn't data-driven enough to answer those questions from leaders. Now things are different, especially in tech companies. Leaders are more willing to give HR ownership of culture and provide budget for programs that provide those data points and insights.
Culture is how we behave toward each other. From an HR perspective, it's the behaviour you try to enforce, the behaviour you tolerate, and the behaviour you don’t.
I feel lucky to work in tech. It really is the best field for HR. Leaders see the value of culture-focused initiatives. They can’t afford to have top talent leave due to a bad work environment.
Today HR tends to come in early when tech companies are built. Leaders want to work with HR. They trust you. They want your input. If you’re good at your job, tech welcomes you with open arms – and the sky’s the limit. It's different when you're in a big organization where change takes time and is difficult to reverse. In tech, you have more freedom to try things – worst-case scenario, you pivot if the results aren't what you expected.
I once entered a company as employee number 22, which was very early for HR. In tech, they want your input as soon as possible.
Being in tech, shifting from in-office to remote was easy from an operational perspective. Everyone had laptops, and everything was accessible through the cloud.
An unexpected challenge, however, has been people overworking. In the early days of remote work, I had to train my team on the importance of taking breaks and eating. And making sure leaders were modelling healthy behaviours and working hours.
I never had an engagement or employee dedication issue; my problem was burnout. My people were burning out, and the challenge with a hybrid or remote setup is that you don't always see your people.
Another challenge as an HR leader in a remote environment is getting to know everyone. There's nothing worse than having a difficult conversation with an employee and it being the first time you're speaking with them.
You have to be intentional about your interactions, whereas before, in an office, you didn't have to think about that.
Having recently started a new role, it was one of my first goals and questions. When can I speak to the employees? What is the process for that?
I approach the conversations intuitively. If you’re newer to HR, I’d recommend an agenda and a checklist to ensure you’re being intentional about the conversation. I usually start by asking how they're doing, and from there, I get a sense of whether we need to discuss work, if they need to vent, or maybe it's just a friendly chat to connect about something personal.
Ultimately the objective is to create connection.
It's also an opportunity to reiterate the business’ strategic direction. It’s not always easy for employees to ask a question in an all-hands meeting so I make space for that too.
It can be difficult for employees to take the step to reach out for help, but if they have a meeting booked with HR already, they have dedicated time to raise any questions.
What helps is that the more conversations you have, the more you know, giving you more insight for everyone.
For me, it's scalability and speed. When you work in a growing startup, you have to ensure whatever you do is scalable but also execute quickly. That balance of moving fast while always thinking about the future can be a challenge.
Ultimately, if you spend too long working on something, it might no longer be relevant to the business by the time you're ready to launch it. Basically, you have to be fast, but not too fast.
I'm most excited about advances in diversity & inclusion innovations. There are so many new resources now on how to support our people. I’m always looking for further insight and tools to help me understand if we're doing a good job in this space (for example, analytics), identifying issues, and finding ways to challenge my views. And always trying to understand how I maintain equity through rapid growth, for example. It's all super interesting!
Thank you, Jessie, for sitting down with us and sharing your experience and knowledge!
Know an amazing HR Leader you think we should feature? Send us a note at email@example.com
Discover the importance of gratitude in the workplace and how it can benefit both employees and organizations as a whole.
Did you know May is Mental Health Awareness Month? Nearly 1 in 5 Americans live with a mental illness, and now more than ever, it is crucial that we bring awareness and support to mental wellness by communicating openly with our teams about mental health.
We all have access to an essential tool that can impact mental health – gratitude.
Organizations worldwide are shifting to a culture that fosters gratitude and recognition – and for good reason. Organizations are experiencing the many benefits of a workforce that feels more appreciated, respected, and valued. Positive psychology research has proven time and time again that gratitude creates a more productive, positive, and engaged workforce.
Gratitude has the ability to fuel an incredible culture and has so many benefits to an organization. Telling someone they are appreciated is important of course, but as leaders, it is important to practice what you preach and share your gratitude in meaningful, intentional ways. When shared openly and often, gratitude can be a massive needle mover in creating a stronger culture and benefiting an organization.
Gratitude yields so many benefits not only to employees but to the organizational success as a whole. Companies that prioritize gratitude get to reap the reward of the practice. Employees that rate themselves as happier have been found to be 13% more productive than the average employee after working the same amount of hours. It was also found that employees who do not feel valued at their workplace are more likely to seek other employment opportunities. This means that the time, money, and energy you have spent training employees is at risk if they don’t feel valued! A stronger culture also promotes the overall brand of the business as a whole, leading to a stronger talent pool, enhancing the company’s reputation as an employer, and driving business results.
There are benefits to the employees on a personal level as well when gratitude is present at work. Improved well-being at work has been shown to improve the mental health of employees which leads to reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. Studies have also shown that employees who feel appreciated are more likely to be more motivated within their roles and work harder to achieve goals within their roles.
Employees that feel the effects of gratitude are also more likely to have strengthened relationships with those around them such as their colleagues or company leadership. Gratitude brings people together and strengthens employee bonds which creates a stronger culture.
Employees are also more likely to be engaged in the workplace when gratitude and appreciation are expressed. Gratitude is a key driver to keeping employees engaged and connected to their work. Gratitude is also often a two-way street, and when an employee feels appreciated, they are more likely to pay it forward and share their gratitude in return through actions, emotions, or tenure. This creates a wonderfully positive cycle of appreciation.
As an HR leader, there are many ways you can express gratitude to employees within an organization - even a simple thank you can go a long way in fostering a culture of positivity. The former CEO of Campbell Soup sent over 30,000 handwritten thank-you notes to his employees and staff during his tenure with the company! This is such a personal and meaningful thing to do because he used his own precious time to go above and beyond in showing others that they are seen and valued not only by the company but by him personally.
When you lead by example and promote gratitude, you can create a culture where gratitude and appreciation are valued, and positive actions and behaviors are encouraged and rewarded. This can lead to a more positive and productive workplace where employees feel motivated, engaged, and committed to the success of the company. You have the ability to foster a culture of gratitude in the workplace - and will get to reap the reward of success when gratitude is felt!
If you are looking for a creative way to share more gratitude and create a stronger work culture, here are 6 creative ways to show your gratitude to your team and create positive feedback loops and boost engagement.
Kudos is a platform that allows you to share your gratitude and appreciation for all the hard work your employees do. Celebrate your workforce with::
Showing gratitude in the workplace is truly a win-win for both employees and the overall success of the organization. Use it to increase productivity and performance and create a workplace of well-being and connection.
Quiet quitting is out, rage applying is in.
First it was the great resignation, then quiet quitting and now – rage applying?
Rage applying is the latest trend in the job market - it's like a mad dash to the finish line, except the finish line is a new job.
Employee retention is more critical than ever and with one trend after the next, leaders are going to HR for advice on how to navigate these trends that put their teams at risk.
Here's a guide on how to navigate this latest one – rage applying.
Unlike quiet quitting, where employees distance themselves from their work and become less motivated, rage applying is when an employee starts applying for any role, even if it’s not well suited for them, just to get out of their current situation.
Rage applying isn’t the result of one bad workday – it's the result of general disengagement due to a number of factors. When workers are consistently underpaid, overworked and left hopeless, they begin asking themselves, “is this worth it?”
A whopping 67% of Canadian professionals have rage applied in 2023. According to this study, more than half of this group stated they left their organization due to toxic work relationships. That’s a lot of angry job seekers!
But why should leaders care about this new trend?
People don't leave their workplace; they leave their managers.
When a company is losing its best talent due to poor management, that means there are some serious adjustments that need to be made. It's time to start investing in your managers and providing them with the training they need to support their teams. Leaders are often the key agents to change and if they’re not aware of their team's needs, they will unfortunately lose their best performers.
Turnover is not a term any business likes to hear. It’s predicted that turnover costs about one third of a person’s annual salary. Recruitment, onboarding, and training all cost businesses a lot of money when they are constantly turning over employees.
Younger generations are seeking opportunities that give them fulfillment. They also can easily recognize the signs of a toxic workplace and are more inclined to walk away than to fight for what they want in their current role. In a job where they feel powerless, rage applying might give them a small sense of power, even if it results in a new, mediocre job.
Learn more about the needs of today’s multigenerational workforce in our Recognizing Generational Diversity culture guide.
Even though rage applying may only seem like a trend, it could be a sign of deeper issues going on within the workplace. Leaders need to pay careful attention and invest in solutions that will help build a better culture, so their employees can thrive in this new era of work.
Demonstrating to your employees that you care, and their work is valued through meaningful recognition will have tremendous impact on your team. Using an employee recognition solution, like Kudos, you can recognize every moment of excellence and foster a culture of appreciation to improve overall job satisfaction, leading to a more committed and loyal workforce.
Sometimes it’s time to say goodbye and embrace new opportunities. But if we’ve learned anything over the last few years – losing top talent due to poor management and lousy culture is a costly mistake. In today’s competitive job market, trends like rage applying will only continue and it’s up to leaders to take notice and make the necessary changes.
Investing in your employees is investing in the success of your business.
87% of HR leaders say employee mental health is a serious risk to their business. Here’s how you can prioritize mental health in the workplace in 2023.
Mental health related illnesses cost the global economy one trillion US dollars every year. If you still don’t think mental health affects your business – think again.
“Mental health is health. And it’s time we took it seriously,” says Avni Jain, M. Ed, Registered Psychotherapist and Workplace Mental Health Consultant. A South Asian woman who immigrated from the UK to Canada, Avni entered the mental health field to deepen her understanding of herself, and now has a decade of experience helping organizations develop authentic and sustainable mental health solutions.
“This field of work has been really interesting. I'm always curious about how HR leaders are being proactive about workplace mental health. Burnout is on the rise, and everyone manages it differently. I work with many people who often present well on the outside but tend to be struggling in overdrive on the inside,” says Avni.
Experiencing many unhealthy workplace cultures and environments firsthand led her to play an integral role in developing and implementing a hospital wide mental health program, COPEline, for Canada’s leading mental health hospital: The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). You can find research-informed workplace recommendations in CAMH’s Workplace Mental Health Playbook for Business Leaders.
We sat down with Avni to discuss her thoughts on mental health in the workplace and what HR leaders can do to support their employees.
A workplace culture is created by its people. If your people aren't doing well, your culture will be directly impacted. Supporting your employees better will ultimately trickle down and have tremendous impact on your business.
The challenging part is making workplace mental health more sustainable. Bringing back office pizzas every Friday is not going to change your culture. Leaders need to think more strategically about evaluating employee struggles and, instead of putting a band-aid over it, invest in solutions that will help sustain culture.
Thinking more sustainably is “how can we make our employees thrive?” versus “what can I do to support this right now?”. Even if your culture is doing great, it’s always important to think long-term when it comes to improving culture. Organizations that manage workplace mental health well are constantly reflecting on their practices and evaluating what is supportive and what’s not. I think the pandemic is proof of that – no one thought working from home would be sustainable, and we discovered it can actually be better than going into an office every day for many employees.
YES. If we're creating solutions to a problem our employees are struggling with, why wouldn't we go directly to the source? Giving your employees autonomy to voice their feedback – whether it be through engagement surveys or eNPS – is key. As much as data is so important, so is action. Many organizations collect, collect, collect, but then don’t follow through or know what to do with the data. Your employees are telling you what they need, they’re giving you the answer, but for them to feel heard, employers need to hold themselves accountable to implementing actionable steps.
Absenteeism. Are your employees showing up, and if so, are they engaged? Do they seem present at work, or more withdrawn?
As a leader, or direct manager, it’s important to know these signs and ask yourself how well you know your team. Check in with your employees regularly to ensure their needs are being met. We have entire lives outside of work, and our personal lives play a huge role in how we perform at work. Encourage your employees to take time off when they need it – providing paid personal time, or unlimited sick days ensures your employees will actually take the time to rest, instead of worrying about limited time off.
This all contributes to your workplace culture – are your employees feeling guilty or worried because there’s no one to cover or assist with the workload? As a leader, you need to be hyperaware of this and know when to lessen the workload or bring in more support.
Leaders are the key agents of change, and they need to practice what they preach. A workplace culture that talks about mental health, but then has leaders who are not reinforcing the resources available doesn’t help reduce the stigma.
People are more likely to reach out for support if it's encouraged and demonstrated throughout all levels of the organization. This includes things like flexibility – encouraging employee wellbeing is pointless if employees aren’t given the flexibility to attend doctor’s appointments or manage their personal responsibilities.
Employees have full lives outside of work, and companies that support their team's needs with compassion and flexibility are more likely to create a positive and healthy work environment. Effective leadership and compassion go hand in hand. Compassionate leadership is consistent communication, regular check-ins, transparency, and keeping those practices consistent beyond periods of change.
Mental health issues are the leading cause of long-term disability claims in Canada. The research is there, and the numbers don’t lie. HR teams need to remember they have the data: retention rates, absenteeism, turnover, disability claims – all of which cost the business a lot of money. Leverage that data to drive forward better strategies.
Investing in mental health training for leaders can be incredibly effective. Are your leaders building teams that foster relationships and team building? Have they built teams that support a culture of work-life balance? Train your managers in these areas so they can lead by example and are better equipped to respond to their team’s needs. You put the numbers together plus some good research, and you have the formula for a pitch that will get results.
Employees thrive when their employers care – they can show up to work as their whole authentic selves because they know they’re valued and supported. With that in mind, developing a mental health strategy that’s sustainable, thoughtful, intentional and tailored to your team’s unique needs doesn't need to cost a lot. It doesn’t need to be at a large scale either, you can take small steps to get to the bigger picture if you stay committed to it.
Reach out to people who are fostering the best workplace cultures, continue to share information, and understand what’s working and what isn’t. Fundamental basics like expressing empathy and kindness and actively listening to your employees can go a long way. There’s plenty of resources out there to get you started, but in the meantime – just be human.
Thank you, Avni for your time and insights.
Better culture starts with Kudos – our platform offers resources that can help employee wellbeing, and contribute to a healthier workplace culture:
Don’t wait for your culture to crash – book a demo today to get started with Kudos.
For mental health support in the U.S. call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center, or text MHA to 741741 at the Crisis Text Line.
For mental health support in Canada call 1-888-668-6810 or text WELLNESS to 686868 for youth or call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 741741 for adults.
Meet People Person Niki Murphy, Canadian Talent Acquisition and Talent Advancement Lead at ABB
Starting a career in human resources can come with surprises and unexpected opportunities.
For Niki Murphy, a Talent Management leader at ABB, a technology leader in electrification and automation, it was a chance visit to an employment agency in Ireland that set her on a path toward a successful and rewarding career in human resources management. While looking for a position in accounts payable, she was offered a recruitment role that opened up a world of possibilities.
An early surprise for Niki? The financial opportunities and career possibilities in recruitment. But for her, the adventure of finding the perfect candidate and negotiating contracts was only part of the appeal. It was the realization that she was impacting people’s lives and livelihoods that was truly motivating.
We sat down with Niki to learn more about her career and what’s on her mind in today’s fast-changing world of work.
First and foremost, you need to be extremely people-oriented. You need to be comfortable having conversations about anything with candidates and clients left, right and center. I think authenticity is also really important.
You do need to be a good salesperson too. The reality is that talent acquisition is, in many ways, a sales role. You need to listen to your clients to understand what they need. All day you’re selling the company to candidates – you need to know the values, the culture, the team, and the people.
At the same time, there’s a huge element of creativity and branding involved, so it’s a position that requires a lot of adaptability and different skill sets.
But, at the root of it is a people function; you need that motivation to work with people and help them succeed.
After polling staff, our company has taken a hybrid approach. Some wanted remote, some wanted hybrid, and a few wanted full-time in-office. So, we rented out some of the floors at our beautiful Montreal campus and implemented a desk hoteling approach with what we held onto.
Office hoteling, otherwise known as desk hoteling or simply ‘hoteling’, is a flexible way of reserving a desk or room in your workplace for a set period of time. As the name suggests, hoteling operates in the same way as an actual hotel. You make a reservation, you check-in, you complete your stay, you check-out. (Envoy)
But that means the number of people that can come into the office is limited. So, we have different challenges now. At first, it was, “how do we fill the space?” And “is it worth us keeping this space because it costs a lot of money for the organization?“ Now, it’s “how do we cater to the crowds of people that want to come back in?” I don’t think that anybody has found the perfect recipe for it. Studies I’ve read show that the productivity of people working from home spikes, but the engagement drops, and then the flip side is, if people come into the office, the engagement is through the roof, but their productivity drops.
So that’s why I think the hybrid model is probably best and is here to stay. We need human interaction and time to build relationships with people.
There are a few things that I’ve done over the years that have had a big impact.
The first that comes to mind is spearheading an internal mobility program – that, for me, was probably one of my most significant career achievement.
Internal mobility is the movement of employees (vertically and laterally) to new career and development opportunities within the same organization. (AIHR)
My company was focused on retaining talent; they understood the time and effort required to attract talent, given the scarcity in the market, and realized that once people were through the door, they had to keep them. It’s simply the most cost-efficient strategy. You have people at the peak of their efficiency in terms of company knowledge – it costs a lot to start over.
My colleague and I led the charge, despite this being the first time I had taken on an initiative like this. We set out to change the culture and mentality of our company when it came to internal mobility. The board approved our plan, and within a year, we generated so much interest and adoption that the program took us from a 19% internal mobility rate to 31%, which is considered best in class.
This is something that I continue to push on my teams today – the importance of considering your internal talent first.
I co-lead the Diversity and Inclusion Council at ABB, which is something that’s near and dear to my heart. It always has been, for that matter. We are working to have an impact by creating a more inclusive and diverse workplace.
Along with another leader, we put the council in place with four distinct priorities:
We always want to hire the best person possible for any role, regardless of gender, ethnicity, ability etc., and that’s a promise that I’ve always made to the organization. However, we want to create more opportunities for diverse people to be seen and heard in the interview process. I’ve asked my team to, at a minimum, strive to have an underrepresented group meet the hiring manager – that’s a commitment we’ve made.
I walk the talk on my own team too. Candidates need to see themselves in the people interviewing them, which means diversity on our talent acquisition team, the gatekeepers of our hiring, is critical.
This means working with external groups to support D&I at a grassroots level. One way we do this is by working with programs for girls in STEM, starting as young as the High School level.
We’re committed to a minimum of four events annually focused on topics related to D&I. Last year, a big focus for us was unconscious bias; this year, the focus is on the LGBTQ2S+ community. We want to take a stand and demonstrate that we are an inclusive organization.
This pillar is about internal visibility and sharing the stories of our colleagues to build empathy and understanding. It's about creating awareness.
That's what we're focusing on. It's grassroots and simple; hopefully, in the years to come, it will progress into something even bigger and better.
One challenge is the speed at which things are changing – it can be extremely overwhelming. I think people can get intimidated by the speed at which business strategies change. The world of HR is being flipped on its head.
Another big shift in HR is the prevalence of mental health conversations. Mental health concerns have spiked since the pandemic, and people are silent about it. The challenge is you don’t always see people suffering if they work remotely. So, it needs to be very clear, simple, and easy for them to access resources to help them. It needs to be a dialogue that’s easy and safe for people. HR leaders need to train managers on how to have those conversations. I think we’ll see a lot of HR positions created because of this in the future.
Another one is talent. Talent is scarce right now. For example, Canada has over 1 million open positions, and we don’t have enough people to fill the roles. Along with that comes talent retention. People are being poached left and right because of how accessible they are through technology like LinkedIn. They don’t even need to look for a job. The jobs come to them. We need to create an engaging workplace, and that’s in the culture. It’s a change that needs to happen – it’s a necessity.
Companies need to rethink their talent strategy. And there’s not just one answer to that. What people need to do is stop the knee-jerk reaction to resignations. Instead of immediately replacing the person leaving, we need to take a second and figure out, “Is there a way to optimize how we’re doing things? Is there technology that exists that would allow us to rethink and redesign the function that they had? Can it be absorbed elsewhere without overworking the current team? It’s about redesigning.
And that’s change management.
You need to coach your managers on how to do that and allow everyone the space to be creative and to provide their ideas.
Other opportunities include international recruitment and tapping into underserved labour markets, such as people who are neurodistinct, have physical impairments or disabilities, veterans etc.
I’m also cautiously excited about AI, and if and how it will revolutionize our world. I’m curious about how we can use tools like ChatGPT. I think the concept of AI, like being able to do psychometric assessments through video, is fascinating; I’m curious to see where we’ll be in 20 years. What this is all going to look like. I don’t think the human elements are ever going to leave. But I’m pretty excited to see where it’s going.
Thank you, Niki, for sitting down with us and sharing your experience and knowledge!
Know an amazing HR Leader you think we should feature? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
ICYMI – Here's a roundup of articles and guides to help HR leaders build great cultures through the power of employee recognition and rewards.
2023 is off to a great start! In the first quarter of 2023, here at Kudos we worked hard to provide you with a range of insightful articles, guides, and resources to support you in creating a better culture, fostering employee engagement, and driving business growth.
The included articles share and explore trends and ideas, insights from HR leaders, and downloadable resources such as culture guides and celebration calendars. Topics covered included the use of AI in HR, the five languages of recognition (what's yours?), the link between employee recognition and business growth, the employee net promoter score, and the impact of employee recognition in different industries.
These resources share practical tips, real-life examples, and expert advice to help HR leaders navigate the ever-changing landscape of HR and create workplaces where employees feel valued, engaged, and motivated.
Here's your Q1 2023 round up:
Meet People Person Charlotte Collett, VP of Human Resources at NorthRiver Midstream
Charlotte Collett once received one of the best compliments of her career when a CEO expressed that he “didn't know what to do with her”. He went on to say that she was the first HR professional he had experienced whose leading value was her strategic business expertise and her HR skillset was an added bonus.
Growing up in Central Alberta and graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary, the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree in her family. "My dad was a successful small business owner," she shares. " I grew up looking at things through a business mindset." This early business grounding continues to serve Charlotte throughout her HR career.
"I believe this is critical to how HR practitioners can truly support the business as a strategic partner," she explains. "It's what grants you license, in my view, to be at the table. If you don't understand your client’s core business needs, I'm not sure how you can influence it in the right way from an HR standpoint."
And while Charlotte believes that business acumen is what can help HR leaders sell big ideas internally with more success and credibility, she thinks sometimes it's better to think small.
"As HR practitioners, we sometimes can be quite ambitious in what we want to see for the organization," says Charlotte. "What I have come to value more is experimenting, trying something, and appreciating that although it might not be utopia, some progress is still progress. Often the real gift is in the small incremental wins, especially when it comes to impacting culture. People can downplay the accomplishment because they think progress is not as fast as it should be. When you're dealing with humans (versus numbers, or tools), things are more complex and nuanced."
Let's dive into our interview!
I architected my career with a blend of specialized expertise (compensation, talent development) and client facing business partner work. Having experiences both in a generalist and specialist domain has really informed my leadership brand as I easily understand what it's like to practice the profession on both sides.
Beyond that, I always strive for a higher level of performance and lead by example. HR practitioners are role models for the cultural behaviours that you're trying to instil and develop in the organization. We need to “eat our own dog food”, as I like to say. I won't ask someone in the business to do something I wouldn't do.
I am constantly curious and learning each day about human behaviour and what drives people to operate the way they do. The reality is that in much of what HR does, we aren't always working with people at their best. HR practitioners are often called upon to be the voice of reason in the face of what can be very emotive situations. Be an observer of others and stay open to why people respond the way they do, considering what is driving their perspective. Really trying to stay in that space of curiosity around humans, what they do and why they do it.
And lastly, mentorship. Mentors, in my view, are an invaluable resource. Having been a receiver of that gift, it's extremely important to me that I pay it forward with the people that are coming up in the profession.
Influencing and impacting culture is one of the reasons why I have taken on the mandates that I have. People often think that putting a pool table in the staff room and giving people free pop is setting culture, and I don't necessarily agree. Those things are nice and have their purposes, but they are perks, not culture.
Culture is about aligning people's behaviour to what you want the organization to drive in terms of results and strategy. I believe leaders model the culture you want; that's my passion project – helping leaders be better leaders.
I subscribe to the adage that culture is what people do when no one is looking.
Getting aligned about our collective values and communicating those clearly is key to increasing the chance that they do those right things. It was a great process to help align the leadership team around questions like, 'What do we want this organization to be able to do?' and 'How do we want people to behave?'
The design process began by having the senior team get clear about their top five or six personal values. We wanted to acknowledge that employees and leaders don't come to work and park their personal values at the door. From there, we identified themes and commonalities and began building. For example, a consensus of people in the room identified family as a personal value. We explored how that concept might be applied to the workplace and landed on “We believe in looking out for one another”.
What you hope for in an organization is that the collective personal values of the majority of your employees align with what you aspire to as a culture – and that's called fit.
And when there is an imbalance in that, or people are navigating the organization and bumping up against a personal value that might be outside the balance of what the company values, conflict can arise.
We're coming out of a period in our world’s history that has had a material impact on work. It's impacted every demographic, with some older workers choosing to retire early taking valuable knowledge with them, and some early in career who have just spent three years working out of a basement on a Teams call who may now be struggling with how to navigate a return to office.
The nature of work and managing those varied impacts and expectations is going to continue to be a big challenge. I don't think it's going away.
I'm not a fan of working fully remote because I'm in the business of humans. I feel like there is a wonderful thing that happens when humans are sharing the same physical space and having organic impromptu conversations. These are situations you can't replicate through a phone line or a video screen.
Humans are social beings that need connectivity beyond a work-related topic – they need relationships. This is the glue that helps businesses be more efficient and strategic.
But I appreciate that people want balance. Living through the pandemic, we have proven that people can be productive at work and flexibly manage their lives. We can walk and chew gum at the same time.
The issue of mental health in the workplace is connected to that. I appreciate that there is a public conversation happening on this most important topic right now. As humans, most of us at some point or another will have likely struggled with mental health in some way – historically we may have kept it hidden in the shadows.
While we're seeing progress, managing mental health remains very challenging organizationally, especially for leaders who don't always know how to navigate those waters. That's when they turn to HR professionals for support, and it's not always easy.
HR practitioners continuing to add value as businesspeople. HR practitioners have access to more data and metrics than ever before and understanding what's behind the numbers and contextualizing that is an essential and valuable skill for any organization.
I appreciate that not every organization can invest in large scale HRIS systems or flashy technology, and that's fair. But exploring creative ways to get to meaningful data will ground you in what's possible and the alternatives that make sense for your organization. Data mining and constructing a practical narrative around data is an important skill for HR practitioners and something I'm excited about.
Thank you, Charlotte, for sitting down with us and sharing your experience and knowledge!
Know an amazing HR Leader you think we should feature? Send us a note at email@example.com
Employee recognition differs by industry - there’s no one-size-fits all approach. But understanding how to leverage recognition within your industry can have an undeniable impact on your business’ success.
You can find employee recognition across all industries in many different forms. Most organizations have learned that recognizing employees for their hard work is an essential business practice. Some organizations have implemented employee recognition software, while some are still embracing the old classics like free lunches, birthday cards and company gifts.
Different industries face different challenges. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach – recognition differs between industries, and it can be challenging to find the perfect solution. What we do know is when recognition is done well, it can have an even greater impact on your business.
In healthcare, employee recognition often centers on patient care and satisfaction. Recognizing employees who go above and beyond in providing compassionate care or who achieve excellent patient outcomes is common.
Creating an engaging work environment is especially critical in healthcare because that engagement directly affects patients and their experience. Hospitals with a high percentage of engaged nurses pay $1.1 million less in malpractice claims every year than those with less engaged nurses.
Kudos Case Study:
LMC Healthcare, a Kudos client since 2012, has proved that incorporating employee recognition into healthcare culture leads to better patient care. With the help of Kudos, LMC designed a values-based culture where team members are committed to quality work and to delivering the best patient experience.
With clinics distributed across Canada, staff and physicians can recognize each other through Kudos desktop and mobile applications – making maintaining a healthy culture easy with recognition.
“A great culture is the foundation for a successful business. A strong culture encourages staff to be actively engaged, do their best, and come to work every day to support the company’s mission. With a focus on culture, employee performance can then translate into business success – hitting whatever key performance indicators that have been set, including revenue and positive patient outcomes.” Leah Topic Director of Human Resources at LMC Healthcare.
Key Takeaways for Recognition in Healthcare:
A study done by SLD found this industry has the highest amount of employee recognition and reward programs. This study also discovered that employees ranked top-down acknowledgement and social recognition significantly higher than their executives.
In this highly client-focused industry, employee recognition often centers on meeting or exceeding sales targets or providing outstanding client service. Recognizing employees who demonstrate exceptional financial knowledge or who develop innovative financial products is common. Interestingly, keeping customers happy through exceptional customer experience is linked to a critical business challenge – retaining your best talent.
A great customer experience only comes when employees are engaged. When employees are happy and satisfied with their jobs, they are more capable of ensuring customer satisfaction. Companies providing financial services should consider focusing their efforts on employee engagement through recognition if they want happy customers and loyal employees.
Kudos Case Study:
In 2020, CAAT Pension Plan discovered their traditional approach to company culture wasn’t working. With significant company expansion planned for the future, CAAT knew they weren’t going to get there if their employees weren’t engaged and committed.
Since implementing Kudos, CAAT is now an award-winning employer whose employees have redefined their customer experience and led them to tremendous success.
Key Takeaways for Recognition in Finance:
At the beginning of 2022, the U.S. technology industry reached a market value of $1.6 trillion. The tech industry has had explosive growth, and this means many organizations have had to evolve and keep up with the never-ending demand of better applications, software, services, tools, platforms, etc. Recognizing employees who develop new products, solve complex problems, or seek more efficient solutions is highly common.
According to the Velocity Global Report, 72% of the tech companies have employees working remotely. Tech companies will need to place emphasis on investing in services that will support their remote workforce, especially in a rapidly growing, and competitive industry.
The tech industry is also known for periodic layoffs that can leave remaining employees feeling insecure and burnt out. Recognition can provide certainty and reassurance for employees who are feeling uneasy. This reduction in stress can translate in turn to lowered turnover, less absenteeism and more productivity.
Kudos Case Study:
Telarus is one of the largest privately held technology services distributors and has seen significant ROI since implementing Kudos in 2019. They have also ensured recognition is accessible to all employees whether in the office, working from home, or on the road.
Telarus chose Kudos for its values-aligned peer-to-peer recognition, which has helped support the culture they’ve designed around three pillars: Innovation, Partner Success and Team Success.
“The Telarus team, at every level, enjoys using the platform. We’ve noticed that in months where our revenue spikes, so does the volume of our awarded recognition in Kudos.” Dawnell Unsworth, Telarus.
Key Takeaways for Recognition in Technology:
Recognition has become increasingly more important in areas like construction and manufacturing due to the direct impact engagement has on health and safety in the workplace. Engaged employees are less likely to be injured or cause an accident on the job than those with low engagement.
As a result, recognition is being included more and more as a key component of an effective health and safety program – some standards like ISO 45001 and ESG reporting require employee engagement metrics. The bottom line is; engaged workers are safe workers.
Offering ongoing opportunities for learning and development can increase engagement, while also recognizing employees for their accomplishments. Celebrating when an employee reaches a new training milestone will not only encourage participation in professional development but will keep employees productive and efficient.
Kudos Case Study:
Russell, a Kudos client since 2019, has seen a tremendous impact on their culture by focusing on individual development.
Their people-development strategy has four key pillars: Coaching, 360° Feedback, Core Competency Focus, and Career Development. Kudos allows employees to recognize the strides being made by their peers and encourages others to continue to learn and grow.
Russell has been recognized for their safety practices, including by the Association of General Contractors of America, National Contractor’s Insurance, Ltd., and by the National Safety Council. In 2020, Russell achieved, for the second time, one million hours with zero lost-time incidents.
“In the construction industry, our people are our product. Our value proposition in the market is our people; without great people, we can’t build buildings and satisfy our clients. Like most industries, the competition for talent is fierce; it’s imperative that we attract and retain team members whose skills we develop in order to meet our company goals.” Melissa Pepper, Chief Strategy Officer of Russell.
Key Takeaways for Recognition in Construction & Manufacturing:
Retail is a customer-oriented industry, which means employee recognition often focuses on providing excellent customer service. Employees are more motivated to produce better quality work when they feel appreciated. For customer-facing employees, that means providing an experience that clients appreciate and remember.
Studies show that companies with at least 50% employee engagement retain more than 80% of their customers. According to PwC’s Future of Customer Experience Survey, 73% of customers agree that customer experience is central to their purchasing decisions. Among U.S. customers, 65% find a positive customer experience more influential than great advertising.
Retail employees, especially front-line staff, who work for an organization that has a program for recognizing milestones (Birthdays, work anniversaries, promotions, etc.) are twice as likely to thrive at work. Thriving employees are more likely to stay longer at an organization, and in an industry where the turnover is quite high, retaining employees for a better customer experience is critical.
Key Takeaways for Recognition in Retail:
The sky's the limit when it comes to industries. Consider customer-focused sectors like higher education and hospitality, for example, where employee recognition often focuses on providing excellent customer service. Employees are more motivated to produce better quality work when they feel appreciated. For customer-facing employees, that means providing an experience that clients appreciate and remember.
Even though these industries are facing different hurdles, all of them have demonstrated that employee recognition leads to business success. Whatever approach your business takes on employee recognition – ensuring it’s unique, customized and empowering for your employees is when you will see the greatest impact on your organization.
ChatGPT is the artificial intelligence (AI) language model that has university professors re-imagining their assignments, and employers re-strategizing the workplace.
HR leaders are busier than ever. Between a competitive job market, layoffs, discussions around remote vs. hybrid vs. return-to-office, recognition & rewards and more, they need all the help they can get. Recently there’s been quite a bit of discussion around AI’s potential in supporting HR professionals, and much of the focus has been on ChatGPT
ChatGPT is the latest iteration of the original generative pretrained transformer (GPT) by OpenAI.
In simple terms, Forbes describes ChatGPT as a tool that “enables users to ask questions or tell a story, and the bot will respond with relevant, natural-sounding answers and topics. The interface is designed to simulate a human conversation, creating natural engagement with the bot.”
Is there a better source to determine ChatGPT’s capabilities in HR than ChatGPT?
If you ask ChatGPT how it can be used in HR, the model generates a response like the following:
Of course, you can ask ChatGPT more creative questions like: what should I, an HR professional, ask you? Here's the response we got:
As an HR professional, you may have several questions related to recruitment, employee relations, compensation and benefits, and more. Some questions you could ask me include:
ChatGPT produces accurate, precise, and well-written feedback for any of your industry questions, yet many industry leaders don’t feel threatened.
In an article for SHRM, Tim Sackett wrote “here's the differentiation between ChatGPT and HR professionals: While you will no longer be needed as the creator of a work product, HR professionals will still be needed to narrate to ChatGPT what they want to create.”
A recent research article explains some of the shortcomings of earlier GPT models, some of which may help assuage concerned HR team members. [Note that OpenAI intends to troubleshoot with each new version]:
The shortcut of ‘self-attention’
All communicative AI is reliant on the ‘human labor of understanding.’ In other words, tools like ChatGPT may create the illusion of agency, but each response is just an extraction of something we, the people, have already said.
In this way, ChatGPT understands and responds to prompts by pulling from the database–human conversations–it’s made up of.
This is important for HR professionals to flag as concerns about AI take-over rise. Yes, ChatGPT is a powerful tool we can use to save time and act on strategy, but it will never be able to replace the source of its own “intelligence.” Functions like HR will always be uniquely human at its core.
“Human sense-making is constantly required to keep up the appearances of autonomous or semi-autonomous machine behaviour” - Artificial intelligence and the affective labour of understanding: The intimate moderation of a language model
Allocational and representational harms
When an automated system gives credit unfairly, for example, this is considered allocational harm. On the other hand, representational harm occurs when systems misrepresent or fail to acknowledge groups. For example, InstructGPT and ChatGPT offer vastly different histories about Christopher Columbus.
If you ask ChatGPT how it can assist HR leaders, it may respond with an answer like this: ChatGPT can offer advice on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Relying on a system with entrenched biases to develop DEIB initiatives is counterintuitive enough, these initiatives need to be taken on thoughtfully and with empathy.
Monitoring your DEIB initiatives, on the other hand, shows a dedication to the process.
Small and large worlds
‘The communicative performance of an AI system in a small world is often misconstrued as indicative of its potential performance in a large one’ - Artificial intelligence and the affective labour of understanding: The intimate moderation of a language model
According to the article, small worlds represent subsets of large worlds. To make a (hopefully) helpful comparison, if a small world is an eBay print of the Mona Lisa, then a large world is the Mona Lisa itself.
So, even though ChatGPT may perform incredibly well in isolated decision-making situations, that doesn’t guarantee general success.
Here at Kudos, we’re keeping an eye on all things ChatGPT and how it can further support HR Leaders in building culture and engagement. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest HR news and insight direct to your inbox.
Employee Appreciation Day is an excellent opportunity for employers to demonstrate appreciation. Here are some ideas (plus a free calendar!) to get you started.
Employee Appreciation Day is a special occasion to recognize and celebrate the hard work and dedication of your employees. Of course, employees should be recognized for their contributions all year long, but Employee Appreciation Day is an opportunity for employers to demonstrate extra appreciation.
Employee Appreciation Day is observed on the first Friday of March every year. This year, Employee Appreciation Day is Friday, March 3, 2023.
The concept of Employee Appreciation Day was first introduced in the United States in 1995 by Dr. Bob Nelson who has helped many organizations build a culture of recognition across the globe. This day is now observed in several countries worldwide and serves as a reminder of the importance of appreciating employees, and the impact recognition has on an organization.
Employee recognition directly impacts engagement in an organization. Employee engagement is a big focus for HR leaders in 2023, especially after the changes we faced in the last three years that brought the Great Resignation, quiet quitting, layoffs, the list goes on. Disengagement affects culture and it’s expensive. Gallup reports that employees who are actively disengaged costs the world $7.8 trillion in lost productivity.
But here’s the good news: organizations that are including recognition in their strategies are experiencing better business outcomes such as profitability, retention, productivity, and employee satisfaction.
Prominence Health Plan, a Kudos client since 2021, conducted an internal culture assessment and identified a critical gap in their employee experience. The feedback they received was a lack of employee appreciation that was quickly becoming a problem in their company culture.
“There’s never been a time when investing in employee engagement has been more important,” says Kamal Jemmoua, CEO at Prominence Health.
Kudos values-based recognition platform was the clear choice to support Prominence Health’s strategic approach to enhancing their company culture. Prominence Health is now an award-winning employer and has achieved impressive growth and performance.
“At the end of the day, employees are your most important asset, and you need to figure out how to appreciate them.” - Kamal Jemmoua, CEO at Prominence Health
Download the full case study Prominence Health Prioritizes Culture to Drive Performance with Kudos.
Recognizing your employees and showing gratitude for their work creates a positive work culture that fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty. Celebrating Employee Appreciation Day is a great start to building a culture of recognition - take the next step and recognize throughout the entire month! We’ve made it easy for you with this free calendar of recognition prompts to inspire you to show appreciation all month.
Here are some ideas for Employee Appreciation Day:
While Employee Appreciation Day is important, recognizing your employees all year will have the most impact on your organization. Kudos makes sending meaningful recognition easy and accessible to everyone – with employee milestones, nomination programs and personalized rewards, no achievement goes unnoticed.
Our free 2023 Celebrations Calendar includes all the important dates throughout the year so you never miss an opportunity to recognize and celebrate your employees!
There’s no need to wait until Employee Appreciation Day to make recognition part of your culture – we can help you right now!
In this article, we explore the 5 languages of appreciation, how they connect to employee recognition, and what this might look like in the workplace.
You may have heard about The 5 Languages of Love® – a framework created by Gary Chapman for how people prefer to give and receive love. Using this same framework, Gary Chapman teamed up with Dr. Paul White, to discuss how to apply this to appreciation in the workplace.
The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace says, “when authentic appreciation is communicated, all stakeholders win—the employee, the supervisor, the organization, customers and clients, as well as the family and friends of the employee who get to enjoy a more positive, encouraged individual.”
In this article, we explore the 5 languages of appreciation, how they connect to employee recognition, and what this might look like in the workplace.
Words of affirmation are when you communicate your appreciation to someone through words. In the workplace, this could be something as simple as a “great job!” or “I really appreciated your help on that project.” Ensuring recognition is timely, personal, and meaningful is what will have the most impact on your employees.
Kudos makes sending meaningful recognition to your employees easy and simple. Recognition sent in Kudos creates deeper connections, where your employees can share experiences and celebrate each other’s achievements, all in one place.
Our free culture guide, Recognition Your Team Will Love, explains how to write meaningful recognition, with 20 examples for your team.
Quality time means giving someone your complete and undivided attention. Making space for quality time in the workplace could look like; checking in with your employees often, scheduling one-on-one time, and listening to your employees.
Quality time doesn’t always need to be work related – having small conversations about weekend plans, or favorite tv shows is important to build connections with your team. Younger generations especially want positive team dynamics, with leaders who care about their work and personal lives.
This one is about those small acts of kindness that can go a long way. Something as simple as taking meeting minutes for someone, stocking the paper tray in the printer, or taking on a task from someone if their plate is too full. These small, but significant moments demonstrate appreciation for someone by showing them you recognize how valuable their time is.
Thanking and recognizing individuals for their acts of service can be done through sending recognition messages in Kudos, and can also be celebrated through a nominations program. You can create an award in Kudos for which your employees can nominate each other. Nomination programs can spotlight impactful moments happening in your organization every day that your broader team might not see.
While giving recognition should always be top of mind, some employees may feel even more appreciated with a gift. Employee rewards are an important aspect of workplace culture as they help to motivate, engage and retain employees. The days of free company swag, coffee mugs and notepads are over though. Demonstrating appreciation through gift giving should be unique and personalized.
Rewards that cater to individual employees can demonstrate your company's commitment to their personal and professional growth. Kudos offers access to a world-class suite of rewards - merchandise, events, travel, charities, gift cards and even custom rewards can be redeemed through Kudos. Adding points and rewards to your recognition experience is a fantastic way to support engagement and augment total compensation.
For remote employees, offering a place where everyone can gather in person, like a hybrid office or a company event is a great way for employees to express appreciation in person.
Some people may love hugs, and others may prefer a handshake – physical touch in the workplace should be limited to brief and professional forms of touch between close colleagues. It is important to be aware of and respect the personal boundaries of your colleagues.
Employees need to know their contributions to your organization are valued. Without this recognition, we begin to feel our hard work has no purpose. And without purpose, we feel unappreciated, undervalued, and unmotivated.
Just like the 5 Languages of Love®, your team members will prefer different methods of appreciation. Some people may need to be checked-in with often, and some may be fine with a one-on-one occasionally, and that’s perfectly okay. Using a tool like Kudos, where all the ways of appreciation can be expressed through recognition, will help your employees feel valued, be engaged and more motivated to do their best work.
Meet People Person Rebecca Lee, Director of People at Kudos
People People is a series covering the best and brightest HR leaders of today and tomorrow.
When it comes to business, Kudos' Rebecca Lee is most passionate about how it gets done. Hint: It’s the people!
While Rebecca didn't always know she wanted to work in HR, it wasn't long after starting postsecondary education and internships that she realized it was a perfect fit. While studying Business at Concordia University of Edmonton, Rebecca was drawn to her management and leadership development courses.
"It's not just about being a people person," she (somewhat reluctantly) states. "To me, that’s only one part of the equation, which is probably the worst thing you can say as an HR leader. But for me, it's also about helping the business. I'm interested in solving business problems, and my worldview is that in order to solve them, you need to lean into the people side of things, because ultimately, business is done by people."
And that's just one way Rebecca breaks the mold of what you might imagine as an HR leader, or as she prefers, people leader.
When it comes to the stereotype of HR being the fun police, Rebecca believes that things have gotten better in the field. But there's still a long way to go.
She explains that in many ways, it's easier to be a neutral third party all the time and, yes, sometimes being the fun police.
But she chooses the more complex path of adapting to each situation with authenticity.
That means being approachable, always professional, and willing to hold space for whatever conversation needs to be had. "Sometimes they're easy, sometimes they're really hard," she explains, "but if there's a need to discuss it, I'm happy to go there. And so that's why for me, it's more about the consistency in being genuine versus holding a hard line." For example, suppose someone asks for advice. In that case, she'll be open and honest and work from her personal playbook, but if the conversation relates to an internal policy or labour law, she'll put on her people leader hat and approach it meticulously and objectively.
But the reality of working with people stays the same.
People are complex, the real world can be messy, and HR leaders are here to work alongside the business & people to solve problems.
Another hot take from Rebecca? Culture doesn’t live in the people function. “Obviously, people teams play a big role in shaping and supporting culture,” she clarifies, but to her, everyone plays a role in bringing it to life through their behaviours, interactions, and relationships.
"It's how we talk to each other, or, how we come together to do the work. Culture comes to life in interactions, whether that's at the 1-1 level or in a big group; it's actually quite decentralized."
If Rebecca had to pinpoint who she thinks are the primary stewards of culture, she thinks it’s managers and leaders.
"They need to drive it," she explains. "They need to be vigilant about being aware of where the needle is when it comes to culture. And I think that they need to get ahead of it because it's such a powerful tool that can make or break your success in achieving business objectives."
However, people teams are the voice of culture when it comes to programs.
"Programming is where the rubber meets the road," Rebecca explains. "It doesn't matter how great your strategy is, if you can't translate that into action, it actually means nothing." Mic drop.
And to Rebecca, it's the people team’s role to call out cultural implications when rolling out new initiatives. Questions like, is this consistent with our culture? Are we pivoting our culture by doing this? People teams need to push leaders to answer those questions as new ideas are designed and developed, and guide them through programs that support the company's people.
In the coming years, HR departments will be pushed to prove they are executing on promises related to DEIB, work-life balance, flexible work environments, and more. It’s also the right thing to do. "The new generation of workers will hold organizations accountable to their promises. They want to know what programs you have in place to execute the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and ESG initiatives you have built strategies around and identified as organizational priorities."
For Rebecca, this is now non-negotiable, and many organizations need to catch up in this respect. It's time to walk the talk.
The other big thing on Rebecca's radar? People analytics.
This is an arena where many people teams are playing catch up compared to other departments like sales, marketing, and operations. For example, one historically popular metric in the people space is time to fill open roles. "Shouldn't we be more concerned about the stay rate and quality of some of those hires?" Rebecca challenges. "We need to get more creative in terms of the outcomes we're trying to measure, and reverse engineer from there to figure out what data points we need."
Demonstrating the ROI of people programs will be critical to bringing and keeping these leaders at the executive table. "There's a story to be told here, and we have the data to tell it."
The people function will see some big changes over the next few years. People pros are levelling up, skilling up, and realizing that they need focus on integration, whether it be around tools & technology available to support the people space or tucking into enabling efficient/effective business operations".
Rebecca's hope? HR leaders call out the cracks they see, and are courageous enough to lean in and create some change.
Know an amazing People or HR Leader you think we should feature? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
An Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a scoring system designed to help employers measure employee satisfaction and loyalty within their organization.
“On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our company as a workplace?”
This one simple question offers huge insights into your organization. Your Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) calculates employee loyalty, and can also be a key indicator for measuring your employee experience. HR leaders are using eNPS as a starting point to improve their company culture – let's take a deeper look at what this number means.
An Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a scoring system designed to help employers measure employee satisfaction and loyalty within their organization. It comes from the Net Promoter Score (NPS)®, published by Fred Reichheld, which measures product and brand loyalty with customers. If NPS® is a successful way to measure customer loyalty, then why not use the same method to measure employee loyalty?
eNPS is determined by how your employees answer a variation of the question, “how likely are you to recommend working at [your organization] to a friend,” with answers based on a number scale from 1-10.
Employees who answer in the 0-6 range are considered Detractors, 7-8 are Neutrals, and 9-10 are Promoters.
It’s well known that employee engagement contributes to performance – organizations with a highly engaged workforce are 23% more profitable. Measuring your employee engagement through eNPS is a great start, and your results will help you design initiatives to turn your Neutrals and Detractors into Promoters.
An eNPS score reflects an organization’s employee experience and engagement levels. Engaged employees are highly motivated and move an organization forward because their needs are being met, they have a sense of belonging, and they know their wellbeing matters.
Rebecca Lee, Director of People at Kudos talks about the importance of eNPS, especially when focusing on culture, as it gives a view into your employee experience.
“It’s an important metric that not only gives us some feedback on how team members are feeling but encourages us to shift our mindset to approach team members as clients – particularly as we plan for programs and tactics that will have a positive impact on engagement, retention and overall satisfaction.” - Rebecca Lee, Director of People at Kudos
Calculating your eNPS is a great way to collect anonymous employee feedback. Employees who are satisfied and feel optimistic about their work and the organization they work for, will be more productive and innovative, and will most likely be Promoters in your eNPS. When you pair eNPS data with other employee feedback, like the built-in sentiment survey in Kudos, you’ll get a complete picture of your organizational health.
You can use our Kudos eNPS Calculator to help you calculate your eNPS after surveying your team.
Calculating your eNPS is very simple – eNPS is the percentage of Promoters minus the percentage of Detractors (Neutrals are not included in the calculation).
Here is an example:
Your organization has 100 employees, and you ask them to rank how likely they would be to recommend working at your organization from a scale of 0-10:
30 people answered with a number from 0-6 (Detractors), 20 people answered with either 7 or 8 (Neutrals), and 50 people answered with either 9 or 10 (Promoters). Neutrals are excluded from the calculation:
eNPS = 50% (Promoters) - 30% (Detractors)
eNPS = 20% (or +20 on the ENPS scale)
It’s important to note the score is not out of 100, it’s a scale that ranges between –100 to +100.
Having a positive eNPS means you have more Promoters than Detractors which is always the goal. It’s difficult to narrow down what is considered a great eNPS score, because they differ between industries, but usually +20 would be considered good, and anything above +50 is considered exceptional.
Exploring the benchmarks in your industry is a good starting point when analyzing your score, as well as researching companies that are known for having a great eNPS score.
Hubspot, at one point, reported an eNPS score of +91! Hubspot continually raises the bar for employee experience – in 2022 they were named a Best Workplace for Millennials by Fortune.
Looking into the practices that organizations with high eNPS are taking is a great way to strategize how you can improve your employee experience.
CAAT Pension Plan, a Kudos client since 2020, has made huge strides with keeping their employees engaged and has led them to become an award-winning organization. Read more about CAAT Pension Plan’s approach to recognition culture in our free case study; CAAT Sees Improved Employee Engagement by Putting Values First.
Your eNPS can be a valuable metric, however it doesn’t give insights as to why your employees responded the way they did. Taking the steps to gather valuable feedback from your employees is crucial when wanting to improve your employee experience.
For HR leaders, it’s critical to have a sense of where your employee sentiment stands, and how to get ahead of it before it’s too late. The key to improving sentiment and wellbeing in your workplace is being aware of it, not just through an annual survey, but through constant information gathering.
Collecting feedback anonymously through the Kudos Sentiment Survey allows you to track how employees as a group are feeling over time, and also creates a safe space for anonymous individual feedback.
Collecting feedback is a great start, but it's critical to share the results with your employees along with what actions and initiatives will be taken to make improvements.
Look for common threads to identify potential issues and use those insights to move forward with a strategic plan to enhance your employee experience. How your organization changes to improve your overall employee experience is the path that will positively impact your people, and your business.
Happy employees equal productive employees. Employee recognition is not only good for a company’s morale, but it's also good for business growth. Studies from Gallup have shown that happy and engaged employees lead to increased productivity and profitability. Kudos streamlines recognition and helps create an environment where employees feel appreciated through regular and meaningful recognition, which can directly impact your eNPS.
You can download our free guide, Making the Case for Employee Recognition, which will walk you through the steps to get approval of your employee engagement strategy.
Try not to be alarmed if your organization has more Detractors and Neutrals than Promoters – instead, take it as a crucial opportunity to pause on your organization's current practices, and analyze what needs to change. Listen to your employees, advocate for them, and determine your plan to turn Detractors and Neutrals into Promoters.
Launching the right initiatives will help you emerge as a leader in company culture, but investing in the right tools, like Kudos, to make it happen is key.
How effective is your current talent strategy? Compensation and benefits might seem like the most important tools in the war for talent – but they’ll only serve to get people in the door.
Attracting and retaining talent is more crucial than it’s ever been. Compensation and benefits might seem like the most important tools in the war for talent – but they’ll only serve to get people in the door.
“We think that if we treat our team members well and empower them to make a meaningful impact, that’s what will help our company’s performance. In fact, that’s what we’ve seen.” Sierra Berg from Pillar Properties, a Kudos client since 2013.
The culture you create directly impacts every part of your employee experience and determines your ability to attract, engage, and retain top talent. Our eBook, Culture as a Talent Strategy, provides actionable insights on how to create the kind of culture that fosters exceptional performance and retains your best people. Let’s take a look at what you’ll find inside.
In 2021 we were challenged with The Great Resignation, where 2.9% of the U.S. workforce voluntarily left their jobs and 48% of American workers were actively searching for new jobs in that same year.
For HR leaders, attracting and retaining talent through these shifts in our workforce is incredibly challenging. If our current demographic trends continue, this problem will only get worse. When organizations are perpetually understaffed, growth and innovation don’t happen.
Talent is a strategic priority for your organization and will become THE strategic priority and your greatest source of competitive advantage. How can you take your talent strategy to the next level?
Organizations that plan to seriously address long-term labor shortages are investing in creating authentic cultures that drive engagement and performance.
Your people want to feel respected, valued, and aligned with the direction of your company. Creating an attractive, healthy culture is an investment in the long-term viability of your organization. Working on your culture today will help you make enormous strides, especially with younger generations, who care more about their employers’ values.
Pillar Properties’ culture-first approach directly impacts their customers and their business performance. Pillar was recognized as a Culture Leader in the Best Culture Awards, due to their investment and commitment to building a strong workplace culture by becoming a people-focused and culture-first organization.
Download the full case study, The Key to Pillar Properties’ Success is Remarkable Culture, to learn more about how they turned their challenges into opportunities and are now an award-winning company – all due to their culture.
To build a healthy, high-performance culture, take a realistic look at your culture today and evaluate what is working and what is not working. Here are the important questions to help guide you:
Great culture happens when values, behaviors, talent, and strategy come together. More answers to these questions are all in our free eBook.
Employer branding is how organizations manage how potential candidates perceive them as employers. Your goal for employer branding is to convince desirable candidates (i.e., candidates with the right skills, aligned values, etc.) to apply for jobs with your organization.
Your employer branding strategy should showcase your culture in an authentic way, not because it will attract candidates, but because it will attract the RIGHT candidates. Infuse the hiring process with your culture – a top-notch culture is the best way to recruit top-notch talent.
Culture is the only thing your competitors cannot replicate, and that’s why it’s the only sustainable competitive advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. Build a winning talent strategy today by downloading our free eBook, Culture as a Talent Strategy, and start taking actionable steps towards a culture that fosters exceptional performance and retains your best people.
Discover five reasons why recognition can help you see business success and growth beyond what you ever imagined possible!
Your employees are the backbone of your company and your most valuable asset. They are the ones who carry out the day-to-day tasks that keep things running smoothly. The evidence is clear – studies from leading analytics and advisory group Gallup have shown that happy and engaged employees lead to increased productivity and profitability. In other words, a happy employee equals a productive employee so, it truly is in everyone’s best interest to create an environment where employees feel appreciated. One way to do this is through regular, meaningful recognition.
Employee recognition is not only good for a company’s morale, but it's also good for business growth. Unfortunately, when it comes to growing a successful business, employee recognition is often overlooked as a critical contributing factor.
Still not convinced? Here are five more reasons why recognition can help you see business success and growth beyond what you ever imagined possible:
One surefire way to make your employees happy is by recognizing their accomplishments. Something as simple as a handwritten thank you note can boost morale and make your team more productive. When you take the time to recognize your peers, they feel valued and appreciated. And when they feel valued and appreciated, they know their contributions matter, and they’re more likely to be engaged in their work and invested in the company’s success. Hint: don’t just recognize the big accomplishments, but also the everyday efforts that keep your operation running smoothly!
A positive working environment where employees feel appreciated is a key success factor for any enterprise. You can help create a more positive working environment by acknowledging your employees’ efforts and accomplishments.
Recognizing employees for their hard work can help create a more positive work environment that feels more fair and fulfilling. To do so, recognition must be personalized and meaningful. A good rule of thumb is to be specific, be transparent, and recognize the effort, not the outcome.
By recognizing employees for their good work, you not only show that you value their contributions, but also demonstrate to other potential recruits that your company is a great place to work. Having a culture employees are openly proud of is critical to building a strong employer brand. Additionally, happy employees tend to be more loyal to their employer, which can reduce turnover rates. Outside employers can easily match salaries, but the culture is different to replicate.
When it comes to employee recognition, employers often only consider raises or bonuses. However, these financial rewards are not always the most meaningful way to show appreciation. Instead, employers should focus on making employee recognition more personal. This can be done by simply taking the time to notice when someone goes above and beyond or by providing specific feedback on a job well done. By recognizing the behaviors you want to see, employees know what’s expected of them and that their hard work is truly appreciated, something especially important for customer-facing employees. The right recognition can lead to employees providing an experience that clients appreciate and remember, and happy clients = better bottom line.
A formal employee recognition program makes reaping the benefits above possible – and easy! While ad-hoc recognition holds value, an effective employee recognition program can help your company achieve its culture and engagement goals much faster and at scale. By showing employees that their efforts are appreciated, they are more likely to feel motivated and engaged in their work. This can lead to increased productivity and improved morale throughout the company.
Showing your employees that you value their hard work is essential to keeping them motivated and invested in your company's success. Employee recognition doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming – even a simple “thank you” can go a long way toward making someone feel valued.
If you'd like to learn how to choose the right employee recognition solution for your company’s culture, goals, and budget, feel free to book a 1:1 consultation call with one of our employee engagement strategists.
Company swag and forced fun is out. Time to disconnect and regular recognition is in.
Currently, half of today's employees and managers are burned out at work, according to Microsoft's 2022 Work Trend Index. Between the ongoing pandemic, looming recession, and the usual stress this time of year brings, chances are your team is exhausted, overwhelmed, and in dire need of some downtime. Why is it, then, that along with weekends and weeknights full of holiday parties, shopping, and travelling, life at work feels busier and more demanding than it has all year?
As HR teams, social committees, and culture clubs congregate to make some last-minute holiday plans, why not try something new this year? Rather than sticking to the old approach, here's an inside look at what your team really wants, and how to make it happen:
The urge to organize a virtual happy hour may be strong, and for some people, they are still a holiday dream come true! But with 80% of U.S. remote workers reporting some level of 'Zoom fatigue,' chances are, zooming in to party might bring out a few inner Grinches. Instead, give your team a clear choice by including one simple (compound) word: non-mandatory. Make it clear that your team can choose to attend or take the time to log off and recharge.
Sure, everyone loves a free t-shirt/hoodie/coffee mug, but is that really the best you can do? Between inflation and layoffs in the news, people are worried about personal finances – S&P Global reports that consumer holiday spending is expected to pull back compared to last season, for example. With that in mind, rather than delighting your team with (non-re-giftable) company swag, why not give them the gift of choice with a flexible gift card? Relieving the burden of holiday spending is a great way to show your team you have their back.
Sometimes, what you don't give has the most impact. While the idea of starting 2023 off ready to go, with planning, budgeting, and reports complete, consider if it's worth your team's sanity and peace of mind. On top of that, with stress at an all-time high this time of year, the quality of the work will undoubtedly suffer. Pushing some deadlines to a week into January and giving your team a chance to breathe this December will put a smile on your team's face that a holiday ham could simply never.
"I love performance review season," said no one ever. For some people, performance reviews bring anxiety, insecurity and significant discomfort. Unfortunately, this year risks being even more stressful, with many organizations freezing salaries and stalling promotions. Ensuring your team knows their work is appreciated is more critical now than ever. Announcing a 2023 implementation of a recognition platform, like Kudos, is a relatively inexpensive way of showing your team that you value their contributions. The bonus – a recognition platform is the gift that keeps on giving since your employees will continue to receive meaningful recognition all year and, if you choose to use points, a catalog of world-class rewards.
Finally, all this talk and effort leading up to the holidays is pointless if there is no actual time to celebrate and recharge. Time off can mean something different to everyone, including your managers. Some expect their teams to be accessible despite being "off." Have your leaders sign off on a "right to disconnect over the holidays" policy with guidelines on what is expected in terms of checking in with work and contingency plans. This will give your team the freedom to delete their work tech apps off their phones (no offence, Slack & Teams) and eliminate the need to check their email obsessively. Add some fun by suggesting some of these funny out of office messages. Your team will be delighted and will come back refreshed and ready to tackle 2023's challenges.
Changing how you've always celebrated the holidays can feel risky or uncomfortable, but the payoff is significant. When you see the joy in your team's eyes from getting what they really want, your own heart might just grow three sizes!
"And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say – that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day. And then – the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!" –Dr. Seuss
Use this guide to plan your celebrations and campaigns (hashtags included!)Get Your Guide