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Culture

5 min

5 min

Leveraging Your Strengths and Embracing Your Style to Build an HR Career in Tech

Leveraging Your Strengths and Embracing Your Style to Build an HR Career in TechLeveraging Your Strengths and Embracing Your Style to Build an HR Career in Tech

Meet Jessie Lambert, Human Resources Director at Mistplay

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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.


What have been some highlights in your HR career thus far?

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.


What are some critical skills HR leaders need, and how do you approach professional development?

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.


How would you define workplace culture?  

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.

How do you work with senior leaders to drive success?

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.

How has the shift to remote or hybrid work affected your role?

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?


What do those conversations look like between you and employees? Do you have advice for HR leaders undertaking a similar initiative?

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.


What challenges are you facing in HR these days?

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.


And on the flip side, what are you most excited about?

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 marketing@kudos.com

Culture

5 min

5 min

Rage Applying: Is This the New Quiet Quitting?

Rage Applying: Is This the New Quiet Quitting? Rage Applying: Is This the New Quiet Quitting?

Quiet quitting is out, rage applying is in.

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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.  

What is 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?”  

Why should leaders care about rage applying?

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?

You could lose your best employees

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.

The cost of turnover is high

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.  

Gen Z is entering the workforce

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.  

How can managers support employees they suspect are rage applying?

  1. Foster open and honest conversation. Have regular check-ins with your team so you can keep communication consistent and better recognize signs of burnout. Tessa White, also known as the “Job Doctor” on TikTok, talks about some of these helpful tips from her own experience when she was called a micromanager by her best team member.  
  1. Consider their career growth. Career planning can be challenging, but it’s key if you want to hold on to your best employees. Create an environment where your employees can harness new skills and reach their career goals, so they can fully see and understand their future in the company.
  1. Invest in recognition. It’s no secret employee recognition leads to business success. Employees who receive regular recognition are more productive, motivated, and committed to their organization, which leads to a more positive work environment and higher retention rates.

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.  

People leave their jobs for many reasons, and that’s okay.

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.

Culture

5 min

7 min

Mental Health in the Workplace: What HR Leaders Can Do

Mental Health in the Workplace: What HR Leaders Can Do  Mental Health in the Workplace: What HR Leaders Can Do

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.

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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.  

How does workplace mental health contribute to culture?

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.

Should HR leaders be embracing people analytics in 2023?

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.  

What are some signs of mental health struggles leaders should look out for and how can they provide support?

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.  

Organizations tend to offer mental health solutions outside of their organization. How do we bring mental health support inside an organization?

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.

How can HR Leaders win over their executive team when pitching health and wellness initiatives?

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.

How can HR leaders prioritize mental health in 2023?

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.

How Kudos Can Help

Better culture starts with Kudos – our platform offers resources that can help employee wellbeing, and contribute to a healthier workplace culture:  

  • Peer-to-Peer Recognition: our brains are wired to crave recognition. When we receive appreciation, our brains release serotonin and dopamine which are the crucial neurotransmitters that make us feel good. Kudos makes it easy to send meaningful recognition to anyone, so all great work can be celebrated.  
  • Sentiment Surveys: it’s important to have a place where employees can submit anonymous feedback on how they’re feeling. Kudos' Sentiment Survey provides valuable insights about employee wellbeing in your workplace quickly, efficiently, and in one place, allowing you to assess the overall employee sentiment in your organization currently and over time.
  • People Analytics: Kudos’ robust People Analytics can help uncover key indicators that are impacting your culture, so you can assess areas that need improvement before it’s too late.  

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.  

Culture

5 min

5 min

Building a Talent Acquisition Career Through Taking Chances, Sales Savvy, and the Human Touch

Building a Talent Acquisition Career Through Taking Chances, Sales Savvy, and the Human TouchBuilding a Talent Acquisition Career Through Taking Chances, Sales Savvy, and the Human Touch

Meet People Person Niki Murphy, Canadian Talent Acquisition and Talent Advancement Lead at ABB

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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.

What makes a good talent management professional?

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.  

How are you approaching the ‘new’ world of work post pandemic?

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.

What are you most proud of in your career?

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.

Can you tell me about your work building an internal D&I Council?

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:

  1. Talent Strategy

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.

  1. Impact on External Communities

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.

  1. Programming

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.

  1. Marketing & Communications

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.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’re facing today?

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.

What are you most excited about?

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 marketing@kudos.com

Culture

5 min

5 min

HR Leaders, Don't Miss These Must-Reads

HR Leaders, Don't Miss These Must-ReadsHR Leaders, Don't Miss These Must-Reads

ICYMI – Here's a roundup of articles and guides to help HR leaders build great cultures through the power of employee recognition and rewards.

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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:

HR Trends & Ideas

  • "We Asked ChatGPT How It Can Help HR Leaders: Here's What Happened": The Kudos team had a conversation with ChatGPT, the AI-powered language model, to explore how it can help HR leaders with employee engagement, talent management, and other HR-related tasks. The article provides insights on how AI can augment HR efforts and improve employee experience.  
  • "The 5 Languages of Recognition": This article explores the concept of the five languages of recognition and provides insights on how HR leaders can use them to promote effective employee recognition and appreciation. The article also includes practical tips and examples to help leaders communicate appreciation in a way that resonates with their employees.
  • "How Employee Recognition Leads to Business Growth": This article highlights the link between employee recognition and business growth and provides tips on how HR leaders can use recognition to drive employee engagement, productivity, and retention.
  • "Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) Explained": This article provides an overview of the employee net promoter score (eNPS), a metric that measures employee loyalty and satisfaction. The article includes tips on how HR leaders can use eNPS to improve employee engagement and retention.
  • "The Impact of Employee Recognition in Different Industries: Case Studies and Key Takeaways": This article showcases how employee recognition can drive engagement and boost productivity in various industries, including healthcare, hospitality, and retail. The article provides real-life examples and key takeaways for HR leaders to implement in their organizations.

Insights from Expert HR Leaders

  • "Taking a Bold Approach to HR That Challenges Norms and Leans on Authenticity": This article challenges HR leaders to take a bold approach to HR by challenging traditional HR practices and embracing authenticity. The article provides practical tips and examples to help HR leaders create a culture that fosters authenticity and drives employee engagement.
  • "The Power of Leading by Example in HR": This article explores the impact of leadership behavior on employee engagement and provides tips on how HR leaders can lead by example to create a positive work environment and inspire their teams to achieve their full potential.

New Culture Guides & Downloadable Resources

  1. "Kudos 2023 Celebrations Calendar": This culture guide provides a calendar of celebrations and events that HR leaders can use to engage and motivate their employees throughout the year.
  1. "Employee Appreciation Day and Month Guide": This article provides a comprehensive guide to help HR leaders plan and execute a successful Employee Appreciation Day or Month. The article includes creative ideas, best practices, and tips to make the celebration meaningful and impactful.
  1. "How to Use Your Culture as a Talent Strategy": This article explores how HR leaders can leverage their organization's culture to attract and retain top talent. The article provides insights on how to build a strong culture that aligns with the organization's values and goals.
  1. "Recognizing Generational Diversity": This culture guide explores how HR leaders can recognize and appreciate the diverse perspectives and values of different generations in the workplace. The guide provides tips and best practices for creating an inclusive workplace that values diversity and promotes collaboration.
  1. "Recognition Your Team Will Love": This culture guide provides creative ideas and best practices for employee recognition that can help HR leaders create a culture of appreciation and engagement.

Culture

5 min

5 min

The Power of Leading by Example in HR

The Power of Leading by Example in HRThe Power of Leading by Example in HR

Meet People Person Charlotte Collett, VP of Human Resources at NorthRiver Midstream

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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!

 

How did you build such a successful career in HR?

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.

How do you view workplace culture, and what role does HR play?

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.

Tell us about your recent initiative of re-envisioning your organization's values.

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.  

 

What are the critical challenges to HR teams in the near future, and what's keeping you up at night?

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.

What are you most excited about?

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 marketing@kudos.com

Culture

5 min

5 min

Taking a Bold Approach to HR That Challenges Norms and Leans on Authenticity

Taking a Bold Approach to HR That Challenges Norms and Leans on AuthenticityTaking a Bold Approach to HR That Challenges Norms and Leans on Authenticity

Meet People Person Rebecca Lee, Director of People at Kudos

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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!

Choosing a career in HR

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.

HR is your friend. Most of the time.

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.

Who’s in charge of culture here?

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.

What does the future of HR look like?

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."

Final thoughts and advice for HR leaders

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 marketing@kudos.com

Culture

5 min

5 min

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) Explained

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) ExplainedEmployee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) Explained

An Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a scoring system designed to help employers measure employee satisfaction and loyalty within their organization.

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“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.  

What is an Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)?

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.  

Why is eNPS important?

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.

How to calculate your eNPS

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.

What is considered a good eNPS?

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.

How to improve your eNPS score

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.  

Conduct surveys on wellbeing

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.

Share the results and commit to the changes

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.

Invest in employee recognition

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.

Final note

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.  

Culture

5 min

5 min

How to Use Your Culture as a Talent Strategy

How to Use Your Culture as a Talent StrategyHow to Use Your Culture as a Talent Strategy

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.

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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.  

Fighting Historic Labour Shortages

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?

Your Culture is the Answer

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.  

How to Build an Irresistible 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:

  1. Do your current values align with your vision for the future? Work with leaders at all levels to define the values and supporting behaviors that align with your business strategy.  
  1. Which cultural values, qualities, and behaviors will create the conditions for engagement and excellence in your organization? Once you’ve identified your cultural values, you can use them as a lens to evaluate existing processes, technologies, and policies.  
  1. Have you created an environment where your people become culture champions? Employees who are culture champions are the ones who can’t wait to tell their friends and family about how great it is to work at your organization.  

Great culture happens when values, behaviors, talent, and strategy come together. More answers to these questions are all in our free eBook.  

Bonus! Employer Branding 101

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.

Culture

5 min

5 min

Your Team’s Secret Holiday Wish List

Your Team’s Secret Holiday Wish List  Your Team’s Secret Holiday Wish List

Company swag and forced fun is out. Time to disconnect and regular recognition is in.

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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:

1) Instead of a virtual happy hour, offer time to disconnect

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.

2) Swap out company swag for flexible gift cards

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.

3) Ask yourself – can this wait until 2023?

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.  

4) Pair your performance reviews with much-needed recognition

"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.

5) Give your team the right to disconnect

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


Culture

5 min

5 min

10 Must-Read Articles for HR Leaders Going into 2023

10 Must-Read Articles for HR Leaders Going into 2023 10 Must-Read Articles for HR Leaders Going into 2023

Here are our top 10 articles from 2022 that will take your culture to the next level in 2023.

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The working world is continuing to change – for businesses, for leaders, but especially for employees. Employees are facing critical questions in terms of job security, where they work and their long-term career aspirations. Despite recent reports of layoffs and quiet quitting, the effects of the great resignation are still very much alive, with some are choosing to leave their jobs, or pursue new careers, and this means the competition to attract and retain talent is still very much top of mind for HR leaders.  

An organization is only as good as its people. Organizations that want to stand out in 2023 will need to look beyond their traditional goals and start embracing trends, like building a culture of recognition, in order to thrive among the competition. Let’s take a look at our top 10 articles from 2022 that will help you take your culture to the next level in 2023.  

1. Lead With Your Core Values

What are your company’s core values? What seems like a straightforward question often ends with an incomplete answer.  

Tom Short, CCO of Kudos, explains in, Lead With Your Core Values, how to transform your company’s core values to be purposeful and deliberate. Tom discusses the necessary principles when building core values so your company can have a culture by design rather than a culture by default:

  • Why Core Values Matter  
  • Discovering and Developing your Core Values  
  • How to Become a Core Value Driven Organization

2. The Science Behind Employee Recognition

As human beings, we have the need to accomplish things, and in turn, have those accomplishments appreciated and recognized. Without this recognition, we begin to feel our actions or hard work have no purpose, and this leads us to feel unappreciated, undervalued, and unmotivated.

The Science Behind Employee Recognition, discusses how human beings are wired to feel connection, belonging and acceptance. Feeling and expressing gratitude releases dopamine and serotonin – these crucial neurotransmitters are responsible for making us feel ‘good’ and helping us regulate our emotions and immediate stress response. Gratitude acts as a catalyst for these neurotransmitters, and actively experiencing gratitude, and appreciation allows us to manage our stress levels better.  

3. 20 Employee Recognition Examples your Team Will Love

You should never hesitate to send recognition, but when your message is meaningful, it has the most impact.  

Employees at companies with an effective recognition solution are five times as likely to be connected to company culture and four times as likely to be engaged. Implementing an easy-to-use recognition program for your employees is key to making recognition the foundation of your company culture.  

20 Employee Recognition Examples your Team Will Love discusses the types of employee recognition, how to write meaningful recognition and perfect examples to help you start.  

4. Recognition Platforms: Banks of Positive Reinforcement

When you’re recognized for accomplishing something great, where does that feeling go after the moment has passed?

Recognition Platforms: Banks of Positive Reinforcement dives deep into human memory, how we store recognition, and how an effective employee recognition program can nurture the experience of positive recognition.  

Platforms like Kudos keep each moment of social recognition in one place. Instead of waiting on directive memories to trigger motivation, you can access a bank of positive inspiration, any time.

5. How to Build a Culture of Recognition

When it comes to workplace benefits, today's employees expect the most common “perks” as the bare minimum  Offering free snacks and staff parties are no longer a competitive driver to making your organization a great workplace. Companies that are ahead of the curve know to look for deeper, more sustainable solutions.

How to Build a Culture of Recognition discusses the impact recognition has on your culture and employee experience, and how to make recognition an extension of your company’s core values and talent strategy by making it a regular habit within your organization.  

6. Why Strong Workplace Culture is Critical in Uncertain Times

Employees have been through a lot, and it’s critical to manage their emotional wellbeing. For many, today’s uncertain times are contributing to increasing levels of stress – which can have far reaching implications for your company. The good news is that by following some key guidelines you can help your organization successfully navigate this unpredictable era. Here’s what you’ll find in Why Strong Workplace Culture is Critical in Uncertain Times:

  • How recognition counteracts stress  
  • How to manage the wellbeing of your employees
  • Measuring the wellbeing of your culture  

7. The Key to A Winning Employee Recognition Strategy

Employee recognition has been around for a long time – dating back to the Industrial Revolution, when employers sought ways to make employees more efficient and productive

A key contributor to building an engaged workforce and great culture is continuing to adapt to your employee expectations. While the need for recognition has not gone away, employees today expect it more regularly and personalized to their contribution and impact. When did you last check in on your current employee recognition practices? What steps are you taking to modernize your employee recognition in 2023?

Read all about The Secret to a Winning Employee Recognition Strategy and the 6 key things to consider when building a culture of recognition in your organization.

8. Employer Branding: Everything you need to know

A strong employer brand will set your organization apart in today's ever-changing job market. Your employer brand will help you compete for talent with companies that offer similar roles and benefits compensation.  

In times when people can choose to work at any company, anywhere in the world, your organization's employer brand will help you stand out.

In Employer Branding: Everything you need to know will help you learn:

  • Employer branding 101
  • The benefits of building a strong employer brand
  • Who should oversee employer branding in your organization
  • How to build a great employer brand

Building an employer brand is a long-term culture strategy that will bring your core values to life and pay big dividends for your organization.  

9. Why People Leave Their Jobs

Feeling genuinely connected in any environment requires dedication, thoughtfulness, and compassion.  

Many people are looking for new jobs because they don’t feel connected to their current ones. Employees feel disconnected from their organizations for many different, but equally important reasons:  

  • Lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion policies  
  • Low job satisfaction, and pessimistic outlook  
  • Salary matters, but it’s not all that matters  
  • Their mental health is suffering  
  • People want a work style to match their lifestyle  

Thoughtful employee recognition strategies can address these nuances, remind people of their unique worth, and support their individuality.  

Read our article, Why People Leave Their Jobs, to learn what you can do to keep your team engaged and onboard.

10. The Future of Work Hinges on Employee Recognition

If you find yourself bearing the brunt of the Great Resignation you might be using outdated solutions to modern problems.

Today’s employees are seeking a strong company culture that recognizes their contributions. They want more than just compensation and time off – their must-haves for a thriving work culture include a recognition-first approach and a company that is taking massive steps towards employee engagement.  

Kudos’ President and CEO Muni Boga’s article, The Future of Work Hinges on Employee Recognition, sheds light on the crucial lessons we’ve learned from the pandemic and offers a path to success for companies who are ready to invest in a recognition-centric culture, rather than hoping for a return to our old ways.  

Kudos is ready to help you build a culture of recognition. Let us know how we can help you succeed.

Culture

5 min

5 min

Why Transparency Matters to Employees

Why Transparency Matters to Employees Why Transparency Matters to Employees

What is business transparency, anyway? This article dives into the benefits for your organization and how you can overcome potential challenges.

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Trust is built upon a foundation of transparency; employees, clients and partners trust an organization that is open, honest, and clear.

For employees, transparency means having enhanced visibility into processes, decisions, and strategy that goes beyond the superficial or the “need-to-know". Access to pertinent information helps people make more effective decisions, especially in the workplace. According to Glassdoor, “when an organization is more transparent with their employees, they tend to be more successful in several areas: they have increased employee engagement, stronger company culture and [transparency] fosters a type of comfort that allows employees to freely communicate.”  

What is business transparency?

Here’s a (fictional) short story about a person named Leslie. Leslie had worked in technology for quite a while when she felt it was the right time to change careers. To learn as much as possible about prospective opportunities, Leslie tried to learn as much as she could about a company, she thought she might want to work for; the problem was that there wasn’t much available on their website beyond templated copy and marketing speak that gave her no insight into what the company was really like. Leslie decided to take matters into her own hands by using other digital resources available to her, like search engines, social media, and career review websites. In the end, Leslie was able to learn enough about the company to pursue it as an opportunity. Through her search, she started to understand the culture, the objectives, and the philosophy of the company.

There are two important takeaways from this story:

1. This could easily be the real story of anyone seeking new opportunities and having to go deep to find necessary information. In Leslie’s case, she was highly motivated and did the extra work to dig up information, but not everyone – client or potential employee, has the same dedication.

2. The need for prospective employees, clients, and partners to do a deep dive to learn about your business can be avoided by being more transparent on your own website.

This doesn’t mean you have to expose every aspect of your business to the public and potentially make your organization vulnerable to competition. What it does mean is that you have an opportunity to tell your brand’s unique story in an open and authentic way, which will help you grow your business, reach the right clientele, and attract employees who are a great culture fit.  

While the example above is of a prospective employee, the impact on prospective and existing customers is also significant. Forbes states that honesty and transparency can help a business see growth in its customer base. In fact, a study found that 94% of consumers questioned would remain loyal to a transparent brand.

What are the benefits for my organization?

First and foremost, you will stand out as a business that is open, honest, and authentic. When an organization is viewed this way, people have more faith in working for them (as an employee) and with them (as a partner or client).  

MyHRToolKit outlined some specific benefits of business transparency which focus on relationship building with employees and improving overall workplace culture. Healthy relationships start with trust, and when your business is transparent, it “helps employees feel like they are part of something bigger. It invites them to really be a part of your business and its vision. It gives them ownership over their role, provides them with confidence in your leadership, and often means they will remain loyal to your company for longer.”  

When it comes to how this can impact your workplace culture it all boils down to the environment you want to foster; a transparent culture “strengthens relationships between employees and their employers and helps nurture an environment of collaboration. Rather than fighting for a position at the top and pulling down others along the way, employees will be more likely to support their colleagues and stay motivated even when the going gets tough.”

How can I overcome potential challenges?

Being transparent isn’t without its own set of challenges. When you decide to be more open about your business, that vulnerability may instill fear and skepticism – ‘have we shared too much?’ ‘Are we giving our competitors an edge?’ While these are normal concerns, a more important question to ask of your business is ‘can our brand grow and thrive without being more transparent?’  

What’s important to remember is that the type and amount of transparency your business fosters are completely within your control. According to Harvard Business Review, there are very real challenges in being too transparent, but finding the right balance for your organization can ensure you’re setting the right tone and facilitating an optimal experience for everyone. They outline four categories of transparency in business:

  • Boundaries around teams - Members of a team are more likely to embrace transparency if they know there are set boundaries in place that limit information from becoming too far reaching. (e.g., the R&D team may want boundaries to protect items still in the development process)
  • Boundaries between feedback and evaluation - Giving employees permission to learn and grow from their day-to-day actions without their mistakes being exposed and over scrutinized.  
  • Boundaries between decision rights and improvement rights - Drawing a line between an organization’s innovators and decision makers as they need differing levels of transparency. Holders of decision rights benefit from a transparent environment while that kind of visibility gets in the way of employees’ striving to make improvements. (e.g., executive team members require transparency to make the best possible decision, while team members who are innovating require a less transparent environment so they can create more freely).
  • Boundaries around time - Transparency granted for a specified period of time, allowing employees to prepare for —and make the most of—their window of privacy. This type of boundary complements the other three.

What’s the next step?

The benefits of becoming a more transparent business vastly outweigh any potential challenges, as long as you’re mindful of what you’re being transparent about and are doing it in the interest of your team, partners and clients. The following are three ways you can encourage your company to become more transparent today:

  • Facilitate a safe space – when people know that the environment they are working in is safe, they become more willing to collaborate, challenge one another and ask for help.
  • Keep your team informed – transparency starts from the top down; when a business leader is open about the values, direction, and growth plans of the company, the team will feel more confident in the organization.
  • Employee recognition – Public employee appreciation helps your team feel appreciated for their efforts, shows them how valued they are within the organization and helps them stay better engaged while at work.

You’ve worked hard to create an organization that offers a unique solution to a problem – make sure you’re open enough to let people fully appreciate your greatness and help make you even better.  

Culture

5 min

5 min

The Monster Under HR’s Bed

The Monster Under HR’s Bed   The Monster Under HR’s Bed

Here are some of today’s HR leaders’ biggest fears, and some solutions to ease them. For the full effect, please read this article by candlelight, or while holding a flashlight under your chin.

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The month of October can make us feel uneasy for a variety of reasons; Halloween candy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner being one.  

But just as the seasons are changing, so is the world of HR; and what’s more frightening than the unknown?

Here are some of today’s HR leaders’ biggest fears, and some solutions to ease them. For the full effect, please read this article by candlelight, or while holding a flashlight under your chin.  

Finding and Keeping Talent

According to the 2022 Identity of HR Survey by HR Drive, HR leaders say there are three main barriers to recruitment and retention:  

  • 72% said they don’t receive enough well-qualified candidates.
  • 31% said their company has limited work flexibility (hours, location).  
  • 41% said their company doesn’t offer competitive compensation.

The survey found that small, tight-knit organizations are faring better than large ones in terms of climbing resignation rates: 53% of large organizations reported climbing rates, while only 26% of small organizations did.  

Keep in mind, the size of an organization does not necessarily make or break its chances at better employee retention. Small organizations can more easily create the sense of community and belonging that job-seekers crave, but even large, remote organizations can seamlessly integrate positive culture with the right tools.  

Solutions

Feeling Stretched Too Thin

HR’s role has morphed drastically in the past two years to that of a strategic business partner. Rightfully so, HR is getting more recognition, but they’re not yet receiving the resources to match.  

While HR professionals are “the people that help people”, many of us get into the habit of venting to HR without following through with formal complaints. Being an emotional sounding board in any setting would get exhausting; HR professionals somehow need to conjure the emotional energy to support entire organizations from 9 to 5.  

Solutions

  • HR leaders need leadership buy-in to build their culture strategies, and act on them. From getting approval for the necessary budget and staffing to making time for culture activities in their schedules – this groups participation is crucial.    
  • HR leaders can’t build an effective strategy if they have no time. Create a clearer definition for the role of your HR team, and if necessary, expand your team or outsource.
  • Every member of an organization is responsible for its culture. Try implementing regular recognition and team building, so everyone has a chance to make a positive difference. If people have less to vent about, HR can build resiliency in other areas — beyond emotional support.  

Resistance to Change

Large organizations need more organization. That said, the survey found that rigid systems can reinforce the same toxic cultural norms HR is working to dismantle.  

Naturally, employees at all levels in an organization are guilty of resisting change. It’s easy to justify tradition when you’re immersed in all its (fleeting) benefits; but today’s talent is looking for more than a paycheck.  

In HR, resisting change is like hanging your feet over the edge of the bed, taunting whatever sinister being that lies underneath to pull you by the ankles.  

Solutions

  • Accepting that there is no static, be-all end-all solution opens the door to a more transparent, synergistic culture.  
  • Give employees frequent opportunities to showcase their own ideas or suggestions for cultural initiatives – you may find that opening up the floor to employees can help to drive important change
  • Your organization’s culture is what you make it. Investing in an employee engagement program like Kudos will take some of the heavy lifting off your HR teams’ shoulders, and demonstrate the value of their role to the rest of your organization through public, peer-to-peer recognition messages.  

Remote Work vs. In-Office

HR Reporter also revealed workers’ ideas about change. Many people are hoping for large pay bumps if forced to return to the office full-time. In Canada, for example, 80% of remote workers might just look for a new job if asked to return full-time to the office.  

Even with an excess of other responsibilities, many HR leaders are left with the task of encouraging people to return to the office. Nobody wants to be the bearer of bad news, especially when it could lead to losing employees they care about.  

Solutions

  • Thoughtfully consider your organization’s reasons for bringing employees back to the office full-time. Many workers have acclimated to their remote, flexible, and hybrid roles, so a full return may feel jarring.  
  • Create a plan that eases employees back into the office. Smooth-out the blunt edges of your plan, so that HR can introduce it to employees with less confrontation.  

Maintaining Morale and Engagement

80% of organizations rank maintaining morale and engagement as their top priority for 2022. So, what’s the best way to go about it?  

Maintaining morale and engagement is a unique challenge because each employee gains motivation from different things. HR professionals need a solution that harmonizes life and work, so that each employee feels welcomed and accepted for their authentic selves.  

Each organization has a unique viewpoint, identity, and mission, with workplace culture at the center. Tackling culture doesn't have to be scary! With the right tools and approach, you can design an irresistible culture that fuels healthy morale.

People are happier at work when they feel welcome, and among friends. With recognition platforms like Kudos, which open the doors for peer-to-peer social recognition, your company culture will give employees a sense of community.  

Culture

5 min

6 min

Quiet Quitting Explained

Quiet Quitting ExplainedQuiet Quitting Explained

Your guide to the quiet quitting phenomenon and what you can do to address it.

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Should you be worried about quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting represents a significant shift in today’s workforce. More than ever, today’s employees are seeking happiness at work and better work-life balance. More and more employees are rejecting the “hustle culture” mentality.

We dove into the history of quiet quitting to provide some advice on what to do next if you’re feeling confused about this trending topic.

What is quiet quitting?

Many definitions of quiet quitting have surfaced.  

Gartner defines it as “a term that describes employees who are not motivated to put their all into work. They’re not actually quitting, but they have mentally checked out.” Forbes calls it “greater emotional separation or new boundaries between work and life.”

Essentially, it is a rebellion against the “hustle culture” mentality many grew up observing.

In the viral TikTok video, Zaid Khan defines the term as “not outright quitting your job, but quitting the idea of going above and beyond.”  

While the TikTok video is from 2022, the concept of ‘quiet quitting’ has existed for decades.

Perhaps the most popular example of quiet quitting is the 1999 film Office Space. In this corporate satire, fictional character Peter Gibbons refuses to work overtime, wants to have a good time and charms two consultants into putting him on the management fast-track.

From a long commute to a boss who is constantly asking him to work weekends, Peter Gibbons stops going the extra mile and encourages others to do the same – rejecting hustle culture.

Hustle Culture

So, what is hustle culture anyway? The concept is simple – hustle culture means letting work be the driving force in your life, to the detriment of all else. Other people stuck in hustle culture might feel like they must work (long hours) to fulfill their professional goals, and there’s simply no other way.  

But, why?  

Historically in the US, people who earned the highest salary would work less than the people who earned the least. It makes sense – if you’re making a lot of money, then you can afford to work less.  

But something changed in the late 80s; people making the highest salary started to work the longest shifts. The reason? Employees paid by the hour (typically blue-collar workers) were now protected by the Fair Labour Standards Act. From then on, hourly employees were required to be paid overtime.

At the same time, employers hiring salaried workers, typically in white-collar professions, began to glamorize the idea of workaholism. These workers would work unpaid extra hours to achieve their targets and professional goals.

Hustle culture promotes “always staying on,” and that mentality can lead to burnout.  

Today, according to Deloitte, almost 80% of people have experienced burnout at work.  

With the impact of globalization and automation, a wave of mergers and acquisitions started to happen. Afraid of getting laid off, people were bound to work harder to demonstrate their role was indispensable. This fed hustle culture, and subsequently, burnout culture.  

What changed?

When Millennials entered the workforce, they started to advocate for better work-life balance and a focus on wellness. Tired of seeing their parents working at companies with poor cultures, this generation fought for the flexibility and benefits we see in today’s job market.

A study done by PWC proves this, revealing that Millennials demand better work-life balance. That said, this generation won’t just accept a position for a high salary, they also want purpose, and will make sure that companies align with their values before they accept a job. What's more, with record-high employment rates, they can be choosy.

Did Millennials or Gen Z start the quiet quitting trend?

Both generations seem to rebel against the hustle culture mentality. According to Deloitte, Gen Z also craves more purposeful and flexible work with a particular focus on their mental health.  

But employees aren’t just refusing to work overtime or weekends; some are unmotivated and disengaged during regular working hours.

According to Gallup, almost 85% of employees worldwide are not engaged at work. In some cases, quiet quitting could arguably be another form of employee disengagement.

What can your organization do?

1. Get to know your employees well

It’s important to understand that each person sees work differently. According to Yale professor Amy Wrzesniewski, there are three different approaches people take to their work.  

First, we have the people who see work as a means to put food on the table and pay bills – these are ‘job oriented ’ people.

Secondly, we have people with a ‘career orientation;’ they see their work as a path to a better status in life, so they don't mind putting the extra mile into their work to achieve that.  

Finally, we have the people who take it even further. They don’t view their job as a career but instead as a ‘calling.’  

While none of these approaches are necessarily good or bad, it’s important for managers to find the right way to motivate each employee to keep them engaged.  

For instance, if a person who is job oriented has a family emergency, they will seek support from their employer to take time off to support their loved one. Similarly, if someone is career oriented and feels like they’ve reached their peak at work, you should find ways to develop a comprehensive career development plan with them. Finally, if you have a ‘calling’ employee, be mindful of burnout. While they love their job and find it satisfying, make sure they get the support they need by encouraging breaks and disconnection from work on vacation.  

2. Focus on engagement

Employees are disengaged for nuanced reasons, but at the core, they want to feel valued and that their organization cares for their wellbeing.  

Recognition is one proven way more companies are opting to utilize to improve their engagement levels. What’s more, it also helps you build a stronger connection with your employees.

According to Gallup, employees are up to four times more likely to be engaged if they experience regular recognition at work.

The key here is to understand that happier employees perform better. As a result, forward-thinking companies are coming to realize that the push toward a more balanced work life has produced benefits for both employees and employers.

With a tool like Kudos, employers can encourage peer-to-peer recognition, allowing people’s hard work to be highlighted in situations where it might normally go unnoticed. The platform allows your team to align their recognition messages to your company values, helping employees develop a better sense of belonging while helping employers measure their engagement too.  

3. Take good care of managers

Almost identical to the employee engagement study, today, Gallup reports that only one in three managers feel engaged at work. Taking good care of managers means giving them the resources they need to lead a team properly.  

Quiet quitting is a silent scream for managers to build a stronger relationship with their employees, but managers can’t do that if they are feeling burned out.  

According to a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, the most important factor is to build trust. If an employee trusts their manager, they will also feel the organization cares for their wellbeing.  

Remember, a trustworthy manager reflects a trustworthy organization. So, encourage managers to take time off, provide training and finally, work towards a culture where managers can get recognized too. Oftentimes, managers get forgotten despite the key part they played in achieving the outcome.  

Where to go from here

Quiet quitting poses a higher threat when an unhealthy workplace culture is in place.  

However, organizations that adapt to newer generations’ demands will see better results than the ones stuck in the past.  

By working towards healthy workplace culture, being there for your employees and managers, and praising their achievements through consistent recognition, you'll be well on your way to a thriving, engaged workforce.  

Culture

5 min

5 min

Workplace Culture: Why Recognition is Important

Workplace Culture: Why Recognition is ImportantWorkplace Culture: Why Recognition is Important

From policies and procedures to your company’s values and beliefs. What exactly is workplace culture, and how can recognition create a workplace culture that will flourish?

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Culture has the power to influence many aspects of your organization’s operations. That’s because workplace culture is part of everything an organization does. From policies and procedures to your company’s values and beliefs. So, what exactly is workplace culture, and how can recognition create a workplace culture that will flourish?

Workplace Culture: Definition

Culture is a hot topic these days, especially surrounding discussions on remote work and many organizations returning to office-based work. At its core, workplace culture is the shared values, behaviours, and goals of the organization.

Workplace culture is the foundation of the unique identity your organization needs to stand out from the rest. Like employer branding, workplace culture has the power to attract top talent and build stronger relationships with your clients. Think of workplace culture as your organization’s personality and unique traits.

Culture and employer branding go hand in hand. While employer branding focuses on how prospective employees will see your organization while looking for a job, workplace culture is what will ultimately make them stay.

Workplace Culture: Importance

By now, most organizations understand that workplace culture can bring benefits such as better communication between teams, enhanced trust between employees and higher efficiency.

In fact, according to a Deloitte study, 94% of executives think of culture as a vital component to business success. What’s more, when looking at successful organizations around the globe, you’ll notice they all have one thing in common: a strong workplace culture.

A strategic workplace culture built by design (versus by default) is important because it will influence your employees by creating a better sense of belonging. Employees that feel like they belong and bring their authentic selves to work, influence organizational performance.

“Millennial turnover costs the US economy $30.5 billion annually” (Gallup Report, 2022)

With millennials voluntarily leaving their jobs at a drastic rate, it’s never been more important to analyse what’s working and what needs improvement.  

Millennial workers – the largest working generation today, are different from previous generations in that if they don’t like the culture, they will leave for a new employer. Moreover, a likeable culture needs to be genuine – it must reflect your organization’s values and ideals.

Defining your workplace culture 

Now that we know why culture is so important, and why it has become so top of mind in the last few years, how can you define it and make it stronger?  

  1. Employees need to believe in it: Whether your company is a start-up, or a large enterprise, workplace culture has been part of who you are as an organization from day one. By now, however, one important thing you’ve probably realized is that you can’t force people to believe in it. Sure, you can tell them what you believe the culture is all about, and how to work within that culture, but this approach is unsustainable and distracting for leaders and employees. According to thought leader, Simon Sinek, the key is to get early adopters and innovators in your organization onboard with your desired culture and values first, and if they buy-in, the rest of the company will follow. One way to reinforce your culture according to your vision and your values, in an authentic way, is through recognition. Voluntary, peer-to-peer recognition has the right ingredients to make everyone believe in your workplace culture. Moreover, linking recognition to your core values will reinforce the culture you’re trying to achieve and embrace. So, if you don’t have a recognition program in place, that’d be a great place to start. Kudos’ unique approach to recognition allows you to link recognition back to your organization’s values. Remember that you already have a workplace culture; all you need is a little help defining it.
  1. Focus on engagement: With many of us working remotely and only 3% wanting to return to an office full-time, it can become tough to define and enrich your workplace culture. According to a Gallup report, only 34% of US employees feel engaged at work. This is extremely low, yet it is the highest level of engagement since the early 2000s. With a tool like Kudos, teams will have an online forum where employees can celebrate accomplishments, recognize peers, and feel more connected to your organization’s culture. Kudos can transform the challenge of remote work into an opportunity for employees to connect, celebrate and learn more things about each other. But regardless of whether your team is remote, hybrid or in-office, appreciation for their hard work will directly have an impact on your workplace culture because it boosts employee’s morale.
  1. Adapting to new generations: One sign of great workplace culture is the ability to adapt and attract top talent. With generations like millennials and Gen Z making up almost half of the full-time US workforce, your organization’s workplace culture needs to focus on what they care about the most: Benefits, flexibility and recognition. These generations appreciate having mental health benefits and work-life balance. Even before The Great Resignation, millennials and Gen Z were opting for organizations that cared about their wellbeing. In a post pandemic world, adding a comprehensive employee benefits package that includes mental health resources such as employee family assistance programs (EFAP) or high maximums for psychology, will lower absenteeism and increase productivity. Additionally, both generations crave flexibility, meaning they don’t want rigid working hours. A study done by Deloitte found that three quarters of millennials and Gen Z would prefer hybrid or remote work. Unique circumstances like mass layoffs and more than a few economic recessions have made these two generations crave better recognition at work. So, by creating a culture of recognition, you will see higher employee performance because employees will trust you and feel safe.

Looking ahead

Leadership plays a big role in how workplace culture is developed and evolves. It’s demonstrated that when employees take pride in the workplace culture they share, everyone wins. Employees want their needs to be met, but they also want to know the work they do is appreciated. By recognizing and adapting, employers that strive towards a positive workplace culture will thrive.

Culture

5 min

5 min

How to Build a Culture of Recognition

How to Build a Culture of RecognitionHow to Build a Culture of Recognition

A culture of recognition helps employees know their company values them and their contributions to the success of their organization.

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What Makes a Great Workplace?

In a rapidly evolving business world, there’s no exact recipe for what makes a workplace great.  Amidst a global pandemic, the Great Resignation, a looming recession and continuously evolving technology – building a robust workplace culture is more important now than ever.  

When people are asked, “what makes your workplace great”, the typical responses you’ll get are: high pay, good health benefits, vacation time, and other office perks like gym access, ping pong tables, and free snacks.

Today's employees expect most of those items as the bare minimum in terms of workplace perks and benefits. Offering free snacks and staff parties is no longer a competitive driver to making your organization a great workplace.  Companies that are ahead of the culture curve know to look for deeper answers to this question, like: “feeling valued,” “a sense of community,” “employee well-being," and “opportunities to grow”.

We know recognition is a leading driver in retention, productivity and innovation, but understanding the impact of recognition culture on the overall employee experience is the shift organizations need to make to gain a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining top talent.  

What is a Culture of Recognition?

In a culture of recognition, employees know their company values them and their contributions to the success of their organization. A culture of recognition builds trust and security, and employees are more motivated to continue doing great work. Recognition consistently emerges in studies on improving workplace culture and has proven to be a primary driver in engaging and motivating employees to do their best.

It also reminds employees they are integral to building and living the company’s core values. With effective recognition, employees understand their accomplishments within the context of something greater. So, even when the company is going through changes, employees feel secure and content with the value they bring.

Employee Engagement and Wellbeing

“Globally, employee engagement and wellbeing remain very low, and it’s holding back enormous growth potential” (Gallup Report, 2022).

Employers need to move away from the traditional thinking that engagement happens at work and wellbeing happens at home. Engaged employees are highly involved and are moving the organization forward because their needs are being met, they have a sense of belonging, and they know their wellbeing matters. Disengaged employees are psychologically unattached to their work, or worse, are resentful and reactive because their needs are not being met.  

Gallup’s 2022 State of the Global Workplace Report asks: Are your employees thriving, struggling or suffering? Companies with engaged workers (thriving) have 23% higher profit compared to companies with unhappy workers (struggling or suffering). When employees are engaged and thriving, they experience significantly lower stress, and this plays a massive role in their responsibilities at work and outside of work.

There is a significant correlation between employee recognition and employee engagement – recognition boosts employee engagement and contributes to mental wellbeing. In fact, the absence of recognition can lead to the deterioration of an employee’s psychological health and, ultimately, their performance. Employee wellbeing is not just “health benefits” and “time off”; it’s providing a promise and a commitment to your employees that you take their wellbeing seriously.  

Building Your Culture of Recognition

Let’s go back to the question: “what makes a great workplace?”. Implementing an employee recognition platform isn’t the whole solution – making recognition an extension of your core values, your talent strategy, and a regular habit within your organization is the key. So, how do you build a culture of recognition?

  1. Start at the top: Workplace culture needs to be modeled by all levels of leadership and needs full support to establish a true recognition culture.  
  1. Make the connection: Align recognition with your company’s strategies and core values. Employee recognition is most effective when it’s tied back to the behaviours that your organization values.
  1. Make giving recognition easy: Recognition platforms, like Kudos, that are accessible to all employees via web browser, a mobile app or kiosk make it easy for employees to give and receive recognition.  
  1. Don’t just focus on rewards: While rewards still hold value, recognition should always be the center of your program, with points and rewards, secondary.
  1. Be consistent: Keep your recognition program top-of-mind and encourage your leadership teams to embrace it. Giving recognition should become a habit within your organization (even recognizing the small things!).

You can learn more on how to build a culture of recognition and drive your organization's performance in our Recognition Done Right Culture Guide.

Your employees are your greatest asset – you need to foster an environment where they can thrive versus just seeing them as "workers." Employees want to be part of a workplace that unlocks their full potential by being invested in them as a whole person, recognizing them for their achievements, and valuing them as part of a positive workplace culture. When you make meaningful recognition part of your company’s culture, you are unlocking an advantage and leading the way for what can truly make a workplace great.  

Culture

5 min

5 min

Why People Leave Their Jobs

Why People Leave Their Jobs Why People Leave Their Jobs

The script has flipped from “what can people do for the organization” to “what can the organization do for its people.” To know what makes people want to stay with a company, it’s helpful to know first what makes them leave.

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For much of the world, the pandemic is far from over. Navigating this ever-changing landscape can feel disorienting, to say the least. Yet, many organizational leaders have utilized this time to learn from their past misdirection, and thrive on unfamiliar, new, and exciting ideas.  

Retaining valuable talent is essential not only to keep your organization on track, but also to explore untravelled avenues.

“Nearly one in four workers (23%) say they are actively trying to change their job and/or move into another industry that they believe is more future-proof.” – ADP Research Institute, People at Work 2022 

The script has flipped from “what can people do for the organization” to “what can the organization do for its people.” Companies that follow this new script are attracting more talent and holding onto them for longer.

To know what makes people want to stay with a company, it’s helpful to know first what makes them leave.

1. Lack of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policies

People need to feel fundamentally supported; this starts with comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion policies. Many people leave jobs because their employer isn’t meeting this bare minimum, let alone building inclusive culture strategies or sharing educational resources throughout the company.

ADP recently published an outline of current sentiments echoed by workers around the world, People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View.

The report shows that 76% of the global workforce, “would consider looking for a new job if they discovered their company had an unfair gender pay gap or no diversity and inclusion policy.” – ADP Research Institute, People at Work 2022

More notable findings:

  • In a third of cases, employees are left to drive gender pay equality and a diversity and inclusion policy within companies. One in seven say no one is driving inclusive initiatives — a response most common in North America and Europe.
  • 36% of workers feel there is an unequal mix of ethnicities and genders in their companies.
  • Only 37% of workers think that people with disabilities are equally represented in the workforce.
“Employers’ strategies could also benefit from encompassing how to support and champion neurodiversity, such as dyslexia or autism, among the workforce.” – ADP Research Institute, People at Work 2022 

2. Low Job Satisfaction, and Pessimistic Outlook

The impulse to change jobs for a more future-proof career path is growing. Employees have higher expectations because they want to feel secure in rapidly changing, uncertain times.

Just like your company, employees want to be at the leading edge of their fields — push the envelope, think outside of the box, and create something they’re proud of. Yet, they don’t want to sign themselves up for burnout and impossible performance standards.

“For the one in 10 who are not satisfied with their current employment, almost half (49%) say it is due to being given increased responsibility for no extra pay.” –  ADP Research Institute, People at Work 2022

More notable findings:

  • 46% of workers feel dissatisfied in their positions because there are no opportunities to progress.
  • 41% of workers say they are dissatisfied because they receive fewer benefits than initially expected.  
  • 23% of employees are searching for more future-proof work, an increase from one in seven (15%) who said the same in 2021.

The JD-R Model, created by researchers Arnold Bakker and Evangelia Demerouti in 2006, is a different way to represent, measure, and ultimately improve employee well-being. It splits working conditions into two categories: job demands and job resources. 

Job demands are the physical and emotional stressors of someone’s role. Job resources are the physical, social, and organizational resources that reduce the stress of someone’s role.

“The JD-R Model states that when job demands are high and job positives are low, stress and burnout are common. Conversely, good job positives can offset the effects of extreme job demands, and encourage motivation and engagement.” – Mind Tools Content Team, The JD-R Model Analyzing and Improving Well-Being

Promisingly, the JDR model can give leaders clarity on turnover risk before it’s too late. Oftentimes, leaders only gain this clarity after a valuable employee leaves.

With the JDR model, if someone’s job demands far outweigh the resources available to them, employers have measurable information they can act on.

3. Salary Matters, but it’s not all that Matters 

At the end of the day, people work to feed families, pay bills, and improve their quality of life. Competitive salaries can give someone more freedom to do so, but maybe they’re looking for a more sincere incentive. People want to be part of a community where their creativity isn’t limited, and they can bring their authentic selves to work.

Daily recognition is a powerful engagement incentive, whether your company has the capacity to offer competitive salaries or not. In several cases, smaller companies set themselves apart from competitors by building a transparent, collaborative, and supportive culture. 

“More than half (53%) would accept a pay cut if it meant improving their work-life balance, and a similar proportion (50%) would take a pay cut to guarantee flexibility in how they structure their hours – even if it meant the total hours worked did not change.” –  ADP Research Institute, People at Work 2022 

4. Their Mental Health is Suffering

At Kudos, we value happiness. Of course, we don’t expect our employees to be happy 100% of the time, but we support them in their pursuit of happiness. And we are dedicated to eliminating any obstacles in their way.

Valuing your employee’s psychological well-being is integral to improving their sense of belonging. Especially considering the large portion of the workforce struggling with their mental health:

  • 67% of workers feel stressed at least once a week, and 15% feel stressed every day.
  • 41% are stressed by an increased amount of responsibility during the pandemic.
  • 53% believe their work is suffering because of their poor mental health.
  • 70% of workers feel their managers support their mental health, and 76% feel supported by their colleagues.

Effective remote leaders seem to have a better handle on the “people-first” approach. In virtual environments, leaders need to be intentional and creative about connecting with their teams. In-office leaders don’t have the same physical and technological barriers to overcome, so they are often less proactive about connecting with their employees.

"Only one in 11 remote workers (9%) say their employer is not doing anything proactively to promote positive mental health at work, as opposed to around one in three (34%) of those in the workplace.” – ADP Research Institute, People at Work 2022

That said, feeling truly connected in any environment takes dedication, thoughtfulness, and compassion. 

5. People Want a Work Style to Match their Lifestyle

For many, working at home can contribute to their stress. Maybe they’re juggling parenthood, a tense roommate dynamic, or any number of distractions in their home life. But, when employers extend their support to remote workers the “out-of-office” benefits shine through.

 Alternative working models support the future-proof trajectory people want to be on. Workplaces that offer remote or flexible opportunities are more likely to keep their valued members on board:

  • Two-thirds of the global workforce (64%) have already, or would consider leaving their jobs if their employer asked them to return full-time to the office.
  • More than half (52%) would accept a pay cut of 11% on average to guarantee remote or flexible work arrangements.
  • People who work from home are more likely to feel optimistic about the next five years in the workplace; 89% say so compared to 77% of their peers who travel to work.
  • Remote workers are more satisfied with their jobs than those working in-office (90% versus 82%).

To keep people around, invest in a working style that complements their lifestyle. Otherwise, they will leave to find a better match.

Making the Case to Stay

The truth is, that talented people leave great jobs for nuanced reasons. Thoughtful employee recognition strategies can address these nuances, remind people of their unique worth, and support their individuality. Peer-to-peer recognition makes people feel appreciated, valued, and irreplaceable.

Change is inevitable, but companies that intentionally build positive relationships with their employees also build a positive legacy. And should anyone have to leave your company, they will take that legacy with them.

So, be a company that’s great to work for, and to be from.

Culture

5 min

5 min

Employer Branding: Everything you need to know

Employer Branding: Everything you need to knowEmployer Branding: Everything you need to know

In times when people basically can choose to work at any company, anywhere in the world, your organization’s employer brand is what will ultimately attract top talent.

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In today’s ever-changing job market, a strong employer brand will set your organization apart. It will help you compete with companies that are offering the same roles, same benefits and even the same compensation as you. In times when people basically can choose to work at any company, anywhere in the world, your organization’s employer brand is what will ultimately attract top talent.  

What’s important to understand is that employer branding shouldn’t just fall on the Human Resources department’s shoulders. Branding is a marketing concept and as such, the marketing department must actively collaborate with the HR team for the strategy to work.  

What is employer branding?

Simply put, employer branding is the way your organization manages how current employees and potential candidates perceive you as an employer.  

However, employer branding also influences how your clients see your brand.  When a brand has a reputation of not treating its employees well, clients or consumers won’t want to do business with it. There are plenty benefits an organization will start to see with the development of a great employer brand. Let’s dive into it!

The benefits of a strong employer brand

  • Attracting top talent: When job-hunting, people want to know more about prospective employers. A quick Google search never hurt anyone, right? Wrong. It can hurt your organization if the results aren’t encouraging. Now, what are prospective employees searching for? They’re looking for clues on what it’s really like to work for you. Glassdoor, Google reviews, your social media platforms – nothing is off limits. The idea is, you don’t want potential hires to disqualify your company before you even had a chance to speak to them. Top talent will bring many years of profitable earnings, so losing them before the conversation begins is possibly the worst nightmare of any talent acquisition team. Ultimately, a great employer brand will have the complete opposite effect. Before you even talk to candidates, you will already have an advantage. That’s what you want, and that’s what employer branding is all about.
  • Strategic, Sustainable Recruitment: “I love when I hire someone, and they resign within months” – said no hiring manager ever! With a strong employer brand, your organization won’t only be ahead of the competition, but hiring managers will have an easier time finding candidates who are the right fit. A LinkedIn study shows that 72% of world-wide leaders agree that employer brand impacts the hiring process directly. Supposing your brand includes an honest and straight-forward mission, in the interview process you’ll see who is aligned with your organization and excited to join. The point of great employer branding isn’t to convince talent or increase the number of applicants, but to attract people who are aligned with your mission and company values. This combination will make the best possible impact in your organization.
  • Improved Retention: Having a team full of people who are passionate about their work is priceless – and possible – with great employer branding. Investing in your employer brand will save you significant money in the long run. In fact, employee turnover costs can go down up to 28% just by investing in your employer brand. So, a straightforward job description, and having a team that is trained to explain your brand goes a long way.
  • Brand Reputation: While employer branding focuses on how your employees and potential hires will see your organization, employer branding has one extra hidden benefit; how clients will see your brand. A recent report by Reputation X, shows that three out of four consumers trust an organization more if it has positive reviews. Adding credibility to your employer brand will make your organization attractive to top talent, plus it will boost satisfaction levels to your clients, as they’ll be proud to be partnering with such a great company.

Cultivate your employer brand

Now that we know the benefits of a great employer brand, it’s time to figure out who should oversee employer branding at your organization, HR or Marketing?

As the war for talent continues, employer branding has created the need for the two departments to collaborate more than ever before. In fact, a LinkedIn survey says HR professionals acknowledge that recruitment is becoming more like marketing.

So, who should oversee employer branding?

The answer is that it should be a team effort. Employer branding is about creating a culture of happy employees and eager prospects who dream of working for you. It’s about listening to, and measuring employee referrals, both formal, and informal. When someone is so happy to work at your organization, they will tell all their family and friends about your brand.

Employer branding needs a strong culture where employees are in the spotlight; their stories, their achievements, and their wellbeing. Adding a people-point-of-view to your employer branding will generate better candidates, contributing to better culture. Employer branding and culture go hand in hand.

But how can you take your employer brand from good to great?

How to build a great employer brand

  • Focus on the human aspect: Potential hires want to know the people who work for your organization, their background, their personalities. In fact, LinkedIn shows that 52% of people will look at your website and social media channels as a first point of contact. Moreover, another study by Careerarc says that 68% of millennials go directly on employer’s social media to evaluate their employer’s brand. So, by developing a website with testimonials, videos or even a gallery of photos from social events or volunteer activities, you will be making a powerful statement. Also, sharing meaningful content that aligns with your mission and culture will give your clients a sense of satisfaction knowing they’re doing business with the right people.
  • Work on your workplace culture: Mistakenly treating your culture as an expense could harm your reputation as an organization. Now, there’s different ways to work towards stronger culture. At Kudos, we believe in a recognition-first approach. Why? The data speaks for itself. According to a Glassdoor study, four in five employees showed higher level of motivation when they felt appreciated by their boss. Recognition should be meaningful, specific and timely to have the biggest impact. Prioritizing a culture where people feel engaged, supported and most importantly safe, will boost your employer brand as a desired place to work. A brand that values employees just as much as clients.
  • It's all about the people: LinkedIn data shows that 94% of employees would stay at a company that offers a learning and development program. Furthermore, a PWC study shows that 86% of female millennials said employer policy on diversity was essential when choosing a place to work. Another study done by Monster, shows that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace is important to 86% of workers, globally. So, Offering employees something that goes beyond their salary will give your brand long-term benefits and far-reaching word-of-mouth marketing. Encouraging a diverse and inclusive workplace doesn’t only increase innovation and creativity, but it also helps you build an employer brand that sees in different backgrounds a window full of opportunities.  
  • Living by your organization's core values: From the website to the job posting, employer branding is a combined effort that will need leadership to walk the talk. Remember, today most people are looking to work at a place where they can intertwine their goals and values. So, making sure you’re being authentic in your messaging will help you hire for culture-add, not culture-fit. At the same time, having your values be evident through your marketing will ignite a sense of belonging. Finally, purpose is essential. According to Deloitte, Millennials and Gen Zers are prepared to turn down senior positions that don’t align with their values. Accordingly, work with your HR team to craft behavioral questions to help you in the hiring process.
  • Monitor reviews: Lastly, we all know that feedback is crucial in the workplace, and the same goes for you as the employer. When your organization actively responds to consumer reviews, you will know if your company is doing things right, and better understand your weaknesses and strengths so you can make improvements. A Glassdoor survey points out that replying to reviews can have a positive impact in your culture moving forward. So, don't be afraid to check your reviews - embrace what's working and fix what needs to be fixed!

Take aways

Building an employer brand is a long-term culture strategy that will pay big dividends. While the task may seem daunting, remember that you already have an employer brand – the key is to make sure people are experiencing your workplace the way you want them to, and the way that will drive business results in the future.

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