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Event Activities at ACE 2018 in Toronto, October 23-24

Did you know employee engagement levels bounced back to an all-time high rate of 65% in 2017, up 2% from 2016? This is great news for HR professionals whose goals are to increase employee engagement and productivity. Why should employee engagement be a top priority for your business? Let the numbers from Achievers’ white paper tell you:

  • Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their organizations than disengaged employees
  • Disengaged workers have a 60% higher rate of general errors
  • 66% of all employees will look elsewhere for work when they feel underappreciated and undervalued
  • 54% of managers feel that “it’s common for staff to quit due to lack of recognition”

We’re over halfway into 2018, and it’s time for employee engagement advocates to come together and share impactful ways to empower and inspire. Join us at Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2018, the leading employee engagement and recognition conference in North America. ACE brings together Achievers customers and prospective customers, along with renowned guest speakers and HR thought leaders – all focused on improving the employee experience and driving engagement to achieve desired business outcomes.

Our incredible two-day conference is going to be in Toronto, so make plans to be at the Delta Toronto Hotel from October 23-24. You’ll have the opportunity to network with hundreds of HR thought leaders, executives, and experts, offering their thoughts as to how to implement and maintain a world-class engagement program. ACE 2018 is a conference for innovators who are looking for best practices to successfully engage their employees.

The fun isn’t limited to just ACE. The Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards Gala kicks-off the festivities the evening prior. Not only does The Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards recognize the employers in North America that best display innovation in engaging their workplaces, it features a variety of opportunities for inspiration and education. Past winners include top brands, such as Air Canada, Meijer, Rogers Communications, and Electronic Arts. This year, we have a distinguished panel of judges consisting of HR experts and thought leaders on workplace engagement. Join us to rub elbows with the top performers and thought leaders in the HR and employee engagement space.

ACE Speaking Tracks

With three presentation tracks designed to inspire, innovate, and engage, you’ll gain insight as to how some of the most successful companies have leveraged employee engagement to meet key business objectives.

  1. LEAD (Thought Leadership Track) – Join some of the most forward-thinking minds in HR as they shed light on emerging workforce and employee engagement trends and offer expert advice to challenge your everyday thinking.
  2. ENGAGE (Customer Success Track) – Learn about the tools and strategies used by some of Achievers’ most successful customers to elevate their programs and achieve desired business outcomes, including reduced attrition, increased sales, and unrivaled customer satisfaction.
  3. ACCELERATE (Product Innovation Track) – Take a deep dive into the capabilities of the Achievers Platform. Collaborate with, and learn from, Achievers Product experts who will share how to get the most out of the platform and accelerate program ROI.

Inspirational Keynote Speakers

Leave ACE 2018 feeling inspired and motivated by our amazing lineup of keynote speakers. 

Neil Parischa

Neil Parischa
Happiness Expert | Bestselling Author of “The Book of Awesome”

Neil Parischa is a “New York Times” best-selling author, award-winning blogger and one of the most popular TED speakers in the world. He draws on the latest research in happiness to increase individual performance and create a more positive and productive workplace.

 

Tiffany Dufu

Tiffany Dufu
Author of “Drop the Ball” | Named to the League of Extraordinary Women in “Fast Company”

Tiffany Dufu is a catalyst-at-large in the world of women’s leadership. She is the author of “Drop the Ball”, a memoir and manifesto that shows women how to cultivate the single skill they really need in order to thrive: the ability to let go.

 

Celeste Headlee

Celeste Headlee
Communication and Human Nature Expert | Award-Winning Journalist | Author

Celeste Headlee is an award-winning journalist, professional speaker and author of “Heard Mentality” and “We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter.” Headlee’s TEDx Talk sharing 10 ways to have a better conversation has over 16 million total views to date.

 

Bethenny Frankel

Bethenny Frankel
Entrepreneur | TV Personality | Author | Philanthropist

An entrepreneur, TV personality, author and philanthropist, Bethenny Frankel is a businesswoman ahead of the curve. Most recognized as a star on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City,” Frankel created the Skinnygirl brand, now a lifestyle empire, which led her to being on the cover of Forbes Magazine.

 

In addition to our amazing lineup of keynote speakers, we will also be offering breakout sessions from thought leaders including:

  • Bobi Seredich, Co-Founder, Southwest Institute for Emotional Intelligence
  • Brian David Johnson, Futurist in Residence, Arizona State University
  • Kyle Lagunas, Analyst, IDC
  • David Kingsley Head of Global People & Place, Mulesoft (a Salesforce company)
  • Peter Weng, Chief Business Officer, Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute
  • Shane Green, President & Founder, Professional Services, SGEi

And this is just a taste of some of the speakers this year. Check out the entire list of ACE 2018 speakers here.

Stay tuned for more updates and details on ACE 2018, as well as a series of guest blogs from featured speakers at this year’s event. Also, don’t forget to join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #AACE18 and by following @Achievers on Twitter.

Register now to claim your spot at ACE 2018. See you in Toronto!

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About the Author
Kellie WongKellie Wong is a Content Marketing Manager for Achievers. She manages The Engage Blog and produces a range of marketing content. In addition to being the final editor of all blog content for The Engage Blog, she also manages and maintains relationships with 45+ writing contributors. Connect with Kellie on LinkedIn.

 

 

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ACE 2017 Achievers Customer Experience

ACE 2017: Day One Highlights

Achievers annual mix of festivity and networking is in full swing with the 50 Most Engaged Workplace Awards Gala and day one of Achievers Customer Experience 2017 (ACE 2017) already in the books.

The 7th annual Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces took place on Monday, September 11th at the historic Saenger Theater in New Orleans. Amidst the finely dressed titans of the HR space, exquisite cuisine, and glamorous ambiance was the highlight of the show, celebrating the companies that go above and beyond in the employee engagement space as determined by a panel of employee engagement experts. After this incredible evening of industry elegance, Achievers announced the crème de la crème, the eight most engaged workplaces. This year, the Elite Eight consists of:

  • Alliance Data for Leadership
  • Electronic Arts for Communication
  • ARI for Culture
  • ATB Financial for Rewards & Recognition
  • ArcelorMittal Dofasco for Professional & Personal Growth
  • Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited for Accountability & Performance
  • Reynolds American, Inc. for Vision & Values
  • Total Quality Logistics for Corporate Social Responsibility

After an unforgettable night of celebration, ACE 2017 kicked-off on a positive vibe. Prominent members of the Achievers Leadership team shared the success story of CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System. After partnering with Achievers in 2012, CHRISTUS St. Michael saw:

  • a 4,500% increase in recognition given compared to the organization’s prior “home-grown” manual paper solution.
  • a 10% increase in associate engagement specific to leadership recognition from 66% to 77%.
  • a decreased turnover rate to an impressively low 6.4%, significantly below the industry standard annual turnover rate of 19.6%.

In addition to the A-players of Achievers, the opening session featured Blackhawk Network CEO Talbott Roche, who said of the event, ““This is all about celebrating the success you have with Achievers. One of my favorite topics is about innovation. Achievers’ platform is used to drive not just business results, but also innovation through engagement. It’s about how to use a platform to deeply engage. Engaged employees matter to company success. Companies with engaged workers have 6% higher financial results.”

After the keynote speeches ended, it was onto the fantastic slate of HR thought leaders discussing hot-button HR tech topics like employee engagement, rewards and recognition, and how to gain executive buy-in for engagement initiatives. Among the many memorable sessions was a presentation from Rocky Ozaki of NOW Innovations, who shared culture and operational best practices you should adopt to compete in the NoW. Beginning with a brief glimpse into the history of work, Rocky explained how the connected generation, technology and the sharing economy have solidified that the future is NoW.

With the war for talent raging, attracting top talent is harder than ever before. There is a remedy that can alleviate the need for competing for the most talented candidates on the market: retaining the top talent you do have. Cara Silletto, President and Chief Retention Officer of Crescendo Strategies offered insight into how companies can be better aligned with the wants and needs of a constantly evolving workforce, ensuring that the talent you’ve worked so hard to obtain stays with your company for the long haul.

ACE 2017 also featured numerous testimonials from Achievers customers illustrating how an investment in employee engagement can lead to tangible business results such as decreased employee turnover, increased productivity, and an improved bottom line. Becky Etsby, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development at Coborn’s, an employee-owned grocery store with more than 120 locations, stated as much during her presentation, “When employees are engaged, they really do care about the company and can affect a company’s profitability”.

After such an amazing day, it is hard to believe there is more to come. With speakers like Carey Lohrenz, the first female F-14 fighter pilot, day two of ACE 2017 is sure to be equally amazing. Check out all the amazing photos from Day 1 of ACE 2017 here.

Follow the conversation on social media with #AACE17 and follow us on Twitter @ Achievers.

50 ME Marquee

Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards Gala, always a marquee event

Brie Harvey

Brie Harvey, the face of ACE

50 ME Awards

50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards Gala

A-player smiles

A-players with A-plus smiles

ACE Social Event

Achievers’ Greg Brown and Chase Dolomont getting their grub on

ACE 2017 Stilt/Juggler

Post ACE march to B.B. King’s

ACE 2017 Tarot Card Reading

“I see in your future a trip to ACE 2018”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Empower Leaders to Become Engagement Champions

Creating an engaged workforce is critical to business success. Engaged employees positively impact retention, absenteeism, productivity, customer ratings, profitability, and many other business outcomes – as outlined by Gallup. Sadly, only 32% of U.S. employees are engaged – meaning they are “involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.” And the numbers are even worse beyond our borders, with engagement standing at a mere 13% worldwide! While leading organizations are aware of the problem and are actively seeking solutions, many are not seeing a good return on their engagement investments. As customer training manager at Achievers, I often work with organizations who are excited and committed to improving employee engagement, but they don’t really know where to start. I think part of the problem can be solved by clarifying who’s responsible for improving day-to-day employee engagement.

While I completely agree that HR is responsible for managing many of the programs and practices that impact and measure engagement, we can’t stop there. So who exactly has the greatest potential to influence day-to-day employee engagement in our organizations? Leaders. Leaders at all levels, especially at a senior level, have an obligation and a responsibility to drive employee and business success by becoming engagement champions. It is a commonly accepted business truism that people leave managers, not companies. Managers are the people that employees must interface with on a daily basis and with whom they have their most meaningful and impactful interactions with (both positive and negative). Because of the outsized impact they have on employee engagement, leaders and managers must learn what levers to pull in order to foster engagement on their teams.

It has been found that one of the most effective ways to drive engagement is through recognition. In fact, when asked what leaders could do more of to improve engagement, 58% of respondents to a recent survey replied “give recognition.” But employee recognition is just one piece of the employee engagement puzzle, albeit an extremely important one. What else can leaders do to help them become an engagement champion? Josh Bersin’s Simply Irresistible Organization model highlights five elements that drive employee engagement, and I believe leaders should use this as a guide in their role as engagement champions.

Josh Bersin's Simply Irresistible Organization model

Josh Bersin’s Simply Irresistible Organization model

Employing Josh Bersin’s Simply Irresistible Organization model and embracing employee recognition is a great place to start for leaders hoping to become engagement champions. [Josh presented the Simply Irresistible Organization model at the Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) conference back in 2014. You can watch his full presentation here if you’d like to learn more.] But how can organizations help accelerate their leadership’s path to becoming engagement champions? To begin with, they can use the following strategies to coach, develop, and support them on their journey.

Train leaders

Leaders need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to drive employee engagement. Training should focus on why it’s important, how it can benefit them in their roles, and what they can do to improve engagement. This could take the form of short videos, bite-sized eLearning courses, formalized training sessions, intuitive reference materials, or other ways you train leaders. Leverage the expertise of your L&D team and align any training with their initiatives and programs.

Communicate frequently

Since leaders are often busy people, they need to be reminded on a regular basis of practical tips for engaging their team. The model above provides a starting point, but regular communications can help to reinforce what you expect of leaders and the ways in which you are supporting them, including: training, technology and mentorship.

Enable them with simple tools

As Deloitte points out, “people are overwhelmed with the volume and always-on nature of messages, email, information, and work related activities,” so it’s important that engagement tools are easy to use for employees and leaders alike. Leaders need tools to frequently measure engagement, provide actionable insights, and support their engagement efforts.

When considering who to partner with to support your engagement initiatives, there are many to things to consider. First, you need to identify your needs. Many current software solutions focus on only one aspect of employee engagement, such as recognition or pulse surveys. Others, like Achievers, offer a more complete engagement solution. One that enables social and points-based recognition, results-based incentive campaigns, wellness initiatives, innovation programs, pulse surveys, actionable insights, and more.

Next, you should consider what you want the employee, leader, and administrator experience to be with your software solution. The Achievers platform is designed to be an intuitive experience for all users, regardless of what device it’s accessed on. Finally, you should consider only those providers who will be a true partner on your engagement journey. Since its founding in 2002, Achievers has partnered with hundreds of organizations to improve employee engagement and positively impact business results.

By clarifying who’s ultimately responsible for day-to-day employee engagement and empowering leaders to become engagement champions, organizations can create an engaged workforce and see business success. To learn more about how to become an engagement champion, download Engage or Die: How Companies That Act Fast on Engagement Outpace the Competition.

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About the Author
Mike VickersMike Vickers joined Achievers in January 2014 to lead customer training and education. He has spent over six years designing and implementing learning and performance strategies for organizations of all sizes. Mike is passionate about transforming organizations through effective learning solutions, innovative technology platforms, and modern HR practices. Connect with Mike on Twitter (@MikeVickers) or LinkedIn.

 

 

ACE 2016

Elite 8 Gala Kicks off ACE 2016 in Toronto

Last night in Toronto, Achievers announced the winners of the Elite 8 at the Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces™ Awards Gala. In a setting that was a perfect mix of glitz and industrial chic, the award recipients and representatives from almost every one of the 50 companies included on this year’s list enjoyed dinner, drinks and good times at the Steam Whistle Brewery in the heart of downtown Toronto. The event also provided attendees ample opportunity to network with peers from some of the most easily recognizable and highly successful companies in the world, and for entertainment, the world famous Second City comedy troupe.

Steam Whistle Brewery

Steam Whistle Brewery

Second City Comedy Troupe

Second City Comedy Troupe

Attendees at the Awards Gala

Attendees at the Awards Gala

Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards Gala 2016

Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards Gala 2016

The Elite 8 were recognized for receiving the highest scores for each of the Eight Elements of Employee Engagement—the criteria Achievers used to determine the Most Engaged Workplaces winners.

The 2016 Elite 8 winners are:

The Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards are designed to recognize and celebrate top employers in North America that display leadership and innovation in engaging their workplaces, as evaluated by judging panel of employee engagement academics, thought leaders and influencers. Among the 50 companies selected as winners, the judging panel selected eight companies that represent the best of the best, with regards to the Eight Elements of Employee Engagement.

The event marked the kickoff of Achievers Customer Experience 2016 (ACE 2016), Achievers’ annual customer conference. The full conference program officially began this morning (09/13) and runs through Wednesday (09/14).

Achievers' Opening Keynote with the VP of Product and CTO

Achievers’ Opening Keynote with the VP of Product and CTO

Spencer West's ACE 2016 Keynote

Spencer West’s ACE 2016 Keynote

ACE 2016 Networking Break

ACE 2016 Networking Break

Day 1 at ACE 2016

Day 1 at ACE 2016

Follow all the action from ACE 2016 at: #AACE16. And if you couldn’t make it this year, be sure to register early for next year’s event!

Workplace Diversity and Employee Engagement

The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion On Employee Engagement

By: Jeff Waldman
Head of Talent, Security Compass
Founder, SocialHRCamp

It is no secret that there is a positive correlation between highly engaged workforces and strong employee productivity and business performance. Depending on who you talk to the numbers may vary, but all the data points to the fact that engagement drives performance. With all of this recent attention on employee engagement and its impact, it’s not surprising that boosting engagement is becoming a number one priority of C-level executives around the globe, a claim supported by Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends survey.

Before we dig deeper, it is important that we understand exactly what employee engagement is. At its core, employee engagement measures the emotional commitment an employee has to his or her organization and its goals and objectives. The outcome of high engagement is employees putting discretionary effort into their work. They go the extra mile, push themselves a little bit harder to achieve their goals, and do just about anything that betters the organization. The collective impact of these bursts of discretionary effort leads to a noticeable increase in productivity, performance and business outcomes.

So how do you achieve a highly engaged workforce? There is no one-size-fits-all solution, because every organization is different. But, the trick to figuring out the path to success is tapping into the heart of what your employees value the most. Generally speaking, the factors that tend to have the greatest impact on employees’ engagement levels include: senior leadership, direct manager, corporate communication, recognition and rewards, relationship with co-workers, empowerment, and career path. The impact of each of these factors can be measured collectively as overall “engagement,” as they connect with and influence one another in varying degrees.

What if we further dive into the interconnected elements that impact employee engagement? First let me ask you a question. Let’s take a look at a fictitious company called “Company G” that is made up of 80 employees. If all 80 employees looked the same, behaved the same, possessed the same skills and experience, have the same personal interests, are all the same age, and are the same in every possible way, do you think Company G would have a high level of employee engagement? I guess you could say, “it depends”. But let’s take it one step further. What if Company G operated in a country like Canada, United States, England, or any other highly multicultural country? Or what if Company G operated in any other country where there are 5 demographic groups (Gen Z, Millennial, Gen X, Baby Boomer, Traditionalist) in their workforces? What if Company G served a market that was made up of customers who were between the ages of 18 and 100, possessed different levels of education, have a very broad range of personal income? The list goes on – the point is, engagement is dependent on a number of different factors and different factors impact engagement differently on an individual level, as well as a on a generational, geographic, industry-based, income or educational level.

The fact of the matter is, workplace diversity has a huge impact on employee engagement. Canadian top 5 bank, RBC, is well known for its principled stance on workplace diversity — “To win in your market, you need to hire your market.” Aside from the fact that diversity does drive employee engagement, it’s just smart business.

But when we talk about diversity, do we really know what it means? Among many other things, people typically attribute diversity to sex, religion, ethnicity, family status and age. What about things like difference in thought, personality, pathways to solving problems, life experiences and the list goes on. RBC defines it perfectly on their website. Inclusion comes into play when the work environment optimally enables each and every employee to perform at their best, regardless of their unique and individual difference.

So, if you put all of the above together, truly diverse and inclusive workplaces are in fact more successful organizations. If diversity and inclusion are based on the workplace enabling people to perform at their best, then what is employee engagement based on? You got it… the exact same thing. In fact, diverse and inclusive workplaces boosts employee engagement. You could even argue that the impact on employee engagement and diversity are exactly the same. This makes a lot of sense, and the research proves this.

The next time you are talking to your peers, your professional network, or your co-workers about the impact diversity and inclusion have on employee engagement, think about what I just shared. Employee engagement is a strategic business imperative, so it only makes sense to include diversity and inclusion in the conversation.

What should you do about it? For starters, you can attend my session at the upcoming 7th Annual Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2016 conference in Toronto (September 13-14). I’ll be leading a session titled, “Can You Hear Me Now? Good. Let’s Talk Diversity, Inclusion & Employee Engagement,” where I will be taking you on a journey through my own struggles growing up with a severe hearing disability and how my disability enabled me to work with and support many leading organizations to build truly diverse and inclusive workplaces. After that, you can return to your own workplace and think about how diversity and inclusion can factor into your own company’s engagement efforts.

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About Jeff Waldman
Jeff Waldman ACE Guest Speaker
Jeff Waldman is Head of Talent at Security Compass, Founder at SocialHRCamp and inaugural organizer at DisruptHR Toronto. Jeff has been leading the way in a growing niche that brings together human resources, employer branding, social media, marketing and business. With a diverse career spanning all facets of HR Jeff founded SocialHRCamp in 2012, a growing global interactive learning platform that helps the HR Community adopt social media and emerging HR/Recruitment technology in the workplace. In Jeff’s role as Head of Talent at Security Compass, he is responsible for all aspects of human resources and recruiting for a rapidly growing technology organization with operations in Canada, United States and India.

Jeff is an avid speaker, blogger and volunteer with diverse organizations such as SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition, HR Technology Conference, Illinois State SHRM,Louisiana State SHRM, HR Metrics Summit Canada and many more. Jeff also continues to advise emerging HR and Recruitment technology companies on their business strategies.

Originally from Vancouver, and currently living in North Toronto, Jeff has three awesome young boys who he spends his personal time with. He also coaches his kids’ sports teams and is an avid hockey player and snowboarder.

He can be reached on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Team Work Culture

The Language of Engagement

By: Karin Volo
Chief Joy Bringer, Evoloshen Academy

“I love my job!”
“I can’t wait for Monday again!”
“I’m doing what I was born to do!”
“I am living my life’s purpose!”
“I don’t consider this work—it feels like play!”
“Where did the day go? I got so much done!”
“This is the best company to work for!”

How often do you hear these types of statements? Or perhaps we should ask have you EVER heard anyone saying these things?

Within highly engaged organizations, statements like these are actually pretty common. Employees at these companies love their work and are deeply, emotionally connected to their co-workers, their company’s purpose, and their own passions. Their values are aligned so that they can easily live and breath the company values since they are a part of who they are authentically.

And what happens to the culture and the performance at companies like these? They tend to be highly productive, profitable, and making a positive difference in the world on some level.

There are many ways to understand and begin to tackle engagement. Achievers has created the 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards to recognize and showcase organizations that are truly making employee engagement work for them. They have defined eight parameters for engagement that include: Culture, Leadership, Accountability & Performance, Professional & Personal Growth, Communication, Vision & Values, Rewards & Recognition, and Corporate Social Responsibility. All of these areas are great places to start tracking and improving your level of engagement.

In doing the research for our book Engage! we found many examples of companies that are demonstrating a whole new way of doing business, innovative companies like Virgin, PUMA, Southwest Airlines, Zappos, Achievers, and many more. But most of all, we found that it is through company culture where you can work actively with principles of engagement to make a positive impact. To paraphrase Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos, culture is to employees what brand is to customers and the market. Or as management guru Peter Drucker famously put it, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” But the quote I love best is from Simon Sinek, TED speaker and author of the book Start With Why, who said: Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” No matter how you say it, it is clear that companies with highly engaged employees and a culture of engagement are consistently among the most successful, innovative and inspiring organizations on the planet.

In Engage!, we defined the formula for creating highly sustainable engagement through the following five Cultural Keys:

  1. Collaboration – taking teamwork to the next level and having a sense of belonging and family
  2. Creativity – allowing the innovation and creative ideas to flow from within the organization
  3. Connection – creating a deeper emotional connection both to the employees and the customers through the bigger purpose and values
  4. Celebration – focusing on what is going well, celebrating the small wins as well and the big ones, showing appreciation and recognition
  5. Contribution – giving back on some level that is related to the business that gives meaning and significance to the employees and makes the business do good in the world.

When all of the 5 KCI’s (Key Cultural Indicators) are high, there seems to be a powerful positive force or energy within a company that accelerates productivity and drives the business forward.

Whether you refer to Achievers’ Eight Elements of Employee Engagement™ or to our 5 KCI’s, you can see how closely both “languages of engagement” correlate with each other—these are similar messages using different words to describe the same essentials.

Whatever words you choose to use, actively working on engagement is sound business strategy. It is possible to systematize it and it is essential to continually work with it consciously. At times, you may see examples of zany engagement activities (team-building exercises anyone?), but there IS a method to making work fun and bringing out the best in your people. And when you are able to do that consistently, you tap into an often under-utilized resource—your employees—who, working together, bring success to your company.

Working actively to build a culture of engagement is the first step in building an environment where your employees and your business can thrive. Your employees will be excited to come to work on Monday mornings and you’ll often hear what is music to any employer’s ears: “I love my job!”

Come see Karin Volo at the 7th annual Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) Conference from September 13-14 where she will be running the panel discussion with the 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Elite 8 winners on employee engagement. Learn more about the activities happening at ACE this year and find out how to register by reading the latest event blog post.

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About Karin Volo
Karin Volo
Karin is an expert in engagement, career, personal, and organizational development- aka the Chief Joy Bringer. She is a co-author of the international best selling book, Engage!  With 15+ years experience working with international Fortune 500 companies on two continents, she has insights on business building, cultural transformation, and high performance. She is the best selling author of 1,352 Days: An Inspirational Journey From Jail To Joy, the Bringing Joy children’s series, a regular blogger on Huffington Post, a faculty member at the Institute for Inspired Organizational Cultures, and an expert judge on employee engagement in both the UK and the US.

Culture of Trust

The Currency and Culture of Trust: 5 Ways to Improve Trust Within the Workplace

iPhone

By: Bobi Seredich
Co-founder, Southwest Institute for Emotional Intelligence

Picture this: Your phone rings and you see the caller I.D. pop up on the screen. The little voice in your head questions, “Should I answer the call or send it straight to voicemail?” It’s understandable that we don’t always want to pick up our calls. But have you ever put yourself in the other person’s shoes and wondered how many times someone has chosen to not answer your calls?

As leaders, it’s important to get every call answered. But even more important is having the trust in your team that they will be there when you need them – and vice-versa. With one missed call, opportunities can be lost and situations addressed too late in the game. Simple things like not picking up phones calls are subtle clues in a work culture that the level of trust may not be where it should be. Reputations and relationships are formed – at a foundational level – during stressful moments when trust is either built or broken.

As leaders, not getting your team to answer calls may be a warning sign that there is something bigger going on. You have to remember that every interaction with someone is a chance to build trust, including a simple phone call. All great teams have one thing in common – trust: as defined by the ability to be vulnerable, admit weaknesses, and believe in one another. It’s extremely vital to set egos and titles aside in order to move the organization forward as a whole. Even little things like having the confidence to say “I’m sorry” is important for a team looking to build trust.

If your team has a challenge with trust, there can be big costs associated. According to famed productivity and organizational behavior expert, Stephen Covey, trust is a real and important economic factor. In his book, The Speed of Trust, Covey discusses the ‘trust tax’ and ‘trust dividend’ – if there is low trust among your team, speed decreases and cost increases as a result. If you are working in a high trust culture, there is the opposite effect, with an increase in speed and decrease in costs (in essence giving you a trust dividend). With a high trust culture, you are also creating a happier and more engaged workplace which boosts productivity. You might have great strategies and execution plans, but if you have low trust you won’t get the desired results. Keep in mind that high trust won’t save a bad strategy, but low trust will derail a good one.

According to the Edelman 2016 Trust Barometer, “Nearly one in three employees don’t trust their employer. And more than two thirds feel that CEOs are too focused on short-term performance.” What can you do differently to build trust in your company with team members and clients? You have to be willing to move away from old habits and negative attitudes to effectively change behaviors and build a healthy culture that is more proactive than reactive.

Here are 5 powerful ways to improve trust within your workplace according to the research by Stephen Covey in The Speed of TrustHere are the ‘Stop’ and ‘Start’ behaviors that promote them:

  1. Deliver results

Stop these behaviors:

  • Accepting low standards
  • Quitting or not seeing things through
  • Overreacting to setbacks
  • Making excuses
  • Saying you are too busy and swamped

Start saying:

  • “Let’s do this together!”
  • “What are the measures and how will we know? By when?”
  • “What does success look like?”
  • “How will we celebrate?”
  • “Let’s discuss our barriers to success and a Plan B.”
  1. Talk straight

Stop these behaviors:

  • Lying or deceiving
  • Hiding or covering things up
  • Beating around the bush
  • Giving upfront disclaimers
  • Withholding information

Start saying:

  • “Here’s how I see it…”
  • “I respect you and I want to talk straight.”
  • “Here is my intention…”
  • “Here are the brutal facts…”
  • “I want to be as transparent as I can.”
  1. Listen first

Stop these behaviors:

  • Speaking first
  • Interrupting
  • Thinking about what you are going to say next
  • Multi-tasking during conversations
  • Pretending to listen

Start saying:

  • “What I hear you saying is…”
  • “Let me make sure I understand.”
  • “Let’s clarify…”
  • “What’s your perspective?”
  • “What do you mean? How are you feeling?”
  1. Right wrongs

Stop these behaviors:

  • Taking things so personally
  • Making assumptions
  • Justifying bad behavior
  • Denying you made mistake
  • Covering up anything
  • Procrastinating

Start saying:

  • “I made a mistake. I’m sorry.”
  • “I was wrong.”
  • “This is my fault. It won’t happen again.”
  • “I’m truly sorry for how my actions impacted you.”
  • “What can I do to make this right?”
  • “Here is what I can commit to doing moving forward…”
  1. Show appreciation

Stop these behaviors:

  • Assuming people think you care as a reason not to show it
  • Micromanaging others and their work
  • Withholding trust
  • Confusing accountability with trust

Start saying:

  • “I truly appreciate you and what you did.”
  • “Here is what I appreciate about you…”
  • “Thank you.”
  • “How are you doing? Tell me about you.”
  • “I believe in you. I know you can do this.”
  • “How can I support you?”
  • “What are your thoughts about this?”

You have the ability to rebuild trust and inspire others in your organization to do the same. Trust may be thought of as a soft skill set, but it delivers bottom line results. Please join me at the 7th annual Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) Conference from September 13-14 where I will be sharing more about the currency and culture of trust. Learn more about the activities happening at ACE this year and find out how to register by reading the latest event blog post. Can’t wait to see you there!

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About Bobi Seredich
Bobi Seredich Headshot

Bobi Seredich is a recognized speaker, author, trainer and successful entrepreneur specializing in leadership development. She has spent over 20 years of her career dedicated to creating, directing, writing and presenting leadership programs for top companies in the U.S. and around the world.

Bobi is the co-founder of the Southwest Institute for Emotional Intelligence and Managing Partner of EQ Inspirations. In 2001, she founded Equanimity, Inc. also known as EQ Speakers – a speakers’ bureau and leadership training company. It fast became a top speaker bureau that booked hundreds of speakers with large Fortune 500 clients. EQ Speakers was sold in 2012 and continues to be a leader in the industry.

Her book, Courage Does Not Always Roar – Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Courage, was published by Simple Truths in the spring of 2010. The book is a collection of her experiences and stories of women who have had the courage to overcome very difficult life events.

Her passion is to guide individuals and organizations to a higher performance level through her own business knowledge, inspirational stories and leadership emotional intelligence training. Bobi lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband and 4-year old twins, Alex and Gia.

 

Event Activities at ACE 2016

Event Activities at the 7th Annual ACE 2016

Are you ready to change the way the world works? Considering a 1% increase in employee engagement equates to an additional .6% growth in sales for companies, it’s not surprising that businesses are eager to find ways to improve in this area. Additionally, Gallup has found that companies in the top quartile of employee engagement see real measures of business success (compared to bottom-quartile organizations), including:

  • 21% higher productivity
  • 22% higher profitability
  • 41% higher quality
  • 48% fewer safety incidents
  • 37% reduced absenteeism

As many forward-looking companies are finding, one of the top ways of increasing engagement is through the implementation of a company-wide recognition and rewards program. But with such a premium on boosting employee engagement, it is important to stay on top of the latest developments and connect with other practitioners who have achieved success in this area.

With that in mind, we’d like to invite you to come join us at our biggest event of the year, Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2016! This dynamic 2-day conference takes place September 13-14 in the heart of downtown Toronto. Join hundreds of HR executives, practitioners and thought leaders to focus on employee engagement and come away with practical advice and solutions for implementing, or improving, your own engagement program.

The event kicks off with the 6th Annual Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards Gala, and features inspirational keynotes, educational sessions and real-world examples of program success. Don’t miss out on the fun! Join us to network with a Who’s Who of top performers and thought leaders in the HR and employee engagement space.

Jump in on ACE’s 3 tracks

This year, our agenda is broken into 3 tracks all focused on how to build upon and improve employee engagement. Plan to enjoy a full lineup of sessions and keynotes aligned around the following tracks:

  1. Aspire to Greatness
    Take your engagement game to the next level! Learn from some of the most forward-thinking minds in HR and join industry leaders as they offer expert advice on employee engagement.
  2. Achieve Brilliance
    Listen in on success stories and strategies from some of our top customers, and learn how they elevated their employee engagement programs to achieve the desired results.
  3. Accelerate Your Program
    Whether you’re an expert on our software, or a complete beginner, take a deep dive into the Achievers platform and learn how it can boost your employee engagement.

Be inspired by this year’s keynote lineup

Leave ACE 2016 feeling inspired and motivated by our amazing lineup of keynote speakers. This year, save your seat and hear from renowned guest speakers and industry leaders, including:

Mel Robbins ACE 2016 Speaker

Mel Robbins
Motivational Speaker, CNN Commentator, and Coach

Mel Robbins started her career as a criminal defense attorney and went on to launch and sell a retail and internet technology company. She has led multi-year coaching programs, including one for Johnson & Johnson, and has hosted award-winning shows for FOX, A&E, Cox Media Group and now CNN. Her TEDx Talk, titled How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over, has over 3 million views and her book, titled Stop Saying You’re Fine, is a business bestseller.

Spencer West ACE 2016 Speaker

Spencer West
Social Activist and World Change Warrior

Spencer West shares his personal journey after losing both legs from the pelvis down at the age of five to last year, when he climbed and summited Mount Kilimanjaro using his hands and wheelchair. He is a bestselling author who wrote the book Standing Tall: My Journey and star of the documentary Redefine Possible: The Story of Spencer West, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012.

Joan Lunden ACE 2016 Speaker

Joan Lunden
Journalist, Author, and Television Host

As the longest running host ever on early morning TV, for nearly 2 decades Lunden greeted viewers each morning on Good Morning America bringing insight to the day’s top stories. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, women’s health & wellness advocate, and mom of seven – she continues to be one of America’s most recognized and trusted personalities.

In addition to our inspirational keynote speakers, we will also be featuring provocative and stimulating breakout sessions with HR thought leaders, including:

  • Andrew Sykes, Founder and President, Habits at Work: Join Andrew Sykes, President of Habits at Work, to understand the role of pivotal habits in creating thriving (healthy, happy and secure) employees and the “dose value” of these pivotal habits on performance at work.
  • Aimee Lucas, Customer Experience Transformist & Vice President, Temkin Group: Organizations that want to deliver a great customer experience (CX) won’t succeed without an engaged workforce. Aimee will explore the connection between CX and employee engagement (EE) and share proven EE tactics that have yielded positive CX results at other organizations—including how employees are incented, recognized, and celebrated.
  • Elaine Orler, CEO & Founder, Talent Board: If candidate experience isn’t a top priority for your organization, it should be. A great candidate experience – transparent and insightful – can have a significant impact on an organization. Elaine Orler will share her insights into emerging trends for 2016 through case studies that successfully implement superior candidate experience practices. Attendees will learn how to calculate the estimated costs of candidate resentment for your organization and explore the impact of generational differences on the candidate experience.

The night before ACE 2016 kicks off with its three powerful session tracks and thought-provoking and inspiring keynote speakers, you can get in the spirit at the 6th Annual Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards Gala. The Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards recognizes top employers in North America that display leadership and innovation in engaging their workplaces. Past winners have included top brands, such as KPMG, Zappos.com, Netsuite, Smart & Final, and Ericsson.

Stay tuned for more updates and details on ACE 2016, as well as a series of guest blogs from featured customers and speakers at this year’s event. Also, don’t forget to join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #AACE16 and by following @Achievers on Twitter.

Register now so you don’t miss out on the fun at ACE 2016. See you in Toronto!

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About the Author
Kellie WongKellie Wong is the Social Media and Blog Manager for Achievers. She manages Achievers’ social media presence and
The Engage Blog, including the editorial calendars for both. In addition to writing blog content for The Engage Blog, she also manages and maintains relationships with 20+ guest blog contributors and edits every piece of content that gets published. Connect with Kellie on LinkedIn.

 

ACE 2016 Event

ACE 2016: Our keynote lineup

If you haven’t heard the news already, Achievers Customer Experience (ACE), our annual employee engagement and user conference, will be in Toronto this September! We provide our attendees with a compelling lineup of speakers who are experts in engagement, rewards and recognition, HR technology, and the Achievers platform.

Register for ACE Now!               

We are very excited to announce this year’s keynote speakers:

Joan Lunden

Fostering Leadership and Achieving Dreams

Joan Lunden

For over 3 decades, Joan Lunden has been a trusted voice in American homes. As the longest running host ever on early morning TV, for nearly two decades Joan greeted viewers each morning on Good Morning America bringing insight to the day’s top stories.

In June of 2014, Joan was diagnosed with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer, which required chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. Joan made a decision to take her battle public and has since shared her journey through cancer treatment with the world, becoming a prominent voice in the breast cancer community.

An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, woman’s health & wellness advocate, and mom of seven – she continues to be one of America’s most recognized and trusted personalities.

At ACE 2016, she’ll be sharing her secrets to becoming a great leader and achieving your goals.

 

 

 

Mel Robbins

The 5 Second Rule: Achieve Breakthrough Performance in your Career and Life

Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins is a TV personality, coach, author, and speaker, and is currently one of CNN’s most popular on-air commentators and opinion writers. Mel has shared her expertise in human behavior on Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Oprah, The Today Show, and Fox News. She was named America’s Outstanding News Talkshow Host at the 2014 Gracie Awards.

Her TEDx Talk on “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over” has over 3 million views, and her book on the brain and productivity, “Stop Saying You’re Fine”, is a business bestseller that has been translated into four languages.

Mel will give the ACE audience her strategies for improving your performance both in and out of the office.

 

Spencer West

Redefine Possible: Lessons for Tackling Mountains in the Corporate World

Spencer West

Spencer West’s charisma and dynamism captivate audiences every time he speaks. Whether addressing corporate leaders, nonprofits, or the education world, listeners are mesmerized as Spencer describes his journey after losing both legs from the pelvis down at the age of five to last year, when he climbed, and summited, Mount Kilimanjaro using his hands and wheelchair.

Spencer is a top-ranked keynoter, author of the best-selling book “Standing Tall: My Journey”, and star of the documentary “Redefine Possible: The Story of Spencer West”, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012.

At ACE, Spencer will teach attendees his approach to overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles – including those we encounter in the workplace.

Register for ACE Now!               

Marcus Buckingham at ACE 2015

Seismic shift #3: From theoretical models to real-world behaviors

The third of the seismic shifts that will affect human capital, human resources, and the human experience at work is the move from theoretical models to real-world behaviors, according to best-selling author and management expert Marcus Buckingham.

As he explained at Achievers Customer Experience 2015, the seismic shifts will force organizations to zoom in from current broad, depersonalized views to localized, team-based approaches to talent management. Buckingham, who also is the founder and chairman of TMBC, shared that today’s HR development tools are based on models, not people.

One area for change is with competency models. As an employee moves up in a company, the competency model grows to “require” more skills and traits for the job. Buckingham says there is no real data to support competency models, and – very importantly – no one person will have all of the traits, qualities, and competencies in the model. Instead, companies need to get away from models as a way to define positions, people, and promotions and move toward tools for real managers and teams.

For instance, look at this 40-point competency model created by NASA for Systems Engineering leaders. It seems impossible to be able to accurately measure employees based on this overwhelming set of attributes.

NASA Competency Model

Buckingham said that when you study the best teams in an organization, ask the right questions, and compare the answers you get from the best teams to the answers you get from the worst teams, you can see the difference. The questions are in four key areas – Purpose, Excellence, Support, and Future – and are designed to probe how the employee feels about the team and about himself/herself in relation to the organization. Here are some examples:

  1. I am really enthusiastic about the mission of my company.
  2. In my team, I am surrounded by people who share my values.
  3. At work, I clearly understand what is expected of me.
  4. I have a chance to use my strengths every day at work.

The manager – the team lead – is responsible for making employees feel connected to something larger and ensuring they feel they have a stake in it. Organizations must hold team leaders accountable not only for their team’s performance, but also for how team members feel about the organization.

The challenge for today’s enterprise is to move the organization’s view and workforce analytics to the local level while balancing the needs of employees to feel at once unique and a part of something bigger than themselves.

Marcus Buckingham Performance Ratings

Seismic shift #2: From big data to real-time, reliable data

Marcus Buckingham, best-selling author and founder of TMBC, outlined the three seismic shifts in talent management that will take an organization’s focus down to the local level, upset the traditional performance review process, and up-end traditional competency models.  During his keynote at Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2015, Buckingham explained that organizations will need to move from big data to real-time, reliable data.

According to him, performance ratings data is typically “garbage” because it is generated only once or twice per year, and it’s based on the fallacy that human beings can be reliable of raters of other human beings. In fact, he says that humans are horribly unreliable and have been recognized as unreliable for years.

Enterprises invest billions in the traditional performance reviews that take place each year. After the reviews are completed, data has to be compiled, reviewed, and analyzed by human resources and then packaged up and sent back to leaders before anyone can get a raise, promotion, or learning development plan (or termination). But these workforce analytics are based on obsolete data. It would be better, as noted in the previous post, to upend the process and make performance reviews an ongoing activity in which managers ask real questions about their employees.

In traditional performance reviews, more than half of the rating is based on the patterns of how the manager rates. For instance, if a manager has given a 4 to two employees in a row, they’ll likely be more inclined to give a 3 or a 5 to the next person in the line. According to the study Understanding the Latent Structure of Job Performance Ratings, “Our results show that a greater proportion of variance in ratings is associated with biases of the rater than with the performance of the ratee.”

Companies have known about – and have been trying to remove – these idiosyncratic rater effects (IRE) for decades. Recently, some companies have decided to stop doing performance reviews altogether. But Buckingham says that reviewing isn’t the problem; it’s the ratings and the IRE that are leading to bad data.

Companies actually need a range of data and a differential between people in order to determine how to pay and promote them. He says companies should be asking: How do we capture good data about our employees?

This takes us back to the team lead. Buckingham says instead of asking the leader to rate his or her employees objectively (which is rarely possible), you should turn the questions around so that the rater is asked to record their own feelings and actions:

  • I always go to Jane when I need extraordinary results. (1-5)
  • I choose to work with Jane as much as I possibly can. (1-5)
  • Would I promote him/her today if I could? (Y/N)
  • Does he/she have a performance problem that I need to address immediately? (Y/N)

Taking those answers and comparing them to data about the team leaders’ intentions for the team, noting how long he/she has worked with each employee, and understanding that each leader has innate rating tendencies (more critical or more ____, for example), creates natural, real performance ranges that can be used to make solid decisions about pay, promotions, and training.

Marcus Buckingham Talent Management

Seismic shift #1: From serving the organization to serving the team leader

The three seismic shifts that will affect human beings, human capital, and human resources, according to Marcus Buckingham, best-selling author and chair and founder of TMBC, will change organizations’ focus down to the local level, upset the traditional performance review process, and up-end traditional competency models.

At Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2015, he elaborated on the first of three: the shift from serving the organization to serving the team leader. As he noted, in any given company, with policies, procedures, culture, and environment being equal, the success of teams can still vary wildly. The only difference? The way the team leader manages the team.

Buckingham says that no matter where you work, as the team leader goes, so goes the organization. Despite the fact that every organization knows this, HR tools are made to serve the organization rather than the team. Most HR departments launch initiatives centrally and push them down to the employees. Buckingham suggests shifting the focus to the local level by borrowing the processes of successful teams and pushing those practices back up.

One way to do this is to change the performance review process. Instead of a once-a-year snapshot (that requires managers to rate employees on a scale) that is fed back to the central HR department for compilation, review, and analysis before being cascaded back to the manager, he said the process should be frequent, local, and personalized. He emphasized that HR should never be the first department to get their hands on performance review data and workforce analytics – everything should go to the team leaders first, so that they can act quickly on the findings.

This can be accomplished by moving the focus away from a traditional rating scale to questions that allow the manager to asses less subjective information:

  • What are the strengths of the people on the team – what can each person do?
  • What are the teams doing now – where is the work?
  • How are the team members feeling – right now?

We need to have managers start asking and answering these three questions right now and on a regular basis. By moving the focus from ratings, which Buckingham notes are subject to interpretation by each manager (some managers never give a “3,” for example), to real questions about real people, an organization can truly measure where each team members’ strengths lie and – importantly for engagement – how they feel about their work.

By  serving the  manager rather than the organization and focusing on real-time results and dynamic teams, Buckingham says a company can model success from the bottom up.

Our next post will focus on the 2nd seismic shift: from big data to real-time, reliable data.

Marcus Buckingham at ACE 2015

3 seismic shifts that will reshape organizational behavior

There are three seismic shifts underfoot that will affect human capital, human resources, and the human experience at work.

These shifts will force organizations to zoom in from their broad, depersonalized view and instead take a localized, team-based approach to talent management. According to best-selling author and management expert Marcus Buckingham, organizations need to overhaul the traditional performance review process and upend existing competency models.

Buckingham, who also is the founder and chairman of TMBC, has dedicated his career to exploring and addressing the complex issues of strengths, management, and leadership in the workplace. He described the three following shifts during his keynote at Achievers Customer Experience 2015:

  • From serving the organization to serving the team leader – Today’s workforce tools are made to serve the organization, but no matter where you work, the team leader affects how successful their employees will be. Despite the fact that every organization knows this, HR tools are not built to serve the team leader. Performance management, employee engagement, etc., are built to serve the organization.
  • From big data to real-time, reliable data – Predictive data is ubiquitous in today’s organizations, but no matter how great the algorithm, if you put in bad data, you’ll get bad data in return. In fact, the way most organizations gather performance ratings data results in faulty workforce analytics.
  • From theoretical models to real-world behaviors – Today’s HR development tools are based on models, not people, and measure against a set of competencies and skills that are expanded upon as an employee moves up in an organization. This isn’t realistic for two reasons: a) no one person possesses all of the competencies and skills “required” by any given workforce model; and b) there is no data to support competency models, so organizations should not promote against them.

The challenge for HR and business leaders in making these shifts will be finding and deploying tools – many of which exist already – to take the organization’s view from “we” to “me.”

In the following posts, we will explore how Buckingham says organizations can take the focus from a central to a local approach, and how they can balance the needs of employees to feel at once unique and a part of something bigger than themselves.

Jennifer MClure at ACE 2015

HR, get the C-suite’s attention by keeping the bottom line in mind

Today’s HR professionals should think of themselves as business leaders who happen to work in human resources. When they behave that way, they will be perceived that way by the C-suite, according to Jennifer McClure, president of Unbridled Talent LLC.

McClure spoke at Achievers Customer Experience 2015 about “Getting the C-Suite’s Attention: 7 Strategies for Transforming from HR Leader to Business Leader.” For the past three years, CEOs have listed Human Capital as their number-one challenge, and they look to human resources to help them overcome that challenge. HR leaders must learn to speak to business executives in terms of strategic direction, planning, problem solving and – more than anything else – in terms of money and finances.

McClure outlined seven areas in which an HR leader must transform the way they’re thinking and the way they’re positioning their work. She said that to evolve into a respected business leader, an HR leader must first overcome the fact that data used for workforce planning (absenteeism, retention, etc.) is historical. It’s critical that HR leaders start looking forward, by understanding what needs you have today so that you can project what you’ll need tomorrow. It also is essential for an HR leader to understand which current employees hold institutional knowledge or could actually hurt the business if they left the organization.

Regardless of what industry you are practicing human resources in, McClure says that the “The War for Talent,” coined by McKinsey years ago, is still relevant today. Candidates today are in the driver’s seat, and organizations are in a position where they may be trying to “sell” their organization to people they may not have hired in the past. In fact, McKinsey also predicted a shortfall of up to 18 million skilled workers over the next 5 years, making it even harder for organizations to fill essential roles today and tomorrow.

HR leaders must be able to present human capital “problems” to CEOs with solutions in mind. Be prepared to present data and sell workforce planning and human capital ideas based on how they will help the business and support business strategy. Remembering to speak like a business leader – in terms of dollars and cents and the impact on the bottom line – will help any HR professional.

Dan Harris Meditation ACE 2015

Is meditation magic? It can quiet the brain, lower job stress, and increase focus

Imagine having a panic attack: a sudden feeling of terror that can strike without warning, even during sleep, and that can make you feel like you are having a heart attack or going crazy. Now imagine having one on live television with 5+ million people watching. That’s just what happened to Dan Harris, ABC news correspondent, co-anchor and author of 10% Happier: How I tamed the Voice in my Head, Reduced Stress without losing my Edge, and Found Self-Help that Actually Works.


 

Harris shared his story, as well as why he believes that meditation will be “the next public health revolution,” during his keynote speech at Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2015.

Harris is frank about the fact that he didn’t want to meditate and didn’t believe in it, but he learned to recognize his inner narrator – you know, the one that we all hear and that “talks” to us about ourselves, what we did wrong, what happened yesterday, and what will happen in the future. He not only learned that meditation can quiet the inner narrator, but also learned that daily meditation can actually grow the grey matter in the brain associated with self-awareness and compassion while it shrinks the part of the brain associated with stress. It also helps the meditator learn to focus on what is happening in the moment rather than obsessing about the past or the future.

Why would this matter in the workplace? Today’s employees are stressed. According to the American Institute of Stress, “numerous studies show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades. …  In New York, Los Angeles, and other municipalities, the relationship between job stress and heart attacks is so well acknowledged that any police officer who suffers a coronary event on or off the job is assumed to have a work related injury and is compensated accordingly ….”

Despite knowing this, less than 40 percent of companies are actually talking to their employees about wellness. That might be changing, though. Harris says that the U.S. Marines, the U.S. Army, colleges across the country, and even pre-school classes are weaving meditation into their activities.

Daily meditation is easy to learn, can be practiced anywhere and can quiet the inner narrator who might be picking apart the PowerPoint you just presented. We all could benefit from silencing that voice.

Human Experience at Work

Today’s workforce mindset – employees want a human experience

 

In today’s competitive economy, if two organizations are both doing a great job engaging their workforces, what makes one of them better than the other? Aon Hewitt recently surveyed 2,539 employees at companies of 1,000 or more across several industries, and Raymond Baumruk, partner and leader in the firm’s Next Practices/Employee Research & Insights group, shared top findings with attendees of Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2015.

Baumruk said they were somewhat surprised to find that the things many companies see as “differentiators,” employees actually view as “table stakes,” or basic expectations of potential employers. Baumruk also shared that there has been a shift in the past three to four years. Potential employees are looking for more of a human experience, in which error can happen, people can laugh, and ideas and opinions are solicited and respected.

When it comes to base expectations – the “table stakes” that any company should offer – the study found that employees expect a company to:

  • Communicate completely and honestly (80% cite this as a base expectation)
  • Recognize strong achievement or performance
  • Have a collaborative environment and encourage teamwork
  • Have a strong management and leadership team
  • Provide valuable work tools/resources, including technology

The characteristics that employers said they consider differentiators that make an organization attractive include:

  • Fun place to work (In an interesting side note, Baumruk said that Baby Boomers were more likely to cite this than Millennials)
  • Flexible work environment
  • Good fit with employee values
  • Provides stimulating work

The survey showed that, much like the differentiators, these characteristics revolve around the human experience and are relationship oriented vs. organizational oriented:

Companies focus on:                                                                     Employees want the focus to be on:

Teamwork                                                                                          Recognition

Customer satisfaction                                                                      Respect

Profit                                                                                                    Loyalty

Quality                                                                                                 Balance

Brand image                                                                                       Teamwork

Productivity                                                                                        Open communications

The top work characteristic employees want in an organization today is recognition. In addition, employees want to be recognized by managers and leadership in a way in which their peers and colleagues are aware of the recognition – through email, in-person meetings, etc. Open and honest communications are just one of vital elements to creating the human experience that today’s employees want.

And as Aon Hewitt discovered, from Baby Boomers to Millennials (and even Centennials), employees are looking for a human experience – engaging, fun, open, honest, and collaborative – in the workplace.

Bobi Seredich at ACE 2015

Day 1 at ACE 2015: EI is the X factor that creates engaging and inspiring leaders

The threshold competencies for a successful leader are IQ, technical skills, and emotional intelligence (EI). While most of us would think that IQ and technical skills are most important, in reality EI is twice as important as a predictor of leadership success.

In her Achievers Customer Experience 2015 (ACE) session, Bobi Seredich, co-founder of Southwest Institute for Emotional Intelligence, explains how EI is not only important for leaders, but also organizations as a whole. According to Seredich, EI and the ability to connect with your colleagues becomes even more important as one moves into senior leadership positions.

Why? Because a company with great leaders who understand and practice EI can make business teams more productive, engaged, empowered, and committed to the organization, and it can increase the retention of those teams.

Seredich said that practicing EI is like playing golf or practicing yoga. Some days you play great, and other days you falter. She encouraged ACE attendees to explore EI and why it is so important in the workplace for leaders and employees, saying:

  • If two people are in a room, and a person with a negative emotion walks in, it only takes 3 seconds for that negative emotion to permeate the room. Influencers need to realize how their behaviors and demeanors affect the room.
  • Ninety percent of communications are non-verbal, so leaders should be highly aware of how they are communicating with their posture and demeanor as well as their words.
  • People decide if you are competent in less than 100 milliseconds, so you need to be very mindful of your body language and facial expressions when you meet new people in order to make the best impression.

Of course, because of the way human’s brains work, emotions often come before thoughts, so humans feel before we think. This can lead to misunderstandings, disconnections, and stress overload. Learning EI includes understanding how to manage emotions and knowing that being a great leader of a highly successful organization includes the balance of “heart and edge.”

Top performers who are most likely to be promoted are those who approach with heart by demonstrating humility, listening without bias, and building connections. They also have an “edge,” and set high expectations, hold themselves to account, and stand with conviction.

Practicing a balanced EI approach with a mind to connecting with employees, increasing engagement, and creating success, according to Seredich, can help keep everyone’s minds on task by avoiding emotional overload in the workplace.

Achievers Customer Experience

6 reasons why you should attend Achievers Customer Experience 2015

by Rebecca Wetherbee

If you haven’t been to Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) before, you’re probably wondering why you should come. What’s in it for you?

ACE is more than just a user conference; it’s an incredible opportunity to learn from top-notch speakers, earn HRCI recertification credits, and socialize with like-minded people, all against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful cities on Earth: San Francisco.

We’ve come up with six distinct reasons why you should come join us at ACE this November 2nd & 3rd:

  1. Compelling Content

We’ve carefully crafted sessions that will appeal to all of our attendees, whether you’re a customer of ours or not. We have three different session tracks that will help you Aspire to Greatness, Achieve Brilliance, or Accelerate Your Program. You’ll learn how the science of emotional intelligence will help you influence employees, how to build a business case for social recognition, and how you can give employees the experience they’re craving. See the full agenda: https://www.achievers.com/ace/agenda

The best part is, by attending ACE you can earn 10.75 HRCI General recertification credits towards your PHR, SPHR, GPHR, or California certification! (Click here to see which sessions apply for Business or Global Credits.)

  1. Inspirational Speakers

Not only do we have great session topics, but our sessions will be hosted by the most forward-thinking people in HR. Come hear from brilliant minds (and beautiful faces) like Marcus Buckingham, Dan Harris, Jennifer McClure, David Brennan and many more. We’ve got a full list + bios right here: https://www.achievers.com/ace/people/speakers

  1. Product Release

At Achievers, we’re constantly innovating. By coming to ACE, you’ll be among the first group of people to hear about the exciting new features and updates we’re planning for the Employee Success Platform™ in the coming months. We’ll also provide a tour of the features we’ve added over the past year, including video recognitions, our mobile apps, Program Investment Planner, Celebrations, Results Driver, and much more.

  1. Giving Back

Social responsibility is a priority for the whole Achievers team, and we know it matters a lot to you too. That’s why we are continuing to collaborate with Free the Children to gather donations for education efforts in the village of Oloirien, Kenya. Through our fundraising, the village has been able to build a new classroom and start micro-lending and business programs for men and women.

  1. Networking 24/7

Did you know that Bon Appetit just named San Francisco the Best Food City in the Country? That’s why we’ve created an incredible networking event on Monday night: Taste of the Bay. Take a tour with us through Napa Valley, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Mission, and more — without putting on your walking shoes. We’re bringing the best of the Bay to the InterContinental so that you can mingle with your new friends and colleagues, rub elbows with speakers, and get to know the Achievers A-Team! We’ll also provide breakfast keynotes on both days.

  1. San Francisco!

For the past five years, we’ve held ACE in beautiful — and cold — Toronto. While we love our founding city, we thought this was the right time to bring ACE to one of the most desirable destinations in the country. We hope you’ll find some time before or after the event to climb the hills, ride the trolleys, traverse the Golden Gate, and take part in some of the wonderful things San Francisco offers its visitors. All of the SF-based Achievers will be eager to recommend their favorite food spots, watering holes, and shopping streets!

So, are you convinced yet? Register before 8/31 to get early bird pricing! https://www.achievers.com/ace/registration

 

headshotRebecca Wetherbee is Achievers’ social media manager, responsible for creating and promoting content across all of our branded social networks as well as this very blog.

 

ACE Achievers Customer Experience 2015

ACE 2015: Join us in November to Learn & Earn HRCI Recertification Credits!

More than 100,000 HR professionals across the globe hold certification from the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), the premier HR credentialing organization dedicated to setting the standard for HR mastery and excellence around the globe. These dedicated professionals understand how important engagement is in creating a positive, innovative, and successful workforce. A big factor in the value of working with HRCI certified professionals is knowing that they are committed to their field and make continuing professional development a high priority.

We want to make it easier for any HR professional holding an HRCI PHR, SPHR, GPHR, or California credential to earn recertification credits while they learn at the Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2015! Every HRCI certified professional who attends the conference in San Francisco can earn up to 10.75 credits toward their required recertification total.

In addition, we are offering the opportunity for those who need HR General, global, or business credits to earn those too! Here’s how it will work:

  • ACE 2015 – total show credits = 10.75
  • HR General credits (apply to all certifications):
    • Emotional Intelligence: The Science of Influencing Others
    • Building the Simply Irresistible Organization: Why Recognition Matters
    • Inside the Employee Mindset: What They Want From the Employment Experience, Rewards, and Communication
    • Client Roundtable: 50 Shades of Engagement
    • #RecognitionNeverSleeps: A Panel Discussion with COX Automotive
    • A Morning with Dan Harris
    • Offline in an Online World: The Secret to Engaging Offline Employees
    • What The World’s Best Managers Do Differently
  • Business credits (apply to SPHR and HRMP):
    • It’s All About the Launch!
    • How to Build the Vision and Business Case For Employee Recognition
  • Global – Business (apply to GPHR, SPHR and HRMP):
    • And the Global HR Oscar Goes to… iProps & Highfive!
    • Incentivizing Innovation with KPMG: The Big Idea Exchange

We look forward to seeing many HRCI certified professionals learning (& earning!), sharing knowledge, and networking at ACE 2015 in November.

Not registered for ACE 2015 yet? Register here. Early bird registration available through August 31!

Communication in the Workplace

What Do You Stand For? 3 Insights On Communication For The Modern Workplace

imageIt’s not easy getting a room full of over 400 people to jump to their feet, but that’s exactly what happened this year at the Achievers Customer Experience – #AACE14. Between standing up to stretch, popping up to shake hands with a new friend, and giving a few standing ovations, we found ourselves enthusiastically standing around—or, more appropriately, standing up.

One recurring theme from day two that got people up and out of their seats was communication. Here are three great insights that resonated with the crowd, and got everyone on their feet and engaged in the conversation.

Look Each Other In The Eye

With all the amazing new technology we have, it’s easy to forget the importance of a human connection in the workplace. Although many of us sit within an arm’s length of each other, how often do we stand up and look one another in the eye?

Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse had us do just that. Before discussing the importance of workplace wellness, Chris reminded us of the importance of connecting with one another—and how easily it could be done. We all stood up, found someone we hadn’t met yet, made eye contact, and introduced ourselves.

What was amazing was that this little exercise should have only taken moments, yet it lingered on until someone had to remind us we were there for a presentation. Chris made his point. With just one simple gesture—making eye contact—we can meaningfully connect with our fellow colleagues, every single day.

Communication Is More Than Just An Email

As the day progressed, we were treated to a special airing of HR Happy Hour, a live weekly radio show, hosted by Steve Boese, Co-Chair of the HR Technology Conference, and Trish McFarlane, an HR executive, writer, and speaker.

This energetic session kicked off with cocktails in hand and a challenge on the table: How to reskill your team for the modern workplace—a challenge everyone in the room could appreciate.

There were lots of great ideas passed around, but what really struck me, is what one of the audience members, a manager of employee experience, said about communication: “A lot of times, communication means an email…but it’s so much more than that.”

How many times have you sent an email when simply walking across the office, or making a quick phone call, would have worked just as well? Technology is a fantastic tool; as long as we’re using it to enhance our daily communications with one another—not replace them.

Reach People Where They Are

Nearly every speaker and attendee I met at ACE recognized that if they were going to be successful at boosting employee engagement, they had to find the best ways to connect with their greatest assets—their employees.

Trish McFarlane said it best during HR Happy Hour; “It’s about reaching people where they are—not where you are.”

HR professionals and executives need to understand where their employees are, and not just geographically. Understanding how employees communicate and operate in their personal lives makes enhancing their work lives much easier. Whether that means implementing wellness programs, encouraging days off for volunteering, or highlighting social recognition within the organization, connecting with employees in a way they’re already comfortable with will help transform average companies into great places to work.

 

It’s not easy to change the way the world works, but after two full days of inspiration, innovation, and collaboration, there’s no doubt that HR professionals at #AACE14 are standing up to the challenge.

HR Achievers AACE

The New Face of HR

product spotlightThe HR space is in the midst of a dramatic upgrade, and this year’s #AACE14 conference proves there’s a new face to human resources.

As a newcomer to the space—I joined Achievers in San Francisco last week—I have to admit, I had a few preconceived ideas about what an HR conference would look like.

Yet, when I hit the conference floor this morning, I felt like I was walking in on the latest, Silicon Valley darling’s newest product launch. Even at 7 AM, the mood was electric, and excited attendees chatted over coffee while exchanging social media handles. It was all very sexy.

Not exactly the stuffy, rigid, image of HR professionals I was used to. But, after spending the day with this group, I’m happy to say my perception of HR is forever changed. Gone is the notion of a matronly HR administrator, cloistered in an office far away from the team, buried behind a towering pile of personnel forms and employee handbooks.

After just one day with the esteemed group attending #AACE14, it’s clear there’s a new face of Human Resources. Here’s what they look like:

Innovators

Not one single person here today is satisfied with the status quo. Like any other disruptive technology or movement, innovation is at the heart of everyone involved, and the result is impressive. From exciting product innovations, to groundbreaking corporate initiatives making employee recognition a priority, the event was bursting with ideas and enthusiasm.

In the past, HR was plagued with the reputation of being an inflexible, necessary evil. After what I’ve seen today, that reputation no longer applies, and innovation is the new normal for HR.

 

Risk Takers

Using the word “risk” in same sentence as “human resources” might sound, well, risky, but it’s not. After listening to a handful of companies share their stories about implementing employee engagement platforms, one thing was clear; this wasn’t an easy sell. While just about everyone on the planet acknowledges being recognized for a job well done is welcome feedback, not everyone understands how that’s done—or is willing to take on the challenge of figuring it out. None of those people where in attendance today. Fortunately, today’s HR professionals are fiercely dedicated to their craft—not to mention fearless. Not only do they have to convince a tough crowd of executives that employee recognition is a worthwhile investment, they also have to convince armies of employees. Change can be a challenge, but the dedicated professionals here today, are taking it head on, and we’ll all be thanking them for it, soon.

 

Humans

Yes, human. A resounding battle cry throughout the day, was that we need to put the “human” in human resources. Whether it was highlighting the need for focus on developing relationships, to understanding the value of social recognition, everyone here today agreed—we’re all humans. Every piece of technology, every campaign, every initiative, had one thing in common; we all need the human touch. As our founder, Razor Suleman, said in his keynote this morning, “This is about the conversation, not compliance.”

 

The power and energy at this conference is infectious. I spent over 15 years of my career, seeing my colleagues in HR one way, and after just one day at #AACE14, I’ll never see HR the same again.

 

Arianna Huffington will be inspiring Employee Success™ at ACE 2013!

Don’t miss keynote speaker Arianna Huffington at the 2013 Achievers Customer Experience (ACE 2013). Co-founder and editor-in-chief of the highly successful Huffington Post, Huffington is an expert at thriving in the face of adversity, and ultimately leading both people and businesses through the toughest of times. Learn to redefine success with fearless leadership during her keynote address Friday, October 4, 2013.

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ACE 2012 attendees: You’ve been recognized!

We did it! The Achievers Customer Experience event (ACE 2012) is now behind us, and we couldn’t have made it happen without our guests.

We’d like to recognize our customers, prospects, industry thought leaders and business community for connecting with us at ACE 2012. Whether you were a first-timer or returning attendee, we’d like to say “thank you”, and we hope to see you next year.

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Social media buzz, Passport to ACE, and Iron Chef winner

Our number one priority at the Achievers Customer Experience (ACE 2012) event is to educate, engage, and entertain our guests. With day one behind us, we can’t wait to carry the excitement through day two.

We had a record number of registered guests with a packed opening keynote, interactive breakout sessions, and lively Iron Chef ACE 2012 evening event. Our audience was engaged, provided real-time feedback through social media, and took advantage of networking opportunities.

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ACE 2012: Thursday keynote sessions and evening entertainment

The countdown stops here! Drumroll please…

It’s time for the Achievers Customer Experience (ACE 2012) to begin; registration is already underway and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome our guests.

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ACE 2012 week: Spotlight on valuable best practices

Welcome to day two of ACE 2012 Week! Achievers is buzzing with anticipation as we prepare to execute our annual Achievers Customer Experience (ACE 2012) event this Thursday and Friday at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, Ontario.

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Recognition and Engagement Professional (REP) accreditation program day

It’s official: the Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) pre-conference is in full swing. Only one more day until ACE 2012 begins!

Today our Recognition and Engagement Professional (REP) accreditation program begins: a full day comprised of speakers and courses that will take participants through the process of creating a culture of recognition within their organizations. We’d like to recognize all that registered for the program today and can’t wait to celebrate your accreditation with you.

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Recognition CONNECTS: ACE 2012 week kick-off

We’re so excited it’s finally September! It’s that engaging time of year for Achievers and its customers, industry thought leaders and the business community.

The Achievers Customer Experience event (ACE 2012) is only three days away, and we can’t wait to educate, engage and entertain our guests on all the ways recognition connects your workplace.

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Educate, engage, and entertain: ACE goes head-to-head with Iron Chef

While it’s essential to celebrate employee success, it’s equally as important to celebrate your customers.

One great way for an organization and its customers to connect around varied successes is to coordinate an annual event, which highlights achievements, familiarizes customers with new insights and additional value, and offers networking opportunities centered around having fun. Every education moment needs it’s entertainment too, right?

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