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Eric Mosley: How To Make The Workplace More Human

October 2016

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I spoke to Eric Mosley, the CEO and co-founder of Globoforce, about why employees want more regular feedback instead of annual reviews, why we need to start treating employees as people and not “human capital”, how to maximize the human experience, his predictions on the future of work and his best advice to you.

Mosley is the author of The Crowdsourced Performance Review and the co-author of award-winning book, The Power of Thanks. He is the force behind the WorkHuman movement, whose mission is to galvanize leaders worldwide to harness the transformative power of people for the next generation of HR. WorkHuman celebrates breakthrough organizations building human-centric workplaces where employees achieve their fullest potential—where people feel appreciated, connected, and empowered for who they are and what they do. Since Globoforce’s inception in 1999, he has partnered with many of the world’s most admired companies to build more human workplaces through the power of social recognition.

Dan Schawbel: Why do you believe that employees want more regular feedback instead of annual performance reviews?

Eric Mosley: Organizations are changing. The way we work is changing. The top-down hierarchical approach is a dying legacy of the industrial era. As businesses become more fast-paced and collaborative, employees want and need to receive feedback in real-time, in order to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. According to a Globoforce survey, 51percent of employees found traditional performance reviews to be inaccurate, and 53 percent said traditional reviews do not motivate them to work harder. Additionally, 80 percent of employees found crowdsourced feedback to be a more accurate indicator of their job performance, and 88 percent of peer-reviewed employees said they were more satisfied in their jobs.

Performance management is undergoing quite a revolution at present, with many companies abandoning annual appraisals and ratings in favor of a more continuous all year feedback, coaching, and check-in loop.

Schawbel: What does it mean to “work human”? How can HR play a role in humanizing the workplace for the better?

Mosley: All organizations are a collection of humans. WorkHuman is about treating employees not as human capital but as people. An organization is only as impactful as the humans within in. The challenge for companies is to build cultures and systems that are fit for humans.

Globoforce defines a “work human” culture as one where the workplace and its collective workforce, including employees, leaders and HR management, are fundamentally driven by the concept of humanity. Far too often, workplace dynamics and organizational structures neglect the very people that drive its success in the first place. Working human is paramount to working collectively with one another, whereby every employee’s insights and contributions become vital to a company as a whole on an ongoing basis, not just in incremental doses.

Based on this notion of “working human,” Globoforce created the WorkHuman movement. Its mission is to inspire HR and business leaders to create a richer employee experience that inspires people to do the best work of their lives. Globoforce believes that by building human-centric workplaces employees achieve their fullest potential as they feel appreciated, connected, and empowered for who they are and what they do.

WorkHuman recognizes businesses who thrive by bringing humanity and crowdsourcing to the employee experience. WorkHuman is the future of the workplace.

Schawbel: How can companies best maximize the potential of their employees, knowing that they will eventually leave in just a few years on average?

Mosley: The human experience goes a long way in helping employees feel more assured in their jobs, which means they’re more likely to remain with a company for a longer period of time. Yet even though the economy grows stronger, this presents a challenge to companies given that increasing job opportunities mean employees can become more tempted to pursue new jobs, or develop higher expectations of their current company. To prevent turnover, companies need to focus on keeping their employees happy and feeling recognized, particularly those employees who are high performers and could be considered flight risks.

A new global research study IBM’s Smarter Workforce Institute and Globoforce’s WorkHuman Research Institute, The Employee Experience Index: A new global measure of a human workplace and its impact, finds that employees that experience a higher level of humanity at work tend to perform better, and are less likely to quit their jobs.

The study also finds that a more human environment may help organizations retain their talent. Analysis shows employees with less positive experiences are more than twice as likely to say they want to leave compared to those with much more positive experiences (44 percent vs. 21 percent). Additionally, 83 percent of employees report a positive employee experience when they feel recognized for the good work they do, compared to 38 percent that don’t receive recognition.

Discretionary effort is nearly twice as high in strongly human work environments (95 percent compared to 55 percent), suggesting a stronger employee experience can contribute to higher motivation levels to go “above and beyond” typical job duties.

These figures emphasize a major need for more “human” workplaces and corporate cultures. With this information we can also delve deeper and see firsthand that one of the biggest drivers of job-hopping for employees is a lack of recognition or sense of appreciation within the office. We can act on these metrics and draw parallels to see exactly what needs to be done to remedy such issues.

Schawbel: Can you give us some predictions for the future of work?

Mosley: We are going through workplace transformation. We’re at the perfect storm of fundamental changes in our workforce combined with technologies to empower our HR leaders and our people. An output of the Human Era in HR is the dismantling of old HR processes. The pillars of Human Capital Management are truly crumbling. From performance reviews to performance ratings, forward-thinking organizations are looking past the old way of thinking and building new ways to connect the modern workforce. How companies inspire their people to achieve their fullest potential will be the core differentiator in the 21st century.

A. Humanity in the workplace will be on the rise.

The ideal workplace of the future will be one where culture and humanity coexist as business leaders’ foremost priorities for creating a “great place to work” environment. This shift in priorities will continue to evolve and strengthen as companies realize that, more than ever, their successes rely upon the happiness and well-being of their respective employees; in other words, how human they can make their employees feel.

The modern workforce craves humanity as workplace dynamics continue to shift more to collectives rather than individuals. Employees look for meaning and value at work both in what they do and what they accomplish. They want to ultimately understand how their efforts help their company succeed. They desire recognition for their contributions to the organization, and rely on management and colleagues to provide that validation and appreciation of their work. Ultimately, companies that put employees first, recognize and appreciate them as their greatest assets, and foster humanity to allow for an individual to remain fulfilled in their current job will reap the greatest benefits.

B. Talent acquisition will become increasingly focused on company culture.

As we are aware, U.S. job openings reached a record high of nearly 6 million this summer yet a lag in hiring suggests employers are struggling to find qualified workers to fill positions. A strengthening job market means that more jobs are being filled, and many previously cautious employees may jump back into an active job search in hopes of finding greener pastures. With companies adding new positions at a rapid pace, this means prospective employees will have a wide range of companies to choose from, making the acquisition process for employers an uphill battle. The way company culture is cultivated within specific organizations can have a powerful bearing on the job search process as workers strive to align with a workplace and brand that fits their basic human needs, while also being reflective of their personalities and aspirations.

Creating a great company culture starts with the implementation of recognition programs—particularly values-based recognition. According to the soon-to-be-released 2016 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Report, more and more HR professionals are using recognition as the cornerstone in their strategies to build a best place to work. They find that recognition, when linked to a company’s core values, helps them create and manage a happier, more meaningful, and more human work environment. This trend is fully underway, yet companies will continue focusing on culture as a competitive differentiator, as they’ll experience firsthand how cultivating a company culture combining gratitude and humanity can be their most powerful tool in attracting and retaining talent.

Schawbel: What are your top three pieces of career advice?

Mosley: 

  1. Seek out a company with a “human” workplace culture that supports and recognizes its employees. Feeling recognized in a job is of paramount importance when it comes to career success. Recognition not only influences happiness and productivity, but also trust in leaders, which is key to having a successful career.
  2. Strive to make friends and social connections at work. Our research has found that the more friends an employee has at work, the happier they are and less likely they are to look for other jobs.
  3. Never underestimate the power of “thank you.” Everyone wants to feel recognized and appreciated, so employees shouldn’t hesitate to thank the people around them, including their colleagues, senior leaders and employers. The benefits of saying thanks are enormous and can only have a positive impact on an employee’s career.

 

This article was written by Dan Schawbel from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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