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A SHRM 2019 Interview with Kudos

This is a 2019 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition (#SHRM19) interview with Brett Farmiloe, Founder and CEO of Markitors, a digital Marketing Company. 

Who is Kudos!? Tell us everything, just as you would someone approaching your booth and asking you this question at SHRM ‘19 in Las Vegas.

At Kudos, we support our clients in their employee engagement goals with our simple, social, flexible and affordable peer-to-peer recognition system that empowers everyone to connect, communicate and celebrate what makes their people and organization great. This results in improved performance, reduced turnover and the reinforcement of behaviours and values that drive their business success.

You said to tell them about Kudos just like if they were to drop by our booth :) Feel free to drop by our booth at 2809. We look forward to showing Kudos.

Let us in on the magic. What’s the recognition process like at Kudos? How do you utilize your own tech and processes to ensure happiness?

We use Kudos every day; in fact, we originally built Kudos as an in-house solution at our interactive agency to empower everyone on our team to recognize and reward their teammates. When our agency clients found out about our system, they asked if they could use Kudos to enhance their employee engagement. Over the last several years, we have continually expanded Kudos’ features and capabilities so that Kudos could become the cultural hub of our organization.

We have always believed in recognition and celebrated milestones, years of service, had on the spot awards and gave shout outs in meetings, but found these recognition moments were fleeting and overshadowed by day-to-day routines and priorities. By separating recognition and cultural communication into its own system and empowering everyone, we saw an immediate and dramatic improvement in morale, camaraderie, and performance. We work in Slack, Jira, Salesforce, and Microsoft, but we connect, communicate and celebrate in Kudos. Kudos is an essential part of our employee experience and culture.

The results have been significant eNPS of 95, a microscopic turnover rate and an agile, dedicated team that are true evangelists for what we do.

What are the biggest challenges companies face when trying to improve happiness in the workplace? How do they overcome those challenges?

Happiness at work is essential, but it is a bit of a misnomer. What people really want is to believe in what their company does and stands for, to have purpose in their job, to know their contributions matter, to have the opportunity to learn and grow, and of course, be valued and appreciated.

The challenge for most companies is where do you start and how do you make a company-wide initiative to improve employee engagement, which in turn fosters happiness that is consistent, measurable and engaging.

The answer is to start with the essentials (like employee engagement) which will also have the most significant reach and impact. Ideally, that would be an initiative that requires minimal investment (time and money) and effort; we all know how hard it is to secure a budget and how most HR professionals are already doing the work of two people. The solution, in our books, is to begin by enhancing recognition and communication. We highly recommend you use a system and software to ensure reach, consistency, and accountability - one like Kudos!

Where many companies succeed or fail begins at the top. You need leadership buy-in which must trickle down to senior leaders. If the CEO of your company is your Chief Evangelist Officer, you are well on your way to success.

Then, as you experience that success, layer in other initiatives such as pursuing health and wellness, learning and development, and community investment initiatives that your organization can promote, recognize and reward through your recognition and cultural communication system.

Presto - happy and engaged team members!

What do you wish more HR professionals and recruiters knew about peer-to-peer recognition?

Don't be fooled by an organization that preaches peer-to-peer or social recognition but then requires you to also use rewards as an essential part of their engagement solution. Rewards are not required and if used, should be minimal and secondary. It's why, here at Kudos, we believe recognition and the employee relationship should come first, above and beyond rewards or monetary incentives.

Go back to what your team really wants - a vision they can believe in, purpose in their role, to know their contributions matter, to learn and grow, and last but not least, to feel valued and appreciated. Rewards are nice, but they should never be the primary focus.

A couple of great examples of models companies can follow are the Power of Praise, Gallup’s Q12 or Bersin's rules for creating an Irresistible Company.

Some good reads:

The Power of Praise and Recognition

First, Break All the Rules

Becoming Irresistible Part 3: A Positive Work Environment

How important is recognition in employee retention?

Recognition is one of the essential pieces to the complex puzzle that is employee engagement.

As we highlighted above, it is also the best place to start because it is the most universal and effective thing you can do. What I know for sure is that if you do not recognize and appreciate your people, if your managers do not have a good relationship with their direct teams, you will be unable to retain the outstanding, proactive employees in your organization.

Don't just take my word for it, however. If you look at the vast amount of research on the subject, recognition is the most crucial element for enhancing employee engagement (aka happiness).

Aon's 2018 Study, "Trends in Global Employee Engagement" surveyed 1000 companies employing over 8 million people and concluded that Recognition and Rewards is the strongest driver of engagement, and that recognition was the most critical factor.

Going a bit further back, research by both the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in 2014 and Cicero in 2015 respectfully arrived at the same conclusion.

The key outcome in the BGC research is summarized by the statement, "Globally, the most important single job element for all people is appreciation for their work."

Similarly, Cicero's research found employees self-reported that their number one driver for doing great work was "Recognize Me."

For anyone who won’t be able to make it to the Kudos booth in Las Vegas, what do you want them to know?

Creating a great place to work where your team is happier and engaged is just one 'thank you' away.

Think about what is truly important to your team. You do not need to create new incentives or entitlements; you do not need to bribe, tip or give bonuses to your team to enhance engagement. It really can start with something as simple as recognizing your team's contributions.

Check us out online, and if you want to learn more about Kudos, we would be happy to chat and set up a demo. Visit us at www.kudosnow.com.

 

This interview was originally posted on the SHRM blog.

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