Team Building Through Volunteerism

Studies show that encouraging and supporting staff to get involved in the community is a great way to motivate employees and increase team spirit. But instead of sending folks out on their own to volunteer, take your team out for a day to support a local group. This builds collaboration and a sense of respect and accomplishment.

Consciously Enforce Cooperative Social Norms

Larry Prusak, a former IBM executive who is now scholar in residence at Babson College, notes that some firms are consciously enforcing cooperative social norms. “Firms that encouraged opportunistic behavior and that thought performative ties were just ‘soft stuff’ have not done well,” he says, adding that companies can encourage cooperative behavior in two ways. “First, signals and symbols are important. If a firm promotes … [ Read more ]

Create a “How to Use Me” Guide

Jay Desai has FOMU. As a first-time founder and CEO of health technology startup PatientPing, he’s got a healthy fear of messing up. This anxiety especially bubbles to the surface when it has to do with his team — now over 100 employees — and particularly the seven who report directly to him. He’s seen too many immensely talented and productive teams stall because of … [ Read more ]

Gamification of the Enterprise

In the summer of 2011, Facebook announced it would use the social performance platform Rypple (now part of Salesforce.com) for internal reviews and communications.  Rypple allows employees to create and compete in challenges, receive recognition from colleagues, see what others are working on, and find where needed skills may exist within an organization. But Rypple is not a game. It doesn’t even look like a … [ Read more ]

Intermittent Reinforcement is More Effective

Intermittent “extras” are more powerful than constant bonuses that are predictable. Say that a manager wants to reward employees. A good way to do it is with a lottery system. You could set it up so one would have to maintain some level of performance to be eligible for the lottery. The hope of entering the lottery will keep workers going at a higher level … [ Read more ]

Give Your Employees Meaning to Improve Turnover

At Zumasys, in addition to the typical corporate benefits, every employee gets three to four weeks of vacation, complementary access to the company’s two-bedroom Vegas loft, and the opportunity to qualify for a tenure-based international travel program that, each year, gives four to six employees a week off with pay and a $4,000 stipend to travel to the destination of their choice. The open-book financials … [ Read more ]

Institutionalize an “Astonishment Report”

At the end of their induction period (generally three months), new hires are required to write (and discuss with their boss) a short report documenting anything and everything that they have found interesting or surprising since joining the company.

A Better Employee Suggestions System

AT&T has built a digital infrastructure enabling all employee suggestions to be logged online. A small, dedicated team regularly reads and triages the suggestions, sending each promising one to a designated leader or expert who is obligated to consider it and respond. Employees can see the progress of each suggestion and log comments. Other companies have developed systems that enable employees to “vote up” or … [ Read more ]

Provide Regular Guidance for Managers

We’ve rolled out a weekly(ish) email for leaders at Eventbrite that summarizes all the things they need to be thinking about in terms of managing and messaging to their team. We break it down into a few sections: things to know, things to do, things to share. It sounds simple, but let’s be real, leaders are an important and expensive investment, so you want to … [ Read more ]

Make Your Remote Team Members First-Class Citizens

If a benefit, perk or experience is created for your in-office team members, find a way to create parity for those who aren’t in person. That means mailing items given to your in-office team to remote workers — or if you cover lunch for your in-office team, send your remote team a gift card or stipend for food delivery. […] If your leadership team has … [ Read more ]

A Living Archive of “Introduce Yourself” Emails

As outlined in the [company’s] Day One Document, a hire sends an “Introduce Yourself” email at the end of the first day. It’s a scripted greeting to the company from the new hire sharing a bit of background and trivia. “Everyone who starts with the company sends one out. It also includes a photo and a link to three questions on Barista, Percolate’s internal Q&A … [ Read more ]

Encourage Learning Experiments

Ongoing learning and experimenting are key to personal and corporate growth. Whether this is formal or informal, it should be encouraged throughout the organization. One way to do so is to regularly ask employees what they have learned recently and how they have attempted to apply that learning in their work. Then share these experiences with the rest of the organization. Be sure to share … [ Read more ]

External Talent Needs Management, Too

The corporate use of external talent across sectors and geographies is more common than ever. Talent can provide companies with access to new capabilities and technologies; it can enable faster and more agile response to markets; it can be used to test new opportunities before making major investments; it can be used to respond to demand peaks and to attain scale quickly; and, perhaps most … [ Read more ]

Analyze Your Firm’s Jobs and Activities

McKinsey has been investigating the future impact of automation on the workplace. The firm structures its analysis around roughly 2,000 individual work activities and assesses the requirements for each of these activities against 18 different capabilities (see below) that potentially could be automated. Analyzing your own firm’s jobs and activities with a similar framework would not only help plan for future disruptions, but also could … [ Read more ]

Ban Email

The pursuit of full transparency is behind one of GitLab’s most countercultural rules: a total ban on internal emails. For example, employees seeking information or help are required to request it through the appropriate Slack channel, which may eventually trigger changes to the employee handbook or another key document. The intent is to crystallize and capture the pooled expertise of the collective, rather than letting … [ Read more ]

The Energy Audit

Behavior changes, even those that represent clear benefits for employees, require active reinforcement — including accountability mechanisms and human champions. A management consulting team leader, worried about exhaustion on her teams, began encouraging more rest. But when the sincere urging hardly affected the entrenched behavior, she established “the energy audit.” Every workday she asked members of her team to email or text one item they were … [ Read more ]

Assign New Employees an Early Win

Consider giving new recruits a small project they can accomplish during their first month on the job. Have them all spend five minutes presenting whatever it is they did at the next All Hands following their first day. It’s an opportunity to make immediate impact and introduce themselves to everyone in a positive light. It’ll also build camaraderie between folks who started within the same … [ Read more ]

Reverse Mentoring: Putting Personal Advantage to Collective Good Use

To address inequality of opportunity, we need to acknowledge and address the systemic advantages and disadvantages that people experience daily. For leaders, recognizing their advantage blindness can help to reduce the impact of bias and create a more level playing field for everyone. Being advantaged through race and gender come with a responsibility to do something about changing a system that unfairly disadvantages others.

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Use … [ Read more ]

The Company that Eats Together, Stays Together

Food is a natural bridge builder. But company dinners, especially when you grow to a certain size, can get prohibitively expensive. Not to mention, when you’re stuck at a table it can be a challenge to mix and mingle, which kind of defeats the purpose. We overcame this early on with a pot-luck style strategy that brought together the joys of eating with the thrill … [ Read more ]

Increase Motivation and Productivity by Showing Your Employees the Positive Difference Their Work Makes

When clients, customers and other end users express feedback and appreciation, employees develop stronger beliefs in the impact and value of their work. Interaction also increases empathy for customers, even when the interaction is virtual.

Action Steps:

  1. Identify groups of people who benefit from your team’s work but have never shared their feedback, such as clients, customers, suppliers, or coworkers and managers from different divisions and departments.
  2. Arrange

[ Read more ]