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How many positive experiences did you have at work today?

I have spent the last few days at the Spire HR Summit in Singapore, learning from renowned HR experts about the challenges and issues, but more importantly the opportunities in today’s market of “people”. My plenary session was on Day 1 and I chose to challenge the audience to this very question: “So You Want To Be An Employer Of Choice?”

RedBalloon was not always a great place to work – as I shared with the audience. It was challenging and confronting as we went on our growth journey. There was much we learned along the way… and ultimately we got more right than wrong and ended up listed as a BRW’s Best Places to Work five times.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 11.26.30 amI am so happy to share what we learned and how we did it… and as I mentioned to the 2000 people in the audience (the largest HR event in Asia) I talked about my passion for the work we do at REDii  (which can revolutionize the way people feel about their work). Of all the things that leaders worry about – it is people that cause the most pain.

I challenged the audience to ‘make sure people know what they are there to do – that they are noticed and that they go home feeling like a winner.’

To implement a simple recognition platform – means that as you are busy rushing around – you won’t forget this critical element to employee engagement.

All employees want to be valued – this in itself has never changed. But the landscape of how we do that is changing – and I am very passionate about the opportunities that recognition programs can give to all businesses everywhere. I am passionate about seeing more workplaces being recognised as Employers of Choice for this very reason. I shared my experiences to the very large global audience, and hoped to inspire these HR professionals and bring recognition into their world.

A great deal of the discourse around employee engagement stems from a core curiosity into our quest for satisfaction and well being in our lives. Are we striving for the next best job opportunity, or are we satisfied with what we have? More importantly, are we valued – and are we seen to be valued in our organisation? Does this satisfy us? Are we proud of where we work?

People want to be challenged to do great work, but they also want to be noticed. At it’s core well-being is becoming an economic indicator for productivity – here is the ranking of the top countries in the Better Life Index.  The Australian average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is more than the OECD average, but the gap between the richest and the poorest is still considerable. The employment figures are above average; we work less hours than average, but those who do work long hours work higher than average hours! (I think I might fall into this category!!)

So are you satisfied? Do you go home from work more often than not and say “I had a great day!” In general, the Better Life Index would suggest that Australians are more satisfied with their lives than average, with “83% of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day.” So what is this attributed to? A great place to work of course! A workplace that recognises its employees, values them and demonstrates this in a measured and appropriate (and don’t forget fun) way.

According to research by Great Place to Work, the key to great workplaces is trust. People will rate a business highly if they trust in the people they work for, take pride in what they do and enjoy the people they work with. Employees desire to work for a purpose – they want to share the passion of their organisation and do this on a daily basis. This in itself breeds a feeling of contribution and inclusion – critical for our overall satisfaction and happiness at work. For managers it means creating a culture where “employees give their personal best and work together as a team or family in an environment of trust”.

At the Summit we also got to hear from Kellie Egan, HR director, Atlassian. Atlassian is world famous for being a best employer. The “Chief People Officer” noted that “You can never preserve a culture; what you can preserve are your values and your values can drive what you do,” – employees will respect you for this, as will outsiders looking in. Reflecting on this, a survey found that the best workplaces have bosses dedicated to empowering, training and valuing employees, and an unusually high number of those bosses were women.

I spoke about RedBalloon’s Workplace Framework… here are six things RedBalloon does to engender employee happiness:

1. Bring people into the ‘fold.’ Induct new employees before day one – purpose, values, the game.

2. Empower employees with open, transparent communication. We want people to take risks, try new things and share what they learn… lessons often come from mistakes.

3. Provide the right environment and tools – for the job at hand.

4. Take an innovative approach to employee performance – challenge people to greatness…

5. Recognise and reward (make sure they feel like a winner).

6. Create wellness together – if I look after the teams well being then they can look after the customer.

I promised the audience a free trial to help you practice point #5 – no matter the size of your enterprise grab a small team and start a beta test now. It won’t cost a thing. Challenge businesses to recognise their employees every single day. When done well, employee recognition can deliver all sorts of commercial and cultural benefits for organisations.

The promised Free Trial

So reflecting on my plenary session…Do you want to be an employer of choice? There are ways to achieve this, behaviours to encourage, values to stand for. But this cannot happen overnight – recognition of your employees = a happy and prosperous workforce. Employees will choose you because they respect the values you stand for, and isn’t that what we want? How many positive experiences did your employees have today? Do you want to be an employer of choice?

As promised The 10 Steps to Building the Best Employee Recognition Program

Have a great day!

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