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Employee Recognition

Your Future at Your Job May Depend on the Box You’re In

It’s not like your boss wants to put you in a box, but talent management professionals might. According to Enterprise Investor, there’s a widely used nine-box employee rating system many of us have never even heard of. The amount of effort a company puts into developing an employee — say, you — may well depend on the box they’re assigned to.

The nine-box grid has two axes. The vertical axis rates an employee’s potential. The horizontal axis describes the employee’s current performance.

Where-Do-You-Fit-on-Your-Organizations-Nine-Box-GridII

Figuring out the box management thinks you belong in can help you see where you need improvement and understand what, if anything, may be holding you back at the company. Obviously, if you’re in the lower left corner, it’s time to look for another more suitable job.

Most employees are in one of seven boxes.

  1. Low Potential, Average Performance: The person in this box is a reliable, all-around employee who should be encouraged to specialize. The goal for this person is retention, not growth.
  2. Low Potential, High Performance: This is probably a specialist or expert in some area, and that’s where that person will remain. They can be helpful in the development or training of others. Keep this person engaged so they’ll stay with the company and continue developing their expertise.
  3. Average Potential, Low Performance: This person may represent an opportunity. Try re-evaluating whether or not the current position is a good fit, and see if more training or coaching shakes something loose.
  4. Average Potential, Average Performance: This may seem like a medium rank, but it’s actually the box for the solid employee who keeps the company running and should be nurtured, motivated, and rewarded.
  5. Average Potential, High Performance: This person is currently valuable to the company and needs to be kept engaged so they don’t leave. Stretching this employee’s skills and challenging them may be productive.
  6. High Potential, Low Performance: This box means someone with potential is in the wrong job, on a dysfunctional team, or under an ineffective manager. Figure out and fix the problem.
  7. High Potential, Average Performance: This person’s future deserves cultivation with assignments that stretch the employee, coaching, and skills development. This person needs to be engaged for retention; after all, they may be a company leader someday.

Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement reporter for TINYpulse. When she's not busy digging into and covering the latest workplace trends, she's wrangling with her three (yes, three) cats and rooting for the Seahawks.

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Employees Who Feel Appreciated Stay Longer

British performance-improvement agency P&MM has just released a report confirming the value of employee recognition programs. P&MM studied companies that have formal employee recognition programs. They collected and analyzed feedback from 12,331 full-time, part-time, and freelance employees with a range of responsibilities.

What they found was that employees who had never been formally thanked for their work by management or peers tended not to stay in their companies very long, leaving anywhere from an average of 4.7 years to 9.8 years. On the other hand, workers who had been formally recognized for their contribution stay far longer, with an average range of 8.16 years to 14 years, an increase of 3.7 years. In fact, say the study’s authors, “This sort of analysis provides a valuable insight for managers as it means that recognition program data can be used to highlight those staff who are a flight risk.”

High turnover is an expense few companies welcome. P&MM says that as much as a third of employees are likely to change companies in 2016, and that it can cost employers up to £30,614 (about $44,374 US) each time it happens.

P&MM’s analysis doesn’t suggest that just an occasional plaque or reward is a necessarily a panacea. However, P&MM’s John Sylvester says, “The data clearly indicates a propensity for individuals who are recognized to be more engaged at work, to go above and beyond and to have better relationships with managers and colleagues.’’

It makes sense. The emotional connection employees feel toward their companies is acknowledged to be a driver of high performance. And who would feel good about working hard and not being appreciated?

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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One Company Is Sending Its Employees on ‘Blind Dates.’ With Each Other.

A recent study by TINYpulse revealed that the single most significant factor for making an employee feel attached to his or her company is a feeling of connection to other employees. Companies have tried a range of strategies to help ensure that everybody on staff knows each other, and now one company is fostering inter-employee connections by sending pairs of coworkers on “blind dates,” according to CBS News.

FreshBooks, an accounting software company in Toronto, is already invested in promoting a creative, positive work experience — employees can bring pets to the office, and they stand instead of sitting.

Manager Mary Grace Antonio told CBS, “I noticed that more and more people just didn’t know each other’s names anymore, which, for me, I thought that was crazy cause I love this really tight-knit community that we built at FreshBooks, and I wanted to keep that up.”
Antonio started off by asking for volunteers, and executives and other people from various departments stepped up. “Then I try and mix and match people who wouldn’t usually be working together, ”she says, before sending the “couples” off on lunch or coffee dates.
After the first rounds of dates were completed, staff was asked what they thought of the program, and 100% of the people who participated said they enjoyed it once the ice got broken. Antonio says, “Some said it felt awkward … like a real first date!”

A just-hired copywriter, Shannon, went out with a finance manager. “It wasn’t as awkward as I expected,” she says. “It was awesome and I think that it really did hold my initial idea that it would encompass all our company values and I think that really held true.”
For now, the program continues, viewed as a win-win by all involved, except for the inevitable first-date jitters, of course.

Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement reporter for TINYpulse. When she's not busy digging into and covering the latest workplace trends, she's wrangling with her three (yes, three) cats and rooting for the Seahawks.

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Many Companies Are Letting Their Most Promising Employees Get Away

There’s a growing awareness in business that some employees possess hard-to-spot hidden potential for helping a company succeed. The question is how can management identify them, develop them, and retain them? And because of that last point, the entire process is a ticking time bomb, since when talented employees feel under-appreciated, they leave.

The whole story is told in the results of a just-released survey conducted by HR consultants Penna. They surveyed 1,000 employees and 1,000 managers across the United Kingdom to find out what companies are doing to develop and hold onto their high-potential employees. Short answer: Not much. Eight out of ten companies are not doing anything to identify and develop employees’ potential, even though employees stay longer at companies that appreciate them.

On the management side, though 81% of managers think developing potential in their talented employees is very important, 30% said their company has no precise definition of what constitutes potential, and therefore no way to assess it. 79% said they know what it is, but have no processes or tools in place to identify potential. Another 31% felt they had no upper-management support for spotting those special workers, with a quarter of the managers feeling like it isn’t a priority for their company. The survey also found that when companies do search for hidden potential, they look only at 25–34 years olds, even when that age group represents a minority of their staff.

As for the employees, 24% claimed they had no clue if their bosses think they have potential or not. That’s too bad because 71% said they’d be more likely to stick around if they felt the company recognized what they had going for them. It’s a real issue for 37% of the respondents that their companies have no mechanism for discovering potential. And even when hidden gold is struck, only 23% said their bosses have done a thing to develop it.

Naomi Thalenberg

Naomi is a reporter for TINYpulse, living and breathing everything employee engagement. She does this by always keeping her workstation fully stocked with dark chocolates.

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Which State Has the Best Coworkers?

iStock_000044314460_Small-2In today’s working world, peers are creating a bigger impact than previous years. When we asked over 400,000 employees what they love about their job, what do you think the top answer was?

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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The Factor That’s Dragging Down Workplace Morale

Optimized-iStock_000062316192_SmallIn our recent State of Employee Engagement in Tech Report, we asked IT employees how appreciated they feel at work. Let’s just say that their answers weren’t too positive.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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OUR 5 FAVORITE WORKPLACE PARTIES

Optimized-iStock_000051774290_SmallOffice parties occur throughout the year, but employees don’t necessarily go to all of them. Which do they enjoy the most? Which would they rather not go to go? Regardless, parties are a great source for employee recognition.

These are TINYpulse’s choices for the best office parties that happen, and that we think employees would universally agree are the most fun to attend.

Taylor Sade

Taylor Sade is a reporter, humorist, and digital-media guru. Since graduating college, he's worked as a freelancer for Distractify, CollegeHumor, Uproxx, and ThoughtCatalog — giving him a unique perspective on the culture of remote employment.

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Why Money Is the Worst Way to Motivate Employees

Optimized-iStock_000036037030_Small.jpgOne of the most tried-and-true techniques for motivating employees turns out to often have the opposite effect. Bosses have long offered workers financial bonuses for doing better work. This system of incentivizing workers worked beautifully when only mechanical skills are required, but new studies suggest it’s a whole different story when the work involves thought. It turns out we’re not as manipulatable as some bosses may think we are.

Robby Berman

Robby Berman is a reporter, father, and musician who creates and discovers good stuff for the Internet world.

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