One such statement comes from Jay Forte in the Human Capitalist blog:
“You don’t pay your employees to do a job. You pay them to think about and deliver the best, most efficient and most profitable response in each moment. The better aligned they are to jobs that fit their abilities — roles that let them do what they do best — the better their decisions and the greater their performance. Job fit, or the right talent for the right job, drives success. Talent makes or breaks an organization.”
Jay drives home why a favored phrase of lazy managers – “I don’t need to recognize employees. That’s what I pay them for.” – is so wrong.
1) Assessing Job Fit
This belief of lazy managers ignores the importance of job fit. The question remains – How do you make sure you have the right talent in the right job? How do you know for sure employees are truly delivering their best? Sure, the obvious answer is the performance review, but I think we’d all agree the way in which the annual review is usually implemented is flawed at best. Besides, you need employees “deliver[ing] the best, most efficient and most profitable response in each moment” – this moment, right now.
That’s what makes social recognition the most powerful tool in the HR toolkit to assess job fit in real time. In an environment where all employees are empowered and encouraged to recognize others for exceptional work in the moment, managers and HR leadership have exponentially more data points to better infer which employees are in roles where they are having a differentiating impact on their colleagues, the team, the customers or the company. At the very least, HR has more information on a more regular basis to start to ask important questions.
2) Valuing Employees through More than a Paycheck
Critically, if all you’re doing is paying employees to do a job (and relying on standard merit increases as a primary reward mechanism or doing so), you’re not really valuing your employees at all. Looking at recent data, 2% and 3% are the most common budgeted pay rises for 2014 in the UK. In November, SHRM projected US salary increase budgets for 2014 would remain at 3%, too. Yet, the rate of inflation in the UK is hovering between 1.6% and 2%. The rate of inflation in the US is holding steady around 2% as well. Merit increases today barely keep up with the cost of living.
If we do, indeed, believe that “talent makes or breaks an organization” (and I certainly do), then talent needs to be recognized and rewarded for the great work they do beyond their pay check alone. Great work deserves great acknowledgment – from everyone and available to everyone.
What do you pay your employees to do?
As Globoforce’s Head of Strategic Consulting, Derek Irvine is an internationally minded management professional with over 20 years of experience helping global companies set a higher ambition for global strategic employee recognition, leading workshops, strategy meetings and industry sessions around the world. His articles on fostering and managing a culture of appreciation through strategic recognition have been published in Businessweek, Workspan and HR Management. Derek splits his time between Dublin, Montreal and Boston. Follow Derek on Twitter at @DerekIrvine.