AUSTIN, Texas – February 22, 2018 – Kazoo, a leading HR SaaS company that improves bottom-line performance metrics by enhancing the employee experience, today announced that CEO Autumn Manning has been named as a finalist in Information Age’s inaugural Women in IT Awards USA. Manning was recognized in the Entrepreneur of the Year category which honors female leader of technology, digital, or e-commerce companies that have demonstrated excellent growth in the last 18 months.

The Women in IT Awards is the technology world’s most prominent and influential diversity program. Organized by Information Age, a leading business-technology media outlet, the Women in IT Awards is a flagship and high-profile platform for the industry’s wide-reaching diversity efforts. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at Gotham Hall in New York City on Thursday, March 22.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by Information Age at the world’s largest tech diversity event for the work my fellow nominees and I are doing as female entrepreneurs,” said Autumn Manning, co-founder and CEO of Kazoo. “I founded Kazoo with the goal of empowering all employees to drive the mission of their company forward, while living out their personal core values without barriers. This commitment to improving the lives of every employee has not only helped our customers drive bottom-line results for their business, but has also helped Kazoo continue to see positive achievements for our company.”

Kazoo is an HR SaaS company that works with nearly 400 global customers – from 100 employee companies to global Fortune 100 enterprises – to amplify culture and bottom line results through its robust engagement platform that delivers rewards and recognition programs along with incentives and team insights. Since raising its Series A round in January 2017, the Austin-based company has more than doubled in size, overhauled its engagement platform with a stronger and cleaner UX, and delivered a more robust feature suite in culture and engagement enablement.

Kazoo has grown to be a dominant force in the HR Tech industry and is actively working to expand its platform functionalities to create the industry’s most innovative technology for businesses to make a lasting impact on culture, employee engagement, the employee experience, and the business bottom line. To learn more about Kazoo, visit http://www.youearnedit.com.

About Kazoo
Kazoo is the employee experience platform powered by the science of motivation and the mission of improving the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time. Founded in 2013, Kazoo grows company culture and improves bottom-line performance metrics through its robust engagement platform that delivers recognition, rewards, incentives, and team insights. Named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Best Company Cultures in 2017, the Austin-based SaaS company and its technology platform are built on the four pillars of employee experience: connection, meaning, impact and appreciation. To request a demo, visit info.kazoohr.com/demo-request.

Today we are talking about goals. Researchers study them, businesses are judged by them, and everyone sets them. They can be short term or long term, simple or complex, shared or private.

Not only do goals give us something to work towards, but our professional success is defined in part by whether or not we reach them. If executed properly, goal setting is an important way employees and managers come together to create meaningful metrics that can then be used to measure performance. After all, if you don’t have a target, where do you aim?

Outside of performance, goals also serve various purposes that are equally as important.

Here are three by-products of setting and tracking goals that leave a lasting business impact.

 

1. Meaning

There is a strong correlation between how connected we feel to our work and how we ultimately perform. Setting goals is an important way to make our work – and workplace experience – more meaningful.

  • Individual goals can act as a compass for employees as they carry out their day-to-day activities. They are also a starting point for coaching conversations between managers and their direct reports.
  • Team goals can strengthen the bond between co-workers, and give employees a chance to make a bigger impact outside of their area of expertise.
  • Company goals unite the entire workforce around a shared objective. They can also be a big driver of the organizational culture.

Benefits of goal setting

2. Transparency

We’ve all seen a positive team dynamic go downhill quickly when employees make assumptions about their co-workers. Friction can be caused by any number of issues – employees perceive there to be an unequal distribution of work. Someone is slacking off and getting away with it. There’s a questionable promotion on the team.

Setting goals that are transparent throughout the organization can circumvent these issues. When employees are aware of how everyone is contributing towards the company’s goals, it takes the guesswork out of the equation and provides a tangible reference from which to address issues. Goal transparency also prevents both duplicate work and gaps in work. There’s nothing more frustrating than to put a lot of time and effort into a project and find out that a co-worker is working on or has already done the same thing.

On an individual level, transparent goals help employees understand how they themselves stack up. Especially in the case of shared goals such as departmental or project team goals, knowing where everyone stands can encourage employees to work harder and ultimately raise the caliber of the team as a whole.

3. Data

Goal data can be valuable for managers beyond the obvious performance conversation. In fact, goals provide a gold mine of data that can be used across the organization – from direct managers to HR leaders to top executives.

At the most basic level, organizations can uncover who is and isn’t setting goals, and how it’s impacting their performance. If an employee leaves an organization, his or her manager can use goal data to better determine what they might need in a replacement. They can also look at missed team goals to help determine which new roles they might want to hire for. HR leaders can look at team goal statistics to compare and contrast departments, or to pinpoint problem areas. Executives can review goal data in aggregate to get a sense of how the company is doing.

Goals can be so much more than a basis for an employee’s performance. Create a process where goals can be set, shared, and analyzed, and the business will put goals to use in new and valuable ways.

Do you know the why behind your company’s employee recognition efforts?

In theory, organizations adopt employee recognition programs as a necessary element of the modern workplace. In practice, too many of these programs are treated like an obligation — a box for leadership to check, or a nice-to-have lumped in with other efforts to “boost engagement” — without truly considering the “why” behind the initiative.

Here are three reasons common approaches to employee recognition fail.

If it is difficult for you to explain the why behind your employee recognition efforts, take note of how many apply to your organization:

    • They’re impersonal: A simple thank-you is always welcome, but your employee recognition program shouldn’t be based on generic thank-you notes and gift cards. Personalizing your recognition to call out individuals means much more to employees. As for how much, when researching what really drives employee engagement, BambooHR found that nearly one third of employees would choose to be recognized via a company-wide email from an executive than receive a $500 cash bonus.
    • They’re infrequent: Companies mean well when they make callouts at quarterly all-hands meetings, but if these are a major part of your employee recognition efforts, switching to timely recognition would be much more impactful. Recognition programs that lump major victories, work anniversaries, and birthdays into one monthly (or worse, annual) meeting are a lose-lose situation for the HR managers tracking these recognition efforts and the employees being recognized months after the fact.
    • They’re indiferent: What exactly are your employees being recognized for? How did their actions influence the organization, move the needle towards a goal, or even exhibit a company core value? If your employee recognition isn’t specific, its meaning is lost, and the overall program will fail to inspire and motivate other employees.

Employee recognition success stories

Make it personalized. Make it timely. Be specific. These employee recognition best practices sound straightforward, but what effects can they have on your organization when put into practice?

See for yourself how Cratejoy, the world’s first subscription marketplace based in Austin, Texas, found a culture of appreciation after redefining recognition and rewards with Kazoo:

Employee recognition is also at the center of our Promethean World case study. After enabling personalized, timely employee recognition via the Kazoo platform, the education technology company saw an explosion of use across its global workforce — not only did their employees send 13,000 pieces of employee recognition in the first eight months on the platform, but their administrative staff saved over 400 work hours last year by streamlining the employee rewards and recognition programs. The full case study can be found here:

Promethean World case study - boosting employee recognition with Kazoo

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These two companies found the why behind employee recognition, and successful corporate programs followed. If your organization is not seeing success with common approaches to employee recognition, it’s time to create your own success story.

About Kazoo
Kazoo is the employee experience platform powered by the science of motivation and the mission of improving the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time. Founded in 2013, Kazoo grows company culture and improves bottom-line performance metrics through its robust engagement platform that delivers recognition, rewards, incentives, and team insights. Named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Best Company Cultures in 2017, the Austin-based SaaS company and its technology platform are built on the four pillars of employee experience: connection, meaning, impact, and appreciation. To request a demo, visit info.kazoohr.com/demo-request.

February is a great time to get strategic about employee recognition.

By mid-February, many people are tired of winter. Snow is no longer new. The holiday season is over. Short days and grey skies wear on many employees. Even if snow days don’t keep your employees away from the office – winter blues can hit productivity and ultimately employee engagement.

How do you keep employees energized and productive mid-winter? Look to your employee engagement power tool: employee recognition. Everyone likes to know that their hard work is seen – and that small recognition can give a big boost to engagement.

The benefit is long term. Recognition also boosts the four pillars of an enriched employee experience: connection, meaning, impact and appreciation. Here are four tips for using recognition to combat the blues.

Four Tips for Using Employee Recognition to Combat Winter Blues

    • Recognize Employees for Everyday Impact. The newspaper covers the firefighter who rushes into a building to save the residents. But what about the resident who goes around cleaning up fire hazards so the building doesn’t burn in the first place? Or the fire marshall who designed the sprinkler system that puts a fire out before that?Your employees do important work every single day. Sending a specific piece of recognition to let them know you see it boosts their motivation to do more of it.
    • Valentine’s Appreciation Party. Getting appreciation is powerful, but giving can be even more rewarding. Use Valentine’s Day as an excuse for employees to show their appreciation of one another. Assign each employee someone to recognize (ideally someone who they don’t ordinarily work with) and encourage them to do something personal – a card, a heartfelt thought, or something more creative.Go public with a party, or keep it quiet with a simple “secret Valentines” event. Either way, taking time to show appreciation builds it into your culture. And Valentine’s Day is a great excuse.

Get Started with Kazoo

  • Build Meaning with Core Value Recognition. Meaning matters to employees. One study showed that 90% of millennials believe that giving back at work is critical. But giving back doesn’t always have to be charitable. Showing how an employee’s work supports key corporate values also offers a sense of purpose. That sense of purpose goes a long way to being more productive in those long February days.
  • Connect Employees with Peer-to-Peer Employee Recognition. If an employee is spending time looking for things that their coworkers are doing well,they’re more likely to connect and learn from each other. The whole team performs better. Two studies back this up. One academic study of what happens with pro-social (i.e., giving back) bonuses, showed that when employees are given a bonus to share with coworkers – team performance goes up.

February can be a tough month for employee performance. But building employee recognition into the month can keep performance high and teams moving forward.

About Kazoo
Kazoo is the employee experience platform powered by the science of motivation and the mission of improving the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time. Founded in 2013, Kazoo grows company culture and improves bottom-line performance metrics through its robust engagement platform that delivers recognition, rewards, incentives, and team insights. Named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Best Company Cultures in 2017, the Austin-based SaaS company and its technology platform are built on the four pillars of employee experience: connection, meaning, impact, and appreciation. To request a demo, visit info.kazoohr.com/demo-request.

“Leaders’ understanding of employee engagement is expanding. It’s no longer just about how employees connect to their role and the organization. Instead, employee engagement now includes all aspects of the employee experience. As a result, companies have to adjust their focus.”

These are the opening lines of a recent Entrepreneur article that argues ‘Employee Engagement’ is so 2016. There has been a shift in thinking about employee engagement. This revelation doesn’t mean organizations’ engagement programs are useless — its goals are simply short sighted.

Employee engagement is an outcome, not a program.

employee engagement is an outcome, not a program - Kazoo

The rise of the employee experience

“The employee experience” is not the HR buzzword du jour. Rather, it’s a critical driver of business results. After our studies of industry research, surveying of thousands of employees, and reviews of recent articles on the subject, one key definition of the employee experience has emerged:

The Employee Experience results from the connection, meaning, impact, and appreciation employees find in their jobs. The quality of the employee experience depends on how much these pillars are embedded in an employee’s cumulative day-today interactions with corporate values, coworkers, management, customers, work content, tools and technology, and even physical environment.

The rise of this holistic view of what affects employees means leaders must rethink the goals of traditional employee engagement programs.

As Forbes recently pointed out, the “pep fests and pizza” approach to employee engagement programs is hurting your company, while plenty of evidence suggests that switching focus to the employee experience provides positive outcomes for both employee engagement and the bottom line:

Entrepreneur profiled the success of Farm Bureau Financial Services, which improved employees’ connection and overall experience, leading to improved engagement.

• A study outlined in Harvard Business Review revealed that companies investing in the employee experience outperform those that don’t, becoming four times as profitable.

• In a third-party ROI study on Kazoo’s customers, 100% of the organizations surveyed saw an increase in employee engagement after adopting our employee experience platform.

A blueprint for effective employee engagement

Our research has shown how companies can use a blueprint for effective employee engagement to deliver positive employee engagement outcomes.

To learn more, see Kazoo’s Blueprint for Effective Employee Engagement, a guide to helping organizations see successful employee engagement outcomes through a structure that injects connection, meaning, impact, and appreciation into the employee experience.

Kazoo's Blueprint for Effective Employee Engagement

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If your organization is frustrated with the lack of impact your employee engagement efforts are having, perhaps your focus is too narrow. Broaden your efforts to cover the overall employee experience, and engagement will follow.

About Kazoo
Kazoo is the employee experience platform powered by the science of motivation and the mission of improving the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time. Founded in 2013, Kazoo grows company culture and improves bottom-line performance metrics through its robust engagement platform that delivers recognition, rewards, incentives, and team insights. Named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Best Company Cultures in 2017, the Austin-based SaaS company and its technology platform are built on the four pillars of employee experience: connection, meaning, impact, and appreciation. To request a demo, visit info.kazoohr.com/demo-request.

Today is National Pizza Day. A day to celebrate one of America’s favorite foods. And – for some people – a very effective way to boost employee engagement.

Pizza? Employee Engagement? Hasn’t research proven that perks don’t work for boosting engagement?

For the most part this is true. But studies show that strategic rewards and recognition (even in the form of pizza) boost employee engagement.

employee engagement

The Employee Engagement Pizza Study

In the book Payoff, the Hidden Logic that Shapes our Motivations, researcher Dan Ariely details a study of semiconductor workers in Israel. The workers were broken into four groups:

  1. The control group – which got no rewards. It was business as usual.
  2. The compliment group – which got verbal recognition for their work.
  3. The pizza group – who got a voucher for a free pizza if they met their weekly goal.
  4. The cash group – who got an approximately $30 bonus for meeting a goal.

The surprise? The group getting a cash bonus performed worse than the control group. In the end, it cost the company more to do a cash bonus than the return they got out of the employees.

On the other hand, the pizza group performed better. And the compliment group performed the best overall.

His conclusion? Giving people what they really want at work motivates them to engage with their jobs more than an impersonal cash bonus. This group of people happened to like pizza – and compliments.

Employee Engagement Tips

How do you implement these employee engagement lessons into your company’s approach?

Offer rewards and recognition that build the four pillars of the employee experience. Our research in the Employee Experience Quantified shows that employees engage more when they have a daily experience full of the four pillars of Impact, Connection, Meaning, and Appreciation.

Here are three tips for doing just that:

    • Make recognition part of your daily culture. Specific, timely, authentic recognition shows employees that their work is appreciated – and can show the Impact and Meaning of their work. And the stats show that recognition works. Glassdoor has shown that 81% of employees say they will work harder for an appreciative boss.
    • Tie rewards to recognition. Sometimes, rewards on their own can be demotivating. Working just for the reward makes the reward less meaningful over time and can lead employees to behavior that doesn’t move a company forward. On the other hand, having a reward spontaneously attached to a piece of recognition boosts the impact of both the reward and the recognition.
    • Let employees choose the rewards that matter to them. Meaningful rewards matter. Some employees find pizza meaningful. Others might prefer a gift card. Still others may prefer to get a reward that they can donate to a charity. Offering a variety of rewards that speak to employees ensures that the rewards stay motivating

.

For more tips on rewards and recognition that build employee engagement, see our guide: Rewards and Recognition that works.

About Kazoo

Kazoo is the employee experience platform powered by the science of motivation and the mission of improving the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time. Founded in 2013, Kazoo grows company culture and improves bottom-line performance metrics through its robust engagement platform that delivers recognition, rewards, incentives, and team insights. Named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Best Company Cultures in 2017, the Austin-based SaaS company and its technology platform are built on the four pillars of employee experience: connection, meaning, impact, and appreciation. To request a demo, visit info.kazoohr.com/demo-request.

Does your company’s employee experience encourage employees to speak up?

Many don’t. It’s common for employees to feel that the penalty for speaking up outweighs the benefit of sharing opinions. That often leads to businesses missing important information and leaving performance on the table.

Gallup’s data reveal that just three in 10 U.S. workers strongly agree tdhat at work, their opinions seem to count. However, they’ve found that by moving that ratio to six in 10 employees, organizations could realize a 27% reduction in turnover, a 40% reduction in safety incidents and a 12% increase in productivity.

On top of that, Google’s Project Aristotle shows that psychological safety is directly tied to team performance. Their 2-year study of every team at Google showed that employees’ feeling safe to share their opinions was the single factor displayed in every one of their high-performing teams.

But how do you build psychological safety into your company culture? How can you encourage employees to speak up? Create an empowered employee experienceEmployee Experience.

Five tips for creating an employee experience where employees speak up

  1. Define a purpose. Whether it’s at the corporate level or a team level, having a sense of common purpose helps teams to move towards the same goal. It gives employees a context for expressing opinions and ideas that is crucial for psychological safety. Plus, our research shows that having a purpose motivates employees to show up for work, stay in jobs longer, work harder and be more creative about finding ways to improve company performance.
  2. Use regular, effective recognition. Using a platform to enable real-time, peer-to-peer or manager-to-employee recognition helps emphasize the positive actions that happen every day. When peers recognize each other for small but important actions – it builds a feeling that the team can count on each other. See our checklist for effective employee recognition for ideas on giving effective recognition.
  3. Set the rules for engagement. Teammates may have different communication styles or cultural backgrounds. Getting teams to work together to agree on guidelines for communicating and doing projects together can go a long way towards creating a culture of respect. That respect builds trust and a sense of safety.
  4. Celebrate small failures. When employees know that taking actions with good intentions will be respected – even if the result turns out differently than they expected – it encourages them to make decisions and take risks. By celebrating the act of taking small, calculated risks – employees are more likely to offer suggestions that lead towards bigger success.
  5. Practice continuous listening. Surveys offer a great tool for giving employees a voice. Whether it’s an engagement survey, pulse survey, or net promoter score (NPS), doing regular surveys allows companies to gauge employee sentiment and collect employee feedback. One tip? Acting on what employees tell you encourages them to speak up. See our webinar on making employee feedback more effective for more tips and best practices on using surveys.These five tips will help employees feel safe speaking up so you can get more innovation, more productivity, and ultimately – higher engagement levels.

    About Kazoo

    Kazoo is the employee experience platform powered by the science of motivation and the mission of improving the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time. Founded in 2013, Kazoo grows company culture and improves bottom-line performance metrics through its robust engagement platform that delivers recognition, rewards, incentives, and team insights. Named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Best Company Cultures in 2017, the Austin-based SaaS company and its technology platform are built on the four pillars of employee experience: connection, meaning, impact, and appreciation. To request a demo, visit info.kazoohr.com/demo-request.

How well do you know the people behind Kazoo? We’re excited to kick off a new blog series today to give you a glimpse into the people we’re proud to work alongside every day.

Today we cornered Gina Slesar for her thoughts on working at Kazoo. She certainly knows her way around the office, having worked on the Sales, Customer Success and Product teams. Here’s her story.

1. How’d you get your start at Kazoo? What makes this a good fit for you?

I joined Kazoo in February 2015. While I had a great job with a large Chicago company, I was really looking for a work environment that had more of an entrepreneurial feel. I researched some local startups and found Kazoo. My experience here is a sampler platter of sorts – I’ve officially held the titles of sales development representative, customer success analyst, operations lead and, as of one month ago, associate product manager. I currently work on the Goals and Recognition products.

I think what I love most about Kazoo is our diversity, and how we use it to our advantage throughout the work we do. Our management team embraces collaboration, and many different departments and teams come together to create solutions for our customers.

2. Tell us a bit about your everyday life at Kazoo.

In my new role, I work with our Customer Success and Engineering teams to prioritize projects and plan future product enhancements. So far, every day has been a little bit different, and it’s exciting to collaborate with different departments as we grow our team and product.

3. Which of our company values speaks most to you and why? 

Take ownership speaks the most to me because it’s a value I’ve learned throughout my time here with each role. In Sales, it meant owning our pipeline, understanding the market and making improvements to our process. When I was on Customer Success, it meant understanding our customer’s needs and translating how we can provide better support to HR teams as they manage change at their organization. Now, in Product, it means understanding our company initiatives and customer needs to make an impact.

4. What do you find most interesting about employee engagement and performance management?

Many of our clients are really forward-looking, progressive professionals, so it’s fun to engage with them to help improve their HR processes and ultimately their employees. Because no two companies are the same, every single customer implements our platform a bit differently. This gives us a new challenge and new perspective when it comes to helping them design the best HR processes, so we’re always learning.

5. What does personal success look like to you, in your current role and beyond?

I’m learning so much right now in my new role, so I’m still really figuring out what success will look like for me. Right now, I’m focused on trying to impact one thing each day and make it better.

6. When you’re not at work, you can be found doing one of three things: what are they?

Drawing cartoons, training for marathons and running stop signs on a Divvy bike.

7. Where is your dream vacation?

I’m currently planning it! My sister and I are going to Iceland.

As far back as 2015, Bersin and Associates found that companies are pouring over $1 billion into engagement programs each year — things like rewards and recognition, employee surveys, or anything else lumped into efforts aimed at improving engagement. Yet despite this investment, the overall levels of employee engagement as measured by Gallup have hardly budged.

How can companies use that money more effectively? Kazoo has conducted extensive research to help define and quantify the employee experience in ways that benefit the bottom line, but here is one easy bit of money-saving advice if your organization is looking for a place to start:

Redefine rewards and recognition at your company.

Redefine Rewards and Recognition at Your Company - Kazoo

The typical approach to rewards and recognition is outdated

Is your company still taking part in any of these outdated approaches to rewards and recognition?

The awkward glass sculpture: On the morning of an employee’s first, fifth, or tenth anniversary at the company, she finds a strange glass sculpture on her desk. It’s neither clear whether (or where) she will keep it, much less remember what it was meant to stand for.

The demotivational catalog: Your company promotes its reward catalog as a perk of employment. Upon browsing it, employees find little more than discounts on sunglasses. You’re based in Seattle, it’s December, and your employees are left wondering, “What did I do to deserve this?”

The gift card cabinet: In need of a quick thank-you for an above-and-beyond effort or a small prize for an impromptu competition, an admin pulls a steakhouse gift card from an available stack and tosses it on a desk, not realizing the recipient is a vegan.

If any of these sound familiar, your organization is one of many in desperate need of rethinking your rewards and recognition programs. You can find multiple morals for improving recognition and rewards from the stories above:

 

  • There is no one-size-fits-all reward for all employees (not even cash bonuses)
  • Your employees’ choice of rewards should match their motivations
  • Employees know when you’re not putting thought into rewards

 

 

Try these rewards and recognition resources

Given the amount of research and real-world anecdotes available today, it may seem easy to poke fun at outdated approaches to employee recognition and rewards. Knowing how to get started towards a more effective rewards and recognition approach that saves time and money is challenging, however.

These rewards and recognition resources can help:

Rewards and Recognition Systems that Work. The research-backed, science-based tips presented here will put your organization in the right frame of mind for improving employee motivation with recognition and rewards:

Rewards and Recognition Systems that Work

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Rewards and Recognition Buyer’s Guide. Whether you are looking for a comprehensive engagement strategy or just want to streamline your rewards and recognition approach, this guide will simplify your search process for the right platform for your company:

Rewards and Recognition Buyers Guide

Download now
About Kazoo
Kazoo is the employee experience platform powered by the science of motivation and the mission of improving the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time. Founded in 2013, Kazoo grows company culture and improves bottom-line performance metrics through its robust engagement platform that delivers recognition, rewards, incentives, and team insights. Named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Best Company Cultures in 2017, the Austin-based SaaS company and its technology platform are built on the four pillars of employee experience: connection, meaning, impact, and appreciation. To request a demo, visit info.kazoohr.com/demo-request.

Team alignment is a must-have for any business. But sometimes getting the members of your team or company working together can feel like herding cats. The answer? Focus on a team-friendly culture. Read on for 5 research-based company culture ideas that support successful teams.

5 Company Culture Ideas for Teams

1. Clear and Measurable Goals

In Gallup’s 2017 Performance Management report , 40% of employees could link their personal goals to company or team goals. When their managers help them align their goals to company goals – productivity increases by 56%.

In addition, in our market research for the Employee Experience Quantified, 3 out 4 employees stated that they could deliver a better customer experience when they understood the impact their work had in the company. Clear goals help employees understand their impact.

According to the New York Times’ How to Build a Successful Team, most companies will set as many as 8 to 11 different priorities – which makes it difficult to know the correct path to follow. Clearly and regularly communicating a smaller number of clear priorities to a team (and repeating them!) helps individual team members keep moving in the same direction.

Company culture Ideas for living out clear and measurable goals.

  • Create only 1 – 3 priorities.
  • Communicate core values and key goals publicly and daily.

2. Have a Shared Scoreboard

If you have a company where everyone has their own ways of keeping score, you’ll get incessant fighting and arguments, and they’re not even arguing about what to do. They’re arguing about how to keep score.

— Adam Nash

Team members, especially high performers, like to win individually. Having a common set of metrics is critical to keep each part of your team moving to a common target.

In addition, celebrating wins as a team can build team performance. Research has shown that creating incentives that reward a whole team, rather than just individuals, can reduce competition and create better overall performance.

Company culture ideas for a shared scoreboard:

  • Give timely, specific, public recognition for behaviors that embody core company values.
  • Recognize and reward both individuals and teams for moving forward on the shared scoreboard.

3. Show Respect

Employees are going to have different opinions. Sometimes they will have disagreements. The question is – how do you handle them?

Google’s Project Aristotle — a 2-year study of their highest performing teams — showed that psychological safety was the single characteristic shared by all their high performing teams. Every employee on those teams felt encouraged to share ideas – even bad ones.

How do you create that environment? Start with management. Encourage employees to share ideas and take small risks. Celebrate their wins. And then encourage employees to do the same with each other.

Then, focus on communicating about behavior rather than interpretations. For example, saying, “I notice you’re coming in late, and it’s having an effect on your work,” is a different conversation than, “Don’t you care enough about work to come in on time?”

Company culture ideas for building respect:

  • Use a public peer-to-peer recognition program for positive behavior.
  • Celebrate and learn from small mistakes. If they’re still in line with core values, they’ll build employee and team performance.

4. Hold Everyone Accountable

It’s hard to show respect and work off the same scoreboard when everyone isn’t bringing their best. If one person isn’t pulling their weight, it can bring the whole team down.

So, at the same time that you’re celebrating team wins publicly, hold people accountable privately. Communicating how an individual team member is doing and redirecting them toward the group goals is key for keeping everyone working well together.

However, that doesn’t always mean you need to hold everyone to the same standards. Research shows that, often, high-performing teams contain one member who could perform higher on their own – but they use their skills to make others successful. This person is critical for overall success.

Company culture ideas for accountability:

  • Clearly link individual goals to company goals.
  • Try to set up a team so that employees can work on projects that let their skills shine.

5. Have the Difficult Conversations

It’s hard to hold people accountable without having difficult conversations about what isn’t working, or what they aren’t doing well. Many managers tend to avoid these conversations until employee performance or morale has gone into the tank.

However, stepping up to have the difficult conversations becomes easier in a culture of respect, shared goals, and accountability. Regular communication and a balance with positive feedback makes it easier to give that feedback.

Company culture ideas for encouraging the difficult conversation:

  • Have regular one-on-ones between managers and employees, so that difficult feedback isn’t the only time a manager talks to an employee.
  • Routinely communicate the positives. Positive reinforcement reinforces positive behavior. It helps make a difficult conversation a redirect rather than a crisis.

By implementing these company culture ideas, you can set up a culture that supports high-performance teams.

About Kazoo
Kazoo is the employee experience platform powered by the science of motivation and the mission of improving the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time. Founded in 2013, Kazoo grows company culture and improves bottom-line performance metrics through its robust engagement platform that delivers recognition, rewards, incentives, and team insights. Named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Best Company Cultures in 2017, the Austin-based SaaS company and its technology platform are built on the four pillars of employee experience: connection, meaning, impact, and appreciation. To request a demo, visit info.kazoohr.com/demo-request.